Category Archives: In the News

USCIS Processing Delay Update


USCIS issued the following notice to address the backlog of case processing.

We are writing to address recent customer concerns about processing delays. We recognize that some cases are taking longer to complete than usual and apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused. Current personnel resources do not align with the present caseload, but we are working to address the staffing shortages and workload issues that are causing the delays.

We continually review our workload capacity at each service center and, based on our findings, redistribute the work among the service centers. This type of planning allows us to maximize our resources and minimize any delays when work is transferred. We have recently transferred cases between all of our service centers, including our newest center, the Potomac Service Center. This work includes all recently filed Forms I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, submitted by F-1 and M-1 students for Optional Practical Training.  For more details, you can visit our new workload transfer updates page.

While this may not reduce wait times immediately, we hope you will see improvement over the next few months. Transferring cases will assist with backlog reduction, ensure processing times are consistent across service centers, and provide our customers and stakeholders with faster responses.

Here is what you need to know if your case is transferred to another center for action:

  • Your case will be worked based on the processing times of the receiving center
  • All notices and requests will come from the new center
  • Please notify USCIS any time you change your address
  • If you receive notice that your Green Card has been approved, please wait 120 days to receive it in the mail

Customers can access current processing times on the USCIS website at https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplayInit.do.

We encourage you to sign up for an account with Case Status Online to get an email or text notification when there is an update to your status, including when your Green Card is mailed. We also encourage you to keep your address up to date to ensure that your card is delivered to your most current physical address. You can update your mailing address online at www.uscis.gov/changeaddress.

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Proposed 24-Month STEM OPT Extension: Detailed Outline


As the comment period for Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students With STEM Degrees and Cap-Gap Relief for All Eligible F-1 Students is set to expire on November 18, 2015, we at Immigration in Plain English thought it necessary to outline the changes described in the 107 page proposed rule in plain English. What follows is a brief summary of the proposed change highlights, basic qualifications for F-1 and OPT, and then a break-down of each section of the proposed rule. There is still one week to make comments on any of the outlined subsections. DHS underlined the relevant text for which it is seeking comment in the public inspection document. We hope this provides some clarity as to the expected changes for the final rule of the 24-Month STEM OPT extension.

Summary of Proposed Rule

This proposed rule, if made final, would permit eligible STEM graduates to receive a maximum STEM OPT extension of 24 months; permit eligible STEM graduates who have obtained a second qualifying STEM degree to obtain a second STEM OPT extension of 24 months; permit eligibility for the extension based on a STEM degree that is not the student’s most recently obtained degree; limit eligibility for STEM OPT extensions to students that graduate from accredited institutions; require that students on STEM OPT extensions receive conditions of employment, including compensation, commensurate with similarly situated U.S. workers; require the disclosure of additional information, such as the student’s compensation, to ICE; implement a formal process to update the STEM Designated Degree Program list; implement a formal mentoring requirement for students on STEM OPT extensions; and require employers of students applying for STEM OPT extensions to enroll in and use E-Verify on all new hires.

Qualification for F-1 Students

  • Must be a nonimmigrant admission
  • Must be a full-time students
  • Must be enrolled in a full course of study
  • Must achieve a degree at the conclusion of study
  • Must be at a qualifying institution authorized by the U.S. government
  • Must have sufficient funds to self-support during the entire course of study

Qualification for Optional Practical Training (OPT)

  • Must be temporary employment
  • Must directly relate to course of study
  • Must complement course of study
  • May apply for 12 months of OPT at each education level
  • May be part-time, “pre-completion OPT”
  • May be full-time, “post-completion OPT”

Elements of Proposed STEM OPT Extension

A. STEM OPT Extension within OPT Program

  • Encourage international students consistent with September 2011 “Study in the States” initiative
  • Enhance U.S. economic, scientific and technological competitiveness
  • Expand post-graduate opportunities in the U.S.
  • Drive economic growth and cultural exchange in the U.S.

B. 24-Month STEM OPT Extension

  • STEM OPT extension for 36 months of practical training (12/mo OPT + 24/mo OPT STEM)
  • Unemployment period limited to 150 days
  • Students who complete 2nd STEM degree at a higher educational level permitted additional 24-month STEM extension
  • Applications submitted prior to the effective date of the proposed 24-month STEM OPT Extension final rule will be adjudicated under the 17-month extension regulations
  • Students on 17-month STEM may request a modified extension up to 120 days before the end of the student’s 17-month extension period once the proposed 24-month STEM Extension becomes final
  • Targeted to complement the complexity student’s academic experience and typical durations of research, development, testing and projects
  • Align the length of OPT + STEM with the length of grants or fellowships awarded by the National Science Foundation to universities, colleges, and research laboratories, which typically last 3 years

