When Immigration Matters

USCIS Issues Guide to Assist Preparations for Citizenship

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Thu, Apr 12, 2012 @ 7:05 AM

Karen-Lee PollakThe Office of Citizenship recently introduced three new practice tests to help permanent residents prepare for the naturalization interview. The first activity helps you with some general commands you may hear from an Immigration Services Officer during the naturalization interview. You can download self-study flash cards and review a practice exercise before taking the practice test called "Understanding Commands for the Naturalization Interview." There are two other activities that focus on vocabulary words that you may hear in your interview or read on the Application for Naturalization, Form N-400. You can find all three activities on the Study Materials for the English Test section of the Citizenship Resource Center at http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/USDHSCIS-3aa331

 

For Educators: Classroom Materials for Teachers Accompany Practice Tests for Naturalization Preparation

 

To help students learn and practice commands that an applicant may hear during the naturalization interview, the Office of Citizenship has developed 8 ½" x 11" visuals and flash cards for teachers to accompany the practice test called "Understanding Commands for the Naturalization Interview." These materials include suggestions for using the visuals and flash cards for games and small-group activities in the classroom. A downloadable practice exercise is also available for students to read, listen, and review the sentences before taking the interactive practice test. The other two practice tests for students focus on vocabulary words that applicants may hear in their interview or read on the Application for Naturalization, Form N-400. These materials can be found on the Educational Products section of the Citizenship Resource Center at http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/USDHSCIS-3aa331

Arizona's Immigration Law and the Impact on MLB's Latino Rookies

Posted by Karen Pollak on Sat, Jun 19, 2010 @ 2:17 PM

This article really struck me about the impact of Arizona's tough, new immigration law.  Although, they are all living and working in the US legally, they could be adversely impacted as the new law requires state and local law enforcement officials to inquire about immigration status during any lawful stop such as a minor traffic violation. 

While the legislature eliminated language that would prohibit basing a reasonable suspicion that a person is in the country illegally based "solely" on race or ethnicity, it gave no guidance as to what constitutes a reasonable suspicion.  Therein lies the problem.  It is likely that U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and other legal residents and visitors may still be subject to discrimination and racial profiling once the law goes into effect.

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PHOENIX - Dozens of these young Latino men have crossed the border into Arizona. Some are just teenagers, some are in the United States for the first time. Many don't speak English.

Illegal immigrant fighter sheriff Joe Arpaio need not be concerned. They already have all the paperwork an immigrant - and baseball player - could want.

Esmerling VasquezThe Arizona Rookie League starts Monday, with some 150 or so prospects from Latin America taking part. Unless a court decides otherwise, the state's much-debated immigration law will take effect on July 29. The season ends a month later.

The Cleveland Indians have taken extra precautions to be sure their young Latin players aren't caught unaware and unprepared.

"We held a seminar under the direction of our cultural development director, Lino Diaz," said Ross Atkins, the Indians' player development director. "We brought in a local police officer to explain the situation and issued each player an ID card so they don't have to rely on carrying around their visas and paperwork with them."

The Milwaukee Brewers believe they are ready for the law, having issued identification cards to their players for the past three years. Each card has the player's photo and information on how to contact Brewers officials if authorities question why the player is in Arizona.

"It's a preventative measure," assistant general manager Gord Ash said. "We haven't had any problems so far."

The Brewers started the program because they were staying in a crime-plagued part of south Phoenix. The club has since moved to a hotel near the Glendale entertainment district but still issues the cards.

The Dominican Republic, as evidenced by big league rosters, is fertile ground for prospects. According to baseballreference.com, 503 Dominicans either have played or are playing in the majors, including Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers Esmerling Vasquez and infielder Tony Abreu.

For Dominican players today, the Arizona Rookie League is often the first step into the pro game.

The preliminary roster of the San Diego Padres includes 10 players from the Dominican Republic and one apiece from Colombia and Mexico. Their ages range from 19 to 21.

This is where concern about the new immigration law comes in.

The statute requires police, while enforcing other laws, to ask about a person's immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally. A young Latin player who speaks no English might fit that description.

