While gift-givers everywhere brave long lines to find and buy presents for their friends, families, co-workers, and others, our thoughts turn to a different sort of line. One that seems to snake endlessly around virtual bureaucratic blocks, and which - for too many people - never move fast enough to make a difference. That would be the "approved visa petition" line, which is a real doozy.
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Immigration Related Posts
Today marks the legal holiday commemorating the discovery of the "New World" by Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon). Since that historic episode constitutes one of the first recorded instances of undocumented immigration in this land, we thought we would reflect on the state of immigration - and, more specifically, the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform - in the final weeks of the 2016 Presidential campaign.
On Saturday, February 13th, the United States Supreme Court unexpectedly lost its longest serving Associate Justice. Antonin Scalia was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, and was known as a staunchly conservative "originalist" when it came to interpreting the Constitution. By all accounts he was brilliant, combative, funny, and relentlessly ideological. There has been a slew of remembrances of his life and analyses of his judicial career, highlighting his accomplishments and reflecting that his forceful personality resulted in strong opinions about him, across the political and legal spectrum. As we tend to do here, though, we will look briefly at the potential effects of Justice Scalia's passing on immigration jurisprudence.
With the gift-giving part of the holiday season having just passed, many of us are enjoying our presents, relaxing with family, and reflecting on the highs and lows of the past year. In the midst of the season of giving and good cheer, however, the federal government's Department of Homeland Security seems to have donned its Grinch hat. As the Washington Post has reported, "The Department of Homeland Security has begun preparing for a series of raids that would target for deportation hundreds of families who have flocked to the United States since the start of last year . . . ." For the most part, these families have fled indescribably violent and volatile conditions in Central America, seeking safe haven in the United States. Their plight of some of these families was front-page news, until the unaccompanied minor and Syrian refugee crisis took center-stage, the latter fueled in part by loud rhetoric on the part of some presidential candidates, particularly in the wake of the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.
In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks on November 13, 2015, U.S. officials have announced some changes to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The VWP allows citizens of designated countries to travel to the United States as temporary visitors (for up to 90 days) without going through the formal visa application process. VWP travelers are subject to strict conditions on the terms of their U.S. visits, including being ineligible to extend their 90-day stay, being prohibited from changing status, and waiving all rights to challenge removal/deportation if they do violate the conditions of their admission to the U.S. Visa Waiver visitors are also screened in advance via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).