C. STEM Definition and CIP Categories

  • STEM Field includes those in the Department of Education’s CIP taxonomy within the summary groups containing mathematics, natural sciences (including physical sciences and biological/agricultural sciences), engineering/engineering technologies, and computer/information sciences, and related fields

D. Mentoring and Training Plan

  • Formal mentoring and training program required for employer sponsorship of STEM OPT
  • Employer must offer formal plan for practical training and skill enhancement
  • Student must  prepare “Mentoring & Training Plan” for review by Designated School Official (DSO)
  • Employer and student must design training plan that enhance practical skills and methods of degree
  • Student must provide DSO with evaluation of “Mentoring & Training Plan” goals every six (6) months
  • Employer must approve and sign “Mentoring & Training Plan” goal evaluation for submission to DHS

E. E-Verify Program

  • E-Verify program is an important measure to ensure the integrity of the STEM OPT extension
  • E-Verify is currently free to employers and is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • E-Verify electronically compares information contained on the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 (herein Form I-9) with records contained in government databases to help employers verify the identity and employment eligibility of newly-hired employees.
  • E-Verify requires an employer to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with DHS and SSA whereby the employer agrees to abide by current legal hiring procedures and to follow the E-Verify process, which is designed to prevent unauthorized disclosure of personal information and unlawful discriminatory practices based on national origin or citizenship status

F. Previously Obtained STEM Degrees

  • Students may use a previously obtained and directly related STEM degree from an accredited school as a basis to apply for a STEM OPT extension, even if the current OPT is not based on a STEM degree
  • Students would not be able to use a previously obtained degree to obtain a STEM OPT extension immediately subsequent to another STEM OPT extension, so two consecutive STEM extensions would not be permitted
  • The DSO of the student’s school of most recent enrollment would be permitted to certify prior STEM degrees
  • STEM degrees from foreign institutions would not be permitted to qualify under the previously obtained degree proposal

G. Safeguarding U.S. Workers through Labor Market Protections

  • Employer must attest to the following
  • (1) the employer has sufficient resources and personnel available and is prepared to provide appropriate mentoring and training in connection with the specified opportunity;
  • (2) the employer will not terminate, lay off, or furlough a U.S. worker as a result of providing the STEM OPT to the student; and
  • (3) the student’s opportunity assists the student in attaining his or her training objectives
  • Terms and conditions of STEM practical training opportunity, including duties, hours, and compensation, be commensurate with those provided to employer’s similarly situated U.S. workers

H. Oversight through School Accreditation and Employer Site Visits

  • Qualifying degrees for the STEM OPT extension must be from accredited U.S. institutions of higher education
  • ICE, at its discretion, may conduct “on-site reviews” to ensure that employers meet program requirements, including compliance with assurances regarding the ability and resources to provide structured and guided work-based learning experiences according to the individualized Mentoring and Training Plans

I. Additional Compliance Requirements

  • Employers must report to relevant DSO when F-1 student on STEM OPT extension terminates or otherwise leaves his or her employment prior to the end of the authorized period of OPT within 48 hours of employment termination
  • Students who are granted STEM OPT extensions are required to report to their DSO every six months, confirming the validity of their SEVIS information, including legal name, residential or mailing address, employer name or address, and/or loss of employment
  • Student seeking an extension would be required to properly file Application for Employment Authorization within 60 days of the date the DSO enters the recommendation for the STEM OPT extension into the SEVIS record

J. Cap-Gap Extension for F-1 Students with Timely Filed H-1B Petitions

  • Cap-Gap relief would continue to allow for automatic extension of status and employment authorization for any F-1 student with a timely filed H-1B petition and request for change of status, if the student’s petition has an employment start date of October 1 of the following year

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Presidential Campaign 2016: Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration – The Silent Ones


Contributed by Morgan Brockman – Southwestern High School Class of 2017

As the campaign to elect the next President of the United States heats up, we at Immigration in Plain English thought it apropos to showcase just where each candidate stands on immigration. By now most candidates have established their platform, with most candidates placing immigration as one of the foremost issues to address. And for good reason. It has been almost 20 years since the issue has been meaningfully addressed. In that time, much has changed. 9/11 and terrorism. The internet and technology. And the list goes on. For that reason, we bring you “Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration.” Ahead of the next debates, read where each candidate would take our country should she or he be elected to the oval office. At times, silence is the best indicator of a candidate’s position on a particular issue. The following candidates have officially remained silent on immigration or immigration related issues up to this point in the campaign.

