New Amnesty Settlement Agreement Offers a Long Awaited Dream of Legalization for Many Hard-Working Aliens

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© 2004 Peter J Loughlin, Esq., J.D., LL.M.

The post 9/11 world has caused our great country to focus on the dangers and effects of terrorism. This is, of course, a wise and necessary course of action. However, we need to recognize that it is terrorism that needs to be isolated and eradicated…without isolating America and slamming the door on our immigrants. Our strength as a nation stems directly from our diversity.

In our rush to secure our country from the evils of some, it’s important to remember that we are a nation of immigrants. All of us who live in the United States, with the exception of our native American brothers and sisters are each a child of or descendent of immigrants—immigrants who have helped build this land through the influx, mixture and respect of new ideas, skills and cultures. Think about it for a moment and I’m sure you’ll agree that it was largely through the efforts and resolve of our immigrant parents and ancestors that the United States of America is what it is today, the greatest nation on earth. We stand here today as free Americans and beneficiaries of the labors of countless immigrants.

When we as a nation face the evils of terrorism, let us all remember who the enemy is and, more importantly, who the enemy is not. We need to work together to preserve the immigration system in this country and not bow to those who wish to exclude all “outsiders” wishing to become the Americans of the future and, as those who came before them, bringing strength through diversity.

I am not for a moment suggesting that our current system of immigration does not need some reform, it does. National security is of the utmost importance and our legislators need to remain focused on making changes that will protect our people without completely tearing down a system that works and works well. Truly, to secure America from our enemies, our government needs to know who is in our country and why they are here. And we absolutely need to keep out any known or suspected terrorists and to swiftly remove those that are already here. This should be done by not by excluding immigrants in mass numbers, but rather by reinforcing and preserving our heritage of Immigration. Immigration Works! It’s who we are.

With this in mind I wish to share with you an unprecedented opportunity to help some of our hard working immigrants who have been unfairly denied the right to become legal residents and ultimately citizens of the United States. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (now called U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) has improperly denied and turned away hundreds of thousands of eligible immigrants and wrongly refused to accept their applications to adjust their status to temporary residency leading to permanent residency and citizenship. The INS / USCIS have now agreed to remedy this egregious error and you can help by simply spreading the good news.

If you know an immigrant who was denied amnesty and legalization under past INS programs they may now be eligible for legalization under the terms of a recent settlement agreement reached in the CSS and Newman (LULAC) lawsuits. It is currently estimated that 500,000 long-term residents may now be eligible for legalization. Candidates for legalization were improperly denied or turned away by the INS or Qualified Designated Entities (QDEs) and denied an opportunity to legalize their status in the United States. Eligible class members covered under the settlement agreement may now obtain long-awaited legalization but they must act quickly to apply. The brief one-year application period ends May 24, 2005.

Who can apply for legalization?

To apply immigrants must be able to show that they are “prima facie” eligible as a CSS class member or a Newman (LULAC) class member, that is, they must show:

a) They continuously and unlawfully resided in the United States prior to January 1. 1982;

b) They were continuously present in the United States from November 6, 1986 to May 4, 1988 or until they attempted to apply for amnesty; and

c) They are not inadmissible for immigrant status. For example, if they are a criminal or terrorist, etc. (Remember, our national security comes first and should never be compromised)

Once they meet the above threshold, they must show that they are a member of the CSS class and/or the Newman (LULAC) class.

How to determine who is a CSS class applicant?

CSS applicants must show that they are among one of the two CSS subgroups.

CSS subgroup 1 applicants must show:

a) They attempted to file a competed application with the required fee to an INS officer or QDE from May 5, 1987 to May 4, 1988; and

b) They were rejected because they traveled outside the United States after November 6, 1986 without advance parole authorization.

Note: it is not required that CSS subgroup 1 applicants previously filed for CSS class membership.

CSS subgroup 2 applicants must show:

a) The INS or QDE told them that they were ineligible for legalization or refused to give them the legalization forms because they traveled outside the United States without advanced parole authorization; and

b) They did not file a timely application because of the information obtained from INS or QDE or their refusal to provide them with the necessary legalization forms; and

c) They applied as a class member under CSS (e.g., temporary employment authorization / work permit), with or without the filing fee before October 1, 2000.

How to determine who is a Newman (LULAC) class applicant?

Newman (LULAC) applicants must show that they are among one of the two Newman (LULAC) subgroups.

Newman (LULAC) subgroup 1 applicants must show:

a) They attempted to file a completed application with the required filing fee from May 5. 1987 to May 4, 1988; and

b) Their application was rejected because they departed the United States and returned with a tourist visa, student visa or other “legal” travel document.

Note: it is not required that subgroup 1 applicants previously filed for Newman (LULAC) class membership.

Newman (LULAC) subgroup 2 applicants must show:

a) The INS or QDE told them that they were ineligible for legalization or refused to give them the legalization forms because they traveled outside the United States and returned with a tourist visa, student visa or other travel document;

b) They did not file a timely application because of the information obtained from INS or QDE or their refusal to provide the legalization forms; and

c) They applied as a class member under Newman (LULAC) (temporary employment authorization / work permit), with or without the filing fee before October 1, 2000.

Let’s all band together in recognition of the contribution immigrants have made and continue to make to this country and spread the word to help our hard working brothers and sisters take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to set things right. We all want to help fight and isolate terrorism…without isolating hard working immigrants who want only to contribute to our great nation.

Immigration Works! It’s who we are.
Remember, commencing May 24, 2004 applicants have one-year to file for legalization under this settlement agreement.

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