Immigration Law News NH and beyond

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Immigration Newsletter

Thursday, December 18, 2014

NHPR's New Hampshire's Immigration Story Page

http://nhpr.org/topic/nhs-immigration-story

NHPR has a page online with a bunch of interesting stories and interviews about immigration in NH. From history to current events ... check it out if you are interested and have some time.






Drew Law Office, PLLC -- Immigration Attorneys, Manchester Metro, NH (603) 644-3739 or www.drewpllc.com

Monday, December 15, 2014

NHBA - Bar News Issue

NHBA - Bar News Issue

Bar News - December 17, 2014


Opinion: A NH Immigration Lawyer’s Perspective on Executive Action

By: 

Perhaps you have heard that President Barack Obama recently declared himself King and tore up the Constitution to thwart the rule of law regarding immigration. Well, that’s not exactly true. The president did give a speech and published two presidential memoranda on immigration. Those two memos, however, were both rather vague and announced some pretty uncontroversial ideas, such as “…streamline and improve the legal immigration system…” and “...modernize the information technology infrastructure underlying the visa processing system…”
The controversial policy changes have been left to the cabinet members of the relevant agencies; particularly Homeland Security and Labor. There are several changes coming to the inner workings of the immigration system – things that should improve the efficiency and customer service aspects of the bureaucracy quite a lot. But nobody cares about that, unless they are trying to hire an immigrant worker, petition for a family member, or work on immigration cases, as I do.
The really big news about the executive action is the shift of enforcement resources away from “wide net” interior sweep toward a targeted approach against dangerous criminals and recent arrivals, and concentrating on the Southwestern border. As part of this kinder/gentler approach, the secretary of Homeland Security (at the president’s direction) has expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) and created an additional class of persons eligible for deferred action: parents of US citizen or lawful permanent resident children. This new program is called the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA).
Is this executive amnesty? Not really. Amnesty implies forgiveness of a violation of immigration law (e.g. illegal entry or visa overstay) and a path to permanent status or citizenship. DACA and DAPA provide only a temporary formal deferral of a person’s removal from the United States. It does not end the threat that eventually, even a DACA or DAPA beneficiary will face deportation. What DACA and DAPA have done and will do is allow some people who have been living here without documents to come out of the shadows; get temporary permission to work, obtain a legitimate social security number, file a proper tax return, and get a legal driver’s license. It allows people to stop breaking the law out of necessity.
If you are in the self-deportation camp (the philosophy that we should make living here such an awful and treacherous experience that undocumented people will voluntarily choose to leave) you are not going to like these measures. I really can’t help with that. I would only point out that we are talking about persons who entered the United States when they were children and/or are parents of US citizen children and who have resided in the country since 2009. I personally am not interested in discovering how spiteful, horrid, petty and mean we can be to these folks – but maybe that’s just me.
Sure, I am biased; this will be good for my business. In truth, I also am hoping that these program changes will last long enough to see a comprehensive immigration reform act pass through Congress. But, biased or not, I also have likely met more immigrants (legal or otherwise) than many Bar News readers, in my close to 20 years as an immigration lawyer. That is how I know that many of them will flourish when given this chance.
Having even a temporary status can allow them to seek a better job for higher wages, pursue higher education (although without financial assistance), and have some stability to make financial decisions like renting a better apartment, registering a car, opening a bank account – things many of us take for granted. These are all positives for the previously undocumented and for the state’s economy and public safety in general.
commented here back in May on a change to NH law for 2015 that will increase the penalty for first offense driving without a license from a violation to a misdemeanor, if the driver had never had a valid license. I suspect this change will mostly impact undocumented immigrants who are not eligible to receive a New Hampshire driver’s license. Yet they still have to get kids to school, bring home groceries from the store, and get to work and back – usually on a non-Uber-ready budget. For some, but by no means all, DACA and DAPA will change that, so they can stop looking over their shoulders and get on with living their lives.


