Last night, in his State of the Union Address, the President laid out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values. This includes creating a 21st century immigration system that meets our economic and security needs:
“Let’s also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge: The fact that they aren’t yet American citizens. Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation. Others came more recently, to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else.
That doesn’t make sense. I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That’s why my Administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office. The opponents of action are out of excuses. We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now. But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, and defend this country. Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I will sign it right away.”
Listen to the President’s entire State of the Union here.
President Obama delivers his State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol (January 24, 2012. Official White House Photo, Pete Souza)
Sitting with First Lady Michelle Obama were several individuals who exemplify the Administration’s commitment in creating opportunities that enable immigrants and their children to become contributing members of their communities. Among them were Juan Jose Redín, a Mexican immigrant who was able to enroll and excel in his studies at UCLA. Now a U.S. citizen and practicing attorney, Juan is as passionate as ever about ensuring educational access for all— including young immigrant children.
Additional guests included: Mike Krieger, a Brazilian immigrant and recipient of an H-1B Visa who co-founded Instagram, the fastest growing start-up; Dr. Hiroyuki Fujita, a Japanese immigrant who founded Quality Electrodynamics (QED); and Mayor Julian Castro, Mayor of the City of San Antonio and strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform. Juan, Mike, Hiroyuki, and Mayor Castro are all reminders of the diverse group of stakeholders urging Congress to fix our broken immigration system through bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform, including the DREAM Act. To learn more about them, click here.
First Lady Michelle Obama and guests in the First Lady’s box during the State of the Union.(January 24, 2012. Official White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy)
In this edition of our Immigration Action Update, you will find important announcements on countries eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs recently designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), new human trafficking training material made available by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS), and the official opening of a new full-service immigration field office in Queens, N.Y.
In addition, read our blog to learn about the 3rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. naturalization ceremony held at the King Center in Atlanta, and the President’s new national travel and tourism strategy focused on creating jobs. Also, don’t forget to learn how you can participate in important upcoming Administration stakeholder calls and events.
As always, please share with your networks!
Four East Haven, Connecticut, Police Officers Charged with Civil Rights Offenses
On January 24, 2012, the Justice Department announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Bridgeport, Conn., returned an indictment charging four East Haven Police officers with conspiring to violate, and violating, the civil rights of members of the East Haven community. To read the the remarks given by Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, click here.
USCIS Opens New Office in Queens
On January 20, 2012, USCIS celebrated the official opening of its newest full-service immigration field office in Queens, N.Y. The new office is located at 27-35 Jackson Ave., and is expected to serve over 500 people each business day. To read more about this new service location, that includes an Application Support Center, a naturalization ceremony room, and interview and file rooms, click here.
USCIS Announces 58 Countries Eligible for H-2A and H2-B Participation
On January 17, 2012, USCIS announced that DHS, in consultation with the State Department, identified 58 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs for the coming year. Five countries (Haiti, Iceland, Montenegro, Spain and Switzerland) were designated for the first time this year. To see the complete, click here.
DHS Blue Campaign Announces New Human Trafficking Trainings Material
The DHS Blue Campaign released several new human trafficking awareness and training materials for the general public, federal workforce, first responders and airline employees. These new materials aim to help increase awareness and provide education on the indicators of human trafficking and the importance of reporting it to officials. To read more, click here.
Census Bureau Requests Data on Proposed Changes to the 2013 American Community Survey
The Department of Commerce is currently accepting public comments until February 27, 2012 regarding possible changes to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) content and data collection. In 2010, the Census Bureau conducted testing of two new question topics, including parental place of birth, which they are considering adding to the 2013 ACS questions. Click here to read more about the proposed changes and to submit comments in the Federal Register.
The President Announces New Initiatives to Increase Travel and Tourism in the U.S.
On January 19, 2012, President Obama traveled to Orlando, Florida’s Magic Kingdom to deliver one message: America is open for business. The President’s initiative to increase travel and tourism include: the Global Entry Program, increased access of basic information to foreign tourists, increased marketing of U.S. tourist destinations, and the expansion of countries eligible under the visa waiver program. To read the official White House press release, click here. Don’t forget to read the White House blog and watch the President’s weekly address concerning his commitment to rebuild our economy. Also, join this effort and tell us what makes your hometown a great place to visit by clicking here.
Honoring Dr. King’s Legacy with Our Newest Americans
In this blog, Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, writes about his participation in this naturalization ceremony. To read more about Joshua’s involvement in this special event, click here, or to learn more about naturalization ceremonies taking place across the country, click here.
Grandfathering of Non-Hague Adoption Cases
USCIS Office of Public Engagement invites you to participate in a national stakeholder teleconference on Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 at 2:00PM EST regarding changes to the process of “grandfathering” certain adoption cases as orphan cases when the U.S. and another country become Hague partners. The call will focus on cases for Chinese and Guatemalan children. To participate, contact the Office of Public Engagement at email@example.com by Monday January 30, 2012, and reference “Adoption” in the subject line of your email. Also include your full name and the organization you represent, if any, in the body of the email. You may call-in at 1-888-989-6491 or 1-415-228-3902, if you are overseas. (Passcode: Adoption)
National Stakeholder Engagement on E-Verify
USCIS Verification Division and the Office of Public Engagement invite you to participate in a national stakeholder teleconference on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. EST to discuss a potential Final Nonconfirmation Review (FNC) process for E-Verify. To participate in this teleconference, please contact the Office of Public Office of Public Engagement, Intergovernmental Affairs at USCIS-IGAOutreach@dhs.gov by January 30, 2012, and reference “E-Verify Administrative Review Process” in the subject line of your email.
Revisions to Adjudicator’s USCIS Field Manual on the Role of Private Attorneys and Others
USCIS will be accepting public comments until February 14, 2012, regarding the role of private attorneys and other representatives who appear before USCIS. For complete information on the comment process, visit the Interim Memoranda for Comment section of www.uscis.gov. Please send all comments on the draft memorandum to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jiao liú Session: National Engagement on Naturalization in Chinese
On Thursday, February 16th, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., USCIS will conduct a national Chinese-language engagement (Jiao liú) session as part of our ongoing series of multilingual public engagements. This session will focus the Naturalization process and will be broadcast live from the USCIS San Francisco Field Office. You are invited to participate in person, via teleconference by calling 1-800-475-8388 (password: Jiao liú), or via live Web stream at http://www.uscis.gov/stream/Live. For further information please contact the Office of Public Office of Public Engagement at email@example.com and reference “Jiao liú” in the subject line of your email.
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