Disciples Immigration Legal Update

Provided by Immigration Legal Counsel, a ministry of Disciples Home Missions

September 23, 2015
Apply Earlier for Green Cards
U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders) can petition for certain family members to become Lawful Permanent Residents. After filing the initial petition, family members usually wait several years before they can file applications for lawful permanent residence. The U.S. government has changed the dates when family members can file their applications. Most family members will still have to wait several years, but the wait will be shorter than before. See the wait times for October.

Religious Worker Program Ending
The Special Immigrant Religious Worker program allows both ministers and non-ministers to immigrate to the U.S. to work in religious jobs. The non-minister part of this program is scheduled to end on September 30, 2015. If that happens, many leaders who are serving our Disciples churches as youth pastors, associate pastors, worship leaders, and counselors will no longer be able to apply for permanent residence (green cards). It's up to Congress to reauthorize the program. Call your senators and representatives to tell them our churches need the non-minister religious worker program. 

TPS for Yemen and Haiti
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) allows individuals from certain countries to remain in the U.S. temporarily while conditions in their home countries make their return dangerous or difficult. The U.S. recently designated Yemen for TPS and redesignated Haiti for TPS. Deadlines are soon. Apply now.

Undocumented Law Students
Recent court cases and legislation have opened the door for more Dreamers and undocumented youth with DACA to attend law school and be licensed in certain states. Professors have started a new listserv to connect students and share resources.

Wait Times in Immigration Court
Some say "justice delayed is justice denied." In immigration court, it is common to wait years for your hearing. Immigration courts are more overwhelmed than ever, and wait times are at an all-time high. View the latest report from Syracuse University.
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