Happy Holidays!

Dear Readers, Friends, Colleagues and Clients,

With an exciting end to the year and more immigration excitement stored for us in 2015, we would like to wish you all a very happy holiday season and new year. Thank you for your continued readership and great questions that inspire us to keep writing.  Here is a friendly reminder to call your House Representative and Senator to wish them a happy holidays and tell them you want immigration reform. Happy holidays to each and every one of you!

Warmly,

All of us at Watson Immigration Law

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January 2015 Visa Bulletin Commentary

The January 2015 Visa Bulletin was released today. Here is what my readers are looking for:

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2A category advances 25 days to priority date at 15 April 2013, F2B preference advanced 40 days with PD at 1 April 2008; F4 category advanced 30 days to PD at 22 March 2002; EB2 is current and, and EB3 moves forward 7 months and 1 day to PD at 1 June 2013.

For India only: F2A category advances 25 days to priority date at 15 April 2013, F2B preference advanced 40 days with PD at 1 April 2008; F4 category advanced 30 days to PD at 22 March 2002; No movement in EB2 where PD is stalled at 15 February 2005; EB3 advances 14 days taking PD to 15 December 2003.

January 2015 Visa Bulletin Is Out!

Just a few moments ago, the Dept. of State released the January 2015 visa bulletin. Our usual commentary to follow shortly.

#ExecutiveAction: A Very Thankful Thanksgiving

Image courtesy of the internet

Image courtesy of the internet

There is rejoicing around the country this week fresh on the heels of President Obama’s announcement of executive action on immigration.  The announcement comes after years of advocacy from all walks of life- from individuals to advocacy organizations.  Immigration executive action is the biggest thing to have happened in decades and the nation (mostly) is thankful for it.

The country’s immigration system is unquestionably broken. Congress failed to act and as a result, President Obama took decisive action.  Now the benefits will be seen not just by those whose immigration status will be affected, both undocumented and documented alike, but also by the rest of us.  This temporary fix will see wages rise for everyone, individual GDP will grow, businesses will have easier times recruiting from talent that we don’t have otherwise, entrepreneurs will come and raise investment and create jobs, families will be kept together by expanding waiver provisions, and so much more.

As we all take a day or so to take a break from the humdrum of life, there is much to be thankful for. Thank you to the President for taking a bold step in the right direction on immigration.  Thank you to everyone- every individual and organization who fought for this moment. And while we take a moment to be thankful, let us not forget that we still need to fight for comprehensive immigration reform and the journey ahead is still a long one.

Tahmina Speaks to Happy Schools about #ExecutiveAction for Entrepreneurs

Raghu and Tahmina in Seattle, WA.

Raghu and Tahmina in Seattle, WA.

Yesterday, I had the distinct privilege of speaking with Raghu Sukumar, founder of Happy Schools.  Raghu and I have been blogger friends for several years now.  Find the interview at this link  here and below is a copy of the video. Please visit http://www.happyschools.com for more information. Thank you Raghu for inviting me to discuss this very important issue.

Sorry about the choppy internet connection, but hopefully you get to hear most of it!

#ExecutiveAction: #DACA Expansion

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA was revised through President Obama’s executive action last week.  Previously, a DACA applicant must have arrived in the US by June 2007 and must have been no more than 31 years old. Those provisions have been revised. So, who can apply now?

All previous DACA requirements stand:

The adjusted requirements are these:

1. No age cap.

2. Must have been in the US by January 1st 2010.

The government will provide guidance and hopefully start accepting application in the Spring of 2015.  The fee is likely to be $455.

What to do until guidance is released?

I suggest readers and potential applicants start gathering documentation to prove you have been in the US since January 1st 2010.

What is the benefit:

1. Will receive deferred action and will not be deported.

2. Will receive a work permit that should be valid for 3 years.

3. Can apply for a social security number.

 

It should be noted that the President really did try his best to give deferred action to the parents of DACA children, but the law is simply not in favor of that.

If you, your parent or anyone you know will be able to will benefit from deferred action, please ensure you write to your Congress Representative and Senator, even write to the White House thanking them for what they have done for you and your family. If you are in Washington State, I strongly recommend you write to Senator Murray’s office.

**Copyright 2014 by Watson Immigration Law. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

 

Immigration #ExecutiveAction: Deferred Action for Parents

Through Executive Action, President Obama will confer deferred action to undocumented parents of US citizens and Green Card holders.

Who will qualify:

1. If you have a child that is a US citizen or a green card holder.

2. If you have been in the US since January 1st, 2010.

The government will provide guidance and hopefully start accepting application in the Spring of 2015.  The fee is likely to be $455.

What to do until guidance is released?