 Drew Law Office, PLLC -- Immigration Lawyers Metro Manchester NH (603) 644-3739 or www.immigrationNH.com

Monday, December 8, 2014

Launch of In-Country Refugee/Parole Program for Children in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with Parents Lawfully Present in the United States

from the US Dept. of State website





Launch of In-Country Refugee/Parole Program for Children in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with Parents Lawfully Present in the United States



Today, the United States is announcing the official launch of an in-country refugee/parole program in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to provide a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that some children are currently undertaking to the United States. This program will allow certain parents from one of these three countries who are lawfully present in the United States to request to bring their children to the United States as refugees via the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Children who are found ineligible for refugee admission but still at risk of harm may be considered for parole on a case-by-case basis. The refugee/parole program will not be a pathway for undocumented parents to bring their children to the United States. Instead, the program will provide certain vulnerable, at-risk children with an opportunity to be reunited with parents lawfully present in the United States.
A fact sheet in English and Spanish describing the program can be found on the Department of State website at:http://www.state.gov/j/prm/releases/factsheets/2014/234067.htm
Applications for this program may be initiated by a lawfully present parent in the United States. Form DS-7699 must be filed with the assistance of a designated resettlement agency that works with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration to help resettle refugees in the United States. Parents do not need to pay any fee to file this form or for assistance in completing and submitting the form, but they are expected to cover the initial costs of DNA testing to confirm claimed biological parent-child relationships. Costs of DNA testing are reimbursable under certain circumstances. Form DS-7699 will not be available on the Department of State website to the general public and cannot be completed without the assistance of a Department of State-funded resettlement agency. These nearly 350 resettlement agency affiliates are located in more than 180 communities throughout the United States. Additional information about the program, as well as a list of the resettlement agency affiliates that can assist with filing the DS-7699 can be found at: http://www.wrapsnet.org/CAMProgram/tabid/420/Default.aspx






 Drew Law Office, PLLC -- Immigration Attorneys, Manchester Metro, NH (603) 644-3739 or www.drewpllc.com

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Obama’s immigration actions: an overview - New Hampshire Business Review - December 12 2014

Obama’s immigration actions: an overview - New Hampshire Business Review - December 12 2014



Contrary to many media reports, President Obama did not issue any executive orders on immigration in November. He did deliver a speech and two presidential memoranda on immigration, but both are very general in nature and mostly offer aspirational goals.
The real changes take shape in a series of companion memoranda issued by the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor detailing how the executive action is to be carried out.
Some of the changes represent a sharp break from past practices and might be litigated, overridden by Congress, or revoked by the next administration. Some of these changes, however, probably should have been made a long time ago and will likely remain in place for years to come.
Perhaps the biggest and most controversial parts of the plan involve changes to enforcement policies toward undocumented immigrants. The executive action provides three key changes in that sphere:
 • The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is being expanded. The program will defer the removal of and allow employment authorization (for three years) for persons who entered the United States prior to their 16th birthday. The cutoff date for arrival in the United States has been moved from 2007 to Jan. 1, 2010, and the upper age limit (31) for applicants has been removed. The changes are supposed to take effect within 90 days.
 • A new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program will also grant deferral of removal and employment authorization to parents of U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident children born on or before Nov. 20, 2014. The parent must prove continuous residence in the U.S. since Jan. 1, 2010, to qualify, and cannot qualify if he or she is considered to be in a specific “enforcement priority group.” This aspect should take effect in 180 days.
 • The Department of Homeland Security has been instructed to adjust its enforcement priorities away from interior enforcement against persons with no criminal record or minor criminal records and to devote more resources to border enforcement and interior enforcement against violent criminals, gang activity, terrorists or other national security threats. The administration is calling this a “felons not families” policy.
The effects of these changes on New Hampshire will likely be modest, given its relatively low foreign-born population. Still, for people who have been living in the shadows for many years, the opportunity to have employment authorization and a driver’s license can mean increased job mobility, better utilization of their skills, higher wages, and increased consumer spending.
New Hampshire recently made driving without a license a class B Misdemeanor (effective Jan. 1, 2015) so this is timely for many persons who previously were not legally able to obtain a driver’s license.

