RSS

Author Archives: Andre Olivie, Esq.

About Andre Olivie, Esq.

I am an immigration attorney based in Seattle and representing clients in all immigration matters in all 50 states. I handle family based and employment based visas as well as naturalization and asylum.

Obama’s New Immigration Law

Great News for some young undocumented immigrants. President Obama as implemented a new policy they are calling deferred action that will allow certain undocumented immigrants between the ages of 16 and 30 who have been in the country for at least 5 years from 6/15/12 (and meet other requirements) to obtain a temporary legal status and a work permit. The policy will halt the deportations of those in deportation proceedings and will make immune from deportation those who are not in any proceedings. This is great news for many youth who came to the U.S. as children without authorization but through no fault of their own. This is NOT the Dream Act and does NOT lead to a greencard or U.S. citizenship, but it is a start and will allow these individuals to live and work in the U.S. The term will be for an initial 2 years and renewable. It’s not as good as the Dream Act but is still a huge change in immigration policy.

I titled this post Obama’s new immigration law, but it really is just a change in policy, not a law that was created in the legislature. Because it is only a policy change by the Department of Homeland Security, it could be changed back if there is a new administration who decided to do so.

Its only been a few days since the policy took place, but deportations for qualifying individuals have been halted and there soon will be a way for those not in immigration proceedings to apply for the deferred action and seek a work permit. Contact an immigration attorney to find out if you are eligible and to help you take the next steps. If you are not in deportation proceedings then it is too early to apply for the deferred action and work permit but a procedure will be put in place in the next few months.

U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services has provided the following information:

Over the past three years, this Administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform the immigration enforcement system into one that focuses on public safety, border security and the integrity of the immigration system. As DHS continues to focus its limited enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety, including aliens convicted of crimes, with particular emphasis on violent criminals, felons, and repeat offenders, DHS will move to exercise prosecutorial discretion to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases, such as individuals who were brought to this country through no fault of their own as children, have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanor offenses, and meet other key criteria.

Effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own as young children and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or entered into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

While this guidance takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days. Do not apply -  this application process is not yet available. If you apply early, your application will be rejected.  Beginning June18, 2012, individuals can call USCIS’ hotline at 1-800-375-5283 or ICE’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 during business hours with questions or to request more information on the forthcoming process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to receive deferred action under the Department’s new directive?
Pursuant to the Secretary’s June 15, 2012 memorandum, in order to be eligible for deferred action, individuals must:

  1. Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding June 15, 2012 and are present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
  3. Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
  5. Not be above the age of thirty.

Individuals must also complete a background check and, for those individuals who make a request to USCIS and are not subject to a final order of removal, must be 15 years old or older.

What is deferred action?
Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual. In addition, although an alien granted deferred action will not be considered to be accruing unlawful presence in the United States during the period deferred action is in effect, deferred action does not absolve individuals of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence.

Under existing regulations, an individual who has been granted deferred action is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action, provided he or she can demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment.” Deferred action can be terminated at any time at the agency’s discretion or renewed by the agency.

How will the new directive be implemented?
Individuals who are not in removal proceedings or who are subject to a final order of removal will need to submit a request for a review of their case and supporting evidence to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Individuals may request deferred action if they meet the eligibility criteria. In the coming weeks, USCIS will outline and announce the procedures by which individuals can engage in this process. This process is not yet in effect and requests should not be submitted at this time. Beginning June 18, individuals may call the USCIS hotline at 1-800-375-5283, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process. The hotline offers assistance in English and Spanish. Individuals seeking more information on the new process should visit USCIS’s website (at http://www.uscis.gov).

For individuals who are in removal proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, ICE will, in the coming weeks, announce the process by which qualified individuals may request a review of their case. Additional information is available from the ICE Office of the Public Advocate at http://www.ice.gov/about/offices/enforcement-removal-operations/publicadvocate/ Beginning June 18, individuals may call the ICE hotline at 1-888-351-4024, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process.

For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria as part of ICE’s case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

Are individuals who receive deferred action pursuant to the new directive eligible for employment authorization?
Yes. Pursuant to existing regulations, individuals who receive deferred action may apply for and may obtain employment authorization from USCIS provided they can demonstrate an economic necessity for their employment. Information about employment authorization requests is available on USCIS’s website at http://www.uscis.gov/i-765.

