President Obama Announces New Policy That Could Lead to Wider Immigration Reform
New Parole-in-Place Policy May Create the Precedent for a General Amnesty
President Obama has announced a new policy that could serve as the model for immigration reform if Congress doesn’t act. It’s called “Parole-in-Place” and it allows undocumented immigrant spouses, children under 21 and parents of current US service members, reservists and veterans to apply to live legally in the US.
Under prior rules, anyone who entered the U.S. without Immigration inspection was subject to deportation and most could not adjust to permanent residence. Their only option was to pursue a lengthy and uncertain waiver process that requires a return to their home country. But leaving the United States triggers a 10-year bar from returning for any immigrant who entered without inspection.
“This is good news for immigrants because it creates another way for those who would otherwise be caught in an impossible situation to adjust their status without suffering the hardship of a 10-year bar,” says Peter Jaensch, military veteran, prominent Sarasota immigration attorney and founder of Jaensch Immigration Law Firm.
Immigrants who are paroled-in-place can obtain work and travel permission without leaving the US. With work permission, the applicant can obtain a Social Security number. If parole-in-place is granted and the applicant is a spouse, child under 21, or parent of a U.S. citizen, he or she would also be able to apply for a Green card.
President Obama has publicly stated several times that he supports immigration reform. In June, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill but the House of Representatives has not taken it up. House Speaker Boehner recently announced that the House will not hold formal compromise talks on the bill.
In the meantime, President Obama has pursued immigration reform through prosecutorial discretion. In June 2012, in a policy change similar to “Parole-in-Place,” the President announced the Deferred Action policy. It allowed undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children, obtained a high school diploma or equivalent and remained under a certain age, to obtain work and travel permission. In August, the President instructed DHS officials, when finalizing removal orders for undocumented parents, to take into account the potential hardship for their minor children. With this new policy, Obama moves closer to his goal of immigration reform.
There is no government fee for the parole-in-place application, as there usually is. Parole-in-place will be granted in one-year increments.
“As a military veteran myself I am glad to see the government doing more to support our service members and veterans,” says Mr. Jaensch. “And we are ready to do our part as well.” Jaensch Immigration Law Firm is offering free consultations to military family members who want to know more about this policy.
IN SPANISH: Cesar Gomez explica la nueva política de parole-in-place.
Sarasota immigrants are asking what the new Affordable Care Act means for them. ImmigrationSarasota.com decided to investigate.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed on March 21, 2010, is the largest overhaul of the United States’ health care system since 1965. Its purpose is to reduce the cost of health care and increase the number of Americans with health insurance. One of the ways it achieves these goals is through the “individual mandate,” a provision that requires anyone who is legally present in the US to have health insurance or face a penalty to be assessed in their taxes.
“The individual mandate goes into effect on January 1, 2014 and applies to all those legally present in the US,” says Victoria Jaensch Karins, president of the Central Florida Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and attorney at Jaensch Immigration Law Firm. “This includes those on temporary visas such as F-1 student visas, E-2 investor visas, and H-1B work visas,” she continues.
This means that all legal US immigrants, including those on temporary visas, will have to buy health insurance if they don’t have it already.
“Immigrants should be made aware so they can make the appropriate preparations,” said Peter Matthiessen, CEO of Deusa Group and a licensed insurance agent in California, Florida, Texas and Georgia. “They should also be advised not to buy a foreign health insurance policy. Most US medical providers don’t accept them,” he continued.
According to Taylor Tollerton, partner at Professional Benefits, Inc., Sarasota’s leading insurance group, immigrants should also know that, “some health insurance companies don’t offer coverage to legal residents if they have not been in the U.S. for longer than 6 months.” She added that, “utilizing experts in the industry to help navigate your way through is vital.”
The Affordable Care Act establishes healthcare exchanges for insurance providers and consumers. Temporary and permanent immigrants are eligible to participate in the exchanges.
Immigrants may also purchase health insurance policies that are compliant with the Affordable Care Act privately, outside the exchange, through a licensed broker/agent. They are identical, except that possible subsidies do not apply. Persons with privacy concerns should consider avoiding the exchanges.
Undocumented aliens are exempt from the mandate to have health coverage and barred from the health insurance exchanges. However, undocumented parents can apply for “child-only” coverage for their legal immigrant or citizen child through the exchanges.
