Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Human Trafficking: The Facts

What does the human trafficking of children look like in the United States?

Across the globe, traffickers buy and sell children, exploiting them for sex and forced labor, and moving them across international borders. Child victims are trafficked into the United States from Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe. In the United States, children are subjected to human trafficking in many different sectors. Examples include prostitution on the streets or in a private residence, club, hotel, spa, or massage parlor; online commercial sexual exploitation; exotic dancing/stripping; agricultural, factory, or meatpacking work; construction; domestic labor in a home; restaurant/bar work; illegal drug trade; door-to-door sales, street peddling, or begging; or hair, nail, and beauty salons. Family members, acquaintances, pimps, employers, smugglers, and strangers all traffic children. They often prey upon the children’s vulnerabilities – their hopes for an education, a job, or a better life in another country – and may use psychological intimidation or violence to control the children and gain financial benefits from their exploitation. Trafficked children may show signs of shame or disorientation; be hungry and malnourished; experience traumatic bonding (Stockholm syndrome) and fear government officials, such as police and immigration officers.

What is the definition of human trafficking under U.S. federal law?

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) defines “severe forms of human trafficking” as:

The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for

  • sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
  • labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

Coercion includes threats of physical or psychological harm to children and/or their families. Any child (under the age of 18) engaged in commercial sex is a victim of trafficking.

How do I report human trafficking?

If a child is in urgent need of assistance, contact law enforcement or child protective services to report abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child. The Childhelp® National Child Abuse Hotline professional crisis counselors can connect a caller with a local number to report abuse. Contact Childhelp at 1.800.4.A.CHILD. (1.800.422.4453).

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) aims to prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation; help find missing children; and assist victims of child abduction and sexual exploitation, their families, and the professionals who serve them. Contact NCMEC at 1.800.THE.LOST (1.800.843.5678).

The HHS-funded National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) operates a hotline 24 hours a day, every day. The NHTRC will help callers identify and coordinate with local organizations that protect and serve victims of trafficking. Contact the NHTRC at 1.888.3737.888.

What are my reporting responsibilities if I am a government official?

The TVPA, as amended, requires Federal, State, or local officials to notify HHS within 24 hours of discovering a child who may be a foreign victim of trafficking, to facilitate the provision of assistance.Federal, State, or local officials should notify a Child Protection Specialist in the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at or call202.205.4582. An HHS/ORR Child Protection Specialist will respond to notifications to facilitate eligibility for assistance and provide technical assistance as appropriate.

How do I obtain assistance for a foreign child victim of human trafficking?

To become eligible for federally-funded benefits and services that would not be available to a child without a legal immigration status, a child victim must have an Eligibility Letter or an Interim Assistance Letter from HHS/ORR. An individual may request these letters from HHS/ORR on behalf of a child when credible information indicates the child may be a victim of trafficking. Submission of a Request for Assistance for Child Victims of Human Trafficking form can facilitate a determination of the child’s eligibility for assistance. Obtain a form at Submit requests by e-mail to or by fax to 202.401.5487.An HHS/ORR Child Protection Specialist will respond to requests and may be reached by phone at 202.205.4582.

HHS/ORR issues an Eligibility Letter to assist a foreign child trafficking victim to become eligible for benefits and services without regard to the child’s immigration status. HHS/ORR issues an Interim Assistance Letter to a foreign child who may have been subjected to trafficking to make the child eligible to receive benefits and services for a 90-day period. After issuing an Interim Assistance Letter, HHS/ORR will consult with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, and nongovernmental organizations with expertise in trafficking before determining the child’s continued eligibility as a victim of trafficking. Children are not required to cooperate with law enforcement or to have been granted Continued Presence or a T nonimmigrant visa by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to receive assistance.

Who provides care for unaccompanied or separated child victims of trafficking?

A child victim of trafficking with an Eligibility Letter who has no available parent or legal guardian in the United States is eligible for ORR’s Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) program. Children are placed in licensed foster homes or other care settings according to individual needs. An appropriate court awards legal responsibility to the State, county, or private agency providing services, to act in place of the child’s unavailable parents. Children in the URM program receive the full range of services available to other foster children in the State, as well as special services to help them adapt to life in the United States and recover from their trafficking experience. Safe reunification with parents or other appropriate relatives is encouraged. To access the URM program for a child victim of trafficking, call an HHS/ORR Child Protection Specialist at 202.205.4582.