Does the process result in permanent lawful status for beneficiaries?
No. The grant of deferred action under this new directive does not provide an individual with permanent lawful status or a pathway to obtaining permanent lawful status. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer the right to permanent lawful status.

Why will deferred actions only be granted for two years?
Grants of deferred action will be issued in increments of two years. At the expiration of the two year period, the grant of deferred action can be renewed, pending a review of the individual case.

If an individual’s period of deferred action is extended, will individuals need to re-apply for an extension of their employment authorization?
Yes. If an individual applies for and receives an extension of the period for which he or she was granted deferred action, he or she must also request an extension of his or her employment authorization.

Does this policy apply to those who are subject to a final order of removal?
Yes. An individual subject to a final order of removal who can demonstrate that he or she meets the eligibility criteria can request a review of his or her case and receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. All cases will be considered on an individualized basis.

This process is not yet in effect and requests should not be submitted at this time. In the coming weeks, USCIS will outline and announce the procedures by which individuals can engage in this process. Beginning June 18, individuals may call the USCIS hotline at 1-800-375-5283, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process. The hotline offers assistance in English and Spanish. Individuals seeking more information on the new process should visit USCIS’s website (at http://www.uscis.gov).

How soon after USCIS receives a request to review a case will the individual receive a decision on his or her request?
USCIS will provide additional information on this issue in the coming weeks. Information will be made publicly available at http://www.uscis.gov/.

If an individual who is about to be removed by ICE believes he or she satisfies the eligibility criteria for the new process, what steps should he or she take to ensure his or her case is reviewed before removal?
Individuals who believe they can demonstrate that they satisfy the eligibility criteria and are about to be removed should immediately contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center’s hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) or by e-mail at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

If an individual who satisfies the eligibility criteria is encountered by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or ICE, will he or she be placed into removal proceedings?
This policy is intended to allow ICE and CBP to focus on priority cases. Pursuant to the direction of the Secretary of Homeland Security, for individuals who satisfy the eligibility criteria, CBP or ICE should exercise their discretion to prevent them from being apprehended, placed into removal proceedings, or removed. If individuals, including individuals in detention, believe they were placed into removal proceedings in violation of this policy, they should contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center’s hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) or by e-mail at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

If an individual accepted an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process or if his or her case was terminated as part of the case-by-case review process, can he or she receive deferred action under the new process?
Yes. Individuals who can demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria will be eligible for deferred action even if they had accepted an offer of administrative closure or termination under the case-by-case review process. For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria as part of ICE’s case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

If an individual declined an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process, can he or she receive deferred action under the new process?
Yes. Individuals who can demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria will be eligible for deferred action even if they declined an offer of administrative closure under the case-by-case review process.

If an individual’s case was reviewed as part of the case-by-case review process but he or she was not offered administrative closure, can he or she receive deferred action under the new process?
Yes. Individuals who can demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria will be eligible for deferred action even if they were not offered administrative closure following review of their case as part of the case-by-case review process.

Will DHS personnel responsible for reviewing requests for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this process receive special training?
Yes. ICE and USCIS personnel responsible for considering requests for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the Secretary’s directive will receive special training.

Will individuals be subject to background checks before they can receive an exercise of prosecutorial discretion?
Yes. All individuals will undergo biographic and biometric background checks prior to receiving an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Individuals who have been convicted of any felony, a significant misdemeanor offense, three or more misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety are not eligible to be considered for deferred action under the new process.

What do background checks involve?
Background checks involve checking biographic and biometric information provided by the individuals against a variety of databases maintained by DHS and other federal government agencies.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual came to the United States before the age of 16?
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she came to the United States before the age of 16 includes, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual has resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012?
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she has resided in the United States for at five years immediately preceding June 15, 2012 includes, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual was physically present in the United States as of June 15, 2012?
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she was physically present on June 15, 2012, the date the memorandum was issued, includes, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual is currently in school, has graduated from high school, or has obtained a general education development certificate (GED)?
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she is currently in school, has graduated from high school, or has obtained a GED certificate includes, but is not limited to: diplomas, GED certificates, report cards, and school transcripts.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States?
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States includes, but is not limited to: report of separation forms, military personnel records, and military health records.

What steps will USCIS and ICE take to prevent fraud in the new processes?
An individual who knowingly makes a misrepresentation to USCIS or ICE, or knowingly fails to disclose facts to USCIS or ICE, in an effort to receive deferred action or work authorization in this new process will be treated as an immigration enforcement priority to the fullest extent permitted by law, subjecting the individual to criminal prosecution and/or removal from the United States.

