US Embassy in PH assures continued visa processing services

Robie de Guzman   •   June 11, 2019   •   2128

The United States (US) Embassy in the Philippines on Tuesday (June 11) assured that all visa processing services at the embassy will continue despite the closure of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field office in Manila starting next month.

“There will be no change in visa processing at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines. Immigrant and non-immigrant visas will continue to be processed at the Embassy,” the U.S. Embassy said in a post on Facebook.

Thanks for your questions about the upcoming closure of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Manila…

Posted by U.S. Embassy in the Philippines on Monday, 10 June 2019

The U.S. Embassy also assured there would be no change in services previously offered by the USCIS field office in Manila. Its offices, including the Consular Section, will also remain open.

“The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, including its Consular Section, remains open. For more information on services offered by the U.S. Embassy, visit: ph.usembassy.gov,” it said.

“The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines will assume responsibility for certain limited services previously provided by the Manila USCIS field office. All other services will be transitioned to electronic processing or performer domestically in the United States,” it added.

The I-130 petition can be filed by mail with the USCIS lockbox facility in Chicago, Illinois. It also provided new instructions for individuals who were previously assisted by the office.

The U.S. Embassy earlier announced that the USCIS will close its Manila field office due to insufficient workload. It stopped accepting petitions for family visa, foreign adoptions and citizenship last May 31.

US Embassy in PH closed on Sept. 2

Robie de Guzman   •   August 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The United States Embassy in the Philippine capital has announced its offices would be closed on Monday, Sept. 2 in observance of Labor Day.

Labor Day in the US is a federal holiday which honors the American labor movement. It is celebrated every first Monday of September.

The Embassy said its regular services will resume on Tuesday, March 13.  

Kin of Filipino WWII vets now banned from staying in US while waiting for green cards

Robie de Guzman   •   August 5, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Filipino World War II veterans

The United States government will no longer allow families of Filipino World War II veterans to stay in the country while waiting for the approval of their family-based green cards.

In a news release posted on its website, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced its intention to terminate the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program in accordance with President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13767: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements.

The USCIS said the order aims to better ensure that parole is used only on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the law.

“The decision to end these parole programs ends the expedited processing that was made available to these populations in a categorical fashion. It follows an extensive review to better ensure that parole authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act is exercised on a case-by-case basis when there is a significant public benefit or urgent humanitarian reason,” the agency said.

Parole is a process that allows foreign nationals to temporarily enter or remain in the United States, including those who are otherwise inadmissible.

Categorical parole refers to programs designed to consider parole for entire groups of individuals based on pre-set criteria.

Under these programs, the USCIS said individuals with approved family-based immigrant petitions have been authorized to enter and work in the United States while waiting for their green card to become available.

“Under these categorical parole programs, individuals have been able to skip the line and bypass the proper channels established by Congress,” USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said.

“With the termination of these programs, these individuals will no longer be permitted to wait in the United States for their family-based green card to become available, consistent with the rules that apply to the rest of the world,” he added.

“USCIS is committed to exercising this limited authority in a manner that preserves the integrity of our immigration system and does not encourage aliens to unlawfully enter the United States,” Cuccinelli further stated.

Aside from the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole program, the USCIS will also be terminating Haitian Family Reunification Parole program.

While the process for the termination of these programs begins, the USCIS assured it will continue to review all remaining categorical parole programs.

“USCIS will not terminate any program until we complete required administrative changes to Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and the form is approved for public use,” the agency said.

“The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) process will provide notice to the affected individuals, explain the reasons USCIS is taking action, and provide public comment periods on the termination of these programs,” it added.

The USCIS said current parolees will maintain their current period of parole until its expiration, unless it is otherwise terminated. Pending cases will also be processed to completion.

“In addition, parolees who have not adjusted status or been admitted may request parole under the non-categorical process by filing Form I-131, in accordance with the form instructions. Additional information on applying for non-categorical parole is available on the Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole for Individuals Outside the United States page,” the agency said.

US Embassy on reports Mina Chang is next envoy to PH: ‘Not true’

Robie de Guzman   •   July 10, 2019

US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Mina Chang

MANILA, Philippines – The United States Embassy on Wednesday belied reports that a US State Department deputy assistant secretary has been appointed as America’s next ambassador to the Philippines.

In a statement, the US Embassy said reports on Mina Chang’s alleged appointment to replace current envoy Sung Kim is false.

“We’ve seen this claim. It is not true,” the Embassy said.

It added that in September 2018, the White House announced US President Donald Trump’s intent to nominate Mina Chang to be an Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development for the Bureau of Asia.

The nomination was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January 2019.

“There have been no additional White House announcements regarding her nomination to the USAID position,” the Embassy said.

According to the website of the US State Department, Harvard-educated Chang is currently assigned to its Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

Her profile stated that the 32-year old Korean-American diplomat has “extensive on the ground experience in conflict areas such as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria and the Philippines.

Before assuming government position, Chang was the chief executive officer of the non-government organization Linking the World.

She is also an advocate of global education and pushes for “proactive stabilization as a strategic tool of foreign engagement and an investment in a stronger America abroad.”

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