ILW.COM - the immigration portal Immigration Daily

Home Page


Immigration Daily

Archives

Processing times

Immigration forms

Discussion board

Resources

Blogs

Twitter feed

Immigrant Nation

Attorney2Attorney

CLE Workshops

Immigration books

Advertise on ILW

VIP Network

EB-5

移民日报

About ILW.COM

Connect to us

Make us Homepage

Questions/Comments


SUBSCRIBE

Immigration Daily


Chinese Immig. Daily




The leading
immigration law
publisher - over
50000 pages of
free information!
Copyright
1995-
ILW.COM,
American
Immigration LLC.

View RSS Feed

Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

USCIS SETTLES LAWSUIT: WILL EXPEDITE CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS FOR IMPOVERISHED REFUGEES

Rate this Entry

In 1996, a number of provisions were included in Welfare reform legislation that had an impact on immigrants and refugees. One of those provisions barred elderly refugees from receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits if the refugee does not become a US citizen within seven years. The law has had harsh consequences for some of the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. Refugees did not choose to be in the US. They fled their countries and the US is obligated both legally (through treaty) and morally to accept refugees. Honoring that obligation also means treating refugees humanely.



For many old and infirm refugees, the only way to survive is with help from the government. Most came to the US with no savings and many lack living family who can assist. Charities help as they can, but they cannot do it all.



The 1996 law was partially designed to encourage refugees to integrate in to American society and naturalizing is an important part of this process. The first problem is that naturalizing is a daunting process for many elderly refugees. Learning English is tough at any age, but most of us know that to learn a new language when one is older is very difficult. Yes there are medical waivers available. But those of us providing pro bono assistance to refugees know that USCIS examiners can be incredibly tough in permitting these waivers. Note to Congress: Just scrap the English language requirement for the elderly rather than putting people through an unworkable waiver process.



The next big problem is that the naturalization process can take a long time and refugees applying to naturalize are being cut off from their SSI benefits while they are stuck in line trying to naturalize. The problem is getting worse as USCIS backlogs for naturalizing are lengthening.



There was some good news yesterday, however. USCIS settled a class action lawsuit filed by elderly refugees who have lost or are about to lose SSI benefits. USCIS agreed to set up an expediting process that will apply to people at risk of losing SSI benefits who have had naturalization applications pending for at least six months.



ALL naturalization applications should be adjudicated in six months or less, in my opinion. USCIS has been promising this since the Clinton years. But until we get to that point, there needs to be at least a process to speed up life or death cases and this settlement recognizes that at least for one extremely vulnerable population.



Here's a copy of the settlement. Download expedite_of_naturalizations.pdf

Submit "USCIS SETTLES LAWSUIT: WILL EXPEDITE CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS FOR IMPOVERISHED REFUGEES" to Facebook Submit "USCIS SETTLES LAWSUIT: WILL EXPEDITE CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS FOR IMPOVERISHED REFUGEES" to Twitter Submit "USCIS SETTLES LAWSUIT: WILL EXPEDITE CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS FOR IMPOVERISHED REFUGEES" to Google Submit "USCIS SETTLES LAWSUIT: WILL EXPEDITE CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS FOR IMPOVERISHED REFUGEES" to StumbleUpon Submit "USCIS SETTLES LAWSUIT: WILL EXPEDITE CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS FOR IMPOVERISHED REFUGEES" to Reddit Submit "USCIS SETTLES LAWSUIT: WILL EXPEDITE CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS FOR IMPOVERISHED REFUGEES" to Digg Submit "USCIS SETTLES LAWSUIT: WILL EXPEDITE CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS FOR IMPOVERISHED REFUGEES" to del.icio.us

Tags: None Add / Edit Tags

Comments

Put Free Immigration Law Headlines On Your Website

Immigration Daily: the news source for legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers Enter your email address here: