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Number Of Unregistered Latino Voters Large Enough To Transform Red States Into Swing States

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Trends Leave a comment

Article

The day before a class action civil rights lawsuit accusing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his office of wide-scale civil rights violations went to trial in Phoenix, a handful of people stood at the corner of North 27th Avenue and West Indian School Road just off the city’s Black Canyon Freeway.

Wearing “Adios Arpaio” T-shirts, the small group staged a protest at one of the busiest intersections in mostly Latino West Phoenix, aimed at what some consider two of Arizona’s biggest problems: Arpaio and apathy.

Some signs read, “Honk If You Don’t Like Arpaio.” Others bore the words, “Register to Vote Here.” After an hour, 11 people registered to vote.

“I know that sounds tiny,” said Daria Ovide, a coordinator for the Campaign for Arizona’s Future, a union-financed group working to register Latino voters in Arizona, a key battleground state. “But believe me, it matters.”

What happens at thousands of intersections, car shows and carnivals when eligible, but unregistered Latino voters, and avid canvassers like Ovide meet, may well determine the outcome of the next presidential election. Those meetings could so dramatically reshape the political landscape, activists and analysts agree that consistently red states could become swing states or turn blue.

Right now in 10 battleground states — places where both the Obama and Romney campaigns say victory is feasible — there are 12.1 million unregistered, but potentially eligible, Latino adults, according to new data released late Thursday by the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C., think tank. In uber-important Florida, the state’s 1.4 million unregistered, potentially eligible Latino adults represent a group of voters five times larger than Obama’s margin of victory in 2008.

“If just a portion of these potential voters do come out and vote they could swing the election,” said Philip Wolgin, an immigration policy analyst at the center. “And while I don’t think that Texas is going to become a swing state tomorrow, I also don’t think that four years ago anyone thought that Arizona would be either. Look at it now.”

In Arizona, 405,300 Latino U.S. citizens do not have voting credentials. And another 575,300 Latino permanent legal residents could become naturalized citizens, register and vote.

In 2008, John McCain carried the state by 195,404 votes.

These potential voters, according to a series of recent polls, care deeply about immigration issues like racial profiling by law enforcement and the Supreme Court’s June decision on Arizona’s SB170, “show me your papers” laws, as well as jobs, education and health care, said Clarissa Martinez, the National Council of La Raza’s director of civic engagement and immigration. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) is a Washington, D.C.-based civil rights organization.

Having more Hispanic voters in the political system, could force action on some of the nation’s more intractable political issues, she said.

For most Central and South American immigrants, the wait for a visa that allows for legal immigration to the United States can stretch for two decades or more. Once here, immigrants may apply for legal permanent residency. Most legal permanent residents must wait three to five years to apply for citizenship. Then, after passing English-language proficiency, U.S. civics and history exams and paying an $800 fee, legal permanent residents typically wait a minimum of four to six months to be summoned to a swearing in ceremony where they become U.S. citizens.

NCLR is working with local nonprofit agencies and canvassers in states like Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, North Carolina, New York and Idaho to help those who are eligible to become naturalized citizens do so and those who can register to vote obtain credentials.

“When we talk about electoral expansion, you really are talking about sweeping changes to the nation’s political calculus, there’s no doubt,” said Martinez. “But part of the challenge is that the best resourced efforts are concentrated in election years and are associated with candidates or parties who are interested in the short-term. They want to win the next election.”

To win the next election, most campaigns focus their energy and money on reaching so-called habitual voters or reducing the number of people who turn out to vote for the opposition. Habitual voters are the share of already registered voters who vote in every election possible.

In some ways, the limited interest political parties and candidates have shown in helping people to become citizens is good, said Martinez.

Politicizing the citizenship process could become unseemly. On the other, investment in naturalization and voter registration work is desperately needed right now, she said.

In Phoenix, the “Adios Arpiao” crew gets the funding it needs from Unite Here, a hospitality workers union, and the AFL-CIO, said Ovide. The group aims to counterbalance Voter ID policies, the effects of shortened early voting periods andefforts to identify alleged non-citizens on voter rolls around the country. Opponents say these measures will make it more difficult for many older voters, minorities and low -income adults to participate. Proponents insist that the laws protect the integrity of the voting process and prevent alleged voter fraud.

The day that Arpaio’s trial began, canvasser’s wearing “Adios Arpaio” T-shirts fanned out to supermarkets, a gas station, a library and a restaurant in hopes of registering Latino voters.

