Yes, I'm the first to admit that I am an adamant supporter of immigration reform, making it possible for people to come to the US to work their butts off and follow the American Dream, and giving those already in this country who have lived by the rules a path to citizenship. But I also realize others have different views and I try to repsect that.
The political debates are good, but there is something else happening in this country - HATE! No, not the kind used when I say I hated Dubya or my friend Marc tells me how he hates Obama. I mean the kind that causes anger and resentment to build and ultimately manifests itself in people being able to condone pure evil. Sounds like Islamic terrorists - doesn't it?
But it's happening right here by supposed "Patriots" against US citizens.
We must fight this!
Last week I posted a story about a fine young man being deported because he was brought this country without immigration papers by his parents.
Congress is looking to pass what was (and hopefullly will remain) the bipartisan DREAM Act to give kids like this young man a path to citizenship.
In my mind, this is a true test of common sense over politics. It will be interesting how many members of Congress who supported in the past change their vote because of the stupidity of the "Lame Duck" mentality. Our members of Congress are elected for a full term and that term hasn't ended. I expect them to work and to treat each issue on its own merits.
Something like this has nothing to do with expiring tax cuts, government bailout, or health care reform. So please, call your Senators and Reps and tell them to allow the bill be to voted on!
Read this story: http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20101122/NEWS01/11230314/Reading-grad-faces-deportation for a perfect example of why what is currently happening in this country is what I can only call un-American.
Here is a kid who is an American. He's lived here his whole life. It's the only place he knows. He's behaves well. He's an athlete. He's a scholar. He is an example of what has made this country something to be proud of - wave of wave of immigrants who come here, work hard, teach their kids the American Dream, and see it realized from their hard work.
I am nothing short of ashamed that our laws would have this child deported. Bceause he appears to encompass that we're proud.
And to me, I couldn't care less, not in the slightest bit, whether this child has his papers or not. He is an AMERICAN in the U.S. sense of the word!!!!
On a lighter note from most discussions of late, Congress has some bills before that impact intercountry adoption. And yes, the sadistic humor was intended...
Of particular interest is the Families for Orphans Act.For that one, JCICS has issued a call to action for support. You can find all of the info on it here:
But wait, not all things are clear cut and dry (is that the expression). While aspects and intentions of the bill may be good, what do they really mean? Well to get a viewpoint on that, Ethica has issued its dos quetzales against the bill here:
As for me, who never claims impartiality on matters of US legislation, I'm not sure. I have not read the bill yet and after reading both sides, my gut goes with JCICS. Removing hurdles is a positive thing and it seems like safeguards wouldn't really be jeopardized. BUT, I need to read the bill and ponder Ethica's position. There are some points to their argument that if I feel have teeth based on what's in the bill could very well sway me.
And why not have a public debate here for all those like me who are at this moment undecided....
Yesterday's NY Times had a sickening and appalling story in it that has grabbed the attention of the adoption and immigration rights circles.
The story focuses on the horrendous aftermath that occurs when DHS ICE raids workplaces in search of undocumented workers. In particular, a case where a Guatemalan woman was incarcerated following a raid on a poultry plant and her son was subsequently adopted without her knowledge or approval.
You can read the story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/us/23children.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1
have worked in the food manufacturing industry for years. I was recently speaking to the manager of a plant in the poultry industry about his labor concerns. His latest problem was that many of his Latin-American employees were quitting and either returning to their home country or finding work in places less likely to be raided. He prefaced that these are employees he knows to be legal (through the gov. sponsored social security number verification process). So why would they leave? Because they are afraid that if there is a raid, they could be mistakenly accused and separated from their children while they attempt to prove their status. I’m not here to say that these legal immigrants are justified in this fear. But by god when I read a story like this one I understand their concerns.
I’ve seen some things posted on other lists today throwing a lot of mud on the adoptive parents, who pushed this, it was not initiated by the courts. While that was and is my instinct as well, let’s also remember that all we have is one newspaper story as a knowledge base. Trust me that newspapers don’t always fully understand the intricacies of a story before publishing it. As I read the story, I did see an angle where the APs could have thought they were doing everything possible to ensure the child’s mother was aware when in actuality, because of illiteracy and language barriers, that may not have been the case.
