«The Lautenberg amendment»: what it is and how to use it to immigrate to the United States?

«The Lautenberg amendment»: what it is and how to use it to immigrate to the United States?

In one of the latest articles from the online edition of The New York Times was mentioned the story of Galina Davydyuk, who was born and raised in the Ukrainian SSR. Her childhood had on 70-e and 80-e years of the twentieth century and was not carefree: the girl humiliated by her classmates that she believed in God.

Being Pentecostal, she had to sit at the last Desk in the class – there it was transplanted to the teacher. For the same reason her father was put in jail.

«The Lautenberg amendment»: what it is and how to use it to immigrate to the United States?

Only at the end of may of this year, Galina together with his large family managed to move to the United States. Despite the fact that the Soviet Union fell apart almost 26 years ago, in modern Ukraine, according to Davydyuk, the Pentecostals difficult to find a job.

Moving her family in Vancouver, Washington, took place due to the»Lautenberg Amendment». About it and speech will go further.

A little history: in 1989 Frank Lautenberg, the Senator from new Jersey, introduced in Congress his amendment to the act on external relations (Foreign Relations Authorization Act) in 1990 fiscal year.

His proposal was to facilitate the process of obtaining refugee status for Soviet Jews (Jews) and other religious minorities persecuted in the Soviet Union and for the citizens of South-East Asia.

Since then the amendments have to renew for each subsequent fiscal year (otherwise it is not valid), and in 2004, with the filing of Senator Arlen specter, «the Lautenberg Amendment» extended to religious minorities of Iran.

But, according to The New York Times, in our days on this program in the United States immigrate mostly Evangelical Christians (90%). And the vast majority of them – Ukrainians.

And with each passing year they are becoming more. For example, still not completed in 2017, about four thousand Ukrainian citizens received refugee status in the U.S. under this program. For comparison, in 2016 year, there were 2,543 people.

Most emigrated from the Soviet Union Slavic Christians settle on the North-Western United States and built there their Church. They get right to work, government programs, benefits, grants, health insurance.

Can I become one of them? . But according to two criteria (for citizens of post-Soviet States):

  • You are a representative of a religious minority that was persecuted in the USSR: the Jews (Judahites), Evangelical Christians (e.g., Pentecostals and Baptists), Ukrainian Catholics, members of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
  • N. B. For the Jews, it is sufficient that only one of their parents – mother or father – were Jews. The proof is the birth certificate issued prior to 1991, or other documentation that can attest to this fact.

  • You have close relativeswho permanently and legally reside in the United States. Who among them? Spouse, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, children, grandchildren. Cousins and sisters, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces are already «overboard».
  • But even if these criteria are like «written off» with you, you must still prove to the American side, that your life is in danger or you are a victim of discrimination because of your religious views.

    The arguments were not so convincing? Well, even if the immigration authorities deny you status, all is not lost.

    The second part of «the Lautenberg Amendment» provides for the status of «password» (parole) with which you have the right to come to the US and a year later apply for a green card. But you have to find a sponsor, due to the lack of financial assistance from the state.

    N. B. Those who have previously received refugee status but have not moved to the US a valid reason, are not eligible to re-apply for refugee status.

    What needs to be done to the applicant to start the immigration process?

    • to fill in a Preliminary Questionnaire (Preliminary Questionnaire) in English;
    • attach a copy of the biographic information of the passport;
    • if neither the passport nor the time for its design, the suit and a copy of the internal passport;
    • send all these documents to their relatives in the United States.

    What you need to do the inviting family member?

    • to obtain documents from the applicant;
    • contact the nearest branch of the Agency for refugee resettlement, to fill the Affidavit of relationship (Affidavit of Relationship);
    • submit a copy of the document confirming legality of residence in the United States.

    Rest of the details will already Agency. It will forward all documentation in a national Agency for resettlement.

    For example, Society for aid to Jewish immigrants (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) or the Conference of Catholic bishops (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services).

    After checking the documents «will move» to the International organization for migration, a branch of which the applicant’s home country will appoint him a meeting with an immigration officer at the U.S. Embassy.

    The results of the decision on granting refugee status to the applicant will be known after the passage of the interview. In case of refusal you can file an appeal for reconsideration. It is 90 days.

    How long it may take time for the whole procedure?

    Each case is individual. For example, Galina Davydyuk it took two yearsto complete all the stages, from filling in the Preliminary Questionnaire and ending with moving to Vancouver with her husband, seven children and daughter-in-law.

    By the way, the invitation she received from her sister Lily, who lives in the US already for ten years, after moving there with the help of relatives of the spouse.

    Now Galina is thinking about how to be a sponsor for his two sisters who remained in Ukraine. Within a month she will be a grandmother.