Who We Are: Emily Arai
Emily Arai, a Massachusetts native and a first year graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at Boston College, is thrilled to have an internship at the IIIC. She is a graduate of Brown University and recently moved back to Boston after living and teaching English for almost three years in Prague in the Czech Republic.
As part of IIIC’s Wellness Services, Emily has been involved in planning and running various events, such as the Together for Hope Walk, the Home Health Aid course, and a Focus Group project. She also works in collaboration with the IIIC’s Legal and Education teams to provide case management services to clients in need.
From a family with roots in Ireland, the Netherlands, and Japan, and having spent time living and working in the E.U., Emily can relate to the immigrant experience. She is honored to have the chance to meet and work with the diverse, resilient community served by the IIIC and we are very grateful to have her on board.
KEEP YOUR ADDRESS CURRENT WITH US IMMIGRATION AUTHORITIES
Q: I recently filed an application to adjust my immigration status to legal permanent residence, based on my marriage to a US citizen. We have not yet heard from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) about an interview with them to decide my case. Meanwhile my wife and I are planning to move soon to a new apartment. We will be filing a change of address notice with the US Postal Service so that mail will be forwarded to the new address. Will mail from USCIS reach us at our new address?
A: No. It is very likely that the Postal Service will not forward mail from USCIS, because of security concerns. Unfortunately, at IIIC we hear from immigrants who moved to a new residence and have been waiting a long time for some communication from USCIS, only to learn later on that a piece of important mail was returned to USCIS as undeliverable. For this reason, immigrants often miss USCIS deadlines because they fail to respond to an important mailing from USCIS that they in fact never received. They learn later that USCIS has deemed their application to be abandoned, and therefore denied.
You certainly do not want that to happen to you. So what should you do? First, practically all non-US citizens residing in this country for 30 days or more, not just those with pending applications, are required to file a notification with USCIS within ten days of an address change. This includes legal permanent residents (green card holders) but not people with A or G visas.
There are two ways to do this. First, you can file online by going to www.uscis.gov/AR-11 and following the instructions. Second, you can choose instead to use the simple, one-page AR-11 form that you can download from the government’s web site at www.uscis.gov and mail to the address shown on the form. There is no fee for filing an address change.
It is very important to understand that if you have an application pending, there is an additional precaution you need to take. You must inform USCIS directly of your address change so that the officers processing your case will mail future communications to your new residence. You can either do this by filing online as indicated above plus following the additional instructions pertaining to people with pending cases, or by calling the USCIS help line at-1-800-375-5283 and providing your address change information.
Remember: If you choose not to use online filing, just informing the Postal Service and mailing the AR-11 form is not enough if you have a case pending with USCIS. You need to contact the agency about the pending case as soon as you move.
For record retention purposes, keep proof that you complied with the address change requirements by: (1) if you mail the AR-11 form, you should keep a copy and mail the signed original by certified mail, return receipt requested, and (2) if you file online you should record the confirmation number you receive, print out the page with the information you submitted, and then sign and date it. Keep all such records in a safe place.
A further note: In cases where an applicant has a financial sponsor who submitted an affidavit of support (Form I-864) in his/her case (such as usually happens where an immigrant has a US citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or other petitioning relative), the sponsor (not the immigrant) also has an obligation to file a change of address form when the sponsor’s address changes. The form for this purpose is I-865, and no fee is required.
Disclaimer: These articles are published to inform generally, not to advise in individual cases. Immigration law is always subject to change. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services and US Department of State frequently amend regulations and alter processing and filing procedures. For legal advice, seek the assistance of IIIC immigration legal staff.
IIIC Program Updates
U.S. Government Accepts Applications for Deferred Action from February 18
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released more information about applying for the expanded DACA program (“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”), for immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. This was one of the programs announced by President Obama last November as part of his Executive Action on immigration. Under this program, folks who have lived in the U.S. since January 1, 2010, who came to the U.S. when they were under 16, and who meet certain other requirements related to education and lack of criminal history, can apply for DACA. DACA is valid for three years and comes with employment authorization.
USCIS has posted information regarding the new DACA program on the following website: http://tinyurl.com/n9kdrvh
The IIIC also has a webpage that provides detailed information about Executive Action: www.iiicenter.org/executive-action/
To find out more about whether you can apply for DACA, please come to one of our weekly walk-in legal clinics or attend our special Information Session at the Green Briar Pub on February 19.
Executive Action Information Session in Brighton – February 19
The IIIC will present a special information session to inform clients about President Obama’s Executive Action plan for immigration relief. The information session will be presented on Thursday, February 19 at 6:00 PM at the Green Briar Restaurant & Pub, 304 Washington Street, Brighton, MA 02135. All are welcome.
Family Healing Workshop Series Rescheduled
Due to safety issues related to the recent heavy snowstorms, the IIIC’s Family Healing Workshop series, set to begin this month, will be postponed. The entire series of four consecutive weekly workshops will be rescheduled for March / April 2015. We will continue to keep the IIIC event page open in Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/kxx4ps9)
U.S. Citizenship Clinic – February 26
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will honor Presidents Day by welcoming approximately 5,000 new U.S. citizens during nearly 40 naturalization ceremonies across the country. Similar ceremonies will be held around the Fourth of July. You could be one of these new citizens if you apply for naturalization now. Come to the IIIC clinic on February 26 to begin your U.S. naturalization application. For further details see ad below or contact Ambreen at 617-542-7654, Ext. 41.
Computer Workshop Drop-In Thursdays 6-8:00 PM
Every Thursday evening at the IIIC. For further details see our ad or contact Sarah at (617) 542-7654 x36.
Save the Date – IIIC Trivia Night! - March 4
All you trivia buffs! Join us at the Burren Pub in Davis Square, Somerville for a Trivia Showdown. Test your knowledge against Boston’s premier quizmaster, Neil Hurley. Prizes awarded but most of all, this is a chance to get together in a cozy pub to welcome the month of March, and (hopefully) Spring! Wednesday, March 4, 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The Burren, 247 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144
Job Opportunity at the IIIC: Irish Outreach Program Coordinator
The IIIC is seeking an Irish Outreach Program Coordinator to reach out and connect with the Irish community, supporting Irish immigrants’ access to IIIC’s legal, wellness and career advancement services, and other support services. In addition, the Irish Outreach Program Coordinator will assist with the day-to-day operations of the J-1 Irish Work and Travel Program.
An understanding of the Irish immigrant community in the Greater Boston area preferred in that the work requires the building of relationships with employers as well as with pubs, restaurants, and health centers that serve the Irish community.
For a full job description and application submission instructions, see our website at iiicenter.org (Go to: Get Involved/Career Opportunities)
Quote of the Week
“Ireland, thou friend of my country in my country’s most friendless days, much injured, much enduring land, accept this poor tribute from one who esteems thy worth, and mourns thy desolation.”
- George Washington, on Ireland's support during the American Revolution.