DNA Testing Rules in Sibling Immigration Petition Cases

USCIS may suggest and accept DNA tests s evidence of a full-or half-sibling relationship

USCIS has updated its policy regarding direct sibling-to-sibling DNA testing. If USCIS determined primary evidence is unavailable or unreliable, USCIS may suggest and accept DNA test results from an American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) accredited lab as evidence of a full-or half-sibling relationship. In these cases, USCIS will consider DNA along with all evidence on record to determine if the requisite relationship exists.

A sibling relationship requires that the petitioner and beneficiary are, or once were, the children of at least one common parent. Primary evidence includes birth and marriage certificates. Secondary evidence includes medical records, school records, and religious documents. Affidavits sworn to by persons who were living at the time of and who have personal knowledge of the event to which they attest may also be accepted if certain conditions are met.

USCIS will consider results of DNA testing conducted by an AABB-accredited lab that reflect a 90 percent probability or higher that a full- or half-sibling relationship exists as probative evidence of the claimed relationship. Due to the variations within half-sibling relationship test results, any result for a half sibling below 90 percent will be deemed inconclusive. Where a result is inconclusive, an officer must continue to evaluate the remaining evidence in the totality of the circumstances. To the extent possible, DNA testing against the common parent(s) is encouraged.

兄弟姐妹移民申请案件DNA测试规则

美国移民局已更新其关于兄弟姐妹DNA测试的政策。 如果USCIS确定主要证据不可用或不可靠,USCIS可能会建议并接受AABB认可的实验室的DNA测试结果作为兄弟姐妹关系的证据。 在这些情况下,移民局将考虑DNA以及所有记录在案的证据,以确定申请人于受益人是否存在真实的兄弟姐妹关系。

兄弟姐妹关系的请愿者和受益人至少需要有一个共同父母。 主要证据包括出生和结婚证书。 次要证据包括医疗记录,学校记录和宗教文件。 亲戚朋友邻居也可以写信证明他们兄弟姐妹关系的了解程度。

美国移民局将考虑由AABB认证实验室进行的DNA测试结果,该结果必须反映90%或更高的兄弟姐妹关系概率,作为所声称关系的证明证据。由于半同胞关系测试结果的差异,任何半兄弟姐妹低于90%的结果都将被视为不确定证据。 如果结果不确定,美国移民局官员必须继续评估所有的剩余证据。在可能的范围内,移民局鼓励对共同父母进行DNA测试。

What Does the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act Seek To Do

There had been many talks around the Republican-backed proposal: Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act. In a nutshell, it will significantly reduce the number of people allowed to legally immigrate to the United States. Although unlikely to pass Congress, what changes does the RAISE Act seek to bring exactly?

First, the RAISE Act seeks to eliminate the Diversity Visa Program. The Diversity Visa Program gives immigrant visas to nationals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. For a list of countries/areas by region whose natives are eligible for DV-2018 and DV-2017, please refer to the DV Instructions.

Second, the RAISE Act seeks to cap the number of refugees who may be admitted in any fiscal year to 50,000 and requiring the President to “annually enumerate the number of aliens who were granted asylum in the previous fiscal year.” Limiting refugee numbers has always been President Trump’s priority, and it is no surprise the RAISE Act mentions it.

Third, in the family-sponsored immigration arena, the RAISE Act wants to change the definition of “Child” at INA §101(b)(1) from an unmarried person “under age 21” to an unmarried person “under age 18,” and change the definition of “Immediate Relative” at INA to include only children and spouses of U.S. citizens (removes parents of adult U.S. citizens). Similarly, it seeks to only allow children and spouses of LPR (green card) holders to immigrant to the U.S. This will effectively eliminate the following current available categories: (1) unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (FB-1); (2) unmarried sons and daughters of LPRs (FB-2B); and (3) married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (FB-3); and (4) brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (FB-4). Parents of U.S. citizens will remain unaffected because under the new legislation, a new category for parents of USC citizens above the age of 21 will be created. The legislation seeks to cap the worldwide level of family-sponsored immigrants  admissions to 88,000 per fiscal year. The effort will significantly reduce the number of family based immigration and make many ineligible to reunite with their families in the United States.

All the above are part of the administration’s efforts to limit the number of immigrants to the U.S. Further, it seeks to replace of Employment-Based Immigration Categories with Immigration Points System. On the numbers, it seeks to limit the number of points-based immigrants to 140,000 (including spouses and children) per fiscal year. This so-called Points-Based System comes with an online portal and a required fee of $160. President Donald Trump has already announced his support for a the points system.

The immigration point system seeks to prioritize immigrants based on their degrees and skills. If they have equal points and equal educational attainment, they will be further ranked according to their (1) English language proficiency test scores; and (2) age, with applicants nearest their 25th birthdays ranked higher. And every 6 months, USCIS is said to invite the highest ranked applicants to file a petition for a points-based immigrant visa. If you want to see if you qualify to immigrate to the U.S., test your scores from Times.com here: http://time.com/4887574/trump-raise-act-immigration/.

Last but not least, the RAISE Act will prohibit naturalization of an individual if the person who submitted an affidavit of support on his or her behalf failed to reimburse the federal government for all means-tested public benefits received by the individual during the 5-year period immediately after the individual became an LPR. It therefore seems that, at no fault of the individual seeking naturalization, she or he might be barred from it. It is unclear whether the individual seeking naturalization is allowed to reimburse the government.

The Act does not mention temporary work visas such as H-1B and H-2 or temporary visitor (B-1/B-2) or student visas (F-1). Its focus remains on the number of available immigrant visas.

