Although in the state of Florida it is now standard procedure that individuals being held in criminal custody will undergo a “hold” by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to the Associated Press, Florida has an improved system where they will be able to check fingerprints for each individual held in jail to obtain their immigration status. This is part of ICE’s program called “Secure Communities” put into place to increase the removal of illegals from the US.
The new fingerprint procedure will allow authorities to check the database of US Department of Homeland Security and within just a few hours, immigration officials will receive a notification about a specific individual being help in custody. The Immigration authorities will then be able to determine whether the individual is subject to deportation from the US.
Because this system uses fingerprints and not other data, individuals who are using a fake identity or who have been previously deported will be caught right away. In fact, since ICE began implementing this system in 2008, already over 31,000 individuals have been deported.
Florida is not the only state that is now quickly implementing this program. There are 22 other states that are now participating in the program and by 2013, this program will be implemented nationwide. This new program put into place by ICE is just more proof of the increased enforcement and prosecution of illegals in the US.
Again, the above program already put into place in Florida is just another sign that illegals will not be able to stay in the US and enjoy the previous privileges (i.e. getting their driver’s licenses renewed without any immigration status proof, working without authorization) that they used to enjoy now unless they legalize themselves. The unfortunate part is that most of these individuals would love to legalize themselves – if only the US would allow them! In any event, it is best for illegal individuals and individuals previously deported to AVOID committing any crimes on our soil, as when they are caught for the criminal act, Immigration authorities will not be far behind…
According to TRAC at http://trac.syr.edu/whatsnew/email.100614.html, immigration prosecutions are again on the rise. In March 2010 alone, there were 8,287 immigration prosecutions, which is a 30% increase and more than any month since July 2009.
TRAC offers free reports on enforcement activities of DHS and other federal agencies as well including IRS, FBI, etc
It is hard to believe that even in this economic downturn and even though USCIS raised their fees by a lot in 2007, here they are again making proposals for increasing their fees…again! Now do not get me wrong. I am not saying that USCIS has not increased their services or speeded up their processing times. To be honest, now USCIS officers are so well-trained that they have very little in common with the USCIS officers we saw before September 11, 2001. The Immigration Officers now are on top of their game and on top of their cases, for the most part.
But the point is that while they have increased their services, or at least it seems that way to me in dealing with them full-time in my US immigration law office, the truth is that applicants are still recovering from the fee increase of 2007. So how can USCIS now demand more USCIS filing fees?
In any event, there is one positive note and that note is that at least the N-400 filing fees remain the same. The proposal suggests that the USCIS filing fees for form I-130 increase from the current fee of $355 to $420. For form I-485, the proposal suggests an increase from $930 (not including biometrics) to $985 (also not including biometrics fee). For the form I-140, petition for alien worker, the fee increase is a little larger going from the current USCIS fee of $475 to $580 if the fee increase is passed. This fee increase seems to be about a 10% increase.
We are not saying that USCIS does not deserve a raise, only that given this downturn, maybe a raise can come at a later time…even though it is deserved (in case an immigration officer is reading this….). For general information from USCIS directly as to the reason for the proposed fee increase, please see http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=65dc3d5d65919210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=68439c7755cb9010