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The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society on Immigration Reform and Jewish Social Justice: Part 1

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society on Immigration Reform and Jewish Social Justice: Part 1

The Gang of Eight’s immigration reform legislation has come under further scrutiny. 300 amendments to the 844 page bill have been proposed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The most ambitious goals of some of the amendments were to dismember the provisions in the bill for creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

(More on  News at LAWS.com, contact Adam for interviews “adama@laws.com”)

However, the Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the legislation that provided a path to citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants and its refugee and asylum provisions have remained virtually intact. With of 13-5 in favor, the bill has been cleared for a Senate debate.

The Gang of Eight senators set out to reform the immigration system in profound ways through this legislation. The bill aims to increase border security, expand legal immigration for a decade, and, controversially, grant legal status to the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. It is especially this last provision which has gained the support of many social justice organizations.

One of these organizations is the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), which, being an authority on refugee and asylum seeker issues, also supports new provisions that would remove the barriers to protection for these groups.

HIAS has a long, proud and extensive history in the realm of refugee and asylee assistance. HIAS was founded in 1881 to assist in the resettlement of Russian Jewry in the United States who were escaping poverty and pogroms in their homeland. Later on it would help more refugees in both World War I and World War II, with nearly two dozen of its employees being killed in concentration camps or on the battlefield trying to assist Jewish refugees escape the horrors that awaited them. HIAS ultimately managed to help 40,000 European Jews escape that continent during the Holocaust. It continued its work through the decades, and helped Soviet Jewry find a safe haven in the United States and other countries during the Cold War period.

To date, HIAS has managed to resettle more than 4.5 million refugees, both Jewish and non-Jewish. As the numbers of persecuted Jews has diminished, HIAS has directed its efforts to help other vulnerable groups throughout the world. On the national level, HIAS engages in advocacy in Washington D.C., and, on the international level, assists refugees in many ways with offices in nine countries.

Laws.com has conducted a two part interview with HIAS. The first part is an interview with Melanie Nezer, Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy at HIAS, on her views on the current immigration reform bill being debated in the Senate. The second interview is with HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield. He talks to laws.com about HIAS’s history and plans for the future.

Part I: Melanie Nezer Talks Politics

How do you feel about the immigration-reform bill being debated in the Senate?

We were very pleased to see the Gang of Eight Senate bill when it was released a few weeks ago. Certainly it is not a perfect bill, but the fact that these eight senators were able to come together and reach this compromise that would do so much to fix our broken immigration system is something that is very encouraging and we are just thrilled about.

What are some of the key changes you would like to see happen to U.S. immigration policy?

HIAS certainly supports some of the major provisions in the bill, including the path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and provisions dealing with future flows of migrants and family reunification. These are things that are certainly very important to HIAS.

During the drafting process of the bill we were really focused on the refugee and asylum provision in the bill, just because we do have a particular area of expertise on these issues and we wanted to make sure that some fixes that were long overdue to the law were included in this legislation. So that while Congress was addressing the broad immigration issues, it was also honing in on long standing policies negatively affecting asylum seekers and refugees.

We focused on some of the provisions that directly addressed refugees and asylum seekers and we are happy to see some of these key provisions in the bill, including the repeal of the one year filing deadline for asylum applications. The bill would also give authority to the President to designate groups of humanitarian concern or groups that should be resettled as refugees in the national interest, which would also include an extension of the Lautenberg Amendment for Iranian religious minorities, which is very important to HIAS.

There are other provisions in there that would make the asylum process more fair and efficient. There are provisions in there that would promote integration as it relates asylum seekers and refugees. All these provisions are very important. However, we are concerned that Senator Grassley has filed some amendments that would repeal some of those sections or strike them from the bill, so we are watching that very closely.

In countries that possess a more lenient asylum policy, there has been widespread abuse of the system. Is it not possible, that having a more lenient asylum policy in the United States, could open the door for more abuse of the system?

