Monday, November 25, 2013

Biden visits immigration advocates fasting on National Mall

L.A. Times - Vice President Joe Biden paid a visit Friday to immigration advocates who have been fasting on the National Mall, lending White House support to the push for House Speaker John A. Boehner to take up the proposed immigration law overhaul now stalled in the House.

“As my father would say, come hell or high water, we’re going to win this,” Biden told the group, according to organizers of the fast, now in its 11th day.

Boehner insisted this week that Republicans in the House are committed to considering immigration legislation, but he declined to say when they would take up the issue. Advocates had urged him to bring the bill to a vote by the end of 2013, but that now seems increasingly unlikely.

The immigration issue deeply divides the GOP, and Republican lawmakers are split over what advocates call the cornerstone of any reform effort -- a route to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country without legal status.
To read the full article, please click:  Biden visits immigration advocates fasting on National Mall

We need more legal immigration, not less: Guest opinion

The Oregonian - The guest opinion by Elizabeth Van Staaveren uses claims of runaway population growth to urge a moratorium on immigration for an extended period.  This amounts to nothing more than fear mongering.

Baby boomers, those Americans born between 1946 and 1964, number 77 million, nearly one quarter of the U.S. population. This vast segment of our population is beginning to retire - the first of the baby boomers turned 65 in 2011.  Retiring baby boomers in the coming decades will create unprecedented challenges to our economy, and immigrants and the children of immigrants will play a key role in helping us succeed as a nation.  Americans 65 and older will make up nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2030, compared with 13.1 percent in 2010.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that 33.7 million job openings will arise from the need to replace workers who retire or move to different occupations between 2010 and 2020. Current birthrates and current levels of immigration combined will not keep up with the increase in percentage of the elderly population, and legal immigration will need to be increased to fund Social Security and Medicare, to replace retiring workers, and provide healthcare to the elderly.  Increased immigration cannot singlehandedly save Social Security and Medicare, which are projected to become insolvent in the next two to three decades, but it can help. 

Immigration has always played a key role in U.S. economic growth. Immigration is part of our national identity. Immigrants fill labor shortages, create businesses, and contribute to the tax system. In Oregon, immigrants make up nearly 10 percent of the total population, constitute 10.7 percent of business owners and have generated $1.1 billion in annual business income.  Instituting a legalization program for Oregon’s undocumented population will create 6,700 additional jobs and generate in excess of $492 million for Oregon by 2020, according to REMI. Creating a roadmap to citizenship and expanding high-skilled visa programs as proposed by S. 744 and H.R. 15 would add $293 million to Oregon’s gross state product in 2014.

To read the full article, please click:  We need more legal immigration, not less: Guest opinion

Monday, November 18, 2013

Immigrants Closely Tied to Military Get Reprieve

New York Times - The Obama administration issued a new policy on Friday that will allow immigrants in the United States illegally who are close relatives of active military troops and veterans to stay and move toward becoming permanent residents.

The long-awaited memorandum, coming after three years of deliberations by Department of Homeland Security officials, was an effort to untangle knots in immigration law that left many soldiers worried that their immigrant family members could be deported while they were deployed.
The administration applied the policy broadly, extending it to all active-duty members of the armed forces, to reservists including the National Guard, and to all veterans. Their spouses, children and parents will be eligible for a “parole in place,” a term that means they will be authorized to remain in the United States and many can proceed with applications for legal residency.
“This is an enormous step forward for military families and military readiness,” said Margaret D. Stock, a lawyer at Cascadia Cross-Border Law in Anchorage, who is a retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel. “These problems had been a complete nightmare for many military people to deal with.”
To read the full article, please click:  Immigrants Closely Tied to Military Get Reprieve

Activists to fast on Capitol Hill until Congress passes immigration reform

Washington Post - As an icy wind whipped the sides of a packed tent, five activists committed themselves Tuesday (Nov. 12) to fast from food and drink and to camp in front of the U.S. Capitol until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform.

“I know that there are going to be difficult days ahead of me,” said Eliseo Medina from the Service Employees International Union. “I know that going without food will not be easy and I know that I will suffer physical hunger.

“But there is a deeper hunger within me, a hunger for an end to a system that creates such misery among those who come here to escape poverty and violence in search of the American dream.”

Religious and labor leaders joined immigration activists at the launch of the “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship.” Many will participate as “solidarity fasters,” fasting for a shorter time.

To read the full article, please click:  Activists to fast on Capitol Hill until Congress passes immigration reform

Monday, November 11, 2013

December Visa Bulletin Available

To see the complete U.S. Department of State Visa Bulletin for October 2013, please click:  December 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 15NOV06 15NOV06 15NOV06 22SEP93 01JUL01
F2B 01MAY06 01MAY06 01MAY06 01APR94 22MAR03
F3 08MAR03 08MAR03 08MAR03 01JUN93 22JAN93
F4 08SEP01 08SEP01 08SEP01 22OCT96 01JUN90

Employment-Based Immigrant Visa Priority Dates:

Employment- Based
All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed
08NOV08 15NOV04
Other Workers
Certain Religious Workers
Regional Centers and Pilot Programs

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Court Approves Settlement in National Class Action Lawsuit on Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers

Washington, DC – On Monday, November 4, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones ordered the final approval of a nationwide class action settlement agreement. The settlement will help ensure that asylum seekers, who have fled persecution in their home countries, are not unlawfully prevented from working and supporting their families while the government adjudicates their cases.  The changes will commence on December 3, 2013.

