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July 2014 

Vol. 3, Issue 2

What's Going On At the Southern Border?

Who Are the Children?

Most of this iss
ue is devoted to the "Unaccompanied Alien Children"  - or UACs - at the southern border because so many people are asking about them. Click here for some Frequently Asked Questions and Answers. Bear in mind there are no simple answers or solutions. Despite the fear-and-hate-mongering of some, there are many Americans, including many faith communities of all persuasions, who are trying to help. 
  1. Who are these children and where are they from? 
  2. Why is there a crisis now?
  3. Why can't the U.S. just send them back to their home countries?
  4. Will greater border enforcement solve the problem?
  5. Do they carry diseases and threaten public health?
  6. Are they gang members?
  7. Are they refugees?
  8. Do they have a legal right to stay in the U.S.?
  9. Can they apply for the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program?
  10. Does the government pay for lawyers for the children?

I highly recommend you watch this powerful 7-minute video of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick explaining the moral imperative for helping the children. If you're not a patient person, jump to 3:30. 

In This Issue
Meet Ida Keir

Resources for further information
Supreme Court Rules Against Long-Waiting Families  
Will You Lose Your Chance for a Green Card? 
On June 9, the Supreme Court ruled that children who turn 21 while waiting with their families in the long line for green cards, are no longer eligible to immigrate and have to start all over again. The decision in Scialabba v. DeOsorio affects immigrants from any country waiting for visas that have quotas, including adult children and siblings of U.S. citizens, as well employment categories with backlogs. The hardest-hit countries are India, China, Philippines, and Mexico.

In 1998, Rosalina Cuellar de Osorio's mother, a U.S. citizen, applied for visas for Rosalina and her son, Melvin, 13, from El Salvador.  The visa application itself was approved within a month, but a visa number wasn't available until 2005. Melvin had already turned 21 years old by then, and the U.S. insisted that he had to begin the process all over again. His mother was allowed  entry to the U.S., but her son's visa was denied.  


The Supreme Court agreed with that decision, and said an immigrant child in certain categories must start all over if s/he turns 21. The rest of the family can get their green cards but s/he can't, and those many years don't count on any future application. The options are grim. S/he starts any new application at the back of the line, which could be another 10-20 years. 


Was this the intention of the law? A bipartisan group of five Senators involved in the 2002 legislation filed a brief with the Supreme Court saying the clear intention of the law was to allow all children who age out during the waiting period to be able to use those years in a new category. The Supreme Court disagreed, and families like this - and there are many - are out of luck.


You Can Renew Your DACA Status Now 

Those with DACA status can now renew their status.  DACA is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, aka Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. as children and meet other qualifications. The government's website explains how to apply how to apply for the first time and how to renew. As of April 2014, more than 560,000 individuals had been granted DACA. If you're in school or have a diploma or degree, have never been in trouble with the immigration or the police, and meet the other criteria, there's a good chance you'll be successful. But be careful if your situation is more complicated, as in some cases an application can lead to deportation.


New Year's in July
     It's time to think holidays! If you're hoping your loved ones abroad will be here by the end of the year, it might already be too late. Whatever your situation - whether it's to come to the U.S. or become a citizen if you're here, the sooner you start, the sooner it can happen! 

Ida Keir, Esq.

Ida Keir Law | 704-778-2891 | |
1821 Graybark Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28205

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