There is nothing in this bill that would make our asylum system more lenient. The provisions that made it into this bill are primarily about efficiency. You do not have to sacrifice security to remove barriers to protection, so you can achieve the goal of refugee protection better and increase efficiency by changing the procedures.

There is nothing in this bill that would make it easier for people to pass security screening, get refugee status or become asylees; these procedures remain fundamentally the same.

The barriers to protection would be removed, for example, like the filing deadline. It was put into law in 1996 with the primary goal of addressing fraud. And numerous studies have shown that it does nothing to address fraud. What it does is that it actually requires a significant investment of resources to adjudicate the time that the person entered the country, which is really irrelevant to whether the person should get asylum or not. So courts and asylum officers are spending the bulk of their time dealing with an issue that is irrelevant or tangential to the claim. And people who are ultimately able to prove their claim, actually just get lesser protection. Many studies have shown that this is just a bad policy that needs to be repealed. Does this make the system more lenient? I don’t think so. It just makes it more efficient and fair.

Same thing goes for humanitarian groups. Right now, if the US wants to resettle a particular group of people for either  humanitarian reasons or if there is a national interest in doing so, only Congress can do it. And it is very difficult for Congress to go through the procedure and designate these groups. This would just give the president, not some low ranking official, in couslutian with the Secretary of Homeland and the Secretary of State to jointly decide to resettle a particular group. And then individuals of the group would need to prove they are members of the group and that they are admissible.

So this is not an overhaul of the asylum system by any means, it is really addressing on the edges provisions that have been in our law for too long which do not serve any real purpose and just make things harder for people who legitimately need protection.

Interviewed with Melanie Nezer of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Washington, DC 

See Part 2 of the Interview

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is agency installed by the government as a vehicle for protecting public safety and national security through the means of investigation services and the upholding of federal laws regarding customs, immigration, border control, and trades.
Under the the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency there are specific sectors or offices devoted to monitoring and caring policies in conjunction with specified nature. These offices are: Office of Public Affairs, State and Local Coordination, Principal Legal Adviser, Detention Policy and Planning, Congressional Relations, Professional Responsibility, and the Reporting Operations Center
Each sector is important when it comes to making sure U.S. immigration policy is being implemented and protected; the Detention Policy and Planning office is instrumental in refining and creating policies that work fairly to punish employers who do not adhere to immigration policy, and to those employees who are working without the proper credentials or are in the country illegally. 
Another important sector is the Reporting Operations Center; this is the area which houses the National Incident Response Unit; these are the individuals who help create policies and prepare to handle immediate danger that threatens U.S. immigration policy, or the borders of the land. Overall, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has been a continuous progression of policies and implementation in order to procure safety and rights for the individuals of the United States.

Important Statistics on Illegal Immigration

Important Statistics on Illegal Immigration

Out of the countries in the world, it may be argued that the United States currently has the most illegal immigration. The illegal immigration  statistics provided by the United States Center for Immigration Studies shows that there are approximately 12 million immigrants in the country.
However, illegal immigration statistics will sometimes provide for a range of 7 to 20 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States. Illegal immigration facts will show that the majority of the illegal immigrants in the country are typically from Latin American countries, particularly Mexico.
Illegal immigration statistics report that over 50% of the illegal immigrants in the United States are from Mexico, with over 20% of all illegal immigrants hailing from other Latin American countries. Other nations reported substantially lower numbers, with Asian countries representing for the third largest figure, being only 13% of illegal immigrant population. 
Illegal immigration facts in regard to the United States will show that the majority of the population of illegal immigrants is concentrated in the state of California. Illegal immigration statistics state that nearly three million illegal immigrants reside in California. Second to California is the state of Texas, with about 1.5 million illegal immigrants total.
Such illegal immigration facts will allude to the conclusion that bordering states with Mexico are most susceptible to having larger illegal immigration populations. However, other states such as Illinois and New York also house a large population of illegal immigrants, which proves to show that illegal immigrants will move to other states further beyond the border. 