  • Ben Carson
  • Carly Fiorina
  • Ted Cruz
  • John Kasich

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Presidential Campaign 2016: Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration – Rand Paul


Contributed by Morgan Brockman – Southwestern High School Class of 2017

As the campaign to elect the next President of the United States heats up, we at Immigration in Plain English thought it apropos to showcase just where each candidate stands on immigration. By now most candidates have established their platform, with most candidates placing immigration as one of the foremost issues to address. And for good reason. It has been almost 20 years since the issue has been meaningfully addressed. In that time, much has changed. 9/11 and terrorism. The internet and technology. And the list goes on. For that reason, we bring you “Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration.” Ahead of the next debates, read where each candidate would take our country should she or he be elected to the oval office.

The Republicans: Rand Paul

Official Portrait

I do not support amnesty, but rather I support a legal immigration process. I recognize that our country has been enriched by those who seek the American Dream and have a desire for a better life. However, millions of illegal immigrants are crossing our border without our knowledge, and this threatens our national security.

As President, I would secure our border immediately. Before issuing any visas or starting the legal immigration process, we must first ensure that our border is secure.

While serving in the Senate, I introduced legislation that would make immigration reform conditional on Congress voting on whether the border is secure, requiring completion of a border fence in five years and a protection against the federal government establishing a national identification card system for citizens.

My “Trust but Verify” amendment requires Congress to write and enforce a border security blueprint rather than relying on bureaucracies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, to come up with a plan. The amendment also would provide new national security safeguards to track the holders of student visas and those provided asylum and refugee status.

In order to protect our nation and reform the immigration process, we must know who is and is not entering our country by first securing our border.

As President, I would implement my “Trust but Verify” plan and put pressure on the Department of Homeland Security to finally follow through on the broken promise of a secure border and an effective visa tracking system.

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Presidential Campaign 2016: Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration – Jeb Bush


Contributed by Morgan Brockman – Southwestern High School Class of 2017

As the campaign to elect the next President of the United States heats up, we at Immigration in Plain English thought it apropos to showcase just where each candidate stands on immigration. By now most candidates have established their platform, with most candidates placing immigration as one of the foremost issues to address. And for good reason. It has been almost 20 years since the issue has been meaningfully addressed. In that time, much has changed. 9/11 and terrorism. The internet and technology. And the list goes on. For that reason, we bring you “Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration.” Ahead of the next debates, read where each candidate would take our country should she or he be elected to the oval office.

The Republicans: Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush

Border Security

A forward-leaning Border Patrol with the flexibility to deploy resources to meet threats.

In some cases, it takes Border Patrol agents over an hour to get to the remote and rugged areas they need to patrol. Creating more forward-operating bases maximizes agents’ time on the border by stationing them there (much like a fire station) for multiple days at a time. We also have to interdict drugs and people as close to the border as possible by using quick reaction teams that go after the threat the moment it crosses the border. An approach to border security that waits until illicit traffic is miles into the interior of the country effectively cedes sovereign U.S. territory to the cartels and smugglers. These forward-leaning Border Patrol agents should be at the front line of a multi-layered “defense in depth” where additional lines of defense increase the likelihood of detecting and apprehending illegal crossers.

The Border Patrol also must have the flexibility to deploy resources as needed. The flow of illegal immigrants can and will shift over time. For example, in the mid-2000s, the Tucson, Arizona sector saw the most traffic based on the number of apprehensions; after we applied more resources, people went to less secure areas of the border, such as the Rio Grande Valley sector in South Texas. Our border security posture must be as nimble as the cartels’ ability to shift operations to a different area.

Use new technologies to achieve continuous surveillance of the border. 

Having the ability to detect illegal crossings is necessary to secure the border. In order to apprehend a person, you first have to know when and where a crossing occurs. That is one of the biggest problems right now—we do not have enough surveillance on the border and we are being beaten without knowing it. We can leverage technology to constantly watch the border, develop intelligence, and put our agents and resources where they are most effective at preventing and apprehending illicit border crossers.

Technology, such as drones, advanced sensors, and radar, can give our agents a fuller picture of the illegal activity that in turn will enable the country to better allocate resources on the border. More than that, technology can make securing the border safer for our agents who will not have to respond to false alarms. And because the cartels do extensive counter-surveillance on our agents through the use of spotters who report on the movement of the Border Patrol, we need to keep them guessing by using mobile technology.

Bolster border infrastructure and improve access to federal lands.

Road construction and maintenance can provide agents access to areas of the border that would otherwise go unpatrolled. New roads are needed on the border to secure access to remote and rugged terrain to interdict smugglers, and respond to the detection of illicit traffic by technology. Likewise, new boat ramps can provide Border Patrol riverine units more points to put their vessels in the water so they can patrol more effectively.