What upsets me more than anything else is the sentiment and statements of the judge in the case. That guy should be removed from the bench. He had no way to know what kind of mother she was. Being undocumented in the US does not make someone anything worse than a victim of circumstance striving to survive. How on earth could this judge have granted this adoption without getting testimony from his mother when it was clear where she was?
If you ask me, that judge is guilty of kidnapping and far more deserves to be behind bars than this poor chapina whose child was stolen!
Obama would boost the initiative this year
To read about the upcoming reforms please see More:
Emma Hervert lives in the United States and is now 18 years old. She has no problems with her immigration status because she was born there (in the US) and her dad is American. However, her mom does have problems.
Emma said that problems arose last January, when police arrived at her home in Irving, Illinois, arguing that they had outstanding warrants. It seemed strange because she claimed no one had trouble with the law and thus let them pass.
Upon entering, they identified themselves as immigration agents and took their eye off of Emma and her brother Jackson in 7 years and took their mother. The problem was that their mother was married to an American, but was divorced before she could be legalized, and thus became undocumented.
"Since then, every time we see her at a hearing we think will it be the last time we see her? We need her very much. My brother has asthma and I am epileptic. She is the one who always brings us to the doctor ... If they cast her off, It will rip my heart open, it is going to kill me," Emma said, referring to his mother's situation in Guatemala.
This is just one of thousands of cases they face daily of undocumented Guatemalans in the United States. In the absence of a policy to regularize immigration, illegal aliens can not be legalized and risk being deported at any time.
For nearly ten years in the United States has been talking about immigration reform, to solve the huge problem faced by the undocumented. Since the arrival of former President George W. Bush raised the possibility of a plan that would cover the situation, but he never was in favor of it and during his presidential term.
In previous U.S. elections, the Democratic Party heavily promoted among its campaign promises, the creation of an immigration reform that would among other things, the possibility that undocumented immigrants who are not in additional problems and can pay a fine eligible for citizenship.
This week, President Barack Obama gave a pleasant surprise when referring that this year will not pass without the submission of an immigration reform proposal to the U.S. Congress.
"The President talked about how the administration will work with Hispanic Members to address the concerns of immigration in both the short and long term," the White House said in a statement by his spokesman, Robert Gibbs.
Obama said that the issue will be discussed in his meeting with President Felipe Calderón in Mexico next month. Moreover, in April Obama will also meet with the Latin American presidents in Guatemala where the government hopes to contribute to the proposals.
Fernando Barillas, spokesman of President Alvaro Colom said he sees the announcement of Obama as the anti-immigrant policies were too harsh and also hope to initiate dialogue for immigration reform, which will benefit thousands of chapines are living without documents in the United States.
"And to see if (the government) Guatemala puts on its batteries ("se pone las pilas" this means to get going fast) and wag our tails or we will miss in this effort. It's now or never, "says Villaseñor July, migrant leader of Los Angeles.
In this regard, the main migrant organizations in the United States have already begun to prepare for work with the Government and representatives to Congress for these proposals. "We are committed to working with the government and leaders in the House and Senate to make sure that the President's campaign promise on immigration reform a reality this year," said La Raza, one of the largest organizations of migrants.
A LEGISLATIVE ACTION
"The President repeated and reiterated their commitment to a clear and unequivocal manner, had every intention of doing so (submit reform) this year," said Luis Gutierrez, Democrat of Illinois, and deputy defense causes of migrants.
Gutiérrez: These statements were made at a public event organized by Congressman Gutierrez last Saturday, which supported the immigration reform in 17 cities through acts of the American Union.
In Oak Cliff, where the legislators participated, over a thousand people came to support.
"We must address the issue of immigration reform, it is not just because we are trying to help, first, the people not to lose their homes, so you do not lose your job or your pension, but otherwise not to use force of the government to remove these people from their homes ... sending agents, destroying families and deporting those families, "said Gutierrez.
According to Julio Villaseñor, a Guatemalan immigrant in Los Angeles and president of International SOS Immigration, "not only the Congressional Hispanic people are talking about immigration reform. Democratic Senator Reed, a representative for Nevada, said a few days ago to expect the Senate by September to determine a proposed immigration law that is working. "
Besides these, other politicians also support immigration reform, as Congressman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez and Nydia Velasquez, Member of New York.
Following this announcement, migrants in the United States, especially Guatemalans, are preparing to submit their proposals and collaborate.
According to the aforementioned Julio Villaseñor, in June or July might be a good time to learn that the Senate proposal, so that in November, and legislation has a list that can be sent to President Obama for approval.