U.S. and Mexico Begin Humane Repatriation

U.S. and Mexico Begin Humane Repatriation


On October 2, 2012, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Mexican Ministry of the Interior announced the start of a project called the Interior Repatriation Initiative, or IRI.  The new initiative plans to “provide humane, safe and orderly repatriation” of Mexican citizens who returned to the country.  The new initiative plans to return the Mexican citizens to their hometowns—even in the interior of the country—instead of simply returning them to towns on the U.S. and Mexican border.  
ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations now plans to transport Mexican citizens via charter aircraft who traveled from the interior of Mexico.  The chartered flights will fly to Mexico City, and then the Government of Mexico will provide ground transportation to their hometowns.  
Many of the removed Mexican citizens are not from the northern border towns where they were historically repatriated.  When the U.S. government would repatriate the Mexican citizens to the border towns, they had a higher chance of entering the United States again, joining criminal organizations, or even losing their life.  
ICE Director John Morton states, “IRI reflects our commitment and ongoing bilateral effort with the government of Mexico to ensure strong, humane and effective enforcement of both nations’ immigration laws.  This initiative will better ensure that individuals repatriated to Mexico are removed in circumstances that are safe and controlled.”  
The Undersecretary of Mexico’s population, migration and religious affairs, Gustavo Mohar Betancourt, stated, “This initiative aims to collaborate and fully support border state authorities by reducing the number of Mexican nationals who are repatriated to the border region.  The newly repatriated, often with no means to return home, are susceptible to becoming a part of criminal organizations as a means of survival.” 
The first flight for repatriation occurred on October 2 from the El Paso International Airport, and the flight contained 131 Mexican nationals.  
Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Woman Charged for Smuggling Illegal Aliens

Woman Charged for Smuggling Illegal Aliens

On October 5, 2012, the San Diego FBI Office announced that Maria Guerrero of Chula Vista, California, was arrested by agents of the Border Corruption Task Force.  She was charged with alien smuggling, and the specific charge is “bringing in illegal aliens for financial gain” under U.S.C. §1324(a)(2)(B)(ii).  

The arrest of Guerrero was an extension of an investigation by the Border Corruption Task Force that focused on Gerardo Rodriguez, Vanessa Moya, and Hector Rodriguez, a Customs Border Protection Officer.  
The three previous defendants were arrested on July 13, 2012 along with 14 illegal aliens.  The three defendants were smuggling illegal aliens into the United States from Mexico.  According to the FBI, Hector Rodriguez informed the other defendants about his work schedule at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, including the lane number where he was performing inspections.  
The other two defendants would then drive the vehicles through Hector’s vehicle inspection lane.  The FBI reports that the three defendants received thousands of dollars for smuggling fees.  Hector Rodriguez also received rent payments, the use of expensive cars, and more.  
Guerrero was charged for her role in the July 13 crossing.  About one minute after Moya crossed the border, Guerrero then drove a 2005 Toyota Corolla through the San Ysidro Port of Entry.  Agents believe Guerrero’s timing indicates that she was going to meet with the Moya to initiate the release of the illegal aliens.  It is believe she was going to receive thousands in smuggling fees.  
Guerrero is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  She made her first court appearance on Friday, October 5 before a United States Magistrate Judge.  
The Border Corruption Task Force is made up of the FBI, the Customs and Border Protection-Internal Affairs, Customers and Border Protection-Field Operations, Border Patrol, the TSA, and the DEA.  
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

