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USCIS Gives Temporary Protected Status to Haitians

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has announced that Haitians in the U.S. as of January 12, 2010 will be given Temporary Protected Status as part of the administration's ongoing earthquake relief efforts. The Department of Homeland Security has also halted all deportations to Haiti.


"This is a disaster of historic proportions and this designation will allow eligible Haitian nationals in the United States to continue living and working in our country for the next eighteen months. Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this Administration's continuing efforts to support Haiti's recovery," stated Napolitano on January 15.


Officials estimate that this grant of Temporary Protected Status will cover over 100,000 Haitian nationals currently in the U.S. It will not cover any Haitians who entered or continue to enter the U.S. after January 12, 2010. Temporary Protected Status allows people from countries designated by the Department of Homeland Security to stay in the U.S. temporarily, usually due to unsafe conditions in the designated country. This status does not lead to permanent residency in the U.S., but those with Temporary Protected Status may apply for permanent residency on another basis if they qualify. The current list of countries designated for Temporary Protected Status also includes El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, and Sudan.


On January 18, Secretary Napolitano announced that orphaned children in Haiti could be granted humanitarian parole to enter the U.S. to receive appropriate care. This humanitarian parole covers orphans who are in the process of being adopted.


Please visit www.feedthechildren.org to donate money to the Haiti earthquake relief effort.


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New Report Finds that Immigrants Contribute to Economic Growth

The Fiscal Policy Institute recently released a report entitled, "Immigrants and the Economy" analyzing the economic impact immigrants have on the US economy. The report concludes that immigration and economic growth go hand in hand and that immigrants contribute to the economy in proportion to their percentage of the population. Metropolitan areas with the fastest growth also experienced the biggest growth in their immigrant populations.


The report also found that immigrants work across the economic spectrum in lower wage, blue collar, business, and professional jobs. Many immigrants are also business owners and entrepreneurs. "In the United States, immigrants make up 12.5 percent of the population and they are responsible for 14 percent of economic output. In the 25 largest metropolitan areas combined, immigrants make up one fifth of both population and economic output. This finding strikingly illustrates that while the amount of immigration varies greatly among metro areas, the relationship between immigrants' contribution to their local economy and their share of the workforce varies little."


In most occupations, immigrants earned about the same as U.S. workers in the same position, but in some occupations, immigrants earned much less than U.S. workers. For example, U.S. workers in construction earn a median of $45,000 per year, while immigrant workers in this same industry earn a median of only $27,000 per year.


The Institute looked at the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States and included all U.S. residents who were born in another country, regardless of their immigration status. The Fiscal Policy Institute is a nonpartisan research and education organization based in New York.


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Expedited Citizenship Processing for Members of the Military

The Department of Homeland Security has formalized its policy of grating expedited citizenship to members of the U.S. military. Any service member who has served in active-duty or in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve for any period of time since September 11, 2001, may apply for citizenship effective immediately. Service members who served during peacetime can apply for citizenship after one year of service, when three years of service were previously required. "Expediting the citizenship process for service members reflects our commitment to honoring those who come from all over the world to serve our country and become its newest citizens," stated Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.


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NEWS BRIEFS

Deadline to Apply for U Visa Interim Relief Program

USCIS has extended the deadline for filing a petition under the U Nonimmigrant Interim Relief Program. Petitions will now be received until February 1, 2010. U visas are available to victims of crimes who have suffered physical or mental abuse and who are willing to help government officials and law enforcement investigate the criminal activity. Applications under this program must be filed using Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status.


USCIS Naturalization Ceremonies in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

USCIS naturalized over 6,000 people during the week of January 15 through January 22, 2010 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ceremonies took place all over the U.S. There was also a special naturalization ceremony in South Korea for members of the Armed Forces.


New Countries Eligible for H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs

Eleven new countries have been designated as eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs. H-2A visas are available for temporary agricultural workers. H-2B programs are available for other types of temporary or seasonal work. Croatia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ireland, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Serbia, Slovakia, and Uruguay are all newly eligible.