AMERICAN DREAM ACT – PATH TO LEGAL IMMIGRATION FOR COLLEGE-BOUND STUDENTS
UNCLE SAM WANTS YOUR BIOMETRICS: NEW BIOMETRICS PROCESS FOR CONDITIONAL PERMANENT RESIDENTS
AgJOBS – PROPOSED IMMIGRATION REFORM FOR AGRICULTURAL EMPLOYERS AND WORKERS
“COMPROMISED” NURSING LICENSURE EXAMINATION (06/06) CAUSES CGNFS TO DENY VISA SCREENS FOR SOME FILIPINO NURSES
USCIS ADVISES PETITIONERS OVERSEAS – DO NOT RE-FILE I-130
TOPIC OF THE MONTH: H-1B CAP, EMPLOYERS SHOULD ACT NOW
LAW OFFICES OF CURTIS PIERCE IN THE NEWS:
LINK TO READ “CROSSING INTO SAFETY”, THE COVER STORY OF CALIFORNIA LAWYER MAGAZINE (JANUARY 2007) FEATURING ATTORNEY CURTIS PIERCE AND HIS CLIENT FROM THE REPUBLIC OF CONGO.
UPCOMING EVENTS: ATTORNEY CURTIS PIERCE TO SPEAK AT THE AMERICAN BUSINESS SCHOOL IN PARIS
AMERICAN DREAM ACT – PATH TO LEGAL IMMIGRATION FOR COLLEGE-BOUND STUDENTS
American Dream Act: H.R. 5131 is a bipartisan effort to provide a legal path to immigration for college-bound children who have lived most of their lives in the United States, but do not have legal immigration status. It was introduced in the current session of Congress on February 28, 2007 by Congressman Howard Berman (CA-28, D) and Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34, D) and originally sponsored by Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21, R).
Qualified students would be eligible for temporary legal immigration status upon high school graduation that would lead to permanent legal residency if they go to college or serve in the military under the American Dream Act. It would amend the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.
The American Dream Act also addresses the issue on in-state college tuition.It would eliminate a federal provision that discourages states from providing in-state college tuition to immigrant students who have long resided in their states. Despite meeting state residency requirements, immigrant students in certain states are charged out-of-state or international tuition rates, which are significantly higher than the cost of in-state tuition. This bill addresses the legal barriers faced by young people who were brought illegally to the United States and are facing adulthood without legal status. Proponents of the bill argue that our current system keeps large numbers of U.S. educated immigrant children out of college and consequently, out of the skilled labor force because adults in their families brought them to the U.S. illegally.
The bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress, but never became law. Companion legislation is expected to be introduced in the Senate.
UNCLE SAM WANTS YOUR BIOMETRICS: NEW BIOMETRICS PROCESS FOR CONDITIONAL PERMANENT RESIDENTS.
We are living in the electronic age. If you are a conditional permanent resident, the government wants your biometrics. In fact, the USCIS requires biometric processing. Effective immediately, a new nationwide biometrics process has been implements for conditional permanent residents who file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. Gone are the days of submitting passport-style photographs, index fingerprints, and signatures on Form I-89, I-551 or I-586 for creation of a “Green Card” or permanent resident card.
What does the government want from me?
Biometric processing includes the electronic capture of an applicant’s photograph, signature, index fingerprint and ten-print fingerprints. The photograph, signature and index fingerprint are used to generate the lawful permanent resident card, if the Form I-751 is approved. You can not get a Green Card if you fail to comply. The ten-print fingerprints are captured for the purpose of conducting a criminal background check and are processed for applicants between the ages of 14 and 79. Do I still have to submit passport photographs?Only “overseas applicants” will be required to submit passport-style photographs, since photographs will be captured in the biometrics process. Where do I report for biometric processing?
The new process requires all conditional permanent residents to appear at the USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) after filing Form I-751 to have their biometrics electronically captured. An ASC appointment notice will automatically be sent by mail to the applicant. How much does the new biometrics process cost?
AgJOBS – PROPOSED IMMIGRATION REFORM FOR AGRICULTURAL EMPLOYEERS AND WORKERS.
AgJOBS or Agricultural Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act of 2007 is a bi-cameral effort. It was reintroduced on January 10, 2007 in the opening days of the 110th Congress. The bill was reintroduced by Senators Feinstein (D-CA), Kennedy (D-MA), Boxer (D-CA) Craig (R-ID), and Martinez (R-FL) as well as Representative Berman (D-CA), Thompson (D-CA), Peterson (D-MN), Costa (D-CA), Boyd (D-FL), Solis (D-CA), Baca (D-CA), Bishop (D-GA), Salazar (CO), Larsen (D-WA), Cannon (R-UT), Radanovich (R-CA), Putnam (R-FL), LaHood (R-IL), Walso (R-NY), Kuhl (R-NY), Nunes (R-CA), L. Diza-Balart (R-FL), Gilchrest (R-MD), and McHugh (R-NY).
