2016 Diversity Visa Program Registration Now Open! (10/08/2014)
Registration is now open and will close at noon EST on November 3, 2014. Applicants must submit entries electronically during the registration period. We encourage applicants not to wait until the last minute to enter, as heavy demand could result in website delays.
Supreme Court Ruling on Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Should Give Equal Immigration Rights to Lawfully Married Same Sex Couples (posted 6/25/2013).
DOMA forced many bi-national same sex couples to choose between staying together but leaving the US, or splitting apart. Now, those couples should be able to benefit from our immigration system, keeping American families together. President Obama issued an immediate directive to the Attorney General to “work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.”
The Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano also issued a statement to press confirming that DHS is “working with our federal partners, including the Department of Justice, [to] implement today's decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws."
Winners of the 16th Annual American Immigration Council Creative Writing Contest (posted 6/11/2013) The American Immigration Council announced that the first place winner of its Community Education Center's 16th Annual 'Celebrate America' Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest is Erin Stark of Enetai Elementary School in Bellevue, Washington. Her poem entitled What Would You Miss About Immigrants? was chosen from among thousands of entries nationwide. The piece asks what one would do if immigrants stopped coming to the United States.
Would you miss their art,
Painting, literature, and music.
Plays, sculpture, and design?.....
Immigrants are coming every day.
They bring recipes, celebrations, talents, and skills.
Variety is what they bring with them in every way.
USA would be bland without immigrants,
Now our nation is colorful and the joy is infinite.
To read the rest of the winning entry click here.
USCBP rolls out new arrival/departure record process for nonimmigrants. (Posted 05/20/2013) Foreign visitors (including those on temporary work visas and student visas) arriving in the United States via air or sea no longer will receive paper Form I-94 arrival/departure records. Instead, they will have to access their arrival/departure records information online here. US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) announced in April that it will roll out this new electronic process at the end of April and it went into effect in Honolulu in mid-May. With the new CBP process, a CBP officer will stamp the travel document of each arriving nonimmigrant traveler. The admission stamp will show the date of admission, class of admission, and the date to which the traveler is admitted. Travelers also will receive on arrival a flier alerting them to go to the website for their admission record information. Hirota & Associates strongly recommends printing out your Form I-94 record as soon as you arrive home from the airport, before you forget. For more information, please see the USCBP Fact Sheet.
New Americans in Hawaii (posted 05/09/2013) The American Immigration Council's Immigration Policy Center released updated information about New Americans in Hawaii, highlighting the demographic and economic impact of New Americans in each state. According to the new information, nearly 1 in 5 residents of Hawaii are immigrants, and more than half of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote.
Why does America deserve a common-sense immigration process? Maile M. Hirota explains. (Posted 4/24/2013)
The bi-partisan Senate leadership’s proposal is a substantial step in the right direction toward fixing our broken immigration system. (Posted 04/18/2013) Our country desperately needs a common-sense immigration process. We are encouraged by the following proposed changes to the family-immigration system:
1. Current law allows U.S. citizens to petition to sponsor your brothers, sisters, and adult married children. This may change if the Senate’s immigration proposal is signed into law. The Senate bill in its current form eliminates the sibling visa category, so that U.S. citizens would no longer be able to sponsor their brothers and sisters for green cards. U.S. citizens also no longer would be able to sponsor their adult married children who are 31 years of age or older. This still is a proposal and is not yet law, so if you are a U.S. citizen and would like to sponsor your brother, sister, or adult married child for green cards, you should consider whether to do so now.
2. Call Senator Mazie Hirono at 808-522-8970 or 202-224-6361. Senator Hirono is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee which will be reviewing the immigration bill, and thus will play an important role in the legislative process. Urge her to continue to be a champion for immigrant families and to preserve the ability of brothers, sisters, and adult married children of all ages to immigrate to the U.S.
3. Be careful of advertised services for immigration relief. There currently is no new immigration law and no application process for getting legal status in the U.S.
The Senate bill has arrived! (4/17/2013)
The Senate’s “Gang of Eight” has introduced the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act” in the 113th Congress. The bill is 844 pages long and no doubt will invite weeks of debate on many of its provisions. The bill is the culmination of months of work by a biSenators and their staff.
