January 2013

Vol. 2, Issue 1
Assisting immigration clients around the world

 Ida Keir Law 


Green Card &
 Immigration Updates
2013: The Year of Comprehensive Immigration Reform? 

It's common knowledge that the U.S. immigration system is broken, but the 2012 election - with its tremendous voter turnout by citizens with Latino and Asian backgrounds - changed the political discussion significantly.


What could Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bring?  Some of the key components are:

  • More visas.  There simply aren't enough for those who try to immigrate legally through family or employment, even for those with specialized technical skills.   Most people would prefer to be in the U.S. with authorization, but it can take years - sometimes 20+ - to get a visa.  Family members are separated in the meantime, and companies cannot employ people with the skills and education they need.
  • A path to legalize the status of those who are here without authorization.  "Most unauthorized workers are law-abiding, hardworking individuals who pay their taxes and contribute to our society and as such they are essential to many sectors of our economy. By requiring these people to come out of the shadows, register with the government, pay an appropriate fine, go through security checks,and earn the privilege of permanent legal status, we can restore the rule of law in our workplaces and communities, and maximize the contributions this population can make to our country." - Solutions That Work, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
  • Provide temporary visas for those who want to work here, and are needed, at all skill levels.  Not everyone wants to stay in the U.S. permanently, but there are very few ways for companies to hire temporary workers who would prefer to return to their own countries between jobs.

  • Effective and humane enforcement and due process.  I've sat in immigration court and watched non-violent detainees appear in shackles for their hearings.  They are brought in from detention centers, often substandard, after being moved from one center to another, with no notice to their loved ones.  There are far too many hearings and far too few judges, creating long backlogs.  Applicants at foreign embassies apply for temporary visas such as tourist visas and are denied for no good reason after a 30-second appearance, and there is no way to appeal or seek reconsideration.


In This Issue
2013: The Year of Comprehensive Immigration Reform?
Provisional Waivers are Available in March
Immigration Reading: Behind the Beautiful Forevers
2011.11.18 IK headshot more light big
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Provisional Waivers are Available Beginning in March - What Does This Mean?


When a U.S. citizen applies for a visa for their foreign spouse, the spouse can normally remain in the U.S. and attend a visa interview here as long as the immigrant has a valid visa. But if they don't, they must return to their country to attend an interview and apply for a waiver to be granted a visa despite their "unlawful presence" in the U.S. This can take months or years, and the family members are separated in the meantime.  Many immigrants do not apply for a visa because of the fear of this separation, which causes economic and other hardship to their U.S. citizen family members. 


In January the government announced procedures to allow applicants to remain in the U.S. while waiting for the decision on their waiver application.  If granted, the immigrant would then return to their country for a short period, probably weeks, to attend their visa interview and, if successful, return to the U.S. and their families.  See the full announcement here (it's not the easiest to understand).

Immigration Reading: Behind the Beautiful Forevers


I couldn't put down this 2012 book by Katherine Boo, which tells the true story of Mumbai slumdwellers in novel-like fashion.  Abdul, a teenage garbage sorter and dealer who lives in a tiny hut with his family of 11, is the main character, and there are many others - children and adults, who live in the shadows of the international airport and its 5-star hotels.  Besides making these people real, Ms. Boo gives an in-depth and vivid look at how corruption by the government and police really works.  The book also details the disparate treatment of men and women in Indian society, which is very much in the news today.  Highly recommended.

     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.  May 2013 be a good year for immigrants, their families and many friends!


Ida Keir, Esq.