San Antonio activists will hold their second annual March for Immigrant Rights through the city’s West Side on Independence Day. Goal is to bring attention to the November election on slight softening of both Democratic and Republican on Immigration.
Participants will hold a “procesión de velas,” a Wednesday evening procession by candlelight, instead of repeating last year’s march in July’s scorching heat.
“It gives us bargaining power,” he said. “It’s finally what we’ve been hoping for. If we truly organize, we’ll have a say” in the shape of future immigration legislation.
Jamie Martinez, founder and board president of the Cesar E.Chavez said “We want comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act”. Another group Educational Foundation who involved in rally says “Immigrants are workers. They are not lazy, and they are not criminals”.
Martinez says “We are not asking for the sky. We are asking for path to citizenship. Reuniting with the family is the key and the protection of the civil and constitutional rights”. Martinez also mentioned about how immigrants pay taxes, it accumulates up to $7 billion a year. Martinez says “This is best kept secret in America”, which clearly shows how immigrants work hard.
The march begins with a news conference at 6:30 p.m. in front of the Guadalupe Theater. Participants are encouraged to be there by 6 p.m. Congressional candidates Lloyd Doggett, running in the 35th Congressional District, and Joaquín Castro, seeking to represent the 20th, will speak. Both are Democrats.
United States of America has reached 40 million foreign-born people, as reported by US Census Bureau which is record high since 1910. Foreign born are those who born outside of their country of residence. In US and Canada the law for foreign born are considered as citizens are in the process of obtaining US Citizenship. In Germany and Japan if very difficult to become citizens for foreign born.
That figure—from the 2010 American Community Survey—comprises about 13 percent of the total population in the U.S., which is roughly 312 million people. That represents the largest share of the population since 1910, when foreign-born residents comprised 14.7 percent of the overall population.
According to the Census bureau of Chief Elizabeth M.Grieco, Latin America is the biggest source of foreign-born residence. More than 50% of the total population and more than half were born in Mexico (Immigrants from Mexico to US has reduced, can say come to standstill since last 5 years).
About half of all foreign-born residents either spoke only English at home or spoke a language other than English at home and spoke English “very well,” according to the report, but there was considerable variation between the regions of origin. For those from Africa, for example, 71 percent either spoke only English at home or spoke another language at home in addition to speaking English “very well.” For those from Latin America, however, that share was much lower at 37 percent. Drilling down even more, the foreign-born residents from the Caribbean were more likely to speak only English at home at 32 percent, compared to 15 percent from South America, 7 percent from “other” Central America, and 3 percent from Mexico.
Very interesting fact about the employment figures:
Sixty-eight percent of the foreign-born populations age 16 or older were working in 2010, compared with 64% of those born in the U.S. And 79% of foreign-born men were in the labor force, compared to 68% of native-born men; in contrast, 60% of U.S.-born women were employed, compared with 57% of foreign-born women.
Immigrants prefer “gateway” states such as California, New York and Texas, although recently immigrants are looking out for smaller foreign-born population such as Louisiana, Mississippi, Wyoming and Dakotas.
People who have a green card and have become lawful permanent residents can apply for the citizenship. Those over the age of 18 can fill the Citizenship Form N-400 and apply for citizenship. There are several rules and regulations that have to be met before filing the application. If you are going to apply for citizenship it is better to visit the USCIS website and familiarize yourself with what is required and the procedure to apply for citizenship.
The citizenship form can be downloaded online and has to be submitted with the required documents. You may not submit the original documents while you send in your application, but you may be required to show the original documents at the time of the interview with the USCIS.
Applicants who want to apply for citizenship should be over 18years of age and should have been in the U.S. continuously for the past five years. If you are married to a U.S. citizen then you should have been in the U.S. for the past three years. But if the applicant is serving in the armed forces, he or she is exempted from this rule. Spouses of war veterans or those serving in the armed forces can apply sooner for citizenship.
Another eligibility requirement for those applying for citizenship is that they should have a broad knowledge of history and of the government. They should also be of good character and willing to abide by the constitution.
The benefits of becoming a citizen are quite a few. One gets to vote during the federal elections. They can also travel anywhere without restrictions. The citizenship form runs to about ten pages, beginning with your personal details and going on to requesting information on employment, travel from one place to another, affiliations to groups if any and accounting for all foreign and domestic travel in the past five years. This self-explanatory form also asks applicants for personal background and history.
