According to very reputable sources, it appears that the Administration will soon be terminating humanitarian policies intended for the military. The two most prominent programs that are endangered are deferred action and parole-in-place ("PIP" for short). The second one, especially, has been of enormous utility to family members of the military who would not otherwise be eligible to adjust their status in the United States. For more information on parole-in-place, read our previous entry here. Although USCIS has yet to officially confirm anything, those intending on filing for deferred action or parole-in-place would be well advised to do so within the next few weeks before the new hardline policy becomes effective. Should these programs be terminated, undocumented and out-of-status family members of active and veteran military members will presumably not be given any special consideration, and like those similarly situated, be vulnerable to removal from the US. The negative effects of dismantling parole-in-place should be obvious: morale and the ability to focus on one's duties may be compromised if armed force members serving our country are now preoccupied with and worried about family members who do not have status.
On June 16, 2017, The New York Times, as well as other major media, reported that President Trump was, in effect, continuing a temporary reprieve for "Dreamers." Some have buoyantly interpreted this to mean that DACA will not be cancelled, which is not entirely accurate. Notwithstanding the Department of Homeland Security news release that states that DACA "will remain in effect," the Trump Administration quickly clarified that the ultimate fate of DACA remains under consideration. The intent of the news release, according to White House officials, was only to confirm that the executive action initiative (instituted by President Obama) was not being immediately rescinded-unlike the policy pertaining to parents of "dreamers," a program which is otherwise known as DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents), which was. If anything, the cancellation of DAPA is equally newsworthy, although it understandably was overshadowed by DACA news.
The recent arrest and continued detention of Daniel Medina, a young man who was granted DACA status, has stirred a lot of fear and paranoia within the undocumented community. Many DACA holders are understandably afraid, especially in light of the recent ICE raids that have occurred within the last few weeks, that they too may be targeted notwithstanding their "protected status" under DACA. According to recent statistics released by ICE, most of the individuals apprehended were convicted felons, some of them gang members and drug traffickers-which, if true, naturally makes the arrest of Mr. Medina even more striking. Was his arrest an anomaly or harbinger of things to come, especially if DACA is terminated by President Trump in the future?
Under President Obama's new Deferred Action for Parents, also known as DAP or DAPA, eligible applicants will be able to apply for Deferred Action and three-year work permits. One of the most frequently asked questions is what sort of documentation is needed to qualify? At this point, unfortunately, further guidance has yet to be issued. Once the forms are issued, the instructions should clarify what is acceptable evidence. However, it is still extremely important to begin planning and assembling documents. Deferred action under DAPA is the same type of deferred action extended to DACA recipients so the documents required for DACA are a good guide as to what will probably be expected for DAPA applicants. Items that you might want to consider gathering together include but should not be limited to the following. This should not be relied upon as legal advice. This is merely general information based upon what USCIS has requested of applicants for deferred action under DACA. Once the instructions and guidelines come out, of course, it will be clear what is necessary.
On July 15, 2014, USCIS recently released a Policy Memorandum pertaining to U visas. The Memo is entitled "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013: Changes to U Nonimmigrant Status and Adjustment of Status Provisions." Among some of the important changes added by VAWA 2013 that the policy memorandum implements, officers are directed to take note of two new crimes that qualify as qualifying criminal activity for U nonimmigrant status. (U status is available to any alien who has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of certain qualifying criminal activity.) The two new crimes are Stalking and Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting (as defined in section 1351 of title 18, United States Code). The statutory list of qualifying crimes is therefore now comprised of the following:
The new form to renew Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (otherwise known as "DACA") is now out. The I-821D (version 6/04/14) will be used to process both initial as well as renewal applications.
A very important USCIS Policy Memorandum (PM-602-0091) was issued on November 15, 2013 that for inexplicable reasons, has not received much attention, although it potentially affects thousands of undocumented or "illegal" aliens throughout the United States. The Subject is "Parole of Spouses, Children and Parents of Active Duty Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, and Former Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve and the Effect of Parole on Inadmissibility under Immigration and Nationality Act 212(a)(6)(A)(i). "
USCIS recently released some preliminary numbers regarding applications for Deferred Action as a Childhood Arrival. Between August 15 to September 13, 2012, 82,361 applications for deferred action were accepted for processing. 63,717 have been scheduled for biometrics. 1,660 are ready for review, and 29 requests have been completed. While 82,000 may seem like a lot, it doesn't even come close to representing the number of young people that are eligible to apply. For whatever reason, everybody who is eligible to apply apparently has not rushed to apply--and maybe for good reason. As previously discussed in other blogs and articles, careful thought and consideration should be given before an individual applies for deferred action. Also of interest is what the numbers are not telling us: does the approximately 82,000 represent the number of applications filed, or only those that have been accepted? The statistics say "accepted for processing," which may mean that many more were filed, but possibly rejected due to filing defects, whether it be incorrect filing fees, improperly filed forms, missing forms, etc. 29 requests have been completed, but it is not clear whether these requests were approvals or rejections.
Our office is frequently asked by our new immigrant clients, as well as those here on working visas, what is required to get a driver's license. In New Jersey, the Motor Vehicle Commission (or what people commonly refer to as the "DMV") regulates licensing. Their web page can be found here. http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/index.htm. New Jersey has a 6-point verification test in which applicants must demonstrate proof of identity by showing a total of at least 6 points in order to qualify for a driver's license or non-driver identification card. Each document is assigned a certain number of points. Individuals must show at least one Primary Document and one Secondary Document. While US Citizens rarely have problems in meeting the six points, non-citizens, on the other hand, sometimes find it challenging to gather enough documents to accumulate the necessary points. The actual brochure can be assessed on the website. The point of this entry is merely to highlight the point value of some common documents.