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President Bush’s Plan For Comprehensive Immigration Reform January 28, 2007

Posted by dsheen88 in Immigration Laws and Policies, Immigration reform, News and politics, Simply Immigration!.
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During his State of the Union Address, President Bush Called On Congress To Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform.  The President believes that America can simultaneously be a lawful, economically dynamic, and welcoming society.  We must address the problem of illegal immigration and deliver a system that is secure, productive, orderly, and fair.  The President calls on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that will secure our borders, enhance interior and worksite enforcement, create a temporary worker program, resolve – without animosity and without amnesty – the status of illegal immigrants already here, and promote assimilation into our society. All elements of this problem must be addressed together – or none of them will be solved.  

For more detail information aour President Bush’s plan for imigration reform go to:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2007/initiatives/immigration.html

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House Immigration Subcommittee Members Announced January 25, 2007

Posted by dsheen88 in Immigration Laws and Policies, Immigration reform, News and politics, Simply Immigration!.
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On Wednesday, January 24, 2007, leaders of the House Committee on the Judiciary announced the membership roster of the newly named Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law (formerly the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims). Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) will chair the sixteen-member subcommittee, and Representatives Steve King (R-IA) and Elton Gallegly (R-CA) will serve as Ranking Member and Deputy Ranking Member, respectively.

Immigration Subcommittee members will also include: Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA), Artur Davis (D-AL), William Delahunt (D-MA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Randy Forbes (R-VA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Daniel Lungren (R-CA), Marin Meehan (D-MA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and Maxine Waters (D-CA). Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who served on the Immigration Subcommittee during the 109th Congress and has been an outspoken supporter of comprehensive reform, was not reappointed to the Judiciary Committee by the Republican leadership.

The Immigration Subcommittee is part of the larger House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction not only over matters related to immigration, but also over a range of judicial issues such as judicial proceedings, federal courts, civil liberties, interstate compacts, and patents. In addition to the members of the Immigration Subcommittee, members of the House Judiciary Committee include: Committee Chair Representative Conyers (D-MI), Ranking Member Representative Smith (R-TX), and Representatives Boucher (D-VA), Cannon (R-UT), Chabot (R-OH), Coble (R-NC), Cohen (D-TN), Feeney (R-FL), Franks (R-AZ), Issa (R-CA), Johnson (D-GA), Jordan (R-OH), Keller (R-FL), Nadler (D-NY), Pence (R-IN), Schiff (D-CA), Scott (D-VA), Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Sherman (D-CA), Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Watt (D-NC), Weiner (D-NY), and Wexler (D-FL).

Passport Requirements for Air Travel Now Effective January 25, 2007

Posted by dsheen88 in Immigration Laws and Policies, News and politics, Simply Immigration!, Tips, Travel Alert, USCIS Press Release.
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In a January 23, 2007 Press Release, DHS reminded the public that citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda are now required to present a valid passport at U.S. air ports-of-entry when entering from any part of the Western Hemisphere. The final rule on the travel document requirements of the first phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) was published in the Federal Register on November 24, 2006. 71 FR 68411.

CIS released new H-1B/H-4 timing and extension policies January 1, 2007

Posted by dsheen88 in Employment-Based Immigration, H-1B visa, Immigration Laws and Policies, Info for Doctors and Health Professionals, MyComments, Simply Immigration!, Tips, USCIS Press Release.
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Good news to H-1B holders!  CIS recently released their new policies that addresses several H-1B timing issues.  The following policies will be in effect January 2007:

1.  Time spent as an H-4 and L-2 dependent does not count against the maximum allowable periods of stay available to principals in H-1B or L-1 status.

2. Individuals do not need to be in H-1B status or in the U.S. in order to request additional H-1B time beyond six years under AC21.

3.  Individual who was in the U.S. in H-1B status for less than six years and then subsequently leaves the U.S. for more than one year, may elect to either be re-admitted for the remainder of the initial six-year admission period w/o being counted against the cap OR seek to be admitted as a new H-1B subject to the cap.

Separating of H-4 and L-2 Time from H-1B and L-1 Time

The first issue addressed in this CIS memo is how to count H-4 and L-2 time against maximum periods allowed under H-1B and L-2 time.  For example, would an individual present in the U.S. in L-2 status for the past 6 years be eligible for any H-1B time?  The answer is yes.

USCIS clarifies that any time spent in H-4 status will not count against the 6-year maximum period of admission applicable to H-1B individuals.  For example, an individual who was previously in H-4 dependent status and who subsequently becomes an H-1B principal is entitled to the maximum period of stay applicable under H-1B time.

Periods of Stay on H-1B Status Beyond 6 Years Pursuant to AC21 (H-1b portability law)

The second issue addressed in this CIS memo deals with requesting extensions beyond six years under AC21 even if the individual is no longer in H-1B status or no longer in the U.S.  For example, if someone previously maxed out H-1B time and changed to TN status, and s/he is now eligible for H-1B time beyond six years under AC21, can s/he request more H-1B time even though s/he is now in TN status?  The answer is yes.

The memo reads “Though both provisions of AC21 use the term “extension of stay,” eligibility for the exemptions is not restricted solely to requests for extensions of stay while in the United States.  Aliens who are eligible for the 7th year extension may be granted an extension of stay regardless of whether they are currently in the United States or abroad and regardless of whether they currently hold H-1B status.”

H-1B Remainder Option

The third issue in this CIS memo addressed the situation of an individual who did not max out his or her H-1B time but subsequently left the U.S. for more than one year.  For example, if an individual was previously in the U.S. in H-1B status for less than six years, and then subsequently leaves the U.S. for more than one year, may s/he be re-admittted for anytime remaining from their previous H-1B admission period or does s/he now need to admitted as a new H-1B with a new six years available, but subject to the cap?  The answer is actually either and up to the individual.

The memo futher provides…

“There have been instances where an alien who was previously admitted to the United States in H-1B status, but did not exhaust his or her entire period of admission, seeks readmission to the United States in H-1B status for the remainder of his or her initial six-year period of maximum admission, rather than seeking a new six -year period of admission,  pending AC21 regulations, USCIS for now will allow an alien in the situation described above to elect to either (1) to be re-admitted for the “remainder” of the initial six-year admission period without being subject to the H-1B cap if previously counted or (2) seek to be readmitted as a “new” H-1B alien subject to the H-1B cap.”

Under this new policy, if the H-1B cap is an issue, the option will be for the individual to come in now and take whatever H-1B time they have left, or wait and file under the cap and have six-years available again.