DHS Designates Chile for Visa Waiver Program
On February 28, 2014, the Department of Homeland Security announced the entry of Chile into the Visa Waiver Program. Beginning May 1, 2014, Chilean nationals will be able to visit the United States for up to ninety days without obtaining nonimmigrant visas. As with nationals of other participating countries, Chileans must apply for advance authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
There are now thirty-eight countries in the Visa Waiver Program. The program accounted for nearly twenty million visits to the United States in fiscal year 2013, or approximately 60% of all tourist and business travelers arriving by air.
Washington State Approves Tuition Assistance for Undocumented Students
On February 27, 2014, Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill making Washington the fourth State to give undocumented students access to State-funded financial aid. The bill, known as the “Real Hope Act,” allocates an additional $5 million to the State’s tuition assistance fund, enough to cover grants for an additional thousand students. To qualify, students must have lived in Washington for three years prior to completing high school and qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. State aid is also available to undocumented students in California, New Mexico, and Texas.
Report Calls for Issuance of Law Licenses to Undocumented Applicants
On February 21, 2014, New York University Law School and LatinoJustice PRLDEF released a report calling on States to issue law licenses to qualified applicants without regard to their immigration status. The report, titled “Lifting the Bar: Undocumented Law Graduates & Access to Law Licenses,” chronicles the experiences of undocumented bar applicants and explains the legal issues behind ongoing litigation in New York and Florida on behalf of law graduates denied licenses on account of their immigration status. In February, Sergio Garcia was admitted to the California bar following the passage of state legislation authorizing the issuance of law licenses to undocumented applicants. The report is online at http://tinyurl.com/lp2gqyh.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced updates to e-Request, a website allowing individuals to submit customer service inquiries via the Web. As of February 15, 2014, users can submit requests for disability accommodations and can print a copy of a completed Form AR-11, Change of Address.
[This is an excerpt from the March 15, 2014, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.]
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