With temperatures hovering around freezing, gray and overcast skies almost every day, and snow in the forecast, the only way we’re getting through this winter is thinking about lovely summer days to come. And what says summer more than a picnic in the park? Artist Tamara Johnson’s aptly titled Picnic was specifically created for Maria Hernandez Park and the surrounding Bushwick community, and lets us imagine, if only for a moment, that it’s warm enough to eat outdoors. The hand-cast concrete picnic scene “symbolizes the gathering, relaxing and sharing we experience with friends and family” and turns “a temporary happening into a static monument for participation and contemplation.” The sculpture is on display until the first day of spring (March 20).
Processing times for immigration cases have dramatically increased in the last few years to “crisis levels under the Trump Administration,” according to an American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) policy brief. These delays in some cases have caused gaps in work authorization and loss of employment, and the same AILA brief notes that the “ballooning delays leave families—including families with US citizen spouses and children—in financial distress, expose protection-seekers to potential harm by bad actors, and threaten the viability of American companies facing workforce gaps.”Read More
Triumph of the Human Spirit is one of the sculptures that the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is highlighting during Black History Month to honor the African American experience. This fifty-foot granite abstract sculpture, by artist Lorenzo Pace, is inspired by the “Chi Wara” carved antelope headdresses of the Bamana people in Mali, West Africa, and sits within a boat-like structure symbolizing the “middle passage” of enslaved Africans to the West Indies and Americas. Set in Foley Square in downtown Manhattan near the site of a Colonial-era African-American burial ground where as many as 10,000 men, women, and children were interred (residents of African descent in New Amsterdam and New York were enslaved from 1625 until 1827), the sculpture “symbolizes freedom and endurance.” The park’s signage also notes: “Besides its universal message, it was created with the artist’s own personal ancestry in mind, and its granite base contains a replica of the inherited lock and key which were used to enslave his great-great grandfather Steve Pace.”
US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a revised Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, which will be published on their website on March 11, 2019. USCIS will only accept the revised Form I-539 with an edition date of 02/04/19 effective March 11, 2019, and USCIS will reject any Form I-539 with an edition date of 12/23/16 or earlier. On March 11, the agency will also publish a new Form I-539A, Supplemental Information for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, a form that will replace the Supplement A provided in previous versions of Form I-539. Form I-539A is not a standalone form and should only be submitted along with Form I-539.Read More
US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that effective Tuesday, February 19, 2019, the agency will resume premium processing for all H-1B petitions filed on or before December 21, 2018. For applicants who received a transfer notice for their pending H-1B petition and plan to request premium processing, they must submit the premium processing request to the service center now handling the petition and include a copy of the transfer notice with the premium processing request. Additionally, for those who have received a Request for Evidence (RFE) for a pending petition, they should also include the RFE response with the premium processing request. For petitions that have been transferred, if applicants send their premium processing request to the wrong center, USCIS will forward it to the correct location; however, the fifteen day premium processing clock will not start until the premium processing request has been received at the correct center. USCIS has published a table to help applicants determine where to send their premium processing request if USCIS transferred their petition.Read More
Immigrant-owned businesses employ more than 19 million people and generate $4.8 trillion in revenue, according to the National Immigration Forum, figures that demonstrate the tremendous positive impact immigrants have on the US economy. Immigrants are important business creators, in addition to holding positions in the service, construction, and farming industries as well as in Silicon Valley. "This phenomenon is across all ethnicities and education levels," Dr. Kerr, a professor of entrepreneurship who has been tracking the topic for over ten years, says. "There are many reasons immigrants start more businesses. Among them: They tend to be more daring and less risk averse, considering they were brave enough to migrate here and tolerate change. Many come to the U.S. specifically to start a business. Others face discrimination in the job market and opt to become business owners."Read More
President Trump declared a national emergency at the border this morning to access billions of dollars to build a border wall that Congress refused to give him, claiming that the nation faces an “invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country.” The emergency declaration, issued after the spending package passed by Congress included none of his requested $5.7 billion for 234 miles of steel wall but instead only provided $1.375 billion for about fifty-five miles of fencing, will enable President Trump to divert $3.6 billion budgeted for military construction projects to the border wall. Those funds, along with the presidential budgetary discretion to draw $2.5 billion from counternarcotics programs and $600 million from a Treasury Department asset forfeiture fund and the $1.375 billion authorized for fencing, would total about $8 billion in all for construction of new barriers and repairs or replacement of existing barriers on the US/Mexico border.Read More