What assistance is available to child victims of human trafficking?

Victims of trafficking who meet State eligibility requirements may access medical screenings, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and public housing programs.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Human Trafficking: 21st Century Slavery

Overview of Human Trafficking Issue

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Victims of human trafficking are young children, teenagers, men and women. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor.

After drug dealing, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second largest criminal industry in the world, and is the fastest growing.

Many victims of human trafficking are forced to work in prostitution or the sex entertainment industry. But trafficking also occurs in forms of labor exploitation, such as domestic servitude, restaurant work, janitorial work, sweatshop factory work and migrant agricultural work.

Traffickers use various techniques to instill fear in victims and to keep them enslaved. Some traffickers keep their victims under lock and key. However, the more frequent practice is to use less obvious techniques including:

  • Debt bondage - financial obligations, honor-bound to satisfy debt
  • Isolation from the public - limiting contact with outsiders and making sure that any contact is monitored or superficial in nature
  • Isolation from family members and members of their ethnic and religious community
  • Confiscation of passports, visas and/or identification documents
  • Use or threat of violence toward victims and/or families of victims
  • The threat of shaming victims by exposing circumstances to family
  • Telling victims they will be imprisoned or deported for immigration violations if they contact authorities
  • Control of the victims' money, e.g., holding their money for "safe-keeping"

In October 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) made human trafficking a Federal crime. It was enacted to prevent human trafficking overseas, to protect victims and help them rebuild their lives in the U.S., and to prosecute traffickers of humans under Federal penalties. Prior to 2000, no comprehensive Federal law existed to protect victims of trafficking or to prosecute their traffickers.

What the HHS Does

Victim Identification and Public Awareness

Rescue and Restore Campaign

ATIP leads the HHS Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking public awareness campaign, which established Rescue and Restore coalitions in 24 cities, regions and States. These community action groups are comprised of NGO leaders, academics, students, law enforcement agents, and other key stakeholders who are committed to addressing the problem of human trafficking in their own communities.

Rescue and Restore Regional Program

The Rescue and Restore Regional Program serves as the focal point for regional public awareness campaign activities and intensification of local outreach to identify victims of human trafficking. Each Rescue and Restore Regional partner oversees and builds the capacity of a local anti-trafficking network, sub-awarding 60 percent of grant funds to grassroots organizations that identify and work with victims. By acting as a focal point for regional anti-trafficking efforts, Rescue and Restore Regional partners encourage a cohesive and collaborative approach in the fight against modern-day slavery.

Assistance for Victims of Human Trafficking

Certifications and Eligibility Letters

HHS is the sole Federal agency authorized to certify adult foreign victims of human trafficking. Similarly, it is the sole Federal agency authorized to provide Eligibility Letters to minor foreign victims of human trafficking. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within HHS issues all Certifications and Eligibility Letters. Certification grants adult foreign victims of human trafficking access to Federal benefits and services to the same extent as refugees. Likewise, Eligibility Letters grant minor foreign victims of trafficking access to Federal benefits and services to the same extent as refugee s, including placement in the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors program, which provides specialized, culturally appropriate foster care or other licensed care settings, according to children’s individual needs. Trafficking victims who are U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) do not need Certification or Letters of Eligibility to be eligible for similar benefits and services.

Trafficking Victim Assistance Program

The National Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Program provides funding for comprehensive case management services on a per capita basis to foreign victims of trafficking and potential victims seeking HHS Certification in any location in the United States. The grantees provide case management to assist a victim of trafficking to become certified, and other necessary services after Certification, through a network of sub-awardees in locations throughout the country.

These grants ensure the provision of case management, referrals, and emergency assistance (such as food, clothing, and shelter) to victims of human trafficking and certain family members. They help them gain access to housing, employability services, mental health screening and therapy, medical care, and some legal services, enabling them to live free of violence and exploitation.

The trafficking victim services grantees, and the regions in which they or their partners provide services, are as follows:

  • U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI): HHS Regions 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10;
  • Heartland Human Care Services: HHS Regions 1, 2 and 5; and
  • Tapestri, Inc.: HHS Region 4.

