Newsletter Archive: August 2016

201609.19
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by on September 19, 2016 in Blog, English

I'm glad that I have something positive to report in this article.  If I'm being honest, this is a bit of a dark time for this an immigration attorney in Austin. This election year has highlighted and drawn out racism and xenophobia in our community.  To add to that, I have been doing a lot of asylum work and dealing with families who are suffering unimaginable tragedies around the world.  I'm worried for Central America and the gang violence there.  We REALLY need sensible immigration reform and a resolution for our undocumented community.

The good news I bring is regarding the expansion of the provisional waiver program.  This program, also knows as the "stateside" waiver program, allows immigrants going through the consular process to obtain waivers of unlawful presence before they leave for the consular interview.

Why is this important?

It reduces separation time and uncertainty for families.  In the past, family members who were eligible for immigrant visas but had unlawful presence in the US had to leave the country, wait six months for a decision on their unlawful presence waiver, and if the waiver was denied, could not return for up to ten years.  Needless to say, many eligible family members elected to stay living in the shadows instead of taking on this extreme risk.  In 2013, the stateside waiver was offered to spouses of US citizens.  This month, the program will be expanded to include spouses and children of permanent residents.  Many people will be affected by this and it is a little known or understood change.  If you have any questions about whether this will affect you or someone you know, please call our office for a free case evaluation.

I'm also excited to share the historic announcement the Department of Justice made this morning about reducing and ultimately ending the use of private prisons. This is huge. In short, it was decided that private prisons have not been more practical (or humane) than the government's own correctional facilities. You can read the memo in full here.

In another small bit of focusing on the positive, we have been celebrating our clients' successes on social media.  Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with our victories!  In the coming months, I hope we remember that our nation is based on inclusion, freedom of religion, and celebration of diversity.  Above all things, let's remember to be kind to each other.

Abrazos, Kate