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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2017 
For questions about U.S. Residency, Green Cards and Immigration Visas, Visit our Website at: or  call our office at: (954) 382-5378
Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use
Read The State Department’s Visa Bulletin 
Released For February 2017
The Visa Bulletin released by the State Department each month details the current waiting times for Immigrant Visas in Family and Employment Immigrant Petition cases.

You can view the current Visa Bulletin  by clicking on the link below:

February Visa Bulletin
Immigration How To:
How Do I Stay Updated On My Immigration Case
Stay Informed - Sign-up For USCIS E-Notification & Email Updates On Your Immigration Case 
The USCIS now offers several ways for Applicants to get updates on newly filed and pending Immigration cases. Immigrants and Sponsors filing Immigration applications with the USCIS can now sign-up to receive text messages and email E-notifications confirming application receipt by the USCIS, along with the case receipt number(s). The receipt number allows individuals to track the status of their case online.                    

E-notifications are issued within 24 hours after the USCIS receives the application.
For instance, once your Immigration application is filed, the USCIS may issue you a letter requesting more evidence in order to continue processing the case. If you are registered to receive case status updates, you will receive an email notification that the USCIS has issued the request, which helps you to be aware that you should be receiving the request by mail soon. If you have not received the request, you can then make further inquiries. Similarly, once you respond to the USCIS request, you will receive an updated email notification that they have received your documentation. It’s a great way to stay informed and keep up to date on the status of your case as it is being processed.
To request e-notification, download and complete form G-1145 and mail along with all Immigration applications.  Once you receive your case number, go to the USCIS website and sign up for Email Status updates on your case through the USCIS My Case Status program. Once you register and enter your case number(s), the USICS will automatically email you notifications and updates on any actions take on your case so that you are better informed about your case status. 
President Obama Terminates Cuban "Wet-Foot/Dry Foot" Policy
On January 12, 2017, President Obama announced that the policy called "Wet-Foot/Dry Foot", which allowed Cuban Nationals who had reached a U.S shore or border to immediately qualify for asylum would be terminated effective immediately. 

This policy change will result in Cuban Nationals being treated like all other Nationals who apply for asylum, in that they will need to prove eligibility in order to obtain relief. This policy change was in part prompted by the massive surge in the number of Cubans arriving at U.S. borders in the recent months. According to reports, between 2012 and 2015 approximately 118,000 Cubans applied for asylum at U.S. borders. However, during 2016 alone, nearly 41,500 Cubans applied for asylum and over 7,000 in just the months of October and November 2016 alone.
The special treatment of Cuban Nationals over the years has lead to increased criticism from all sides, including Senator Marco Rubio, who’s parents immigrated from Cuba. According to staunch critics, Cuban Nationals automatically receive benefits most other Immigrants are not eligible for, including food stamps, healthcare, disability and other welfare beneficial entitlements exceeding $680 million a year, averaging $500 per month. 

The USCIS confirms that the new policy does not apply to Cuban nationals who applied for asylum prior to January 12, 2017.

Read more about the Whitehouse announcement and related stories:

Miami Herald

Bill Sponsored by Its sponsors are U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo and Sen. Marco Rubio

Whitehouse Statement
ENLIST Act Giving Dreamers Legal Status Through Military Service Re-introduced In Congress
On January 3, 2017, Republican Rep Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) re-introduced the ENLIST ACT “Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training Act” to allow qualifying Dreamers (ENLIST Act), to obtain legal Immigration status through military service. 

Under the Bill, Dreamers would receive Permanent U.S. Residency once they complete their term of military service. Minimum enlistment requirements include fluency in English and possessing a High School Diploma. 

Read the Bill:

Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training Act
Department of Homeland Security Proposes To Increase EB-5 Investment Requirements Between 80 to 170%!
The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) published a proposal on January 13, 2017 called the “EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization” announcing its intended changes to the existing EB-5 Investor program, including dramatically increasing the regular minimum investment capital required by investors from $1 million to $1.8 million, representing an 80% increase. 

Investors in designated Regional Centers (TEA areas), would be required to invest $1.35 million, up from $500,000, a 170% increase! The public has 90 days to review the proposals and provide comments before the rule is made final. 

Review the 115 page proposal: 
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization proposal 
USCIS Announces Upcoming Swearing-In Ceremonies For Some South Florida Locations:
Miami Field Office – January 27  
Hialeah Field Office – January 28, 30, and 31
Kendall Field Office – January 26 (Special Ceremony Everglades National Park) , 20, 27, and 31
Oakland Park Field Office – January 20 and 27  

Question: I got naturalized in 2009 and filed for my brother and his family. The application was approved and I got a letter from the national visa center saying that they have the case. I assumed that they would be sending a notice for us to provide the affidavit of support so my brother, his wife and kids can get ready for their interview at the embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, but I hadn’t heard anything from them and it had been nearly a year. I called and they said something about no visa was available and my brother has to wait until they get notified. I’m really confused. I saw on the Immigration website that the California service center was processing for the date May 17, 2011 and I filed my brother’s case in 2009, so why do they have to wait? Can you please help us to get this straightened out so they can join our family here in the U.S. as soon as possible, thank you.
Answer: That is a great question. I understand your confusion. For background, the waiting line for siblings (the F-4 Immigration category) is about 12+ years. It is confusing because the USCIS processing time for the actual I-130 family petition you filed is what the USCIS website is referring to, since it takes about 5-6 years before the USCIS to approve the case. Once the case is approved by the USCIS, it sends the file to the National Visa Center (NVC) to hold until a visa becomes available. This is where it gets tricky. The National Visa Center is in charge of holding Immigration cases until Immigrant Visas become available, then taking care of processing the case for the U.S. consulate in order for Immigrants to receive their interview so that they can be issued Immigrant Visas and proceed to finally immigrate to the U.S.. 

There are long waiting lines for most family members to immigrate to the U.S. depending upon their relationship to the U.S. Resident or Citizen sponsor and also depending upon their nationality. The general waiting line for siblings of U.S. Citizens is 12+ years for all countries except China, India, Mexico and the Philippines which are longer. You keep up to date on the monthly visa availability by visiting the Visa Bulletin website. So for siblings, generally about 12+ years down the road, the NVC will send you a letter/email notifying you that consular processing is beginning. Nothing happens between now and then. If you move, please update the NVC. There is no way to expedite the process because it is not a matter of “processing”, it is a matter of too much demand for too few Immigrant visas for siblings. Once you receive the letter notifying you that consular processing has begun, we can take the case from there and pay the NVC bills for your brother and family and take care of preparing all the financial affidavits of support and other required documents necessary to finalize the case and get the family through the consular interview process so that they can finally join you here in the U.S..

Find out more about family Immigration waiting lines: Understanding the Immigrant Visa Process
Visit the Visa Bulletin Website: Visa Bulletin Website