A new immigration law extended the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program through the end of calendar year 2014. The Afghan Allies Protection Act was initially enacted in 2009 to permit Afghan nationals, most of whom served as translators for the U.S. military, to be granted United States immigrant visas. After being plagued by extensive backlogs, the program has resulted in the issuance of thousands of visas over the past year. The new immigration law authorizes an additional 1,000 visas to supplement the 3,000 visas already issued in 2014. The deadline to file is December 31, 2014.
The Violence Against Women Act or VAWA, provides wide-ranging support and comprehensive immigration law benefits for victims of domestic violence. VAWA has also provided a foundation for federal financial support, as well as additional guidance for state and local law initiatives. There has been significant progress in addressing the domestic violence crimes against immigrants. However, many abused immigrant men and women are unsure of their rights. If you or someone you know is being abused or thinks they are being abused and is an immigrant, please, feel free to contact Your Immigration Angel for a free consultation today.
It will come as a relief to many that a new Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program will be implemented in early 2015. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas has said that “The rebuilding and development of a safe and economically strong Haiti is a priority for the United States. [The] program promotes a fundamental underlying goal of our immigration system – family reunification. It also supports broader U.S. goals for Haiti’s reconstruction and development by providing the opportunity for certain eligible Haitians to safely and legally immigrate sooner to the United States.” Indeed, under this program, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will offer certain eligible Haitian beneficiaries of already approved family-based immigrant visa petitions, who are currently in Haiti, an opportunity to come to the United States up to approximately two years before their immigrant visa priority dates become current.
Although President Obama has yet to issue any statements or take official actions on immigration reform, it seems very likely that the government is gearing up ahead of a new immigration initiative. On October 6, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) drafted a request for bids from potential vendors for supplies “to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.” These vendors specifically must be capable of handling a scenario of 9 million ID cards issued in one year. The agency seeks to buy the materials need to construct both Permanent Residency Cards (PRC) aka “Green Cards,” and Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) cards, also used for the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program instituted by President Obama in 2012. The proposal request indicates that the agency will need a minimum of four million cards per year. However, a “surge” predicted in 2016 would mean the agency would need an additional five million cards – more than double the baseline annual amount for a total of 9 million.
It is rather telling that the proposal request also states that: “The guaranteed minimum for each ordering period is 4,000,000 cards. The estimated maximum for the entire contract is 34,000,000 cards.” These actions tend to indicate that immigration reform is coming, and in a substantial way! Stay tuned…
The United States has historically been a melting pot of immigrants, each immigrant community bringing an additional ingredient to the rich mélange that is the U.S. population. As such, immigrants have been instrumental in helping build this country and are an intrinsic part of American history. However, Immigrant communities have been waiting for months for immigration reforms to meet the growing needs of the people. Unfortunately, Congress has been unable to agree on any actions to meet current immigration needs. Every U.S. President since 1965 has made executive decisions on immigration issues, and President Obama is no exception. The President has broad executive authority to shape the enforcement and implementation of immigration laws. The President can exercise prosecutorial discretion to defer deportations and streamline adjudications. Already, President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, has deferred deportation for young adults brought to the U.S. as children. Further reform focusing on circumventing family separation is one of the main areas expected to be addressed soon by the Obama administration.