That day, they registered 150, Ovide said.


Department of Homeland Security’s Deferred Action Status program – Applications can be submitted starting August 15, 2012

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform, Processing of Applications and Petitions Leave a comment

NOTES FROM A RECENT WEBINAR REGARDING DEFERRED ACTION STATUS – Posted on July 21, 2012

Immigration Attorney – Ruby L. Powers

The official commencement date for the program is August 14, 2012, but the applications cannot be submitted until August 15, 2012.

 

I. PUBLIC SAFETY Concerns: 

GANGS

·         You must distinguish between Member vs. Associate

·         If Member, was it Prior or Active?

·         ICE will rely on intelligence from local gang task forces and federal databases

·         It will be very difficult to clean up record if any prior gang participation

 

PARTICIPATION IN CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES (even if no conviction). DHS will look at:

·         Admissions in Plea Agreements (can be a negative factor)

·         Admissions to a DHS officer (can also be used against applicant)

·         Admissions on applications 

·         Rap Sheet

 

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY

·         DHS will look at any unlawful behavior the applicant committed as minor. It is not yet clear what will DHS do, since juvenile offenses are not considered a conviction under the INA, but no doubt it will be a detrimental factor that the applicant will have to overcome with his other equities.

 

RISK OF DETENTION

·         DHS made it very clear that detention is a risk for any person subject to Mandatory Detention, plus others they can choose at their discretion.

II. FRAUD

·         DHS made it very clear that they will actively and aggressively pursue with criminal charges and Removal any misrepresentation or fraud on the application. As far as previous misreps (like photo-switched passports), they will go on a case-by-case basis. There will be NO waiver for false claims of USC after 1996.

III. EDUCATION

·         Applicants will be eligible as long as they are enrolled in school or a GED program at the time of application. There are other ways to be eligible for the education component.

 

IV. MISCELLANEOUS

·         DHS confirmed that there would be a form and a fee. They hope to have the form by August 1, 2012, but the date is not “set in stone.”

·         EAD fee is $380. Biometrics fee is $85. 465 TOTAL

·         Unclear so far whether they will accept I-912 Fee Waiver Request

·         DHS will apply “totality of circumstances” standard to applications. The more equities, the better.

·         Unclear whether “confidentiality” standard (like asylum and VAWA) will be honored. 


Tattoo Checks Trip Up Visas

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Consular Processing, I-601 Waivers, Immigration Trends Leave a comment

Body Art Associated With Gang Symbols Derails Some Immigrants’ Green Cards

By Miriam Jordan | The Wall Street Journal – Wed, Jul 11, 2012 10:47 AM EDT

In December, Hector Villalobos traveled from Colorado to his native Mexico for an interview, part of his application for U.S. permanent residency. Mr. Villalobos expected to be gone a couple of months to complete the process.

Seven months later, U.S. consular officers haven’t allowed the 37-year-old handyman to return home to his wife and three children. The problem: tattoos—some associated with violent Mexican gangs—on Mr. Villalobos’s body.

“He likes tattoos, just like many Americans like tattoos” said Veronica, his American wife of six years, who says her husband isn’t affiliated with any criminal organization. Mr. Villalobos says he got his tattoos—some in Mexico, some in the U.S.—because he thought they were cool.

In recent years, immigration attorneys say, concern about foreign gangs entering the U.S. has prompted Washington to delay or deny green cards, or legal permanent residency, to some applicants with tattoos.
MORE


Immigration attorneys ‘bombarded’ after Obama policy announcement

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration or Notario Fraud, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform Leave a comment

“It is important that people not do anything until it is clear what the actual process is to apply,” Abdin said. “We don’t want them to fall prey to notaries or attorneys who are only after money and are not really going to be helping them.”

Abdin and other immigration attorneys urged undocumented immigrants hoping to qualify under the policy to start gathering paperwork that would prove they meet the requirements outlined by the government, such as birth certificates, passports, Texas or consular IDs, school or vaccination records.

More..


Secretary Napolitano Announces Deferred Action Process for Young People Who Are Low Enforcement Priorities

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Interior Enforcement Leave a comment

WASHINGTON— Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.

“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Secretary Napolitano. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”

DHS continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders. Today’s action further enhances the Department’s ability to focus on these priority removals.

Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case by case basis:

  1. Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
  3. Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
  5. Are not above the age of thirty.

Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date. Deferred action requests are decided on a case-by-case basis. DHS cannot provide any assurance that all such requests will be granted. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

While this guidance takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days. In the meantime, individuals seeking more information on the new policy should visit USCIS’s website (at www.uscis.gov), ICE’s website (atwww.ice.gov), or DHS’s website (at www.dhs.gov). Beginning Monday, individuals can also call USCIS’ hotline at             1-800-375-5283       or ICE’s hotline at             1-888-351-4024       during business hours with questions or to request more information on the forthcoming process.

For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria and have been offered an exercise of discretion as part of ICE’s ongoing case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer them deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

For more information on the Administration policy reforms to date, please see this fact sheet.

###


Fact Sheet: Transforming the Immigration Enforcement System Release Date: June 15, 2012

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Interior Enforcement, Legislative Reform Leave a comment

Direct Link

Over the past three years, this Administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform the immigration enforcement system into one that focuses on public safety, border security and the integrity of the immigration system.  As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders, we have taken a number of steps to transform our immigration enforcement system.

  • April 30, 2009: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a new worksite enforcement strategy which moved away from large worksite raids and toward more effective auditing and investigations.
  • July 10, 2009: Secretary Napolitano announced reforms to the 287(g) program, including increased training, data collection, and the standardization of the agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies.
  • August 2009: DHS created two new offices within ICE, the Office of Detention Policy and Planning as well as an independent Office of Detention Oversight, to focus on oversight and provide specific attention to detainee care. ICE also established two advisory boards of national and local stakeholders.  These working groups have met for nearly three years and provide feedback to ICE on a variety of detention issues. You can learn more about the numerous detention reforms implemented by ICE, by clicking here.
  • September 2009: ICE issued new protocols to increase transparency in the reporting and notification of detainee deaths.
  • January 4, 2010: ICE revised its policy for granting parole to individuals found to have a credible fear of persecution if they establish their identities, pose neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community, and have no additional factors weighing against release.
  • June 30, 2010: ICE Director John Morton issued a Memorandum entitled “Civil Immigration Enforcement: Priorities for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens” articulating ICE’s commitment to prioritizing the use of its enforcement personnel, detention space, and removal resources to promote national security, public safety, and border security—with the removal of aliens who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety constituting the highest enforcement priority.
  • July 2010: ICE launched the first-ever online detainee locator system enabling attorneys, family, and friends to find a detainee in ICE custody and to access information about the facility, including its location and visiting hours.
  • August 20, 2010: ICE issued a Memorandum entitled “Guidance Regarding the Handling of Removal Proceedings of Aliens with Pending or Approved Applications or Petitions”—outlining a framework for ICE to request expedited adjudication of an application or petition (I-130) for an alien in removal proceedings that is pending before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if the approval of such an application or petition would provide an immediate basis for relief for the alien.
  • June 17, 2011: On June 17, 2011, ICE Director Morton issued a new memorandum that provides guidance for ICE law enforcement personnel and attorneys regarding their authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion where appropriate to ensure greater consistency in the treatment of individuals who do not fit within ICE’s enforcement priorities.
  • June 17, 2011: ICE, in consultation with the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, developed a new policy designed to protect victims of domestic violence and other crimesand to ensure that these crimes continue to be reported and prosecuted. This policy directs all ICE officers and attorneys to exercise appropriate discretion to ensure that victims of and witnesses to crimes are not penalized by removal.
  • August 18, 2011: ICE initiated an unprecedented review of all immigration cases pending in the immigration courts and incoming cases. fact sheet
  • November 7, 2011: USCIS issued revised guidance on referral of cases to ICE and issuance of NTAs.
  • November 17, 2011: ICE issued further guidance on how they would conduct the case by case review.
  • January 4, 2012: ICE issued a new policy related to transferring individuals between detention facilities that established that if an individual has family-members or counsel nearby, he/ she will not be transferred absent extraordinary circumstances.
  • February 2012: ICE issued its detention standards, now known as the Performance-Based National Detention Standards 2011, to improve medical and mental health services, increase access to legal services and religious opportunities, improve communication with detainees with limited English proficiency, improve the process for reporting and responding to complaints, and increase recreation and visitation.
  • February 7, 2012: ICE announced the creation of their first Public Advocate to assist individuals and community organizations in addressing complaints and inform stakeholders of ICE policies and initiatives.
  • March 13, 2012: ICE opened its first-ever designed and built civil detention center in Karnes City, Texas. The Karnes County Civil Detention Center is a civil immigration detention facility for low-risk, minimum security detainees.
  • May 2012:  ICE, in collaboration with the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Libertiescreated new trainings for state and local law enforcement on issues related Secure Communities. The goal is to provide actionable information to state and local law enforcement about the civil rights and civil liberties issues that may arise when ICE begins using federal information sharing capability through Secure Communities in their jurisdictions.
  • May 2012: ICE, after consultation with the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, promulgated a new directive on Sexual Abuse and Assault Prevention and Response in order to comprehensively address and clarify procedures at the agency level relating to investigation, coordination, and response of sexual assault and abuse in immigration detention facilities.
  • May 17, 2012: DHS announced it would undertake its own rulemaking to apply the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) to immigrant confinement facilities, building upon the zero tolerance policy for sexual assault and abuse in confinement facilities that DHS previously adopted.
  • June 15, 2012: Secretary Napolitano announces that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own as children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be eligible for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. Click here for the press release.