National Human Trafficking Resource Center
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline for the human trafficking field in the United States and is reached by calling 1-888-3737-888 or emailing The NHTRC operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. The NHTRC works to improve the national response to protect victims of human trafficking in the U.S. by providing callers with a range of comprehensive services, including crisis intervention, urgent and non-urgent referrals, tip reporting, and comprehensive anti-trafficking resources and technical assistance for the anti-trafficking field and those who wish to get involved. The NHTRC is able to connect community members with additional tools to raise awareness and combat human trafficking in their local areas, as well as guide service providers and law enforcement personnel in their work with potential trafficking victims. To perform these functions, the NHTRC maintains a national database of organizations and individuals working in the anti-trafficking field, as well as a library of available anti-trafficking resources and materials.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Attorney Alex Meyerovich Speaks Out Against ICE Secure Communities Program

By: Mallory Huron

Bridgeport, CT -- Local attorney Alex Meyerovich spoke out recently against the federal Secure Communities program, which went into effect statewide in Connecticut on February 22.

Secure Communities, launched in 2008, is a federal program that combines the resources of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and local law enforcement.

Through the program, any set of fingerprints taken by local law enforcement will automatically be sent first to the FBI for a criminal background check, and next to the ICE database for an immigration status check. If there is a match to a criminal record, and/or ICE records show that the individual is in the U.S. illegally, or “otherwise removable,” the individual will be detained and subject to deportation proceedings.
As of October 2011, the program cites over 110,000 removals of immigrants convicted of crimes, which includes 39,500 removals of immigrants convicted of aggravated felony offenses such as murder, rape, and child sex abuse. The program is set to be in effect nationwide by 2013.

However, although the program is designed to target immigrants convicted of serious and often violent crimes, some claim that it will have possible detrimental side effects.

M.C. Law Group immigration attorney Alex Meyerovich, who opposes the program, discussed the potential pitfalls of Secure Communities on Wednesday, February 22, when the program went into effect statewide.

“For many people, it’s a challenge,” Meyerovich said of the program’s consequences on Wednesday. The program is already proving challenging – and controversial – with many arguing that it could have the problematic consequence of effectively turning local law enforcement into ICE immigration officers.

Secure Communities insists that local law enforcement officers are not given any additional responsibilities under the program, nor are they instructed or authorized to enforce federal immigration law. However, concerns about possible misuse of power linger, as well concerns over the larger impact for local communities.

“This program will probably do more damage to the communities than good,” said Meyerovich. “It creates a disincentive for immigrants to call the police, ever.”

This disincentive, Meyerovich argues, could pose a serious threat to community safety. Immigrants may begin to fear any interaction with local law enforcement, and may avoid reporting anything from car accidents to domestic violence disputes for fear of potential deportation. He maintains that if any resident, whether they reside in the U.S. legally or illegally, is dissuaded from alerting the police about matters of public and personal safety, then Secure Communities will actually be creating insecure and unsafe communities.

Watch the full News12 Connecticut interview with Attorney Meyerovich below.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Resources Available to Foreign Nationals Affected by Civil Unrest: Part II

Sometimes natural catastrophes and other extreme situations can occur that are beyond your control. These events can affect your USCIS application, petition or immigration status. USCIS cannot anticipate these events, but will do the best to help you get the benefits for which you qualify.

When requested, the following options may be available to people affected by natural catastrophes and other extreme situations:

Extensions & Changes of Status
USCIS recognizes that when affected by a disaster you may, through no fault of your own, fall out of status. When applying for an extension or change in status due to a disaster, USCIS may consider your request if you show how it is directly connected to the disaster.

Fee Waiver
If you are unable to pay the fee for a USCIS service or benefit, you may request that your fee be waived for certain forms by filing a Request for Fee Waiver, Form I-912 (or a written request).

Employment Authorization
As an academic student, you may need to work off-campus if a disaster has affected your ability to support yourself. The disaster may occur in the United States and prevent you from working on-campus or the disaster may occur overseas and affect your economic support. If you can demonstrate that you are from an affected country or region and you have been recommended for such employment by the Designated School Official (DSO), you may be eligible to receive employment authorization when filing the I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

Document Replacement
If you have lost your USCIS-issued documents through no fault of your own, you may show your need for replacing the documents.

