The new year is underway and now that the GOP controls both houses of Congress we get to see what priorities they’ll focus on first. As it turns out, it’s immigration, but not in the progressive sense. Rather than work toward comprehensive reform, they seek to eliminate any funding for the President’s recent executive order that would have benefitted an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants. Further, they would similarly defund the President’s 2012 executive order creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. What does the bill fund? The Secure Communities program that seeks to link up local law enforcement and immigration law, not a good mix.
Here’s a link to the full article at the New York Times.
Many states enacted their own immigration reform efforts effective in the new year. Although states lack the power over immigration reform that the federal government does, every effort helps. Some states now will issue drivers licenses to the undocumented. Others have chosen not to detain people solely on the basis of immigration status. Here’s a link to the article.
This National Geographic story highlights something the media hasn’t made much mention of regarding the current humanitarian crisis faced by minors fleeing to the United States escaping gang violence – that gang violence started as an American export. Specifically, as the Los Angeles gang culture grew, many immigrants found homes there. When arrested, and likely deported to their home countries, they brought the bigger, badder American gang culture with them.
Read the article and watch the videos. To stay the leader of the technical world we need to raise the cap on highly skilled immigrants.
I don’t know if I agree with this Crossfire host in her opinion that most of those out-of-status immigrants want legal status alone and not citizenship. Becoming a permanent resident (i.e., getting a green card) is the first and possibly most important step in stabilizing one’s life. It cements their legal status in the US, permits employment and travel overseas without concern of not being able to return. Nevertheless, naturalizing confers enormous benefits, including the ability to petition for other out-of -status relatives, thereby legalizing their statuses as well. Most of my clients do naturalize, especially when their home countries permit dual citizenship.
Anyway, here’s a link to the video.
“Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement – and fix our broken immigration system. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted. I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams – to study, invent, and contribute to our culture – they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone. So let’s get immigration reform done this year.”
-President Barack Obama
A good piece by AILA DC Chapter Cynthia Rosenberg refuting the notion that undocumented immigrants harm the economy. On the contrary, the article points out, the undocumented are responsible for over 6 billion dollars in state domestic product and have created 70,000 jobs statewide. Whether you’re for or against immigration reform on idealistic grounds, surely the practical side of reform should serve as an important influence. Immigration is good for the state and good for the country.
The USCIS Field Office for Baltimore, Maryland has moved from downtown Baltimore to the following address:
3701 Koppers Street
Baltimore, MD 21227
Here is a link to a map. According to the USCIS Field Office Locator, this address is used for mail and courier service as well.
Despite the government shutdown, USCIS has announced that all field offices are open. If you are scheduled for an interview during the shutdown you should show up as planned. I have heard no guidance on Application Support Centers where biometrics are taken, but if you are scheduled for a biometrics appointment I would arrive as scheduled.
I’ve purposely been avoiding commenting on the immigration bill making its way through Congress. I did this because regardless of what the Senate did (which was wonderful), it’s the House that holds all the cards with this bill. And yesterday they should their hand. You can read John Boehner and his GOP leadership team’s statement here. This comes as a huge disappointment, not just to the immigrant community but to the majority of Americans who support this bill. The country’s immigration policy woes require a comprehensive fix, not the piecemeal approach advocated by House GOPers.