Connect with us

Un

USCIS Hasn’t Approved a Single Person for Liberian Legalization Program

Published

on

A program created in late 2019 to allow certain Liberian noncitizens in the United States to become lawful permanent residents (LPRs) is falling far short of its potential, according to a new report. The program in question is Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF), a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020,

A program created in late 2019 to allow certain Liberian noncitizens in the United States to become lawful permanent residents (LPRs) is falling far short of its potential, according to a new report.

The program in question is Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF), a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 enacted on December 20, 2019.

A. Purpose and Background

Enacted on December 20, 2019, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 included a provision, Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF), which provides an opportunity for certain Liberian nationals and their eligible family members to obtain lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.[1] After adjusting to LPR status under LRIF, some aliens would then immediately become eligible to apply for naturalization.

The $738-billion National Defense Authorization Act  was signed into law by President Trump would allow up to 4,000 Eligible Liberian nationals who were physically present in the United States since November 20, 2014, as well as their spouses and unmarried children, to apply for a green card under LRIF.

B. Legal Authority

  • Section 7611 (PDF) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 – Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness[2]

C. Eligibility Requirements

To adjust to LPR status based on LRIF a Liberian principal applicant must meet the eligibility requirements shown in the table below.[3]

 

However, USCIS has yet to approve a single application under the program which launched four months ago according to a report from CLINIC and African Communities Together.

Recent data from USCIS shows that only 1,177 Liberians had applied for relief under LRIF as of April 17. This amounts to only 12 percent of eligible applicants. One can assume that the risks and hardships related to the coronavirus pandemic are distracting and obstructing more people from applying at this time.

The report also found that:

  • The top three states of residency for applicants so far are Minnesota (18%), Pennsylvania (16%), and Maryland (9%).
  • Just over half of applicants (54%) are over the age of 45.
  • 58% of applicants are female.

Moreover, recent estimates indicate that far more people are eligible for the program than previously thought. The report found that 10,000 Liberians, plus 300 of their family members, are eligible to apply for LPR status under the program. This is far more than a widely cited previous estimate that only 4,000 people were eligible to apply.

The situation is unlikely to improve given the severe budget problems currently being experienced by USCIS, which is requesting $1.2 billion in emergency funding from Congress and may soon furlough two-thirds of its workforce.

From 1991 to 2019, Liberia was continuously designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) due to unsafe country conditions. However, Liberians in the United States who were protected from deportation under these temporary relief programs had no opportunity to acquire a more permanent status. LRIF was supposed to change that.

Currently, the deadline for eligible Liberians to apply for relief under LRIF is December 20, 2020. As the report correctly concludes, given USCIS adjudication delays, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the much larger number of potential applicants than previously anticipated, the December 2020 deadline should be extended for at least one additional year.

Source: USCIS Hasn’t Approved a Single Person for Liberian Legalization Program

,

0 Shares
Continue Reading

BREAKING

PERM Recruitment Advertising

Published

on

By

IMMIGRATION ADVERTISING

PERM Recruitment Advertising made easy, just contact PERM Ads at https://PERM-Ads.com

Continue Reading

Un

Richard B. Alman, Founder, Recruiter Media: How a serial entrepreneur is digitizing PERM ads

Published

on

By

How a serial entrepreneur is digitizing PERM ads

Continue Reading

Un

The Green Card Process Through the Lens of a DMV Visit

Published

on

By

As an immigration attorney, I try to provide clients with a basic, yet insightful, understanding of various aspects of a complex immigration system. It’s not always easy, but I often find analogies to something commonplace can be helpful.  One analogy I’ve found to work well to explain the green card process beyond describing its mere,

As an immigration attorney, I try to provide clients with a basic, yet insightful, understanding of various aspects of a complex immigration system. It’s not always easy, but I often find analogies to something commonplace can be helpful.  One analogy I’ve found to work well to explain the green card process beyond describing its mere sequence of form filings likens the process to a visit to a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.

In my practice area of business immigration law, green card processes are mostly employment-based and involve the successive filing of a labor certification application, immigrant petition, and adjustment of status application (with the first not always required and the latter two sometimes eligible for concurrent filing). So I’ll refer to these types of filings in describing the analogy here.  But variations of the analogy may be equally applicable to other types of green card processes, such as those in which the aspiring permanent resident will apply for an immigrant visa overseas rather than adjustment of status within the United States, as well as those based on family relationships and those available to asylees and refugees.

