Hope for the New Year

By Attorneys Robert L. Reeves and Brian Spalter

As the end-of-the-year holidays quickly approach, many of us reflect upon our loved ones. Whether they are together with us or in another country, the holiday season is a time when we think about our families. For many of those in the immigrant community, because they are so far away from their loved ones, this time of year can be particularly thought provoking. Many immigrants reflect upon their immigration status in the United States and wonder about their options for bringing their family members together. Fortunately, there have been several positive developments in immigration law over the past year that have given immigrants some hope about the future.

For instance, there has been a great deal of discussion about implementing a “guest worker” program to help the United States deal with the large number of undocumented people living and working in the United States. Although somewhat different in their specific details, there have been proposals by Democrats, Republicans and even the President himself. Many in the immigration community are optimistic that there will be significant movement on one of these proposals in the near future.

Another positive development for immigrants was the reintroduction of the “Dream Act” to the Senate floor. The Dream Act would enable undocumented persons who entered the U.S before they turned 16 to obtain conditional permanent residency (a conditional green card) provided they met certain requirements. If passed, the Dream Act would be of tremendous benefit to children who entered the U.S. without status or fell out of status.

2005 was also the year in which the Department of Labor implemented the long-awaited PERM program for labor certifications. Under the previous system, cases would often be pending for years before being reviewed. This delay frequently resulted in significant inconvenience for both U.S. employers and their foreign employees. One of the primary purposes of implementing the PERM program was to expedite the labor certification process and issue decisions within a greatly reduced period of time. Although the PERM program is still relatively new, the general feeling in the immigration community has, thus far, been optimistic. Unfortunately, there are now long delays for an immigrant visa to become available.

As you reflect on your immigration situation in the United States, don’t let uncertainty cloud the decisions you and your family will make in the coming year. Whether you have questions regarding your own immigration options or about bringing a loved one to the United States, at Reeves & Associates can help you by answering your questions and assisting in finding the best solution for your immigration case. On behalf of Reeves & Associates, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family.