“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.
The Japan Times reports here that Japan has ratified the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction. I’ve personally been involved in a case that touched on parental abduction of a child to Japan. Once implemented, the Hague Convention should make returning children a more streamlined process.
One of the often vexing problems I face when preparing client’s green card applications is proving lawful entry. That’s traditionally been done by supplying a copy of form I-94 – the little white card stapled into your passport when you’re admitted to the United States (I always keep the original and present it at the interview). Those cards are perforated and prone to falling out and getting lost. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to file for a replacement I-94 (using form I-102 for a fee, of course), all the while the green card application remains dormant, just waiting to be filed.
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently implemented the new electronic, paperless I-94 system. As wonderful and efficient as that may be, it leaves everyone applying for a green card without the traditional document used to establish lawful entry. USCIS has announced how they will proceed now that CBP has implemented the new system. See the guidance below for details.
I-94 Automation & USCIS
The American Immigration Lawyers Assocation (AILA), to which I belong, has compiled this helpful list of requirements to obtain drivers licenses in each state. This includes documents for those applying for or granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The link is below.
State DMV Requirements
A broad group of bi-partisan Senators have released a document detailing their “pillars” of reform. See document below. This does not spell out specific legislation – only the foundation upon which future legislation will be based.
Four Pillars of CIR
A group of Senators have introduced bill S. 169 – Immigration Innovation (I2) Act of 2013 – affecting and modernizing H-1B, employment-based immigration visas and student visas. Below is a link to Senator Hatch’s summary of the bills key points.
I2 Act of 2013 Summary