As noted in Immigration Wars, fencing is a component of border security. When combined with surveillance technology and agents to detect and respond to crossings, fencing or other barriers can serve several purposes, including: (1) deterring illegal entries by making it more difficult to cross the border, (2) facilitating enforcement by increasing the time available to respond and apprehend people, and (3) steering dangerous criminals and traffickers away from populated areas, improving public safety. Sufficient funding should be provided to maintain, improve, and expand fences where appropriate (e.g., based on the terrain along the border or the proximity of populated areas).

Access to federal lands is another key part of improving access to border areas. Currently, agents have to navigate byzantine environmental rules and regulations to access federal lands, which make up a large portion of the southwest border. Removing these restrictions would help untie the hands of our agents to patrol every inch of the border.

Interior Enforcement

Require electronic verification of employment eligibility.

Many illegal immigrants come to the United States for jobs and, despite the prohibition on hiring illegal immigrants, they are hired in large numbers. If we decrease the likelihood of being employed, crossing the border will be less rewarding. However, the current I-9 system does not effectively prevent the hiring of illegal workers. We need a strong E-Verify system to ensure that American businesses are not hiring illegal immigrants. E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. Employers should not be penalized if they use E-Verify in good faith and receive an incorrect eligibility confirmation. Identity theft protections are also necessary. Finally, with an improved E-Verify, the government must enforce penalties for violations.

Identify and send home the people who are entering the United States and overstaying their visas or otherwise violating the terms of their admission.

In its widely-cited 2006 review, the Pew Hispanic Center estimated that nearly half of all illegal immigrants living in the United States entered the country legally through a port of entry such as an airport and overstayed their visas. While we need to find a practical solution to the status of people who are here illegally today, as we secure the border going forward, we also need to identify and send home the people who enter the country legally but overstay their visas or otherwise violate the terms of their admission.

Unfortunately, without a system in place to track adequately who has actually left the country, it is difficult to know who these individuals are. A biometric exit system must be rapidly implemented so that immigration and national security officials know with certainty who is, and is not, in this country.

We also need to increase federal resources dedicated to overstay enforcement. In FY 2012, the federal agency that investigates overstay cases, among other activities, spent less than 2 percent of their time on these cases.

Furthermore, we need to create intergovernmental task forces to locate and apprehend overstays, especially those who present public safety risks. With proper training and supervision, state and local police could augment federal agents because they know their communities and have more boots on the ground.

Crack down on sanctuary cities that undermine efforts to enforce immigration laws.

We should withhold federal law enforcement funds for cities that undermine federal immigration laws and make sure we detain and deport illegal immigrants who are serious criminals. We should also expand federal partnerships that train state and local police to help enforce immigration laws, particularly in jails and prisons. When I was Governor of Florida, the state was a trailblazer in working with the federal government to enforce immigration laws. In 2002, Florida signed the first agreement with the federal government under the Section 287(g) program, which trains state and local police to help enforce immigration laws.

These six proposals, when combined with a rigorous path to earned legal status, would realistically and honestly address the status of the 11 million people here illegally today and protect against future illegal immigration. While passions run high on this issue, there is no rational plan to deport millions of people that the American people would support. It would disrupt communities and families and could cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. The policies I am advocating can ultimately receive bipartisan support in Congress and become law. President Obama has had six-and-a-half years to address our broken immigration system. Instead of leading the nation towards consensus, he has divided the country. One has to ask whether he is more interested in providing a wedge issue for his party than offering a solution for the country. There should be no doubt where I stand. I am committed to addressing the problem of illegal immigration in a comprehensive fashion so we can respond to the legitimate concerns of the American people and build stronger support for legal immigration, which if done properly can be a catalyst to bring us to strong, sustained economic growth that will benefit every American.

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Presidential Campaign 2016: Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration – Mike Huckabee


Contributed by Morgan Brockman – Southwestern High School Class of 2017

As the campaign to elect the next President of the United States heats up, we at Immigration in Plain English thought it apropos to showcase just where each candidate stands on immigration. By now most candidates have established their platform, with most candidates placing immigration as one of the foremost issues to address. And for good reason. It has been almost 20 years since the issue has been meaningfully addressed. In that time, much has changed. 9/11 and terrorism. The internet and technology. And the list goes on. For that reason, we bring you “Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration.” Ahead of the next debates, read where each candidate would take our country should she or he be elected to the oval office.

The Republicans: Mike Huckabee

mikehuckabee

America has an immigration crisis on its hands, and it’s time for the federal government to do its job. Without a secure border, nothing matters. We have drug cartels running reckless on our southern border, and the Washington establishment wants to reward illegal immigrants with amnesty and citizenship.

As President, I Will:

  • Reject President Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders.
  • Oppose amnesty.
  • Secure the border now.