President Obama grants rare immigration-related pardon (posted 3/03/2013)
President Obama granted seventeen pardons on March 1, one of them to Honolulu resident An Na Peng, represented by Maile M. Hirota. Ms. Peng legally immigrated from China and sought the pardon to avoid the possibility of being deported. The presidential pardon granted to An Na Peng is the first immigration-related pardon in more than a decade.
US DHS announces new policy to help "DREAMERS" (posted 6/15/2012)
The Obama administration announced today that it will offer indefinite reprieves from deportation for young immigrants who were brought to the country as minors and meet other specific requirements. The move, a bold response to the broken immigration system, temporarily eliminates the possibility of deportation for youths who would qualify for relief under the failed DREAM Act, giving Congress the space needed to craft a bipartisan solution that gives permanent residence to qualifying young people. In a statement from the White House, President Obama said the policy was “the right thing to do,” calling DREAMers “Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every way but one: on paper." ICE FAQ here
This is real. But not all young people will qualify. We are still waiting for details. Until more information is available, we note that qualified applicants will have to prove physical presence in the US as of 6/15/2012. If you have a valid ID, get something notarized today. Take a photo of yourself with today's newspaper. Get a receipt with your name on it. There are lots of ways to prove your presence here.
New ABA Video Helps Immigrant Detainees Understand Their Rights (posted 04/30/2012). To help ensure America's commitment to justice for all, the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration has produced an updated version of "Know Your Rights," an educational video for the more than 400,000 men and women being held in immigration detention facilities across the USA every year. Click here to view a preview of the video. To view the entire video, go here.
Board of Immigration Appeals Guts Legal Protection for Immigrants Under Arrest (posted 08/16/2011)In a precedent decision, the Board held that noncitizens need not be informed of their right to counsel or warned that their statements can be used against them until after they have been placed in formal deportation proceedings. As a result of last week’s ruling, noncitizens under arrest will now be even more vulnerable to pressure from interrogating officers, and immigration judges will face greater difficulty determining whether statements made during questioning were truly voluntary. Read the ruling here
DHS Terminates Secure Communities Agreements with States, Continues to Implement Program (posted 08/12/2011)
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provoked outrage from immigration groups when it announced the termination of Secure Communities Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) with state and local governments. DHS initially entered into MOAs with state officials as a way to encourage voluntary participation in Secure Communities, an enforcement program which runs the fingerprints of individuals booked in local jails through federal databases. Last October, however, following attempts by local jurisdictions to terminate their MOAs, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that Secure Communities was not a voluntary program after all. DHS’s latest about-face this week has only further angered immigration activists, many of whom are calling on DHS to end the program. Read the article here.
Growing Up As A US citizen With Undocumented Parents (posted 07/14/2011)
Millions of families in the United States consist of both US citizens and undocumented immigrants. One 16 year old girl shares her story of growing up in the US with parents and an older sister who have no legal status here, illustrating some of the complexities of the debate over immigration. Read or listen to the story here
Hope for Undocumented Military Spouses (posted 07/13/2011)
For more than a decade, people who entered the United States without inspection have had little hope in fixing their immigration status from within the United States, even if they have immediate relatives who are US citizens. The same is true even if their spouse is active-duty military. During this time of war, a little-known provision of US immigration law has given hope to some families. Read the article
Winners of the 14th Annual American Immigration Council Creative Writing Contest (posted 6/03/2011)
Over 6,500 entries came in to local contests across the country and the quality of submissions was inspiring. The winning entries from each local contest were sent to the AIC National Office and were screened by a panel of immigration attorneys, authors, and classroom teachers. The scores from this panel were used to select the top five entries which were sent to celebrity judges.
This year's judges were Randi Weingarten, the President of the American Federation of Teachers; Henry Cejudo, Olympic Gold Medalist; Gerda Weissman Klein, Author and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom; and Senator Daniel Inouye.
Grand Prize Winner
Castelar Elementary of Los Angeles, California
Read the Winning Entry
Oyster Bilingual School-Washington, DC
La Jolla Elementary-San Diego, California
Hopkins Elementary- Boston, Massachussetts
Wayne Tanaka Elementary- Las Vegas, Nevada
All Winners by State
Call Hirota & Associates, LLLC at 866-468-5811 or contact us online.
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