Category Archives: Immigration News
A large number of immigrant children have been detained by the Federal Investigation Bureau in the recent months. The respective consulates are getting increasingly worried and confused over the status of these children. To complicate the matters further, the human right activists have stepped in claiming that these children are kept in detention for several months before they get an opportunity to reunite with their families. A number of other inter-related aspects that have come to the fore include labor and sex trafficking of these helpless children.
According to the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, H.R. 7311, every case concerning a detained minor who is unaccompanied must be adequately investigated prior to the repatriation of the child. Factors like why they had entered the country and the immigrant status of their parents call for strict screening. But, there is a fear that the implementation of such measures might end up harming the kids rather than offering them any solace. Under this system, the minor is required to stay at the Division of Unaccompanied Children’s Services after being handed over to the Health and Human Services Office. This is a process that would take months instead of hours, as used to be the usual practice. If you look into the data obtained from the Department of Homeland Security, around 10% of the immigrants happen to be minors.
The Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, Ali Noorani informs that the current immigration politics in USA finds a lot of inter-relation with the healthcare issues. It is a non-profit and non-partisan forum located in Washington. Basically, the health insurance reforms are greatly influenced by the politics concerning immigration. There are over 12,000,000 immigrants who live, work and raise their children in America but, are lacking in adequate citizenship rights due to the flaws in the immigration system.
The public health insurance systems like Medicaid and Medicare excludes the ineligible immigrants from its reformed benefit allocation system. This calls for the need of adequate documentation that will help these immigrants to come to the mainstream of the health insurance set-up. Effective methods needs to be thought of and rearranged, so that 11 to 13 million Americans who do not hold driver’s license, passport of birth certificates do not end getting hauled up in the process.
Legal immigrants and the children born to immigrant parents are affected by the existing rules that exclude them from obtaining coverage in the health insurance system. In fact, as opined by a few bodies, ignoring the immigration status can be considered acceptable only when every legal resident and tax-payer can have easy access to insurance coverage. Although, immigration and health insurance are separate department, their inter-relation might well influence the upcoming immigration laws.
Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom had already done it. Now, America has decided to follow suit and take effective measures to attract the immigrant millionaires from across the world. This initiative has been brought about as a constructive effort that will be beneficial to both sides. The immigrants will be allowed to their long standing wish fulfilled – that is, to become an American citizen and the State will use this opportunity to effectively stimulate the drooping economy. This can be perfectly brought about through investment and the simultaneous creation of jobs.
The details of the concerned initiatives can be obtained from the US Department of Homeland Security. According to the US Immigration Act of 1990, enables the allocation of 10,000 employment-based immigrant visas to the investors who qualify the requirements and their families too. If you take a look at the statistics between 1992 and 2004, you would find that the EB-5 visas were issued on an average of just five hundred each year. There are a number of factors that are responsible for this under-utilization. The fluctuating economic environment, program instability and the other countries offering more attractive immigrant investor programs are just a few of them. So, the government is considering “special handling package options for a higher fee’ in order to attract the immigrant millionaires apart from promoting stakeholders and boosting investor confidence.
America is facing shortage of nurses as there are around 116,000 vacancies for registered nurses that remain unfulfilled. About six months back, in February 2009, a new Nurse Relief Act was placed in the house in the form of HR 1001. It spoke about the introduction of the non-immigrant W Visa for those nurses who had an annual cap of 50,000. There are certain schedules with regard to labor certification. Nurses who fall under the third preference employment base are basically preferred during the immigration process. The physiotherapists and nurses under the Schedule A do not need labor certification.
According to the H-3 non-immigrant Visa, one can temporarily stay in the US for traineeship. If the industry desires to employ an immigrant for a senior level nurse, it may not be now easy to obtain an H-1B visa. For specific cases, nurses can immigrate to USA following the exchange visitor scheme, better known as J-1.
All these actions are taking place keeping in mind the extreme shortage of nurses in the American healthcare industry. Immigrants, who desire to work in US hail from countries having an oversupply of nurses, like India, Philippines and China. It would be interesting to note that under the prevalent immigration system, the major hospitals in America are spending hundreds and millions of dollars each year for the recruitment of foreign nurses.
The Los Angeles factory of the prestigious American Apparel had to bear the brunt of laying off around 1,500 workers as they were immigrants who did not have the permit to work in America. In early 2008, the ICE had already completed an extensive inspection to determine whether the American Apparel was actually complying with the stated immigration laws of the land. In July 2009, ICE issued a notification to American Apparel stating that the agency failed to verify the employment eligibility of around two hundred of the organization’s employees. The ICE had basically conducted an extensive review of the databases of the government and discovered that over 1,600 of the American Apparel employees were actually not authorized to work in America.
