Friday, May 20, 2011

Temporary Protected Status Extended for Haitians

The Obama administration recently announced that Haitians who received temporary protected immigration status (TPS) due to the massive earthquake striking their country last year will be allowed an additional year and a half to live and work in the United States.

Initially, TPS was available to all Haitians who continuously resided in the U.S. since the day of the earthquake: January 12, 2010. Under the new law, Haitians who have arrived as late as January 12, 2011 and have continuously resided in the U.S. may obtain TPS. The extension will not be granted to people who have been convicted of a felony or at least two misdemeanors and will expire on Jan. 22, 2013.

To this day approximately 48,000 Haitians living in the United States have secured temporary protected status since the earthquake, and an estimated 10,000 more would be eligible under the extension.

Guidelines from immigration services were issued last week and can be found at www.uscis.gov.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Google, eBay, Intel and Yahoo! All Had Founders Who Were Born Overseas"

The NY Daily News reports that Mayor Bloomberg met with the world-wide winners and finalists of a program that allows them to launch their businesses in New York City. In addition to $15,000 to $20,000, the winners also receive free office space for six months.

Meeting these foreign born individuals, Mayor Bloomberg stated his desire for immigration restrictions to be removed so that it would be easier for immigrants to begin business and ventures in New York. He stated that "we must continue to attract the best, brightest, and hardest-working to make sure the next great company is founded here." Mayor Bloomberg went on to say: "Talented entrepreneurs from across the globe entered this competition with the goal of getting help to establish their ventures in the City. We want them and other budding business leaders from around the world to start their ventures here, and one of the most important things we need to make that a reality is immigration reform. Without sensible changes to immigration laws, we risk missing out on the next big thing. That would be a big loss for our City's economy or our country's future."

The six finalist teams were from leading business and engineering schools in India, Singapore, France, the Czech Republic and Canada. This week is also Immigrant Heritage Week, which was established by the mayor in 2004 in New York. During this week, Mayor Bloomberg’s offices are working with StoryCorps to collect and share immigrant stories of how they arrived to New York.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Obama Begins Push for Immigration Reform

Many activists blame President Obama for not making Immigration a priority in the nation. In fact, the Obama administration has deported a record number of undocumented immigrants, hitting a record 392,000 in the fiscal year of 2010. In hopes to change the anger communities feel towards his administration, Obama has made some recent moves to draw attention back to immigration reform.

The Wall Street Journal and numerous other outlets have reported that Obama has held private meetings to discuss immigration with political figures such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, business leaders such as John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable; and religious leaders such as Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

Cecilia Muñoz, deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs in the White House, stated to the New York Times that Obama intends to start the immigration debate this year. In a town meeting last month, Obama stated that immigrants who are long-time residents but lack legal status “have to have some mechanism over time to get out of the shadows.”

It is clear that Obama has started to push for immigration legislation; however, many still have doubts regarding the President's sincerity and suspect his actions are solely for political reasons. Opposition is always anticipated where talks about immigration reform develop. During these times, advocates are encouraged to build support for proposals, especially for one expected from the President shortly.