How to Use Form I-751

How to Use Form I-751

How to Use Form I-751

Form I-751 is a government form from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for the Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence. The purpose of Form I-751 is to give a conditional resident who got their status through the marriage of either a permanent resident or a United States citizen the opportunity apply to remove the conditions placed on his or her residence. After the petition is approved, the individual is given a 10-year permanent resident card.
Specifically, a Form I-751 is usually used by an individual who got a Green Card through marriage of a citizen or permanent resident and came to the United States on a K1 visa who most likely got a Conditional Permanent Resident card which was valid for two years. Once this conditional two-year period is up, the permanent residence status expires automatically and the applicant may be deported or removed from the country.
In order to avoid these actions, an applicant should file Form I-751 90 days or less before the expiration of the conditional residence. Once the condition is approved, the conditional status is then removed and the applicant will receive a Permanent Resident card that is then valid for ten years. Form I-751 should not be filed before the 90-day window because the application will be returned.
If still married, the applicant can file Form I-751 jointly with the spouse who is a United States citizen or permanent resident through whom the applicant obtained the conditional permanent status. If the applicant has any dependent children on the K-2 visa who also obtained their status for conditional permanent when they entered the United States within a 90-day period of the applicant’s arrival, their names and A-numbers can be included in Part 5 of the petition form.
If the children conditional statuses were obtained after the 90 day period from the applicant obtained or adjusted their status or in the case that the conditional permanent parent passes away, the children must file Form I-751 separately from the parent in order to remove the conditional status.
If the applicant, the conditional permanent resident does not file jointly, he or she can file for a waiver, assuming:
The applicant can show that proof of entering the marriage with good intentions and honesty, but the spouse subsequently passed away.
The applicant entered the marriage in good faith, but the marriage resulted in an annulment or divorce.
The applicant entered the marriage in good faith and is still married, but the applicant has subjected to cruelty or has been battered by the United States citizen or permanent resident spouse or the termination of the status and removal from the country would result in some sort of extreme hardship.
In circumstances where an applicant requests a waiver, proof is very important.
A complete application should include the following:
A signed and completed Form I-751.
A front and back copy of the applicant’s Conditional Green Card
Two passport-style photographs for the applicant as well as any children on the application.
Form FD-258 for two completed fingerprint cards for the applicant and any children on the application.
Evidence of a bonafide marriage entered in good faith and honesty, such as birth certificates of children born In the marriage, joint assets, sworn statements of at last two people, mortgage or lease contracts showing joint occupancy.
Filing Fee.

Canadian Embassy

Canadian Embassy


Understanding Immigration Services from a Canadian Embassy



A Canadian embassy is the best source of information for traveling or immigrating to Canada. More specifically, a Canadian embassy can help provide information on immigration services regarding citizenship registration.



Applying For Resident Visas at a Canadian Embassy



In order to apply for a temporary resident visa for Canada, the first step is to acquire the temporary resident visa application package. This can be found online on the Canadian embassy website. One of these must be filled out for each individual applicant. The application requires the following documents:



Valid travel document such as a passport



Two copies of a recent passport photo for each individual



Application fee



Proof of enough financial resources for a visit to Canada



Other documents as necessary (e.g. proof of employment, identification cards, proposed itinerary, etc.)


After paying the fee and receiving a receipt, the documents must be submitted through the Canadian embassy located in the region of current residence. The application will take a varied amount of time to process, depending on the Canadian embassy of application.



After submitting the application package, it may be necessary to visit a Canadian embassy to have an interview with a visa officer. Furthermore, a medical examination may also be necessary. 



Applying for a Work Permit through a Canadian Embassy



In order to apply for a work permit for Canada, the first step is filling out the Applicant for a Work Permit Made Outside of Canada. This form can be on the Canadian embassy website. Depending on the country of residence, the individual may also need to apply for a temporary resident visa.



Immigrating to Canada through a Canadian Embassy



There are many different ways to become a permanent resident of Canada. These methods all have their own specific set of rules for applying, which can be found online. The types of Canadian Immigration applications include:



Sponsoring a family: A Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor a family member.



Quebec-selected skilled workers: Individuals are selected by the Quebec government to relocate and work in Quebec.



