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View Full Version : Petition USCIS to remove filing fees for EAD & AP


eb2_mumbai
09-17-2009, 10:19 AM
I wanted to check if we could brain storm on how to work with USCIS on getting waiver on filing fees for AP & EAD renewals. USCIS has taken off these fees for people who filed post July 2007. But there are hundereds of thousand of people like us who are struck in retrogression and are paying $300 for EAD and another $300 for AP ( not counting the lawyer fees). Even though CIS gave some reprieve in EAD by making it 2 years. I feel we still have to file AP every year. For people with families it is pretty huge expenditure (cannot even claim it in taxes).

I feel we need to make USCIS aware that there are many folks who might have to renew AP 5- 8 times before they can expect GC and EAD least 3 -4 times. That means an total expenditure of $2500 - $3500 per person (multiply that with dependents and its huge money). I do not think this needs much lobbying or congressional support this is purely admin reform and will help people a lot (EB2 & EB3 both) so I would urge IV community to please come forward on how we can handle this.

rockstart
09-17-2009, 11:22 AM
I think we should be working on this one. It is definately low hanging fruit.

rockstart
09-17-2009, 12:07 PM
Hi,

It is not realistic to ask for free EAD/AP while it cost them money to provide them for us. Another way we can address this issue is by asking for one time fee or one EAD/AP that lost until a decision on GC is taken. This way it reduces burden and cost on both ends. If we want to have some success it should be feasible on both ends. These are just my thoughts and understanding of the situation.


folks who have filed post July 2007 do not have to pay for AP EAD renewals. People like us have already renewed EAD AP once and in Oct we are ready for second AP renewal. This is the reason I feel we need to work on it urgently can save us some money in these difficult times.

pappu
09-17-2009, 12:23 PM
Nothing (legislative or admin) is possible without lobbying.
If you think by sending junk emails and phone calls you can change a law, you are mistaken. Every campaign has to be coordinated and backed up by strong lobbying if you want anything done. If you think that sending junk emails and phone calls will change something, you will in fact hurt the cause and irritate people who receive those phone calls. Do not make a mistake of cutting the branch you are sitting on by ignoring lobbying and irritating your supporter lawmakers thinking that flowers, junk emails and letters can change anything without any lobbying. All these only complement any lobbying campiagn and the effort must be closely coordinated.

rockstart
09-17-2009, 12:28 PM
Thanks Pappu. You are absolutely right. But I feel this can help most of us folks struck here. That includes EB2 & Eb3. In the current atmosphere where people are getting divided I feel this initiative would help us work together.

vivid_bharti
09-17-2009, 12:32 PM
Pappu,

You are partially right, but partially wrong....I have written to several USCIS officials in the past and most of them have responded, some of them have promised for what I asked for. So please don't discourage people for taking up something if they want to do. As individuals people are already contributing to IV, so if it needs lobbying, than IV should do that. But if you are not doing anything, the very least IV can help is by not discouraging people if they want to do something...

Thanks



Nothing (legislative or admin) is possible without lobbying.
If you think by sending junk emails and phone calls you can change a law, you are mistaken. Every campaign has to be coordinated and backed up by strong lobbying if you want anything done. If you think that sending junk emails and phone calls will change something, you will in fact hurt the cause and irritate people who receive those phone calls. Do not make a mistake of cutting the branch you are sitting on by ignoring lobbying and irritating your supporter lawmakers thinking that flowers, junk emails and letters can change anything without any lobbying. All these only complement any lobbying campiagn and the effort must be closely coordinated.

va_dude
09-17-2009, 12:37 PM
I dont see uscis really waiving any of our fees. It costs money to run the place, print cards, pay their employees, etc.

Also a lot of applicants (me included) who apply for renewed APs and EADs dont have to pay for it because our employers take care of the cost. So that makes it even more difficult to make a case to uscis that this will save money for "all" applicants in tough times.

Just my 2 cents. I do think its a really .... really... long shot.

vivid_bharti
09-17-2009, 12:42 PM
Considering the greedyness of this org. called USCIS, I think the more doable thing is ask for 2 years AP and also just 1 document for EAD/AP. I'm more pis..ed with pain of filing & then anxiety of pending application rather than fees. They should definitely start giving 2 years AP now. It is a pain to file these applications every year..

pappu
09-17-2009, 01:10 PM
Pappu,

You are partially right, but partially wrong....I have written to several USCIS officials in the past and most of them have responded, some of them have promised for what I asked for. So please don't discourage people for taking up something if they want to do. As individuals people are already contributing to IV, so if it needs lobbying, than IV should do that. But if you are not doing anything, the very least IV can help is by not discouraging people if they want to do something...