The trappings of a visit to the DMV, no matter the state, may be familiar to you: the issuance of a waiting number determining your place in a queue, followed by a long wait for your number to be called at one of several counters to file required paperwork, followed yet again by a lengthy wait for your paperwork to be processed, and eventually – hopefully – approved without issue.  The counter at which you’ll be called, and the length of the corresponding queue (or maybe in some fortunate instances, the absence of one altogether), often depends on specific factors, such as the type of service you’re seeking.

Just as you’re issued a waiting number upon entry into a DMV office, aspiring permanent residents are issued a priority date when the first major filing in their green card process (either the labor certification application or immigrant petition) is submitted.  The priority date is the date this first filing is submitted and determines, once the immigrant petition is approved, the aspiring permanent resident’s place in any existing queue to apply for adjustment of status.

Similar to how you wait at the DMV for your number to be called to file your paperwork at the appropriate counter, aspiring permanent residents face varying wait times for their priority date to be “called” at a designated “counter” to apply for adjustment of status.  The “counter” in the green card process at which aspiring permanent residents must apply for adjustment of status is based on a combination of two main factors: their immigrant classification (which, when speaking with clients, I refer to as their “green card category”) and their country of chargeability (which I refer to as their country of birth).  Aside from some significant exceptions outside of the employment-based green card process,[1] the law limits the supply of green cards available each fiscal year.  Because the law allocates this limited supply based on a combination of both immigrant classification and country of chargeability, queues form at “counters” where the demand for green cards exceeds the available supply.  And the more severely demand exceeds supply, the longer the queue will be. This analogy helps to show why EB-2 and EB-3 immigrants born in India and China are often confronted with waits lasting many years for their priority date to be “called” at their designated counters,[2] while EB-2 and EB-3 immigrants born in most other countries often face no such queue.  In technical terms, the existence of a queue at a given “counter” means the availability of green cards associated with that counter’s classification and chargeability combination is “retrogressed.”  If there’s no queue, green card availability at that counter is “current.”

A visit to the DMV often entails a wait of several hours sitting and keeping watch of your designated counter at it serves the visitors who arrived before you until your own number is finally called.  Likewise, many aspiring permanent residents monitor the often plodding, month-to-month movement of “cut-off dates” in the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ monthly Visa Bulletins for the designated “counter” at which they must apply for adjustment of status.[3]  The Visa Bulletin for a given month contains various charts showing whether a queue for filing an adjustment of status application exists for any classification and chargeability combination, and if so, how long the queue is.  Combinations for which there is no queue are assigned a “C” notation, indicating that green card availability is current and that the adjustment of status application can thus be filed at any time that month, including in concurrence with an immigrant petition if it has not already been approved, and assuming any prerequisite labor certification has been granted. Combinations for which there is a queue, and for which green card availability is thus retrogressed, are denoted by a “cut-off date,” with older dates reflecting longer queues.  Aspiring permanent residents seeking to adjust status at a “counter” at which green card availability is retrogressed can track their place in the queue by comparing their priority date with the applicable cut-off date each month.  Priority dates that fall before the applicable cut-off date in a given month are those that have been “called,” indicating that much like counters at which green card availability is current, an adjustment of status application can be filed at any time that month, including in concurrence with an immigrant petition if it has not already been approved, and assuming again that any prerequisite labor certification has been granted.

Like processing of paperwork filed at a counter at the DMV, processing of an adjustment of status application may take a long time.  But eventually – hopefully – the application is approved without issue.  And unlike a visit to the DMV, having qualified counsel during the green card process can make all the difference in one’s chance of success.

[1] For example, “immediate relatives” (spouses and children of US citizens, and parents of US citizens if the citizen is at least 21 years old) are exempt from annual numerical limits on green card availability. INA 201(b)(2)(A)(i).
[2] Aspiring permanent residents for whom the queue for applying for adjustment of status involves a wait of several years, such as EB-2 and EB-3 immigrants born in India and China, commonly change jobs or employers in the course of their wait. Such a change can require a restart of the green card process since employment-based green card processes are generally job and employer specific.  But to allow aspiring permanents residents who change jobs or employers to keep their place in queue, the law permits them to retain their priority date under certain conditions if they are the beneficiary of a previously approved EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 immigrant petition, and likewise become the beneficiary of an approved EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 immigrant petition based on their new job or employer. 8 CFR 204.5(e). 
[3] US Citizenship and Immigration Service also publishes monthly updates indicating whether to use the Visa Bulletin’s Dates for Filing charts or its Final Action Dates charts, to determine whether an adjustment of status application may be filed.

Source: The Green Card Process Through the Lens of a DMV Visit

,

Continue Reading

PERM Recruitment Advertising

PA-250-300

Immigration Links

Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2020 IMMIGRATION REFORM NEWS