Peter Matthiessen is the CEO of Deusa Group. For the past 17 years, Deusa Group has specialized in this very complex insurance matter pertaining to foreign nationals entering or living in the USA. Insurance outside the USA is also offered. Every situation is different and requires a solution on a case by case basis. Inquiries are welcome at any time – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1979 by Jim Tollerton, Professional Benefits Inc. (PBI) is Sarasota’s leading independent insurance group serving the community with insurance plans for individuals and employers by helping to establish employee benefits, executive compensation programs, and succession plans. In 2007, Mr. Tollerton partnered with Taylor Tollerton Collins and formed a second division of PBI with Benefits and Planning, Inc. managed by Mrs. Collins. Professional Benefits serves several local organizations including: Education Foundation, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, First Step of Sarasota, Argus, and the local National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisor chapter. Mrs. Collins is available for interview.
- How an Undocumented Alien Can Get Insured
- Foreign Health Insurance Companies Will No Longer Be Able to Offer Policies to American Residents
“Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., date last updated (24 October 2013). Web. Date accessed (24 October 2013). <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act>
Fiorenza Arigoni is a Sarasota immigrant who decided to trade the shores of Lake Maggiore in Switzerland for the shores of the Gulf Coast. She is also a licensed massage therapist and acupuncturist. She relieves pain in others. How she went from the Swiss Alps to Gulf Coast beaches is a story of hard work and perseverance.
Fiorenza grew up in the Italian Alps speaking 3 languages; French, German, and Italian. When she was 22 she spent a year in the States and quickly felt at home. She enjoyed the energy and the feeling of great potential. She couldn’t stay in the US at that time so she returned to Switzerland, started a small business selling ice cream, and started a family.
10 years later two friends of Fiorenza’s made the move to the States, started a new business, Life Force Academy, and wrote back telling her she should come over too. With the marriage ending and 4 young children she decided it was time to look for new opportunities. She moved to the US to live and work.
Once she arrived she immediately began studying. The ice cream business was no longer for her, she wanted to relieve pain in others, so she went first to Massage Therapy School and later to Acupuncture School. She obtained student visas for her children and kept renewing B-1/B-2 Visitor Visas for herself. This uncertain situation continued for several years while Fiorenza worked to obtain her license.
Fiorenza’s legal status stabilized in 2000 when Life Force Academy sponsored her for an H-1B Work Visa to work for them as an acupuncturist. One year later she applied for obtained a Green Card. A few years after that she obtained US citizenship.
Today Fiorenza makes house calls on behalf of Life Force Academy. She helps Sarasota residents free themselves from pain through acupuncture and massage therapy. She absolutely loves what she does and it shows. Her clients have written such testimonials as:
26 years ago I had Colles fracture on my right wrist. I had many different treatments, including 5 injections on my cervical spine, without results. After 26 years, Fiorenza gave me relief with acupuncture; my hand straightened out and I can use it and my fingers normally. She also takes care of my arthritis and my old age aches and pains. My sinus pain disappears within minutes from the acupuncture treatments.
Fiorenza Arigoni combines her background as a skilled massage therapist with her expertise as a licensed acupuncturist beautifully. Her knowledge about the workings of the human body, from both Western and Eastern perspectives, is a boon to us, her clients, in the maintenance of all-around good health.
She plans to continue working for Life Force Academy and expanding her client base. She is truly living her dream.
To contact Fiorenza visit her website: lifeforceacademy.com or call: 941-284-6476.
A new practice pointer from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) entitled, Frequent Travel Abroad and Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status, clarifies the CBP’s position on Legal Permanent Residents (green card holders) who frequently leave the country. Be aware that Customs takes more into account when determining whether a legal permanent resident has abandoned their status than simply the dates of exit and entry.
In fact, during an October 20, 2011 meeting with the D.C. Chapter’s CBP Liaison Committee, Baltimore (BWI) CBP representatives confirmed that “CBP officers are less focused on the length of time abroad and more on where does the person actually live.” According to the representatives, CBP officers will look at the totality of the circumstances, including “how many years the person has lived in the U.S.; whether the person is employed in the U.S. or abroad; where family members live; [and] whether U.S. taxes have been paid.”
Washington Dulles Airport’s CBP representatives concurred:
Abandonment issues were also discussed during the Committee’s January 25, 2012 meeting with Washington (Dulles) CBP representatives. During the meeting, CBP representatives indicated that “[d]omicile is the major issue for WAS CBP inspectors, so the applicant should have evidence with him/her of where s/he lives.”
Carry additional documentation such as a drivers license of employment ID with you to be safe.
The CBP Inspector’s Field Manual (“IFM”) similarly explains that the length of time spent abroad is not the sole indicator of abandonment (AILA Doc. No. 11120959). The IFM notes that other indicators of possible abandonment are “employment abroad, immediate family members who are not permanent residents, arrival on a charter flight where most passengers are non-residents with return passage, lack of a fixed address in the U.S., or frequent prolonged absences from the U.S.” In questionable cases, the IFM advises officers “to ask for other documentation to substantiate residence, such as a driver’s license and employer identification cards.”