On that date also coincides Fernando Muñoz, president of Movement of Guatemalan Immigrants (Migua), who believes that for Thanksgiving Day, the last Thursday of November, one might think that the reform is approved.
Before the announcement, the question arises: what can we expect with the Immigration Reform? According to Julio Villaseñor, SOS International Immigration, expect that with this law "at least be allowed to legalize those who have entered the United States 5 years ago and have no felonies on your criminal record, plus they can receive their residency without having to leave the US to do so. "
Even Villasenor could be expected to legalize even those who had received a deportation order, maybe doing a short process in courts.
"I asked what should be included. Well, basically, leading to US citizenship (for migrants), which benefits reuniting families ... in a word that is fair and comprehensive for all, "outlines Fernando Muñoz of Migua.
However, there is another more pressing point, and to stop the persecution of migrants, in terms Edgar Ayala, California migrant leader also Migua and member of the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (Nalacc, in English).
"We want Obama ordered a halt to deportations and raids, and had a fair trial to all immigrants who are detained in the raids product. A review of contracts from the federal government and the private prison system that handles the detention centers for immigrants without papers, "says Ayala
"I want to thank you for having come to fight for what we believe and seek to continue to do so because our immigration system is not functioning effectively. This is something we have been trying to years to resolve and we can not give up. They have to keep trying again and again until a change is achieved. "
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Member of Dallas "As in the case of health reform, Obama will convene a public forum in probably two months to discuss the proposals on how to legalize undocumented migrants and how to solidify the immigration system."
Senator from New Jersey. "Only I can tell you that the Chairman pointed out that it was a man of his word. We believe that we will move forward this year."
Member of New York and head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Two draft immigration reform failed in Congress in 2006 and 2007, living in a country where some 12 million undocumented, most of them Hispanic.
Last week at a public event in California, the president Barack Obama defended the need for immigration reform "integral" without an "instant amnesty" for illegal immigrants, but giving them a path to a path to citizenship after fulfilling several requirements.
The president said that the border should be strengthened, but also committing themselves to "employers who are exploiting undocumented workers."
The White House confirmed that Obama will travel to Mexico next month, just before the V Summit of the Americas from 17 to 19 April in Trinidad and Tobago.
Obama voted in 2007 as a senator in favor of immigration reform. When he participated in the elections, that was one of its main themes that attracted the Hispanic community.
Political analysts warn that one should not miss the bells on the fly. Although the Democrats control the White House and have a majority in Congress, his priority is to repair the economy, said in interviews previas.12
There are millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
PROPOSED MINIMUM POINTS:
There are points that migrant groups have reached consensus on the petitions to immigration reform. Everyone agrees that the current immigration laws are outdated and do not work. The adoption in 1996 of the Act for the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility (IIRIRA, for short), expanded and institutionalized a system hard against immigrants and restricting immigration. This law stemmed from the notion that immigrants today are a threat to the country. Should be abolished or at least deeply reform the legal framework established by IIRIRA. It is therefore necessary as a minimum:
1. The immediate suspension of all raids on work sites and housing.
2. Giving a legal way for people already living in the United States without immigration authorization.
3. Accelerate the process of obtaining permanent residence of all persons who have requested it.
4. Create a National Integration Program for Immigrants.
5. Dismantle the wall on the southern border of the United States and restore civil rights in border communities.
6. The programs of humanitarian protection for refugees and asylum seekers should be strengthened.
7. Evaluate the creation of a guest worker program, to connect workers available outside the United States, with jobs available.
8. Substantially raise the social and economic life in the migrant-generating countries.
9. Change the policies of trade and development that the United States has promoted in Latin America
On its site, JCICS has listed what the US will require for documentation, under the assumption that the cases will be treated as abandonments. Obviously absent from this is how the cases will get through the Guatemalan part of the equation.
We have no further information on this beyond what JCICS has posted.
Info on the JCICS site can be found here: http://www.jcics.org/Guatemala.htm or click on more.
October 20, 2008
The following details Joint Council’s understanding of the process and requirements for a Guatemalan adoption which was initiated as a relinquishment but is now considered an abandonment case. We recognize that this information is certain to generate numerous questions and requests for clarification. Please note that the following represent all of the information available at this time. Joint Council and USCIS are actively seeking further clarification and will publish any additional information provided by the Guatemalan or U.S. governments.