Thanks

We are not discouraging members contacting lawmakers. It is the opposite. We want each member to contact their lawmaker and will help he member for it.

If you wish to contact lawmakers, take appointments with their offices and go meet them. Junk emails to officials and lawmakers will yield no result unless backed up by advocacy efforts. Even when you meet a lawmaker office, do not just go and meet them without being prepared. IV has specific materials and helpful notes for such meetings.

Phone call campaigns do not work all the time. They work only at certain times. We have run phone call campaigns in the past and at that time either the bill was on the floor or it was for an amendment. Such phone call campaigns are backed up by strong advocacy effort. We ran a letter campaign to the President for admin fix and we were successful in it. This was because the timing was right and it was complementing a specific advocacy effort. The message was carefully crafted.

A lot of us do not understand much about American political process and advocacy. This is the reason we see uncoordinated efforts and belief that junk emails can get anything passed. We should see reason in everything we do and not just believe that sending flowers, junk emails or phone calls can fix a problem. They will work when timing is right and coordinated with advocacy efforts. We all need to get savvy on political and advocacy efforts so fully understand this process. As immigrants it is hard to know it well because in the initial years we have to learn so many other things like Driving, taxes, insurance, 401k, buying a car, buying a house.............. etc etc. So political process education is in bits and pieces. The concept of advocacy is also new to many as they have not really seen it in action and successful in their countries.

vivid_bharti
09-17-2009, 01:22 PM
What has IV done in past 2 years ? Other than FOIA request, which is not going to help people more than just providing information, what concrete IV has done in last 2 years. Did you run a campaign asking for 2 Years AP, After staying unavaliable for 6 months, EB3 categories are further retrogressed, is IV planning to do anything about it ? Unless a campaign is already running or you are planning to organize a campaign, don't discourage people to do the little bit they are planning to do. Be it garbage or Junk mail, but atleast we should be doing something. And looking at what IV has been doing in past 2 years, I wouldn't be looking at IV for all the help immigrant community needs.

We are not discouraging members contacting lawmakers. It is the opposite. We want each member to contact their lawmaker and will help he member for it.

If you wish to contact lawmakers, take appointments with their offices and go meet them. Junk emails to officials and lawmakers will yield no result unless backed up by advocacy efforts. Even when you meet a lawmaker office, do not just go and meet them without being prepared. IV has specific materials and helpful notes for such meetings.

Phone call campaigns do not work all the time. They work only at certain times. We have run phone call campaigns in the past and at that time either the bill was on the floor or it was for an amendment. Such phone call campaigns are backed up by strong advocacy effort. We ran a letter campaign to the President for admin fix and we were successful in it. This was because the timing was right and it was complementing a specific advocacy effort. The message was carefully crafted.

A lot of us do not understand much about American political process and advocacy. This is the reason we see uncoordinated efforts and belief that junk emails can get anything passed. We should see reason in everything we do and not just believe that sending flowers, junk emails or phone calls can fix a problem. They will work when timing is right and coordinated with advocacy efforts. We all need to get savvy on political and advocacy efforts so fully understand this process. As immigrants it is hard to know it well because in the initial years we have to learn so many other things like Driving, taxes, insurance, 401k, buying a car, buying a house.............. etc etc. So political process education is in bits and pieces. The concept of advocacy is also new to many as they have not really seen it in action and successful in their countries.

rameshvaid
09-17-2009, 02:27 PM
Part of quote by Papu..
"If you wish to contact lawmakers, take appointments with their offices and go meet them. Junk emails to officials and lawmakers will yield no result unless backed up by advocacy efforts. Even when you meet a lawmaker office, do not just go and meet them without being prepared. IV has specific materials and helpful notes for such meetings."

I had posted a thread 3 weeks before that I have a meeting with the congresman and need some ideas, views, help.. NOne from IV Core responded. Except one person who sent the sailient points to be discuused and one SMART ASS tried to find mistakes in my english..Where was that material you refered above Papu? Why this material was not provided to me??

What I wanted was afew suggestions so that I can go prepared, which I did indeed and never posted the out come of my meeting but did contact Anu and sent her all the info.

If someone is taking an intiative we all should support it no matter whether he is IV core, Donor, Sr. or Junior Member. Of late I have seen people sitting there to respond only to find faults in one's english or crtisize only without any solid ideas or support.

Not that I am trying to be critical of IV core but there are many other with brilliant ideas not coming up with the fear that some one will call them names here..

