In the wild world of immigration, 2012 has been an exciting year. In case you missed out, here’s the headlines.
It might not be the Dream Act, but it’s one step closer to immigration reform. On June 15th President Obama announced a new policy for undocumented youth living in the United States. Deferred Action boasts a 2 year reprieve from deportation, a 2 year work permit, and the ability to breathe a little easier. 102,956 applications have been approved since the policy went into effect August 15th.
STEM ACT FAILED
The STEM Jobs Act, which would allot 55,000 visas per year to highly educated professionals in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, failed to pass through the House of Representatives this September. Though the bill passed through the Senate, once it made its way to the House it had been adjusted to end the Green Card Lottery, changing the minds of previously supportive Democrats.
Arizona’s infamous illegal immigration law, SB1070, faced trial at the Supreme Court this April. Much of the law, said to be the country’s strictest law on illegal immigration, was struck down bit by bit till just one controversial part was left. The Supreme Court upheld the part of the law that allowed Arizona’s police to check the immigration status of people they detain.
No more messy paperwork. ELIS, launched May 22nd, is USCIS’s innovative online application system. It currently only accepts Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status but promises more benefit types and increased functions to come.
10,000 U VISAS
For the third consecutive time, the U visa allotment for the 2012 fiscal year hit its cap early. The U Visa, a special visa for undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assaults, has an annual cap of 10,000 which it hit 27 days before the fiscal year ran out in September.
President Barack Obama was elected for a second term. Immigration being one of the biggest issues of the election, many voters swayed Democratic as Obama promised immigration reform and help for undocumented DREAMers.