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  1. New I-601A Provisional Waiver Regulation


    https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTAOs9Z3wwB46u6Qwtl-vWs4WQvbf7uiX4vgv1uzFvx87nkR0PVFA On January 3, 2013, the DHS published a regulation which will, as of March 4, 2013, allow persons who entered the U.S. without inspection (or who are otherwise ineligible to adjust their status in the U.S.) to apply for "form I-601A provisional waivers" to excuse their unlawful presence in the U.S. Once their waivers are approved by the USCIS, they will be eligible to attend their appointments for immigrant visas ("green cards") abroad.

    The aim of this new program is to avoid having immediate relatives submit I-601 waivers abroad, and then be separated from their families for months or even years while their waivers are pending. Instead, they will obtain their waivers before leaving the U.S., be interviewed abroad and return to their families in the U.S. within a few days. The following set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) explains many of the complications involved in the new provisional waiver process:

    1. Who qualifies to submit a provisional waiver in the United States?

    To qualify, a person must be at least 17 years old, and be the beneficiary of an approved I-130 visa petition as an "immediate relative" of a U.S. citizen. Immediate relatives are spouses, parents and children of U.S. citizens. To be considered a "parent", the sponsoring son or daughter must be at least 21 years of age. To be considered a "child", the person must be under 21 years of age, although many persons over 21 years of age may still be classified as children under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA). The law requires that in order to obtain an waiver, the applicant must demonstrate "extreme hardship" to a qualifying relative. Qualifying relatives must be spouses or parents who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPRs). However, a person with only an LPR spouse or parent, while eligible to apply for a regular I-601 waiver abroad, is ineligible to qualify for an I-601A provisional waiver in the U.S.

    Persons who are in the numerically-limited family or employment-based preference categories do not qualify for provisional waivers, although the USCIS indicates that the program could be expanded at some point in the future.

    2. What grounds of inadmissibility does the waiver apply to?

    The waiver applies solely to inadmissibility based on "unlawful presence" in the U.S. Applicants must be subject to either the 3-year or the 10-year bar once they leave the U.S. Persons subject to the "permanent bar" can not submit a waiver application until they have remained outside the U.S. for 10 years. Hence, they are ineligible for provisional waivers. Persons who are inadmissible under another section of the law (e.g.fraud, criminal convictions, etc.) are also ineligible for provisional waivers.

    3. What if a person is already outside the U.S. or is scheduled for an immigrant visa interview outside the U.S.?

    Such persons are ineligible to submit provisional waivers.

    4. What if a person is currently in removal proceedings or is subject to a final order of removal?

    Such a person may participate in the provisional waiver program only if his removal proceedings have been "administratively closed" and have not been recalendared as of the time that the waiver is submitted to the USCIS. Persons in removal proceedings who have applied for Deferred Action (DACA) may apply for provisional waivers after USCIS grants their DACA applications, but only if they meet all the requirements for filing a provisional waiver and their removal proceedings have been administratively closed. If the USCIS approves a provisional waiver for a person in removal proceedings, the person must seek termination or dismissal of the removal proceedings by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), and this must be granted before the person departs the U.S. for their immigrant visa interview abroad. Failure to do so could prevent the person from obtaining an immigrant visa and returning to the U.S.

    Persons under final orders of removal are ineligible to participate in the provisional waiver program.

    5. Can a person who had a previously scheduled immigrant visa interview (scheduled by the State Department prior to January 3, 2013) abroad that he did not attend submit a provisional waiver?

    The answer is usually no. However, there are exceptions. Here we quote the DHS:

    "An alien who is ineligible to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver because of a previously scheduled immigrant visa interview may still qualify for a provisional unlawful presence waiver if he or she has a new DOS immigrant visa case because 1) DOS terminated the immigrant visa registration associated with the previously scheduled interview, and they have a new immediate relative petition; or 2) the alien has a new immediate relative petition filed on his or her behalf by a different petitioner."

    "DOS" in the above paragraph stands for the "U.S. Department of State".

    6. Is it possible to waive the fees for an I-601A provisional waiver ($585) or for the biometrics ($85)?

    No.

    7. Is premium processing available for an I-601A waiver?

    No, but applicants can request expedited adjudication of a provisional waiver in accordance with current USCIS expedite guidance. Generally, the USCIS takes about 4-6 months to approve an I-601 waiver. With an expected influx of many thousands of I-601A provisional waivers, expect waiting times to increase, perhaps dramatically, since the USCIS has no plans to boost the number of officers adjudicating hardship waivers.

