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Improvements to the Visa Waiver Program November 29, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Action, Employment-Based Immigration, Immigration Laws and Policies, MyComments, News and politics, Simply Immigration!, Tips, USCIS Press Release.
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Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff issued a statement on security improvements to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). It followed President Bush’s announced intention to work with Congress to reform the VWP to encourage some international allies to join the program.

Here is the complete press release–

Release Date: November 28, 2006

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

President Bush has announced his intention to work with Congress to reform the Visa Waiver Program by strengthening security measures to better facilitate the increased interest among some international allies in joining the program. Americans rightly expect this Department to fulfill its legal and moral obligation to secure our borders from those who would do us harm, while maintaining our great legacy as a welcoming country to legitimate foreign visitors. These reforms will accomplish both objectives, and encourage international allies that their goal of joining the Visa Waiver Program is a realistic one.

The Visa Waiver Program began in 1988 in the pre-9/11 world. In a post-9/11 environment, homeland security must be the priority. We can achieve greater security and greater efficiency in our Visa Waiver Program.

We envision a secure travel authorization system that will allow us to receive data about travelers from countries before they get on the plane. Countries that are willing to assist the United States in doing effective checks on travelers could be put on track to enter the program soon. For countries seeking admission to the Visa Waiver Program, this would be an opportunity to set a standard that will be applied to the program generally.

We want to welcome people who are interested in working or traveling in the United States provided they abide by the terms of their admission and, also importantly, provided they don’t furnish a security threat. I want to stress that the United States will equally accept the burden of new security measures and will not require citizens of visa waiver countries to adopt measures that we are unwilling to undertake ourselves. The Department looks forward to working with Congress and our foreign allies to improve the visa waiver eligibility requirements.


Senate Appropriators Block Harsh Enforcement Provisions…on DHS Funding September 26, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Action, Immigration Laws and Policies, MyComments, News and politics, Politics and World Events, Simply Immigration!.
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House and Senate negotiators, on 9/25/06, agreed on a $34.8 billion conference report to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in FY 2007 (H.R. 5441). This sum is an increase of $2.3 billion above fiscal year 2006 and $2.7 billion above the President’s request (includes $1.8 in emergency spending). The conference agreement is expected to be cleared by both chambers by the end of the week. Thanks in part to the work of American Immigration Lawyers Associaation members, a group of Senate appropriators prevented the inclusion in the conference report of harsh immigration enforcement measures that House Republicans attempted to attach to it.

U.S. Government loosens air travel restrictions September 25, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in News and politics, Tips, Travel Alert.
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The U.S. government is lifting its complete ban against carrying liquids and gels onto airliners, instituted after a plot to bomb jets flying into the United States was foiled, officials said Monday. “We now know enough to say that a total ban is no longer needed from a security point of view,” said Kip Hawley, head of the Transportation Security Administration, at a news conference at Reagan National Airport.

DHS Announces SBINET Contract Award to Boeing September 24, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Immigration Laws and Policies, News and politics, Simply Immigration!, USCIS Press Release.
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today the award of a contract with the Boeing Co. to implement SBInet along the United States northern and southern borders.  The landmark SBInet program will provide DHS, and its agents and officers, with the best possible solution to detect, identify, classify, respond to and resolve illegal entry attempts at our land borders with Mexico and Canada.  

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010
September 21, 2006

National Fast for Immigrant Justice – September 30! September 21, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Action, Immigration Laws and Policies, MyComments, News and politics, Simply Immigration!, Tips.
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The National Fast for Immigrant Justice will call attention to the horrors of IIRIRA, and put a human face on the suffering this terrible law is inflicting on the most vulnerable among us. Participants in the National Fast for Immigrant Justice will donate the money that they would have spent on food on September 30th to organizations that fight for justice for immigrants, and will contact elected officials and let them know that they are fasting, and why.

For more information please contact: John Gomez (312) 550-7036. You can also read more online at: http://www.nationalfastforimmigrantjustice.com/

2008 Diversity Visa Lottery Program Registration September 20, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Greencard Lottery, MyComments, News and politics, Simply Immigration!, Tips, Visa Bulletin.

Applications for the 2008 Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery will be accepted between noon Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Wednesday, October 4, 2006 and noon Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5) Sunday, December 3, 2006. Applicants may access the electronic Diversity Visa entry form at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period. Paper entries will not be accepted. Applicants are strongly encouraged not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter. Heavy demand may result in website delays. No entries will be accepted after noon EST on December 3, 2006.

