Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was formed to provide relief to abused and battered women a chance to petition for an adjustment of status. Recently the USCIS provided guidance for adjudicating Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) by self-petitioners who were neither inspected, admitted or paroled.

This Act allows abused immigrants to petition for legal status in the U.S without relying on parents or children to sponsor their Adjustment of Status. This is so because many victims are threatened by family to withhold legal immigration sponsorship by way of abuse. This Act allows the victims to independently seek immigration status and may file form I-360 and once the petition is approved can directly apply for Adjustment of Status ( I-485)

Generally, an alien who seeks Adjustment of Status under section 245(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act must have been inspected at a port of entry to be admissible as an immigrant. However, in October 2000, section 345 (a) was amended so that the inspection and admission does not apply to a self-petitioner under VAWA. If the applicant had been denied Adjustment of Status, he or she may file a Motion to Reopen or Reconsider form (I-290B).

Also, as a battered spouse, child or parent one may file an immigrant visa petition under VAWA, which allows for filing the petition without the knowledge of the abuser. This allows the petitioner both safety and independence from the abuser. VAWA applies equally to men and women petitioners. Help is also available through hot lines where assistance is provided to these women.

Those who are eligible to file

  1. A spouse of a U.S citizen or permanent resident who was subject to abuse may file including the names of children under 21.

  2. If you are married to an abuser who is a U.S citizen or permanent card holder.

  3. If your marriage was terminated by death or divorce

  4. If your spouse lost his permanent card status within two years due to domestic violence

  5. A parent of a U.S citizen who was subject to abuse can file including the names of children if any who have not filed for themselves.

  6. If you are an abused child, under 21 and unmarried

  7. If you are an individual having good moral character.

Filing process

Form I- 360 must be completed and filed along with all the supporting documents with the Vermont Service Center. If all the filing requirements are met, you will receive a notice valid for 150 days. This can be presented to government agencies that provide benefits to victims of domestic violence. If form I-360 is approved and if you do not have legal immigration status, you may be placed in deferred action and you may continue to remain in the U.S. You are also eligible to apply to work in the U.S. However, you may have to file Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization with the Vermont Service Center. Your children too may apply for this. If you have an approved I-360, you may also apply for a green card.


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The national unemployment rate is lingering around 9 percent. According to the American Enterprise Institute study by Madeline Zavodny, an economics professor at Agnes Scott University, one way to press forward job creation is to increase the number of immigrant workers in the US.

After detailed research and after analyzing the available data, Zavodny found a relationship between the number of highly-educated immigrant workers in a community and elevated employment statistics for US citizen workers. Gathering figures from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Zavodny claimed that between 2000 and 2007, for every 100 foreign-born workers having a science, technology, engineering or mathematics degree from a US university, 262 new jobs were created for US citizen workers. She also determined that for every 100 immigrants with advanced degrees in any field, an additional 44 jobs were created for US citizen workers.

Another significant find by Zavodny is that, states with a higher number of immigrants with temporary work visas had lower average unemployment among US citizens. Having arrived at such numbers, Zavodny has proposed many immigration reform measures. She recommended lawmakers to increase the number of green cards issued to highly educated immigrant workers, mainly international students in STEM fields graduating from American universities. She also found it sensible to increase the number of temporary work visas available for both skilled and less-skilled workers, given the fact that only about 151,000 are currently issued every year.

According to Zavodny, “Changing permanent and temporary immigration policies to favor holders of advanced degrees from US universities in STEM fields is an obvious step given the demand for highly skilled workers and the extensive investment the country already makes in such students,” She also claimed that without a clear path to stay in the US, these foreign students will add innovation and economic growth in countries that compete with the American economy.

Green cards for grads” bills, a proposal to increase the number of work visas granted to STEM graduates, have been introduced in both the US Senate and House of Representatives. Appearing with Zavodny at an American Enterprise Institute event in Washington, D.C., on December 15, Republican Representative Tim Griffin of Arkansas said there is bi-partisan support for such a law. He said he was optimistic the legislation will pass, according to the Washington Post.


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If you are in the United States illegally, you may qualify for immigration amnesty, a process for granting legal immigration status. Persons who entered the US illegally or persons who have overstayed on their visa may qualify for immigration amnesty.

If is important to remember that Immigration amnesty is mostly granted a specific group of people and issued only to those persons who have not committed any other illegal activity apart from the fact that they are in the US illegally.

From 1986 onwards, Congress has occasionally passed legislation that allowed immigration amnesty to specific groups of persons. Immigration amnesty has always been a much debated issue. Some people strongly believe that blanket amnesty should be granted to all persons who are in the US illegally but they should not have committed any other crime. They feel that if all the persons who are in the US illegally were removed, the US would have to face severe economic setbacks.

It is roughly estimated that there are twelve million persons in the US without legal immigration status. Others who oppose this, point out that persons who are in the country illegally have already broken the law and should not be granted legal status. According to them, granting immigration amnesty will also embarrass immigrants who go per the rules when applying for legal immigration status.

Immigration amnesty process :

Checking if you are eligible for immigration amnesty is the first step. As pointed out above, the laws concerning this issue change frequently. Normally, if you have overstayed your visa beyond the permitted limit or entered the US without the proper visa, you may be eligible for immigration amnesty. Should you meet the eligibility requirements, your child/ren or spouse will also qualify to apply for a change of status in the US

Having a qualified immigration attorney through the process would be of much help as applying for immigration amnesty is a a very sophisticated process because of the frequent changes in the the legislation regarding amnesty. Even if you feel you are competent enough to go ahead with the process yourself, ensure that you consult an immigration attorney to understand the best way to proceed.

You have to file the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) with the USCIS. Complete Form I-485 and submit it to the USCIS. Along with the form, you will have detailed instructions regarding the fees and the supporting documents that you have to include. You may be allowed to apply for a work permit while your case is pending. Apply for a work permit so that you can remain and work legally in the US while you are yet to get a decision on your application filed.

The USCIS will review your application and will inform you about their decision. As you wait for the decision regarding your application, you cannot leave the US without completing certain documentation and forms. Not following or not giving importance to such rules may result in rejection of your application

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