Relinquishment to Abandonment Process
1.) For those cases which were initiated as relinquishment cases but are now determined by the Guatemalan government to be abandonment cases, USCIS is not requiring potential adoptive parents to withdraw their initial I-600A petitions nor submit an I-800A petition.
a.)Potential adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to maintain a valid status for the I-600A approval (aka I-171H) via the newly announced ‘grandfather’ provisions. In the case of Guatemala, letting an I-600A application lapse could cause a family to wait an undetermined about of time, possibly into years.
2.) USCIS is requiring the following documentation for these cases.
a.)Adoption consent properly filled out with signatures legalized in an authorized format.
b.)Child’s birth certificate in literal form with corresponding annotation of the courts resolution.
c.)Original certificate of resolution of declaration of the violation of the human rights of the minor, issued by the Guatemalan competent court of abandonment
d.)Notorial deed of appointment granted by the minor’s legal representative
e.)Legalization certificate for the copies presented
f.)All documents that are not originals must be authenticated
g.)All documents must be submitted in person by the attorney or Potential Adoptive Parents.
h.)All documents must be submitted to the Consular Section entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City at 7:00 a.m. (Monday to Thursday) in order to request a number for the public adoptions window #10.
3.) Documents must be submitted as soon as the Potential Adoptive Parents are aware that the process has been changed from relinquishment to abandonment and before all other final documents are submitted to USCIS.
Joint Council respectfully requests your cooperation in refraining from contacting us directly, at this time, concerning questions and/or comments regarding this specific issue. We look forward to further information and clarifications from USCIS and will continue to publish any new information.
Please read below from JCICS regarding I-600A.
Dear Families & Friends,
After advocating on behalf of adoptive families for the past 6 months, Joint Council is very pleased to confirm that USCIS has announced a very positive ruling concerning the I-600A process.
In summary, it is our understanding that, effective immediately, families who filed Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition, prior to April 1, 2008 and whose USCIS approval of that petition (aka the I-171H) has not expired, will be able to proceed with their adoption under the I-600A process if they take certain steps while their approval remains valid. This means that families with valid Form I-600A approvals will not be required to transition to The Hague process via Form I-800A. In order to maintain their status as ‘grandfathered’ cases, families with non-expired Form I-600A approvals must request a one-time free extension. Then, prior to the expiration of the one-time free extension, families must file a new Form I-600A and pay the appropriate fee.
It is also our understanding that families with a Form I-600A approval that has expired and who have not obtained an extension or filed a new Form I-600A, will need to undertake the Hague process. The Hague process will also apply to any petitioner who has not completed their adoption by 2014.
As we noted in our Position Statement, this ruling will save adoptive families thousands of dollars, eliminate countless sleepless nights and ensures that their adoption can proceed to completion.
On behalf of over 10,000 adoptive families, Joint Council extends its appreciation to the following individuals and organizations for their tireless efforts.
-Diane Kunz, Executive Director of the Center for Adoption Policy
-Dianne Pearce, Waiting Parent and Co-Organizer of the Fairness
for Families Petition
-Debbie Reynolds, Joint Council China Caucus Co-Chairperson
-Kathleen Strottman, Executive Director of the
Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute
-David Yurkovich, Waiting Parent and Co-Organizer of the Fairness
for Families Petition
-Members of the United States Congress
-United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
We offer our collective congratulations to everyone who participated in the Joint Council Call-To-Action and the Adoption for All: Fairness for Families petition. And we also send our congratulations to all who participated in the countless meetings, conference calls and emails over the past 6-months. Joint Council is built on a principle of collaboration and this very successful effort clearly demonstrates this principle in action. Our collective voice is definitely stronger than any singular organization or individual.
Joint Council notes that our interpretation of the ruling is offered as a courtesy only and should not be used in making determinations or decisions. Please refer to the full text of the announcements by USCIS which can be found at USCIS Announcement and USCIS Q&A in making any decisions.
Joint Council will provide more specifics as they become available and asks you to visit our website for the latest news and updates.
Best Wishes & Congratulations,
October 14, 2008
According to preliminary results of a survey conducted in August 2008 by Joint Council, over 600 children referred to families adopting from Guatemala still remain without their families. 56 % of the over 500 families surveyed indicate that their case has been released by the CNA to PGN for final processing. 37% indicated that their case had been released by the PGN.
