Your Immigration Action Newsletter

by Cozen O'Connor
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Friends,

Last week, Congress took another step forward in advancing commonsense immigration reform. Just a week after bipartisan Senate leaders introduced their comprehensive bill – the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744) – Secretary Napolitano testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the legislation:

“As the President stated earlier this week, this bill is clearly a compromise, and there are some things we don’t agree on, but the bill is largely consistent with the President’s principles on commonsense comprehensive reform. The bill would continue to strengthen security at our borders and hold employers more accountable if they knowingly hire undocumented workers. It would provide a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million individuals who are already in this country illegally. It would also modernize our legal immigration system, allowing families to be reunited in a humane and timely manner and grow our economy by attracting the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and workers who will help create good paying jobs. These are all commonsense steps that the majority of Americans support. The President and I, as well as the rest of the Cabinet, stand willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that comprehensive immigration reform becomes a reality as soon as possible. DHS is ready to work directly with this Committee to further refine the bill and pass the much-needed reforms that will help make our border safer and our country stronger.”

You can read the Secretary’s full testimony here

The Senate Judiciary Committee also held two hearings on S. 744 where a broad range of leaders from the law enforcement, business, faith, and immigrant communities spoke in support of moving this bipartisan legislation forward. 

                       Luis Miranda Briefs President Obama
Former Director of Hispanic Media Luis Miranda briefs President Obama ahead of Hispanic media interviews in the Oval Office, February 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)

Be sure to check out our former colleague Luis Miranda’s personal journey to citizenship and the White House in the blog highlights below. We appreciate his service with the Obama Administration and for speaking out so personally on this important issue.

We are also happy to announce the launch of our new Spanish language immigration web page, which will help to provide updates and information on our efforts to enact commonsense immigration reform. You can visit the new site here, or view the original page here.

As always, please share with your networks and we look forward to working with you as we continue to push for commonsense immigration reform!

Julie Chávez Rodriguez
Associate Director
White House | Office of Public Engagement 

Agency Updates

Secretary Napolitano Speaks at the American Hotel & Lodging Association Legislative Action Summit
April 24, 2013
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today delivered remarks at the American Hotel & Lodging Association Legislative Action Summit, highlighting the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) priorities, including the need to reform and modernize our nation’s immigration laws, and efforts to facilitate legitimate travel and trade. “The hotel and lodging industry and DHS have a shared desire to ensure that the United States remains open and welcoming to business and tourists – from across the country and around the world – who support our nation’s economy,” said Secretary Napolitano. “We want to make sure that travel to, from, and within the United States is not only safe and secure, but also efficient.”

Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security Announce Safeguards for Unrepresented Immigration Detainees with Serious Mental Disorders or Conditions
April 22, 2013
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will issue a new nationwide policy for unrepresented immigration detainees with serious mental disorders or conditions that may render them mentally incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings.

USCIS Announces Citizenship and Integration Grant Opportunity
April 18, 2013
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today the availability of the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, a competitive grant opportunity which promotes immigrant civic integration and prepares permanent residents for citizenship. The program will provide nearly $10 million in funding for citizenship preparation programs in communities across the country. Applications are due by May 22, 2013.  

USCIS Welcomes New Citizens at the Library of Congress
April 15, 2013
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas administered the Oath of Allegiance to 25 new citizens today during a special naturalization ceremony at the Library of Congress to celebrate National Library Week. In addition, Director Mayorkas and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Director Susan H. Hildreth announced a partnership to provide immigration and citizenship information at public libraries across the United States.

Updated Data on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
April 12, 2013
USCIS has posted updated data on requests for consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals at www.uscis.gov/data. The data include: the cumulative number of requests received and accepted for processing, biometrics appointments scheduled, requests under review and requests approved and denied. The data also shows the number of accepted and approved requests from the top 20 countries of origin and location of residence. Please also note that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals reporting period will change from a mid-month to an end-of-month cycle.

USCIS Reaches FY 2014 H-1B Cap
April 8, 2013 
For the first time since 2008, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2014 within the first week of the filing period. USCIS has also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption.

E-Verify Celebrates Another Successful Year!
April 8, 2013
E-Verify ended 2012 on a high note, providing even better, faster and more accessible resources to the public. From the launch of the Employee Rights Toolkit, to Self-Check and the development of quick audit reports, searchable databases and the E-Verify Self Assessment Guide for E-Verify Direct Access Users and the E-Verify Self Assessment Guide for E-Verify Web Services Users, there was something for everyone. Read the E-Verify blog.

Blog Highlights

A Personal Journey to Citizenship and the White House
Luis Miranda, the former Director of Hispanic Media for the White House Office of Communications, recently wrote an op-ed for USA Today sharing his immigration story – that began as a young, undocumented kid, and ended in the White House.

Working Together to Combat Human Trafficking
On April 9, we hosted the first-ever White House Forum to Combat Human Trafficking. The event brought together leaders from government, the private sector, advocates and survivors, faith leaders, law enforcement, and academia to talk about what we can do, together, to end human trafficking.

Working Together to Support Victims of Human Trafficking
On April 9, Secretary Janet Napolitano joined Senior Advisor to President Obama Valerie Jarrett and Attorney General Eric Holder at the White House Forum on Combating Human Trafficking where they announced the Administration’s latest effort to combat the hidden crime of human trafficking and help victims of human trafficking. During the Forum, they released a draft Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking, which will be open for public comment for 45 days.

Finding Home
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have much at stake when it comes to commonsense immigration reform. Three-quarters are foreign-born and AAPIs naturalize at the highest rates of those who choose to become American citizens. Read one story here. 

Get Involved

USCIS Invitation: Revised Form I-9 Teleconference (PDF)
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites interested individuals to participate in a stakeholder teleconference on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. (Eastern). Beginning May 7, 2013 all employers are required to use the most recent version of the Form I-9. USCIS subject matter experts will discuss and answer questions about the revised Form I-9 during the stakeholder teleconference. For more information about the revised Form I-9, please visit I-9 Central on our website. Please click here to RSVP for this engagement.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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