Monday, January 28, 2013
Update for Horsemen on Immigration and In Country Waiver Applications
Phil Hanrahan, the CEO of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association stated “This change has the potential to be very beneficial to the whole Thoroughbred industry. It can have a very positive impact on many hundreds if not thousands of dedicated grooms, farm workers and their families and could help to address the need for skilled workers both at the track and on horse farms.”
The Obama Administration has steadily been moving toward a broad immigration solution that will allow many horsemen who are here without legal status to fix their immigration status while avoiding lengthy stays outside the U.S. Phase One enacted recently grants legal presence to entrants who came as children.
The new in-country waiver is the second phase of the President’s plan and repeals the previous rule in which the husband or wife of a U.S. citizen was barred from applying for a green card in the U.S. if they originally entered without a visa. To obtain lawful status, the immigrant had to leave the U.S. and apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy in their home country. Leaving the U.S., however, barred the immigrant from returning for up to 10 years unless they could prove their U.S. citizen or legal resident spouse would suffer extreme hardship in their absence.
The waiver process to prove hardship to the U.S. citizen relative took many months, even years for full processing. In the meantime the family was separated and there was no way of predicting if or when the family would ever be reunited.
Will Velie, President of Horseman Labor Solutions pointed to the goal of family unity as the reason for the policy shift. “The change will give families a chance to stay together safely and legally while the government rules on the waiver application,” said Mr. Velie.
TO QUALIFY, A PERSON MUST HAVE AN APPROVED I-130 PETITION. Mr. Velie said applicants must follow a strict filing timeline set forth in the new rule. Waiver applications cannot be filed until after March 4, 2013. “Applicants should get an I-130 petition filed now so they can file the waiver after the March 4 deadline,” said Mr. Velie.
Mr. Velie noted that the policy change is substantial. According to Mr. Velie, “Many horsemen who are married to Americans or have American citizen children will be able to take advantage of this program.”
More information on the policy change can be found at the USCIS website or by contacting Mr. Velie at Horseman Labor Solutions at 877.678.7223.
The National HBPA (www.nationalhbpa.com), based in Lexington, Kentucky, is the largest racing horsemen’s representative association in North America, with 30 affiliate organizations and over 30,000 member horsemen. Big Dee’s Tack & Vet Supplies, Equineline.com, Finish Line Horse Products, Inc., and Horseman Labor Solutions are proud corporate partners of the National HBPA.
Posted by National HBPA at 1:31 PM