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Obama to tell the Hispanic Caucus again today that he wants to fix immigration

The President is meeting with the Hispanic Caucus today, his third immigration related meeting in three weeks. The White House has indicated that this meeting will be about: "the importance of fixing our nation's broken immigration system to meet our 21st century economic and national security needs so that America can win the future."

posted by Tatiana, 03.05.2011
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PRESIDENT SEEKS SUPPORT FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM … AGAIN

WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, 04/19/11, President Barack Obama enlisted a number of elected officials and religious, business, labor and civil rights leaders to support his quest for a long-overdue reform of the US immigration laws. The President is again trying to keep his promise to enact a broad immigration reform. His failure to do so has angered many of those, who helped to elect him in 2008, and whose support he will need again next year.

The President promised to continue working to build consensus in Congress around immigration reform. But he also said he will not be able to succeed if he led the debate alone. "The president urged meeting participants to take a public and active role to lead a constructive and civil debate on the need to fix the broken immigration system," the White House said. "He stressed that in order to successfully tackle this issue they must bring the debate to communities around the country and involve many sectors of American society in insisting that Congress act to create a system that meets our nation's needs for the 21st century and that upholds America's history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants."

Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who helped attract Hispanic voters to support Obama in 2008, recently stated that he was not sure he could support Obama next year if the president did not act on immigration reform. Last week, 22 Senate Democrats also sent Obama a letter asking him to delay deportations of young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents. The President has said repeatedly that he is committed to immigration reform, but he can not make headway without Republican support, because he does not have enough Democratic votes in the Senate, and Republicans now control the House.

The President again stated that the reform must require illegal immigrants to pay a penalty for being in the US illegally, pay back taxes, and learn English before they can qualify for legal status and eventual citizenship. Republicans oppose a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, calling this program an "amnesty."

posted by Tatiana, 20.04.2011
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Deported? You may still reopen your case and return to the US.

February 3, 2011

Washington, D.C. - Today, a federal appellate court chastised the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for preventing non-citizens from reopening their cases from outside the United States. This important ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit repudiates the government's view that immigration judges and the BIA lack "jurisdiction" over such cases. Federal law gives non-citizens the right to file motions to submit new evidence after their removal orders become final. But the BIA has long maintained that it cannot consider such a motion if a foreign national is outside the United States. This policy gives the government a perverse incentive to remove non-citizens from the country before they have an opportunity to submit evidence that could change the outcome of their cases. Moreover, the policy is at odds with provisions of a harsh 1996 immigration law that resulted in a dramatic reduction in due process rights and expansion of expedited removal but that made it clear that non-citizens had the opportunity to seek review of unfavorable decisions from outside the United States. This policy has now been reversed by the federal court.

posted by Tatiana, 03.02.2011
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Senate failed to move forward the "Dream Act"

The U.S. Senate, on a 55-41 vote, failed to move forward the "Dream Act," in a procedural vote Saturday, December 18, 2010.

posted by Tatiana, 20.12.2010
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The House of Representatives has passed the DREAM Act!

The House of Representatives has passed the DREAM Act! Now, in order for the Act to become law, it will need to be passed by the Senate and signed by the President. On 12/9/10, the Senate agreed to consider the House-passed version of the Act, and it is expected that Senate will take up H.R. 6497 within the next several days.

The House passed version of the Act provides that conditional nonimmigrant status may be granted to those aliens who arrived to the US at least five years prior to the Act enactment, were younger than 16 years of age on the date they entered the United States and have been a person of good moral character if such alien is younger than 30 years of age on the date of the enactment of the Act and either has been admitted to an institution of higher education in the United States or has earned a high school diploma or obtained a general education development certificate in the United States.

posted by Tatiana, 09.12.2010
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Dream Act Vote Likely on November 29, 2010

Dream Act Vote Likely on November 29 in House of Representatives, CapitalWirePR.com, November 16, 2010, available at: http://www.capitalwirepr.com/pr_description.php?id=bafabca7-9b0f-1bf1-99e1-4ce2ef8b0852

Dream Act Vote Likely on November 29 in House of Representatives

Washington, DC [CapitalWirePR] November 16, 2010 – Speaking to several hundred Hispanic leaders at the Latino Leaders Network luncheon today, Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez announced that Speaker Pelosi has tentatively set November 29th for a vote on the Dream Act. Velasquez was honored at the luncheon for her leadership of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

Congresswoman Velasquez called for all Americans to contact their Members of Congress to urge passage. The Dream Act legislation would establish a process for undocumented immigrant youth, brought to the U.S before the age of 16, to achieve legal status if they enter the armed forces or attend college for two years, and have clean records.

posted by Tatiana, 17.11.2010
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New i-485 filing fee for a child under 14 years of age

