Unfortunately, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is no different than any other massive government organization – they are heavily burdened with a large workload and aren’t the most efficient organization. In fact, several agencies make up the overall immigration system. Consular offices, Department of State and the National Visa Center all play a role. Over 6 million forms are filed with USCIS each year alone. Even if you’ve used our tips for preparing USCIS forms, it’s not uncommon for these agencies to lose parts of your application package or even the whole thing. But there are some preventive measures so that you don’t have to call us to say, “USCIS lost my application!” Continue reading
After you’ve filed almost any application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), they will respond by mailing you a Form I-797C, Notice of Action, within approximately 1-3 weeks. (It may take longer to receive the I-797C for some other forms like Form I-751.) The I-797C, Notice of Action, is commonly known as a receipt letter.
For applicants that have incorrectly filed or included the wrong payment, this receipt letter will indicate that the case has been rejected. The applicant will need to refile. If you’ve prepared the form correctly and followed the USCIS directions carefully, this receipt letter will indicated that your case has been accepted. Once the form has been accepted, USCIS will begin reviewing your case.
The receipt letter contains a unique 13-digit receipt number. Also known as a case number, it’s a very important number to help you track the progress of your case or identify a particular immigration filing.
Several million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. received a stunning blow last week when the Supreme Court’s deadlocked decision effectively killed President Obama’s new deferred action plans. The immigration actions known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Permanent Residents (DAPA) and an expanded version of the already successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) appear to be hopelessly frozen.
For undocumented immigrants, the clear goal is a path to a long-term legal status. These paths to legal status lead to permanent resident status (green card) and U.S. citizenship. Certain immigrants with no legal status may have some paths available. This article covers those options and who could qualify for them. Continue reading
The battle to unfreeze President Obama’s DAPA and expanded DACA executive actions is now in the U.S. Supreme Court
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments over the lawsuit that froze the implementation of an expansion to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the creation of the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program. For immigration advocates, this is a major decision in the fight for families.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent death and how a new Justice will be selected has injected new fuel into the Democratic and Republican debates. But it’s highly unlikely that a new Justice will be selected before this spring when the Supreme Court takes on expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Permanent Residents (DAPA). Both the DAPA and expanded DACA programs have been blocked by lower courts. In the case known as United States v. Texas, the Supreme Court is expected to make a final decision. Continue reading
As the fight for DAPA and expanded DACA moves to the Supreme Court, learn how to prepare for the deferred action application.
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the case of United States v. Texas. The case will determine the constitutionality of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration that expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and created Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).
President Obama announced the expanded DACA and DAPA programs in November 2014. But the programs have stalled due to court challenges. The Supreme Court’s decision will be final.
The Supreme Court’s decision to take up the case is great news for proponents of Obama’s immigration actions. A ruling in the case will likely impact as many as 5 million undocumented people. The existing DACA addresses people who entered the U.S. as children and have no current legal status. (Note: The existing DACA program is unaffected by the court ruling.) The expanded DACA program, which is being challenged in court, makes the program available to a greater number of eligible applicants. DAPA addresses more than 4 million undocumented immigrants who have children who are American citizens or lawful permanent residents. Continue reading
Although President Obama’s executive actions that created DAPA and expanded DACA remain stalled, his updated enforcement policy means that up to 87 percent of undocumented immigrants in the United States likely will not be the target of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) according to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI).
The centerpiece of Obama’s November 24, 2014, executive actions on immigration was the announcement of the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). When combined, these two programs were expected to positively affect up to 5 million people with protection from deportation and employment authorization for a renewable 3-year period. But both of these programs are blocked by court orders. Continue reading
The court injunction that has halted the implementation of Obama’s executive action on immigration may also be freezing economic growth for the United States. Research from the Center for American Progress (CAP) suggests there are economic gains of granting deferred action to undocumented immigrants through programs like DACA and DAPA. Deferred action raises wages and generates increased tax revenues.
While 26 states battle it out with the Obama administration, another story is unfolding. The United States has already benefited from programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Continue reading
There are misconceptions that many deferred action recipients and undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes and/or aren’t obligated to pay taxes. Both are false. And filing taxes after deferred action, doesn’t have to be hard.
Immigrants must pay taxes in the United States, and most of them do. Even undocumented immigrants have a responsibility by law to pay taxes. Beyond the legal obligation to pay taxes, many immigrants want to contribute to the United States and document their residence in this country.
Immigrants with deferred action status from programs, such as DACA and DAPA, are required to pay taxes going forward. Payment of back taxes is not required. Paying taxes may also help future immigration cases if the applicant ever needs to demonstrate compliance with tax requirements, proof of income, or proof of continuous residence in the United States. Continue reading
We previously published a basic guide on Preparing for DAPA and developed a DAPA Eligibility Quiz that helps potential applicants determine their eligibility. But gathering the documents necessary to apply for DAPA takes real work. It is tedious and detail oriented.
Just ask DACA applicants who applied within the last couple of years. It has been worth the effort. Eduardo Ramirez-Farias, who recently renewed his DACA status, says “My experience with DACA is a positive one. It changed my life in many ways, such as financially and educationally. Most importantly, I am able to live my life without fear and enjoy the great things in life. This program gave me, as well as others, the opportunity to achieve and succeed the American Dream.” Continue reading