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Immigration in The News

August 2, 2016

USCIS to Allow Additional Applicants for Provisional Waiver Process

The Obama Administration finalized a new rule that expands upon the 2013 rule (see below) that waives the 3-year/10-year re-entry bars to becoming a US Permanent Resident. The new rule becomes effective August 29, 2016. The updated rule would expand the people eligible for the waiver to all individuals with an approved immigration petition regardless of visa category and would expand the family-based waiver to anyone who had a relative who is a legal permanent resident (LPR) in the U.S. This means undocumented applicants who either entered the US illegally or overstayed their visas, who are seeking employment based immigration petitions, have a relative in the U.S. who is not a citizen but has LPR status, or is eligible to receive a green card through the visa lottery program is now eligible for the waiver. Another change under the expansion applies to those with a final order of deportation. Individuals with a final order of deportation will now be eligible to apply for a provisional waiver. No matter which category the application for Permanent Residency, the applicant must have an LPR or US citizen spouse or parent who will suffer “extreme hardship” if the applicant is not allowed to return to the United States. Extreme hardship is defined by case law and by statutory law, and is described on this page below.


March 16, 2016

Trump inspiring Hispanics to become citizens — so they can vote against him

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has pledged to deport and keep out illegal immigrants, but the brash billionaire’s rhetoric is inspiring some Hispanics to become citizens so they can vote against him. “I feel threatened by the political situation,” said Maria Orozco, a 36-year-old screenwriter in Los Angeles.She is a legal permanent resident, a status that provides “some security, but the immigration laws are changing constantly and I don’t know what might happen if Trump wins,” she told AFP, speaking in Spanish. “In 15 years here, I’ve never felt such a hostile political climate,” Orozco said, concluding: “I want to vote against Trump.” She is not alone.


January 19, 2016

The Supreme Court Will Determine the Fate of Millions of Undocumented Immigrants

As many as five million undocumented individuals living in the US could be shielded from deportation later this year, now that the Supreme Court has decided to hear a case on President Barack Obama's proposed immigration action.

Obama unveiled the reforms back in November 2014, announcing the establishment of a program called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) to help undocumented immigrants who are parents of US citizens, and of expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) who are longtime American residents. Successful applicants to the programs would be protected from deportation and granted work permits. But before the executive could be implemented, the Republican attorney general of Texas led a 26-state lawsuit to block it, winning an injunction. The case will now be heard by the US Supreme Court…..


December 18, 2015

New Restrictions on VWP Eligibility for Certain Individuals

1. Individuals who have been present in Iraq, Syria, Iran, or Sudan (or other countries designated by DHS as supporting terrorism or "of concern") at any time on or after March 1, 2011, are not eligible to participate in the VWP. The new law exempts those performing military service in the armed forces of a VWP country or those carrying out official duties in a full-time capacity in the employment of a VWP country government. In addition, DHS may waive exclusion from the VWP program if it would be in the law enforcement or national security interests of the United States.

2. The new law also excludes from the VWP individuals who are nationals of Iraq, Syria, Iran, or Sudan. Nationality typically depends on the laws of the designated country, so it is important to note that an individual may be a national of a particular country, even if he or she has never resided in that country and/or does not have a passport issued by that country.

June 10, 2015

Executive Actions on Immigration

Update: Due to a federal court order, USCIS will not begin accepting requests for the expansion of DACA on February 18 as originally planned and has suspended implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. The court's temporary injunction, issued February 16, does not affect the existing DACA. Individuals may continue to come forward and request an initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA under the original guidelines. Please check back for updates.

November 20, 2014

Executive Actions on Immigration

The President has announced a series of executive actions to crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay taxes in order to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation. These include parents of US citizens or US Permanent Residents, and those who arrived in the United States prior to their 16th birthday and have resided in the US for at least the past 5 years: http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction

These new programs will begin February 2015 (new rules for DACA) and May 2015 (DAPA).

June 26, 2013
Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) struck down!

A Supreme Court Ruling should give equal immigration rights to lawfully married same-sex couples.