I suggest readers and potential applicants start gathering documentation to prove you have been in the US since January 1st 2010 and of course ensure you have your child’s birth certificate and translation of it, in case it is not in English.

What is the benefit:

1. Will receive deferred action and will not be deported.

2. Will receive a work permit that should be valid for 3 years.

3. Can apply for a social security number.

 

It should be noted that the President really did try his best to give deferred action to the parents of DACA children, but the law is simply not in favor of that.

If you, your parent or anyone you know will be able to will benefit from deferred action, please ensure you write to your Congress Representative and Senator, even write to the White House thanking them for what they have done for you and your family. If you are in Washington State, I strongly recommend you write to Senator Murray’s office.

**Copyright 2014 by Watson Immigration Law. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Immigration #ExecutiveAction: Will It Help My Family-based Preference Case?

Image courtesy of internet

Image courtesy of internet

Since the announcement of immigration executive action broke, the question that I have seen most is this “will immigration reform help my family based pending petition (F1, F2, F3 and F4)?”.  Thank you for asking all your questions.

Unfortunately, immigration executive action does not affect any family-based petitions at this time.   If unused visas were to have been recaptured, then the current backlog would have been eliminated or reduced which in turn would have helped family-based cases too.

President Obama can only do so much on his own. Congress still needs to take action. If you want to see change in your immigration circumstances, you need to continue to push for immigration reform.  I am sorry I cannot give you better news.

Wrap-up of an amazing week #ImmigrationAction

With Mayor of DC and Mr. Mayorga

Dear Readers, I am sorry I have not given you detailed information and guidance yet. I have seen your questions and comments, esp. on family-based matters. I will start writing details that you are looking for as soon as I can. But I first need to tell you about this amazing week and the build up to the historic moment of immigration reform through executive action. Stayed tuned for legal details soon! 

Wrap-up of an amazing week  #ImmigrationAction

It has been a whirlwind of a week for me (and of course for my friends, colleagues and the nation).  It has been emotional and exciting to say the least.  Here is a diary of my events:

Monday-  As news of executive action becomes more and more imminent but without a date of announcement, two of my articles are published in two prominent online publications- Seattle Globalist and ILW. One advocating to recapture unused visas from the 1990s and the other advocating for immigrant entrepreneurs.  Both receive much interest and I am contacted by many with support.

Tuesday: Learn that the President will make his announcement on immigration executive action at the end of the week, likely Friday. Thrown into anxiety about time of announcement as  I am supposed to be in Washington DC attending meetings all day (I thought I was going to complain about not having executive action when scheduling these meetings!). I didn’t want to miss the live speech and details.

Wednesday: Learn that the announcements in fact will be made on Thursday. I get into a tizzy as I would be flying into DC on a red-eye tonight and am anxious not to miss it live. I then learn I will already have landed in DC so the next anxiety is whether I can attend wherever the announcement will be held in person. After many inquiries, I learned that the announcement would be made from the White House so it is not an event I can attend.

Thursday: Arrive in DC. Stomach fluttering with excitement. Go to AILA national office and learn that AILA Executive Director Crystal Williams has already attended a briefing at the White House. Learn of new provision “Entrepreneur Parole in Place” – thrown in a tizzy again that immigrant entrepreneurs are definitely included and that I couldn’t wait to see what the details will hold.  Right at that moment, CNN Money publishes article quoting me. Return to hotel to attend a conference call with the White House to get the low-down on details. Anxiously read materials of what is included specifically for skilled immigration and entrepreneurs. Watched the speech with dear friend and went to dinner with her.  Return to the hotel to read more details and write on blog. Blog going haywire. Need to sleep. Don’t want to. Fall asleep while reading memos.

Friday: Busy day of pre-arranged meetings. Attend Congresswoman Delbene’s office, have lunch with Edward Alden from Council of Foreign Relations, meet Ryan Mace from Senator Murray’s office- had a great chat. Meet with Mark Colwell, Sen. Moran’s office to discuss next phase of the Startup visa. Then meet with Aneesh Chopra former White House CTO. Quoted in CNN Money re. Startup Visa alternative.

The finale of the exciting day and week was to receive the Immigration Minority Lawyer of the Year award from the Minority Chamber of Commerce. Thank you so much Minority Chamber of Commerce! Thank you for including me in the distinguished group of awardees that included the Mayor of DC and the Director of USCIS, I am speechless. I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive the award and share the award with every lawyer who has fought for immigration reform.  But I am even more grateful that by sheer fate, the day of the award ceremony coincided with the day President Obama signed the historic immigration executive order.

What more can a passionate immigration lawyer, advocate and policy junkie ask for?

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