Skip Navigation

26 June 2015

A Family Story Tells a Bigger Tale of Immigration History

In honor of Immigrant Heritage Month, our director, León Rodríguez, shares his family’s immigration story in this short video.

 
As he puts it, their story represents almost a textbook example of immigration history and issues. Three of his four grandparents were Sephardic (Spanish speaking) Jews from Turkey who moved to Cuba in the 1920s. Later, his maternal grandfather – who worked as a shoemaker -- devoted himself to assisting European refugees. “My mother often talks about my grandfather running out in the middle of the night actually to greet a ship that had arrived, carrying refugees who were fleeing Nazi Europe,” he says.
 
Then, in the 1960s, after Fidel Castro came to power, his family decided to move to the United States. There were immigration challenges. For instance, since some relatives were Turkish nationals, their immigration was counted against the Turkish quota. “There was a lot of back and forth as to how the Cuban admission process was going to be run in that period, so initially my maternal grandparents had some difficulty migrating,” Director Rodríguez says. His parents were admitted as refugees. “In fact, I've been able to look at some records from that period and I've been able to see actually the refugee screening that was done on of my father. He was actually detained for a short while, while they screened him in order to determine if he could be admitted as a refugee to the United States.”

In the video, Director Rodríguez credits his grandfather’s work on behalf of refugees with helping to inspire his own professional interest in immigration. In fact, an immigrant advocacy group whose board his grandfather served on in the 1940s is today a partner of USCIS. “If you look at any given immigration file, every one of those files is the story of some family's hopes and dreams, and in some cases, a story of a family's sufferings,” he says. “So to be able to … lead the people that shepherd those families, for me, is the absolute professional peak.”


Una Historia Familiar que Cuenta una Gran Historia de Inmigración

En conmemoración del Mes de la Herencia del Inmigrante, nuestro director León Rodríguez, comparte la historia de inmigración de su familia en este breve vídeo (en inglés).
 
Según nos explica, su historia es casi el ejemplo clásico de las historias y los problemas de inmigración.  Tres de sus cuatro abuelos eran judíos sefarditas (que hablaban español) procedentes de Turquía, quienes se mudaron a Cuba durante la década de 1920.  Luego, su abuelo paterno – quien trabajaba como zapatero – se dedicó a ayudar a refugiados europeos. “Mi madre habla con frecuencia sobre cómo mi abuelo salió en medio de la noche para recibir a un barco que había llegado cargando refugiados que habían escapado de la Europa nazi”, comentó.

Durante la década de 1960, luego que Fidel Castro llegara al poder, su familia decidió mudarse a los Estados Unidos. Sufrieron grandes retos relacionados con inmigración.  Por ejemplo, debido a que algunos eran ciudadanos turcos, eran contados como inmigrantes en contra de la cuota de Turquía. “En aquel momento existían muchas dudas sobre cómo se llevaría a cabo el proceso de admisión de cubanos, por lo que al inicio mis abuelos maternos tuvieron ciertas dificultades para emigrar”, dijo el director Rodríguez.  Sus padres fueron admitidos como refugiados. “De hecho, he tenido la oportunidad de examinar algunos registros de inmigración de dicho periodo y ver el proceso de examen que le hicieron a mi padre antes de ser admitido como refugiado. Él estuvo detenido por un plazo breve mientras lo procesaban para determinar si podía ser admitido como refugiado en los Estados Unidos”.

En este vídeo, el director Rodríguez reconoce que el trabajo que realizó su abuelo en favor de los refugiados incidió en la inspiración para desarrollar su interés profesional en el área de inmigración. De hecho, uno de los grupos de defensa de inmigrantes en cuya junta de directores figuró su abuelo durante la década de 1940, es hoy un socio de USCIS. “Si miramos cualquier expediente de inmigración particular, cada uno de esos expedientes es la historia de las esperanzas y los sueños de una familia, y en algunos casos, la historia de los sufrimientos de una familia”, dijo.  “Por tanto, poder dirigir las personas que guían a esas familias, para mí, es la cumbre absoluta de mi carrera profesional”.

El abuelo del director Rodríguez haciendo zapatos en La Habana.

Labels:

25 June 2015

Scam Alert – Caller ID Spoofing

If someone claiming to be from USCIS calls making threats such as deportation and tells you to make a money transfer or go to a store or drug store to purchase a money order, voucher or make some other type of money exchange, payment or withdrawal - do not go along with it - hang up and report it!

Scammers are using a technique called “Caller ID spoofing” to display a misleading or inaccurate phone number in a recipient’s Caller ID.  The scammer poses as a USCIS official and requests personal information (such as Social Security number, passport number, or A-number), identifies supposed issues in the recipient’s immigration records, and asks for payment to correct these records. The scammers may also already possess the personal information of those they target.

Often, scammers will threaten victims with deportation or other negative consequences if they do not pay.

If you receive a call like that, USCIS urges you to hang up immediately.

USCIS never asks for any form of payment or personal information over the phone. Do not give payment or personal information over the phone to anyone who claims to be a USCIS official. In general, we encourage you to protect your personal information and not to provide details about your immigration application in any public area.

If you have been a victim of this telephone scam, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/, or report it to an appropriate state authority. (Visit  www.uscis.gov/avoidscams for information on where to report scams in your state.)

