June 3, 2007
THE ILOCOS TIMES - FEATURE

IMMIGRATION GUIDE (13)
Atty. Emmanuel Samonte Tipon

Anti-family bill dead in the water; immigration fees increased

The pro-amnesty, anti-family immigration bill is dead in the water. Like a sailboat with its sails up but with no wind, it is stalled.

It became stalled when a coalition tried to ram the bill by moving to stop further debate.

But good always triumphs over evil. Their scheme was stopped when 50 Senators voted against it -- 38 Republicans, 11 Democrats, and 1 independent (Sen. Bernard Sanders).

Only 45 voted to stop debate -- 37 Democrats (including Hawaii Senators Inouye and Akaka, according to the Honolulu Advertiser) and 7 Republicans and 1 Independent (Lieberman).

However, the bill is not dead yet. McKennedy (Sen. John McCain and Edward Kennedy) and their cohorts are planning to revive it.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE BILL
The bill would sacrifice family unity in favor of amnesty for illegal aliens. What an injustice!

FAMILY CATEGORIES TO BE ELIMINATED
The bill would eliminate the following family categories:
*F-1 (adult children of U.S. citizens).
*F-2B (adult children of permanent residents or green card holders).
*F-3 (married children of U.S. citizens).
*F-4 (siblings or brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens).
Only those petitions filed before May 1, 2005 would continue to be processed.

FAMILY CATEGORIES TO BE CAPPED OR LIMITED

*IR5 (Parents of U.S. citizens) - capped at 40,000 a year worldwide. This will be divided among all the countries of the world. Parents not given visas will be allowed to visit the U.S. for up to 100 days a year. At present there is no cap on visas for grandparents

*F-2A (spouses and minor children of permanent residents or green card holders) - capped at 87,000 a year worldwide.

AMNESTY

The estimated 12 million illegal aliens now in the United States who entered the U.S. before January 1, 2007, will immediately be given probationary status under a Z visa. Their spouses, elderly parents, and children under 21 will also be given visas.

"I don't care how you spin it, this is amnesty," said Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina.

Mitt Romney, the leading Republican presidential contender, reportedly called the plan the "wrong approach" and that it granted "a form of amnesty" on illegal immigrants. He denounced the plan as unfair to the millions of people who have applied to legally immigrate to the U.S.

However, proponents of the bill say it is not.

"Amnesty" means "the act of an authority (as a government) by which general pardon of an offense is granted often before trial or conviction, esp. to a large group of individuals " Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Vol. I p 71

Illegally entering the United States is a criminal offense. By giving these illegal aliens a Z visa, their offense will in effect be pardoned.

Z-1 visa grantees must be employed. They must also pay a $5000 fine. They will be required to pay fees.

They will also be fingerprinted and given a one day background check. Susmariosep. What can you find in one day? Lawful immigrants are subjected to background checks for months and even years.

GUEST WORKERS
A new Y visa would be created for guest workers and their families.
Y-1 -- non-seasonal guest workers, capped at 400,000 plus market-based adjustment.
Y-2A- - agricultural seasonal workers, no cap.
Y-2B -- nonagricultural seasonal workers, capped at 100,000 plus market-based adjustment
Y-3 -- spouses and minor children of Y visa grantees, capped at not more than 20% of total Y-1 numbers.

IMMIGRATION FEES INCREASED

Beginning July 30, 2007, immigration fees for various immigration petitions and applications will increase to almost double their current rate.

However, unlike the anti-family bill, the fee increase is a "done deal".

There is nothing you can do to undo it.

Instead of crying over the increase, you can either:
(1) file your petition now so that it will be received by immigration authorities before July 30, 2007, unless you are not yet eligible to file the petition, or
(2) procrastinate and file your petition after July 30, 2007, but you might have to work harder or dig further into your savings to pay for the increased fees.

CURRENT AND INCREASED FEES

The current and increased fees for the most popular petitions and applications among Filipinos are:

I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card - $195 to $370

I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance(e) - $190 to $455

I-130, Petition for Alien Relative - $190 to $355

I-131, Reentry Permit or Advance Parole - $170 to $305

I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status - $325 to $930 or $1,010 (with biometric)

I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status - $200 to $300

I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence - $205 to $465

I-765, Application for Employment Authorization - $180 to $340

I-824, Application for action on approved application - $200 to $340

N-336, Request hearing on a decision on naturalization application - $265 to $605

N-400, Application for Naturalization - $330 to $675 (including biometric)

N-565, Application for replacement of naturalization/citizenship certificate - $220 to $380

N-600, Application for certificate of citizenship - $255 to $460

N-600K, Application for citizenship and issuance of certificate under Section 322 (adopted child) - $$255 to $420

CAUTION: Most immigration forms do not yet reflect the increased fees. Consequently, applicants should not rely on the fee indicated in the form, unless it is dated after July 30, 2007.

FEE WAIVERS

USCIS has already waived fees for certain kinds of cases. If applicants believe that they are financially unable to pay the fees, they can apply for a fee waiver. For more information, visit the USCIS website http://uscis.gov or call 1-800-375-5283.

(Atty. Tipon is from Laoag City. He holds a Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School and a Bachelor of Laws degree from U.P. He practices law and writes law books. Office: 905 Umi St., Suite 201, Honolulu, HI 96819. Tel. (808) 847-1601. E-mail: filamlaw@yahoo.com. Website: www.ImmigrationServicesUSA.com. Listen to KNDI radio, 1270 on your AM radio dial, every Friday at 6:30-7:30 AM. This article is for general information only and is not intended as legal advice.)

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Copyright 2007 Ilocos Times. All rights reserved.
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