    8. If a person's I-601A waiver is denied, is it possible to appeal?

    No.

    However, although it is not possible to appeal an I-601A denial or submit a Motion to Reopen (The USCIS reserves the right to reopen or reconsider an I-601A denial on its own motion.), it is possible to refile a waiver after a denial. Again, we quote the DHS:

    "If an individual's provisional unlawful presence waiver request is denied or withdrawn, the individual may file a new Form I-601A, in accordance with the form instructions and the required fees. The applicant's case must still be pending with DOS, and the applicant must notify DOS that he or she intends to file a new Form I-601A. In the case of a withdrawn Form I-601A, USCIS will not refund the filing fees because USCIS has already undertaken steps to adjudicate the case."

    "Alternatively, an individual who withdraws his or her Form I-601A filing or whose Form I-601A is denied can reapply for a Form I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility,with the USCIS Lockbox,after he or she attends the immigrant visa interview and after DOS conclusively determines that the individual is inadmissible. If the ground(s) of inadmissibility identified by the DOS consular officer can be waived, the individual can file a Form I-601 along with any supporting documentation or evidence needed to demonstrate eligibility for the waiver and ultimately the immigrant visa..."

    "Applicants and their attorneys or accredited representatives also are reminded that they may address or correct mistakes by supplementing a pending Form I-601A waiver request with additional evidence or correcting the request before USCIS makes a final decision in the case. USCIS will take into consideration any evidence received when making the decision."

    9. Can a person who submits an I-601A waiver be placed in removal proceedings?

    Although the USCIS states that it "does not envision initiating removal proceedings against aliens whose Form I-601As are denied or withdrawn prior to final adjudication", it reserves the right to do so if the person is considered to be a "DHS enforcement priority - that is, if the individual has a criminal history, has committed fraud, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety."

    "DHS reminds the public that the filing or approval of a provisional unlawful presence waiver application will not: (1) confer any legal status; (2) protect against the accrual of additional unlawful presence; (3) authorize an alien to enter the United States without securing a visa or other appropriate entry document; (4) convey any interim benefits (e.g., employment authorization, advance parole, or eligibility to be paroled based solely on a pending or approved Form I-601A); or (5) protect an alien from being placed in removal proceedings or removed from the United States, in accordance with current DHS policies governing initiation of removal proceedings and use of prosecutorial discretion."

    10. What are the chances that your I-601A waiver will be granted? This, of course, depends on the facts of your case, and how well your I-601A waiver is documented to demonstrate "extreme hardship" to your qualifying relatives. Do not submit 5 or 6 exhibits and expect to receive an approval. Here, it is absolutely essential that your attorney know the legal basis for establishing "extreme hardship", and that he or she has prepared many successful I-601 waiver applications. Extreme hardship can be emotional, financial, medical, etc. and hopefully a combination of these and many other factors. Last year, the USCIS denied 34%, or a little more than one out of every three, I-601 waivers. Persons who have recently married are usually well-advised not to submit waivers. However, their chances of approval rise markedly after they have children and a house, especially if the breadwinner would be forced to remain at home to care for the child(ren). Also, many of those denied by the USCIS prepared their applications on their own or used the services of a notario or an immigration "consultant". This is not a wise course of action. Hire an experienced immigration attorney.

    But how do you choose the right attorney to prepare your I-601A waiver? A good place to start is by watching the following video.

    Subscribe to our free, monthly e-mail newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

    Updated 12-02-2013 at 06:11 PM by CShusterman

  2. Obama to Advocates: We Can Multitask

    by , 01-02-2013 at 07:57 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Glad he finally said it. Just because there are some other big issues to be dealt with - perennial budget fights and a major gun control debate for starters - that doesn't mean that immigration needs to take a back seat. With respect to the gun control issue, Angela Kelley of the Center for American Progress summed it up:

    "They are not in competition; they are complementary," said Angela
    Kelley, an expert on immigration at the Center for American Progress, a
    liberal think tank in Washington. "The White House can walk and chew
    gum, as can lawmakers."
    "If [lawmakers] are working 40 hours a week, they should be able to get both done," she said.
  3. Final Rule on Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers Update