May 2013 
Revised Edition of Form I-9 Available for Employment Eligibility Verification
Starting 7 May 2013 employers must file the revised version of Form I-9 for all employees. Any Form I-9's that were filed prior to this date will still be honored. In addition, a revised version is available in Spanish but can only be used as a reference and cannot be filed outside of Puerto Rico.
Immigration Reform Heads to Senate Floor
Birpartisan cooperation lead to the bill making it throught the committee where amendmendments were considered. In addition to the original bull, amemdments were made to allow more than triple the amount of skilled technology workers entry into the United States. The bill is expected to receive more amendements and be voted in June.
'Gang of Eight' Reveals Sweeping Immigration Reform Proposal
The Gang of Eight deal is now a bill and not just a framework
This bill will make it possible for an undocumented immigrant to the United States have the ability to travel and return, work under his or her own identity, and can even lead to permanent residency and in turn naturalization. For more information on this subject, click here.
 April 15, 2013
The cap for H-1B filings, which was 65,000, was reached in less than a week of opening. Additionally, USCIS received 20,000 more H-1B filings that were considered exempt from the filing cap.
February 12, 2013
President Obama calls for immediate action on Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the State of the Union Speech. 
February 7, 2013
Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) legislation has failed on several occasions, but upcoming immigration reform may provide a path to success.
January 29, 2013
The President's plan builds a smart, effective immigration system that continues efforts to secure our borders and crack down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants. It's a plan that requires anyone who's undocumented to get right with the law by paying their taxes and a penalty, learning English, and undergoing background checks before they can be eligible to earn citizenship. It requires every business and every worker to play by the same set of rules.
January 10, 2013
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has created a new process that will allow certain spouses, children, and parents of a U.S. citizen (immediate relatives) to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver while they are still in the United States and before departing for their immigrant visa interviews abroad. This program begins March 4, 2013
August 15, 2012
The Department of Homeland Security today provided additional information on the deferred action for childhood arrivals process during a national media call in preparation for the August 15 implementation date.
Read the news release.
Note that forms will be issued on August 15th. Beware of notarios- you may NOT apply until August 15th. There is no expedite request available.
Please call our office for further information.
August 03, 2012
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sent this bulletin at
08/03/2012 01:42 PM EDT
USCIS to begin accepting requests for consideration of deferred action on
August 15, 2012
The Department of Homeland Security today provided additional information on the deferred action for childhood arrivals process during a national media call in preparation for the August 15 implementation date.
Note that forms will not be issued until August 15th. Beware of notarios- you may NOT apply until August 15th. There is no expedite request available.

July 31, 2012
DEFERRED ACTION COMING SOON Undocumented young people will learn this week the guidelines to apply for the deferred action policy that promises to prevent the deportation of about 800,000 undocumented young people and grant them work authorization. Please call our office for further information.
Dreamers 101: A checklist to prepare for deferred action

June 15, 2012
In keeping with its efforts to enforce our nation's immigration laws in a firm and sensible manner, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that effective immediately, 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 eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and 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.

June 12, 2012

March 27, 2012
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 cap on Monday April 2, 2012. Cases will be considered accepted on the date that USCIS takes possession of a properly filed petition with the correct fee. USCIS will not rely upon the date that the petition is postmarked.
The congressionally mandated numerical limitation on H-1B petitions for FY 2013 is 65,000. Additionally, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals who have earned a U.S. master's degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap.

November 17, 2011
Today's Announcement for the Next Steps in the Implementation of the Prosecutorial Discretion Memorandum and the August 18th Announcement on Immigration Enforcement Priorities

Prosecutorial Discretion Training:  By January 13, all ICE enforcement officers and attorneys nationwide will have completed scenario based prosecutorial discretion training.
Review of Incoming Cases: Beginning immediately, ICE attorneys nationwide will review all incoming cases in immigration court.
Pilot Program Review of Cases Pending in Immigration Court om Denver and Baltimore: Beginning December 4, for a six week period,  DHS and DOJ will launch pilot programs in two jurisdictions to test run the process for reviewing all cases pending in immigration court.

At the end of the period, DHS will promptly review that data and other implementation outcomes and, where appropriate, consult with DOJ to determine, on an expedited basis, the best methods to implement these processes on an ongoing basis nationwide.
Click to read complete memo.
November17, 2011
A Review of all 300,000 Pending Deportation and Removal Cases to Begin!
Guidance Is Issued to ICE Attorneys Reviewing the CBP, USCIS, and ICE Cases Before the Executive Office for Immigration Review

On August 18, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security announced a review of all administrative removal cases pending before and incoming to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) of the Department of Justice. The purpose of the review is to identify those cases that reflect a high enforcement priority for the Department of Homeland Security. This review covers all CBP, USCIS, and ICE removal cases, whether the cases are before immigration judges or the Board of Immigration Appeals.

