Obama and Calderon Denounce Arizona’s SB 1070 Law

President Obama met with Mexican president Felipe Calderon earlier this month to discuss U.S./Mexico border policy. Both leaders spoke out against the harshly anti-immigrant law passed by Arizona last month. Calderon noted that many Mexican citizens here legally and U.S. citizens of Mexican descent will now be discriminated against and “treated as criminals.”

“We’re examining any implications, especially for civil rights, because in the United States of America, no law-abiding person, be they an American citizen, a legal immigrant, or a visitor or tourist from Mexico, should ever be subject to suspicion simply because of what they look like,” said President Obama.

SB 1070 makes it a state crime for non-citizens to be in Arizona without carrying documentation of their immigration status. A police officer may stop anyone to inquire about immigration status if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the United States illegally. The bill is scheduled to be implemented in July. Similar bills are currently pending in numerous state legislatures throughout the country.


REPAIR Act Proposal Revealed by Senators

A new outline for comprehensive immigration reform legislation was revealed by Senators Schumer, Reid, Menendez, Feinstein, and Leahy on April 29. The proposal, Real Enforcement with Practical Answers for Immigration Reform (REPAIR), is still slim on details, but includes provisions regarding border enforcement, interior enforcement, biometric identification and employment verification, employment visas, family-based immigration, and legalization of undocumented immigrants.

The plan calls for an increase in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, closer regulation of the Visa Waiver Program, and collection of biometric information for all visitors to the U.S. Biometrics would also be incorporated into social security cards to deter the hiring of those without proper work authorization.

Although it steps up enforcement, REPAIR also contains provisions that could increase legal immigration to the U.S., such as the immediate granting of permanent residency to students who complete an advanced degree in science, math, engineering, or technology in the U.S. A new visa (H-2C) would also be created for non-seasonal, non-agricultural workers. Those who initially enter the U.S. with this visa may eventually be eligible for permanent residency if they meet certain conditions. Backlogs in family-based immigration would be cleared over the next eight (8) years before family-based immigrant visa numbers would return to their previous levels.

The legalization portion of the plan calls for the registration of all undocumented immigrants. Once registered, these immigrants could become eligible for status as Lawful Prospective Immigrants, which would allow them work in the U.S. and travel in and out of the country. After eight years, these Lawful Prospective Immigrants would be eligible to apply to become permanent residents.


Born This Month

Anna Kournikova

Tennis star Anna Kournikova was born in Russia on June 7, 1981. She began playing tennis at age 5 and was soon playing in competitive leagues. As a teenager, she came to the U.S. to receive professional tennis coaching and further advanced her game.

Anna became a professional tennis player in 1995 and soon won two ITF singles tournaments. In 1997, she made it to the semifinals of Wimbledon, one of the most coveted professional tennis tournaments in the world. In 1998, she was ranked #13 in the world as a singles player and #10 as a doubles player. She reached her highest singles rank (#8) in 2000 and was ranked #1 in doubles in 1999.

By 2003, Anna had retired from professional tennis, but was still playing in exhibition matches and participating in the World Team Tennis league. She has also worked with the Boys and Girls Club of America since 2004. Anna became a US citizen in 2009.



USCIS Begins Issuing New, Redesigned Green Card

USCIS has announced the launch of a new, feature-laden permanent resident card that it began issuing in May. The new card is actually green, in keeping with its nickname. High-tech features of the new green card include optical media to store biometric information, laser engraved fingerprints, holographic images, and radio frequency identification.

Filing Address for Qualifying Family Members of Deceased Service Members

Naturalization applications made by qualifying family members of deceased service members must now be filed at the Nebraska Service Center. Spouses, children, and parents of a deceased service member who was a citizen (including someone who was granted posthumous citizenship) and was serving in honorably in active duty at the time of death may file their applications by mailing them to Nebraska Service Center, P.O. Box 87426, Lincoln, NE 68501-7426.

Department of State Proposes Increase in Consular Fees

The Department of State has announced that it plans to increase fees for non-petition based non-immigrant visa applications (Machine Readable Visa fees) effective June 4, 2010. Visa applications that currently cost $131 will soon cost $140.