    On January 2, 2013, USCIS and Department of State held a public
    engagement devoted to the final rule on Provisional Unlawful Presence
    Waivers which was posted in Federal Register today. After several months
    of reviewing public comments, USCIS has announced that the Final Rule
    implements some of the public's comments to the draft of the rule.
    This new Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver process allows certain
    immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are physically present in the
    United States and are seeking permanent residence to apply for and
    receive provisional unlawful presence waivers before departing the U.S.
    for consular processing of their immigrant visa applications abroad.
    This new process will significantly reduce the time that U.S. citizens
    are separated from their immediate relatives while those family members
    go through the immigrant visa process to become permanent residents.
    WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR PROVISIONAL UNLAWFUL PRESENCE WAIVER
    Individuals will be able to apply for a Provisional Unlawful Presence
    Waiver starting March 4, 2013 if he/she meets the following eligibility
    criteria:

    (i) Is present in the United States at the time of filing the application for a provisional

    unlawful presence waiver and for biometrics collection;
    (ii) Upon departure, would be inadmissible only under section 212(a)(9)(B)(i) of the Act

    at the time of the immigrant visa interview
    (NOTE: this section refers to the 3- and 10-year bars of inadmissibility for unlawful presence in excess of 180 days);
    (iii) Qualifies as an immediate relative under section 201(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Act;
    (iv) Is the beneficiary of an approved immediate relative petition (Form I-130 or I-360);
    (v) Has a case pending with the Department of State based on the approved immediate

    relative petition and has paid the immigrant visa processing fee as evidenced by a State

    Department Visa Processing Fee Receipt;
    (vi) Will depart from the United States to obtain the immediate relative immigrant visa;

    And
    (vii) Meets the requirements for a waiver provided in section 212(a)(9)(B)(v) of the Act,

    except the alien must show extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent.



    WHO IS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR PROVISIONAL UNLAWFUL PRESENCE WAIVER
    It is important to note that the following individuals will be
    INELIGIBLE for the provisional unlawful presence waiver under the
    process:

    (i) USCIS has reason to believe that the alien may be subject to other grounds of inadmissibility other than unlawful presence;
    (ii) The alien is under the age of 17;

    (iii) The alien does not have a case pending with the Department of State, based on the

    approved immediate relative petition, and has not paid the immigrant visa processing fee;
    (iv) The Department of State initially acted to schedule the immigrant visa interview

    prior to January 2, 2013 for the approved immediate relative petition on
    which the provisional unlawful presence waiver is based, even if the
    interview has since been cancelled or rescheduled after January 2, 2013;
    (NOTE: The actual date and time that the alien is scheduled to appear
    for the interview is not relevant for the eligibility determination.
    This rule applies even if the alien failed to appear for his or her
    interview, cancelled the interview, or requested that the interview be
    rescheduled.)



    (v) The alien is in removal proceedings, unless the removal proceedings are

    administratively closed and have not been recalendared at the time of filing the Form I-601A;
    (vi) The alien is subject to a final order of removal or a final order of exclusion or deportation;
    (vii) The alien is subject to reinstatement of a prior removal order; or
    (viii) The alien has a pending application with USCIS for lawful permanent resident status.


    MAJOR CHANGES IN IMPLEMENTATION COMPARED TO DRAFT REGULATIONS



    During the public engagement, Director of USCIS Alejandro Mayorkas has
    noted that USCIS has implemented or will implement three (3) major
    changes in the final rule that did not appear in the draft regulations:
    1) First of all, USCIS has emphasized that aliens may be eligible to
    file for a provisional unlawful presence waiver more than once if the
    waiver was denied or been withdrawn provided that other eligibility
    criteria are met.
    Thus, if a provisional waiver is denied, the alien may refile the
    case. Having said that, appeals or motions to reopen/reconsider are not
    permitted.
    2) After careful consideration of all comments on this issue, USCIS
    has decided to limit eligibility for the provisional unlawful presence
    waiver process to individuals whose removal

    proceedings are administratively closed and have not been recalendared
    at the time of filing of the waiver. This is a significant change
    compared to the draft of the regulations that did not permit any
    individuals in removal proceedings to apply for a waiver.