Read carefully all the instructions given before filing the application. Any mistakes in the form can lead to rejection or denial. Finally applicants must take the naturalization test in English and Civics. There are several resources from where one can prepare for this test.
Once you have filled the citizenship form you may mail it to the center mentioned in the form. If you are mailing the citizenship form to the local lockbox facility you may request an email notification to know when the form reaches the USCIS and if it is accepted or not. The fee for this form is $595 and $85 fee for biometrics. So the total amount of $690 has to be sent along with your citizenship form by money order. The amount must be payable to the Department of Homeland Security. Applicants who are 75 years or older need not pay the biometric fee. Further information on the citizenship form can be had from the government website.
Being a Dual Citizen simply means that a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time. One who has dual citizenship is considered to be a citizen of two countries. Every country has different and unique citizenship laws. You can have dual nationality through operation of different laws than by choice. If you are a US citizen and your child was born in a foreign country, the child can be both a US citizen and a citizen of the country where he/she was born. It simply means that the country where the child is born can enable the child to hold citizenship automatically there and the parent’s citizenship can also be passed to the child. In other circumstances, you can have citizenship in a country and file to become a naturalized citizen of another nation. Off late, the Dual citizenship concept is being accepted and becoming more common. It offers many benefits.
If you have dual citizenship, it means you will have passports of both countries. Traveling with the correct visa in these countries can help you cross the borders more easily, without many hassles. If you have a passport of a country that is a part of the European Union, with that passport, you can travel and stay in any country throughout the European Union without the need for a visa or residency requirements.
Countries normally reserve or keep jobs for their citizens. Visitors should get special work visas. If you do not have citizenship and filing for a work visa, the chances do not look bright. Through Dual citizenship, the chance to work in either country is doubled.
Connections to the place where one was born
Some persons prefer to stay and be a naturalized citizen in one country while not completely cutting off their connections to their family and place they were born. Having dual citizenship, they are generally allowed to retain their rights to vote in both countries. They are also permitted to own property and qualify for government health care (if applicable.)
There are certain countries that impose restrictions on property ownership depending on citizenship. For example, a country may not allow a foreigner to own a land near a border or coastline. In such countries, if you want to live there full or part time, you may find that being a naturalized citizen will allow you to own property, and travel back and forth conveniently.
Earlier, laws in some countries prohibited a naturalized citizen from retaining the citizenship of the country he/she was born. Now, dual citizenship is widely accepted and allowed. Many countries have modified their laws to encourage citizenship and offer it to former citizens, their children and others who want to have more than one passport.
Off late, many countries are making things easier for people to get citizenship more easily for retirement in other countries that can be more affordable, such as in Latin America. Countries such as Panama, Belize and Mexico encourage people to settle down there. In other instances, one with a parent or grandparent in countries such as Italy or Ireland may qualify for citizenship there.
One year after granted asylum status, you will be allowed to adjust your status to legal permanent residence (green card). You are also allowed to submit petitions to petition for your family members – spouse, minor children, and unmarried adult sons and daughters for permanent residence in the US.
As an asylee, to apply for adjustment of status, you have to prove that
- you have been physically present in the US for one year after getting asylum status
- you still are a refugee (with a “well-founded fear of persecution,” etc.)
- you have not resettled in another country
- you do not fall under the “inadmissible” category or warrant a waiver of applicable grounds of “inadmissibility.”
It is mandatory you submit the following documents:
- Form I-485 along with the submission fee
- Form G-325
- 2 passport styled photographs
- Fee for fingerprinting
- Adequate proof of asylee status (copy of I-94 and letter granting asylum or decision by Immigration Judge)
- Birth certificate
- Evidence that you have been living in the US for the last year (copy of lease, bills, pay stubs, or receipt of government benefits)
- Proof of change of name legally (if you have legally changed your name since getting asylee status.
Asylees need not prove that they are not likely to become a public charge in the US. Persons receiving means-tested benefits (public assistance or SSI), will also qualify for legal permanent residence. If you cannot afford to pay the fee, you can request a waiver of the filing fee for the adjustment of status application. Here you should prove that paying the fee would result in financial hardship.
