FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Are local laws aimed at enforcing Federal Immigration law constitutional?

Lawmakers in states and localities within the United States are proposing, and in some cases enacting, laws and ordinances that would enforce existing federal immigration law or create new immigration law. The localities claim that they simply are passing laws pertaining to the state or locality’s power to regulate licensing, contracting, or the like. Yet these state and local laws — which their authors dress up as laws to regulate housing, employment, and local law enforcement — are in actuality attempts to regulate immigration. Almost all of the proposed state and local initiatives are preempted by the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate immigration and are therefore unconstitutional

Petition to sponsor an immediate relative for immigrant visa:  Do I need to prove I can support my relative?

I entered the US as a tourist (B2) and became out of status when I overstayed my visa for more than 180 days.  Can I still apply for legal permanent resident?  Yes, under certain conditions, especially where you are now married to a U.S. citizen, you can be waived from the three and ten year bars.  Seek legal counsel before you proceed.

Can I apply for citizenship if my grandfather, now deceased, was a naturalized citizen in the United States even though I never lived in the U.S.? 

Yes.  In fact, if you are the child of the deceased ancestor or grandparent, your children can be sponsored by you for U.S. citizenship.  There are certain residency requirements that the deceased ancestor must meet in order for the above to be approved.  (Law: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000)

Can you do anything to raise the HB-1 Employment Visa Cap? 

Yes.  Write to Congressman and Senators.  This is not a waste of time.  Click here to see a sample letter from the American Immigration Lawyers Association.  If possible, you should write the letter in your own words; however, if you do not have the time, use the form letter.  Don’t feel powerless.  The current cap of65,000 was reached in May of 2006.

How can I check on the status of my application? 

If you have your “receipt” number confirming that your application with the USCIS was received, you can check your status online at byclicking here.  Alternatively, if your application was transferred to a local USCIS district office, you need to contact that local office directly, preferably in writing.  Be sure to have your “A” number, receipt number, date of birth, copies of any notices from the district offices (e.g., Notice for Interview) to check on the status of your case.  Please be advised many local district offices are filled with huge backlogs, as long as one year or more.  Don’t expect quick replies.

What are the limits of “immigrant” visas to the United States each year?  

The U.S. limits the annual number of immigrant visas by country.  The Immigration and Nationality Act sets a per country cap of 7 percent or 26,620 of available family and work based visas.

If USCIS denies my application for citizenship can I appeal?  You can utilize an administrative review process if you are denied.  If you believe that you were wrongly denied naturalization, you can apply or request a hearing with an immigration officer.  Be sure to examine your denial letter.  This letter should explain how to request a hearing and will include the form you will need.  See Form N-336.

What if my “green card” is about to expire in the next six months or has already expired? 

You are required to submit your card at the time of your “in person” appearance at your local USCIS Application Support Center (ASC).  You will also need have to have photograph, fingerprints and signature taken by USCIS.  You will no longer submit photographs.  You will also be required to pay for a biometric service. 


DID YOU KNOW?

1.  Did you know…91 people died in Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody since 2003?  These included long-term permanent residents and many, many non-criminals.

2.  Did you know…as U.S. citizen does not have a right to bring his or her immigrant spouse to the United States?  He or she must prove eligibility, pay steep fines, and often wait a year before a visa is approved.

3.   Did you know…a U.S. citizen has to wait eleven years to bring his or her brothers and sisters to the United States?  The wait for citizens from the Philippines is 23 years.

4.   Did you know…each year some 65,000-U.S. raised children graduate from high school but because they lack proper status face unique barriers to college, are unable to work legally in the U.S., and live in constant fear of detection by immigration authorities?  Most of these children came to the U.S. as very young children and consider themselves American.  There are no exemption for honor roll students, star athletes, or National Merit scholars.

5.   Did you know…the U.S. will face a shortage of 124,000 physicians by 2025 yet our immigration laws make it extremely difficult for U.S. – licensed, foreign-born medical graduates to remain in the U.S.?  Foreign doctors disproportionately staff our emergency rooms and work in underserved regions yet must make special application to become lawful permanent residents.

6.   Did you know…immigration law permits foreign entrepreneurs to invest in the United States if they create ten U.S. jobs but the rules are so stringent that very few actually take advantage of these provisions?  Such wealthy individuals invest in Canada and other countries instead.

7.   Did you know…it takes the average legal worker six years to become a permanent resident and another five years to become a U.S. citizen?  Most employers of foreign workers must attest to the Labor Department that the employees they seek to hire will not displace U.S. workers.

8.   Did you know…a foreign husband whose U.S. citizen wife dies in child birth has not right to remain in this country even if he filed all the right papers on time but the immigration service delayed in making a decision?  the “widow’s penalty” has affected soldiers, police officers, and citizens from all walks of life, not to mention countless single-parented children.

9.   Did you know…a foreign national with no criminal record who has overstayed her visa by a few months can be arrested, jailed for months with criminal offenders shackled, and then placed on a plane home?  Such nationals are then barred from re-entering the U.S. for ten years.

10. Did you know…that there are some 50 documented cases in the which U.S. citizens have been wrongly arrested and detained for deportation for as long as five years for  immigration violations?  Of course, U.S. citizens are not subject to deportation, and experts believe there are hundreds of additional such cases.Our immigration laws must be fixed so that individuals are no longer hurt by an obsolete and inadequate immigration system.  What can you do?  Contribute to IL to help build a pro-immigration Congress atwww.immigrantslist.org/contribute.*Source: Immigrant’s List, 1555 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20036