Articles Posted in Immigration A to Z

This past week, the Immigration Bureau of Customs Enforcement conducted two raids of residential buildings in Mount Kisco, New York, apparently for the purpose of apprehending a fugitive who has multiple criminal convictions and is in the United States illegally.

These raids were performed in the early morning hours with the assistance of the Mount Kisco Police Department. The fugitive was not apprehended, but approximately twenty men were arrested and taken to a Manhattan ICE facility, charged with immigration law violations. Of the approximately 20 men arrested this past week, 11 were taken to an ICE detention facility in New Jersey and have been placed in removal (formerly known as deportation) proceedings. The others had green cards or other documentation that kept them from being detained.

Recent raids at day laborer sites in Connecticut and in New Bedford, Massachusetts have drawn media attention in recent weeks. The arrests at work sites and residences have led to a “Stop The Raids” campaign in Connecticut. Although ICE officials claim that they were looking for a sole fugitive in New York, questions have arisen due to the amount of officers and vans involved in the two operations.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed to adjust fees for naturalization applications and petitions. The idea behind the increase is to improve customer service, allowing applications and petitions to be processed more quickly and close security gaps.

Emilio Gonzalez, the Director of USCIS, noted that: “As a fee-based agency, we must be able to recover the costs necessary to administer an efficient and secure immigration system that ultimately improves service delivery, prevents future backlogs, closes security gaps, and furthers our modernization efforts.” After a complete review of the present system, USCIS found that the current fee structure does not allow USCIS to recover the costs of providing services to adjudicate millions of applications and petitions.

USCIS projects that the revenue from a new fee structure will enable a 20 percent reduction in average application processing times by the end of fiscal year 2009, and will cut processing times by the end of fiscal year 2008 for four types of applications. These applications are the I-90 (Renew / Replace Permanent Resident Card), I-140 (Immigration Petition for Alien Worker) and I-485 (Adjust of Status to Permanent Resident), which will improve to four months from its present six months processing time, and the N-400 (Naturalization), which will improve to five months from the present seven months processing time.