After 9/11 there has been little advancement in immigration policy for foreign nationals seeking to make the U.S there permanent home. Increased restrictionist policies motivated by fear of terrorism and coupled with an election year have resulted in the perfect storm preventing true immigration reform. However, against this background there have been some promising developments.
In a recent court settlement foreign nationals who attempted to obtain benefits under the Legalization program from May 5, 1987 to May 4, 1988 but were turned away may now file for residency. This settlement involves those aliens who qualify as class members under LULAC or CSS.
LULAC class members are aliens who entered the U.S. prior to 1982 and resided unlawfully up until the time they filed for Legalization. LULAC class member went to the INS with a completed application with fee in hand but were turned away because they traveled outside the U.S. for a brief period of time. CSS class members also entered the U.S. prior to 1982 and resided unlawfully up until the time they filed for Legalization but they did not have a completed application and when they left the U.S. they reentered in a legal manner.
Unlike applications filed under the LIFE Act, Legalization requirement are less stringent. Proof of unlawful residency can be supported by declaration resulting in prompt processing and allowing for applicant permission to travel and work with final adjudication within 180-days.
If you have ever received work authorization via CSS or LULAC or you do not want to wait another two-years for your LIFE act application to be completed you can file for Legalization starting May 24, 2004. Don't miss this chance.
Labor certification is normally a prerequisite for immigrants seeking employment-based applications for permanent residency. Labor certification is a long process whereby the Department of Labor determines that there are no U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available for the position for which the labor certification is being sought. This process has been a source of great frustration in past because of the lengthy processing times and what have become inconsistent standards and requirements.
These frustrations may eventually be a thing of the past, as the government appears to be preparing for a new method of processing labor certification. PERM or Program Electronic Review Management is a proposed system whereby the Labor Certification process will undergo a massive streamlining resulting in dramatically shorter processing times.
As of this date the Department of Labor has not published an interim rule implementing this knew procedure and the impact upon immigrants who have pending labor certification is not clear. It is likely that the new procedures will provide for conversion from regularly filed cases to PERM. Stay tuned the change could be just around the corner.
CHILD STATUS PROTECTION ACT
On August 6, 2002 the President signed into law the Child Status Protection Act or CSPA. The purpose of the new law was to prevent the unfair "aging out" of derivative children. Part of that law allows for unmarried sons or daughters of lawful permanent residents to remain classified as second preference aliens, even if the LPR parent naturalizes. The reason one would want to remain as second preference is the visa availability dates are more current for the unmarried sons or daughters of permanent residents than for United States citizens.
In a recent Memorandum issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services guidelines were given for all beneficiaries from the Philippines wishing to opt out of the automatic conversion to first preference and remaining in second preference. These guidelines include a formal request by the beneficiary to the Officer in Charge (OIC) at the U.S. Consulate in Manila.
The beneficiary will receive a written response from the OIC giving notice as to the decision on the request. If the beneficiary's request is approved he or she is eligible to proceed with immigrating to the U.S. as if his or her parent never naturalized and they will remain a second preference alien. Educating yourself on this issue and others will dramatically impact how swift your life in the U.S. will begin.