Dear Friends & Neighbors,
A settlement agreement has been reached regarding the case of Northwest Immigrants Rights Project (NWIRP) vs U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) regarding allege allegation of USCIS wrongfully denying cases of qualified applicants during the 1986 Legalization Program. Under the settlement agreement, these individuals will have a period of one year starting on February 1, 2009, to reopen their cases or apply for benefits if they meet the following eligibility:
Basic eligibility for legalization.
- You entered the united States on a non-immigrant visa (for example a visitor’s visa, or student visa, or temporary worker visa) prior to January 1, 1982: and
- You lived continuously and illegally in the United States from prior to January 1, 1982 until some time between May 5, 1987 and May 4, 1988, when you visited the INS or a Qualified Designated Entity (QED) to apply for legalization under the 1986 “amnesty “ Law: and
- You have not been convicted of certain criminal offences: (1) one felony or three misdemeanors in the United States, (2) any crime involving moral turpitude, such as theft or fraud, except a single petty offense or a juvenile conviction, or (3) any drug offense, except simple possession of marijuana under 30 grams.
- You violated your nonimmigrant status prior to January 1, 1982 and that violation of status is evident based on a review of federal government files (for example, you worked without authorization before January 1, 1982 and you have a Social Security record, tax record, or other federal government record to show income related to your pre-1982, unauthorized work in your name: or you were here with a non-immigrant visa and before 1982, you failed to file annual or quarterly address reports with INS, as then required by law): or
- You entered the United States prior to January 1, 1982 as a student (On “F” or “J” visa) or as a temporary worker(on “H” or “L” visa) , and you failed to maintain your status through January 1, 1982 (for example, before January 1, 1982, you dropped out of school, took less than a full course of study, transferred schools without advance INS authorization, or terminated your authorized H or L employment): or
- After January 1, 1982, you obtained reinstatement to nonimmigrant status, or entry into the United States on a nonimmigrant visa, or a change of nonimmigrant status, or adjustment of status, or some other immigration benefit that apparently put you in lawful immigration status, though you did not qualify for such benefit (for example, because when you applied for the benefits, you did not inform INS or the consulate that you had previously worked without authorization).
Attempt to file timely application.
- You must have either, filed an application for legalization or attempted to apply at an INS or QDE office between May 5, 1987 and May 4, 1988, and been denied an application n form, told that you were ineligible for legalization, or told that your application for legalization would not be accepted.
The fact that it took 21 years for the form Immigration Service (INS), now USCIS, to admit that they may have had a problem during the legalization program come as no surprise to the individuals who deal with immigration issues on a daily basis.
This is just another example of why we are in desperate need of immigration reform.
It is my hope that President Obama’s administration will keep their promise not only to the Latino community but to all Immigrant community (that includes of 126 nationalities in Harris County) that immigration reform will be address within the first 100 days of the new administration.
As always, I welcome your comments.
Joe A. Montemayor