June 2012Vol. 1, Issue 3
Assisting immigration clients around the world

 Ida Keir Law 


Green Card &
 Immigration Updates
DREAMers:  A Big Month for Immigrants (1)

 President Obama announces deferred action for "DREAMers" 

There's welcome relief for some undocumented youths who came to the U.S. as young children.*  "Deferred action" means that the government postpones any deportation action for two years, but does not grant a green card or any other visa status.  Work permits will also be available, which is wonderful news for many young people who have skills and education but are not allowed to work in the only country they know.


As of June, 2012, only those already in deportation proceedings can apply for relief, but the government expects to roll out the application process for everyone by mid-August.  Contact us for application updates.


*Specific requirements are that applicants must have entered the U.S. before they turned 16, have continuously lived here for at least five years, and be under 31 on June 15, 2012.  Also, they must be in school now, have graduated from high school, have a GED, or be an honorably discharged veteran.  They cannot have a felony offense conviction, a "significant misdemeanor offense," three or more non-significant misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. 


In This Issue
DREAMERers: A Big Month (1)
Arizona: A Big Month (2)
Student & Business Visas & A Movie
A Happy Story: Dad Meets New Twins
2011.11.18 IK headshot more light big
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Arizona: A Big Month for Immigrants (2)

 Supreme Court rules immigration law continues to be federal law

On June 25, the court announced its decision in Arizona v. United States, and confirmed that immigration law is primarily governed by the federal government. The court upheld one section of Arizona's controversial immigration law, S.B. 1070; state officers can check the immigration status of a suspected undocumented immigrant arrested under another law.  But the state cannot establish its own immigration policies or crimes, such as making it a state crime for an undocumented immigrant to apply for a job.  You can find insightful comments on the ruling and a variety of opinions at SCOTUSblog and many other sites.


There is a long history of hostility to immigrants in the United States, even though we are a nation of immigrants.  The first exclusionary laws were directed against the Chinese in the mid-1800's.  Chinese immigrants settled in large numbers on the West Coast during the California Gold Rush, but they were no longer welcome once the economy declined after the Civil War.  Since then, the ethnic origins of unwanted immigrants have changed - Irish, Italians, Japanese, Hispanics, and others.  Federal laws have also changed, to welcome those in favor (usually when the economy is booming and workers are needed) and exclude those not wanted (when the economy busts). 


Hopefully the current rancor will pass, sooner rather than later, just as those older hostilities subsided.  

Students, Business Visas, & A Movie to Watch

Applying for a student visa: It's that time of year.  If you want to study in the U.S., there's a good chance you'll be able to get a student visa.  But there are several different student and exchange visitor visas and rules, for example on whether you're allowed to work while you study., Some are more straightforward than others.  Click here for basic information.


H-1B visa numbers have run out for fiscal year 2013.  USCIS received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 for fiscal year 2013, as well as more than 20,000 H-1B petitions for persons with advanced degrees.  This might be good news for the economy, as it looks like hiring is picking up, but it's also bad news for the economy, as companies can't apply for temporary visas for prospective specialty occupation employees such as engineers, who are subject to these quotas, until next April 1, 2013. Click here for official (and confusing) information on the H-1B program.


The Other Side of Immigration is a 55-minute documentary filmed in the Mexico countrywide that explains why Mexicans go to work in the United States in direct interviews with some who've made the trip - and returned to Mexico.  It's a fast, interesting explanation of the underlying economic reasons, such as NAFTA and corrupt Mexican politics.  You can watch it through Netflix and other sites; here's the official film site.


A Happy Story:  Dad Reunites with Mom and Newborn Twin Daughters

2012.06 Juna Ricky babies 

Juna, an immigrant in Maryland, gave birth prematurely to twin girls with life-threatening complications.  Previously, she applied for a green card for her husband in the Philippines, but that will take a while.  He was denied a visitor visa to be with his family for the birth.  The U.S. government wants to prevent green card applicants from coming to the U.S. while waiting for a visa (this is very common).  We successfully helped them apply for "humanitarian parole," which allowed him to join his family for six months.  While Juna worked part-time, he's been caring for the babies, who are doing well. Thanks also to Rep. Chris Van Hollen's office, who helped expedite this case.


   "You made it possible for my husband to be reunited with us. My husband and I are so

    grateful for your outstanding service, persistent efforts, personal concern,

    diligence, and professionalism. It gave us confidence while so much of our life was

    uncertain. We will again seek your help in the future."   - Juna

     Immigration law is bewildering, ever-changing, and fascinating.  It affects us all in so many ways, often very personally.  If you have questions, please call or email.  If you'd like this newsletter to cover a specific topic, please let me know.  And I hope you're enjoying summer!

Ida Keir, Esq.