Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Immigration to US and Its Nuances

USA has undergone a vast change in its ethnicity, culture and population due to massive inflow of immigrants into the country. Presently in US, there are more than 38 million authorized and illegal immigrants from the chief emigrating nations of India, Mexico and Philippines. Stark antagonists of illegal entry ask the entrants to get in proper line, without considering how long the line can be.

Guidelines to Legally Immigrate to US

1.Immigration through Relationship with US Citizen – The easiest way to immigrate into US is through a family member. If you have a US citizen as your relative (spouse, children and parents), then you can acquire a green card through family. After being a green card holder for 3 years in case of a partner and 5 years otherwise, you can become a citizen of US after passing a civics and language test. So it’s a matter of 6-7 years. However, if you are a descendant of a citizen, but above 21 years, then you have to wait for 12-28 years to get your turn to immigrate, which further depends on the wait time of your country.

2.Immigration through relationship with Green Card Holder – A legal permanent resident can get his/her spouse and children to immigrate to US. Although the waiting period depends on your native country, it is a normal 13 years wait for the spouse and single children and 20 years in case of married children to immigrate to US. Moreover, you cannot apply for any other immigrant petition if your case is pending with the US Consulate.

3.Skilled Labor and Professionals Immigration – Some special skills or degree on some specialization done in some college of USA or other country might earn you a ticket to USA. The first step in this process is to get a job where your employer is prepared to pay a legal fee of approximately $8000 to $10000, to prove your extra skills. After getting the H1-B visa or non-immigrant US visa it will take another 5-6 years to get the green card and another 5 years to become citizen. So it is a long process of 12-16 years to immigrate to US under this category. All this is only possible when your employer is ready to file H1-B petition.

4.Businessman and Entrepreneur Immigration – You can get a green card and immigrate with a status of permanent resident in only 18 months, if you can invest $1 million in US. With 5 years wait you can also get a citizenship of US. So in this category you can immigrate to US completely in about a period of 7 years.

5.Government Approved Defense Scientist – You can be exempted from this long queue and immigrate to US as a lawful resident, if you are supremely intelligent and working on a brilliant project outside US, and become useful to the US Government. Amazingly you can become the citizen of America the very next day as well.

The Process Involved

In spite of its strict rules, US, is the sole country, which allows most migrants to immigrate legally in comparison to all the countries of the world combined. Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, has to be submitted by a US citizen or a green card holder (sponsor), at the center of USCIS having authority over their place of living in US. Similarly, Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker has to be submitted by US employers in the area where the migrant is expected to work in US.

After receiving the approval of USCIS, the application goes to National Visa Center (NVC), which provides guidelines to applicants, petitioners and sponsors. NVC receives fees and documents of the visa application, notifies the concerned person about their priority date becoming current and is the authority to approve or reject the application.

Source:Immigration to US and Its Nuances

Friday, June 24, 2011

Immigration Act

Immigration legislation in the United States dates back to 1790, where the Naturalization Act of 1790 laid down the rules for naturalized citizenship, as delineated in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. At the time, no restrictions were placed on immigration but citizenship was limited to white persons. By 1795 and 1798, Naturalization Acts were enacted that required individuals to establish the date of initial residency as well as lengthening the required period of residency before becoming a U.S. citizen. In the 1800s, several legislative acts were enacted that placed restrictions on immigration. The Page Act of 1875 was the first federal that prohibited the entry of immigrants considered to be “undesirable.” This included anyone from Asia coming to the U.S. as a contract laborer and all people considered convicts in their original country of residency. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 became the first race-based immigration ins legislation that suspended Chinese immigration and the ban was meant to be in existence for 10 years but was not repealed until December 17, 1943 by the Magnuson Act.

The Naturalization Act of 1906 standardized immigration procedures, making some knowledge of English a requirement and also established the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization. The Immigration Act of 1917 restricted immigration from Asia by creating an “Asiatic Barred Zone” and introduced a reading test for all immigrant over the age of 14 years, with children, wives and elderly people excepted and the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 placed annual restrictions on immigration from a given country to 3% of the number of people from that country living in the United States in 1910. The Immigration Act of 1924, or the Johnson-Reed Act, was aimed at freezing immigration of Southern and Eastern Europeans, who seemed to immigrating in big numbers since 1890’s. This ban was also extended to Asians. The Immigration Act of 1924 also established the Nations Origin Formula. This basically stated that total annual immigration was capped at 150,000 individuals and this restriction was only applied to individuals from “ quota-nations.”