To replace a/n...
You must file a...
Green Card
Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Residence Card, or request interim evidence of permanent residence stamp (I-551 stamp) from a USCIS Field Office
Form I-94
Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record
Employment Authorization Document
Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization

Abandonment or Failure to Respond to a Request for Evidence
If you have not appeared for an interview or submitted evidence, you may show how the disrupting event affected your connection to USCIS and your ability to appear or submit documents as required.

Expedited Processing
If you need USCIS to consider your request for a service or benefit more quickly, you may make that request when filing or after you file.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Resources Available to Foreign Nationals Affected by Civil Unrest: Part I

Conditions in your home country, such as civil unrest, may impede your ability to return home as originally planned or may create temporary financial difficulties for you and your family. Extreme situations beyond your control also may affect your ability to maintain lawful immigration status while in the United States. During these special situations, temporary relief measures may be available to eligible foreign nationals.

If you are a foreign national who has been affected by a severe environmental disaster or other extreme situation, the available options for which you may apply include:

*               A change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States;

*               Expedited adjudication and approval, where possible, of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;

*               Expedited processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and relatives of lawful permanent residents whose priority dates are current; and

*               Expedited employment authorization where appropriate.

Visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program may contact a USCIS local office for assistance.

For more information on USCIS humanitarian programs, visit or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Programs Available for Unaccompanied Refugee Minors

Program Goal

Through its network of caretakers, the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program helps unaccompanied minor refugees develop appropriate skills to enter adulthood and to achieve social self-sufficiency.

General Background

The State Department identifies refugee children overseas who are eligible for resettlement in the U.S., but do not have a parent or a relative available and committed to providing for their long term care. Upon arrival in the U.S., these refugee children are placed into the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) program and receive refugee foster care services and benefits.

The program was originally developed in the 1980s to address the needs of thousands of children in Southeast Asia without a parent or guardian to care for them. Since 1980, almost 13,000 minors have entered the URM program. At its peak in 1985, ORR provided protection to 3,828 children in care. Now in various States, ORR has about 700 children in care. While most children are placed in licensed foster homes, other licensed care settings are utilized according to children’s individual needs, such as therapeutic foster care, group homes, residential treatment centers, and independent living programs.

Program Description

The program establishes legal responsibility, under State law, to ensure that unaccompanied minor refugees and entrants receive the full range of assistance, care, and services which are available to all foster children in the State; a legal authority is designated to act in place of the child’s unavailable parent(s). Reunification of children with their parents or other appropriate adult relatives is encouraged, through family tracing and coordination with local refugee resettlement agencies. Additional services provided include: indirect financial support for housing, food, clothing, medical care and other necessities; intensive case management by social workers; independent living skills training; educational supports; English language training; career/college counseling and training; mental health services; assistance adjusting immigration status; cultural activities; recreational opportunities; support for social integration; and cultural and religious preservation.

Refugee children who enter the U.S. with family but experience a family breakdown may be eligible to participate in the URM program. ORR’s State Letters on reclassification to URM status provide the standards used to determine if such a child may access the program.

Children eligible for the URM Program are under age 18, are unaccompanied, and are:

  • Refugees
  • Entrants
  • Asylees
  • Victims of Trafficking

Two lead voluntary agencies − Lutheran Immigration Refugee Service (LIRS) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) − help ORR with the unaccompanied refugee minor program.

These agencies conduct several important functions for the URM program. They identify eligible children in need of URM services; provide technical assistance in the reclassification process; determine appropriate placements for children among their national networks of affiliated agencies; and conduct training, research and technical assistance on URM services.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

USCIS to Expand E-Verify Self Check to Entire U.S.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced February 9, that Self Check, a free online service of E-Verify that allows workers to check their own employment eligibility status, is now available in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. Launched in March 2011 by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas, the announcement delivers on the goal of expanding Self Check nationally within one year.

“We are pleased to complete, ahead of schedule, our expansion of this important tool for employees,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas during a press conference at the agency’s field office in Orlando, Fla. “Since our initial launch in March, approximately 67,000 people have used Self Check and we anticipate that participation will dramatically increase with service now available to individuals across the country.”

