On March 19, 2010 through an editorial in The Washington Post, Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) presented their four (4) main proposals for comprehensive immigration reform: (1) ending illegal employment through biometric Social Security cards; (2) enhancing border and interior enforcement; (3) managing the flow of future immigration to correspond to economic realities; and (4) creating a tough but fair path toward legalizing the 11 million people currently in the U.S. without authorization. To read the whole article, please visit: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/17/AR2010031703115.html. President Obama issued a recent statement pledging to do everything in his power to forge a bipartisan consensus in 2010 regarding immigration reform. This is a promising statement to immigrants and their practitioners and legislators in light of the desperate need for change in a very broken system.
The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_4747.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (China is 08/22/2005 and India is 02/01/2005); EB-3 is at 2001 (India), 2002 (Mexico) or 2003 (all other countries); EB-3 other workers are at 2001; EB-4, religious workers, EB-5, and targeted employment areas and regional centers are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at 2006.
The USCIS has announced three initiatives to improve the E-Verify system. The first is a new agreement with the Department of Justice that will streamline the decision process in cases of E-Verify misuse and discrimination. The second is an informational telephone hotline for employees and the third is a series of new bilingual training videos focusing on E-Verify procedures and policies, employee rights and employer responsibilities in English and Spanish. For more information, please see: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=70beadd907c67210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=51ee4df6afc67210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced that ICE enforcement activities have expanded to the southeastern U.S., including in Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. ICE will be issuing 180 Notices of Inspection to businesses in this region to examine Form I-9 records, employee records, financial records and other business records. These inspections are to determine whether these businesses are complying with Federal employment eligibility verification laws and regulations. ICE's movement into the southeast is a reminder to all businesses to make sure their Form I-9 policies produce accurate results and to develop plans and procedures that ensure compliance with applicable Federal statutes and regulations. Please contact our office if you'd like to discuss these issues with respect to your company or employer.
The U.S. passport agency in San Francisco, California, is joining passport agencies around the country in holding an event on 03/27/2010 from 10AM - 3PM to provide current and prospective U.S. citizens passport information and to accept passport applications. The San Francisco Passport Agency is located at 95 Hawthorne Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California 94105. If you'd like information about U.S. passport requirements and the application, please visit travel.state.gov or call 1-877-487-2778. Please note that you do not need to pre-register for U.S. passport day.
50 new individuals become naturalized U.S. citizens March 1, 2010 in a special ceremony at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice's Great Hall. In light of this special ceremony, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has published the following citizenship statistics:
1907: 7,941 individuals naturalized
1908: 25,975 individuals naturalized
1971-1980: 1.5 million individuals naturalized (main areas were Europe, Philippines, Cuba and China)
1981-1990: 2.3 million individuals naturalized (main areas were Asia, Canada and Mexico)
1991-2000: 5.6 million individuals naturalized (main areas were Philippines, Vietnam and Mexico)
2001-2010: Over 5.6 million individuals naturalized (main areas are Philippines, Vietnam and Mexico)
The California Service Center (CSC) will hold a tour of its facility in Laguna Niguel, California, for HR personnel involved with filing immigration cases for their workers. The tour is on March 11, 2010. It will begin at 12:15PM and end at 1:00PM. From 1:00PM to 2:30PM, CSC officers will meet with the visitors and answer questions. The topics will include best practices for filing and advice HR professionals should give their foreign workers. Please let us know by March 5, 2010 if you'd like to attend and we can arrange your visit.