• USCIS Announces Transformation to Web-based Environment.

Dec 27, 2010: Earlier this month, USCIS announced that it is

undertaking an agency-wide effort to shift their immigration

services from a paper-based system to an electronic system. This

effort, known as USCIS Transformation, will utilize a simplified,

web-based system for applicants to submit and track their

applications online.

The new system, which will be account-based, will improve customer

service and will enable USCIS to process cases with more precision,

security and timeliness.

  • DREAM Act Fails in Senate; President Obama Vows to Keep

    Trying.

Dec 22, 2010: President Obama met with members of the

Congressional Hispanic Caucus yesterday, in which he and the Caucus

agreed that immigration reform remains a high priority for the next

legislature. Obama met with the Caucus Tuesday to work toward a new

strategy to support the passing of the DREAM Act, which failed to

be passed by the Senate last weekend.

The DREAM Act would have opened the door for providing young

undocumented immigrants with a means to obtain permanent residency

in the United States. Undocumented immigrants who arrived in the

U.S. before the age of 16, have lived here continuously for at

least five years and are either in college or enlisted in the U.S.

Armed Forces would have been provided a path to legal status.

In the meeting, held at the Oval Office, Obama “reiterated

that he will not give up on the DREAM Act,” according to the

White House.

  • Final Rule Establishes New Immigration Procedures for the

    Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Dec 18, 2010: A final rule that amends the Department of

Homeland Security's (DHS) E-2 nonimmigrant treaty investor

regulation processes was recently passed. This new rule establishes

procedures for classifying long-term investors in the Commonwealth

of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) as E-2 nonimmigrants.

While CNMI, located in the Western Pacific, is a U.S. territory and

is subject to U.S. laws and regulations, the territory has

maintained its own immigration regulations to date. This new rule

extends U.S. immigration regulations to CNMI, ensuring that the

territory is subject to the scrutiny and systems of U.S.

immigration law.

  • DREAM Act May be Headed for a Senate Vote this Weekend.

Dec 17, 2010: Majority Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed

cloture on the DREAM Act Thursday evening, paving the way for a

potential Senate vote on the immigration reform bill this Saturday.

For the bill to pass, it will need the support of 60 Senators,

something that will be quite challenging in the current

Senate.

The DREAM Act, if approved by the Senate and signed into law by

President Obama, would provide a path for permanent residency for

the more than 800,000 young people who have been in the U.S. for 5

to 29 years. By staying in school or serving in the military,

paying certain fees and keeping a clean criminal record for more

than 10 years, these people would be able to apply for legal status

and, eventually, citizenship.

  • House Passes DREAM Act; Uphill Battle in Senate.

Dec 09, 2010: The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass

the DREAM Act on Wednesday night, sending the immigration reform

bill to the Senate. The DREAM Act would provide a path to

citizenship for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who

entered the United States when they were children.

“This is about a commitment to our future,” said Nancy

Pelosi, D-Calif., Speaker of the House. “It's about a

recognition of what these young people can mean for our

country.”

The DREAM Act proposes to give “conditional” green cards

to undocumented immigrants if they graduate high school and enter

college or military service. After ten years, these individuals

would be eligible to receive permanent residency and, eventually,

citizenshp, as long as they meet all other requirements.

While the House vote is good news for supporters of the DREAM Act,

there will be a tough fight in the senate. While many Republican

senators originally supported the bill, the majority of Republican

senators now oppose it, considering the bill a mass amnesty for

illegal immigrants. For the bill to pass the Senate, it will need

the support of the majority of Democrats and a few Republicans.

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