Are individuals with a conviction for a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanors eligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this new process?
No. Individuals who have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or three or more other misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct are not eligible to be considered for deferred action under the new process.

What offenses qualify as a felony?
A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

What offenses qualify as a “significant misdemeanor”?
A significant misdemeanor is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by no more than one year of imprisonment or even no imprisonment that involves: violence, threats, or assault, including domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary, larceny, or fraud; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; obstruction of justice or bribery; unlawful flight from arrest, prosecution, or the scene of an accident; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or unlawful possession of drugs.

How many non-significant misdemeanors constitute “multiple misdemeanors” making an individual ineligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this new process?
An individual who is not convicted of a significant misdemeanor but is convicted of three or more other misdemeanors not occurring on the same day and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct is not eligible to be considered for deferred action under this new process.

What qualifies as a national security or public safety threat?
If the background check or other information uncovered during the review of an individual’s request for deferred action indicates that the individual’s presence in the United States threatens public safety or national security, he or she will be ineligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Indicia that an individual poses such a threat include, but are not limited to, gang membership, participation in criminal activities, or participation in activities that threaten the United States.

How will ICE and USCIS handle cases involving individuals who do not satisfy the eligibility criteria under this new process but may be eligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda?
If an individual has a final order of removal and USCIS determines that he or she does not satisfy the eligibility criteria, then it will reject the individual’s request for deferred action. That individual may then request an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the ICE June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda through any of the established channels at ICE, including through a request to the ICE Office of the Public Advocate or to the local Field Office Director. USCIS will not consider requests for review under the ICE June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda.

If an individual is currently in removal proceedings and ICE determines that he or she does not satisfy the eligibility criteria for deferred action under this process, it will then consider whether the individual is otherwise eligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under its current practices for assessing eligibility under the June 2011 Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda.

Will there be supervisory review of decisions by ICE and USCIS under this process?
Yes. Both ICE and USCIS will develop protocols for supervisory review as part of their implementation of the new process.

Can individuals appeal a denial by ICE or USCIS of their request for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the new process?
No. Individuals may not appeal a denial by ICE or USCIS of their request for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. However, ICE and USCIS will develop protocols for supervisory review as part of their implementation of the new process. Although there is no right for appeal, individuals in removal proceedings who believe their cases were not correctly handled may contact the ICE Office of the Public Advocate either by phone at 1-888-351-4024 or by e-mail at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

Will dependents and other immediate relatives of individuals who receive deferred action pursuant to this process also be eligible to receive deferred action?
No. The new process is available only to those who satisfy the eligibility criteria. As a result, the immediate relatives, including dependents, of individuals who receive deferred action pursuant to this process are not eligible to apply for deferred action as part of this process unless they independently satisfy the eligibility criteria.

If an individual’s request to USCIS for deferred action is denied, will he or she be placed in removal proceedings?
For individuals whose requests for deferred action are denied by USCIS, USCIS will apply its existing Notice to Appear guidance governing USCIS’s referral of cases to ICE and issuance of notices to appear. Under this guidance, individuals whose requests are denied under this process will be referred to ICE if they have a criminal conviction or there is a finding of fraud in their request.

Should individuals who are not in removal proceedings but believe themselves to be eligible for an exercise of deferred action under this process seek to place themselves into removal proceedings through encounters with ICE or CBP?
No. Individuals who are not in removal proceedings but believe that they satisfy the eligibility criteria should submit their request for review of their case to USCIS under the procedures that USCIS will implement.

This process is not yet in effect and requests should not be submitted at this time. Beginning June 18, individuals may call the USCIS hotline at1-800-375-5283, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process. The hotline offers assistance in English and Spanish. Individuals seeking more information on the new process should visit USCIS’s website (at http://www.uscis.gov).

If I receive deferred action through this process, will I be able to travel outside the United States?
USCIS is exploring this issue and will resolve it in the coming weeks as part of its implementation plan.

Will there be any exceptions to the requirement that an individual must have resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012?
An individual must demonstrate that he or she has resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012. Brief and innocent absences undertaken for humanitarian purposes will not violate this requirement.