This is an important development and surprising too. It is due to the fact that American Apparel had earned the reputation of advocating strongly for the immigration reforms. They run a ‘Legalize LA’ campaign that has evolved as an exquisite part of the culture of the company. The resources at the website of the American Apparel that deal with advertising and education reflects the commitment of the company towards raising the awareness with regard to immigration issues. The CEO of the company, Dov Charney could not hide his disappointment at the loss of such a huge chunk of employees. His grandparents had been immigrants to this land.
From the second week of September 2009, all the immigrants working in the USA are required to follow the specifications of E-Verify. This electronic system is administered by the US Department of Homeland Security. It has been made mandatory for all federal government contractors to check the eligibility of the immigrant employee through this screening mechanism. All the newly-hired immigrant employees along with the current ones are subject to this rule and the companies that have attained a new contract, are required to enroll in E-Verify within a month of the stipulated contract award date.
The newly-hired immigrant employees are required to present their information in the Employment Eligibility Verification Form or the Form I-9. This is then keyed in to the E-Verify Website. Here, this information is run against the DHS and SSA databases. If a match is found with regard to these databases, the said immigrant is declared eligible to work in the United States. If the information keyed in is not found to be in alignment with the databases, the employee is allowed to get in touch with the federal agency in order to counter the mismatch and present the required verification data. There are ample scopes for improvement in the manner in which these databases work. The USCIS reveals that there are around 550,000 worksites to aid over 145,000 employers in this E-Verify Program.
The DOMA Repeal Bill offers equal protection to the same sex couples under the existing immigration laws
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed in 1996, had the same sex couples who were lawfully married, subject to discrimination. There were 91 co-sponsors who took active initiative to introduce the Respect for Marriage Act, in the House of Representatives. The President of the Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese stated in a press release that one of the vital protections with regard to the same-sex legally married couples under this Respect for Marriage Act, is that, they should be awarded “equal protection under U.S. immigration laws”. This bill can prove to be landmark legislation for American citizens as well as their non-American same-sex spouses.
You will find that under the current immigration laws, the same-sex bi-national couples are not allowed to enjoy the same immigration rights as that of the spouses of the American citizens or the lawful permanent residents of the country. In the whole of America, there is a growing support to bring about an end to this sort of discrimination. The Congress has already brought about the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) and the Reuniting Families Act, which targets to end this discrimination and allow the same-sex partners to attain permanent resident status through the amendment of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The objective is to bring in the ‘permanent partners’ within the purview of these above mentioned Acts. Senator Schumer is drafting this comprehensive immigration legislation.
The filing period for the H-2B visa shall be reopened by the USCIS for the current fiscal year 2009. This H-2B visa is of great help for those foreign workers who visit the US in order to work in a non-agricultural position at a temporary status. This of course, occurs when a US employer sponsors them. In order to avail of this opportunity, the immigrants would require some amount of cooperation from the US employers too. They need to express that there is a prevalent dearth of work force in the US, which makes the hiring of foreign labor essential. The occupational sectors like education, construction; healthcare, manufacturing, food service/processing, resort/hospitality and landscaping require the most immigrant talents. The US employers are simply required to file an application for temporary labor certification to the US Department of Homeland Security that they would like to sponsor a foreign worker.
If the petition for the H-2B visa gets approved by the USCIS, the immigrants also have the option to apply for the H-2B visa from his nearest US consulate. This will allow the immigrant worker to enter the US and work for his employer.
The filing period for the H-2B was terminated by January, 2009 but, the Department of State had issued just 40,640 H-2B visas and about 25,000 visas were left unissued. However, the H-2B visa petitions ought to be completed before the end of September 2009. This process can be completed through the premium processing.
The United States underwent a radical change the year Sen. Edward Kennedy became a sponsor to the Immigration and Nationality Act, 1965. This acted as a launching pad for his political career too. Prior to 1965, no immigrant could land at the united states apart from those from the Western Europe. As observed today by a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts, the legislation did away with the operational discriminatory quotas. It resulted in family reunification being the principle reason for immigration as observed in the current times. Loads of people from Latin America to Asia came into America and one can observe that the 10 million foreign-born populations climbed up to a whopping 30 million within the following four decades.
This resulted in an immigration chain, where the wife followed along with the children and then the parents, later on followed by the extended family and even friends and acquaintances. Then, those who were entangled in the immigration enforcement laws and people who were residing in America in an illegal manner also obtained great help from this senator. Some 361 immigrants were detained in a factory raid. In 2007, Kennedy visited New Bedford to visit these detained families and later on he succeeded in convincing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department to issue special guidelines with regard to the immigrants who had children. Although, he was working with Sen. John McCain to introduce a bill that would have helped some 12 million immigrant families, it failed.