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White House Releases Refugee Ceilings for FY 2015 |
On September 30, 2014, the White House released a presidential memorandum capping the number of refugee admissions at 70,000 for the upcoming fiscal year and authorizing citizens of some countries to seek refugee status from inside their countries.
According to the memorandum, which is reprinted at Appendix A, the government may admit up to 33,000 refugees from the Middle East and South Asia, 17,000 from Africa, 13,000 from East Asia, 4,000 from Latin American and the Caribbean, and 1,000 from Europe and Central Asia. The government will allow nationals of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to seek refugee status from inside their countries, as well as those from Cuba, Iraq, Eurasia, and the Baltics.
Congress Reauthorizes Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program
On August 8, 2014, President Obama signed Public Law Number 113-160 (128 Stat. 1853), extending the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program through the end of calendar year 2014. The program was initially enacted in 2009 to permit Afghan nationals, most of whom served as translators for the U.S. military, to be granted immigrant visas. After being plagued by extensive backlogs, the program has resulted in the issuance of thousands of visas over the past year. The law authorizes an additional 1,000 visas.
Pentagon Opens MAVNI Program to DACA Recipients
On September 25, 2014, the Pentagon announced that individuals granted relief under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program may apply to participate in the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program. Begun in 2012, MAVNI allows nonpermanent residents with expertise in certain foreign languages or health-care training to enlist in the military and receive an expedited path to citizenship. The program is currently capped at 1,500 recruits per year. The memorandum is reprinted at Appendix B.
Colorado Requires Completion of New Employment Verification Form
Starting October 1, 2014, employers in Colorado must complete and retain a state-issued form attesting that new hires are authorized to work in the United States. Employers are required to retain both the affirmation form and copies of the employee’s identification documents for the entire term of employment. According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, employers who fail to complete the affirmation within twenty days should not attempt to belatedly comply with the requirements, as doing so may violate federal immigration law. Employers who fail to comply with the requirements may face a $5,000 fine for a first offense and a $25,000 for any subsequent offense.
EOIR Closes El Centro Immigration Court
The Immigration Court in El Centro, California, closed on September 30, 2014. Pending cases will be transferred to the Immigration Court in Imperial, California.
USCIS Grants for Naturalization Help
USCIS announced forty organizations that will receive nearly $10 million in grants to help lawful permanent residents become naturalized U.S. citizens. The funds were awarded through the USCIS Citizenship and Integration Grant Program.
USCIS Changes Ink for Stamps
USCIS announced that it will use blue rather than red ink for the following stamps: Department of Homeland Security Parole Stamp; Temporary I-551 Alien Documentary Identification and Telecommunication (ADIT) Stamp; Refugee Stamp (Section 207); Asylum Stamp (Section 208); and Initial / Replacement Form I-94 Stamp.
Deferred Enforced Departure Extended for Liberians
USCIS announced the extension of Deferred Enforced Departure for eligible Liberians until September 30, 2016. The presidential memorandum is reprinted at Appendix C.
[This is an excerpt from the Oct. 15, 2014, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.]
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