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September/October Immigration Update

Search for Illegal immigrants goes far from border
USA Today reports that Border Patrol agents have dramatically increased their efforts in trying to detaining illegal immigrants. However, such assertive searches are also causing many individuals to feel like they are being racially profiled due to their skin color or accent. Though Border Patrol Agents deny this claim, their actions seem to show otherwise, as many people attest to seeing these agents target specific groups of people, because “Some people look more American than others,” (Bazer, 3A). Silvio Tores-Saillant, a naturalized citizen and college professor who uses public transportation frequently reports that the agents have singled him out on three different occasions within the past year, leaving him to feel he has lost some of his civil rights. As Border Patrol insists on inspecting whomever they want, I recommend that people carry evidence of their lawful status and identification with them at all times.

USCIS Released New Citizenship Test

All individuals who plan on applying for U.S. Citizenship post October 1, 2008 will be required to take a revised naturalization exam. The amended version of the test includes a denser English reading and writing segment, as well as a novel segment testing the applicant’s understanding of American history and democratic government. For individuals who filed their N-400 form either on, or prior October 1, 2008 have the discretion to take either the old or new exam, with the condition they do so by October 1, 2009.

Temporary Protected Status Extensions

It was announced that the temporary protected status for individuals from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua has been extended due to the impact of severe weather conditions and natural disasters in these regions. These individuals must simply re-register with USCIS to qualify for the extension.

More than 1,100 Arrested in Cal Immigration Sweep

Immigration authorities claim that over 1,100 individuals were detained during a three week search that took place in California. This search was specifically aimed to arrest individuals who had previously been directed to leave the U.S. but managed to come back illegally.

Green Card Applicants Required to get HPV Vaccine

The HPV vaccine was added to list of vaccines required of immigrants filing for a green card. This requirement has stirred much controversy, particularly due to the fact that the vaccine must be injected at a very young age, because it is expensive, and also because this requirement is not imposed upon females born in the United States.

Immigrants Among Millions Unlawfully Detained

There are many immigrants who are unlawfully detained and confined into prisons where they are subject to dehumanizing circumstances. This especially concerned the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, who feels that a large portion of immigrants and refugees are not criminals and imposing such severe and extensive detention upon then is unfair and should be a last resort.

USCIS Houston Office Re-Open for Customer Emergencies

The USCIS announced that two of its offices in the Houston area will reopen Monday, September 29, after having closed for business due to Hurricane Ike. Customers who missed naturalization and adjustment of status appointments will automatically be rescheduled by mail. Customers with INFOPASS appointments will need to reschedule.

Joint Statement by Department of State Senior Coordinator for Iraqi Refugee Issues Ambassador James Foley and Homeland Security Senior Advisor for Iraqi Refugees Lori Scialabba

“The DOS and DHS are pleased to announce that we have successfully achieved our goal of admitting more than 12,000 Iraqi refugees to the United States through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program during fiscal year (FY) 2008. Throughout the course of FY 2008 we have developed an increasingly robust processing capacity for Iraqi refugees in multiple locations across the Middle East.  This now includes an emerging in-country processing program in Baghdad. Both DOS and DHS are committed to continuing efforts to resettle vulnerable Iraqis and, barring unforeseen adverse developments in the region, expect to significantly increase the number of Iraqi refugees admitted to the U.S. for permanent resettlement in FY 2009.”

This information is not intended to provide solutions to individual problems and does not constitute an attorney client relationship. Readers are cautioned not to attempt to solve individual problems on the basis of information contained herein and are strongly advised to seek competent legal counsel before relying on this information. The above information should not be construed as legal advice. Please note that laws change frequently.