Business-related reforms

Another set of reforms are aimed directly at improving business immigration.
Only Congress can increase the number of employment visas available in a given year. However, a few adjustments have been made through executive action to make it easier to attract and retain well educated and high skilled workers:
 • In the past, dependents of H-1B skilled workers (H-4 visas) have not been authorized to work. That will be changed in January 2015. That should have a positive economic impact right away.
 • The waiting times for employment-based green cards are very long (often many years), so people sometimes run into problems while waiting. They may run out of time on their temporary visas, others may get a promotion or have to take a new job (if a company closes or changes hands), and this has sometimes been grounds for denying their green card application. Potential fixes for these issues are being considered by the Department of Homeland Security, although no timeline has been announced for implementation.
 • Other areas of improvement in the business immigration arena include broadening and extending the Optional Practical Training (OPT) programs for students, especially in a STEM program; making user-friendly improvements to the
Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) labor certification program, which underlies the employment-based permanent resident process; and liberalizing the immigration rules for highly capitalized immigrant investors and for persons with exceptional abilities and advanced degrees.
Additional initiatives in various areas that needed attention were also included, such as: creating an interagency workgroup on worksite immigration enforcement; reorganizing the joint agency operations on the southern border and reviewing the personnel composition and compensation at Immigration and Customs Enforcement; making naturalization (U.S. citizenship) more affordable; and easing the path for immigrant families of military enlistees.
All of these announced measures are temporary in nature and can only soften the edges of our broken immigration system rather than repair it. There are still many additional reforms needed to make the immigration system work efficiently, humanely and to the highest benefit of the United States. Comprehensive reform will have to wait for a legislative fix from Congress.
Randall A. Drew, principal of Drew Office, Bedford, has been practicing immigration law in New Hampshire since 1998. He can be reached at 603-644-3739 or randall@drewpllc.com.
Drew Law Office, PLLC -- Immigration Lawyers Metro Manchester NH (603) 644-3739 or www.immigrationNH.com

Monday, November 17, 2014

In-Country Refugee/Parole Program for Minors in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras With Parents Lawfully Present in the United States

In-Country Refugee/Parole Program for Minors in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras With Parents Lawfully Present in the United States



