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President puts immigration reform back on the table

On behalf of Robichaud, Anderson & Alcantara P.A. posted in US Immigration Law on Friday, January 31, 2014.

President Obama put the possibility of immigration reform squarely back on the table during the State of the Union address this week.

This was scarcely a surprise. After all, the president announced immigration reform as a key second-term priority during his speech to the nation on the night he was re-elected.

What is surprising, however, are signs that the president and the House of Representatives may finally be on the verge of finding common ground on immigration reform legislation. In this post, we will discuss that new development.

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Bieber case is a reminder of the risk of deportation

Many immigrants live quiet lives of dignity far from the public spotlight. They usually face many struggles, ranging from getting work visas to trying to adjust their status. For undocumented immigrants, all of this takes place with the fear of possible deportation always just below the surface.

Sometimes, however, the plight of a high-profile immigrant can showcase the problems of immigrants more generally.

And so, in this post, we will discuss the recent arrest of Justin Bieber, the young singer and entertainer who is at risk of deportation after a drunk-driving arrest.

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Update on E-Verify: processing delays revealed

It’s been a few months since we last discussed E-Verify, the federal program that is supposed to help monitor the employment eligibility of immigrants. As we noted most recently in our September 20 post, there are several key limitations to the effectiveness of the program.

These limitations include the fact that the program is not mandatory for employers. And for employers who do participate, filling out an electronic form does not really get at the authenticity of documents used by immigrants when applying for jobs.

In this post, we will discuss another limitation of E-Verify, namely a lack of speed in processing the information submitted by employers regarding work eligibility of new employees.

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Organ donation, then deportation reprieve in Minnesota case

Many of our posts discuss very specific immigration issues, such as the availability of work visas or the proposals to expand the Deferred Action program.

Sometimes, however, it is important to look closely at stories of people who are deeply affected by how large-scale immigration issues are resolved in particular cases.

In this post, then, let’s look at the touching story of a father and son from southwestern Minnesota whose lives are in turmoil due to a health crisis and federal deportation policies.

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Immigrants and the economy: why immigration reform is a smart idea

“It’s the economy, stupid,” is a phrase that has entered the American political lexicon. Coined by a strategist for Bill Clinton two decades ago, it still resonates strongly in a post-Recession economy in which both unemployment and fears of further job losses remain high.

In the context of immigration law, the phrase applies as well. Opponents of immigration reform like to claim that allowing too many employment visas for immigrants would take away American jobs.

Advocates of immigration reform from across the political spectrum argue the reverse about work authorization. They contend the U.S. risks falling behind economically without an influx of dynamic immigrants from aboard, many of them with high-tech and other advanced skills needed to drive the economy forward.

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Blended status families and the risk of deportation

The term “blended family” is well recognized in the field of family law. It refers, of course, to families that are formed after divorce when parents with children from earlier marriages combine those children into a new family.

There is, however, another important type of blended family. In the context of immigration, a blended family is one in which family members have different immigration statuses.

In this post, we will discuss some of challenges that these blended families face under current U.S. immigration law.

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Social studies students learn from naturalization ceremony

It’s been awhile since we last wrote about a naturalization ceremony. But they are still an important thread in this blog. After all, naturalization ceremonies are the celebratory culmination of a long journey for immigrants who have become U.S. citizens.

In our May 24 post, for example, we discussed a naturalization ceremony in St. Cloud at which immigrants from 24 different countries took their oaths of allegiance and gained U.S. citizenship.

In today’s post, we will take note of a similar naturalization ceremony. It occurred earlier this month in St. Paul and involved people from 18 different countries of origin.

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Deportation and executive action, part 2: beyond Deferred Action

In the first part of this post, we wrote about how the delay in passing immigration reform has resulted in a remarkably high number of deportations during Barack Obama’s presidency. As we noted in our November 26 post, the Obama administration has deported more than 2 million people since it took office in 2009.

We say “delay in passing” rather than “failure to pass” reform legislation because it is probably too early to pronounce the demise of the heart-felt hopes of so many millions of people for comprehensive changes to the country’s immigration system.

In this part of the post, let’s look at some of the executive actions that the Obama administration could take to protect more people from deportation.

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Survey shows strong support for creating citizenship path

The phrase “path to citizenship” is either two words or three, depending on whether one counts the conjunction.

Either way, it’s obviously a short phrase. And yet it has become fraught with contention as Congressional inaction continues on comprehensive immigration reform.

As we have repeatedly articulated in this blog, a broad range of stakeholders supports the goal of creating a framework for obtaining citizenship or at least legal status for the millions of undocumented people who live in the U.S. There are perhaps as many as 11 million people who are currently undocumented and therefore at risk of deportation.

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