    3) Finally, USCIS has acknowledged that after implementation of the
    initial process available for only immediate relatives of U.S. citizens,
    USCIS will assess its operational constraints and resources and will
    consider expanding the program to other categories, including immediate
    relatives of Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR).
    OTHER IMPORTANT NOTES
    1. Filing fees. USCIS has announced that the provisional waiver will
    be requested through the Form I-601A. The filing fees will be $670
    (including $585 for the waiver's filing fee and $85 for biometrics
    processing). After filing the waiver application, the alien will receive
    a notice for fingerprints processing. The alien has to be physically
    present in the U.S. at the time of filing of the waiver application and
    has to appear for biometrics processing.
    2. Approval of the waiver does not confer any status.

    USCIS has reminded the public that the approval of a provisional unlawful presence waiver

    does not create a lawful immigration status, extend any authorized period of stay, protect aliens

    from removal or law enforcement action, or grant any other immigration benefits, including

    temporary work authorization and advance parole.
    3. Removability if the waiver is denied/withdrawn.

    The major question of the public that has not been addressed by USCIS in
    the final rule is what will happen to those aliens whose provisional
    waiver applications are denied. Final rule does not contain any
    confidentiality provisions that would protect the aliens from being
    placed in removal proceedings if their waiver application is denied.
    USCIS has confirmed during the public engagement earlier today that
    the agency will use its current guidance in deciding whether to refer
    the case to ICE for removal proceedings if the waiver application
    request is denied. Consistent with DHS enforcement priorities, DHS does
    not envision initiating removal proceedings against aliens or referring
    aliens to ICE whose provisional unlawful presence waiver applications
    have been approved.
    Consistent with its civil enforcement priorities, DHS has stated that
    an individual whose request for a provisional unlawful presence waiver
    is denied or who withdraws the waiver request prior to final
    adjudication will typically be referred to ICE only if he or she is
    considered a DHS enforcement priority - that is, if the individual has a
    criminal history, has committed fraud, or otherwise poses a threat to
    national security or public safety.
    PLEASE NOTE that this new process is not yet in effect and USCIS will not accept any applications until March 4, 2013.

    We will provide further updates once they become available.
    Feel free to email us or visit our Facebook page for updates http://www.facebook.com/myimmigrationlawyer
    *
  4. The 2012 Nation of Immigrators Awards - The IMMIs

    by , 01-02-2013 at 07:34 AM (Angelo Paparelli on Dysfunctional Government)


    As we count out the final hours of 2012, let's recall the highs and lows of the past year in America's dysfunctional immigration ecosphere.

    Nation of Immigrators is pleased to confer its third annual IMMI Awards. (Full disclosure: As in past years, these are my personal choices. If you disagree or believe I've missed an obvious awardee, feel free to comment below or post it on Twitter with the hashtag "#2012IMMIS," and be sure to check out our previous awardees here: 2010 IMMIs & 2011 IMMIs).





    The 2012 IMMI Awardees


    Immigration Word of the Year. This year's word could well have been "omnishambles" -- "a thoroughly mismanaged situation notable for a chain of errors" -- chosen by Oxford University Press, yet aptly suited to our perversely American form of immigration regulation. British novelist, Ian McEwan, in his new book, Sweet Tooth, while explaining the problems of England's intelligence agencies in the 1970s, could well have been describing the federal and state authorities that administer and enforce America's omnishambled immigration laws when he observed:

    Too many agencies, too many bureaucracies defending their corners, too many points of demarcation, insufficient centralized control.

    Instead, the IMMI goes to "self-deportation" (Mitt Romney's proposed solution to illegal immigration), a hyphenated word that (even someone as intemperate as Donald Trump recognized) contributed mightily to his self-immolation as GOP candidate for President:

    [Romney] had a crazy policy of self deportation which was maniacal. . . . It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote . . . He lost the Asian vote. He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country.

    Belated Gumption. For modest courage expressed ever so slowly, the award goes to President Obama for his authorization through the Homeland Security Department of relief for a slice of the DREAMer population with the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. With exit-polls showing that 57% of Americans approve of DACA, imagine how many more DACA applications could have been approved and lives restored had the President used his long established executive authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion when the concept of deferred action was proposed early in his first term. Consider also how DACA might have benefited even more minors brought or required to remain here illegally, such as DREAMer extraordinaire Jose Antonio Vargas (who, at 30.5 years old when the program rules were set up, was six months too old to receive DACA relief), had the program applied to all minors and not set stingy bright-line rules that kowtowed unduly to past DREAM Act proposals in Congress.