After you file the application, you can expect to receive an interview notice along with a medical examination form that you will need to complete. In situations where you happened to enter the US with fraudulent documents (passport purchased on black market), it is mandatory you file an application for a waiver of inadmissibility (Form I-602). Though it is mandatory you submit the application with the necessary supporting documents with the USCIS, the interview will entirely focus on your eligibility for adjustment to green card status and not on the underlying asylum claim. Remember that not all asylee applicants filing for adjustment of status will have interviews. In some occasions, decisions on some applications are adjudicated simply on paper by mail.
After being a legal permanent resident for five years, you can file the application for naturalization (Form N-400) to become a US citizen. Note that after you, as an asylee are granted permanent residence, the date of admission is one year before the date of approval of the adjustment of status petition. It simply means that the five-year period required for Naturalization is reduced to four years. Remember that US Citizenship is the highest US immigration status and it has many advantages when compared to being in another legal status. The main advantage is the right to vote in federal elections.
Per the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS), I-94 non immigrant admissions can be sub divided into three categories
- Short-term resident, and
- Expected long-term resident
The word “resident” should not be meant as “lawful permanent resident” of the US. It is mentioned only as an easy short-hand. The “non-resident” non-immigrant classification generally includes visitors for business or pleasure (tourists). They are generally authorized to remain no longer than six months. However, they can apply for extensions to stay an additional period of time. Due to this short stay, childbirths in this classification might be relatively low.
The “short-term resident” non-immigrant classification consists of trainees, students, exchange visitors, treaty traders and investors, intra-company transferees, and other types of non-immigrants who probably will be in the US for a longer period. Thus chances of them give birth to a child while physically present in the US are more.
Non-Resident Non-Immigrants: Per OIS report, 47.3 percent of the total “non-resident” non-immigrant admissions are women. The estimate figure is 4,555,942 female admissions for that non-immigrant category in 2009. An estimated 3,890,774 female tourists are in the child-bearing age.
The US currently does not have a formal exit recording system that would provide data on how many of these visitors are likely to remain in the US long enough to have a child, but in the past DHS researched the travel patterns of temporary visitors through the I-94 arrival/departure forms. Per their report, most foreign tourists stay for a short period of about two weeks or less, but a significant number stay longer. The OIS departure data suggests that about 20 percent of tourists are here for three months or longer, a period that would provide the opportunity for a pregnant visitor to give birth and recover. It roughly estimates that about 780,000 women are legally present visiting here long enough to have a child.
Per the US Census data, in 2009, 5 percent of all foreign national women aged 18 to 35 who arrived within the last year reported giving birth during the year. It could well mean as many as 39,000 births annually to women who have arrived as tourists.
Short-Term Resident Non-Immigrants: Using the same principle as was used above with “non-resident” non-immigrants, we can arrive at a figure of 770,452 admissions of women in the specified age range in 2009. Artists, entertainers, athletes, and their entourages tend to make shorter visits. They comprise 5 percent of short-term resident admissions, so the figure can be reduced to 732,000.
The number of admissions is not the same as the number of individuals as some tend to come and go many times during the year. Since the average length of time before departure and return is six months at a time, it simply means that the average visitor in this classification will have two admissions per year. So the number of individual visitors can be somewhere close to half the number of admissions. So the estimated population of short-term resident women of child-bearing age can be estimated at 366,000. Using the 5 percent birth rate, we can roughly say that 18,300 children might have accrued U.S. citizenship at birth for this non-immigrant category.
Per the Congressional Budget Office, “The total number of [non-immigrant] admissions in 2009 includes approximately 126 million admissions of Canadians and Mexicans who can enter the US without a visa and who need not have to fill out an Arrival/Departure Record (an I-94 form) when they enter. This number includes Canadian nationals traveling for business or tourism purposes and certain Mexican nationals with Border Crossing Cards.
Being a person of good moral character is one of the key requirements when it comes to applying for naturalization. You will not be considered to be of “good moral character” if you happen to commit certain crimes during the five years before you file the citizenship application or even if you lie during their citizenship interview.
General behaviors that show a lack of good moral character are:
• Drunk driving or being drunk most of the time.
• Illegal gambling.
• Lying to gain immigration benefits.
• Failing to pay court-ordered child support.
• Committing terrorist acts.
• Persecuting someone because of race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or social group.
