ICE Creates Public Advocate Position
As part of its ongoing detention reform initiative, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced its first Public Advocate, ICE Senior Advisor Andrew Lorenzen-Strait. Mr. Lorenzen-Strait will serve as the point of contact for individuals, including those in immigration proceedings, community and advocacy groups, and NGOs, who have concerns, questions, or recommendations they would like to raise.
"We want the public to know that they have a representative at this agency whose sole duty is to ensure their voice is heard and their interests are recognized, and I'm confident Andrew will serve the community well in this capacity," said ICE Director John Morton.
Mr. Lorenzen-Strait has served with ICE since 2008, first as an advisor and analyst on policies related to immigration enforcement, detention, and juveniles, and most recently as the senior advisor for Enforcement and Removal Operation's detention management division.
As Public Advocate, Mr. Lorenzen-Strait will report directly to the Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations Director Gary Mead and will be responsible for:
CLINIC Launches State and Local Immigration Policy Map
On February 10, 2012, The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. announced the launch of an interactive web feature highlighting state and local immigration initiatives across the country. This online resource provides practitioners, advocates, and the general public with legal and policy analyses, technical assistance, and advocacy tools such as Q&As, talking points, issue briefs and statements from U.S. Catholic bishops. It is publically available at http://cliniclegal.org/resources/state_local. Use of the resource is free, subsidized by a grant from the Ford Foundation.
CLINIC intends to add new materials to the page as legislative sessions across the country continue. Many of the resources will also be available in Spanish.
In 2007 CLINIC created a project to support advocates working to address the growing number of restrictionist immigration measures proposed and enacted at the state and local levels. After the collapse of comprehensive immigration reform in 2007, approximately 500 immigration-related bills were introduced by state legislators. By 2008, the number of proposed immigration-related bills had tripled to 1,562. In 2011, legislatures in all fifty states considered at least one measure related to immigrants, the most notable being the legislation enacted in Arizona.
"For almost 25 years, CLINIC has provided critical support to the country's largest network of charitable legal immigration service providers," said Maria M. Odom, CLINIC's executive director. "Today, we face an environment in which legislators are proposing competing enforcement-only measures. Our interactive map will easily guide users to CLINIC's state-specific resources on a wide variety of topics and will allow users to compare states, issues, and bills affecting the lives of immigrants and their families."
DOL Announces Final Rule on H-2B Program
The Employment and Training Administration on Friday, February 10, announced a final rule that reshapes the H-2B foreign labor certification program.
The rule, published on February 21 at 77 Fed. Reg. 10038, changes several aspects of the program, creates a national registry for all H-2B job postings, and increases the amount of time during which U.S. workers must be recruited. The rule also requires the rehiring of former employees when available. In addition, H-2B benefits such as transportation costs and wages will be extended to U.S. workers performing substantially the same work as H-2B workers. One "overarching" change is the move away from the attestation-based model introduced in 2008 and reversion to the compliance-based model.
The 145-page rule will be effective on April 23. ETA officials said that it would post materials on the new rule, including FAQs and employer education materials, at www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/h-2b. cfm sometime before that date.
Permanent Global Entry Program
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the publication of a final rule that would establish Global Entry as a permanent program. Global Entry is a Customs and Border Protection initiative that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers to streamline the international arrivals and admission process at airports through biometric identification.
Global Entry is available at 20 U. S. international airports. It reduces average wait times by more than 70%, with more than 75% of travelers using Global Entry processed in under five minutes, according to the CBP press release.
The final rule published on February 6, 2012, sets out regulations that replace the current pilot program with a permanent program. The final rule allows persons under the age of eighteen who meet the general eligibility criteria and have the consent of a parent or legal guardian to participate.
Global Entry members participating in the pilot will not need to re-apply when the program becomes permanent. They will have their time credited to the five-year membership as proposed in the rule.
The final rule, effective March 7, 2012, is reprinted at Appendix A.
Vietnam Adoptions on Hold
USCIS announced on February 2 that it is unable to resume processing adoptions from Vietnam. The Department of State has determined that Vietnam has not proven capable of meeting its obligations under the Hague Adoption Convention. As a result, consular officers cannot issue the required Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Declaration. USCIS can approve a Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, in a Hague Convention adoptee cases only after the DOS has issued a certificate of compliance under the Hague Adoption Convention. The bilateral agreement between the United States and Vietnam covering adoptions expired in September 2008. In October 2008 the two countries announced that adoption cases would not go forward until both countries signed either a new bilateral agreement or Vietnam acceded to and complied with the Hague Adoption Convention. Vietnam ratified the Convention and the Convention entered into force for Vietnam on February 1, 2012. USCIS urges parents to not file any Form I-800 on behalf of a child to be adopted from Vietnam until further notice.
E-Verify Self-Check Available
USCIS announced that Self Check, the free online service of E-Verify that allows workers to check their own employment eligibility status, is now available in all fifty states, Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. The service was initially launched in March 2011 with the goal of expanding nationally within one year. "We are pleased to complete, ahead of schedule, our expansion of this important tool for employees," said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. Self Check became available to users in both English and Spanish in August 2011.
Inspector's Field Manual Available Online
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Inspector's Manual is now available at http ://foia.cbp.gov/index.asp?ps=1&search=&category= Manuals_and_Instructions. The manual is broken down into eleven documents, starting with "Parent document," and then "b" thru "k."
Embassy in Syria Suspends Operations
The United States suspended operations at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria as of February 6, 2012. All American personnel have departed the country. The U.S. Embassy Amman is now the designated processing post for Syrian visa cases.
DHS Budget Request
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano released the Department of Homeland Security's fiscal year 2013 budget request of $39.5 billion in net discretionary funding. The FY2013 budget request, 0.5% below FY2012's enacted level, redirects over $850 million in base resources from administrative and mission support areas to frontline operations. A summary of the budget request is available at www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/20120213-fy-2013-budget-request.shtm.
DHS Statistics on Nonimmigrant Admissions
The Office of Immigration Statistics released a fact sheet entitled The Impact of Counting Changes on Nonimmigrant Admissions: Preliminary Findings. The fact sheet provides an indication of the impact by displaying trends in nonimmigrant admissions compared to trends in the number of individuals admitted each year during 2001-2010, and is available at www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/ publications /ois_ni_individuals_fs.pdf.
[This is an excerpt from the March 1, 2012, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.]
Subscribe to Bender's Immigration Bulletin at the LexisNexis Store.
For more information about LexisNexis products and solutions, connect with us through our corporate site.