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May 31, 2002

INS Issues Final Rule for Adjustment of Status
Under Provisions of the Life Act

INS Extends Filing Deadline Until May 31,2003

WASHINGTON – The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) announced today the issuance of a final rule for adjustment-of-status application procedures under the Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act legalization provisions. The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on June 4, 2002, and ensure that those eligible to apply for legalization benefits under the provisions of the Life Act are able to do so by May 31, 2003. The INS is extending the filing deadline by one year comply with the Congressional mandate of allowing a one-year filing period under the final rule. This will provide ample time for eligible applicants to apply for benefits under the final regulations.

“With the issuance of the final rule for benefits under the LIFE Act provisions, we are hopeful that more eligible applicants will submit their applications for lawful permanent residency in the United States,” said INS Commissioner James Ziglar. “We believe the one-year extension will provide a golden opportunity for all eligible applicants to become lawful permanent residents,” he added.

In order to qualify for adjustment, eligible applicants must establish that they entered the United States before January 1, 1982, and thereafter resided in continuous unlawful status through May 4, 1988. Eligible applicants must also establish that they were continuously physically present in the United States from November 6, 1986, through May 4, 1988. Eligible applicants must also demonstrate basic citizenship skills and be eligible for admission to the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Life Legalization also provides for a stay of removal or deportation and work authorization for eligible applicants under this law while their adjustment applications are pending.

The LIFE Act also provides that certain spouses and children of eligible applicants under the LIFE Legalization will be protected from removal and be eligible for employment authorization for the period of time in which they have been afforded Family Unity protection. Aliens who might benefit from the Family Unity provisions of the LIFE Act Amendments are those who:

  1. Are currently in the United States;
  2. Are the spouse or unmarried child of an alien who is eligible for adjustment under LIFE Legalization; and
  3. Entered the United States before December 1, 1988, and were residing in the United States on such date.

On June 1, 2001, Justice Department published an interim rule in the Federal Register that implemented section 1104 of the LIFE Act and the LIFE Act Amendments by establishing procedures for certain class action participants to become lawful permanent residents of the United States. Persons who are eligible are individuals who have filed for class membership with the Attorney General, before October 1, 2000, in one of three legalization lawsuits: (1) Catholic Social Services, Inc. v. Meese, Reno v. Catholic Social Services, Inc., 509 U. S. 43 (1993) (CSS); (2) League of United Latin American Citizens v. INS, (3) Zambrano v. INS. The interim rule provided a 1-year application period from June 1, 2001, to May 31, 2002 for those individuals applying for adjustment of status pursuant to section 1104 of the LIFE Act. The interim rule also provided for a stay of removal and work authorization for certain spouses and unmarried children of those aliens eligible to adjust status under section 1104 of the LIFE Act.

More information regarding the final regulations of the LIFE Act legalization provisions can be obtained through the INS Web site, the toll-free customer telephone service 1-800-375-5283, and public outreach to the media and community-based organizations. Forms can be easily downloaded from the INS Web site, or requested by calling 1-800-375-5283.

“Since immigration law is very complex, individuals who have concerns about their eligibility for LIFE Act benefits should be cautious to avoid unscrupulous immigration practitioners. They should contact a licensed attorney or a legal service provider recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals,” urged Executive Associate Commissioner for Immigration Services, William Yates.

(A list of legal service providers recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals is available on the Internet site under “Pro Bono Program.”)

– INS –