Monday, August 31, 2009

New Guidance for Surviving Spouses of U.S. Citizens Who are Eligible for Deferred Action and Work Authorization

USCIS today issued guidance for surviving spouses of U.S. Citizens who just recently were granted immigration benefits. Surviving Spouses of U.S. Citizens who died before the second anniversary of their marriage are now eligible for a temporary program which will allow them to remain and work legally in the United States. This new program extends these benefits to spouses who were married to, but not legally separated from their spouse at the time of their death; did not remarry; and are currently residing in the United States.

The program allows for the surviving spouses to include their qualifying children in their deferred action request. To be considered a “qualifying child” of a surviving spouse, the child must be younger than age 21, or otherwise qualify as a child when the deferred action request is submitted; currently reside in the United States; and be unmarried.

Eligible Applicants will need to submit the Form I-360 with the requisite $375 filing fee as well as the Form I-765 with its $340 filing fee. For help in determining if you qualify for this benefit, go to to contact your local immigration lawyer.

Newsweek Reports that “Immigrants Make More Jobs Than They Take”.

In a 15 page article titled "What You Need to Know", Newsweek reports that contrary to what often appears to be public opinion, immigrants actually create more jobs than they take. The article reports that the most skilled jobs in technology and engineering actually generated more than $52 billion in sales in 2005. The article also reports that the least skilled workers more than repay their costs in schools and health care. Two highly respected Australian economists studied the issue for the Cato Institute and found that the "net impact on U.S. households from tighter border enforcement is unambiguously negative". They found this to be true because even low skilled immigrants expand the economic pie and create jobs further up the ladder. In fact the study shows a $250 billion difference between the most and least restrictive immigration policies.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced No More Quotas:

John Morton recently appointed head of ICE, announced that he has terminated the quota system on the often criticized program designed to arrest immigrants who have failed to leave the United States after being issued a deportation order. He also stated that he planned on making more changes to the program soon.

In this announcement Morton stated that their top priority in the fugitive operations program will be to concentrate on convicted criminals. This announcement is a break from the policy in recent years which lead to the widely publicized home arrests, and sweeps which were often accused of violating individual’s constitutional rights. A report by the Migration Policy Institute shows that 74% of the nearly 97,000 people arrested by those teams between 2003 and 2008 did not have criminal records.

Morton stated in his announcement that hard quotas don’t make sense, and that he is not signaling in any way that we are not going to enforce the law against noncriminal fugitives.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

DHS to Drop Enforcement of “No Match” letters

The Obama administration has decided to drop the enforcement of “no match” letters proposed by the Bush administration. In response to an injunction issued in by the Northern District Court in California, DHS will amend its previous policy of “cracking down” on employers who ignore no-match letters from Social Security. Instead they will focus on efforts to enforce employers’ compliance with verification requirements by increasing “raids’ on suspected violators and encouraging online verification programs. These programs are designed for employers to check the documents or status of their workers by imputing the information into an online system that will check the information and determine its validity.

A “no match letter” is a notice sent by Social Security when their records show a discrepancy between a person’s name and social security number submitted by employers on their W-2 Forms and the information in SSA databases. If Social Security finds the combination is not a match, then they send no match letters in order to inform the employer of the mismatch. There are many reasons why a person’s information my not “match-up” including name changes, clerical error’s, or invalid social security numbers.

In August of 2007, DHS took the position that receipt of these letters required the employer to undertake verification procedures or risk criminal prosecution. Two weeks after DHS announced their now policy, the district court granted a restraining order, preventing DHS from enforcing the policy. The Court found that these notices were unduly prejudicial, and that DHS exceeded its authority in their interpretation of the anti-discrimination laws.

As a result of the Court’s decision, and due to DHS’s improvement of their online verification system, DHS has announced they will rescind their August 2007 No-Match Rule. This means employers should no longer feel obligated to respond to these no match letters, but should instead concentrate on orientating themselves with these new online verification programs.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ask The Attorney

I have a girlfriend in Brazil and we are thinking about getting married. What is the best way to bring her to the United States?

U.S. immigration law permits a U.S. citizen to obtain a fiance visa for a foreign national to come to the U.S. The visa (a "K-1") requires the individual to come to the U.S. and marry the sponsor within 90 days of arrival. The procedures call for the filing of an application with the USCIS, which when approved is forwarded to the U.S. consulate in the fiance's home country. The fiance is interviewed by the consulate and issued the visa to come to the U.S. After the couple are married in the U.S., the foreign born spouse files an application for a green card in the U.S. It generally takes about 6-8 months between the filing of the initial application with USCIS and the issuance of the K-1 at the consulate. After arrival in the U.S., it will take another 4-6 months to obtain approval of the green card.

For more information about obtaining a fiance visa visit us