Every hopeful immigrant knows that there are constraints on the availability and issuance of United States Green Cards. The limited availability of U.S. visa creates the main backlog on green card applications. Employment-based green cards for foreign workers and their families are also limited by the United States government, and the 2015 cap has been set at 144,000 per year, world-wide. Family-sponsored preference categories for 2015 are limited to 226,000 visas per year. USCIS also places a total annual cap on the amount of visas that can be issued to foreign nationals from any particular country. For 2015, no country can receive more than 7 percent of the total annual number of family-sponsored and employment-based visas or approximately 25,600 visas.
Did you know that in 2012, USCIS naturalized 757,434 LPRs in 2012? According to 2012 DHS data, of the 40.8 million people who comprise the foreign-born U.S. population, 18.7 million immigrants are currently naturalized U.S. citizens. This sounds like a lot, but accounts for only 6 percent of the total U.S. population!
So where did our newly naturalized citizens come from, you ask? Immigrants from the following countries accounted for approximately 49 percent of all naturalizations that year:
- 13 percent were born in Mexico (102,181)
- 6 percent each in the Philippines (44,958) and India (42,928)
- Dominican Republic (33,351)
- China (31,868), Cuba (31,244)
- Colombia (23,972)
- Vietnam (23,490)
- Haiti (19,114)
- El Salvador (16,685)
USCIS estimates indicate that 13.3 million LPRs were residing in the United States as of January 1, 2012. This means that 8.8 million or more people may be eligible to naturalize currently! Are you among them?
To become a naturalized U.S. citizen, LPRs must meet a number of criteria, including being at least 18 years of age, having resided in the United States with LPR status continuously for at least five years, and passing a basic English and civics exam. For any questions about naturalizing, please feel free to contact Your Immigration Angel!
In a memorandum on Immigration, President Obama said up to 70,000 refugees may be admitted to the U.S. during the 2015 fiscal year. The President stated that this number was well justified due to humanitarian concerns and national interest.
The number of people eligible to receive refugee status is split into an uneven quota by region. The slots available to people from various regions is as follows:
- the Near East and South Asia region received the highest allocation with 33,000.
- Africa received 17,000
- the East Asia region was allocated 13,000
- the Latin American and the Caribbean region was assigned a total of 4,000 available slots
- Europe and Central Asia was allotted 1,000
- the “Unallocated Reserve” has 2,000 slots, to be allocated as needed
The State Department can allocate the 2,000 unallocated refugee numbers to another region if the need is warranted but only after notification to the Judiciary Committees of the Congress.
What is Temporary Protected Status?
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration status that may be granted to eligible nationals from certain designated countries.
Who Is Eligible for TPS?
The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a country for TPS when it is determined that:
- There is an ongoing armed conflict within the state and, due to that conflict, return of nationals to that state would pose a serious threat to their personal safety;
- The state has suffered an environmental disaster resulting in a substantial, temporary disruption of living conditions, the state is temporarily unable to handle adequately the return of its nationals, and the state has requested TPS designation; or
- There exist other extraordinary and temporary conditions in the state that prevent nationals from returning in safety, unless the Secretary finds that permitting nationals of the state to remain temporarily is contrary to the national interest of the United States.
What does TPS mean to you?
If you are a TPS beneficiary, you will not be required to leave the United States. You may obtain work authorization during the initial time period of your stay in the U.S. under TPS, as well as for any TPS extensions. It is important to note that TPS does not lead to permanent resident status.
A TPS designation is effective for a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 18 months. Before the end of the TPS designation period, the Secretary will review the conditions in the designated state and determine whether the conditions that led to the TPS designation continue to be met. TPS designations can be terminated or extended for 6, 12, or 18 months. If the Secretary of Homeland Security determines that the TPS for individuals from your country of origin is not necessary any longer and the status is terminated, you will return to the same immigration status that you held before entering into TPS.
It is important that you apply correctly for TPS if you are eligible and seek qualified legal counsel to ensure that you are taking the correct steps in your immigration journey.
President Obama’s immigration reform has created more immigration options for millions of undocumented individuals in the U.S. while promising to keep Americans safer.
- Parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (of any age) who have been continuously present since 1/1/10, and who pass background checks and pay taxes, will be eligible to apply for deferred action, which will be granted for a 3-year period.
- Parents of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients are not eligible for the above relief, however the DACA program itself will be expanded. The program guidelines will be revised to eliminate the age cap, and to change the date that continuous presence must have started to 1/1/10.
- Individuals with an approved employment-based immigrant petition who are caught in the quota backlogs to file for adjustment of status will be advanced to permit them to obtain the benefits of a pending adjustment.
- New reforms also promise to aid job-creating entrepreneurs gain access legal means to enter and operate in the U.S
- To make the best use of limited ICE resources, newly outlined enforcement priorities will focus on security measures to keep suspected terrorists, convicted felons (including aggravated felonies), convicted gang members, out of the United States. Additionally, close attention will be paid to people apprehended at the border, people convicted of serious or multiple misdemeanors, and very recent entrants.
How to Determine Admissibility to the U.S. for a Green Card Application
“Admission” means the lawful entry into the U.S. after inspection and authorization by a United States immigration officer.
Under U.S. Immigration law, a person is seeking admission when he or she:
- is present at the border or port of entry and seeks permission to enter the U.S.
- is physically present in the U.S., but entered without inspection
- applies for an adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident, such as through a marriage green card
Additionally, in some instances, a lawfully admitted individual may travel abroad after being convicted of a crime and then want to return to the U.S., which is also considered seeking (re)admission.
If you are considering petitioning for your spouse to obtain a green card, let us help you so that you can avoid being separated from your loved one and can maintain your family unity. We know that separation is difficult for you. Your Immigration Angel can help you to secure the right family visas to allow you to unite with your spouses and family members. Call or email for a free consultation today!