The agreement stems from a case filed in December 2011 by the American Immigration Council and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), with co-counsel from the Seattle law firm Gibbs Houston Pauw and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.  The complaint challenged widespread problems with the “asylum clock”—the system government agencies use to determine when immigrants who have applied for asylum may obtain permission to work lawfully in the United States.

The case, filed on behalf of asylum seekers around the country, alleged that the current system unlawfully denies asylum applicants the opportunity to obtain employment authorization if their asylum applications have been pending for six months or more. Some end up waiting several months or years for the government to make a decision on their asylum applications.  Indeed, one plaintiff from China had been waiting nearly 10 years for his case to be resolved.

“Under the settlement agreement, the process for getting work permits will be more transparent and fair, and the government will be more accountable for errors in determining asylum seekers’ eligibility for work authorization,” according to Mary Kenney, Senior Staff Attorney with the American Immigration Council.

“We are very excited that after the Court’s order, we are only four weeks away from changes that will help thousands of asylum seekers, people who were placed in desperate circumstances, unable to seek employment to support themselves and their families while waiting for their asylum applications to be resolved,” said Chris Strawn, director of the asylum unit at NWIRP.

To read the full article, please click:  Court Approves Settlement in National Class Action Lawsuit on Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers

Gutierrez: House Will Use GOP's Piecemeal Approach To Immigration Reform

Huffington Post

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a leading proponent of comprehensive immigration reform in the House, said Thursday in a radio interview that the GOP preference for a piecemeal approach is likely to win out.

"We are going to do them piecemeal, but in the end you're going to have a full menu," Gutierrez said on Chicago Public Radio's "Afternoon Shift." Gutierrez has said before that he's open to a piecemeal approach to immigration reform, as long as it eventually includes different measures affecting security, the so-called Dreamers and new workers.

Gutierrez acknowledged that Democrats need to change their strategy, given the current balance in Congress.

"Democrats in the House of Representatives have to stop negotiating from the point of view that they're in the majority," he said. "We're not."

Gutierrez also said that the piece of immigration legislation that is most likely to get passed will be a version of the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for the Dreamers, people brought to the United States as children who also meet other requirements.

"My sense is right now, it is the area we can reach the most consensus," he said.

"The parents, to me, need to be included in this process. I don't vilify them or condemn them," Gutierrez said, but added that Dream advocates themselves have succeeded in winning the argument.

"The basic premise of this -- I didn't really like it too much when [Dream advocates] made it, because if somebody's innocent, then somebody is guilty. And I think there's a lot of innocence going around in this process."

To read the full article, please click:  Gutierrez: House Will Use GOP's Piecemeal Approach To Immigration Reform

Immigration compromise would unite torn-apart families

LA Times

As a comprehensive immigration overhaul stalls in the House, two border-state lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday that would tackle one aspect of the issue -- making it easier to unite American families split apart by past immigration law violations.

The effort from Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) could provide common ground among Democrats and Republicans, an opportunity to ease into a debate over what to do with one subset of the estimated 11 million people living in the United States without legal status.

The legislation is significant because while most Republican lawmakers have resisted providing a pathway to citizenship to those in this country illegally, some have indicated they could support legal status for certain groups of immigrants snared by problems with the existing laws.

“I have long said that we should never split up families, and today’s proposed law allows the careful and sensible evaluation of cases where American families have been wrongly separated, but still makes sure that our immigration laws are upheld,” Pearce said.

To read the full article, please click:  Immigration compromise would unite torn-apart families

Third Republican signs on to Democrats’ immigration bill, saying it “cannot wait”

NBC Latino News

Republican Rep. David Valadao endorsed the Democrats’ House immigration bill Wednesday saying it “cannot wait.”

Valadao joins Republican Reps. Jeff Denham, also of California and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida in supporting the sweeping immigration reform legislation.

“Addressing immigration reform in the House cannot wait,” Valadao said in a statement.
Valadao, who has a district with a significant Latino constituency, said he’s been working to find common ground with Democrats on immigration reform.

Arturo Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers of America, said in a statement: “We are glad to see he’s a man of his word and has moved into action to help pass a common sense approach to fixing our broken immigration system. A revised system that is fair to agricultural workers and makes business sense will benefit our Central Valley, state and country.”

Valadao said recently he has been trying to muster like-minded Republicans to demonstrate to his party leadership’s “broad support within the party to address immigration reform in the House by the end of the year.”

The California congressman is one of 10 Republicans targeted by the Latino Victory Project, a group conceived by actress Eva Longoria and Democratic National Committee Finance Chair Hector Muñoz. The group has pledged to spend $20 million to target the Republicans in the 2014 elections.

Valadao’s spokeswoman Anna Vitter said the congressman had generally agreed with much of the Democrats’ bill but had held off endorsing because of some technical concerns which he worked out with Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla, the bill’s sponsor.

To read the full article, please click:  Third Republican signs on to Democrats’ immigration bill, saying it “cannot wait”

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Supports Democrat-Led Immigration Bill

Huffington Post

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) became the second Republican on Tuesday to sign on to a Democrat-led comprehensive immigration reform bill that would increase border security, change the legal immigration system and provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

The bill's chief sponsor, Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.), announced on Twitter that she had signed on to H.R. 15, and Ros-Lehtinen's office confirmed the news.

To read the full article, please click:  Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Supports Democrat-Led Immigration Bill