Comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced in the House

On 10/02/2013 the Democratic leadership in the House held a press conference to announce their introduction of a comprehensive immigration reform bill modeled after the successful bipartisan Senate bill, S.744. Please contact your congressional representatives and urge them to support the bill!

posted by Tatiana, 02.10.2013
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For DV-2015, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply, because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years:
Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.

Entries for the DV-2015 DV program must be submitted electronically at between noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Tuesday, October 1, 2013, and noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Saturday, November 2, 2013. Do not wait until the last week of the registration period to enter, as heavy demand may result in website delays. No late entries or paper entries will be accepted. The law allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period. The Department of State uses sophisticated technology to detect multiple entries. If you submit more than one entry you will be disqualified.

Completing your Electronic Entry for the DV-2015 Program
Submit your Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (E-DV Entry Form or DS-5501), online at Incomplete entries will be disqualified. There is no cost to register for the DV Program.

posted by Tatiana, 16.09.2013
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Senate passed immigration bill, but it is not good law yet

On 06/27/13, the Senate took an important step forward with a vote of 68-32 in favor of final passage of S. 744, the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act." This moves the United States one step closer towards immigration reform, which will allow a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.

This is not the final step in the process. Now the next move is up to the House of Representatives, which has its own bills, along with the bill passed by the Senate, to consider. Let’s stay hopeful that the legalization provisions in the Senate bill will enacted by the House and will become law.

posted by Tatiana, 27.06.2013
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What’s next for the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill?

Everybody is asking me the same question these days: what are the next steps in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) process? This is what is going on. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- NV) stated that a full Senate vote on CIR (S. 744) is expected to take place before the July 4th Congressional recess.

The bill will need 60 votes in the Senate, and it is quite likely that these votes will be secured. Then the bill will move to the House of Representatives. The House has its own CIR bill (crafted by so called “Gang of Eight” congressional representatives). Based on how many votes the bill can obtain in the Senate, we will be able to make further predictions as to what will happen to the CIR in the House…

posted by Tatiana, 07.06.2013
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DV-2014 entrants may now check the status of their entries

DV-2014 entrants will be able to check the status of their entries starting 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) on May 1, 2013 through Entrant Status Check (ESC) on the E-DV website: Additionally, Entrant Status Check will provide successful selectees instructions on how to proceed with their application. The Kentucky Consular Center no longer mails notification letters and does not use email to notify DV entrants of their selection in the DV program.

posted by Tatiana, 02.05.2013
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Proposed immigration reform highlights

At the end of January President Obama and eight Senators (four Republicans and four Democrats) issued two independent proposals to overhaul our country's immigration laws. Since then, this "Gang of Eight" Senators and a secret group of House members have been working hard to introduce legislation to create a common sense immigration process for the United States. On April 16, 2013 the Senate Gang of Eight announced that they would be introducing the bill into the Senate within days-the Washington Post reports on some of the basic outlines of the Gang of Eight's plan.

Most of the 11 million people who are in the country illegally could apply for a green card after 10 years and citizenship three years after that.
Applicants must pay a $1,000 fine, pay back taxes, learn English, remain employed and pass a criminal background check.
Immigrants must have arrived in the United States before Jan. 1, 2012, to be eligible.
Dream Act youth can obtain green cards in five years and citizenship immediately thereafter.

Visas for highly skilled engineers and computer programs would double from 65,000 to 110,000. In future years, the cap could rise to as much as 180,000.
Require employers with large numbers of H-1B visas to pay higher salaries and fees.
Guest worker “W-visa” program

New visa program for 20,000 foreigners in low-skilled jobs starting in 2015. Number of visas increases to 75,000 in 2019.
New federal bureau to analyze employment data to make recommendations for annual guest-worker visas caps beginning in 2020, to exceed no more than 200,000 annually.
Construction companies limited to no more than 15,000 visas per year.
“Safety-valve” to allow additional visas over the annual cap provided employers pay workers higher wages.
Farm worker H-2A program

