African, Caribbean and Afro-Latino Immigration Symposium & Clinic Saturday, May 4, 2013

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FOR IMMEDIATE CIRCULATION –

African Caribbean Christian Leadership Council

African, Caribbean and Afro-Latino Immigration Symposium & Clinic
Saturday, May 4, 2013

Hello Pastors, Diaspora Leaders and Community Leaders:

Thank you for your outstanding support and participation at our recent African-Caribbean Faith Based Leaders Immigration Symposium both at Howard University Divinity School on April 17th and at the White House on April 23rd.

Please be reminded that you and your entire church and community are invited to our next Immigration Symposium and Clinic at 9:30a.m-12:30p.m., Saturday May 4, 2013 at the Ebenezer Church of God, 7550 Buchannan Street, Landover Hill, MD 20784 (close to the intersection of Annapolis Rd. (450) and Veterans Highway).

Our special Guest Speakers include:
– Mr. Paul Monteiro, Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement,
– Attorney Jaye Lowe, CEO, Immigration Law Practice
– Mayor Walter Lee James, Jr, Mayor, Town of Bladensburg, Maryland

This event serves to educate our community about the President’s agenda on Immigration Reform, the implications of the current Immigration Bill in the United States Senate and the Diaspora’s plan of action. It is our hope that we will be able to empower our community to respond appropriately to our legislators and to utilize all the professional help that will be provided by our immigration experts.

This Immigration Clinic is being offered FREE to our immigrant community, therefore please encourage everyone who is in need of assistance to seize this opportunity to council with our Immigration Lawyers and experts. We have very limited time for action.

Please be aware that the current bill will prevent families from filing for their siblings abroad, and parents will no longer be able to file for their children over the age of 31. It is also sad to know that immigrants who enter the United States or lost legal status after December 2011 will not benefit from the New Register Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status and will be deported if you do not act now. It is even sad to know that many of our people who are here on student visas and other non-immigrant visa will not be allowed to adjust to the new RPI Status when their status expires and will be left up to the mercy of employers since their families will not be in a legal position to help them. Can you imagine that even the Diversity Visa Lottery which normally allows thousands of Blacks to enter the USA will be eliminated completely when this Bill is passed?

We are informed that the Congressional Bill will be tougher than that of the Senate’s and that it may limit numerous immigration benefit that are currently being anticipated. We are relentlessy trying to get the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to include our concerns in the Bill before it is passed. We therefore need your presence and voices to be heard this last time. Please encourage all your families and friends to come out in big numbers to amplify our concerns to our law makers and leaders. As usual, some of our Ambassadors, community leaders and elected officials may attend to give support and to be informed about our issues. Please see below a rough summary of this new Immigration Bill along with a more detailed version of 16 pages attached to this e-mail.

May God continue to bless our efforts!

Rev. Dr. Agorom Dike
Chair
African Caribbean Christian Leadership Council

The US Senate has finally released their Immigration Bill. The Bill is 844 pages (attached). Below is a rough summary of the key-points as outlined by the National Immigration Law Center:

The Good
DREAM Act – No age cap on the DREAM Act, which would allow anyone who was brought here before the age of 16, a five-year pathway to citizenship. Undocumented youth who already deferred action for childhood arrivals would be grandfathered under the Registered Provisional Immigrant Status to streamline the process for them,
Asylum – No one-year filing deadline for asylum and the ability to file a motion to reopen if asylum claim was denied merely due to one-year bar issues for someone who was granted withholding of removal. This section also permits qualified stateless individuals to apply for lawful permanent resident status within a year.
A two-track merit-based system, which takes into account family, employment, length of residence education and skills, to be implemented five years after enactment of the bill to control future flow of immigration
Child Status Protection: Clarification on retention of priority date for all children who age-out of family, employment and diversity-based visas. This overturns Matter of Wang, and basically means that children who have been aged out of petitions filed on behalf of their parents because they turned 21 while waiting in line will get credit for waiting in line, and get their green-cards soon after their parents. Hopefully, this puts an end to the ongoing litigation now at the Supreme Court.
International adoption harmonization allows adoption of foreign-born children up to the age of 18 (as opposed to 16 currently)
Relief for orphans and widowed spouses – Those spouses and children of deceased U.S. citizens who were deported prior to abolition of “widow penalty” can now be paroled into the U.S. and considered for adjustment of status
Equal treatment for all stepchildren, as in the age until which step-children can be considered children for purpose of obtaining a green-card is amended from 18 to 21.
New family V Visa – Creates a new nonimmigrant visa for families with approved petitions to work and live in the U.S. while waiting for their green card. Allows other family members including siblings to visit the U.S. for up to 60 days per year
Lawful Permanent Residents’ spouses and children become “immediate relatives” and are uncapped. This means there is no wait time for the children and spouses of green card holders!
Naturalization: Waiver of English requirement for senior immigrant naturalization.
Immigration Court proceedings – Mandates, for the first time, immigration counsel appointed by law in removal proceedings for unaccompanied children, mentally disabled, and “particularly vulnerable aliens.”
Restoration of judicial discretion to grant waiver in removal proceedings for people whose deportations would be against the public interest.
Lowering the bar from extreme hardship to hardship – Allows judges to grant waivers in removal proceedings for anyone whose removal would cause hardship (not extreme hardship) to U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent, spouse or child.
Allocation of more immigration judges, more support staff and Board of Immigration Appeals personnel to deal with backlogs in Immigration Court.
Detention reform – “Secure alternative program” to allow for alternatives to immigration detention and creation of more Congressional and judicial review for detention practices
New non-immigrant W-visa program for low-wage foreign workers performing services or labor for a registered employer in a registered position. Spouses and minor children are included and will receive work authorization. This is a three year visa with three year renewal periods. W visaholders may switch from one registered employer or position to another without penalty and upon meeting other eligibility criteria apply for merits based lawful permanent residence.
AGJOBS – Creation of a blue-card program given to agricultural workers who performed agricultural employment for no fewer than 575 hours between 2011 and 2012. Persons on blue card can gain a green card in five years.
Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) Status – a 10 year pathway to green card, followed by 3 year path to citizenship, meaning a 13 year pathway to citizenship. Denied applications under the program can be appealed and subject to judicial review. Dependents of immigrants with RPI status could independently apply for RPI status if the prinicipal’s RPI status is revoked
Those who illegally re-entered after a prior order of removal could obtain RPI status if they re-entered before Dec. 31, 2011.
Waivers would be available for persons to enter as as registered provision immigrants if they have already been deported if they have an immediate family member in the U.S. who is a U.S. citizen or green-card holder or eligible for the DREAM Act
Waivers for false claim to citizenship and misrepresentation, finally.
F-1 students – Authorization of dual-intent for student visas, such that international students can come here with the dual purpose of studying and establishing residence.
H-1B – More H-1B allocation expanding the current cap from 65,000 to 110,000 with an option to ultimately increase the cap to 180,000 visas annually as demand dictates; work visas for dependents of H-1 workers if the country of origin reciprocates by giving visas to spouses of U.S. citizens who are working there
More employment-based reforms – Spouses and children of employment based visa applicants, STEM graduates with doctoral degrees, certain other experts and professionals, and certain foreign doctors are exempt from the employment visa cap.
Streamlining U.S. visa system to enhance ease of travel for international visitors.

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