New US CIS filing fees go into effect on November 23, 2010. The USCIS Fact Sheet does not list the i-485 filing fee for a child under 14 years of age. However, the Federal Register notice announcing the new filing fees indicate that where the child under the age of 14 is applying concurrently with a parent, is a derivative applicant, and is applying based on a relationship to the same individual as the parent, or under the same legal authority as the parent, the new filing fee will be $635. The fee of $985 for an I-485 applies for a child under the age of 14 whose I-485 application is not submitted concurrently with that of the parent, or is not based on derivative status, or is on a basis other than that of a parent.

posted by Tatiana, 11.11.2010
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Senators Menendez and Leahy Introduce the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010 (S. 3932)

On September 29, 2010, Senator Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Leahy (D-VT) introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010 (S. 3932). This law, among other provisions, proposes the following:

Creates Lawful Prospective Immigrant (LPI) status for non‐criminal undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. since 9/30/10. Requires applicants to submit biometric and biographical data, undergo security and law enforcement checks, and pay a $500 fine plus application fees. LPI status lasts four years and can be extended. It includes work authorization and permission to travel abroad; immediate family members are also eligible for status under the program.
o Immigrants may apply for LPI status even if they are in deportation proceedings at the time of application or have an outstanding removal order.
o In order to transition from LPI status to Legal Permanent Residency (i.e. a “green card”), applicants are required to wait at least six years; pay taxes and a $1000 fine; learn English and U.S. civics; and undergo additional background checks. They will not obtain green cards before those who were waiting “in line” to immigrate as of date of enactment.
o The LPI program includes a level of administrative and judicial review, confidentiality protections for applicants and their employers, and fraud prevention measures.
o Incorporates the DREAM Act, which creates a path to legal status for individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, provided they meet age and other criteria and enroll in college or the U.S. military.

posted by Tatiana, 02.10.2010
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DREAM Delayed in the Senate

September, 21, 2010

Washington D.C. - Today, the Senate voted 56 to 43 against proceeding to the Defense Authorization Act. This procedural vote, which basically followed party lines, ends consideration of critical social issues that affect the military and were to be offered as amendments to the bill. Among the amendments not considered is the DREAM Act, an immigration bill that would provide legal status to young people who graduate from high school and pursue college or military service.

The following is a statement from Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center:

"The political gridlock that has immobilized the Senate has resulted once again in a lost opportunity for the American people. By refusing to allow the Defense Authorization Act to proceed, America will not see, at this time, an up or down vote on the DREAM Act, which would have been a first legislative step in resolving our immigration crisis. The Senators who voted "no" today are ignoring unequivocal evidence that the DREAM Act is good for military readiness, the American workforce and the U.S. economy.

The energy and enthusiasm of thousands of young people who have poured themselves into promoting the DREAM Act has not been wasted, however. Because of their efforts, more people today understand the importance of DREAM to our economy, our military, and the future of our country than ever before."

posted by Tatiana, 21.09.2010
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Potential legalization for students: DREAM Act Coming to the Senate Floor

September 15, 2010

Washington, D.C. - Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he would attach the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act to the Department of Defense authorization bill expected to come before the Senate as early as next week. The vote will be an important test of whether Congress can transcend partisan politics and work together on crafting solutions to the broken immigration system that both Democrats and Republicans acknowledge is in desperate need of reform. That the proposal will be considered as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill is appropriate, given the Department of Defense's support for DREAM Act as a way to improve military readiness.

First introduced in 2001, the DREAM Act would address the plight of young immigrants who have been raised in the U.S. and managed to succeed despite the challenges of being brought to the U.S. without proper documentation. The proposal would offer a path to legal status to those who have graduated from high-school, have stayed out of trouble and plan to attend college or serve in the U.S. military for at least two years.

Each year, approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school, many at the top of their classes, but cannot go to college, join the military, work, or otherwise pursue their dreams. They belong to the 1.5 generation - any (first generation) immigrants brought to the United States at a young age who were largely raised in this country and therefore share much in common with second generation Americans. These students are culturally American, growing up here and often having little attachment to their country of birth. They tend to be bicultural and fluent in English.

Research has shown that providing a legal status for young people who have a proven record of success in the United States would be a boon to the economy and the U.S. workforce. University presidents and educational associations, as well as military recruiters, business and religious leaders have added their voice to those calling for passage of the bill. Foreign-born students represent a significant and growing percentage of the current student population. Unfortunately, immigration status and the associated barriers to higher education contribute to a higher-than-average high dropout rate, which costs taxpayers and the economy billions of dollars each year.

The DREAM Act would eliminate these barriers for many students, and the DREAM Act's high school graduation requirement would provide a powerful incentive for students who might otherwise drop out to stay in school and graduate. This will help boost the number of high skilled American-raised workers. As they take their place in the workplace as hard working, taxpaying Americans, they will contribute a lifetime of revenues at the local, state and federal level.

Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy, Bill Carr, supports the DREAM Act and stated that the law would be "good for readiness" and would help to recruit "cream of the crop" students.

posted by Tatiana, 17.09.2010
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