Monthly Archives: September 2010

USCIS FILING FEES SET TO INCREASE

According to a USCIS Fact Sheet:  “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced a final rule adjusting fees for immigration applications and petitions. The final rule follows a period of public comment on a proposed version of the rule, which USCIS published in the Federal Register on June 11, 2010. After encouraging stakeholders to share their input, USCIS considered all 225 comments received. The final rule will increase overall fees by a weighted average of about 10 percent but will not increase the fee for the naturalization application. The rule will also reduce fees for six individual applications and petitions and will expand the availability of fee waivers to new categories. The final rule will be published in the Federal Register September 24, and the adjusted fees will go into effect on November 23, 2010.”

COLBERT TO TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS ON IMMIGRATION

According to cnn.com:  “Comedian Stephen Colbert will testify before Congress on Friday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration called ‘Protecting America’s Harvest.'”

The project invited Americans to accept farm jobs that anti-immigrationists say we do not need foreign-nationals to do.  The common refrain is that there are no jobs that Americans won’t take.  It will be interesting to watch the Comedy Central star offer serious testimony.

DREAM OR NIGHTMARE?

According to an article on washingtonpost.com:  “Republican lawmakers on Tuesday stalled a Senate measure to allow children of undocumented immigrants to get on a path to citizenship, and accused the Obama administration of seeking amnesty for illegal immigrants through administrative changes within the Department of Homeland Security.”

This is no big surprise as one should expect obstructionist politics to rule until at least after the November elections.  More of the same in DC.

THE DREAM ACT IS BACK

According to an article on chicagotribune.com:  “Senate Democrats surprised immigrant groups last week when lawmakers announced they would attach the pending legislation, first proposed in 2001, to a defense reauthorization bill already headed for a vote. A vote on the legislation, which could happen Tuesday, would clear the way for a floor debate in the Senate about it.”

This an interesting development as it could be a barometer for republicans will treat the immigration issue should they regain control of Congress.  Heavy opposition to immigrant rights has proven detrimental in general elections however anti-immgrationists are a vocal and persistent group.  For instance, calls to congressional offices opposing the DREAM Act outpace those in favor by a high margin.  If you support the DREAM Act, please call your senators.  The call takes less than a minute and all you have to say is “I support the DREAM Act”.

OBAMA ADDRESSES COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM

According to an article on washngtonindependent.com: “Obama will meet with Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) today to discuss the DREAM Act and a comprehensive immigration reform bill Menendez plans to unveil in the Senate.”

The question of when the issue will seriously be addressed remains unanswered.  It will be virtually impossible to pass CIR before the elections as immigration is a lose-lose political issue.  The DREAM Act?  I would estimate a 10% chance that it will get anywhere because politics will again interfere with progress.

Although President Obama could have made immigration reform a priority earlier in his term, he probably expected bipartisan cooperation which was not in the cards as was demonstrated with the health care law, the passage of which proved to be an uphill battle.  The fact that many congressional votes are split along party lines confirms that power over progress continues to be the name of the game in DC.

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