You will never qualify for citizenship if you commit certain specific crimes. In such case, you will also be most likely removed from the US. These crimes are referred as “bars” to citizenship. Crimes those are “aggravated felonies” (if they were committed on or after November 29, 1990) are murder, rape, sexual abuse of a child, violent assault, treason, and illegal trafficking in drugs, firearms, or people. These will result in permanent bars to naturalization.
Also note that immigrants who were exempted or discharged from serving in the US Armed Forces as they were immigrants and immigrants who deserted from the US Armed Forces are also subject to permanently bar. Your case will be rejected if you act in other ways that show you lack good moral character. There are other crimes that are temporary bars and it generally prevent you from becoming a citizen for up to five years after you commit that crime.
It is very important that you report any crime you committed when you apply for naturalization. You are also required to disclose all the crimes removed from your record or committed before your 18th birthday. If you try to hide it from the USCIS, your application will be rejected you can also be prosecuted. So remember to be transparent in all your disclosures.
There are many licensed and competent immigration lawyers who can help you with an immigration issue. Contact the local bar association to find one. There are some states that also certify specialists in US immigration law. If you need legal help on an immigration issue, but do not afford the fee to hire a lawyer, you do have a few low cost or free assistance options. Help is available from:
A Recognized Organization: is recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). To qualify under this classification, the organization should have enough knowledge and experience to provide services to immigrants. They are entitled to accept a nominal fee for those services.
An Accredited Representative: are connected to BIA “recognized organizations.” These representatives too are entitled to charge a very nominal fee for the services they provide.
- A Qualified Representative: provide free services. They have to know about US immigration law and the rules of practice in court. Examples of qualified representatives are law school students and graduates. People with good moral character who have a personal or professional affiliation with you also are eligible.
- Free Legal Service Providers: There are many attorneys and organizations willing to help foreign nationals in proceedings before the Immigration Courts. The attorneys and organizations help immigrants free of charge only in immigration proceedings. Some of them may not be able to help you with non-court-related matters (visa petitions, naturalization, etc.).
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the federal agency that manages lawful immigration to the US. The USCIS is a component of the Department of Homeland Security.
On March 1, 2003, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officially took over the responsibility for all immigration functions of the federal government. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 disassembled the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and separated the former agency into three groups within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The USCIS (formerly the INS ) was formed to enhance the security measures and improve the efficiency of national immigration services. The other two components of the DHS, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) take care of immigration enforcement and border security functions.
Some of the Services that the USCIS (formerly the INS) Provides
Citizenship (Includes the Related Naturalization Process):
Eligible individuals who want to become US citizens through naturalization have to submit their N-400 applications to USCIS. The USCIS will determine eligibility of the applicant, process the application and, if approved, will schedule the applicant for a ceremony to take the Oath of Allegiance. The USCIS also determines the eligibility and provides documentation of US citizenship for individuals who acquired or derived US citizenship through their parents’ status as US citizens.
Immigration of Family Members:
The USCIS also manages the process that will allow permanent residents and US citizens to bring their close relatives to live and work in the US.
Working in the U.S:
Individuals from other countries can come and work in the US. Some of the job opportunities are temporary, and some also get a green card (permanent residence). The USCIS manages this process too.
Verifying an Individual’s Legal Right to Work in the US:
USCIS takes care of the system that will allow employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees.
USCIS also administers humanitarian programs that offers protection to individuals inside and outside the US who are displaced by war, famine and civil and political unrest, and also to those who are forced to flee their countries to escape the risk of death and torture at the hands of persecutors.
The first step in the process for US citizens adopting children from other countries are handled by the USCIS. Every year, approximately 20,000 adoptions take place.
The USCIS promotes instruction and training on citizenship rights and responsibilities. They provide immigrants with the information and tools that are necessary to successfully integrate into American civic culture.
The mission of USCIS is to administer the nation’s immigration system fairly, honestly and correctly. At this time of increased global threats and national security challenges, the main obligation is to provide immigration service in a manner that strengthens and fortifies the nation. While performing the mission, they adopt a holistic approach to Vigilance. They take utmost care in carefully administering every aspect of their immigration mission so that new immigrants and citizens can hold in high regard the privileges and advantages of lawful presence in the US.
The goal of USCIS is to secure America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to all their customers, granting immigration and other benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of American citizenship, and ensuring the integrity of the US immigration system. They employ 18,000 persons and their contractors work at 250 offices across the world.