Of the families whose cases had been released by PGN, only 11.5% reported having received passports from the Guatemalan government. Frustration levels among those surveyed were extremely high, significant frustration pointing towards the Guatemalan government’s implementation of the Hague and slow processing times of the CNA, PGN, along with the long wait for post-adoption birth certificates. Many also expressed surprise at what they perceived to be lack of concern on the part of the US government.
Joint Council is devoted to ensuring that children who were referred to families before January 1,2008, and whose cases have followed the necessary steps indicated by the US and Guatemalan governments arrive home to their families. Joint Council will continue to fight for the rights of these children.
Our friends at Buffalo CIS have requested that we let our readers know to always include your child's registration/A# on any requests or correspondences. Yes, our government's computers have depersonalized our kids to a number, not a name, and as such they need that number in order to ensure a timely response.
Happy Fourth of July! Feliz dia de independencia!
I received a note fro my contact at the Buffalo office - who is the most customer-centric person I have ever encountered in government. He says that they are almost all caught up of G884 requests with only a dozen or so left.
He asked mt post this info:
If a family has brought an adopted child into the U.S. since January 1, 2004 and the child had an IR-3 VISA and it has been more than 45 days since the child arrived into the U.S., the family should have already received the child’s Certificate of Citizenship.
The Buffalo, NY office handles the G-884 requests for the adopted children who entered the U.S. since January 1, 2004 on an IR-3 VISA.
The Buffalo, NY office can also direct you to the office that may have your child’s file
If the family filed a G-884 form with the Buffalo, NY office to obtain documents from the child's file we attempt to send out acknowledgement letters within a week of receiving the request. If the family has not received at least the acknowledgement letter, they should contact Child-Citizenship-Act @dhs.gov or call 716-551-4741 ext 6130 to inquire.
Due to the site problems which are now under control, it took a little bit longer than expected to pull the database of those who submitted the abandonment case forms. The database was today sent to Kathleen Strottman and Mark Moore with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute as well as US Consul General John Lowell. In the next day or so we will send the information to the CNA.
If we gain any information regarding this, we will of course share it. But for those if you who flled them out (approx. 30 families in total) the information has been passed on.
As I was reading the biglist, I noticed that some of the same year-end questions were coming up about children coming home on IR-3s. In 2004, IR-3s will FINALLY be treated as they should be (see USCIS press release). However, for many of you bringing home a Christmas baby....you will still receive a Permanent Resident card for your child (which is frustrating, but correct for the current system).
There is still a mound of paperwork to do made easier by the presence of your child (or children). So here is a quick summary of what was recommended to ME and how I handled the monumental tasks (noting that our daughter's name would change):
1. Since I had a new tax dependent, my first step was to get a Social Security card. Typically, you are issued a SS Card with the adopted name and the status of Resident Alien. Don't bother arguing with the Social Security people...this is just how it is done. If you are relatively close to an office, I recommend that you visit in person. Take everything about the adoption including their Guatemalan passport (they often request documentation IN ADDITION to what is listed on their forms).
2. Make sure your insurance is current with your new child. Use the legal name with your doctor's records and the insurance card. You may cause issues if you try and use a *new* name with one, but not the other.
3. If you travel internationally much, check the child's passport. Some expirations are just a few months and some are several years. We traveled to Costa Rica with our daughter's Guatemalan passport so there was no rush for an American passport. Just understand that you will have to meet visa requirements for a Guatemalan visitor (foreign lands are not the place to argue the citizenship of your child). If you do not travel much AND/OR can get by with the Guatemalan passport for awhile....the rest of the instructions are the standard less-hassle method to getting where you need to be.
3. Domestication/Name change - Ours took several months to get a court date...so, be prepared. Make sure that you get a signed request from the judge to make several certified copies of the decree for you. I know in Georgia, you do not automatically get this and if you walk out of the courthouse without it, those records are sealed and can only be opened with another court-order.
4. Apply for the Certificate of Citizenship. I have heard that it is advisable to get this AFTER the name change, if possible since it is NOT an easy document to have *updated* with the current changes.
5. Return to the local Social Security office and have the status and the name changed on the SS card.
6. Apply for a US passport.
There are many other ways to get everything done. I encourage those that tried different methods or had different needs to share what worked for them!
This entry has been revised and moved to the Resource Center.