Visas for agriculture workers limited to 337,000 over three years
Wages based on survey of labor-market data for various farming jobs.
Changes to family visa program

Allows unlimited number of visas per year for foreign spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents.
Eighteen months after the law takes effect, eliminates visas reserved for foreign brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and married children over 30 years of age.
Eliminates diversity visa program starting in 2015. Creates new merit-based visa category using point system based on family ties and work skills.

posted by Tatiana, 16.04.2013
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President Obama’s Immigration Speech

President Obama called for a comprehensive immigration reform, saying that most Americans agree that it is time to "fix the system that has been broken for way too long" and that immigration reform will strengthen our economy and our nation's future. We hope that the immigration reform will provide a realistic path to legal status for the 11 million undocumented aliens in the US.

posted by Tatiana, 29.01.2013
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A new, groundbreaking bipartisan poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm, and Hart Research Associates, a Democratic firm, revealed that majority of U.S. voters favor common sense immigration reform that includes a path to earned citizenship for current undocumented immigrants. The national survey of 1,003 registered voters, sponsored by Service Employees International Union, America’s Voice Education Fund, and National Immigration Forum, showed that voters want a long-term fix for the immigration system that includes a path to full citizenship for immigrants who are in the US illegally. Almost four out of five voters said they support a system that requires immigrants to pay taxes, holds employers accountable for hiring legal workers and prevents them from exploiting immigrant labor, improves border security and ensures that undocumented immigrants have a chance to work towards citizenship. The plan is broadly favored across partisan, ideological, regional and ethnic groups.

posted by Tatiana, 19.01.2013
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A major immigration bill later this year?

Former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan says he supports "the principles" of an immigration reform proposal from Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a sign that the party may be considering an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws.
"Senator Rubio is exactly right on the need to fix our broken immigration system," the congressman wrote on his Facebook page on Monday. "I support the principles he’s outlined: modernization of our immigration laws; stronger security to curb illegal immigration; and respect for the rule of law in addressing the complex challenge of the undocumented population. Our future depends on an immigration system that works."
It appears that both Republicans and Democrats are now building coalitions for support for what could be a major immigration bill... Stay tuned.

posted by Tatiana, 14.01.2013
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New Provisional Waiver Will Help Some Families Stay Together

Some families facing long separations from their loved ones because of U.S. immigration laws will have an easier time of it in 2013. Thanks to a new regulation from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), immediate relatives of U.S. citizens will be able to complete part of the processing of their immigration cases without leaving the country. The “Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver of Inadmissibility for Certain Immediate Relatives” rule, often referred to as the new family unity rule, will be published tomorrow (January 3, 2013) and become effective on March 4.

The new rule allows immediate relatives (parents, spouses, and children) of U.S. citizens who entered the country without permission to apply for a waiver of their unlawful entry while still in the United States, in April of 2012. The change in procedure was proposed as a solution to a growing problem—families were facing months, and in some cases, years of separation because of two conflicting provisions of U.S. immigration law.
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a person seeking to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident must be admitted or paroled into the country if they wish to have their case decided in the U.S. If they entered the country unlawfully, the law requires them to go to a U.S. embassy or consulate for processing of their application. Departure from the United States in many cases, however, triggers a three to ten year bar to re-entering the country, which requires a separate waiver application. Under past practice, an individual applied for the waiver after having been found inadmissible by a consular official and then had to apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a waiver. The process was generally time consuming, inefficient, and often costly, particularly because it lengthened the amount of time families were apart.
For immediate relatives, at least, the new rule will streamline the process because they will not have to depart the U.S. until they have received notification that their waiver application has been “provisionally” approved, which means that they will be able to complete their visa processing in one step rather than two or three at the embassy. Other applicants will continue to follow the standard process, including immediate relatives who may need other waivers for final approval of their Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status.

posted by Tatiana, 04.01.2013
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