If you reward people who play outside the rules and punish people who live within the rules, pretty soon nobody is going to play by the rules. We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws.

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Presidential Campaign 2016: Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration – Chris Christie


Contributed by Morgan Brockman – Southwestern High School Class of 2017

As the campaign to elect the next President of the United States heats up, we at Immigration in Plain English thought it apropos to showcase just where each candidate stands on immigration. By now most candidates have established their platform, with most candidates placing immigration as one of the foremost issues to address. And for good reason. It has been almost 20 years since the issue has been meaningfully addressed. In that time, much has changed. 9/11 and terrorism. The internet and technology. And the list goes on. For that reason, we bring you “Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration.” Ahead of the next debates, read where each candidate would take our country should she or he be elected to the oval office.

The Republicans: Chris Christie

ChrisChristie

Securing The Border

Governor Christie has called for securing the border with Mexico through:

  • A border wall where appropriate, specifically in urbanized areas
  • An increase in manpower, specifically embedding FBI, DEA and ATF agents with our border patrol to interdict guns and drugs being smuggled into the country
  • Advanced technology such as the use of drones and electronic surveillance to increase efficiency

Universal Workplace Enforcement

Most who enter the country illegally come here to work. Employers should not be exploiting cheap illegal labor and should be held accountable when they do. Every employer in the country should be using e-verify to check the work status of employees.

  • Fines for hiring illegal workers should be double the profit a business has made from that worker. This will remove the incentive to hire illegal workers.

Keep Track Of Those Who Are Overstaying Their Visas

Around 40% of the illegal immigrants currently in the U.S. came into the country legally and simply overstayed their visas. We should be utilizing existing biometric technology to keep track of those who enter the country on a visa, so that that they can be returned home once their visas are expired.

Eliminate Funding For Sanctuary Cities

As president, Governor Christie will enforce all the laws as president, not just some. He will block federal funding for sanctuary cities who are choosing to ignore the law.

Block President Obama’s Illegal Executive Amnesty

Governor Christie joined the legal fight against President Obama’s Executive Amnesty, signing onto an amicus brief that successfully urged the Appeals Court to uphold the injunction.

  • Governor Christie condemned President Obama’s Executive Actions and failure to secure border that have “allowed people to believe that they could come here under any circumstances not under the law and be able to stay here.”

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Presidential Campaign 2016: Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration – Donald Trump


Contributed by Morgan Brockman – Southwestern High School Class of 2017

As the campaign to elect the next President of the United States heats up, we at Immigration in Plain English thought it apropos to showcase just where each candidate stands on immigration. By now most candidates have established their platform, with most candidates placing immigration as one of the foremost issues to address. And for good reason. It has been almost 20 years since the issue has been meaningfully addressed. In that time, much has changed. 9/11 and terrorism. The internet and technology. And the list goes on. For that reason, we bring you “Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration.” Ahead of the next debates, read where each candidate would take our country should she or he be elected to the oval office.

The Republicans: Donald Trump

donald_trump

  1. A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.
  2. A nation without laws is not a nation. Laws passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced.
  3. A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.

Make Mexico Pay For The Wall

For many years, Mexico’s leaders have been taking advantage of the United States by using illegal immigration to export the crime and poverty in their own country (as well as in other Latin American countries). They have even published pam published pamphlets on how to illegally immigrate to the United States. The costs for the United States have been extraordinary: U.S. taxpayers have been asked to pick up hundreds of billions in healthcare costs, housing costs, education costs, welfare costs, etc. Indeed, the annual cost of free tax credits alone paid to illegal immigrants quadrupled to $4.2 billion in 2011. The effects on jobseekers have also been disastrous, and black Americans have been particularly harmed.

The impact in terms of crime has been tragic. In recent weeks, the headlines have been covered with cases of criminals who crossed our border illegally only to go on to commit horrific crimes against Americans. Most recently, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, with a long arrest record, is charged with breaking into a 64 year-old woman’s home, crushing her skull and eye sockets with a hammer, raping her, and murdering her. The Police Chief in Santa Maria says the “blood trail” leads straight to Washington.

In 2011, the Government Accountability Office found that there were a shocking 3 million arrests attached to the incarcerated alien population, including tens of thousands of violent beatings, rapes and murders.

Meanwhile, Mexico continues to make billions on not only our bad trade deals but also relies heavily on the billions of dollars in remittances sent from illegal immigrants in the United States back to Mexico ($22 billion in 2013 alone).

In short, the Mexican government has taken the United States to the cleaners. They are responsible for this problem, and they must help pay to clean it up.

The cost of building a permanent border wall pales mightily in comparison to what American taxpayers spend every single year on dealing with the fallout of illegal immigration on their communities, schools and unemployment offices.

Mexico must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increase fees on all border crossing cards – of which we issue about 1 million to Mexican nationals each year (a major source of visa overstays); increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico (another major source of overstays); and increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico [Tariffs and foreign aid cuts are also options].  We will not be taken advantage of anymore.

Defend The Laws And Constitution Of The United States

America will only be great as long as America remains a nation of laws that lives according to the Constitution. No one is above the law. The following steps will return to the American people the safety of their laws, which politicians have stolen from them:

Triple the Number of ICE Officers

As the President of the ICE Officers’ Council explained in Congressional testimony: “Only approximately 5,000 officers and agents within ICE perform the lion’s share of ICE’s immigration mission…Compare that to the Los Angeles Police Department at approximately 10,000 officers. Approximately 5,000 officers in ICE cover 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam, and are attempting to enforce immigration law against 11 million illegal aliens already in the interior of the United States. Since 9-11, the U.S. Border Patrol has tripled in size, while ICE’s immigration enforcement arm, Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), has remained at relatively the same size.” This will be funded by accepting the recommendation of the Inspector General for Tax Administration and eliminating tax credit payments to illegal immigrants.

Nationwide E-Verify

This simple measure will protect jobs for unemployed Americans.

Mandatory Return of All Criminal Aliens

The Obama Administration has released 76,000 aliens from its custody with criminal convictions since 2013 alone. All criminal aliens must be returned to their home countries, a process which can be aided by canceling any visas to foreign countries which will not accept their own criminals, and making it a separate and additional crime to commit an offense while here illegally.

Detention—Not Catch-and-Release

Illegal aliens apprehended crossing the border must be detained until they are sent home, no more catch-and-release.

Defund Sanctuary Cities

Cut-off federal grants to any city which refuses to cooperate with federal law enforcement.

Enhanced Penalties for Overstaying a Visa

Millions of people come to the United States on temporary visas but refuse to leave, without consequence. This is a threat to national security. Individuals who refuse to leave at the time their visa expires should be subject to criminal penalties; this will also help give local jurisdictions the power to hold visa overstays until federal authorities arrive. Completion of a visa tracking system – required by law but blocked by lobbyists – will be necessary as well.

Cooperate with Local Gang Task Forces.

ICE officers should accompany local police departments conducting raids of violent street gangs like MS-13 and the 18th street gang, which have terrorized the country. All illegal aliens in gangs should be apprehended and deported. Again, quoting Chris Crane: “ICE Officers and Agents are forced to apply the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Directive, not to children in schools, but to adult inmates in jails. If an illegal-alien inmate simply claims eligibility, ICE is forced to release the alien back into the community. This includes serious criminals who have committed felonies, who have assaulted officers, and who prey on children…ICE officers should be required to place detainers on every illegal alien they encounter in jails and prisons, since these aliens not only violated immigration laws, but then went on to engage in activities that led to their arrest by police; ICE officers should be required to issue Notices to Appear to all illegal aliens with criminal convictions, DUI convictions, or a gang affiliation; ICE should be working with any state or local drug or gang task force that asks for such assistance.”

End Birthright Citizenship

This remains the biggest magnet for illegal immigration. By a 2:1 margin, voters say it’s the wrong policy, including Harry Reid who said “no sane country” would give automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants.

Put American Workers First

Decades of disastrous trade deals and immigration policies have destroyed our middle class. Today, nearly 40% of black teenagers are unemployed. Nearly 30% of Hispanic teenagers are unemployed. For black Americans without high school diplomas, the bottom has fallen out: more than 70% were employed in 1960, compared to less than 40% in 2000. Across the economy, the percentage of adults in the labor force has collapsed to a level not experienced in generations. As CBS news wrote in a piece entitled “America’s incredible shrinking middle class”: “If the middle-class is the economic backbone of America, then the country is developing osteoporosis.”

The influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working class Americans – including immigrants themselves and their children – to earn a middle class wage. Nearly half of all immigrants and their US-born children currently live in or near poverty, including more than 60 percent of Hispanic immigrants. Every year, we voluntarily admit another 2 million new immigrants, guest workers, refugees, and dependents, growing our existing all-time historic record population of 42 million immigrants. We need to control the admission of new low-earning workers in order to: help wages grow, get teenagers back to work, aid minorities’ rise into the middle class, help schools and communities falling behind, and to ensure our immigrant members of the national family become part of the American dream.

Additionally, we need to stop giving legal immigrant visas to people bent on causing us harm. From the 9/11 hijackers, to the Boston Bombers, and many others, our immigration system is being used to attack us. The President of the immigration caseworkers union declared in a statement on ISIS: “We’ve become the visa clearinghouse for the world.”