    Hit the Road Jack/Home-Wrecker. President Obama reprises his role as "Deporter in Chief" and, as in past years, wins another IMMI. With over 400,000 deportations in 2012 -- an all-time high -- the President also receives the Home-Wrecker IMMI. According to recently released federal data, between July 1, 2010 and September 31, 2012, almost 205,000 deportation orders were issued for parents with U.S. citizen children, thereby destroying the lives of even more American kids. With the recent announcement that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will stop asking local police to turn over to ICE immigrants arrested as petty offenders, perhaps fewer deportations will result next year -- especially if Congress legislates a path to legal status and citizenship for the undocumented. Recent statistics from the Immigration Courts, showing case closures resulting in deportation orders or grants of voluntary departure down to 56.3% from 70.2% two years ago, also support a prediction (fingers crossed) that the President will not receive another IMMI in this category.

    Ignorable, Ignoble Person. The IMMI goes to nativist Tom Tancredo, former Colorado representative and gubernatorial candidate, who urged Republicans after November's election not to let strict immigration laws become the scapegoat for their loss at the polls ("while scapegoating the immigration issue was to be expected from the Republican establishment following the Romney defeat, it is sad and disappointing to see a few conservatives stampeded into endorsing suicidal proposals"). Tancredo nudged out Kris Kobach for this year's IMMI because he also mocked Sen. Michael Bennet for his leading role in developing the Colorado Compact, a balanced approach to comprehensive immigration reform.

    Not Especially Nimble. While the primary immigration benefits agency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has continued its laudable efforts in 2012 to improve transparency, public engagement and responsiveness (especially on humanitarian concerns, such as relief for foreign citizens adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy), the IMMI for lack of speed and agility on business immigration concerns nonetheless must go to this beleaguered agency. USCIS still has not released its promised rule on employment authorization for spouses of certain H-1B workers, or its year-end deadline on stateside provisional waivers for immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens, and has not issued clarifying guidance on L-1B specialized-knowledge requirements promised last January. Other longstanding problems remain, including the lack of meaningful impact from its Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program (beyond a nifty website with comforting assurances), the persistence of an anti-entrepreneur animus at the Regional Service Centers, hte need to put out for re-bid the agency's contract on its Transformation program for the online submission of immigration forms, and the issuance of a "guidance memorandum" offering seemingly helpful but still befuddling instructions on the EB-5 investor issue of "tenant occupancy" that USCIS first raised officially last February.

    Constitutional Illiteracy. The IMMI for misinterpreting the Bill of Rights goes to the 97,062+ yokels who in a petition to the White House have lambasted CNN host Piers Morgan and urged this Brit's deportation for his post-Newtown critique of America's woeful failure to regulate firearms. No one explained their illiteracy better than Pilar Marrero, author of Killing The American Dream: How anti immigration extremists are destroying the nation, who posted this on Facebook:

    So people want to deport Piers Morgan because he aired anti gun views and heīs an "alien", supposedly from out of space. 2 things to remember: before the Second, there is a First amendment. And this country was built by foreigners with weird accents who were always looked at with suspicion by the previous foreigners with weird accents who came first. The only welcoming ones [were] the natives. Unfortunately for them.

    Hopeful Baby Steps. The IMMI goes to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for two recent actions. CBP reported that it would no longer allow its agents to serve as interpreters non-English speakers in interrogations by other law enforcement agencies. It also announced that it would undertake a review of current agency practices in the use of force by its border agents.

    No Stale Wine before its Time. This IMMI goes to the government agency which best proves the maxim "justice delayed is justice denied": The Labor Department's Office of Foreign Labor Certification dramatically lagged from prior periods in the pace of labor certifications. Overall permanent labor certifications decreased by 15.67% between FY10 and FY11. Although the Information sector and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services sector experienced increases, most other sectors witnessed large decreases in certifications in FY11: Educational Services (46.67%), Health Care and Social Assistance (34.23%), Retail Trade (33.19%), Wholesale Trade (21.77%), Accommodations and Food Services (60.31%), Construction (65.43%), Transportation and Warehousing (39.90%), and Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation (43.01%).

    Worst Immigration Law. Although a colleague, Nolan Rappaport, has nominated the Registry provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act for the IMMI, the award goes to another nominee. Registry allows an individual who has been physically present in the U.S. for a prescribed number of years to be granted a green card despite unlawful status. Nolan notes:

    The eligibility date hasn't been updated since the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 advanced it to January 1, 1972. That was more than a quarter of a century ago. It's shameful that such a useful humanitarian provision has not been updated in so many years. With the present date, the residence period has to be more than 40 years. When it was enacted in 1929, it required entry prior to June 3, 1921, which was a residence period of only 8 years.

