Immigration Newsletter

Friday, February 24, 2012

Alert: I-601 Provisional Waiver Is Not in Effect

Alert: I-601 Provisional Waiver Is Not in Effect

Alert: I-601 Provisional Waiver Is Not in Effect
Originally Posted by
Daniel M. Kowalski

"USCIS is considering changes that would allow certain immediate relatives (the spouse, children or parents of a U.S. citizen) who can demonstrate extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen spouse or parent to receive a provisional waiver of the unlawful presence bars before leaving the United States.

These procedures are not in effect and will not be available to potential applicants until USCIS publishes a final rule in the Federal Register specifying the effective date. USCIS plans to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the coming months and will consider all comments received as part of that process before publishing a final rule.

Do not send an application requesting a provisional waiver at this time. USCIS will reject any application requesting this new process and we will return the application package and any related fees to the applicant. USCIS cannot accept applications until a final rule is issued and the process change becomes effective.
Be aware that some unauthorized practitioners of immigration law may wrongly claim they can currently file a provisional waiver application (Form I-601) for you. These same individuals may ask you to pay them to file such forms although the process is not yet in place. Please avoid such scams. USCIS wants you to learn the facts about protecting yourself and your family against scammers by visiting

If you already have an immigrant visa interview with the U.S. Department of State, we strongly encourage you to attend. The Department of State may cancel your immigrant visa registration if you fail to appear at this interview." - USCIS, Feb. 22, 2012.

DHS Documents: Local Police Not Required To Hold Undocumented Immigrants For U.S. Government

DHS Documents: Local Police Not Required To Hold Undocumented Immigrants For U.S. Government

WASHINGTON -- Local law enforcement agencies are not required to hold undocumented immigrants at the request of the federal government, according to internal Department of Homeland Security documents obtained by a coalition of groups critical of the Secure Communities enforcement program.

The documents could provide ammunition for jurisdictions that no longer want to participate in Secure Communities, which allows federal immigration authorities to use fingerprints to scan those arrested by local law enforcement. They also support recent actions by Cook County, Ill., Santa Clara, Calif., and San Francisco, all of which decided this year to stop adhering to federal requests to hold undocumented immigrants who were either low-level offenders or were accused of felonies.

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Center for Constitutional Rights and Benjamin Cardozo School of Law received the documents after a Freedom of Information Act request and plan to release them this week. The three documents, from October 2010 and January 2011, clarify DHS policy on detainers -- requests from federal immigration officials for police to hold those arrested, in some cases after being detected by enforcement programs.

"A detainer serves only to advise another law enforcement agency that ICE seeks an opportunity to interview and potentially assume custody of an alien presently in the custody of that agency," according to an undated document.

Another document, notes from a briefing to Congressional Hispanic Caucus staff in October 2010, says "local [law enforcements] are not mandated to honor a detainer, and in some jurisdictions they do not." The third document, a series of questions and answers emailed in January 2010, says ICE detainers are "a request," and "there is no penalty if they [local law enforcement] do not comply."

Nicole Navas, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said "detainers are critical to ICE achieving its mission to identify and remove criminal aliens," and that they are important for community safety.

"ICE anticipates that law enforcement agencies will comply with the detainer though ICE has not sought to compel compliance through legal proceedings," she said in a statement. "Jurisdictions that ignore detainers bear the risk of possible public safety risks."

A few jurisdictions have already chosen not to comply, however. The Board of Commissioners in Cook County, Ill., which includes Chicago, voted on Sept. 8 to free from jail undocumented immigrants charged with misdemeanors and felonies, even when federal agents request that they be held. The board said the issue was financial, despite the fact that it came on the heels of an attempt by the state of Illinois to end its ties to the Secure Communities enforcement program. Detainer requests cost the county about $15 million each year, none of which is reimbursed, county officials told the Chicago Tribune.

Law enforcement agencies are only asked to hold those arrested for 48 hours under detainers. But if suspected undocumented immigrants are in jail for longer than that, DHS can pick them up at any time.

Some undocumented immigrants choose to stay in jail rather than posting bond because they believe they will eventually be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents after leaving jail, said Fred Tsao, policy director for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

Tsao said that supporters of the Cook County policy are stressing that public safety will not suffer if detainer requests are denied, because there are "significant backstops" to limit the release of those accused of serious crimes.

"ICE is still able to pick people up," he said. "ICE has their names and their addresses, and if ICE really wants them, they can pick them up themselves. They don't need any help from Cook County."

In Santa Clara, Calif., the Board of Supervisors voted on Oct. 18 on a similar policy to no longer honor detainers unless they are reimbursed for the cost by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. If reimbursed, they will only continue to detain people convicted of serious or violent felonies. Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese told the Los Angeles Times that the board decided on the policy after appeals by local immigrants and advocacy groups, who said the Secure Communities program was hurting the local undocumented community.

"We're very discouraged that the issue keeps getting pushed down to our level, the county level, without any reform at the federal level," Cortese told the Los Angeles Times. "So our way of responding to that is, we're not cooperating. We're a big county. There's a couple big counties in the state...that can push back on these kind of issues."

San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey, who has been critical of Secure Communities because he said it could hurt the relationship between law enforcement and the community, announced on May 6 that the county would no longer hold undocumented immigrants charged with misdemeanors based on DHS requests.

(click on the link to see the rest at the Huffington Post)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Alabama immigration crackdown costs state up to $11 bln: study - Yahoo! News

Alabama immigration crackdown costs state up to $11 bln: study - Yahoo! News

The Alabama law, passed in June, requires police to detain people they suspect of being in the U.S. illegally if they cannot produce proper documentation when stopped for any reason, among other measures.
The cost-benefit analysis by University of Alabama economist Samuel Addy estimated up to 80,000 jobs were vacated by illegal immigrants fleeing the crackdown, costing Alabama's economy up to $10.8 billion.
The lost jobs also cost Alabama up to $264.5 million in lost state sales and income taxes, and as much as $93.1 million in lost city and county sales taxes, it found.