IIIC Support for Unaccompanied Minors

Federal officials have informed Governor Deval Patrick that due to a decrease in unaccompanied minors stopped at the southern border, the administration no longer seeks temporary shelter and have turned down his offer to shelter up to 1,000 children. While there was opposition to the proposal by some local officials, the Governor stated he was deeply moved by the outpouring of support for his offer.

IIIC and hundreds of others continue to show their support for all children. On Thursday, staff and volunteers attended a rally and march showing their support for Central American children fleeing violence and to thank the Governor and supporters.

J-1 Irish Work and Travel Program Success Story

Fergus Concannon, a J-1 Irish Work and Travel student with the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC), came to Boston this summer seeking an internship in investment banking. Originally from County Dublin, Fergus received his Masters in Finance from Trinity College this past spring. He then decided to take advantage of the opportunities that the J-1 Irish Work and Travel Visa had to offer. In the beginning, Fergus came across the usual obstacles that one encounters during an internship search. He sent his resume to a number of companies, keeping the J-1 IWT team abreast with updates of his interviews and, eventually, an offer came in.

Fergus interviewed with Pioneer Investments, a highly respected investment banking firm located in Boston’s financial district. Fergus must have left a good impression on his prospective employer because he received an internship offer right away. Fergus had found a great fit, a position in his field with a company where he could learn so much.

Blair Kahn, Learning Exchange Program Associate at IIIC, has known Fergus since he first joined the J-1 Irish Work and Travel program. She said, “Fergus has been an absolute pleasure to work with throughout this process. We have really enjoyed seeing him in the office and are so happy for him now that he has finally achieved his goal.”

Up on the Hill and Around City Hall

Legislative Session Ends

The 188th General Court of the Commonwealth ended its legislative session on July 31st. Immigrant advocates saw some wins such as the passage of the Minimum Wage bill and the Worker’s Bill of Rights (the “Nanny” bill). There were some disappointments as well, notably the failure to bring the Driver’s License bill out of committee.

Boston City Council Trust Act Hearing

On July 31st a public hearing was held by the Government Operations Committee of the Boston City Council on the proposed Boston Trust Act. The Committee members were Councilors Josh Zakim, Michael Flaherty and Salvatore LaMattina.

The Boston Trust Act ordinance, if adopted, would limit the participation of the Boston Police Department in the Secure Communities program implemented by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Since its inception in 2008, 1,400 residents of Massachusetts have been removed by ICE under this program. Only one-third of those deported had committed a serious crime and half had not committed any crime at all.

Labor union representatives, immigration advocates and individual citizens all spoke in favor of the ordinance. No speaker opposed the ordinance. IIIC program director Paul Pelan testified that the Trust Act was a fair and sensible response to the Secure Communities program. The Government Operations Committee will take the matter under advisement and report to the full Boston City Council.

Driver’s License Bill Passes – in Colorado

On August 1st, Colorado began issuing driver's licenses to people who cannot "demonstrate lawful presence in the U.S." This is a dramatic change in a state that less than a decade ago passed strict immigration enforcement laws.

Colorado Department of Revenue Director Barbara Brohl called the law a matter of public safety. "We really want to have anyone who's driving on the roads to have a valid license, because that means that they've passed the written test, they passed the driving test, and they have auto insurance, and that's really important," she said.

Eleven states allow immigrants in the U.S. without status to obtain some form of a driver’s license, and eight of those adopted the measures over the past year. Two New England states, Vermont and Connecticut, are among those that passed the legislation.

In Massachusetts, the fourth attempt in recent years to pass a Driver’s License bill was stalled when the Joint Committee on Transportation sent the proposal out to study, effectively killing passage during the legislative session which just ended.

It is hoped that Colorado’s example will renew the efforts of local advocates to have Massachusetts join the national trend and adopt a similar common sense solution to this long standing problem.

Immigration medical exams

Q: I am filing for legal permanent resident status, based on my marriage to a US citizen. I understand that a medical examination is part of the application process. Why is that necessary? Can I just get the exam done by our family doctor?

A: US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires medical examinations in order to determine whether there are any public health-related issues that would affect a prospective immigrant’s admissibility to the United States. The exam can identify medical conditions that require follow-up care. The physician also will ensure that required vaccinations have been administered. Note that refugees and applicants for permanent residence who came to the US on a K fiancé or spouse visa will have had a medical examination as part of the visa application process at home and will not need to repeat the full procedure when applying for adjustment of status here in the US. Such persons must, however, meet the vaccination requirement.

All medical examinations include a physical examination, a mental health status evaluation, a skin test for tuberculosis, and a blood test. Generally speaking, the results of the examination are valid for twelve months after submission to USCIS.

Also, applicants need to show that they are current with all vaccinations recommended by US public health officials. See the complete list of such vaccinations at www.uscis.gov. The physician can administer any vaccinations necessary and can certify if a particular vaccination is not “medically appropriate” in a particular case (due to allergic reactions, pregnancy, etc.).

The form used to record the results of the exam is I-693, the current version of which can be downloaded from the USCIS web site at www.uscis.gov.

Unfortunately, you cannot have the medical examination done by your family doctor. You need to choose a doctor from the USCIS list of government-approved physicians known as “Civil Surgeons” in your area, and you must pay the cost of the exam. You can find an approved physician in your area on the USCIS web site, www.uscis.gov. Simply type "Civil Surgeon Locator" into the search box at the top of the page. You will then be brought to an application that helps you find a doctor by entering your zip code. The doctor you choose fills out the form I-693 and the required vaccination supplement that will be submitted to USCIS as part of your application package. This form is placed in a sealed envelope by the doctor; you must not open it. You will be given a copy for your own records.

If you have any questions about the medical exam, especially if you have a physical or mental condition that you believe could affect your eligibility to become a legal permanent resident, visit one of IIIC’s legal clinics for a free, confidential consultation.

Disclaimer: These articles are published to inform generally, not to advise in specific cases. . US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the US Department of State frequently amend regulations and alter processing and filing procedures. For legal advice seek the assistance of IIIC immigration legal staff.

Quote of the Week

“We can be the generation that no longer accepts that an accident of latitude determines whether a child lives or dies. But can we be that generation?” - Bono


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