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Democrats Introduce SOLVE Act Allowing Earned Legalization

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June 2004
Democrats Introduce SOLVE Act Allowing Earned Legalization

Democrats Introduce SOLVE Act Allowing Earned Legalization.

Comprehensive immigration reform legislation was introduced on May 4th, 2004 by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Representatives Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL). This legislation is supported by many pro-immigration organizations, including the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Khabar readers should note that this is a proposed bill; in order to become law, it must be passed by both Houses of Congress and signed into law by the President. The following is an overview of the proposed bill:

OVERVIEW OF LEGISLATION EARNED ADJUSTMENT

? Immigrants who have been here for five (5) or more years on date of introduction (May 4, 2004) and can demonstrate 2 years in aggregate of employment (including self-employment) in the U.S. and payment of taxes would be eligible for legalization. The principal applicant's spouse and unmarried children under 21 are also eligible. These applications will be adjudicated outside the caps/numerical limitations on visas

? Grounds of inadmissibility related to undocumented status would be waived

? Applicants shall undergo criminal background checks and medical examination, and register with the Selective Services. They shall also be able to travel and work with authorization while application is pending

? Applicants shall demonstrate an understanding of English and civics, or be pursuing a course of study to achieve such understanding

? The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall not use the applicant's information for any purpose other than to make a determination on the application, unless they have committed fraud or are a national security threat (confidentiality)

? Bill provides for administrative and judicial review for denials of an application

? Applicants in the U.S. on the date of introduction (5/4/04) but here less than five years or without the requisite work history shall be eligible (after a thorough background check) for transitional status (TS) of 5 years. Qualifying TS immigrants shall be able to work with authorization and travel abroad. After 2 additional years of work in aggregate, they, too, shall be eligible for adjustment of status.

US CIS Reports a Relatively Low

Volume of H-1B Filings Since April 1st, 2004

Because the number of H1 filings permitted was drastically reduced for Fiscal Year 2004, the H1B cap was exhausted in early 2004. As a result, many were eagerly awaiting April 1st, 2004 in order to file new H1B petitions, which was the first day that filings for Fiscal Year 2005 (beginning October 1st, 2004) were permitted. There were concerns that there would be a large volume of such filings in April 2004, thus exhausting the 2005 cap very quickly.

The Service Center Operations (SCOPS) unit of USCIS indicated as of April 27th, 2004, that it has NOT seen the expected spike in H-1B filings since April 1, when employers were again permitted to file cap-subject petitions with start dates beginning October 1 or later. Instead, SCOPS representatives indicate that, although they cannot provide precise numbers, the volume has been "surprisingly low."

E-filing May Expand In Future

A recent e-mail correspondence from the Seattle US CIS director to a private bar attorney indicates that US CIS intends to expand e-filing in the future. The contents of the e-mail, which was titled "E-Filing Expansion Shortly," are:

"The first two applications selected and implemented for electronic filing (E-Filing) were the I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, and the I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. The G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative, was also made available for E-Filing with either an I-90 or an I-765 application. The implementation of these applications encompassed Phase 1A of the E-Filing project. During this next phase of the E-Filing project (Phase 1B), applicants are able to electronically submit the following additional form types over the Internet:

I-129, I-131, I-140, I-539, I-821, I-907.


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