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Immigration Reform Bill Passed By Senate On May 25, 2006

The Senate approved an immigration reform bill on May 25, 2006 that challenges the restrictive and criminally mandated bill of the House of Representatives passed in December, 2005. The Senate bill provides legal status to undocumented aliens who have been in the United States for at least five years prior to April 5, 2006. Six years of authorization to work will be granted, then and thereafter permanent residence.

A fine of $ 2,000 will be imposed, learning English is required as well as a knowledge of our laws and history. Proof of payment of taxes needs to be shown. Aliens here for between 2 to 5 years will be granted deferred mandatory departure. Work authorization will be granted to this class but these aliens will have to leave the United States within 3 years and then apply from outside the United States. This will discourage many of this group because once outside the United States, Consulates have been notoriously unreliable in granting admissions abroad to applicants for residence. A waiver, however, by proof of substantial hardship to a U.S. spouse or U.S. children is permitted.

A temporary worker program and a significant rise in the number of visas that will be offered for families, immigrant workers, highly skilled immigrants and undocumented high school graduates are also included in this Senate bill. High School students may qualify for residence by receiving a 6 year authorized stay if they graduated from high school and entered the United States before age 16 and were in the United States for 5 years prior to April 5, 2006.

The Senate also voted to reform the non-immigrant H-1B visa and EB permanent visa programs based on high skills. This reform is deemed of critical importance to retain the United States’ competitive position in the world.

The principal benefits from the Senate bill include:

A. The number of H1-B visas would be increased from 65,000 annually to 115,000 an increase of 50,000 H-1B visas

B. EB permanent residence visas for highly skilled immigrants will substantially be increased, a recognition by the Senate of how important highly skilled immigrants are to the health of our economy.

C. The Cap on the number of H-1B and EB permanent resident visas will be removed for immigrants with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This means that there would be no limit on the number of immigrant admissions for persons with these advanced degrees in these specialty areas.

Legalization, CSS/Newman Project

Legalization under section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act was available to those aliens who had entered the United States prior to January 1, 1982 and had remained in the United States continuously from that date to the present, and whose authorized stay had expired prior to January 1, 1982, or whose unlawful status was known to the government as of January 1, 1982 and who applied for the benefits of the Act prior to December 31, 2005.

The USCIS has rejected many of these applications because of what the USCIS considered improper filings. Notwithstanding timely filings, the Immigration Service has often not stamped applications on the date the USCIS received them but only registered them when the USCIS got around to process them. The USCIS has also rejected applications because an applicant failed to sign every page of the forms or inadvertently omitted a page of the application or simply because the USCIS deemed that the application was not correctly filled out. The USCIS has rejected these applications without providing a proper explanation and without affording applicants to correct the submissions and without affording applicants a right to appeal or move to reopen the ir cases. In spite of the Immigration’s own Manual that decrees that applications should be accepted if the fee is attached and the applicant insists on filing, the USCIS has ignored its own Manual.

We have commenced an action in Federal Court to compel the USCIS to adjudicate these applications because the USCIS is acting arbitrarily and capriciously. If any of our readers qualify under this Legalization Program and has been rejected by the USCIS for such an arbitrary or frivolous reason, you are welcome to call us to see if you wish to join the Class Action for proper redress of this wrong of a denial of an application for Legalization.

If you need help or advise, call us at (212)944-9420

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