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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Apply Now to Save Money

     The US Citizenship and Immigration Service has decided to adjust fees for immigration applications and petitions. Fees will be increased by a weighted average of about 10 percent but will not increase the fee for the naturalization application. The new fees will go into effect on November 23, 2010.  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Republicans block DREAM Act

     The Republicans in the Senate yesterday unanimously voted to block the fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill (S. 3454).  Click through for the story from the New York Times.  As a result, the DREAM Act will not be considered in Congress.  It was to be added as an amendment to S. 3454.
     The DREAM Act is a law which permits persons to obtain residency if they were brought to the U.S. before they were 16 years of age, if they have been here over 5 years, and if they attend college or join the military.  It was a win-win for the children and for America.  Without such a law, America is effectively educating children in its public schools and then sending them abroad to become workers for other countries.  We're training our competition.
     The Republicans voted strictly on party lines. 
     

Monday, September 20, 2010

Congress could consider DREAM Act this week

      Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced his intention to include the DREAM Act in the major defense bill scheduled for floor action this week. The DREAM Act will allow persons who were brought into the U.S. as children to legalize their status so long as they study in college or enroll in the armed forces.
     The version of the Defense Authorization bill that passed the House of Representatives in late May did not include the DREAM Act provision. If the Senate passes their version of the defense bill with the DREAM Act intact, it will still need to survive the conference committee reconciliation and then come back before each chamber for a final vote.
     The DREAM Act would not be the only controversial amendment debated during action on the defense bill. A repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which would allow gay and lesbian service members to openly serve in the military, will be included in the massive bill. The repeal has already passed the House in their version of the bill. The last time the Senate voted on the DREAM Act was in 2007, as a stand-alone measure, when it came 8 votes short of overcoming a filibuster.
     Part of this information was obtained through the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Secure Communities

     Enforcement of existing immigration laws has become one of the top priorities for the Dept. of Homeland Security.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is expanding their system of identifying, detaining and removing foreign nationals with criminal records.  The initiative is known as Secure Communities.
     When persons are arrested, local law enforcement agencies obtain their fingerprints.  These fingerprints will now be used, together with ICE's database, to determine the immigration status of the persons arrested.  If they are here without authorization, they will be detained and placed in removal proceedings before an Immigration Judge.  Although ICE claims that its first priority is to remove dangerous criminals, the evidence may indicate otherwise.  Click through to the New York Times editorial.
     To avoid losing precious rights, detained foreign nationals must hire attorneys immediately.  There are new cases every day that might help foreign nationals avoid removal.  Only an attorney can represent foreign nationals before an Immigration Judge.
    

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