Thứ Tư, 07 Tháng Giêng 201515:26(Xem: 18027)

IMMIGRANT VISA WAITING LIST and IMMIGRATION REFORM IN 2015                                                   

According to the latest statistics from the US Department of State, 4.3 million immigrant visa applicants worldwide are waiting for their cases to be eligible for visa interviews.

The largest number, totaling 3.2 million people, belongs to the F3 and F4 categories because it includes the spouses and children of the married applicants.

 Mexico has 1.3 million people waiting for interviews, followed by the Philippines and India.  Vietnam is in fourth place with 260,000 applicants waiting for interview.  In Vietnam, there are 7,300 F-1 applicants and almost 12,000 F2B applicants.   Vietnamese married children of US citizens are in a group of 60,000 waiting for interview, and siblings of US citizens, along with their families, represent 174,000 applicants.

 The usual waiting times for each category are expected to remain the same as in 2014.  Although there has been much talk about changes in the immigration law, we do not expect any substantial changes during 2015.    The President has said that those waiting for immigrant visa interviews will not face longer waits as a result of any changes contained in his Executive Actions.

 One of Mr. Obama’s Executive Actions was providing deferred action for DAPA (parents of lawful permanent residents and U.S. citizens), and for additional DACA applicants.  Approximately 1.3 million Asian Americans are undocumented immigrants, with the highest numbers coming from India, China, the Philippines, and Korea.  Most of them simply overstayed their tourist or student visas.

 Many people are asking why the White House is estimating six months before DAPA cases will be accepted.   People don’t understand that USCIS adjudicates about four million applications per year for every type of application.   DAPA and the expanded DACA will add millions of new applications to the workload.    DACA required 900 new employees and DAPA is expected to be six to eight times larger. For this new DAPA program, USCIS will have to expand its work force more than it has ever done before.

 The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency is looking to hire 1,000 new employees to process applications pertaining to President Barack Obama’s new executive action on immigration. A former CIS official said that he did not see how CIS could possibly recruit, hire, screen, go through all the national security background checks and train these 1,000 new employees within six months.

Before CIS accepts applications for the expanded DACA and the new DAPA, there will be months of rule making, publication and comments.  Applications submitted in 2015 will probably not be decided until 2016.   Some people say that there will be hundreds of thousands of fraudulent applications that will need to be investigated.   Interviews will take months and then years to conduct. 

 Deferred action for DACA and DAPA does not mean “legalization”.  Aliens granted deferred action are “lawfully present” for purposes of federal law.    A grant of deferred action will not result in an alien obtaining LPR status, a “green card,” or citizenship, or the ability to sponsor family members for immigration benefits. Aliens granted deferred action could potentially have their status legalized by Congress in the future as happened with earlier groups of aliens granted temporary relief from removal.   

 Even though Mr. Obama has promised that people waiting outside the States to be lawfully admitted will not have increased waiting times, it is difficult to see how increased wait times can be avoided.  The fact that several million people will be applying for deferred action is bound to create backlogs.

 How to avoid continuing problems about immigration and how to discourage people from being in the US illegally?   One law professor says it’s easy to do this.   He suggests (a) eliminating birth-right citizenship and (b) denying public school education to illegal aliens.  He says this would immediately and substantially reduce the number of illegal aliens coming to the United States.    The professor adds, “… based on past events, illegal aliens know that if they wait long enough, they will finally get some form of amnesty.  See what Reagan, Bush, and Obama have done.  We must have immigration reform rules that start by eliminating incentives and not rewarding illegal behavior”. 

 Mr. Obama has done as much as he can for the illegal aliens in the US.  A full reform of US immigration law will have to wait until Congress takes action.  In view of the lack of cooperation between Republican and Democratic lawmakers during the past few years, we are doubtful that 2015 will see any major changes.


 Q.1. Two and a half years ago President Obama declared a new policy to allow some aliens eligible to visa process overseas, and obtain a waiver of the ten-year bar to re-entry.  They can do this before leaving the United States for their visa appointments. Those waivers were intended to be granted generously.  Is this program successful at present?

 A.1.  DHS has been very stingy in granting such waivers, denying most applications because they say that there is not enough proof of extreme hardship.   There has been no oversight of this program by the White House.   Expansion of this program to include legal permanent residents will be meaningless if the White House does not monitor the Waiver cases.  


 Q.2. How can DACA and DAPA applicants show that they meet the requirement of being in US since 01 January 2010?

 A.2.  They need to build a document trail, showing residence during the past five years.

Almost anything will be considered as proof:  Electricity bills, Speeding tickets, Medical  records, Money order receipts, Vehicle registrations, baptism records, mortgages, postmarked letters, social media postings, movie rental receipts, veterinarian bills and customer loyalty programs that detail purchase histories.  Children's birth certificates will be required for parents of U.S. citizens.   School transcripts, bank statements, and vaccination records will also be helpful.

 The government plans to begin accepting new DACA applications by mid-February and in mid-May for DAPA cases.


Q.3.  For the Vietnamese community, what would be the most helpful change in immigration regulations? 

 A.3.  The waiting time for immigrant visa interviews could be greatly reduced if the State Department just required one visa per family in F3 and F4 cases, instead of one visa for each family member.   That would free up many visas that could be used in other categories.


Immigration Support Services - Tham Van Di Tru      

9070 Bolsa Ave.,  Westminster CA  92683                 (714) 890-9933

779 Story Road, Ste. 70, San Jose, CA 95122           (408) 294-3888

6930 65th St. Ste. #105, Sacramento CA 95823         (916) 393-3388

Rang Mi - 47 Phung Khac Khoan, Q1, HCMC            (848) 3914-7638

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