Self Check was developed through a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide individuals a tool to check their own employment eligibility status, as well as guidance on how to correct their DHS and SSA records. It is the first online E-Verify service offered directly to workers. Available in English and Spanish, Self Check enables individuals to enter the same information into Self Check that employers enter into E-Verify.

Since the program’s inception, thousands of individuals have used Self Check, available in English and Spanish, to access their federal employment eligibility records and for guidance on how to correct potential record discrepancies prior to the hiring process.

In August 2011, Self Check became a bi-lingual service available to users in both English and Spanish, broadening the scope of the program to members of our U.S. workforce who are more comfortable reading Spanish-language materials.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Green Card for an Asylee: Part II

Family Members of Asylees

The USCIS asylum program accepts new Form I-589 applications from derivative asylees (spouses or children of a principal asylee) who no longer meet the definition of a spouse or child of the principal asylee in order to provide such individuals with a way to become a permanent resident

Note: In certain cases, the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) may allow you to retain the classification of “child” even if you have reached age 21.

Family Application Process

You must prepare a separate Form I-485 application packet for yourself (the principal asylee) and for your spouse and each child who received derivative asylee status if they also want to obtain a green card.

You may submit several different application packages in the same mailing package. To hold each application packet together, please use a single staple or a paper clip.

Change of Address

If your address changes, you must inform USCIS in writing within 10 days of moving.

You may meet this requirement by:

*               Mailing Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card, to the address on the form

*               Completing “Step 1” of the Online “Change My Address” Form

You should NOT mail the AR-11 to the correct address AND complete an online change of address.

While your asylum application is pending with the Asylum Office, you must ALSO notify the Asylum Office within 10 days after you change your address in one of the following ways:

*               Complete “Step 2” of the online form

*               Mail an original or copy of Form AR-11 to the Asylum Office

*               Mail a letter with your old and new address information to the Asylum Office

*               Provide your new address to the Asylum Office in-person

*               Provide your new address to the asylum officer at your interview, or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283

Friday, February 17, 2012

Green Card for an Asylee: Part I

If USCIS granted you asylum status, you are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) 1 year after receiving your grant of asylum. Your spouse and children are also eligible to apply for a green card if they were admitted to the United States as asylees or were included in your grant of asylum.

You are not required to apply for a green card; however, it may be in your best interest to do so. You may no longer qualify for asylum status with the right to remain permanently in the United States if:
  • country conditions change in your home country or
  • you no longer meet the definition of an asylee due to changed circumstances.
Eligibility Criteria

If you are an asylee, you may apply for a green card 1 year after being granted asylum if you:

Have been physically present in the United States for at least 1 year after being granted asylum

*               Continue to meet the definition of a asylee (or continue to be the spouse or child of such asylee)

*               Have not abandoned your asylee status

*               Are not firmly resettled in any foreign country

*               Continue to be admissible to the United States (A waiver may be available to you if you are now inadmissible)

Application Process
To apply for a green card, you must file the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status.

Note: When your green card is granted, you (and your derivative family members) will have your date of adjustment of status rolled back 1 year from the date your green card is granted.

Supporting Evidence For Form I-485
If your asylum status is granted, you should file a Form I-485 with the following supporting documentation (in this order):

*               Completed and signed Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

*               Completed and signed Form I-693, Report of Medical Exam and Vaccination Record, if required.

*               Applicable fees

*                       Asylees must pay the Form I-485 application fee and the fingerprint fee

*                       Applicants under the age of 14 do not need to submit a fingerprint fee

*               Completed and signed Form I-602, Application by Refugee for Waiver of Grounds of Excludability (if applicable)

*               Copy of your I-94 card

*             Asylees may also submit a copy of their approval notice granting asylum or a copy of the immigration judge’s orders showing that you were granted asylum

*               A completed Form G-325A, Biographic Information Sheet, if you are between 14 and 79 years of age

*               Certified copies of court records (if you have been arrested)

*               Two passport-style photos

Note: You must submit any foreign language documents with a certified English translation. The translator must certify that he/she is competent to perform the translation and that the translation is accurate. Note that translations submitted without a legible copy of the foreign document are not sufficient.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Green Cards for a Refugee