The goal of AgJOBS is to provide a stable, legal agricultural work force. This bill provides for the adjustment of status of certain foreign agricultural workers. It will amend the Immigration and Nationality Act and reform the H-2A worker program under that Act. It seeks to accelerate the petition approval process for noncitizen workers to fill agricultural jobs that Americans will not take. Also, it proposes to extend basic legal protection and better working conditions to more workers. In 2006, the Senate passed AgJOBS as part of S. 2611, but it failed when Congress reach an impasse over broader immigration reform legislation.
“COMPROMISED” NURSING LICENSURE EXAMINATION (06/06) CAUSES CGNFS TO DENY VISA SCREENS FOR SOME FILIPINO NURSES CGFNS International, Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools is a nonprofit, international organization which specializes in credentials evaluation pertaining to the education, registration, and licensure of nurses and other healthcare professionals worldwide. CGFNS International offers VISASCREEN Certificates to attest that healthcare workers educated in countries other than the U.S. are eligible and qualified to meet licensure, immigration and other practice requirements in the U.S.
On February 14, 2007, CGFNS denied VISASCREEN Certificates for Philippine nurses who passed the compromised June 2006 Philippine licensure exam.
CGFNS has concluded that the licensure process for those who received their license as a result of passed the compromised June 2006 licensure exam raises significant questions about the accurate assessment of the competencies of many of those individuals. As a result, CGFNS is unable to certify that the licensure is comparable to a U.S. license. In this instance, applicable U.S. immigration law will not permit CGFNS to issue the VISASCREEN Certificate required of internationally educated health care workers.
USCIS ADVISES PETITIONERS OVERSEAS – DO NOT REFILE I-130.
USCIS advises anyone who filed a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with an American embassy or consulate since July 2006 that they do not need to re-file the petition. USCIS is working with the Department of State to process those petitions. A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S. file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to establish their relationship to certain alien relatives who may wish to immigrate to the U.S. This often involves children or unmarried sons and daughters.
The Department of State announced in January 2007 that certain requirement of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (enacted in July 2006) precluded them from accepting new petitions. USCIS expects to issue instructions for new filings in the near future and will provide updated information once the details have been finalized with the Department of State.
LAW OFFICES OF CURTIS PIERCE IN THE NEWS
LINK TO “CROSSING TO SAFETY” A STORY ABOUT CURTIS PIERCE AND HIS CLIENT IN THE JANUARY EDITION OF CALIFORNIA LAWYER MAGAZINE Did you read the cover story of January’s California Lawyer magazine? If you missed it, you can link to it below to read about attorney Curtis Pierce and his representation of a young, French speaking refugee from the Republic of Congo. http://californialawyermagazine.com/index.cfm?sid=&tkn=&eid=883176&evid=1
TOPIC OF THE MONTH
H-1B CAP, EMPLOYERS SHOULD ACT NOW.
April 1, 2007 is the first date applications may be accepted on behalf of employees seeking H-1B status for new fiscal year that begins October 1, 2007. Since the 65,000 quota is anticipated to be filled shortly after the initial applications are received, employers are advised to be prepared to file right away. The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa that enables professionals in "specialty occupations", i.e., those that require a minimum of a baccalaureate, to work in the United States. A U.S. degree or acceptable foreign alternative is required.
In some cases, work experience and education may be combined to meet the requirements. Non-graduates may be employed on an H-1B VISA where they can claim to be “graduate equivalent” with twelve or more years work experience in the occupation (three years of relevant work experience may substitute for one year of education). The petitions are submitted by employers based on their need for non-U.S. resident employees in “specialty occupations”. The H-1B non-immigrant work visa may be issued to applicants seeking temporary work in a "specialty occupation" which requires the skills of a professional such as scientists, engineers, information technology or other computer professionals, engineers, financial analysts, management consultants, architects, system analysts, journalists, lawyers, market research analysts, teachers in elementary or secondary schools or colleges, accountants, nurses, physicians, surgeons, and dentists. This list is by no means exclusive.
For an initial H-1B, the filing fees are $190.00 for the form I-129. Unless exempt, for companies with over 25 employees, there is an additional fee of $1500.00. For companies with fewer than 25 employees, the fee is $750.00. Finally, there is a $500.00 Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee. Therefore, for an initial application with a company with over 25 employees, the total filing fees are $2,190.00. The filing fees for a company with less than 25 employees filing for an employee for the first time, the total filing fees are $1440.00. Certain institutions of higher learning and non-profit organizations are exempt from these filing fees.
UPCOMING EVENTS: PIERCE IN PARIS ON BUSINESS IMMIGRATION
On May 29, 2007, Attorney Curtis Pierce is scheduled to speak at the American Business School in Paris in the city of light. Mr. Pierce will speak about American Immigration Law and present options for companies and individuals in Europe who seek visas to conduct business in the United States.
USCIS PROCESSING TIMES
View your processing times and case status by using the following links.