The Immigration Act was in full force as a law until 1952 when the law was changed to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (or McCarren-Walter Act). This legislation somewhat relaxed immigration from Asia but it gave more power to the government in deporting illegal immigrants suspected of being Communists. This was consistent with anti-Communist tendencies of the time of McCarthyism.

According to some historians, the Immigration Act that really changed the shape and culture of the United States was the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (or Hart-Cellar Act). This legislation discontinued quotas based on national origins and at the same time, preference was given to those who had U.S. relatives. What this Immigration Act did was invalidate decades of excluding very systematically immigrants coming to the United States from Asia, Mexico, Latin America and other foreign countries and also transformed the culture, economic and demographic distinctiveness of many urban areas.

The United States is a young, democratic republic that is still evolving. As one can plainly see, its policies on immigration have been mixed, from those that were restrictive to those that liberalized our approach to immigration. But it is a nation of immigrants that contribute to the vitality of our culture, our society and innovative spirit. Establishing and enacting immigration laws will always be a part of the U.S. And depending on the times, it will always have its ups

Source: Immigration Act

Friday, June 17, 2011

Voided Green Card Winners Sue State Department

A class action lawsuit has been filed against the US State Department on behalf of thousands of people who were accidentally told they would likely receive green cards in May due to a computer glitch, according to the Huffington Post.

On May 1, the State Department mistakenly posted that about 22,000 people from across the world had won the Diversity Visa lottery, which would allow about 50,000 randomly selected people from nations with low immigration rates relocate to the US. However, the agency said a computer problem accidentally selected 90 percent of winners from a pool of people who had applied for the green card within the first few days the draw was opened, leading it to void most of the winners. As a result, many people who thought they would soon be moving to the US must re-enter the drawing for July.

A lawyer representing the 22,000 jilted applicants claims the selection process during the voided lottery was still sufficiently random because it was not manipulated by any party, the news website reports.

"Such results could have happened naturally, and even if there was a computer glitch, as the Department contends … there was a level playing field," he wrote.

The source said the lawsuit asks the State Department to allow the May lottery winners, as well as the winners of a July drawing, to apply for final Diversity Visas.

Those selected for a green card through the Diversity Visa program are able to receive a fast path to permanent residence without a family member or employer as a sponsor, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Source: Voided Green Card Winners Sue State Department

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Couples Plead Guilty to Switching Partners in Marriage Fraud Case

Two couples living in Alabama pled guilty to federal fraud charges for participating in green card marriages, according to the Press-Register.

The foreign couple, Moldovans Marin Limbas and Ludmila Bacioi Seal, have been sentenced to time served and will be handed over to immigration officials for deportation. The newspaper said the Americans, Christopher Seal and Surina Christine Seal Limbas, will be sentenced in September.

Court records show that all four defendants admitted to submitting fraudulent documents with immigration authorities in order to gain permanent residency for the foreigners, who entered the US legally on work visas. The Moldovans, who are a couple, were friends with the Americans, who agreed to the sham marriages as a favor, reported the paper.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Bordenkircher told the court that other than the marriage fraud, the Moldovan couple were law-abiding residents. He did not seek additional jail time for the pair.

The Center for Immigration Studies reports marrying a US citizen is the most common way foreign nationals receive US citizenship. More than 2.3 million foreigners received.

Source:Couples Plead Guilty to Switching Partners in Marriage Fraud Case

Friday, June 3, 2011

USCIS Changes Immigration Document Mailing Set Up

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it has completely implemented a change to the way it mails out important immigration documents.

The federal agency said that the Secure Mail Initiative (SMI) has been implemented and it will utilize US Postal Service (USPS) Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation. This change will ensure that immigration documents are not only delivered in a secure fashion but also that they arrive in a timely manner, according to the USCIS.

SMI will allow those waiting for important immigration ins documents – such as permanent residence cards and employment authorizations – to track their packages using the Post Office's tracking system. It will also get these US green cards and other documents to their intended recipients. According to a release from the USCIS, post sent as USPS Priority Mail usually arrives two to four days sooner than first-class mail.

The USCIS said in its release that those waiting for immigration documents should wait at least two weeks after they get their approval notices to contact the agency for further information.

Source: USCIS changes immigration document mailing set up