Monday, October 28, 2013

Republican congressman Jeff Denham will join Democrats in immigration overhaul push

Washington Post

A Republican congressman from a heavily Hispanic district is breaking ranks from his party to join Democrats in an eleventh-hour push for a broad immigration overhaul before the end of the year.
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) plans to sign on as the lone GOP member with 185 Democrats to co-sponsor a plan that would give millions of unauthorized immigrants the chance to attain citizenship.

A handful of House Republicans have expressed support for citizenship legislation similar to the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate over the summer. But Denham is taking the additional — and politically provocative — step of locking arms with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other Democrats trying to neutralize opposition from House conservatives and shake up a polarized immigration debate.

“I’m the first Republican,” he said in an interview. “I expect more to come on board.”

To read the full article, please click:  Republican congressman Jeff Denham will join Democrats in immigration overhaul push

President Obama on immigration: ‘Let’s do it now’


Immigration reform may not pass, but that’s no reason to give up the fight, President Barack Obama said Thursday.

The president made his long-awaited return to the issue in a brief East Room speech urging advocates to keep the pressure on House Republicans to take action on the Senate’s immigration bill, saying that only public pressure will lead to action.

And yet Obama expressed some of the same skepticism he decried, saying that while immigration reform is “the right thing to do,” it doesn’t have a clear path to success.

“Just because something is smart and fair and good for the economy and fiscally responsible and supported by business and labor and evangelical community and many Democrats and many Republicans, that does not mean that it will actually get done,” Obama said with a laugh. “This is Washington, after all.”

To read the full article, please click:  President Obama on immigration: ‘Let’s do it now’

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

November Visa Bulletin Available

To see the complete U.S. Department of State Visa Bulletin for October 2013, please click: November 2013 Visa Bulletin

Family-Based Immigrant Visa Priority Dates:

Family-Sponsored All Charge -ability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 22OCT06 22OCT06 22OCT06 22SEP93 01JUL01
F2B 22MAR06 22MAR06 22MAR06 01APR94 01MAR03
F3 08FEB03 08FEB03 08FEB03 01JUN93 08JAN93
F4 22AUG01 22AUG01 22AUG01 22OCT96 22APR90

Employment-Based Immigrant Visa Priority Dates:
Employment- Based
All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed
08OCT08 15JUN08
Other Workers
Certain Religious Workers
Regional Centers and Pilot Programs

Silicon Valley readies immigration push

The Hill

The tech industry is beginning a full-throttle push for immigration reform now that the government shutdown fight is over.

Silicon Valley groups and top executives like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are planning a flurry of events and media campaigns aimed at pressuring the House to vote on immigration bills before the end of the year.

“Despite the public perception of immigration reform being dead or on the back burner, we believe there’s an opportunity to make progress this calendar year,” said Peter Muller, director of government relations at Intel. 

“We think there is an opportunity — there’s a chance — for bills to move to the floor and be considered by the House in the next month or two, and that’s the final step to getting us to a final product.”

To read the full article, please click:  Silicon Valley readies immigration push

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A way forward on immigration reform?

The Washington Post

Yesterday, President Obama declared he wants action on immigration reform “this year.” Today, Byron York reports that the prospects for reform are still alive, noting there is a core group of House Republicans still working on a series of proposals, though they are shrouded in great secrecy. These efforts, York reports, have the blessing of GOP leaders.

But is there really a way forward? Yes, there is.  It’s a longshot, but in an interview with me, Frank Sharry, the executive director of pro-immigration America’s Voice, explained how it would work.

The whole thing turns on this: Sharry tells me that if Eric Cantor goes through with his plan to introduce the so-called “KIDS Act,” which gives citizenship only to the one million DREAMers, immigration advocates and many Dems probably would be prepared to accept it — if Republicans are also willing to go to conference negotiations.

To read the full article,  please click:  A way forward on immigration reform?

Exclusive: Jeh Johnson Tapped to Lead Department of Homeland Security

The Daily Beast

The White House has settled on a former high-ranking Pentagon official to replace Janet Napolitano as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, two senior Obama administration officials confirm to The Daily Beast.
President Obama plans to announce his intention to nominate Jeh Johnson, who served as the Defense Department's general counsel during the administration's first term, at a White House ceremony tomorrow, one of the sources said.