    However shameful the failure to update the waiting period for registry is, even worse is the 1996 law that created mandatory detention of immigrants without benefit of appointed counsel, as Prof. Mark Noferi of Brooklyn Law School persuasively demonstrates.

    Lost in the Wilderness. The Republican party, still stinging from its election defeat and overwhelming rejection by the fast-growing Latino and Asian cohorts of the American electorate, wins the "Dr. Livingstone, I presume" IMMI. Persisting in their special brand of akrasia (weakness of will; acting in a way contrary to one's sincerely held moral values). Despite proclamations that they will cooperate in enacting comprehensive immigration reforms, Republicans have yet to formulate a welcoming agenda on immigration and apparently can't yet fathom that immigration reform would be both good economics and good politics. Their new leader of the House Immigration Subcommittee, Rep. Trey Gowdy, is an unabashed opponent of immigration. Even the anti-immigration hawk, Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, knows that Gowdy's appointment bodes ill for comprehensive immigration reform, because it "suggests . . . that the House Republicans aren't going to allow themselves to be stampeded by this amnesty panic because Gowdy is pretty hawkish on immigration . . ."

    Taxing Non-Solutions. The IMMI for non-starter immigration-reform proposal goes jointly to Prof. Giovanni Peri, Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute, and Microsoft. While each of these awardees is a respected and thoughtful contributor to the immigration-reform debate, each offers a variation of a proposal to impose a tax as the visa-entry fee to America. As I've noted elsewhere, taxing the right to enter the country smacks too much of "18th Century slave auctions." There are many better ways to regulate immigration than to tax it and thereby prod our trading partners and global competitors to tax American entrepreneurs in foreign lands.

    A Supreme Demonstration of Supremacy. The IMMI goes to the U.S. Supreme Court majority that vanquished virtually all of Arizona's nativist law, SB 1070. Holding that the states must kneel to federal supremacy over immigration, the Court struck down all but one of the Arizona law's provisions, and left it to the lower courts to determine whether in practice the surviving section can pass constitutional muster.

    Head in the Derriere. This year's IMMI goes to those feckless employers throughout America who fail to recognize that -- no matter what happens on comprehensive immigration reform -- the Feds are coming to check your business's immigration papers. Immigration audits were at their highest in history this past year. That trend will only continue to rise. Be forewarned and take some crumb-y advice.

    * * *
    Well, thats a wrap for our 2012 IMMI awardees. The next 12 months will no doubt produce another bumper crop of candidates for the IMMI.

    Meantime, as we close out the year, this blogger reverently contemplates a prayer penned by Rev. Robert L. DeMoss II of Christchurch in Montgomery, Alabama. Although he offers it on behalf of consular officers, I would broaden the reach of his divinely-directed plea to extend blessings to all of our nation's immigration officials:

    Almighty God, May Your love fill our souls, that we might be vessels of peace and grace to bring to this hurting and anxious world. Bless especially our Foreign Service officers, who endeavor to safeguard our freedom and welcome the stranger, as the voice ...and face of America. Guide them with Your wisdom and discernment, give them grace under pressure, and fill them with the radiance of compassion and understanding, all for Your love's sake. Protect, bless, and be with them now and throughout the New Year ahead, as they continue to serve our country with a valiant heart, a keen mind, and a noble spirit. Amen.

    Updated 07-16-2013 at 03:37 PM by APaparelli

  5. US-Based Filings of I-601 Waivers to Begin in March

    by , 01-02-2013 at 07:22 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Just published in the Federal Register. USCIS promised a rule by the end of 2012, but this is close enough and very welcome news. Here's the quick take from USCIS:

    This
    process change allows certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are
    physically present in the United States and are seeking permanent residence to
    apply for and receive provisional unlawful presence waivers before
    departing the U.S. for consular processing of their immigrant visa applications
    abroad. This new process will significantly reduce the time that U.S. citizens
    are separated from their immediate relatives while those family members go
    through the immigrant visa process to become permanent residents.  
    Please
    note that this new process is not yet in effect and USCIS will not accept any applications until
    March 4, 2013. This final rule is separate and distinct from the Form I-601 centralization process. 
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