If you were admitted as a refugee, you are required by law to apply for a green card (permanent residence) in the United States 1 year after being admitted as a refugee.
Eligibility Criteria
You must apply for a green card 1 year after you are admitted to the United States as a refugee if you:
*               Have been physically present in the United States for at least 1 year after being admitted as a refugee

*               Have not had your refugee admission terminated

*               Have not already acquired permanent resident (green card) status
Application Process
To apply for a green card as a refugee, you need to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
Note: When permanent residency is granted, you will have your adjustment of status date recorded as the day you entered into the United States as a refugee.
Supporting Evidence For Form I-485
To apply for a green card, refugees should submit the following documents and information (in this order):

*               Form I-485, signed (Box "h" of Part 2 should be marked with the word "refugee" printed on the accompanying line)

*               Two photos in an envelope stapled to lower left corner

*                       Your name and A-number, if known, should be lightly written in pencil on the back of each photo

*                       Details on photo size, etc., may be found on the Form I-485 instructions

*               Form G-28, if applicable, signed by you and the attorney (or authorized representative)

*                       Facsimile signature stamps are acceptable for the signature of the representatives

*                       However, you must sign the initial Form G-28 submitted with the application in the original

*               Form G-325A

*               Form I-693, signed by you and the civil surgeon, with only the vaccination portion completed

*       You may have the vaccination portion of the Form I-693 completed at any state or local health department or may choose to make an appointment with a civil surgeon designated by the USCIS to conduct medical examinations

*       Call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to locate USCIS-designated civil surgeons (doctors) where you live

*               A complete Form I-693 is required only if:

*       There were medical grounds of inadmissibility noted at the time of arrival in the United States

*       If the refugee status was granted to the individual in the United States by an approved Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition

*       If neither of these conditions apply, all that is required is the vaccination portion

*               Evidence of refugee status (This might include a clear, readable photocopy of Form I-94 or a copy of your Employment Authorization Document)

*               Proof of any legal name change you have obtained since you were granted refugee status
Family Application Process
You must prepare a separate Form I-485 application packet for each member of your family who wishes to obtain a green card. All family members’ application packets should be mailed together in the same mailing envelope. To hold each application packet together, please use a single staple or a paper clip.
Change of Address
If your address changes, you must inform USCIS in writing within 10 days of moving. This must be done for each family member. Submitting a change of address for the head of household or a single member of the household only will not change the address for the other family members. You may meet this requirement by:

*               Mailing Form AR-11, Alien's Change of Address Card, to the address on the form

*               Completing "Step 1" on the form

Friday, February 10, 2012

N-Form Processing Reminder

On October 19, 2011, a USCIS Update was issued announcing processing improvements for certain naturalization and citizenship forms. USCIS had centralized intake of Forms N-336, N-600 and N-600K to the Phoenix Lockbox facility. The Dallas Lockbox facility now handles the Form N-300. This change streamlined the way forms are processed, accelerated the collection and deposit of fees and improved the consistency of our intake process.
Please remember that impacted forms received at local and district offices after December 2, 2011, are no longer forwarded to the appropriate USCIS Lockbox facility.  Beginning December 5, impacted forms that were received locally were returned to the individual with instructions on how to re-file at a designated USCIS Lockbox facility.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Family of Refugees & Asylees

If you entered the United States as a refugee within the past 2 years or were granted asylee status within the past 2 years, you may petition for certain family members to obtain derivative refugee or asylee status.
You May Petition for the Following Family Members:
  • Spouse 
  • Child (unmarried and under 21 when you first applied for asylum or refugee status)
Eligibility Criteria
  • As the petitioner, you must be a principal refugee or asylee. This means that you were granted refugee or asylee status directly and did not obtain it through a relative.
  • You entered the United States as a refugee within the past 2 years or were granted asylum within the past 2 years.
  • You remain in refugee or asylee status or have become a permanent resident (received a green card). If you have already become a U.S. citizen through naturalization, you cannot petition to obtain derivative refugee or asylee status for a relative. However you may still be able to help family immigrate to the United States.
  • The family relationship had to exist before you came to the United States as a refugee or were granted asylum: 
  • If you want to file for your spouse, you had to be married before you entered as a refugee or were granted asylum.
  • Your child had to be conceived (this means the mother was already pregnant) or born before you entered as a refugee or were granted asylum.
Application Process
File Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition.