U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently issued a statement regarding the adoption of Tsunami orphans. Although USCIS recognizes the offers of Americans to adopt abandoned children in this area as commendable, the agency is not recommending adoption as a short-term solution. In a crisis, the international standard among adoption professionals is to keep children as close to their family and community as possible. It is only if and when these countries decide to make these orphans available for international adoption that American citizens will be able to begin adoption proceedings for those children who also qualify as orphans as defined in the Immigration and Naturalization Act. Additional information is located at http://uscis.gov/graphics/services/index2.htm.
Beginning January 15, 2005, eligible Chinese nationals who wish to visit the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or tourism (B-2) will be issued visas that are valid for 12 months and multiple entries. The previous maximum validity for U.S. visas issued for these purposes was six months and for multiple entries. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also agreed to reciprocally issue to U.S. citizens visiting China on temporary business and tourism visas valid for 12 months and multiple entries. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs exchanged diplomatic notes on this agreement in December 2004. While the United States and China will in principle issue maximum validity visas to each other's citizens, on a case-by-case basis, each side may limit the period of validity and number of entries as required by law and regulation.
On January 6, 2005, USCIS officials inaugurated a new district facility in Fairfax, Virginia. This new USCIS Fairfax office is located across from the Dunn Loring station of Metro’s Orange Line at 2675 Prosperity Lane.
Effective January 1, 2005, the U.S. Consulate Nogales, Sonora Mexico will accept E visa applications only from individual residents in its consular district, the Northern half of the Mexican state of Sonora. All other E visa applicants are referred to their country of origin.
Consulate Nogales will still accept applications for those E visa applicants previously appointed in January 2005. After review of the completed E visa application, Consulate Nogales will contact the applicant or their attorney and confirm an interview appointment. Applicant’s submitted cases will be reviewed in order of their receipt at this consulate. Applicants previously appointed will be contacted regarding a new appointment date after receipt of their E visa application. Applications other than those previously appointed cannot be accepted unless the applicant can show evidence of legal residence in Sonora Mexico.
A U.S. Immigration Judge has denied the political asylum claim of a mentally retarded youth from West Africa whose plight has aroused worldwide attention and whose situation we have previously reported on. Judge Joan Churchill rejected the claim of Malik Jarno in a judgment posted late Wednesday after a 12-day hearing, believed to be the longest asylum case ever heard in the United States, according to Reuters.
The U.S. Government has been attempting to have Jarno deported ever since he arrived in the United States at Washington’s Dulles Airport in January 1999. He spent three years in jail, where he was abused and is now living in a group home for refugees in York, Pennsylvania, attending high school. It is possible that Jarno could be jailed following the ruling. Jarno originally came to the United States seeking sanctuary from an ethnic conflict in which much of his family was killed.
70 members of Congress have appealed for Jarno to be allowed to stay. Amnesty International has sent out a worldwide alert about the case while Human Rights First, the American Bar Association and at least two groups advocating the rights of the mentally ill have also intervened.