For further details go to: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2006/72835.htm

Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery (“Green-card”) 2008 Starts Soon! September 17, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Greencard Lottery, Immigration Laws and Policies, Info for Doctors and Health Professionals, News and politics, Tips.

Each year, the Diversity Lottery (DV) Program makes 55,000 immigrant visas (“Green-Card”) available through a lottery to people who come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Of such visas, 5,000 are allocated for use under NACARA beginning with DV ’99. The State Department (DOS) holds the lottery every year, and randomly selects approximately 110,000 applicants from all qualified entries. The DOS selects the approximately 110,000 applications since many will not complete the visa process. However once 55,000 are issued or the fiscal year ends, the DV program is closed. If you receive a visa through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program you will be authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. You will also be allowed to bring your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States.========================================The DV-2008 Lottery will begin at noon EDT on October 4, 2006 and will end at noon EST on December 3, 2006.More information about the lottery will be coming soon.  Check out this site for upcoming DV-2008 instructions:  http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/

Church leaders speak out against immigration sweeps September 15, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Immigration Laws and Policies, Immigration reform, MyComments, News and politics.
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Here is a summary of an article published in The San Francisco Chronicle…

Leaders of four different religious faiths spoke out Wednesday near Santa Cruz on behalf of families of scores of immigration violators deported last week as controversy continued over federal immigration sweeps that have netted thousands of people since May.

The religious leaders who spoke out Wednesday acknowledged that the government has a right to enforce immigration law. But they said enforcement can tear apart families in which some members are illegal and others are U.S. citizens.

“It is clear that we have reached a point where we need legislation that will produce a viable path to citizenship for undocumented persons residing in our nation and one (law) that protects the integrity of families and the safety of children,” Roman Catholic Bishop Sylvester Ryan said at a press conference at the Resurrection Catholic Community Church in Aptos.

A San Francisco immigration attorney representing two children whose parents were deported to Mexico, criticized the operation as much more aggressive than in the past.

“Don’t deport them the same day,” she said. “Give them access to counsel. You’re ripping them away from their families. It’s really malicious.”

Michael Cutler, a former immigration agent in New York now associated with the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank in Washington that supports tighter restrictions on immigration, said a better name for the current effort would be “Operation Backrub.”

“The administration has administered warm milk and a backrub to the American people to inspire a false sense of confidence,” he said. “The president has an agenda, which appears to be open up the border between the U.S. and Mexico and the U.S. and Canada. … He’s been doing this to be able to sell his package.”

“You can deport the people, but if employers are still hiring illegal workers, you’re not going to solve the problem,” she said. “They’re tackling the symptom of the problem, which is that people are here. But are they tackling the employment magnet? Are they tackling the fact that there’s no way for these workers to come legally? It’s not clear.” …said Deborah Meyers, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

The message is clear that a comprehensive immigration reform is absolutely necessary…

AAO Addresses H-1B Cap Exemption for Public School September 15, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Employment-Based Immigration, H-1B visa, Immigration Laws and Policies, MyComments, News and politics.

On September 8, 2006, the AAO issued a decision regarding exemption from the H-1B cap for a Texas public school, as well as whether the position is a specialty occupation and whether the teacher holds the requisite degree. Deferring to USCIS’ interpretation of the AC21 exemption to the H-1B cap, the Office found that the District Director’s decision to apply the definition of a related or affiliated nonprofit entity found in 8 C.F.R section 214.2(h)(19)(iii)(B), which defines the term for purposes of the H-1B fee exemption as a nonprofit entity that is “connected or associated with an institution of higher education, through shared ownership or control by the same board or federation . . . or attached as a member, branch, cooperative or subsidiary”, was reasonable.

American Immigration Lawyers Association filed an amicus brief with the AAO in this case on this issue in which it argued that the regulatory provision relating to the fee exemption does not apply to the exemption from the H-1B numerical limitations (for which no regulation exists). Rather, the AAO should look to the totality of the relationship between the petitioner and certain institutions of higher education and analyze “affiliated or related” in a manner consistent with the definitions of those terms throughout immigration law and with the ameliorative intent behind the relevant statute.

Source: AILA Newsletter September 06

Attorney General Outlines Reforms for Immigration Courts and Board of Immigration Appeals September 14, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Immigration Laws and Policies, Immigration reform, News and politics.
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Recently, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales announced that the Department of Justice will implement new measures to improve the Immigration Courts and Board of Immigration Appeals. The measures include performance evaluations, an immigration law exam, a proposal for the authority to sanction, budget increases, technological improvements and streamlining practices.

For the complete announcement go to:  http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2006/August/06_ag_520.html