Read the full RAISE Act here: https://www.cotton.senate.gov/files/documents/170802_New_RAISE_Act_Bill_Text.pdf If interested, you can read this excellent summary of each section from American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA): 17080732

 

 

 

 

Pew Research Center – Foreign Graduates Are Staying in the U.S. for Employment

International students choose to study in the U.S. for many different reasons, and many choose to stay and work after they graduate from U.S. colleges and universities. The Pew Research Center analyzed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data and found that more and more high-skilled foreign graudates find jobs in the United States under the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. The OPT program provides an important opportunity for foreign graduates to work in the U.S. for up to 12 months or 36 months, depending on their field.  Many students choose to take advantage of the OPT programs to utilize the skills they learned.

The Pew Research Center found that the federal government approved nearly 700,000 OPT applications between 2008 and 2014. Below are the interesting findings:

  • The annual number of OPT approvals rose from 28,497 in 2008 to 136,617 in 2014.
  • Many of those working in the U.S. under the OPT program go on to apply for H-1B visas to stay longer in the U.S.
  • Those with STEM majors had a higher employment rate (73%) than non-STEM majors (57%).
  • Foreign students from India and China accounted for more than half (57%) of all those who were approved for OPT.

To read the full report by Neil Ruiz: click here.

Parole for International Start-Up Entrepreneurs Delayed and May be Rescinded

International entrepreneurs who are ready to file for parole status will now be delayed until March 14, 2018. DHS further believes the IE final rule may be rescinded.

The International Entrepreneur Final Rule (IE final rule) was initially published at at 82 Federal Register 5238 on January 17, 2017 with an effective start date of July 17, 2018. Unfortunately for the ones who really want to take advantage of this new opportunity, the effective date is now delayed until March 14, 2018. The Department of Homeland Security cites President Trump’s January 25, 2017 Executive Order to improve border security and immigration enforcement as the reason of the delay. DHS is required to exercise parole authority with caution.

The IE final rule provides USCIS with a case-by-case discretionary parole authority. International Entrepreneurs who can demonstrate their parole to the U.S. would provide a significant benefit to the U.S. will be allowed an initial stay of 30 months (with the option for extension for 30 months).

How To: Temporary Residents in the United States applying for a Kansas Driver’s License

In July 2011, Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR) began utilizing the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service’s “Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement System” (SAVE), to determine the status of temporary residents in the United States when such applicants apply for a Driver’s License.

If you are a temporary resident to the United States, follow these instructions for obtaining a SAVE Verification when applying for a Kansas Driver’s License:

  1. Visit a Full Service Driver’s License Exam Station. A list of all locations can be found at http://www.ksrevenue.org/dmv-dlstations.html
  2. At the Exam Station, you must present all original government issued documents that pertain to your immigration status, including the following:Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 2.42.58 PM
  3. The Driver’s License Examiner will use your documents to verify your immigration status with SAVE. If your immigration status is verified, the process to obtain a Kansas Driver’s License will continue.
  4. If your immigration status is NOT verified, you will be required to fill out a SAVE Verification – Request Form (download here: save verification request form) and provide copies of all documents used for the initial verification to the Driver’s License Examiner via USPS mail to Division of Vehicles, SAVE Coordinator, PO Box 2188, Topeka, KS 66601-2188 or via e-mail: LAWFUL.PRESENCE@KDOR.KS.GOV
  5. The Driver’s License Examiner will send all of your documents to the home office where additional verification will be administered by the SAVE Coordinator.
  6. After additional verification is received, you will be notified via mail, email or phone as to your immigration status.

 

DHS Memos Bring Huge Changes to the U.S. Immigration System

Department of Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly, releases two memorandums this week implementing President’s Trump’s executive orders on border security (memo-1) and interior enforcement (memo-2). Besides the border wall President Trump promised to build, we will likely to see massive enforcement effort in the upcoming months and scaled up detention and expedited removal.

Below are some of points I summarized:

  1. DHS seeks to deport anyone who “poses a risk to public safety or national security.” However, DHS did not define these two terms clearly. Theoretically speaking, DHS could label someone being “a risk to public safety” even if (s)he is not charged or convicted for a crime.
  2. DHS will focus on undocumented immigrants who have been (1) convicted or even charged with a criminal offense, including minor traffic infractions, (2) abused any program related to receipt of public benefits, i.e. received any government assistance, or (3) “have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter before a governmental agency”, including using fake Social Security numbers to work or lie on I-9 forms.
  3. DHS memos expanded the period of expedited removal from 2 weeks to 2 years after people enter the country, and eliminated the requirement that the immigrants be caught within 100 miles of the border. People in expedited removal will not go through the removal proceedings, which involve a hearing before an immigration judge. It is extremely important to keep records of two (2) year presence so you are not put in expedited removal.
  4. The use of parole authority to allow immigrants, who are not in possession of visas or not eligible for visas, to come to the U.S. will be extremely restricted.
  5. DHS seeks to return aliens, including unaccompanied children, who entered from a foreign land contiguous to the U.S. to where they arrived, meaning if they entered from Mexico, DHS will return them to Mexico, regardless of their nationality.
  6. DHS will hire an additional 10,000 ICE agents and officers to carry out enforcement priorities. We will likely to see more deportation and detention nationwide.
  7. DHS wants expand to continue and increase state and local law enforcement involvement in border areas, so they can aid in immigration enforcement.

The Law Office of Maya King will keep you informed about the newest changes in the complicated U.S. immigration system. If you or your family needs any advice or help, please call us at (913) 717-7112 for a free consultation.