U.S. Army and Navy Now Allow Recruits to Start Citizenship

Process during Boot Camp.

Apr 22, 2011: The U.S. Army and Navy are now offering recruits a

way to start the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship during basic

training. This new feature involves changing the military's

no-visitors policy during boot camp, so that federal immigration

officials can assist recruits in obtaining citizenship. The

military notes that only legal immigrants can apply for citizenship

via this route, and they must complete five years of honorable

service as part of the process.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, then President

George W. Bush signed an executive order that would allow for a

speeding up of the citizenship process for military recruits. Prior

to this change in process, members of the military were required to

serve one year of honorable service prior to being able to apply

for citizenship.

Top Republican Calls for H-1B Reform.

Apr 20, 2011: In a special hearing held by the Committee on

Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. Representative Darrell Issa

(R-CA) called for reform of the H-1B Visa program. “There

seems little doubt that federal policies and regulations have

played a large role in hampering growth,” said Issa, who

referred specifically to the H-1B Visa Cap in his speech.

“Five years ago, Bill Gates and many others warned of the

negative impact of strict caps on H-1B visas for technology workers

on U.S. technology companies, with a commensurate positive effect

on the high-tech industries in other countries, like China and

India,” said Issa.

Issa isn't the only Republican to voice support for changing

H-1B regulations. Last month U.S. Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX)

also called for an increase in the amount of H-1B visas available

per year.

USCIS Adopts Final Rule Regarding Employment Eligibility

Verification.

Apr 16, 2011: Earlier this week, USCIS announced a final rule

that adopted without any changes an interim rule to improve the I-9

Form process. The federal agency had received 75 public comments in

response to this interim rule, which had been in effect since April

2009. All employers, agricultural recruiters and referrers who work

for fees are required to verify the identity and employment

authorization of each person they hire for employment in the U.S.

Key changes made to the process by which eligibility is verified

that were introduced in the interim rule and adopted in the final

rule include prohibiting the acceptance of expired documents as

proof of eligibility and the additional and modification of a

number of acceptable documents of proof.

This final rule takes effect May 16, 2011. View an FAQ published by

USCIS at: http://1.usa.gov/ijBf96.

USCIS Posts Number of FY 2012 H-1B Petitions Received.

Apr 13, 2011: The first information about petitions submitted

for the Fiscal Year 2012 H-1B program has just been posted by USCIS

and, as expected, the amount of petitions received by the federal

agency are low. As was seen last year, only a small handful of

companies have submitted requests for highly skilled workers under

the H-1B program. As of April 7, 2011, a total of 5,900 petitions

have been received for the regular cap program and 4,500 petitions

have been received for the H-1B Master's Exemption

category.

A total of 65,000 H-1B visas are available each year, according to

current federal regulations. USCIS has also receipted 20,000 H-1B

petitions for foreign workers with advanced degrees, leaving no

additional available visa under that exemption.

ICE Changes Policy on Deportation to Haiti.

Apr 09, 2011: Earlier this week, Immigration and Customs

Enforcement (ICE) posted a new policy that may lead to additional

deportations to Haiti. Just after the January 2010 earthquake that

gravely affected Haiti, ICE halted all deportations to Haiti out of

concern for people that would have been deported. In late January,

however, ICE shifted its policy and deported 27 people to Haiti.

One of those people died within days of arriving in Haiti,

potentially of cholera, and another became very sick soon after

arriving.

Many immigration and human rights organizations have voiced their

concerns with ICE's reversal of policy and are asking that the

federal agency return to a halt of deportations.

“One year after the earthquake, Haiti remains in ruins and is

now confronting a cholera epidemic. Our government is sending

people back to horrific circumstances, possibly even death,”

said David Leopold, president of the American Immigration

Lawyers' Association. “AILA urges the Obama Administration

to immediately suspend deportations while life-threatening

conditions in Haiti persist.”

New Filing Location for Change of Address Forms.

Apr 06, 2011: On April 1, 2011, all USCIS Change of Address and

Alien's Change of Address forms (Forms AR-11 and AR-11 SR)

changed filing locations. The new address to file these forms is as

follows:

U.S Department of Homeland Security

Citizenship and Immigration Services

Attn: Change of Address

1344 Pleasants Drive

Harrisonburg, VA 22801

USCIS notes that any change of address forms mailed to the old

location will be forwarded to the new Harrisonburg address until

May 16. The option of notifying USCIS of a change of address online

is also available at uscis.gov, but only for Form AR-11.

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