Amerika Forum - USA 4 ALL - Informatie

Amerika forum door USA4ALL!

Amerika Vakantie Routes en hulp bij uw planning. Uiteraard kunt u hier ook terecht voor andere Amerikaans gerelateerde vragen over de Verenigde Staten van Amerika!
Als u zich registreert als lid, ziet u minder advertenties! Bovendien ziet u meer onderwerpen, zoals bijv. voorgestelde routeopties en krijgt u toegang tot de veel gestelde vragen. Bij aanmelding heeft u geen last meer van dit bericht.

Orlando delays keep immigrants in limbo

Discussie gestart

Frank S

Orlando delays keep immigrants in limbo

Only New York City ranks worse than Orlando in backlogged legalization cases, a review finds.

Victor Manuel Ramos | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted October 23, 2005

In Houston, it takes about 187 days for an immigrant to get a green card and 201 days to become a U.S. citizen.

In Los Angeles, it can take 201 days for a green card and 207 days for citizenship.
But in Central Florida, an immigrant will wait four times longer than in Houston or Los Angeles and then some -- an average of 876 days -- just to get a green card and 544 days to gain citizenship. That's the second-worst backlog in the nation, according to an Orlando Sentinel analysis of 80 immigration offices throughout the country.

Only New York City, a legendary port of entry for immigrants, outranked Orlando as the slowest place for legalization cases.

The average national wait for legalization applications for so-called green cards is 313 days, about 10 months. Orlando also ranks fourth in delays for citizenship, forcing immigrants to wait about 18 months when the national average is 231 days.

Immigration officials and lawyers point to the 1986 amnesty of millions of undocumented immigrants for the snowballing of cases two decades later. The agency's reorganization -- an effort to step up security and efficiency -- after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks aggravated delays and caused chronic "staffing imbalances," Orlando officials said. Add to that an unexpected flow of immigrants to Florida.

"Until a few years ago, we did not have the immigrant growth of cities like Miami, so the local office never got the budget or the staff to deal with Central Florida's growth," said Roberto Moreno, a lawyer and former immigration judge. "It is a problem. . . . It's frustrating for the lawyers, and it's frustrating for the foreigners."

Every Florida immigration office, except Jacksonville, logged above-average waiting times -- an indication that the state has become a magnet for immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean.

"People who are visiting decide they want to stay and be legalized," said Jackson Marcelin, an immigration lawyer who serves mostly Haitian clients in Orlando. "They may come, fall in love with the place or with somebody and decide to stay, so they apply for the permanent status."

Most of the backup at the Orlando office -- which handles an average of 1,300 people a day, compared with about 900 a year ago -- is linked to adjustment of status applications, the paperwork filed by temporary and undocumented immigrants who want legal residence.

Under the processing pile are people petitioned by relatives who are permanent U.S. residents or U.S. citizens; those sponsored by employers; and asylum seekers under various laws. The delays affect immigrants who live in Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia counties.

Even immigration officials acknowledge that the backlog is "unacceptable," particularly after President Bush vowed in July 2001 to reduce the wait to six months by the end of 2006.

The agency reorganized, separating its enforcement duties from administrative tasks and placing it under the new Department of Homeland Security, but its national backlog remains at more than 10 months for legalization cases and more than seven months for citizenship requests.

In Orlando, the agency is adding 11 temporary positions and 18 permanent staffers within the next few months to attack the backlog.

"We need to do this not just for our customers, and not just because the president mandated it, but because we need to be able to provide services to the right people in the right amount of time," said Shawn Saucier, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman.

The delays can turn into a nightmare for those immigrants whose visas have expired or who seek political asylum.

People who apply generally receive a temporary working permit that they have to renew each year, but even the issuance of those permits is affected by cascading delays. Immigrants also risk losing their place in line or their right to re-enter the country if they have to travel, immigration attorneys say. And if their temporary permits expire before the office issues new ones, they lose their right to live, work and even drive here.

"You have a bunch of people who had simple problems to fix, like the spelling of a name or a date, and it takes a long time for them to just get the attention of the immigration office," said Wallace Rozefort, director of Haitian Social Services, a community agency that assists Haitian immigrants in Orlando. "And in the meantime, people are going around without a work permit, without a drivers license and really just living in no man's land."

Jorge Schlaefli, a Venezuelan immigrant who traveled to the United States with temporary visas several times, settled in Orlando in October 1996 -- exactly nine years ago. That's how long it took him until he walked out of the immigration office Friday with a smile and a stamp on his passport. His green card, which entitles him to live and work here, is finally arriving in the mail.

While he waited, Schlaefli worked many jobs, became a mortgage broker, a tax preparer and paid higher tuition than residents to graduate with a University of Central Florida degree in computer engineering.

"I am a professional," Schlaefli said, "who has created jobs for other people here and who has worked for his betterment, and this process was too long to just gain acceptance."
#1 - 23-10-2005, 12:58 uur
Iedereen heeft recht op mijn mening.


0 leden en 1 gast bekijken dit topic.

Sitemap 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15