What should I do if I am eligible under this process and have been issued an ICE detainer following an arrest by a state or local law enforcement officer?
If you meet the eligibility criteria and have been served a detainer, you should immediately contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center’s hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate either through the Office’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) or by e-mail at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

Does deferred action provide individuals with a path to citizenship or permanent legal status?
No. A grant of deferred action is a form of prosecutorial discretion that does not confer a path to citizenship or lawful permanent resident status. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

Why isn’t DHS allowing other individuals to request deferred action under this process?
As a general matter, young people who, through no fault of their own, were brought to this country as children, lacked the intent to violate the law and our ongoing review of pending removal cases is already offering administrative closure to many of them. However, additional measures are necessary to ensure that our enforcement resources are not expended on these low priority cases but are instead appropriately focused on people who meet our enforcement priorities.

Does this Administration remain committed to comprehensive immigration reform?
Yes. The Administration has consistently pressed for passage of comprehensive immigration reform, including the DREAM Act, because the President believes these steps are critical to building a 21st century immigration system that meets our nation’s economic and security needs.

Is passage of the DREAM Act still necessary in light of the new process?
Yes. As the President has stated, individuals who would qualify for the DREAM Act deserve certainty about their status, and this new process does not provide that certainty. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer the certainty that comes with a pathway to permanent lawful status.

 

Tags: , , ,

New Website for The Law Office of Andre Olivie

The Law Office of Andre Olivie has a new website and blog.

 www.olivielaw.com

Andre Olivie, Immigration Attorney

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Immigration Law

 

Arizona Anti-Immigrant Senator Russel Pearce Loses Recall Election!

Congrats to Arizona for voting in a moderate republican who understands that enforcement only immigration policy doesn’t make sense and that most of Arizona’s anti-immigration laws are unconstitutional, un-American and unworkable. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/10/us/politics/russell-pearce-arizonas-anti-immgration-champion-is-recalled.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Immigration Law

 

Tags: , , , ,

How Do I Renew or Replace My Greencard?

Renewing a Greencard is a fairly simple process in most cases. If your Greencard is about to expire or it has been lost or stolen you can get a new Greencard by filing form I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The form can be found here- http://www.uscis.gov/i-90 . It is important that you read the instructions carefully before filing and include the necessary supporting evidence and fee of $450. The process takes approximately 3 months. A few weeks after the initial filing, you will receive a receipt notice showing that your application and fee has been accepted and to wait for further notices. The next notice will be an appointment notice for biometrics (fingerprints). This will be scheduled about a month or two after the initial filing. After your biometrics are complete, unless there are any problems, your new card should arrive in the mail about a month later.

If you have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime or believe that you may have somehow violated the conditions of your lawful permanent resident status and need to replace or renew your Greencard DO NOT do so without first speaking with a qualified immigration attorney. If prior crimes or actions were in violation of your lawful permanent resident status then filing form I-90 or any form with USCIS could place you in removal proceedings. Seek out the aid of an immigration attorney who can best advise you on what your next steps should be.

If you received a conditional two year lawful resident card (Greencard) based on marriage to a U.S. Citizen and the two years is about to pass, DO NOT file form I-90. In this case you will not need to renew your Greencard; you need to file form I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence. This form requires significant evidence of a bona fide marriage and must be filed within the 90 day period prior to the expiration of your conditional residency card. It is advised that you work with an attorney in filing this petition, especially if you have divorced your spouse or are contemplating a divorce.

If you are thinking about renewing your Greencard then it is likely that you have had your card for more than 5 years and may be eligible to apply for U.S. Citizenship. Consult with an immigration attorney to find out if you are eligible for U.S. Citizenship, as this may be a better option than continually renewing your Greencard.

Remember, in addition to obeying all U.S. laws, Lawful Permanent Residents must always have their Greencard, must always renew it when necessary and must advice USCIS of new addresses within 10 days of moving. Addresses can be changed by filing form AR-11 or online at http://www.uscis.gov/ar-11 .

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Greencard, Immigration Law

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Obama’s New Immigration Policy (OCTOBER 2011)

This post is about an earlier immigration policy change. To read about JULY 2012′s announcement on deferred action and work permits from certain YOUTH read my June 19th blogpost President Obama’s New Immigration Policy.

 

 

Lately, I have been getting a lot of questions about Obama’s new immigration policy. Some are under the impression that there is a new law granting legal status to undocumented immigrants. This is not the case. No new law has been enacted and anyone who tells you that they can get you a green card because of what President Obama has done is likely lying to you. The American Immigration Lawyers Association has provided the following Consumer Advisory about what the new policy is and isn’t.