If you have a question about your immigration record, please call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283, or make an InfoPass appointment by visiting our website at http://infopass.uscis.gov/

19 June 2015

USCIS Celebrates World Refugee Day and 10th Anniversary of USCIS Refugee Corps

World Refugee Day is June 20. This day is always special to employees of USCIS as we play a critical role in resettling refugees from around the globe.   This year marks the 10th anniversary of our refugee corps, which has grown to include 88 officers and 22 supervisors, who are based in Washington, D.C., but also travel around the world to interview refugee applicants. The men and women of the USCIS Refugee Corps provide resettlement opportunities to qualified refugees from around the globe while ensuring the integrity of the refugee program and our national security. Working in cooperation with the Department of State, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program resettled 69,987 in the United States during fiscal year 2014.

Our Director, Leόn Rodríguez, made a video in honor of the importance of World Refugee Day and the hard work of all people working to help refugees from around the globe. 



You can learn more about World Refugee Day at the UNHCR website. To learn more about USCIS’ mission to help refugees, visit our Humanitarian page
 


Labels: ,

USCIS celebra el Día Mundial del Refugiado y el 10mo Aniversario del Cuerpo de Refugiados de USCIS


El 20 de junio es el Día Mundial del Refugiado. Esta fecha es una muy especial para los empleados de USCIS, ya que tenemos un rol importante en el reasentamiento de refugiados alrededor del mundo. Este año se celebra el décimo aniversario del Cuerpo de Refugiados de USCIS, que ya cuenta con 88 oficiales y 22 supervisores que están localizados en Washington, D.C. pero viajan alrededor del mundo para entrevistar a solicitantes de refugio. Estos hombres y mujeres que forman parte del Cuerpo de Refugiados de USCIS proporcionan oportunidades de reasentamiento a refugiados cualificados alrededor del mundo, a la vez que velan por la integridad del Programa de Refugiados y nuestra seguridad nacional. En cooperación con el Departamento de Estado, el Programa de Admisiones de Refugiados de los Estados Unidos fueron reasentadas 69,987 personas en los Estados Unidos durante el año fiscal 2014.

Nuestro director, León Rodríguez, ha hecho un vídeo en reconocimiento a la importancia que tiene el Día Mundial del Refugiado y al arduo trabajo de todas las personas que colaboran en ayudar a refugiados en todo el mundo.




Puede obtener más información sobre el Día Mundial del Refugiado en el sitio web de ACNUR. Para conocer más sobre la misión de USCIS en la ayuda de refugiados visite nuestra página de Programas Humanitarios.




Labels:

09 June 2015

Our July Fourth Video Needs You

This year, we are celebrating Independence Day by creating a July Fourth video, and we want you in it!

It’s simple: Record yourself reading these lines from the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."



Afterward, in your own words, feel free to wish everyone a happy Independence Day.

You can record the video by yourself or with your family, friends, fellow students, or any other group.

Upload your video to YouTube and tag it #USCIS. Then copy and paste the URL into the comments section at the bottom of this blog post.

Please upload your video before June 26. We’ll compile the responses into a video that we’ll post for the Fourth of July holiday.

Thanks, everyone!

08 May 2015

Director León Rodríguez Makes Announcement on Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRP)

Today, USCIS released a video message from Director León Rodríguez regarding the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program:



Gade yon ti video sou HFRP an Kreyol



In 2014, we announced the introduction of the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program to speed up family reunifications for eligible Haitians and their family members in the United States. The new program allows them to join family members in the United States up to approximately two years before their immigrant visas become available. This program is not only important to the individuals it assists, but in a larger sense, to the nation of Haiti as it recovers from the 2010 earthquake.

The program is being implemented as follows:
  • The Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) issues invitations to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (petitioners) who filed Forms I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for Haitian family members who were approved on or before Dec. 18, 2014. These family members must also have immigrant visas that are expected to be available approximately within 18 - 30 months from the date of the invitation. 
  • Only petitioners who receive invitations from the NVC will be eligible to apply for the HFRP Program. Petitioners should make sure that the NVC has their current mailing addresses. Petitioners can update their addresses with the NVC using the Public Inquiry Form found on the Department of State’s website at http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/contact/ask-nvc.html
Additional information about the HFRP Program including eligibility requirements and fees is available at uscis.gov/hfrp in English and Creole.

Labels: ,

06 May 2015

USCIS Provides Chinese Language Immigration Presentation at Famous Buddhist Temple in California

Reaching out to immigrants and future citizens is one of the most important things we do. As a part of an ongoing outreach program, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides information to immigrants in a variety of languages, including at in-person community events.

One such event took place this past Sunday, April 19, at the Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, California, not far from Los Angeles. USCIS officers made a presentation, primarily in Mandarin Chinese, on immigration basics and the process of becoming a citizen, including how to prepare for the naturalization test.

USCIS District Director Susan M Curda (second from right) with Paul Chang (third from left), Regional Advisor, White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders and members of the community at the Hsi Lai Temple.

The nearly 140 attendees, largely from the local Chinese and Taiwanese-American communities, were also informed about common immigration scams and how to detect immigration fraud.  Afterwards, the presenters fielded and answered questions in Mandarin on a variety of immigration topics.

Susan M Curda (left) gave opening remarks and introduced the USCIS staff.  Afterwards, USCIS Officers Geoffrey Yen (right) and Kelvin Loangkote presented on immigration and citizenship basics in Mandarin Chinese.

This type of outreach is important because not all Chinese speaking residents of the United States have ready access to timely and accurate immigration information, and some are even preyed upon by unscrupulous fraudsters.

USCIS Chief of Staff for District 23 Office Martha Flores (far left), Susan M Curda (third from right), USCIS Officer Brandon Menancio (third from left) and Paul Chang (far right) after the presentation.

USCIS makes a point to form bonds in underserved communities and provide service and information person-to-person, in languages ranging from Spanish to French Creole to Chinese. This not only builds trust and takes the mystery out of the process, but also bolsters the integrity of our immigration system.

Labels: