Articles Posted in Citizenship

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On June 1, 2014, USCIS limited the validity period for all Forms I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, to one year from the date of submission to USCIS. Applicants must also submit Form I-693 to USCIS within one year of the immigration medical examination. USCIS also will provide additional ways to submit Form I-693. As outlined in policy alert PA-2014-005, this updated policy applies to any Form I-693 supporting a benefit application that USCIS adjudicates on or after June 1, 2014.

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House Republicans released a draft of principles on immigration reform as House GOP members gathered for their retreat to discuss their position on a range of issues.

Here is a synopsis of the draft on Immigration Reform:

Reforms to Employment-Based Immigration

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In October 2013, CA Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 60, allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for CA driver’s licenses. When the law takes effect January 1, 2015, California will be the ninth state (along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) to allow undocumented immigrants to drive legally.

Under the law, the CA Department of Motor Vehicles is required to issue driver’s licenses to an undocumented immigrant who can prove his or her identity, has established CA residency, and passes the requisite driving exams. Officials have estimated that 1.4 million individuals will apply for licenses under the law.

Details about how the new licenses will look and the exact process for obtaining them are still unknown. However, Federal law does require the card to have some distinguishable letters. For example, the front of the licenses may read “DP” for “driving privilege” before the license number rather than the “DL” used on traditional licenses. Additionally, language may be added to the back of the license stating limitations, such as that the holder may not use it for federal identification purposes.

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On January 3, 2014 the California Supreme Court granted a California license to practice law to an undocumented immigrant. Sergio Garcia, 36, is from Mexico and has lived in the United States for years. He first entered California when he was less than two years old, returned to Mexico at 9, and illegally re-entered the United States at the age of 17. He attended Cal Northern School of Law and passed the California Bar exam. However, he has not yet been granted a visa due to the long backlog of applicants (his father has resident status and filed for a visa on his son’s behalf in 1994).

Garcia challenged a 1996 law barring undocumented immigrants from receiving professional licenses from government agencies or with the use of public funds. The federal government argued the California courts were funded by public money, thus precluding him from being granted a license. Meanwhile, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a series of immigrant rights bills in October, including one allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain law licenses. This law took effect January 1, 2014. On January 3, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of Garcia, determining he “possesses the requisite good moral character to qualify for a law license.”

Two similar cases are pending in Florida and New York. The Obama administration has made it clear that it will oppose Bar entry to undocumented immigrants unless each state’s Legislature passes its own laws allowing it. This position is surprising considering the Obama administration has shielded from deportation those who were brought to the United States illegally as children, graduated from high school, and have a clean criminal record.

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At a time when the prospects of the House taking up immigration reform legislation any time soon do not look promising, a new poll finds a solid majority of Americans favor a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

“Today, 63% of Americans favor providing a way for immigrants who are currently living in the United States illegally to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements, while 14% support allowing them to become permanent legal residents but not citizens,” states a new report from the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute. The report found the number of Americans supporting a pathway to citizenship is even higher when the question mentions certain requirements immigrants must meet in order to qualify.

The results show Americans have remained consistent on the issue for the past year; the institute found the same number (63 percent) in March and August.

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The USCIS has published a form entitled “Important Information for New Citizens” that provides a list of some of the top rights and responsibilities assumed by all U.S. citizens, including the right to freely express oneself and the responsibility to uphold the Constitution. The publication also provides a summary of the actions to be taken upon becoming a U.S. citizen. The next steps include the following:

• Applying for a U.S passport

• Updating your Social Security record

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USCIS offers a U.S. citizenship on-line resource guide, including citizenship preparation materials and classes for immigrants, teachers, and community-based organizations. For more information on the USCIS Citizenship Resource Center, see http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.2182d258012d5eb62b6859c7526e0aa0/?vgnextoid=37decf2351488210VgnVCM1000002
5e6a00aRCRD&vgnextchannel=37decf2351488210VgnVCM10000025e6a00aRCRD

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The USCIS has issued a 16-minute naturalization (U.S. citizenship) video for applicants, which includes information about eligibility requirements, the application process, the interview and the required tests. To see the video, please visit this link: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=76574bbe6cb97210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=d6369ddf801b3210VgnVCM100000b92ca60aRCRD.

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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.

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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)