New 2011 census estimates due to be released indicate that ‘an important landmark’ has been reached in U.S. demographic evolution as longtime immigration growth ebbs, an expert says.
May 16, 2012, 11:06 p.m.
By msnbc.com staff and news services
WASHINGTON — Faced with a persistently weak economy, the number of immigrants flowing into the United States from Mexico has declined for the first time in decades, according to a study released on Monday.
In all, the Mexican-born population in the U.S. last year — legal and illegal — fell to 12 million, marking an end to an immigration boom dating back to the 1970s, when foreign-born residents from Mexico stood at 760,000. The 2007 peak was 12.6 million.
Important Notice – New Application Fees: Effective April 13, 2012, the Department of State will decrease the immigrant visa application processing fees for all immigrant visa categories. Fees paid on or after April 13, 2012 will reflect the new fee amounts. The National Visa Center will resend the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee bill to those individuals who have yet to pay.
Immigrant visa application processing fees will be reduced to the following amounts:
CARTAGENA, Colombia (AP) — In his most specific pledge yet toU.S. Hispanics, President Barack Obama said Saturday he would seek to tackle immigration policy in the first year of a second term. But he cautioned that he would need an amenable Congress to succeed.
“This is something I care deeply about,” he told Univision. “It’s personal to me.”
Obama said in the television interview that he would work on immigration this year, but said he can’t get support from Republicans in Congress. Obama also tried to paint his Republican presidential challenger, Mitt Romney, as an extremist onimmigration, saying that Romney supports laws that would potentially allow for people to be stopped and asked for citizenship papers based on an assumption that they are illegal.
“So what we need is a change either of Congress or we need Republicans to change their mind, and I think this has to be an important debate during — throughout the country,” Obama said.
Romney aides have said that the former Massachusetts governor supports laws that would require employers to verify the legal status of workers they employ.
“President Obama only talks about immigration reform when he’s seeking votes,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “Then-candidate Obama promised to tackle immigration reform in his first year. More than three years into his term, America is still waiting for his immigration plan.”
Hispanics are an increasingly important voting bloc in presidential elections. Obama won a sizable majority of the Hispanic vote in the 2008 election and his campaign is hoping for similar results this November.
Obama spoke to Univision, a network widely watched by Latinos in the United States, while in Colombia for the Summit of the Americas.
In a teleconference on March 9, 2012, USCIS announced plans to transition all usually foreign filed I-601 applications for unlawful presence, criminal, misrepresentation, and other kinds of inadmissibility waivers to one central Lockbox filing location in the U.S. The practice now is to submit the waiver filing with the USCIS office connected to the foreign consulate. The current process has resulted in a lot of delays and longer wait times for a final decision at certain consulates who have less adjudicators available to decide the waivers. In theory, this will be better for applicants if they can reduce the average wait time and the efficiency of adjudication.
Please note: This new process Foreign-Filed Waiver Lockbox procedure has nothing to do with the provisional waiver process that should be in effect by late 2012 and proposed earlier in the year.
What this new process would do:
Waiver applications can only be submitted to the Lockbox in the US after the applicant has attended the immigrant visa interview abroad at the consulate and the consulate officer determines that the applicant is eligible to file a waiver. The waiver would be filed with the Lockbox, in Phoenix, which forwards the petition to the USCIS Nebraska Service Center for adjudication. USCIS expects to train 26 officers on waivers to handle the expected increased workload.
Proposed Benefits to this new process:
Other important notes:
This is a positive step in streamlining how waivers are adjudicated and we hope that the decreased wait time will allow families to be unified faster than before.
Ruby L. Powers – I-601 Waiver Attorney – Houston Immigration Attorney
How to not to be fooled by US Immigration Law
Immigration law is not always logical. I remember before I was an immigration attorney I thought there could be no way the U.S. Government would keep foreigners who married US citizens from living in the country. “That is crazy!” I thought. My husband and I, before I was an immigration attorney, also didn’t know that mail from the US Department of Homeland Security would not be forwarded even when we had temporarily forwarded our mail for summer internships. That was an expensive mistake. Now, I know differently but only with time, education, and experience.
