Your Immigration Action Newsletter: May 17th, 2013

by Cozen O'Connor
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Friends,

Now that the bipartisan Senate Gang of Eight’s bill (S. 744) has been introduced we are monitoring the legislative process very closely. As you know, next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will continue to introduce and debate amendments to hopefully improve the legislation, bringing us one step closer to real commonsense immigration reform.

Meanwhile, the President traveled to Mexico and Costa Rica at the beginning of May, where he discussed the economic relationship between these countries and the United States, as well as the potential impacts of commonsense comprehensive immigration reform. He followed up his trip with a meeting with Asian American and Pacific Islander national leaders in order to discuss the impact of immigration reform on one of our largest immigrant populations. You can read the details on the President’s meeting here.

Earlier this week, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Director of National Drug Control Policy, R. Gil Kerlikowske, and Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West joined me for a briefing with law enforcement officials from across the country at the White House to discuss their shared support for commonsense immigration reform. The briefing was the latest opportunity to hear directly from law enforcement officials about the importance of immigration reform from a local law enforcement perspective. You can read more about the briefing with law enforcement 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

USCIS Announces ABT Settlement Agreement
May 14, 2013
The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice have agreed to settle a nationwide class action lawsuit challenging the denial of work authorization to asylum seekers who have been waiting six months or more for a decision on their asylum applications. The ABT Settlement Agreement will help ensure that certain individuals who seek to file an asylum application or have already filed an asylum application, are entitled to new procedures relating to the crediting of time toward eligibility for employment authorization.

USCIS to Expand Entrepreneurs in Residence Initiative
May 8, 2013
In just over one year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) innovative Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) initiative has produced real benefits that will strengthen agency policies and practices relating to job-creating immigrant entrepreneurs who help advance American economic growth.  To read a summary about EIR team’s accomplishments, including recent enhancements to Entreprenuer Pathways, USCIS’s online resource center for entrepreneurs, and plans to bolster agency expertise in a broader range of industries, click here

International Visitors Spent $14.4 Billion in the United States in March 2013
May 7, 2013
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank highlighted new data today that shows spending by international visitors to the United States in March 2013 totaled more than $14.4 billion, an increase of nearly 3 percent when compared to last year. International visitors spent $43 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during the first quarter of 2013. The data release coincides with National Travel and Tourism Week, celebrated each year to recognize the positive impact the industry has on our economy.

DHS Testifies at Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Hearing on “Border Security: Examining Provisions in the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act”
May 7, 2013
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Policy Assistant Secretary David Heyman, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Deputy Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, and Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deputy Director Daniel Ragsdale address DHS’ work on border security and entry-exit controls.

Blog Highlights

Weekly Address: Fixing Our Immigration System and Expanding Trade in Latin America
President Obama describes the incredible opportunities to create middle-class jobs in America by deepening our economic ties and expanding trade in Latin America and discusses a recent Senate bill that takes commonsense steps to fix our broken immigration system.

President Obama Visits Mexico and Costa Rica
In preparation for his trip to Mexico and Costa Rica, President Obama met with US business leaders and Latino leaders to discuss the issues that would be raised on the trip, particularly economic development and comprehensive immigration reform. The President made clear that immigration reform continues to be a top legislative priority this year; business leaders agreed on the need to enact commonsense immigration reform as quickly as possible.

Get Involved

Cecilia Muñoz: “Let’s show we’re a nation of immigrants”
Cecilia Muñoz sent the message below to the White House email list, asking people to share their American stories. To kick things off, one of the President’s senior advisors sat down to share his story with you. Watch David Simas tell his American story, then tell us yours.

Applications for the FY 2013 Citizenship and Integration Grant Program Due by May 22
On April 18, USCIS announced the availability of the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, a competitive grant opportunity which promotes immigrant civic integration and prepares permanent residents for citizenship. Applications are due by May 22, 2013.

For more information please visit www.uscis.gov/grants

USCIS Offering Over 60 Free Webinars on Revised Form I-9, E-Verify, Self-Check, and Employee Rights Throughout the Month of May
What better way to learn more about the revised Form I-9, E-Verify, Self Check and Employee Rights than by taking advantage of a free webinar in May. To meet demand, the Department of Homeland Security has scheduled over 60 webinars this month. We invite you to take part in this great opportunity. Visit the E-Verify Webinar webpageI-9 Central or view the flyer for a list of this month’s sessions.

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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