The review to which this guidance applies is for focus on the criteria laid out below, but nothing in this guidance can be construed to prohibit or discourage the consideration of all of the factors laid out in the June 17, 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memorandum.

Criteria for Review
The following removal cases are enforcement priorities for the Department of Homeland
Security and should generally be pursued in an accelerated manner before EOIR. These cases
involve an alien-
• who is a suspected terrorist or national security risk;
• who has a conviction foro
a felony or multiple misdemeanors,
o illegal entry, re-entry, or immigration fraud, or
o a misdemeanor violation involving-
• violence, threats, or assault,
• sexual abuse or exploitation,
• driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs,
• flight from the scene of an accident,
• drug distribution or trafficking, or
• other significant threat to public safety;
• who is a gang member, human rights violator, or other clear threat to public safety;
• who entered the country illegally or violated the terms oftheir admission within the last
three years;
• who has previously been removed from the country;
• who has been found by an immigration officer or immigration judge to have committed
immigration fraud; or
• who otherwise has an egregious record of immigration violations.

The following cases are generally not enforcement priorities for the Department of Homeland Security and should be carefully considered for prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis
to avoid unnecessary diversion of resources from the enforcement priorities identified above.
These cases involve an alien-
• who is a member in good standing of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces ofthe United
States, an honorably discharged veteran ofthe Coast Guard or Armed Forces ofthe
United States, or the spouse or child of such a member or veteran;
• who is a child, has been in the United States for more than five years, and is either in
school or has successfully completed high school (or its equivalent);
• who came to the United States under the age of sixteen, has been in the United States for
more than five years, has completed high school (or its equivalent), and is now pursuing
or has successfully completed higher education in the United States;
• who is over the age of sixty-five and has been present in the United States for more than
ten years;
• who is a victim of domestic violence in the United States, human trafficking to the United
States; or of any other serious crime in the United States;
• who has been a lawful permanent resident for ten years or more and has a single, minor
conviction for a non-violent offense;
• who suffers from a serious mental or physical condition that would require significant
medical or detention resources; or
• who has very long-term presence in the United States, has an immediate family member
who is a United States citizen, and has established compelling ties and made compelling
contributions to the United States.
National Security and Public Safety Checks
If an ICE attorney decides to exercise prosecutorial discretion to dismiss or administratively close.a particular case or matter, the attorney must first ensure that the alien in question is vetted
for national security and public safety concerns. No exercise of discretion under this case review may proceed without this vetting.
Special Rule for Asylum Cases
ICE attorneys may agree to the administrative closure ofremoval proceedings of an individual who filed an asylum application if the individual jointly requests administrative closure with the
immigration judge. Upon the filing of such a joint request, however, the individual will be subject to 8 CFR 208.7(a)(2) which tolls the 180-day clock for employment authorization eligibility.
November 13, 2011
Prosecutorial discretion by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents when it comes to deporting illegal aliens hasn't taken root, says a Nov. 9 report from the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Council.
A June 17 memo signed by ICE Director John Morton instructs personnel to take into account factors such as educational attainment, criminal history, age and circumstances of arrival in the United States when deciding to proceed with the removal of an illegal alien.
October 17, 2011

Alabama Harsh Immigration Law Injunction Prevents Enforcement Pending Appeal

A temporary injunction has been issued by the Appeals Court: Schools in Alabama will not be forced to determine the immigration status of their students, after a federal appeals court blocked the implementation of the new draconian law passed in Alabama. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued the stay on that part of the law, and also a part of the new law that made being unlawfully present in the state a crime, rather than a civil offense.  A Supreme Court ruling in 1982 called   Plyler v. Doe gives even undocumented children the right to attend public schools.
September 16, 2011

Reminder: Filing Deadline for Certain Eligible Widow(er)s of Deceased U.S. Citizens- must file I-360 Visa Petitions by October 28, 2011

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds eligible widow(er)s that October 28, 2011 is the deadline for filing a Form I-360 visa petition.
If you are the widow(er) of a U.S. citizen who died before October 28, 2009 you may be eligible to immigrate to the United States if:

-You and your deceased spouse were married for less than 2 years when your spouse died and 
-You file Form I-360 for Special immigrant classification as a widow/widower by October 28, 2011. See section 568(c) of Public Law 111-83 for more information.
-USCIS must receive your Form I-360 by October 28, 2011.  Since you must file Form I-360 by mail or overnight courier, please be sure to ship it in time for USCIS to receive it no later than October 28, 2011.

