The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has, through the Office of Immigration Statistics, issued its estimate of how many illegal immigrants are residing in the U.S. The report indicates that there are approximately 11.5 illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. during in January of 2011. The Report further estimates that more than half of these illegal immigrants entered the U.S. during the years of 1995 and 2004, and that since 2007, it is unlikely that the illegal U.S. population has significantly increased.
The Report indicates that since 2007, there is no real significant increase in the number of illegal immigrants due to the U.S. suffering from high unemployment and due to the economy in Mexico improving. The Report indicates that despite the greater levels of border enforcement, fewer apprehensions are taking place. The Report attributes the lower number of apprehensions at the U.S. border being due to lower demand for Mexican nationals to enter the U.S. for employment reasons.
The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. has not always remained the same. In 1980, the number of illegal immigrants doubled from 2 million to 4 million in the U.S. This number jumped to over 8 million by the year of 2000. The numbers indicated above reflect an approximation of illegal immigrants, and not immigrants that have authorization to remain in the U.S.
Earlier this year, USCIS announced good news that it will allow certain applicants to file their I-601 waiver here in the U.S. and to therefore receive their decision, before they depart the U.S. A Form I-601 is a waiver needed by certain applicants that must be approved before he or she can receive a green card. The Form I-601 is needed in cases where there has been unlawful presence or illegal entry into the U.S., and therefore there is an unlawful presence bar against the applicant that needs to be waived.
Previously, applicants would need to depart from the U.S. and file the I-601 waiver request with a U.S. Embassy that has jurisdiction over their case. The problem of course is that the applicant has departed the U.S. and if the waiver is denied, he or she will be denied entry back into the U.S. Further, even if the I-601 is granted, the applicant has now been separated from his U.S. citizen relative(s) for a long period of time.
The USCIS has indicated that it will allow applicants to apply for the I-601 waiver here in the U.S. rather than requiring them to file the I-601 through an interview overseas with the U.S. Embassy that has jurisdiction over the case.
The USCIS has indicated that it will publish its rule and place into effect the provisional waiver program in the “…coming months.” The provisional waiver is NOT yet available, and so USCIS has announced a news release that lets the public know to be careful and not hire immigration consultants that claim this waiver has been placed into effect.
In order for the waiver to be approved, the applicant must show through much documentation that the U.S. relative will suffer extreme and unusual hardship. This waiver is available for spouses, children, or parents of a U.S. citizen.
A precedent case has just been released online that I found very interesting. This case was released in the Third Circuit, and is called Jose Gonzalez v. Secretary of Department of Homeland Security. It involves a case where an immigrant obtained his green card by filing based on his marriage to his U.S. citizen wife, and he was caught for lying to USCIS because he secretly had another life that he failed to mention to USCIS. The immigrant in the instant case had married his U.S. citizen spouse in the year of 1999. He then filed for his two year green card, which was approved, and then he filed his application to remove the conditions. On his application to obtain his permanent 10-year green card, he placed on his application that he did not have any children.
The USCIS approved the removal of his conditional residence, and he received his 10-year permanent green card on or about August of 2004. He then decided to file for divorce, and his divorce became final on or about March of 2005, so less than one year later.
Then Mr. Gonzalez filed for naturalization in December of 2006, and on his naturalization application he stated that he has two children, one born in 2000 and his second child born in 2001. Mr. Gonzalez also amended his children’s birth certificates once he obtained his green card. He in fact had moved in with his children and the mother of his children soon after receiving his green card.
The USCIS denied his naturalization application, citing that he had lied to USCIS at the time of filing for the removal of his conditional status by stating at that time that he had no children. USCIS states that Mr. Gonzalez therefore failed to meet the requirement of good moral character, which is a requirement that all immigrants must meet in order to obtain naturalization in the U.S. His misrepresentations (i.e. lies) do not need to be material to cause an applicant to fail being a person of good moral character. One small irrelevant lie allows USCIS to find that a person lacks good moral character.
Mr. Gonzalez argued that he did not know that the two children were his children at the time he applied for his 10-year green card. He pointed to the fact that he later amended their birth certificates. The Court notes, however, that he was having relations with the mother around the time that the children were conceived. He gave her money and supported her in other ways; therefore he had sufficient knowledge that these children could be his biological children. The Court notes that he did not adopt these children, but rather he amended their birth certificates instead, further showing that he should have had knowledge that these were his children.