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6. News Bytes:


U.S. to Assist Immigrant Job Creators


The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) unveiled several initiatives designed to attract and retain foreign entrepreneurs.  Among the initiatives is a plan to make it easier for some foreigners to qualify for legal permanent residence, or green cards, if they can demonstrate their work will be in the United States’ national interest.  The changes will also include a way for entrepreneurs to be eligible for so-called EB-2 immigrant visas without a job offer from an established company.  Additionally, the initiatives include enhancements to the EB-5 investor program, which enables foreign investors and their families to qualify for green cards if they invest at least $500,000 in a U.S. project that generates at least ten jobs.



Gov. Pat Quinn Signs Illinois DREAM Act into Law


NBC Chicago reports that Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Illinois DREAM Act to make scholarships available to undocumented high school students via a private Illinois fund.  Students must have at least one immigrant parent in the country either legally or without documents and the student must have attended school in Illinois for at least three years to qualify for scholarship money.  The legislation creates a panel to raise private money for college scholarships.  The law is not associated with the federal measure by the same name and has no impact on immigration status.



Hacking Figure’s U.S. Visa in Question


Politico (DC) reports that Greg Miskiw, a former news editor at the defunct News of the World, may be in the United States on uncertain immigration terms.  A spokeswoman for American Media, the U.S. tabloid newspaper company, said Miskiw “worked at AMI for a short time earlier this year and left the company a couple of months ago.”   Miskiw told press at his Florida home last month that he is “returning to the U.K. voluntarily,” but since then there has been no sign that he actually returned to the United Kingdom.



U.S. Ambassador Urged Restraint on Afghan Visas


The Associated Press reports that 2,300 Afghans have applied to a special program that awards U.S. visas to Afghans who have worked for the U.S. government for at least a year and are in danger because of this work.  Since the program’s inception in 2009, however, not a single visa has been handed out.  A cable former Ambassador Karl Eikenberry wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in February 2010 suggests the delays may not be a matter of bureaucracy, but reflect a worry among U.S. officials over holding on to hard-to-replace employees.


“If we are not careful the Special Immigrant Visa program will have a significant deleterious impact on staffing and morale…local staff are not easily replenished in a society at 28 percent literacy,” wrote Eikenberry.  Eikenberry’s letter underlines a central dilemma; the U.S. needs qualified Afghan staff to accomplish its mission but the Taliban and other insurgents have directly threatened Afghans working for the U.S. as “traitors” and collaborators.”  Meanwhile, Washington is under pressure to give asylum to those who helped it.  Some Afghan visa applicants have banded together to make their plight known.  Last month, dozens of anonymous visa applicants sent two open letters to media and U.S. officials protesting the delays.



Rick Perry Called Tom Tancredo “Racist”


The Colorado Independent reports that Rick Perry’s recent decision to run for president has stirred up bad feelings from former Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo.  Tancredo penned an opinion piece for Politico saying he is no fan of Rick Perry.  Tancredo’s ire stems from the fact that Perry called him a racist during his run for president in 2008 for what Tancredo described as “[pressuring] the Republican candidates to take a hard line against illegal immigration.”  In the past, Perry has been described as a friend to immigrants but since the Republican presidential nomination is unlikely to go to a coddler of immigrants he has recently taken steps to be seen as tougher on illegal immigration.



NM Governor’s Great Grandparents Were Illegally Present Immigrants


KOAT 7 News (Albuquerque) reports that New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez remains committed to passing a bill to ban foreign nationals and illegally present immigrants from getting driver’s licenses.  In the face of rallies, vigils, and heated debates, Gov. Martinez noted that she has something in common with the protesters because her own ancestors came to the country illegally.  She asserted that it will not affect her stance.  “This is not an immigration issue.  This is a public safety issue,” Martinez said.



Liberians Get Extension of Special Immigration Status


The Providence Journal reports that President Obama has extended through March 2013 the special immigration status under which Liberian nationals- many of whom came to the United States as refugees from civil war at home in the 1980s- are permitted to reside in this country.  While the approaching expiration of the Liberian’s so-called “delayed enforced departure” has often raised anxiety among Liberians who have become well-settled in the U.S., the federal government has never signaled any intent to expel them.



Dominque Strauss-Kahn Accuser Expected to Face Deportation Hearings


The New York Daily News reports that Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, will likely face deportation hearings after prosecutors said she admitted lying on her application for asylum.  “Lying on sworn statements is almost a guarantee the case will be reopened,” said immigration attorney Jason Dzubow.



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