Johnson, a well-known and trusted figure in the Obama White House, was a central player in many of the administration's most sensitive national security and counterterrorism policies, including the ramping up of the drone program, the revival of military commissions to try suspected terrorists, and the repeal of the Defense Department's ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces.

To read the full article, please click:  Exclusive: Jeh Johnson Tapped to Lead Department of Homeland Security

Obama plans to renew immigration, climate change efforts

The Washington Post

President Obama, fresh off a trouncing of congressional Republicans over the government shutdown, plans to renew his push for immigration legislation in the House while also pressing ahead with climate change policies and efforts to fix problems plaguing his signature health-care program.

But White House officials also acknowledged that many Republicans, particularly in the House, remain ardently opposed to much of Obama’s agenda and may be unwilling to help him accomplish key legislative goals.

The assessment came as Obama and his aides welcomed the fiscal deal approved by Congress on Wednesday night, which will fund the government until the middle of January, lift the borrowing limit through Feb. 7 and establish negotiations over a long-term budget agreement.

The deal — which White House aides said Obama would have happily signed before the shutdown that began Oct. 1 — meets the president’s demand that his health-care law not be significantly modified in return for a functioning government.

To read the full article, please click:  Obama plans to renew immigration, climate change efforts

Obama plans immigration push after fiscal crisis ends


President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that stalled immigration reform would be a top priority once the fiscal crisis has been resolved.

"Once that's done, you know, the day after, I'm going to be pushing to say, call a vote on immigration reform," he told the Los Angeles affiliate of Spanish-language television network Univision.
The president's domestic agenda has been sidetracked in his second term by one problem after another. As he coped with the revelation of domestic surveillance programs, chemical weapons in Syria, and a fiscal battle that has shut down the U.S. government and threatens a debt default, immigration has been relegated to the back burner.

But Obama, who won re-election with overwhelming Hispanic backing, had hoped to make reforms easing the plight of the 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally.
In June, the Senate passed an immigration overhaul, but House of Representatives Republicans are divided over the granting of legal status to those in the country illegally, a step many see as rewarding lawbreakers.

Although the president had sought comprehensive reform, he said last month he would be open to the House taking a piece-by-piece approach if that would get the job done.

Obama on Tuesday blamed House Speaker John Boehner for preventing immigration from coming up for a vote.

"We had a very strong Democratic and Republican vote in the Senate," he said. "The only thing right now that's holding it back is, again, Speaker Boehner not willing to call the bill on the floor of the House of Representatives."

Boehner said the sweeping Senate bill would not pass the House and has said the lower chamber would tackle the issue in smaller sections that would include stricter provisions on border protection.

To read the original article, please click:  Obama plans immigration push after fiscal crisis ends

Officials Still Targeting Non-Violent Immigrants, Despite New Obama Guidelines

Fox News Latino

Obama administration guidelines issued in December calling for immigration detainers to be reserved for the most dangerous foreign nationals are going largely ignored, according to a new analysis of federal data.

Fewer than 10 percent of detainers actually targeted people who are considered a threat to public safety and national security, contrary to the stated objective of the new guidelines, said a report by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC.

Slightly more than a third, or 38 percent, of people who had detainers requested for them had a record of a criminal conviction, including minor traffic violations, the report said.

“If traffic violations (including DWI) and marijuana possession violations are excluded, then only one-quarter (26 percent) of the individuals against whom detainers were issued had any conviction,” said the report.

“In fact, comparing agency data from both before and after the new [federal immigration] guidelines were issued reveals that fewer — not more — individuals on whom detainers were placed have had any record of criminal activity, let alone serious criminal conduct.”

A detainer is the term used for requests that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency sends to local police asking them to hold immigrants who are arrested so that ICE can take them into custody. Many police agencies, however, have said they will no longer honor ICE requests to hold immigrants who are not violent offenders.