U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE and U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
The United States is establishing an in-country refugee/parole program in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to provide a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that some children are currently undertaking to the United States. This program will allow certain parents who are lawfully present in the United States to request access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for their children still in one of these three countries. Children who are found ineligible for refugee admission but still at risk of harm may be considered for parole on a case-by-case basis. The refugee/parole program will not be a pathway for undocumented parents to bring their children to the United States, but instead, the program will provide certain vulnerable, at-risk children an opportunity to be reunited with parents lawfully resident in the United States.
Applications for this program are initiated in the United States. Beginning in December 2014, a parent lawfully present in the United States will be able to file Department of State form DS-7699 requesting a refugee resettlement interview for unmarried children under 21 in El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras. Under certain circumstances, if the second parent resides with the child in the home country and is currently married to the lawfully present parent in the United States, the second parent may be added to the child’s petition and considered for refugee status, and if denied refugee status, for parole. Form DS-7699 must be filed with the assistance of a designated resettlement agency that works with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration to help resettle refugees in the United States. The form will not be available on the Department of State website to the general public and cannot be completed without the assistance of a Department of State-funded resettlement agency. These resettlement agencies are located in more than 180 communities throughout the United States. When the program is launched, the Department of State will provide information on how to contact one of these agencies to initiate an application.
Once a form DS-7699 has been filed, the child in his/her home country will be assisted through the program by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which manages the U.S. Resettlement Support Center (RSC) in Latin America. IOM personnel from the RSC will contact each child directly and in the order in which the forms filed by lawfully present parents have been received by the U.S. Department of State. IOM will invite the children to attend pre-screening interviews in their country of origin in order to prepare them for a refugee interview with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DNA relationship testing will be required to confirm the biological relationship between the parent in the United States and the in-country child. After the IOM pre-screening interview but before the DHS interview, the lawfully present parent in the United States will be notified by IOM via the resettlement agency about how to submit DNA evidence of the relationship with their claimed child(ren) in El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras. If DNA relationship testing confirms the claimed relationship(s), IOM will schedule the DHS refugee interview.
DHS will conduct interviews with each child to determine whether he or she is eligible for refugee status and admissible to the United States. All applicants must complete all required security checks and obtain a medical clearance before they are approved to travel as a refugee to the United States. IOM will arrange travel for the refugee(s) to the United States. The parent of the child will sign a promissory note agreeing to repay the cost of travel to the United States. Approved refugees will be eligible for the same support provided to all refugees resettled in the United States, including assignment to a resettlement agency that will assist with reception and placement, and assistance registering children in school.
Applicants found by DHS to be ineligible for refugee status in the United States will be considered on a case-by-case basis for parole, which is a mechanism to allow someone who is otherwise inadmissible to come to the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. In order for the applicant(s) to be considered for parole, the parent in the United States will need to submit a Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, with supporting documentation to DHS. An individual considered for parole may be eligible for parole if DHS finds that the individual is at risk of harm, he/she clears all background vetting, there is no serious derogatory information, and someone has committed to financially support the individual while he/she is in the United States. Those children and any eligible parent considered for parole will be responsible for obtaining and paying for a medical clearance. An individual authorized parole will not be eligible for a travel loan but must book and pay for the flight to the United States. Parole is temporary and does not confer any permanent legal immigration status or path to permanent legal immigration status in the United States. Parolees are not eligible for medical and other benefits upon arrival in the United States, but are eligible to attend school and/or apply for employment authorization. Individuals authorized parole under this program generally will be authorized parole for an initial period of two years and may request renewal.
It is anticipated that a relatively small number of children from Central America will be admitted to the United States as refugees in FY 2015, given the anticipated December launch and the length of time it takes to be processed for U.S. refugee admission. Any child or parent admitted as a refugee will be included in the Latin America/Caribbean regional allocation of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, which is 4,000 for FY 2015. If needed, there is some flexibility within the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program to accommodate a higher than anticipated number from Latin America in FY 2015.








 Drew Law Office, PLLC -- Immigration Attorneys, Manchester Metro, NH (603) 644-3739 or www.drewpllc.com

Saturday, November 15, 2014

5 Things You Can Do Now To Prepare for The President's Announcement on Immigration | United We Dream

5 Things You Can Do Now To Prepare for The President's Announcement on Immigration | United We Dream





1. Don’t Get Scammed








2. Save Money





To see the other three click the link above.



Drew Law Office, PLLC -- Immigration Lawyers Metro Manchester NH (603) 644-3739 or www.immigrationNH.com

Thursday, November 13, 2014

New MAVNI memo: DACA recipients are eligible. - Drew Law Office, pllc.

New MAVNI memo: DACA recipients are eligible. - Drew Law Office, pllc.



MAVNI stands for Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest. The program allows persons who have medical or language skills needed by the US Military to enlist even if they are not US citizens. People who have TPS, or Asylum/Refugee status can apply as well as persons in many types of valid non-immigrant status. Now persons who have been granted DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) can also qualify for the program. Keep in mind, Spanish is NOT one of the languages that is needed for the MAVNI program. Persons who serve in the US military can later become US citizens on a special accelerated schedule.





http://www.defense.gov/news/mavni-fact-sheet.pdf

or

http://www.drewpllc.com/immigration-attorney-news/newmavnimemodacarecipientsareeligible



Drew Law Office, PLLC -- Immigration Lawyers Metro Manchester NH (603) 644-3739 or www.immigrationNH.com