USCIS Implements I-797 Notification Change

USCIS has informed the public that, as of September 12, 2011, the federal agency begin sending original I-797 receipt and approval notices directly to applicants and petitioners. In cases in which a Form G-28, the Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, is on file, a copy of the receipt and approval notice will also be sent to an attorney or accredited representative. USCIS has implemented this change in notification process to ensure that documents, such as the I-94 Arrival-Departure Record, are mailed directly to the address that the applicant/petitioner specifies.

While USCIS discourages entering in another person’s address for mailing purposes, it is acceptable for certain petitioners to use an attorney’s address as the mailing address on a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker if they so choose.

New Law in Alabama Asks Schools to Verify Children’s Immigrant Status

A new, restrictive immigration law in Alabama has just passed its first test; a judge ruled Wednesday that several portions of the law could be put into place, including a section on public school enrollment. The law, which took effect last Thursday, asks that schools check birth certificates in cases when a child is enrolling in an Alabama school for the first time. If school officials deem that the child in question is not lawfully in the United States or if a birth certificate is not presented to officials, the officials are required to ask the parent(s) or guardian(s) to offer other documentation or sign an affidavit verifying the legal status (citizenship or legal immigrant) of the student. If such documentation is not given to the officials within 30 days, the school must record that child as “enrolled without birth certificate” in the state’s database.

Opponents of the law claim that it will have deleterious effects on children and their parents. They believe that the school systems will now serve as barriers to the provision of needed education to many innocent children. Advocates of the law, however, state that it does not block enrollment; it simply provides officials with a method to track how many illegal immigrant children are enrolled in the state’s school system.