For further details on filing as a I-360 Widow(er) —including application requirements, fees and procedures- please contact our office.
August 22, 2011

U.S. Issues New Deportation Policy's First Reprieves

Homeland Security officials said Monday that their goal is to quickly identify noncriminals on swollen immigration court dockets and close those cases, clearing the way for speedier removals of gang members, drug traffickers or foreigners who repeatedly return after being deported.
July 20, 2011

E-mail Scam: Avoid Green Card Lottery Fraud

Have you or someone you know recently received an e-mail claiming you've won the Green Card lottery and asking you to send or wire money? Don't fall for it – the sender is trying to steal your money! Read about the warning from the US Department of Homeland Security here.
June 9, 2011
USCIS Initiative To Combat The Unathorized Practice Of Immigration Law
Today, in partnership with several other agencies, USCIS is launching a public education initiative to combat the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL).
May 26, 2011

AILA Welcomes Introduction of Military Families Act

WASHINGTON, DC -- The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomes the introduction today by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) of the Military Families Act. The Military Families bill would allow the noncitizen immediate family members of active military service members to apply to become lawful permanent residents of the United States.
"During times of war it is critical to support the military families who are the backbone of our country's Armed Forces. The Military Families Act will help ensure that immediate relatives of those that have served our country with pride and valor don't face unfair and unexpected deportation and are able to remain in this land they call home by including a path towards U.S. citizenship," said David Leopold, President of AILA.
"This bill will help hundreds of military families whose immigration status has been in limbo and who have been facing untold heartache and lengthy separations as they seek to be reunited," said AILA member Margaret Stock who is also a retired lieutenant colonel, Military Police Corps, U.S. Army Reserve. "In a time of war, it is fitting that Congress acts to ease the stress on military families. Ensuring these families are stable and intact is key to our military members' morale and effectiveness on the battlefield and military members' recovery when they return home from the battlefield."
Under the Military Families Act, the Department of Homeland Security would have the authority to adjust the status of an individual to that of lawful permanent resident if the individual is a parent, spouse, child, son or daughter of an Armed Forces member who is serving or has served honorably in an active-duty status in the military, air or naval forces of the United States or the immediate relative of an Armed Forces member who, after September 11, 2001, died as a result of injury or disease incurred because of his or her service. The bill would also assist the sons and daughters of Filipino World War II veterans who bravely served our country and whose immigration status has been long deferred due to numerical limitations on immigrant visas.
"The bill is appropriate as our nation celebrates Memorial Day and honors those who have died while in service to our country. The Military Families Act would support the families of those who risk their lives to protect our American values and way of life," concluded Leopold.
May 19, 2011

USCIS Proposes Significant Enhancements to EB-5 Visa Processing to Help America Win the Future

May 2011

2012 Diversity Lottery Redo- Due to a Computer Glich at the US Department of State Lottery Winners to be Re-selected

April 2011

USCIS to Issure Employment Authorization and Advance Parole on the same Card for Adjustment of Status Applicants:

WASHINGTON - USCIS announced that it is now issuing employment and travel authorization on a single card for certain applicants filing an Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status, Forms I-485. This new card represents a significant improvement from the current practice of issuing paper advance parole documents.
April 8, 2011

USCIS Continues to Accept Cap-subject H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year Which Begins October 1, 2011

April 1, 2011

H-1B Cap Gap Allowed For This Year

USCIS is allowing an automatic extension of F-1 student status in the United STates for certain students with pending or approved H-1B petitions (indicating a request for change of status from F-1 to H-1B) for an employment start date of October 1, 2011 under the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 H-1B cap.

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The Law Office of Janis Peterson-Lord is located in Long Beach, CA and serves clients in and around Long Beach, Hawaiian Gardens, Artesia, Harbor City, Wilmington, Cerritos, Bellflower, San Pedro, Carson, Paramount, Compton, Norwalk, Woodland Hills, Torrance, Lynwood, Santa Fe Springs, South Gate, Gardena, Bell, Huntington Park, Pico Rivera, Maywood, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, Orange County.


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