Obama Offers Two Years of ‘Deferred Action’ to Illegal Immigrants

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform Leave a comment

Those who are in the U.S. illegally, but meet certain criteria, won’t face prosecution

Some young illegal immigrants living in the United States will be eligible for a reprieve from federal prosecution, according to a Friday announcement by the Obama administration.

It’s a move ripe with election year politics as both President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney ramp up efforts to woo Hispanic voters ahead of the November presidential election.

Republicans have made hay out of the fact that Obama promised comprehensive immigration reform would be one of his top priorities in the White House and yet, in reality, he prioritized healthcare legislation instead. They say he never delivered for Latinos.

[See a collection of political cartoons on immigration.]

Friday’s announcement, made by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, is certainly aimed at placating disappointed Hispanic voters but also continues an effort her agency has made to change America’s deportation priorities.

Napolitano said the move is “consistent with our existing use of prosecutorial discretion” despite cries from some conservatives that it is unconstitutional.

Immigrants who were brought to the United States before the age of 16, who have lived here for at least five years, are in school, have a high school diploma or GED, or were honorably discharged from the military and are younger than 30 are eligible for the “deferred action,” she said during a conference call with reporters. In addition to deferred action on deportation, many young illegal immigrants would be eligible for work permits.

Verifiable documentation must be provided, and those with felonies or extensive criminal records are not eligible.

[Romney ‘Still Deciding’ on Immigration Stance]

“Over the past three years, the administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform our nation’s immigration enforcement system into one that focuses on public safety, border security, and on the integrity of the immigration system,” Napolitano said.

The Obama administration, which has already deported more illegal immigrants than did the George W. Bush administration, has focused its efforts on those who pose a danger to national security, are a risk to public safety, or those with serious or multiple criminal convictions, she said.

About 90 percent of last year’s deportations applied to those kinds of illegal immigrants, Napolitano said. Immigrations enforcement officials were also given the discretion to close low-priority cases last year so they could focus resources on dangerous individuals.

Napolitano was also quick to point out that this deferred action, which would initially be for a period of two years, would “not provide permanent lawful status or start them on a pathway to citizenship” and “is well within the framework of our existing laws.”

“This grant of deferred action is not immunity. It is not amnesty,” she said. “It is an exercise of discretion so that these young people are not entering the legal system. It will help us continue to streamline immigration enforcement.”

[Rubio’s DREAM Act Gamble]

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, said on CNN on Friday that the move amounted to a “first step towards amnesty.”

“I’m just more concerned about the politics of this,” he said. But, he added, if the president’s move prompts Congress to move forward with an immigration reform plan, it’s a good thing.

Arizona is one of several states to enact aggressive state policies on removing illegal immigrants because they feel the federal government has failed to adequately address the problem. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of Arizona’s immigration law this summer.


STARS Act Highlights Potential Pitfalls of Rubio DREAM Proposal

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform Leave a comment

When news broke yesterday that a Florida congressman introduced an alternative version of the DREAM Act, many assumed it was Sen. Marco Rubio, who has been promising for months to introduce such legislation. In fact, the bill in question—dubbed the STARS Act—was introduced by Rep. David Rivera, a member of the House who introduced similar legislation (the ARMS Act) last January. Although Rivera’s proposals would benefit fewer people than the original DREAM Act, they would put qualified applicants on a path that would ultimately lead to permanent residency. From that perspective, they differ significantly from the proposal Senator Rubio has been discussing, which reportedly does not include a dedicated path to permanent residency.

