If you're from American Samoa, you probably know that you're a national, but not a full citizen, of the United States. You are eligible for a U.S. passport and can live and work in the U.S., but you're missing out on a number of other privileges of U.S. citizenship, such as:
Last December, the head of the immigration courts told all immigration judges to start using phone interpreters for any language but Spanish. The reason given was budgetary. Yet immigration judges and attorneys complain that telephone interpretation has serious drawbacks that can lead to unfair results. They also claim it is adding to the immigration court backlog.
Since 2007, Liberian immigrants have been allowed to live and work legally in the U.S. through a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. These programs allow nationals of certain countries to remain in the U.S. when conditions in their countries temporarily prevent them from safely returning there -- or when their countries are unable to handle their return.
Special Immigrant Juvenile status is offered by the United States to immigrant minors who are under the jurisdiction of a state juvenile court due to abuse, neglect or abandonment by a parent. Under federal law, immigrant youth generally qualify for the status as long as they:
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently announced that it is in "preliminary discussions" to close its international field offices and delegate their work to the State Department or U.S.-based USCIS personnel.
The case involved an asylum seeker who claims to have been wrongly denied asylum after a "credible fear" hearing before an asylum officer. But U.S. immigration law allows "expedited removal" of recent arrivals caught within 100 miles of the border, providing very limited opportunity to appeal. Now, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that he should have access to a federal court hearing before his deportation.
In November, President Trump issued a ban on asylum for people who cross the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization. Under U.S. law, however, people can seek asylum at any location in the United States regardless of the method of their entry.
Are you a highly skilled or educated person who wants to study or work in the United States?
Currently, there are over 800,000 immigration cases waiting to be resolved by U.S. immigration courts. A majority involve people seeking a chance to stay in the U.S. rather than being deported. And, although the case backlog has been growing for at least a decade, it has jumped by almost 50 percent since 2017, when President Trump took office. Now, the average time to complete an immigration court hearing is 578 days.
It's only January, but the U.S. Supreme Court has already tabled any hearings on the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program until at least this fall. Assuming the court sticks to its usual practices, that likely means no decision would become available until 2020.