CSS/NEWMAN/LULAC/LIFE UPDATE (5/9/05)
1. If you have already filed for adjustment of status under the LIFE Act, we suggest that you wait to file another application under CSS/Newman(LULAC) and concentrate on trying to get your LIFE Act application approved before 12/31/05. If your LIFE Act case has not been approved by the beginning of December 2005, we may then recommend that you file a CSS/Newman application in the month of December.
2. Our LIFE Act applications are seriously backlogged (as are many other applications). I think over 100,000 applications were filed during the 2-year application period ending in June 2003. Many class members were interviewed two years ago and have heard nothing. We have been able to get some backlogged cases processed and approved, but this takes pushing and writing letters and telephoning the CIS. Best done by a lawyer. Many LIFE Act applications have been approved, many denied, and most are still pending.
3. We have trained lawyers in several cities (LA, San Diego, San Francisco, Monterey, Miami, Houston, Dallas, San Jose), but not yet in Chicago or the East Coast. We hope to do training there in the next couple of months. For the cities where we have already done trainings, we have posted contact information for the lawyers who attended the training programs on our web site www.legalizationusa.org, select the late amnesty link, then select the link for Attorney Lists. Once we have done training on the East Coast and Chicago, we will post the names of attorneys who attend those trainings. Applicants may select trained lawyers in their areas from our web site.
4. Most LIFE Act cases that are denied are turned down because the CIS claims that the applicant did not provide sufficient evidence of entry before 1/1/82 and unlawful residence from 1/1/82 to 5/4/1988. If you have a case pending, or even a case on appeal, you may submit additional evidence in the form of declarations from people in this country or in your home country. We have a form that can be used to collect the information that a lawyer needs to prepare the declarations. The form is called "Form to Gather Declarations" and can be found by going to our web site, select Late Amnesty, then scroll down to the Forms, then select Form to Gather Declarations. Read the instructions provided at the top of the form. We recommend everyone use this form, people who applied for LIFE Act adjustment and people who have or plan to file under CSS/Newman(LULAC) settlements.
5. We believe that CIS's denial of LIFE Act applicants because they only presented declarations in support of their claimed residence from before 1/1/82 to 5/4/88 is illegal and we may file a lawsuit to establish that the use of declarations is sufficient. If class members have received final LIFE Act denials because they supposedly did not provide sufficient evidence of their unlawful residence from before 1/1/82 to 5/4/88, please feel free to mail us a complete copy of the file. Mail to Peter Schey, CHRCL, 256 S. Occidental Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90057. We will examine the file and decide whether it is the type of case that would support a new class action lawsuit.
6. If your LIFE Act application is denied, you MUST appeal within 30 days. The denial form you receive should contain instructions. When you appeal, you must state on the form whether you are submitting with your notice of appeal a brief or additional evidence, or whether you will do so within 30 days. However, you have the right to ask for a copy of the Record of Proceedings (ROP). This is the record that the CIS relied upon to deny your application. When we file the notice of appeal, we note on the form that we will file a brief or additional evidence within 30 days of receiving the Record of Proceedings. You have to handwrite this into the form. We also say the same thing in a cover letter. You then have the right to receive the ROP before you submit a brief or additional evidence of your eligibility.
7. Class members who filed under LIFE or have or will file under the CSS/Newman(LULAC) settlements cannot be deported as long as they have a prima facie application pending. They are also entitled to work permits.
8. We believe that class members outside of the United States are entitled to apply under the CSS/Newman settlements. The DHS/DOJ disagree. If people apply from abroad, they may send us copies of their applications and we will monitor their cases. If they are denied, we are willing to take their cases to the federal courts where we believe that they will be granted the right to apply from abroad (this is a question of interpreting the settlement agreements we reached with the Government in the CSS/Newman cases).
9. I will soon set up a list serve so that attorneys and class members can exchange questions and answers via email. I will inform you when that is available.
In the meantime, below please see here for a draft of Questions and Answers. This is not a final product, but it may be useful to people for now.