More..


Obama pledges immigration reform early in 2nd term

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform Leave a comment

Obama pledges immigration reform early in 2nd term

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.


Foreign-Filed I-601 Waivers: New Procedure starting late Spring/Early 2012

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Consular Processing, I-601 Waivers, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform, Processing of Applications and Petitions 2 Comments

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:

 

Procedural change

 

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:

 

  • Should be faster for applicants – Goal is adjudication in 6 months.  They also hope a new centralized place to submit the foreign filed waivers should stop great variations on processing times at different consulates; overseas offices cannot grow easily – some USCIS offices abroad only have one officer to decide these case and the backlogs created are inevitable.  In contrast, service centers are huge (can pull staff from other units) and can respond quickly to increases in receipts of applications to avoid backlogs. 14 officers will start at NSC and will add more for a total of 26 to handle over 23,000 waivers submitted each year.  Right now there are 4 adjudicators in Mexico and in some cases 1 in other offices.
  • Case status info will be available online through USCIS’s website once the application is filed and receipted. This is a great addition and only available currently with some offices.
  • All cases will be adjudicated in order of being received.
  • Process applies to all I-212s (Advance Permission to Reapply After Removal Packages) filed with Inadmissibility Waivers as well. I-212 waivers can be sent to the Lockbox or still filed with the local offices.
  • E -notification will be available – if you provide email address – can get receipt number emailed to you.
  • Implementation of this new policy is expected in late spring, early summer 2012, around Memorial Day.

 

Other important notes:

  • Estimates of 23,000 waivers per year with 26 adjudicators allows 885 waivers to be reviewed per adjudicator per year. 885 waivers in 252 business days in a year is an average of 3.5 waivers per day, per adjudicator, or about 2.5 hours spent on each case. A great improvement on certain offices now with 1 adjudicator.
  • Concurrent I-130 and I-601 filing is not available.
  • The concurrent I-485 and I-601 filing procedures will not change – Follow the local filing instructions.
  • Applicants cannot apply from Havana – must file with intrasection there (only 10 cases a year)
  • There could be certain situations overseas where USCIS offices are available and could be faster for expedites than lockbox decisions which are expected to take no more than 6 months on average.
  • Transition period for CDJ (Juarez) cases – between 75-79% are filed at CDJ. Now takes two months to review if instantly approvable. If not, the case referred to another office to adjudicate.  For the first six months of this new process, the applicant will have the choice to file at a Lockbox or at CDJ. After this, will then all go to Lockbox filings. So the CDJ Pilot Program will be over within 6 months of this procedure coming in effect.
  • As of today’s teleconference, USCIS is not sure if it will be transferring pending cases from consulates at the time the new procedure becomes effective or if USCIS offices abroad will continue to decide those pending cases.
  • Refiles as the Lockbox if the NBC denies the case will be available if the applicant chooses this route instead of appealing the denial to the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office which could take over a year.
  • LockBoxSupport@dhs.gov – for questions and to inquire about the lockbox status.
  • The main reason the waivers will be rejected will be for lack of signatures (must be original), lack of proper fees, and missing information like name, address, and DOB.  Must follow directions for submitting form with most recent directions.
  • Do not file the waiver before the interview or it will be denied.  An applicant may not file the waiver until they are given permission at the visa interview.
  • Officers conducting the visa interview will send inadmissibility and case information visa an electronic database to the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) so adjudicators will have the case information readily available.
  • If waiver submissions are duplicated (ex: one foreign filed and one US filed), the duplicated waiver will be sent to NSC so one officer will adjudicate the two waivers.
  • Additional evidence should be sent to the NSC, not to the Lockbox.
  • Not all of the officers are experience adjudicators, but they will be receiving training. If outside support is necessary, the support team will also receive training before they start adjudicating.
  • Applicant will receive decision by mail.
  • If waiver is denied and person chooses to refile instead of appeal, they applicant will not need a second interview but will be able to send a new waiver to the Lockbox.

 

 

Expedites:

 

  • Requests need to be made in writing and sent to the Lockbox.
  • Expedite request requirements will be the same as before.
  • No notification will be provided if denied
  • Cases needing immediate attention to adjudicate the I-601 will have to be discussed with eh consulate interviewing officer.

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

www.RubyPowersLaw.com

 


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