January 18th, 2014
 Last year, although Immigration Reform did not pass, we did see a great movement forward in the right direction. With the support of many activates fighting for Immigrant Rights we saw the passage of the following new laws and policies:

1) The “Trust Act”

In effect in California as of January 1, 2014 The Trust Act limits the ties between police and federal immigration authorities. The bill assures that people who are arrested for low-level, non-violent offenses are not held on an “ice hold” and prevents them from being transferred to Immigration after minor detentions with local police. This means that if arrested on minor offense your family member will be released and not transferred to Immigration. Read the full story on Huffinton Post here.

2) Driver License for the Undocumented
Starting January 1, 2015 The legislation marks a major victory for Latino and other immigration rights activists, who have fought for decades for such a law. The state says it is expected to spur 1.4 million people to apply for licenses over three years. The law, passed with substantial Republican support, marks a significant departure from past policy in California, which will join at least nine other states that allow undocumented immigrants to drive legally when the law takes effect in 2015. The state Department of Motor Vehicles has said it would begin to develop regulations required by the new law, which will go into effect January 1, 2015, unless the state determines it can begin issuing the licenses sooner.  Read the full Reuters article here.

3) Clarification of Immigration benefit, “Parole in Place”
For Past or Present Military spouse, children, and parents USCIS issued a new memo on benefits under a program called “parole in place” which applied the policy broadly, extending it to all active-duty members of the armed forces, to reservists including the National Guard, and to all veterans. Their spouses, children and parents will be eligible for a “parole in place,” a term that means they will be authorized to remain in the United States and many can proceed with applications for legal residency. Read the full story on the New York Times here.

4) Same Sex Couples can now apply for Immigration Benefits

The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as being unconstitutional. Immediately after this ruling, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision permitting federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples to be implemented swiftly. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) soon after began accepting applications on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.  Read the full  story on Huffington Post  here.

5) Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers
Beginning March 4, 2013, certain immigrant visa applicants who are spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens (immediate relatives) can apply for provisional unlawful presence waivers before they leave the United States. In the past, U.S. citizens who are not eligible to attain their green card in the United States had to travel abroad and wait for a decision abroad. Now these families continue to be able to resolve their cases within the U.S and only require a brief trip once they have their wavier approved and have an interview in hand.

Progress on Reform by Republican in House
House Republican leaders are within weeks of releasing their principles for immigration reform — a blueprint that will detail positions on everything from border security to legal status. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is driving the process, wants these principles released before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union on Jan. 28. Read the full story on Politico.com here.

With so many progress in 2013, we are hopeful that with continued pressures from activities, businessmen and families, that there will be further serious discussion on how to fix our broken Immigration system. We will continue to bring you the latest in the developments in the discussions on Immigration reform.

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