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
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.
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-797, Notice of Action, within approximately 1-2 weeks. The I-797, 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.
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
When you apply for a benefit from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — such as a work permit, citizenship, green card or even a green card renewal — a standard part of the process is a biometrics appointment (also known as a biometrics screening).
Although it may sound scary, it is a very routine portion of the process and shouldn’t be a worry for most people. But it is important to understand what happens at the appointment, what to expect and who should be concerned. 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
Today, a federal court of appeals refused to lift a temporary hold on President Obama’s executive action on immigration that could have aided as many as five million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
In February, a Texas judge put the brakes on two major components of Obama’s executive actions after 26 states, led by Texas, alleged that Obama’s action was unconstitutional and harmed the states. His decision forced the Obama administration to halt the implementation of expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and the initial introduction of DAPA (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability). Continue reading