The law ignited protests around the country, including some at Arizona Diamondbacks road games, by those who feel it encourages racial profiling by unfairly targeting Hispanics.

The singing duo of Daryl Hall and John Oates recently canceled a scheduled appearance following a Diamondbacks game to protest the immigration law. There were calls to pull next year's All-Star Game out of Phoenix, but commissioner Bud Selig said play on.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the bill into law, said the state had to do something about illegal immigration because the federal government wasn't.

Polls have shown wide support for the law in Arizona and around the country, but at least half-dozen lawsuits have been filed challenging it. The U.S. government may file one, too, so it's uncertain whether the law will take effect as scheduled.

Some team officials said they weren't overly concerned because they don't allow players to wander far from the hotel where they are staying.

"Major League Baseball has a great relationship with local authorities," Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "... We have local police come in and talk about areas players should avoid. There's security at the hotel. You've got to go out of your way to mess up. That's not to say we don't have situations occur. But when it does happen, it's usually centered around alcohol or females."

The issue is not confined to the rookie league. The Cincinnati Reds this year became the 15th major league team to have its spring training facility in Arizona. Players are coming and going all the time, for extended spring training, rehab work or a variety of other reasons. At spring training next year, their numbers will grow to the thousands, from the big league clubs and throughout their minor league systems. A significant percentage will be from Latin America.

Many of the ballparks are at the far edges of the suburban sprawl that is greater Phoenix. The San Francisco Giants, though, play in downtown Scottsdale, within walking distance of restaurants, bars and a big shopping mall.

"We keep players pretty close to the complex, going to the hotel and mall," said Bobby Evans, the Giants' vice president of baseball operations. "Guys don't have cars or a lot of means of getting out. It's a little different now (with the new law). We haven't had any problems and we don't anticipate any. The players have been there a while now, since spring training, so since the law came out and they know about it. Our staff keeps the players apprised."

Tony Reagins, general manager of the Los Angeles Angels, said he's been around player development long enough to know that at some point, some 17- or 18- or 19-year-old will get in trouble.

"So you have to give them the proper resources and information, so that at least you can be ahead of it as opposed to trying to react to it,'" he said. "Our staff down there has done a great job of keeping our guys in line."

It's business as usual for the Angels in the rookie league - almost.

"We haven't altered the way we develop our players in any way," Reagins said. "We're still sending the same types of players to the Arizona Rookie League and into the state of Arizona, so that hasn't changed. We have just made our players aware that they should have their identification with them at all times. But other than that, we don't see any difference in how we're going to operate."

AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley, AP Sports Writers Colin Fly and Doug Tucker and AP freelance writer Chuck Murr contributed to this report.

USCIS Update for Documentation Employers & Temporary Protected Status Beneficiaries

Posted by Michael Pollak on Mon, May 17, 2010 @ 10:03 AM

USCISTemporary Protected Status (TPS) is an immigration benefit granted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to eligible individuals in the United States who are nationals of a country (or persons without nationality who last habitually resided in such country) that has been designated for TPS.  A country may be designated for TPS on the basis of on-going armed conflict, environmental disaster or other extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent such nationals from safely returning to their homelands.  TPS is granted to eligible individuals from the designated countries for time-limited periods, depending on the length of the country designation or an extension of that designation.

Individuals who have been granted TPS may work in the United States and may apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). An EAD is a plastic, credit card-sized document that shows proof of the individual's authorization to work in the United States and contains a photograph of the individual. 

When securing employment in the United States, TPS beneficiaries, like any other individual whom an employer hires, will be requested by their employers to attest to their authorization to work in the United States using the USCIS form, Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9.  To complete the Form I-9 process, they also must present to their employers a document or combination of documents of the employees' choosing evidencing their identity and employment authorization from the list of acceptable documents. 

The EAD issued to TPS beneficiaries by USCIS is one of the documents listed as acceptable for the Form I-9.  This document establishes both identity and employment authorization under "List A" of the Form I-9.  The expiration date on the card is usually the end of the TPS period for which the bearer last registered.  When DHS extends a specific TPS country designation, it sometimes issues a Federal Register notice containing a temporary blanket automatic extension of expiring EADs for TPS beneficiaries from that country to allow time for USCIS to issue new EADs with updated validity dates. The USCIS Web site and the Federal Register notice will describe this EAD auto-extension and will note the date when the auto-extension ends.  The auto-extension is typically for 6 months, but the time period can vary. 