Provincial nominees: A province or territory of Canada can nominate an individual to move and work at that respective location.



Skilled workers and professionals: For individuals who wish to move to and work in Canada.



Canadian Experience Class: For individuals who have graduated and worked in Canada or those who have Canadian Work Experience



Entrepreneurs, Investors or self-employed people: For individuals who wish to start a business in Canada.



Where to Find a Canadian Embassy



Canadian embassies can be found in over 70 countries in the world. These locations have Visa offices for those Visiting Canada for various reasons, such as school, work, vacation, refugees, or immigration. In the United States, a Canadian Embassy can be found in the following cities:









Los Angeles



New York






Washington, D.C.



Some other international locations to find Canadian embassies include the following



Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates



Accra, Ghana



Amman, Jordan



Ankara, Turkey



Bangkok, Thailand



Beijing, China



Buenos Aires, Argentina



Cairo, Egypt



Colombo, Sri Lanka



Damascus, Syria



Islamabad, Pakistan



Kingston, Jamaica



Lima, Peru



London, United Kingdom



Moscow, Russia



New Delhi, India



Paris, France



Pretoria, South America



Quito, Ecuador



Riyadh, Saudi Arabia



Rome, Italy



Seoul, Korea



Sydney, Australia



Tel Aviv, Israel



Tokyo, Japan



Vienna, Austria



Warsaw, Poland


Foreign Service

Foreign Service


Facts about the United States Foreign Service



The United States Foreign Service is a division of the United States Department of State which is under the Federal Government that was created in 1924. 



The Foreign Service acts as representatives of the United States all around the world. The members of the Foreign Service interact with local governments as staff to United States consulates and embassies, emissaries to the United States, and provide valuable resources for Americans who are travelling abroad. They help these citizens handle problems abroad such as:



Providing useful information to the individual regarding the host country



Issuing replacement documents, such as lost passports



Helping negotiations between local governments and individuals representing United States companies who want to produce, manufacture, or do other business abroad



Issuing permanent residency visas and temporary visas through American consular offices



Members of the Foreign Service



Under the Foreign Service act, which was passed by Congress, the Foreign Service includes the following members:



Chiefs of mission: This is the head of the diplomatic representation of the Foreign Service. The chiefs are appointed by the President, who requires the advice and approval of the Senate to do so.



Ambassadors at large: This is the highest diplomat appointed by President, who requires the advice and approval of the Senate to do so. The Ambassadors at large deal with certain foreign policy issues.



Senior Foreign Service members: These members are the experts and senior leaders for managing Foreign Service along with its performance. These members are appointed by the President, who requires the advice and approval of the Senate to do so. These members often come from the Specialist ranks or FSO and have the equivalent position to general officers in the military.



Foreign Service Officers: These members are appointed by the President, who requires the advice and approval of the Senate to do so. These generalists are diplomats with the primary responsibility of carrying out the Foreign Service functions.



Foreign Service Specialists: These members provide a special set of skills and services that are required for the most effective performance by the Service, such as the Special Agents of the Diplomatic Security Service. The Secretary of State appoints these specialists into the Foreign Service.



Foreign Service Nationals: These members are also known as the Locally Engaged Staff. These members are personnel in the Foreign Service who provide administrative, fiscal, clerical, technical, and other needed support at Foreign Service posts abroad. These members can be third-country citizens (formally known as Third Country National, or native citizens of the host country. In some circumstances, these Foreign Service nationals can also be Americans who are living abroad as expatriates.


Immigration and Naturalization Service

Immigration and Naturalization Service

A Guide to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service 

The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, which is now known as the Legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service, was an agency that was created on June 10, 1933. The Immigration and Naturalization Service stopped operating under that name on March 1, 2003 and became the Legacy INS, which was composed of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The purpose of the Immigration and Naturalization Service was to protect and enforce laws regarding naturalization, controlling aliens from illegally entering into the country, preventing individuals from receiving benefits such as unemployment or social security by individuals if they were ineligible for such benefits, and investigating, detaining, and deporting illegal immigrants who were residing in the United States.

