In high school a friend had an assignment describing his utopia. In case you are not familiar with utopia, its essentially an ideal world; or as Wikipedia describes it, utopia is “an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system.” I guess it was a sign that we’re not living in our own version of a utopia when my friend received this fun assignment and I was likely assigned something painful like trigonometry or geometry, clearly not my version of utopia but I digress. As an Immigration lawyer I have my own version of Immigration Utopia. My ideal world of how US Immigration should work. As mentioned above, we are clearly living in a painful time of immigration. With many people sneaking into the US with clear demand for their labor and family presence as well as others that have clearly proven their case but there are not enough available green cards to be allotted. The most painful of all, a child brought to the US without inspection or even with inspection, they mature like a normal American kid, go to high school, college, and then want to find a job only to realize they do not have Immigration status. These examples are just to show we are not living in my version of Immigration Utopia. So below is a top five list of changes that would move us towards my subjective world of U.S. Immigration. 1. Guest Worker Program Guest Worker Program for North America with path to normal immigration system (i.e. eligibility for green cards and naturalization if qualify). The guest worker program system would allow those already in the U.S. without a criminal record to be eligible, however, a large fee would be fair to those that have complied with current laws and have gone through the long process. 2. Dream Act Dream Act with path to a green card and eligibility for naturalization. For example, if a child is taken to the U.S. illegally and they go through college or serve in our military, they should be eligible for non-immigrant status in the US with an ultimate path to a green card based on eligibility through employment, investment, or marriage to a US Citizen. 3. Expansion of Employment based Green Card Categories More employment based Green Cards; Its extremely unfair to have a backlog of many years when an employer takes the time to sponsor someone for an EB3 or an EB2 (ie. an employment based green card) and then be expected to wait for 5 to 10 years. These are US employers that would like to retain skilled talent in the U.S., ie. persons from around the world such as India, China, Canada, Australia, and other parts of the world. The persons applying for these green cards are generally highly skilled and persons that contribute to our economy. Its in the interest of our country to want to attract some of the best and brightest from around the world. However, someone applying for an EB3 currently has a 6 year wait time. And this can fluctuate dramatically. This is not fair for U.S. employers and for these skilled persons from around the world to have to jump through hoops for 6 years, incur attorney fees, government filing fees, advertising costs, and a lot of stress with no guarantee of being approved after the long wait period. 4. Elimination of PERM System Elimination of the PERM system – PERM is the process of recruitment in employment based green cards to make sure there are no available U.S. workers qualified for the permanent position being offered to the overseas person by the U.S. employer. Presumably the U.S. employer conducted an extensive search when they first hired the overseas person. After working for the U.S. employer for a period of time, the U.S. employer liked the overseas worker enough to want to employ the person full time and incur more immigration costs. Now the U.S. employer must recruit again for this position. What about the poor persons that apply for this position. They have a pretty small chance of being offered the job when the U.S. employer is just conducting the recruitment to satisfy the green card process. Now, not only is the employer’s time being wasted, but so is the poor people making an application to this position that really is not meant for them. They could use that time to find other jobs that are guaranteed to be open. 5. Electronic Immigration Filing System Fully electronic immigration filing system; Although many may think of me as a Chicago Immigration Lawyer or our law firm as a Chicago based law firm, our clients are spread throughout the US and overseas. We manage to service our clients very efficiently despite the geographical barrier as we are in a world of scanning, emailing, faxing, uploading to servers, telephone, skype, etc. These invaluable tools are now becoming routine and commonplace. It only makes sense to have a full scale electronic filing system. If anyone has ever opened a credit card or bank account, our electronic signature is clearly good enough to legally bind us to the bank, I would think an electronic signature should do the same for Immigration purposes. Then again as a practicing immigration lawyer, not just a Chicago Immigration Lawyer, this is my utopia.
On January 19, 2010, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule that changes the DHS’s regulations by implementing a statutory amendment reducing from three years to one year the length of time a member of the United States Armed Forces has to serve to qualify for naturalization through service in the Armed Forces. In addition, this rule also amends DHS regulations by implementing a statutory amendment to include as eligible for naturalization individuals who served or are serving as members of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve of the U.S. Armed Forces during specified periods of hostility. This rule also eliminates the need to submit G-325B, Biographic Information. In the past, aliens who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during peacetime were eligible for naturalization only after serving for period of three years and only those who were in active status were eligible to naturalize. Until 2003, the govement reduced the three years requirement to one year for alien Army in active status during peacetime and extended the benefit of naturalization to individuals who have served as members of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve of the U.S. Armed Forces during such periods of hostilities.