Immigration Dreamin’

The Hispanic vote played a major role in the recent election and Democrats in California, Colorado and Nevada owe their re-election to it. In fact, one of its benefactors was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who received over 60% of the Latino vote in Nevada and now is going back to Washington. He and is colleagues will make one last push in the final days of the 111th lame duck Congress to pass a law that allows illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children to earn legal status if they attend college or serve in the U.S. military.

This legislation is known as the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (S. 729), also referred to as the DREAM Act. The latest version is a bi-partisan effort that was introduced on March 26, 2009 by Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) in the Senate. In the House of Representatives, the bill is known as the American Dream Act (H.R. 1751), and Howard Berman (D-CA), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) introduced it on the same day. Senator Reid knows that this may be the last chance that this act may have before the new and far more conservative Congress takes office on January 1st, 2011.

How would the passage of the DREAM Act change current law? If enacted, there would be two major changes:

  • it would allow certain immigrant students who have grown up in the U.S. to apply for temporary legal status, allowing them to eventually obtain permanent residency and become eligible for U.S. Citizenship if they go to college or serve in the U.S. military; and
  • it would also eliminate the penalization of states that provide in-state tuition, irregardless of the immigration status of the student.

According to the National Immigration Law Center, approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools every year. These young men and women came to the United States when they were very young, at no choice of their own. They were raised as Americans, have been law abiding, and therefore deserve a chance to obtain permanent residency in the country where they grew up and in a lot of cases, the only country they have memories of.

Please contact your legislators and tell them to vote for the DREAM Act because this country, this United States of America, stands for fairness, where all decent, law abiding people should be given a chance to live their dream.



Three Tidbits from the USCIS:

Changes in the R-1 Religious Worker Visa Process

The R-1 religious worker visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to enter into the U.S. temporarily and be employed, at least part time, by a non-profit religious organization in the United States as a minister or in a religious occupation.

In the past, someone on an R-1 visa could have applied for a Green Card by concurrently filing Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, with Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

On October 13, 2010, in Ruiz-Diaz v. USA, No. 09-35734 [9th Cir. Aug. 20, 2010], the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued their ruling that overturned the permanent injunction ordered by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington that allowed special immigrant religious workers to file their Form I-485 concurrently with Form I-360.

What does this mean? As of November 8, 2010, USCIS will no longer accept any I-485 applications, as well as Applications for Employment Authorization (Form I-765), and/or Applications for Travel Document (Form I-131), that are filed concurrently with or filed based on pending I-360 petitions.

Therefore, any Form I-485, Form I-765, and/or Form I-131 submitted on or after November 8, 2010, must be filed with an approved I-360 petition or it will be rejected.

Applications filed before November 8, 2010 are not affected by this ruling.


USCIS Redesigns Certificate of Naturalization

Alejandro Mayorkas, the director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), announced on October 25, 2010, that the immigration agency will begin issuing a redesigned, more secure Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550) as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance the integrity of the immigration system. This means that over 600,000 new citizens will receive the newly designed certificate over the next year.

Previous Certificates of Naturalization featured hard-copy photos of the naturalized US citizen. The new certificates will feature the naturalized citizen’s digitized photo and signature embedded into the base document. By making this move, the USCIS plans to save money by cutting costs in man-hours and improving security by eliminating the requirement to affix the hard-copy photo and hand-stamp the USCIS director’s signature.

Naturalized U.S. citizens that have older versions of the certificate do not need to replace it. Previously issued naturalization certificates will still be valid.

We welcome the USCIS move in trying to improve security and to save revenue. Our hope is that efforts such as this will reduce the frequency by which the USCIS will increase filing fees on their immigration forms.


USCIS Thanksgiving Day Parade

On November 23, 2010, two days before Thanksgiving Day, the USCIS will be increasing filing fees on some of their immigration forms. On average, fees will increase 10% to 30%. USCIS forms subject to a filing fee increase are listed below.

  • Form I-90, Application to Renew or Replace Green Card
  • Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence
  • Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative
  • Form I-485 Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident
  • Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization
  • Form N-600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship
  • Form I-824 Application for Duplicate Approval Notice
  • Form I-140 Immigration Petition for Alien Worker
  • Form I-131 Application for Travel Document,

Applications need to be POSTMARKED by NOVEMBER 22, 2010 to avoid the new fees. All applications the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) receives on or after NOVEMBER 23, 2010 must include the new fee, or they will be rejected. If you are currently eligible to file any of the above forms before November 23, 2010, do so and save money.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Day from all of us at Immigration Direct!


Born This Month


Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria-Hungary on November 9, 1913. Though known primarily for her career as a movie star for MGM's "Golden Age", she also co-invented an early technique for spread spectrum communications, a key to many forms of wireless communication.

Her many film credits include Boom Town (1940), White Cargo (1942) and Tortilla Flat (1942). Lamarr enjoyed her biggest success as Delilah in Samson and Delilah along side Victor Mature, who played the Biblical strongman, Samson. The movie was the highest-grossing film of 1949.

But besides her film career, on August 11, 1942, Ms Lamarr co-patented the idea of a secret communication system with composer George Antheil (U.S. Patent 2,292,387) as "Hedy Kiesler Markey", her married name at the time. In case you don’t know the significance of their idea, it is serves as a basis for modern spread-spectrum communication technology, such as COFDM used in Wi-Fi network connections and CDMA used in some cordless and wireless telephones.

Hedy Lamarr became a naturalized citizen of the United States on April 10, 1953. She died in Orlando, Florida on January 19, 2000. Hedy Lamarr was 86 years old.