Let's all work together for one common goal and have a debate instaed of pushing one's own idea on others..

I am in for all the work IV core wants me to do including financial support and have done in the past too..

United YOU rule and divided WE fail..

RV

pappu
09-17-2009, 02:48 PM
What has IV done in past 2 years ? Other than FOIA request, which is not going to help people more than just providing information, what concrete IV has done in last 2 years. Did you run a campaign asking for 2 Years AP, After staying unavaliable for 6 months, EB3 categories are further retrogressed, is IV planning to do anything about it ? Unless a campaign is already running or you are planning to organize a campaign, don't discourage people to do the little bit they are planning to do. Be it garbage or Junk mail, but atleast we should be doing something. And looking at what IV has been doing in past 2 years, I wouldn't be looking at IV for all the help immigrant community needs.

Did you take part in the recent campaign?
We sent newsletters for it twice to every member. Pls send us details of that meeting for us so that we can follow up.
You are free to spend your time on junk emails if you do not try to understand the political process of this country and understand how advocacy is done. We can only give advice when something is wrong. Its upto each individual to decide. Just because you have not participated or your greencard has not come does not mean IV has not done anything. If you wish IV to step up its advocacy efforts, join us and help us lead the campaigns and come up with new campaign ideas. Contact us directly and we will allow you to volunteer time for IV work and lead if your ideas are relevant. Wring emails to officials and getting responses is no big deal. We do it all the time. Infact we talk to them too. But getting something done is a very long process and your junk emails cannot do any fix. They will irritate recipients if they are not part of an advocacy plan. This is why I said, our community needs to spend time time on learning about advocacy to be effective. We also need to stay abreast with the current political events and strategies.

rockstart
09-17-2009, 03:02 PM
I dont see uscis really waiving any of our fees. It costs money to run the place, print cards, pay their employees, etc.

Also a lot of applicants (me included) who apply for renewed APs and EADs dont have to pay for it because our employers take care of the cost. So that makes it even more difficult to make a case to uscis that this will save money for "all" applicants in tough times.

Just my 2 cents. I do think its a really .... really... long shot.


Two things first if all All folks who have applied post July 2007 do not need to pay fees for EAD AP renewal. So we have a precedent. Its not like we are asking for something new.

Also if you employer is paying your EAD/ AP fees is he paying for your dependents? My company does not pay for dependents and for me too they have filed H1 so they are not supporting EAD/ AP.

vivid_bharti
09-17-2009, 04:23 PM
If you are talking about the newsletter on August 26th than it was a generic campaign 'go meet your lawmakers, take appointments'...I have taken appointments atleast 4-5 times in last 2-3 years. My local congressman might know me by face now.
BTW how many people you think participated in that ?
Interestingly you have quoted in the newsletter the famous words of Martin Luther King Jr. “The time is always right to do what is right.”
While you are the people who would go around telling people don't do this, don't do that, this is not the right time blah blah....

Did you take part in the recent campaign?
We sent newsletters for it twice to every member. Pls send us details of that meeting for us so that we can follow up.

485Mbe4001
09-17-2009, 06:23 PM
IMHO the time for meeting congressmen one one is over and is not going to help. Make groups of 20 residents and then go with a point by point agenda. Keep recapture at the forefront. Since the tabling of the CIR draft has been postponed till easter 2010 (based on ilw) it is better that we ask/beg/fight for one time recapture. it might pass or fail but this is a realistic goal that will help everybody. Allocated visa were unused and there is nothing wrong in stessing that we are simply trying to recapture these visas.

Wasting energy on petioning to postpone fees (350 for EAD every two yrs and 300 odd dollars for AP every year) is not practical. Use the time to work on something that is concrete. All short time admin fixes have screwed us big time in the long run. Inluding the fact that we pressured USCIS to restore the 2007 bulletin. You think they will ever make the same mistake again....never.They have become exteremly cautious and mindful of the pressures, their lawyers review and vett everything. This also the reason why they reviewed the process to allocate visas and initiate steps to prevent wastes visas. Some of their actions helped the rest merely resulted in RFEs and further wastage.

99% of the proposed issues on the forums are just hot air. Most of the yelling and screaming on the forums resulted in older members quitting and antis trolling the site to get tit bits to divide us further.


If you met your congressman 4-5 times, why didn't you got any of our changes done already?

Think about it....
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Answer is what pappu trying to tell you. He is saying the process of change in American Politics is slow and painful. Planning and implementing our efforts at IV organization level would help.