We want to start this month’s editorial page off with an emotional issue: immigration benefits for alien victims of crime. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has published an interim rule that grants temporary immigration benefits to certain victims of crimes who have or will assist government officials in investigating and/or prosecuting the criminal activity. USCIS is inviting public comments on the proposed rule published recently in the Federal Register. The USCIS has noted that it is determined to better meet the immigration needs of victims of crime whose lives have, as often as not, been torn apart and are riddled by fright, anger and despair.
The interim final rule establishes procedures for applicants seeking U nonimmigrant status and will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The “U” classification was created by Congress in the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act and offers not only protection and temporary benefits to alien victims but also strengthens law enforcement capabilities to investigate and prosecute criminal activity. In sum, U-visas will provide temporary immigration benefits to victims who help law enforcement. Providing assistance to foreign nationals affected by crime to reconstruct their lives, by providing more effective support and acting strongly against the criminals is an immediate concern for all government agencies in the U.S. This step by the USCIS gives that intention a much needed boost forward.
On the Congressional front, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced the DREAM Act in the Senate earlier this month. The DREAM Act would provide certain foreign nationals (illegal immigrants under 30 who came to the United States before they were 16, have lived here for at least five years, graduated from a U.S. high school and stayed out of trouble) to attend college and/or join the military as a route to permanent residence. We will provide more details as the bill makes its way through the Senate and we can see what the final form may be.
We would like you to have a look at our Immigration Article on the Nonimmigrant visa options for Professors and Researchers who would want to work in the U.S. In this first of a two-part series, we present the non-immigrant options, and will address the immigrant options next month. Don’t miss out on the second part of the series on obtaining permanent residency with and without a U.S. employer.
Next, turning to the business front, it is ‘Increase H-1B cap mania’ all over again. We see this every year in an attempt to change the H-1B laws. Top technology executives and lobbyists will be more than happy with the amount of support they have been able to garner regarding an increase in the H-1B cap. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joined Governors from 12 other states in sending a letter to the leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives urging Congressional action this year on immigration reform that recognizes states’ needs to remain competitive in a global economy. It stresses the need for increased availability of temporary H-1B visas and permanent resident visas (green cards). The letter from the Governors comes in the wake of the nation facing a critical shortage of highly skilled professionals, and the paramount importance of protecting and preserving the safety and interests of the United States and its citizens while recognizing the states’ and nation’s economic needs.
Although the civil war in Liberia ended some time ago, and conditions have improved such that over two hundred thousand displaced people and refugees have returned to their homes, the political and economic situation continues to be fragile. President George W. Bush issued a Memorandum directing the Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, to defer the enforced departure for 18 months, until March 31, 2009, of any qualified Liberian national (or person without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia) who is currently present in the United States. To qualify a Liberian national must be under a grant of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as of September 30, 2007. The President also directed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) take steps to implement continued employment authorization for these individuals during the 18-month DED period.
Now for a bit of history. Today, every American contributes to the legacy of liberty, and all Americans are grateful for the bravery, passion, and sacrifice of all those who have helped preserve and uphold the principles of a free society. Citizenship Day is an opportunity for all Americans to reflect on the meaning and significance of their citizenship. Citizenship Day has been celebrated in some form since 1940, when Congress designated the third Sunday in May as “I Am an American Day.” The week of September 17 was selected as Constitution Week to commemorate the events of September 17, 1787 when the United States Constitution was signed by 39 delegates from 12 states at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, thus setting in motion the birth of a new nation. Citizenship Day itself has its roots in President Woodrow Wilson’s efforts in 1915, where as part of what he called National Americanization Day, the President himself, cabinet members, administration officials as well as prominent public figures such as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, gave speeches at naturalization ceremonies throughout the nation. Later in 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill formalizing the celebration of Citizenship Day on September 17.
In keeping with tradition, in our IN FOCUS section this month we educate you about Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing options. The relative advantages and disadvantages discussed should help permanent residence applicants make an informed judgment regarding whether to go for Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status.
More than 23,000 men and women across the country will become United States citizens next week during naturalization ceremonies hosted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to commemorate Citizenship Day and Constitution Week. These are happy moments that will be cherished for the rest of their lives.
Adding further to our endeavors in bringing one-stop global immigration service to all our readers, VisaPro is launching its First South American Immigration Service. Groove on to the lively Samba beat in Brazil by taking the advantage of VisaPro’s fast, easy, and convenient immigration services for Brazil.
Congratulations go to Jennifer Smith for winning last month’s Immigration Quiz. Answers to the quiz indicated that many of our readers are confused by the complexity the immigration laws on whether or not a naturalized U.S. citizen would be able to sponsor his step-brother for a green card. However, the winner gave the right answer and she won a free online consultation to discuss her Immigration issues. This month we have an interesting question for you to express Your Opinion. So don’t miss casting your vote.
See you next month with a lot more noise from the Immigration World! Till then CIAO!!