Possible Expansion of Child Status Protection Act
It seems like recent court cases in California and Texas have expanded the applicability of the Child Status Protection Act.
The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) addressed the large numbers of children who are “ageing out” – reaching the age of 21 before their parents received a green card. CSPA protects the “child” status despite ageing out due to excessive processing times. It can apply in certain family-based, employment-based and humanitarian immigrant cases.
Under the new rule, once the parent gets the green card, they can apply for the child as an adult unmarried child of a permanent resident. Instead of getting a new priority date for this application (which would require a wait of about 2 years or more), they child would “inherit” the original priority date of the application. This would mean that the child would most likely be eligible for a green card soon after the parent gets their green card and would not have an additional waiting period. I would estimate that children who apply in this way would wait about a year after their parents receive their green card, because there still needs to be time allowed to file the green card application and conduct the background check.
Children of legal permanent residents (green card holders) can take advantage of this whether they are in the U.S. or out of the U.S. If they are in the U.S., they would have to remain here in lawful status after they turn 21 (by having a F-1 student visa or E-2 investor visa).
This is good news because it means that children of green card holders would ultimately be able to get a green card around the time their parents get one.
Register NOW for 2014 Green Card Lottery!
DV-2014 Green Card Lottery Registration Begins October 2, 2012
The United States will open its doors for up to 55,000 new residents through the 2014 Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery (aka the “Green Card Lottery”). Registration begins at noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Tuesday, October 2, 2012, and ends at noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Saturday, November 3, 2012.
For information about the lottery in Spanish, please click HERE
For information about the lottery in German, please click HERE
Update on Eligible Countries
For DV-2014, natives of GUATEMALA are now eligible for selection!
Natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because they sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. over the period of the previous five years:
BANGLADESH, BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM.
Persons born in HONG KONG SAR, MACAU SAR, and TAIWAN are eligible
- If you were born in an ineligible country but your spouse was born in an eligible country, you and your spouse are eligible to register together.
- You must be 18 or older to qualify.
Jaensch Immigration Law Firm is offering to register foreign-born applicants and their family members in the lottery. The fee is $200 usd per person.
For more information about the eligibility requirements for the Green Card lottery or to register for the lottery through Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, please visit our diversity visa lottery registration page.
The instructions for the 2014 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2014) reveal that this year, natives of Guatemala are eligible, while several other countries are ineligible. Entries for the DV-2014 program must be submitted electronically between 10/2/12 and 11/3/12.
Look for more information soon on immigrationsarasota.com and VisaAmerica.com!
I-601 Waiver Rules Updated. Eases Application Process
The I-601 Waiver processing rules are being updated. New rules that would go into effect at the end of the year are bringing hope to many foreign nationals who want to resolve their status.
Many foreign nationals enter the US without inspection or overstay their visa. They live here for some time and decide to resolve their status by applying for a green card. Under the current rules, entry without inspection or overstay of a visa are grounds for ineligibility for a green card. The applicant has to return to their country of origin and await a decision there. If denied the green card they must remain in their home country for up to 10 years before they can reapply. The only recourse is to file for an I-601 waiver which would forgive the 10-yr penalty. Previously the applicant still had to return to their country of origin to apply for an I-601. This created much uncertainty and hardship for US citizens or legal permanent residents who were relatives of the ineligible applicant.
Now the USCIS has proposed new rules regarding the I-601 waiver process. Coming soon an applicant might be able to apply for an I-601 waiver from within the United States. To get an I-601 waiver the applicant has to prove that their absence would cause significant hardship for a relative, spouse, or fiance who is a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States. When approved by USCIS the applicant can then go to a U.S. Consulate in their country of origin to complete the Green Card process routinely—without fear that the waiver will be denied.
Before an applicant can file for the I-601 waiver, he or she has to be approved as an immediate family member of a US citizen or legal permanent resident by the USCIS. In order to be approved the applicant’s family members have to file a Family Petition, or Form I-130, for them.
Jaensch Immigration Law Firm urges all qualified immediate relatives to file the Family Petition as soon as possible. Processing time is still only a few months at the moment, but a huge backlog is foreseen when the Provisional Family Waiver program begins—expected toward the end of the year.
Fiance’s, spouses, parents and children age 17 or younger are qualified to seek the I-601 provisional waiver for their unlawful presence. The only grounds against their case which would be waived are illegal entry and overextension of stay. Other grounds such as conviction for serious crimes or a drug conviction will not be waived by the I-601 wiaver
If you entered the lottery check out the State Department’s webpage and follow the instructions to find out if you qualified.
Best of Luck!