As an immigration attorney with a firm that provides solely immigration law services, I help people in may situations, some routine and some complicated. Many consultations start with people filing immigration papers on their own, or with a notario, and then getting to visa appointments to find out surprisingly that they need waivers. Or, consultations where people are shocked, just like I was beforehand, that there would be complications for certain foreign-nationals to getting approved their visas or green cards if they were married to a US citizen. Some file the wrong documents or the wrong forms completely. Some don’t realize their criminal past will affect their immigration future. There are a lot of policies that aren’t obvious from the instructions forms and not everything on the internet is true. I wanted to pass on some tips I hope will help people navigate their immigration law experience:
By Ruby L. Powers, Houston-based US Immigration Attorney
Twelve Things to consider about the Provisional Waiver – I-601A waiver
Law Office of Ruby L. Powers – Immigration Law Firm focused on Waivers
I-601 Waiver Immigration Attorney Ruby L. Powers – April 12, 2012
Reminder: This proposed process is not in effect. To learn more, read this alert.
What USCIS Proposes
On March 30, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register requesting public comment on its plan to create an alternative process for certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to apply for and receive a provisional waiver of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility while still in the United States, if they can demonstrate that being separated from their U.S. citizen spouse or parent would cause that U.S. citizen relative extreme hardship. The goal of the proposed process change is to reduce the time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives while those family members go through the consular process overseas to obtain an immigrant visa.
Why We Propose It
Currently, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who have accrued a certain period of unlawful presence in the United States are barred from returning to the United States for as long as 3 or 10 years if they leave the country. Immediate relatives can obtain a waiver of the unlawful presence bar if they show that a U.S. citizen spouse or parent will experience extreme hardship if they are required to remain outside the United States. The immediate relative also would have to show that they warrant a favorable exercise of discretion. But in order to obtain the waiver, these individuals must depart the United States and wait abroad while the waiver is processed.
Under the current process, therefore, U.S. citizens suffer unnecessarily long periods of separation while family members go through consular processing overseas to obtain an immigrant visa. The proposed process change lessens the length of separation by reducing inefficiencies in the current immigrant visa process. USCIS believes that this proposed change will streamline the immigrant visa process for immediate relatives whose only ground of inadmissibility is unlawful presence. USCIS plans to adjudicate the provisional waiver application in the United States before the immediate relative departs for his or her immigrant visa interview, which will reduce the length of time immediate relatives must spend abroad for consular processing.
What the Proposed Process Would Do
Under the proposed process, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who would need a waiver of unlawful presence in order to obtain an immigrant visa could file a new Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, before leaving the United States to obtain an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. All individuals eligible for this streamlined process are still required to depart the United States and must meet all legal requirements for issuance of an immigrant visa and admission to the United States.
An individual may seek a provisional unlawful presence waiver if he or she:
An immediate relative would not be eligible for the proposed process if he or she:
Allowing immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to receive provisional waivers in the United States before departure for their immigrant visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate means that:
This new process will be implemented only after USCIS publishes a final rule in the Federal Register with an effective date. USCIS will consider all comments received as part of the proposed rulemaking process before publishing the final rule. The current waiver process remains in place and will continue to remain for those who may not be eligible for a provisional waiver.
DO NOT file an application or request a provisional waiver at this time. Any applications filed with USCIS based on this NPRM will be rejected and the application package returned to the applicant, including any fees, until the final rule is issued and the change becomes effective.
For additional information, please see our I-601A Questions and Answers document, linked at the upper-right side of this page.
This page can be found at: http://www.uscis.gov/provisionalwaiver
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sent this bulletin at 03/30/2012 11:54 AM EDT
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today posted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register outlining its proposal to create an alternative process for filing certain waivers of inadmissibility relating to unlawful presence.
The alternative process is not in effect and will is not be available to potential applicants until USCIS publishes a final rule with an effective date in the Federal Register. The public is welcome to submit comments to this proposed rule during a 60-day comment period on www.regulations.gov through June 1, 2012. For more information about the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, please visit www.uscis.gov/provisionalwaiver.
Office of Public Engagement
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Federal agents arrested more than 3,100 unauthorized immigrants last week in the country’s biggest-ever operation targeting criminal and fugitive immigrants for deportation, immigration officials said Monday.
Gillian Christensen, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman, told msnbc.com that the agency has focused on deporting known criminals since President Barack Obama took office. Now, 50 percent of deported immigrants have prior criminal records. In 2008, about 30 percent had criminal records.
There were 11.9 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2008, about 4 percent of the nation’s population, according to the Pew Research Center. Last year, the service deported 396,000 people.