Here are some additional specific policy proposals for long-term reform:

Increase Prevailing Wage for H-1Bs

We graduate two times more Americans with STEM degrees each year than find STEM jobs, yet as much as two-thirds of entry-level hiring for IT jobs is accomplished through the H-1B program. More than half of H-1B visas are issued for the program’s lowest allowable wage level, and more than eighty percent for its bottom two. Raising the prevailing wage paid to H-1Bs will force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the U.S., instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas. This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program. Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities.

Requirement to Hire American Workers First

Too many visas, like the H-1B, have no such requirement. In the year 2015, with 92 million Americans outside the workforce and incomes collapsing, we need companies to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed. Petitions for workers should be mailed to the unemployment office, not USCIS.

End Welfare Abuse

Applicants for entry to the United States should be required to certify that they can pay for their own housing, healthcare and other needs before coming to the U.S.

Jobs Program for Inner City Youth

The J-1 visa jobs program for foreign youth will be terminated and replaced with a resume bank for inner city youth provided to all corporate subscribers to the J-1 visa program.

Refugee Program for American Children

Increase standards for the admission of refugees and asylum-seekers to crack down on abuses. Use the monies saved on expensive refugee programs to help place American children without parents in safer homes and communities, and to improve community safety in high crime neighborhoods in the United States.

Immigration Moderation

Before any new green cards are issued to foreign workers abroad, there will be a pause where employers will have to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed immigrant and native workers. This will help reverse women’s plummeting workplace participation rate, grow wages, and allow record immigration levels to subside to more moderate historical averages.

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Presidential Campaign 2016: Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration – Hillary Clinton


Contributed by Morgan Brockman – Southwestern High School Class of 2017

As the campaign to elect the next President of the United States heats up, we at Immigration in Plain English thought it apropos to showcase just where each candidate stands on immigration. By now most candidates have established their platform, with most candidates placing immigration as one of the foremost issues to address. And for good reason. It has been almost 20 years since the issue has been meaningfully addressed. In that time, much has changed. 9/11 and terrorism. The internet and technology. And the list goes on. For that reason, we bring you “Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration.” Ahead of the next debates, read where each candidate would take our country should she or he be elected to the oval office.

The Democrats: Hillary Clinton

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  • A Fair and Just Immigration System.

    Every family should feel like they belong in this country. Instead of breaking up law-abiding immigrant families who have enriched America for years, Hillary will offer them a path to citizenship.

  • Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

    The American people support comprehensive immigration reform—not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it strengthens families, our economy, and our country. Congress must pass comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship, treats every person with dignity, upholds the rule of law, protects our borders and national security, and brings millions of hardworking people into the formal economy.

  • Defending Executive Actions.

    Hillary will defend President Obama’s executive actions on immigration from partisan attacks that would put DREAMers at risk of deportation. And if Congress continues to refuse to act, she will do everything possible under the law to go further. She will put in place a simple, straightforward, accessible way for parents of DREAMers and others with a history of service and contribution to their communities to make their case and be eligible for the same deferred action as their children.

  • Conducting Humane, Common-Sense Enforcement.

    Immigration enforcement must be more humane, more targeted, and more effective. We will focus our limited resources on those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety.

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Presidential Campaign 2016: Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration – Lincoln Chafee


Contributed by Morgan Brockman – Southwestern High School Class of 2017

As the campaign to elect the next President of the United States heats up, we at Immigration in Plain English thought it apropos to showcase just where each candidate stands on immigration. By now most candidates have established their platform, with most candidates placing immigration as one of the foremost issues to address. And for good reason. It has been almost 20 years since the issue has been meaningfully addressed. In that time, much has changed. 9/11 and terrorism. The internet and technology. And the list goes on. For that reason, we bring you “Know Where the Candidates Stand on Immigration.” Ahead of the next debates, read where each candidate would take our country should she or he be elected to the oval office.

The Democrats: Lincoln Chafee

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Enactment of the McCain Kennedy Bill

Title I: Border Security

  • Requires the development of various plans and reports evaluating information-sharing, international and federal-state-local coordination, technology, anti-smuggling, and other border security initiatives
  • Establishes a Border Security Advisory Committee made up of various stakeholders in the border region to provide recommendations to the Department of Homeland Security regarding border enforcement
  • Encourages the development of multilateral partnerships to establish a North American security perimeter and improve border security south of Mexico

Title II: State Criminal Alien Assistance

  • Reauthorizes the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program that provides reimbursement to state and local governments for incarcerating undocumented aliens convicted of crimes
  • Allows for funding to pay for additional criminal justice costs associated with undocumented immigrants charged or convicted of crimes

Title III: Essential Worker Visa Program

  • Creates a new temporary visa to allow foreign workers to enter and fill available jobs that require few or no skills (the H-5A visa)
  • Applicants must show that they have a job waiting in the U.S., pay a fee of $500 in addition to application fees, and clear all security, medical, and other checks
  • Requires updating of America’s Job Bank to make sure job opportunities are seen first by American workers
  • Initial cap on H-5A visas is set at 400,000, but the annual limit will be gradually adjusted up or down based on demand in subsequent years
  • Visa is valid for three years, and can be renewed one time for a total of 6 years; at the end of the visa period the worker either has to return home or be in the pipeline for a green card
  • Visa is portable, but if the worker loses his job he has to find another one within 60 days or return home
  • Ensures that employers hiring temporary workers abide by Federal, state and local labor, employment and tax laws
  • Prohibits the hiring of temporary workers as independent contractors
  • Protects temporary workers from abuse by foreign labor contractors or employers.
  • Gives temporary workers and U.S. workers remedies for violations of their rights
  • An employer can sponsor the H-5A visa holder for a green card, or after accumulating four years of work in H-5A status, the worker can apply to adjust status on his/her own
  • Sets up a task force to evaluate the H-5A program and recommend improvements

Title IV: Enforcement

  • Creates a new electronic work authorization system that will ultimately replace the paper-based, fraud-prone I-9 system, to be phased in gradually
  • When operational, the system will be applied universally and cannot be used to discriminate against job applicants
  • Individuals will have the right to review and correct their own records; data privacy protections are in place
  • Immigration-related documents and US-VISIT will be upgraded to require biometric verification of travelers
  • The Department of Labor will have new authority to conduct random audits of employers and ensure compliance with labor laws; also includes new worker protections and enhanced fines for illegal employment practices

Title V: Promoting Circular Migration Patterns

  • Requires foreign countries to enter into migration agreements with the U.S. that help control the flow of their citizens to jobs in the U.S., with emphasis on encouraging the re-integration of citizens returning home
  • Encourages the U.S. government to partner with Mexico to promote economic opportunity back home and reduce the pressure to immigrate to the U.S.
  • Encourages the U.S. government to partner with Mexico on health care access so that the U.S. is not unfairly impacted with the costs of administering health care to Mexican nationals

Title VI: Family Unity and Backlog Reduction

  • Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are not counted against the 480,000 annual cap on family-sponsored green cards, thereby providing additional visas to the family preference categories
  • The current per-country limit on green cards is raised slightly to clear up backlogs
  • Income requirements for sponsoring a family member for a green card are changed from 125% of the federal poverty guidelines to 100%, and other obstacles are removed to ensure fairness
  • The employment-based categories are revised to provide additional visas for employers who need to hire permanent workers, and the annual cap is raised from 140,000 to 290,000
  • Immigrant visas lost due to processing delays are recaptured for future allotments

Title VII: Adjustment of Status for H-5B Non-Immigrants

  • Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. on date of introduction can register for a temporary visa (H-5B), valid for six years
  • Applicants have to show work history, clean criminal record, and that they are not a security problem to be eligible for a temporary visa
  • They will receive work and travel authorization
  • Their spouses and children are also eligible
  • In order to qualify for permanent status, workers will have to meet a future work requirement, clear additional security/background checks, pay substantial fines and application fees ($2000 or more per adult) as well as back taxes, and meet English/civics requirements

Title VIII: Protection Against Immigration Fraud

  • Attempts to eliminate the exploitation of immigrants by notarios or other unlicensed immigration law practitioners by imposing new legal requirements on such individuals
  • Allows immigrants defrauded by unauthorized legal representatives to file actions against their perpetrators

Title IX: Civics Integration

  • Creates a public-private foundation under the USCIS Office of Citizenship to support programs that promote citizenship and to fund civics and English language instruction for immigrants
  • Provides for new money to fund civic and English language instruction for immigrants

Title X: Promoting Access to Health Care

  • * Extends the authorization of federal reimbursements for hospitals that provide emergency care to undocumented immigrants; includes H-5A and H-5B workers in the program

Title XI: Miscellaneous

  • Distributes the fees and fines paid by H-5A and H-5B workers among the DHS and DOS for processing, DHS for border security efforts, DOL for enforcement of labor laws, SSA for development of the employment eligibility confirmation system, hospitals to pay for uncompensated health care, and the USCIS Office of Citizenship for civic integration and English classes
  • Requires the dissemination of information related to the provisions of this legislation
  • Includes anti-discrimination protections that cover all workers, including H-5A and H-5B visa holders

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