To read the full article, please click:  Officials Still Targeting Non-Violent Immigrants, Despite New Obama Guidelines

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Luis Gutierrez: Shutdown or not, there's time for immigration reform

Chicago Sun Times

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) — long the face of immigration reform — told the Chicago Sun-Times he still believes a bill can make its way out of the U.S. House this session, despite the ongoing stalemate from the government shutdown.

“I think it’s important to put pressure on Congress. I think we are in a very dark, bitter contentious moment in which you are not able to discuss this or any issue,” Gutierrez told the Sun-Times today. However: “I still think we have an opportunity later this year.”

Gutierrez, who is in New York City promoting his new book: “Still Dreaming; My Journey from the barrio to Capitol Hill,” said he’s still optimistic that immigration reform will happen, arguing he believes the numbers are there. He put the timetable more toward Thanksgiving.

“No longer is it the group of eight or the group of seven,” Gutierrez said, referring to the “Gang of Eight,” U.S. lawmakers who worked together to hash out an immigration reform, bipartisan compromise in the U.S. Senate. Gutierrez said he’s hopeful pointing to the consensus reached in the U.S. Senate. “Clearly a majority exists” who are in favor of reform, he said. He pointed to a recent report that said more than 80 House Republicans support legalization — not full citizenship — for the undocumented.

To read the full article, please click:  Luis Gutierrez: Shutdown or not, there's time for immigration reform

House's 'SAFE' Act Threatens Support for Immigration Reform

Huffington Post

For decades, we have pushed Congress to create a road to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans living and laboring in our country. True immigration reform, however, cannot be achieved if creating this road comes at the cost of giving up or undermining our most cherished civil rights.
Reform in exchange for rights is exactly the sort of bargaining some members of the House of Representatives hope to engage in during the present debate over immigration. Today, the National Immigration Law Center joined over 100 other immigration reform advocates in rejecting this kind of political horse-trading.

Such an agreement might include the SAFE Act, a dangerous piece of legislation proposed in the House of Representatives that could spread racial profiling laws like Alabama's and Arizona's across the country.

It doesn't need to be this way. The House already has on its table immigration proposals that include creating a long road to citizenship for the 11 million, a faster path to citizenship for DREAMers, and provisions that would allow these aspiring Americans to fully integrate into the nation's social and economic fabric, with most of the rights and responsibilities that come with full integration.

To read the full article, please click:  House's 'SAFE' Act Threatens Support for Immigration Reform

Monday, October 7, 2013

House Democrats have released their own immigration bill. Here’s what it does.

The Washington Post

The federal government has shut down and Congress can't even agree on basic measures to fund the government. But House Democrats are trying to urge everyone not to forget about immigration reform.

You remember immigration reform, right? That big, contentious debate that was consuming all of official Washington just a few short months ago?

On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and several other Democrats unveiled their own bill to overhaul the nation's immigration laws. The legislation is very similar to the bipartisan immigration bill passed by the Senate back in June — with one big exception: The House Democrats' bill would not include billions of dollars requiring 700 miles of new border fence, the way the Senate bill did. Instead, the House bill would set specific goals for border enforcement.

The House Democrats' bill has little chance of passing as is. Elise Foley of the Huffington Post reports that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has already ruled out putting it on the calendar. (Another bipartisan group in the House is struggling to come up with its own bill.)

To read the full article, please visit:  House Democrats have released their own immigration bill. Here’s what it does.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Immigration courts remain partly open but political asylum cases delayed

Washington Post

For tens of thousands of immigrants across the United States with pending immigration cases or legal procedures, the federal government shutdown will put some urgent matters on hold and allow others of less importance to move ahead.

Petitions for political asylum and non-emergency deportation cases are among the matters that could be delayed for months if the shutdown lasts more than a few days, according to immigration lawyers and advocates.

Meanwhile, some services for U.S. citizens and legal residents, which are financed by customer fees, will continue to be provided. Court hearings or other procedures for any immigrant who is in federal custody will also continue on schedule, and the Board of Immigration Appeals will hear requests for emergency relief from deportation as well as appeals for detained immigrants, according to the Justice Department.

