The Week Ahead: Dec. 19-23

Communications Associate

December 19, 2016

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I care about immigrants because God cares about immigrants, and I hope you’ll care about them too.”

— Tom Parker, Director of Fuller Seminary Arizona, Dec. 16

SUMMARY

Naturalization Fee Increase Highlights Barriers to Citizenship

On Friday, fees to apply for citizenship, renew a green card or have a family member immigrate to the United States will increase.

The cost to naturalize will increase to $640 from $595, not including the $85 biometrics fee. For lawful permanent residents seeking to naturalize, cost is one of several potential barriers. The increase highlights these barriers and the importance of keeping citizenship within reach.

Fees for the I-130 form, which U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents use to apply to bring their family members into the country, will increase to $535 from $420. Green card renewals will increase to $455 from $365. Fees for the form that covers one-year work permits for immigrants who are eligible, the I-765, will increase to $410 from $380.

Because U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is not funded by taxes, the agency said the application fee increases are necessary to continue operations and to keep fee waivers in place for applicants with lower incomes.

USCIS also will expand the fee waiver program for lower-income applicants, which would allow for a partial fee waiver for the approximately 12 percent of citizenship-eligible lawful permanent residents who earn between 150 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Immigrants across the country are working to submit their applications before the changes are put into effect.

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:

http://immigrationforum.org/blog/the-week-ahead-dec-12-16/

MUST READS:

VICE: This Small Town Is Helping Undocumented Immigrants, but Don’t Call It a ‘Sanctuary City’
By Meredith Hoffman
December 15, 2016

Storm Lake, Iowa, isn’t a “sanctuary city.” Not if you ask Police Chief Mark Prosser, anyway. He says the term doesn’t have any proper meaning, though it’s broadly understood to mean a town where local authorities don’t make an effort to enforce federal immigration laws or hold undocumented immigrants in jail at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). President-Elect Donald Trump has repeatedly pledged to cut federal funding to these cities, even as defiant liberal metropolises like Seattle, New York, and Chicago have vowed to stay the course.

But while some local governments pass official “sanctuary” policies and trumpet their status to the world, there are dozens—if not hundreds—of communities like Storm Lake choosing to quietly protect their undocumented residents because it simply makes sense.

Read more: http://www.vice.com/read/sanctuary-cities-complicated-politics-small-towns

AURORA BEACON-NEWS (Illinois): Building trust between Aurora cops, Hispanic residents critical in 2017
By Denise Crosby
December 17, 2016

When newly appointed Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman took over duties as top cop in this community a year ago, one of the goals she set for the department was to build communication bridges and break down walls of mistrust with law enforcement.

Nowhere was that more important than in the Hispanic community where many residents were living in fear and uncertainty because of immigration policies and rumors that police were going around knocking on doors and arresting people.

And so, one very public way she set about addressing that concern was going straight to the masses … as in Palm Sunday services at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

At the conclusion of five liturgies at this Hispanic parish on Aurora’s East Side, she and Deputy Chief Keefe Jackson, along with the city’s Community Coordinator Cheryl Maraffio, addressed the congregations, assuring them they need not fear calling the police when they are the victim or a witness to a crime.

Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/opinion/ct-abn-crosby-police-hispanics-1219-20161219-column.html

USA TODAY (Snow Op-Ed): The gut-wrenching life of an immigration judge
By Thomas G. Snow
December 12, 2016

I am an immigration judge.  People I meet seem pretty interested in that, especially lately. But they often don’t seem to understand what we do. I’ve found that the best way to explain the job is to describe some of the decisions we make.

People come before an immigration judge because the U.S. government, via the Department of Homeland Security, is trying to deport them. And there is usually little dispute that they are deportable. They’ve come across the border illegally, or they’ve overstayed their visas, or they have legal status in the U.S. but have committed crimes that make them deportable. So we don’t have to spend much time deciding whether someone is here legally or not.

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/12/12/immigration-judge-gut-wrenching-decisions-column/95308118/