On December 23, 1849, Fyodor Dostoevsky, who went on to become Russia’s greatest novelist, and several other members of the so-called Petrachevsky Circle were taken out into the courtyard of the Semonyonov Prison in St. Petersburg. The tsarist government had sentenced them to death. Men were blindfolded and tied to posts. The firing squad was locked and loaded when a cart with a reprieve from the Tsar himself commuted the sentence to exile and hard labor.
Over the last few weeks we have answered dozens of questions about the provisional waiver. One group of questions keeps appearing- questions about how people in removal proceedings or with a removal order can qualify for the provisional waiver. Whereas, the initial rule announced by the Department of Homeland Security indicated that the provisional waiver would be unavailable to people in removal proceedings, the final rule is somewhat more forgiving.
The Migration Policy Institute recently released a study documenting that the U.S. government spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement, dwarfing the $14 million spent on other federal law enforcement agencies. The FBI, the DEA and the ATF, combined, received $14 billion. Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s budget, alone, is $6 billion. Something is seriously out of whack here. None of this is surprising to immigration attorneys. ICE runs a gulag archipelago of detention centers across the country, holding immigrants who have overstayed visas, entered without inspection, seek asylum, and committed minor offenses.
The publication of the rule allowing for processing of provisional waivers for unlawful presence in the United States was another act of administrative rule-making that the President has undertaken to make the immigration laws more humane. Over the past year, the effort at prosecutorial discretion, the introduction of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and the provisional waiver have created a much improved immigration system that attempts to solve real immigration problems for families.
Ever heard of Mo Farah? If you watched the London Olympics last summer, the name likely rings a bell. Mohamed “Mo” Farah is a Somali-born British track and field superstar. He is the current Olympic champion at the 10,000 meters and 5,000 meters. He is also World Champion and European Champion at the shorter distance. A few days ago, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in honor of his athletic achievements.
Today, the USCIS finally published the much-awaited rule on the unlawful presence waiver (I-601A), which will take effect on March 4, 2013. We previewed this development in this blog in October 2012. This is an enormous development. The so-called stateside waiver process will allow thousands of immigrants to take the steps to regularize their immigration status. The new waiver provisions do nothing to change the substantive requirement that an immigrant demonstrate that the denial of her permanent residence would cause extreme hardship to her U.S.
A persistent and fair criticism of the current administration is that while it has made grand pronouncements of focusing its enforcement efforts on violent criminals and threats to the national security, programs like 287(g) and Secure Communities have scooped far more benign immigrants in their overboard nets. While the administration has put forward numerous memoranda and made extensive public statements about focusing limited resources on the dangerous and the recidivist immigration violators, the reality has been that, as a result of Secure Communities, immigrants without status and without serious criminal issues encountered by the police either due to a minor offense, while reporting a crime, or while the police look for another individual have been swept into the immigration dragnet, detained and deported.
As of today, the USCIS has revised guidelines up on its site with quite a lot of new information regarding the deferred action process, applications for which will be out on August 15. USCIS will NOT be accepting application until Aug. 15th. If you submit now, your application will be returned. The fee will be $465 as previously revealed. You can check your eligibility by referring to the chart here.
Today, 104 Democratic Members of Congress released a letter to President Barack Obama thanking him for his decision to instruct the Department of Homeland Security to offer “Deferred Action” deportation relief to young immigrants raised in the U.S. who would qualify for the DREAM Act. The Members of Congress wrote: We recognize that there are those who will want to take the power of discretion away from you and the Executive branch.