To read the full article, please click:  Immigration courts remain partly open but political asylum cases delayed

Status of Immigration Agencies during the Government Shut Down

CIS Ombudsman: The CIS Ombudsman's Office will be closed and will not be accepting any inquiries through their online case intake system.

Department of Labor (DOL):  OFLC will neither accept nor process any applications or related materials (such as audit responses), it receives, including Labor Condition Applications, Applications for Prevailing Wage Determination, Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, or Applications for Permanent Employment Certification. OFLC's web site, including the iCERT Visa Portal System and the PERM system, would become static and unable to process any requests or allow authorized users to access their online accounts.

DOL's Office of Administrative Law Judges will be unable to perform any case-related activities, including conducting hearings. Hearings that have been previously scheduled will therefore be cancelled prior to the date of the hearing, and they will not be rescheduled for hearing until an appropriations bill or continuing resolution takes effect.

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP):
1.  All Ports of Entry are open. There is even no change in using overtime to handle flight arrivals and CBP continues to accept requests from airlines for new service. The Border Patrol and the Office of Air and Marine are also continuing with operations.
2.  The Admissibility Review Office (ARO) is open and continues to function.
3.  All global entry enrollment centers are open and interviews are continuing and all Trusted Traveler programs continue to function as usual.
4.  The CBP website will not be maintained during the lapse in appropriations.
5.  Approximately 6,000 CBP positions, primarily held by technicians and support staff, are impacted by the lapse in appropriations.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS): Due to the lapse in federal, DHS’s website will not be actively managed.

Department of State (DOS): The Department will continue as many normal operations as possible; operating status and available funding will be monitored continuously and closely for a lapse in appropriations.

Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR):   Court functions that support the detained caseload will continue, but other functions are suspended. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is processing emergency stay requests as well as cases where the alien is detained, including case appeals, motions, federal court remands, and bonds.

EOIR’s operations are limited during the lapse in government funding, so staff at the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals will not be available for photo identification verification to complete the eRegistration process. Upon its return to normal operations, EOIR will again be able to process eRegistration applications.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE):  ICE detention and enforcement operations shall continue.

ICE Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP):  SEVP’s offices will remain open. This continuation of operations is possible because SEVP is a fee-funded program and does not receive any government-appropriated funds. During this time, designated school officials and F and M students must continue to meet all regulatory requirements.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): All USCIS offices worldwide are open and individuals should report to interviews and appointments as scheduled. E-Verify is currently unavailable due to a government shutdown.

Government Shut Down - How it is Affecting Immigration Court

Immigration courts nationwide are continuing to adjudicate detained cases. Court functions that support the detained caseload will continue, but other functions are suspended. For specific information about a particular court, please visit

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is processing emergency stay requests as well as cases where the alien is detained, including case appeals, motions, federal court remands, and bonds. The stay line is open (for emergency stay calls only), but all other telephone lines have been switched to closed status. The BIA Clerk’s Office staff is accepting all filings and will be open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

During the government shutdown, the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer will maintain its ability to issue subpoenas and accept for filing any complaints that must be filed to comply with statutory deadlines.

Key House Democrat: Immigration Plan Won't Progress Without GOP Support

Huffington Post

House Democrats insisted on Friday that their plan to introduce a version of the Senate-passed comprehensive immigration bill was an important step forward for the reform movement -- even though they admitted it was unlikely to bring on many Republican members, at least initially.

But one key member, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), cautioned that introducing legislation isn't as important as convincing the GOP leadership to allow a vote on it.

"I think it's meant to rally Democrats, which is fine, but whether or not it's introduced, I don't think is going to be a material factor in terms of immigration reform moving forward," the ranking member of the House immigration subcommittee said, referring to the Democrats' plan.

House Democrats may release a bill that would combine the bipartisan legislation passed by the Senate in June with a separate border proposal approved by the House Homeland Security Committee. The idea is to propose something with support from both parties in the House, but so far, it's not clear whether any GOP members will sign on to the Democrats' proposal.

The new strategy is being spearheaded by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, with assistance from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), one of the top proponents of the reform and a Hispanic Caucus member, said Friday that it is meant to be a rallying point for Democrats.

To read the full article, please click:  Key House Democrat: Immigration Plan Won't Progress Without GOP Support