Functions of the Immigration and Naturalization Service

The two main functions of the Immigration and Naturalization Service that are of interest are its immigration services, as well as patrolling the borders of the United States

Immigration Process

The Immigration and Naturalization Service works to maintain approximately 250 ports of entry into the country over 8,000 miles of borders. Individuals who want to emigrate into the country must go through these ports and undergo inspection by INS agents. There are different procedures for dealing with the entry of immigrants who want to move to the United States, for those seeking asylum, and nonresidents who want to study in the country.

Individuals who want to stay in the United States as legal permanent residents must be issued an Alien Registration Card (often called a green card) by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. This Green Card allows aliens who have permanent resident status to travel between the United States and other countries freely, as long as they keep their permanent home within the United States.

This card is the first step towards receiving American citizenship. Aliens who have had this Green Card for five years can apply for citizenship and if accepted, can be sworn in and become naturalized citizens. More information on immigration to the United States can be found through the USCIS branch of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Controlling United States Borders

The United States government has a quota system that controls the number of green cards issued annually. Because of this restricted quota, there is a steady stream of illegal or undocumented aliens who come into America and work in low-paying jobs that are offered by unprincipled employers.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service works to limit the amount of illegal aliens who come into the country through the through its U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They secure the borders by sea, land, and air. The Immigration and Naturalization Service also works to uncover circumstances of exploitation of these aliens and imposes harsh criminal penalties for doing so.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service also tries to identify and remove criminal aliens the country. This anyone those who have has a criminal record from other countries, or those who try to subvert the American government.

How Do I Replace My Birth Certificate?

How Do I Replace My Birth Certificate?





Every jurisdiction, usually states but sometimes municipalities, maintains a record of all births for the purposes of vital statistics.  Counties generally hold these documents under the auspices of state law.  Birth certificates are individual documents that comprise a record and a certified copy can be obtained at any given time by the holder of the document.  The original remains on record in the county office.



What information appears on a birth certificate?



Although there is no official form for birth certificates, the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics maintains a standardized form that is recommended for use by the states.  



What is a short form?



A short form certificate confirms the existence of the original or “long form” document.  Select information from the birth certificate is on this document and this information is stored electronically for easy access.  Some may prefer to use the short form certificate as proof of birth, but the parent’s names many not appear which may be necessary for certain government documents and services such as applying for a passport.  



What is not my birth certificate?



Souvenir birth certificates, issued by the hospital where the baby was delivered are not legal documents.  You can recognize these documents as it typically has the footprints of the newborn baby imprinted on it.  You should never contact the hospital for a replacement birth certificate.  Even if you receive another souvenir certificate, it is next to useless.



Where do I go to replace my birth certificate?



The process will vary from state to state, but generally speaking, the country clerk will have the birth certificates on record at the Clerk’s office.  You may not need to visit the county clerk or register as many of these offices have procedures by which an individual can mail a request to the office, with payment via a check and requisite documents completed.



In some populous counties, such as Nassau County, New York, the individual municipalities and villages will have their own clerks so an individual born in Nassau would contact the local clerk rather than the country clerk.  The county does maintain records prior to 1935, before the responsibility was regulated to the counties, so those seeking a certificate before that time should contact the county clerk if such a split is present.  In less dense counties, such as Lincoln County, North Carolina, the record is available through the register of deeds and any individual that fills out a request form, presents an ID and $10 per copy requested can obtain a certified copy of a birth, death or marriage certificate.



Additionally, you can obtain a copy of your birth certificate directly from the state.  In New York State for example, non-New York City residents can obtain a vital record from the New York State Department of Health by writing to the provided address, paying a fee of $30 per copy (via check) ad providing government issued photo identification.