This Fact Sheet provides guidance to employees and employers on the treatment of auto-extended EADs issued to TPS beneficiaries when completing the Form I-9 process.

Employers

If presented for completion of Form I-9 by your employee, you must accept a TPS-related EAD that is expired on its face if it nevertheless remains unexpired based on an auto-extension of the EAD by DHS as announced in a notice published in the Federal Register. Also, the card must reasonably appear on its face to be genuine and to relate to the employee presenting it to be acceptable.  The following information will appear on the card:

scan of an employment id card showing 2 characteristics employers should look for

  1. The notation "A-12" or "C-19" appears on the face of the EAD under "Category."
  2. The expiration date of the most recent TPS extension period on the face of the card. This date will appear in the Federal Register notice announcing the auto-extension of EADs and may also be found at www.uscis.gov/tps.

Employers should enter the document name, number, and expiration date in Section 2 under List A, noting the end of the auto-extension period. You may not request that an employee provide proof that he or she is a national of a country that has been designated for TPS. 

When the automatic extension of the EAD expires, you must reverify the employee's employment authorization. The employee may choose to present an unexpired EAD with an updated expiration date, or any other document from List A or C of Form I-9 evidencing that he or she continues to be authorized to work in the United States. You should enter the document name, number and expiration date in Section 3 of the Form I-9.

In addition to completing the Form I-9 process described above, employers that participate in E-Verify may also confirm the employment authorization of the TPS beneficiary by submitting the required data from the Form I-9 to E-Verify.  However, the employer may only check the employment authorization of new hires through E-Verify.  If the TPS beneficiary is a current employee, the employer may not use E-Verify to confirm employment authorization and should complete only the reverification required in Section 3 of the Form I-9.

Employees

If you are a TPS beneficiary and have been issued a TPS-based EAD, your EAD will contain the notation "A-12" or "C-19" under "Category" and an expiration date for the last TPS designation or extension of TPS for your country.  When completing the Form I-9 for your employer, you may choose to present this EAD as evidence of both your identity and employment authorization under List A of the form if the card is unexpired.  Once the expiration date on the face of your card is reached, your EAD is no longer acceptable for the Form I-9, unless DHS has automatically extended the expiration date of your card in a notice published in the Federal Register.  Your card will remain valid through the auto-extension period stated in the Federal Register notice and must be accepted by your employer for completion of the Form I-9.  You may want to provide your employer with a copy of the Federal Register notice stating the automatic extension of your EAD, in case your employer is not aware that he or she may accept your EAD. 

If you choose to present your auto-extended, TPS-based EAD to your employer, your employer will be required to reverify your employment authorization on Section 3 of Form I-9 at the end of the automatic EAD extension period.  At that time, you must present your employer with either your new TPS-related EAD containing an updated, valid expiration date, or any other acceptable document from List A or C evidencing that you continue to be authorized for employment in the United States. 

Contact Information

For additional information about TPS, please call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5273 or visit the USCIS Web site at www.uscis.gov/tps to find:

  • General TPS information;
  • A list of countries currently designated for TPS;
  • Links to Federal Register notices for TPS designated countries; and
  • Each designated country's:
    • Most recent designation date;
    • Current expiration date;
    • Current registration period; and
    • Duration of the country's automatic extension of EADs.

Employers seeking information about accepting documents from TPS beneficiaries may contact the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) Employer Hotline at 1-800-255-8155 or visit the DOJ Web site at www.justice.gov/crt/osc.

Employees should contact the Office of Special Council Employee Hotline at 1-800-255-7688 or visit the Web site at www.justice.gov/crt/osc if:

  • You believe your employer is treating you in a discriminatory manner based on your immigration or TPS status, or based on your national origin; or
  • Your employer will not allow you to work despite having presented your employer with your valid, auto-extended TPS EAD, or your presentation of other documents acceptable for the Form I-9.

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