The 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which happened on July 4, 1776 and marked the separation of the U.S. from Great Britain. Celebrated all over the country, July 4th is now synonymous with fireworks, barbeques, parades, concerts and patriotism.
SENATE PASSES COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL!
On Thursday, June 27th, the Senate voted 68 to 32 to pass the comprehensive immigration reform bill that was drafted by the “Gang of Eight” comprised of 4 Republican and 4 Democrat Senators. The ultimate goal of this bill is to create a path toward citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. and it will be the first overhaul of immigration laws since 1986. Vice President Joe Biden moderated the proceedings as Senate members casted their votes. On June 19th, an amendment was added to the bill to strengthen border security—a key Republican priority that calls for 700 additional miles of fencing, 20,000 more border patrol agents, and an additional $3.2 billion that will finance observation towers, ground radar, mobile surveillance systems and more. The bill is now in the hands of the House of Representatives who will meet on July 10thand it is likely that the House will formulate their own bill. House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, has also said that he will only bring a comprehensive reform plan to the floor if it is supported by a majority of Republicans.
WHAT THE END OF DOMA MEANS FOR IMMIGRATION LAW
On Wednesday, June 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, which stated that the Federal definition of marriage applied only to opposite-sex couples. Since immigration falls under Federal law, under this new ruling, an American citizen can now apply for a green card for his or her same-sex, foreign-born spouse. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued a statement on the same day as the ruling, assuring that they are already working with the Department of Justice to ensure that all married couples will be treated equally in the processing of immigration law. Please contact the office with any questions about applying for a green card for a spouse.
NEW DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES
According to new census data for the year ending July 1, 2012, a monumental demographic change has occurred among the non-Hispanic white American population. For the first time in at least 100 years, deaths exceeded births. The difference was only 12,000, but because the majority of U.S. births belong to Asian, Hispanic, and African American mothers, experts say that white Americans will likely become a minority population within the next three decades. These facts further emphasize that we, as a country, will be relying heavily on younger immigrants and minorities for our country’s economic growth, as they will be dominating the labor force in the not so distant future.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact the office!
Susan W. Scheer and Staff