What the new policy is NOT:

The Obama Administration announcement is NOT an amnesty, it is NOT about granting legal status, and is NOT something that you can sign-up for!

The Obama Administration made very clear that the announcements do NOT provide any way to apply for a work permit or EAD nor is there a new way to apply to remain in the United States. The change announced is not about giving people work permits or legal status. The announcement applies ONLY to cases already in the system, ensuring that low priority cases do not continue to clog up an already overburdened immigration court system.

WARNING! Do NOT believe anyone who tells you they can sign you up for a work permit (Employment Authorization Document  EAD) or get you legal status based on the Secretary Napolitano¡¦s August 18, 2011 announcement! Anyone who says that is not to be trusted! There is NO Safe way to turn yourself in to immigration and there is NO guarantee that your case will be considered low priority ANY person who comes into contact with immigration authorities may be arrested, detained or even removed.

Only a QUALIFIED IMMIGRATION LAWYER can evaluate your case and tell your about your rights. Do NOT seek legal advice from a notario or immigration consultant. For more information about avoiding immigration scams go to http://www.StopNotarioFraud.org

What the new policy IS:

The Obama Administration announced the creation of a high-level working group made up of Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice officials who are to do the following:

Review all cases already pending before the immigration courts. Those that are considered low priority may be administratively closed. Those that are considered a high priority will be prosecuted more aggressively.

There are no rules or guarantees that a particular type of case will be considered a low or high priority. Recent guidelines are helpful, but no one can tell you if your case is a low priority–only immigration authorities will make that decision.

In the future, immigration authorities will review the cases people before they are placed in removal proceedings. Those that are  low priority may not be referred to the immigration court.

Create department-wide guidance to help USCIS, CBP, and ICE agents and officers make better, more consistent decisions about who to place in removal proceedings.

Issue guidance on providing discretion in compelling cases for persons who already have a final order of removal.

In other words, the August 18th announcement was preliminary and nothing has been implemented yet. Any details about how the review process will work, what cases will be considered low priority or how to have a particular case considered have not been decided.

The best course of action is to consult an immigration lawyer or accredited representative, not to take action because a friend, neighbor or coworker encourages you to act.

An online directory of AILA attorneys is available at www.ailalawyer.com Even if a friend, neighbor or coworker encourages you to act, do NOT try to contact immigration authorities or fall for a scam! At this time, there is NO application to fill out, NO form that can be filed, NO filing fee that can be paid and NO guidance from immigration authorities AT ALL as to how the review of cases will happen. Eventually, as the government decides how to proceed, that information should be available from official government websites, such as USCIS.gov and USICE.gov, this website or the website of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, http://www.aila.org. To locate an immigration attorney, including searches by location, practice area and language skills, you can find an online directory of AILA attorneys at www.ailalawyer.com. The Announcement does NOT mean that all low priority cases will automatically be granted a work permit or EAD

The Administration¡¦s announcement said that if a case is administratively closed, the individual will be able to apply for a work permit (employment authorization document or EAD). But there are no details, guidelines or instructions on how to apply for an EAD, or who will be eligible for an EAD. Unless you are already eligible for an EAD under existing regulations and guidelines, you should not go to immigration and ask for an EAD, or apply to immigration for an EAD or you risk losing several hundred dollars in filing fees. More information on what an EAD is and how much it costs to apply for one is found below.

 What are low priority cases?

The factors for determining low priority cases will likely be based on the June 17, 2011 memo on prosecutorial discretion. However, just because a case seems to fall into one or more of those categories, does NOT automatically mean that it will be considered low priority. The people reviewing the cases will be looking at the ¡§totality of the circumstances and each file will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. It is unclear how different factors will be considered and weighed. Given that there are approximately 300,000 cases pending, it is also unclear WHEN a particular case might be reviewed.

What is administrative closure?

Administrative closure applies only to an individual whose case is already before the immigration judge. When a case is administratively closed, it means that the case is no longer active and no action will be taken, including no future hearings, unless and until either the government or the noncitizen asks for the case to be made active again. A person whose case is administratively closed is still in removal proceedings. Administrative closure is NOT legal status. It is simply a temporary suspension of an immigration court case.

Will I get legal status from the Administration’s announcement?

No. According to the announcement, cases that are deemed to be of low priority will either (1) be administratively closed, or (2) no enforcement action will be taken. This is not an amnesty or legal status, but rather a temporary decision not to use limited government resources to deport low priority individuals.

The Administration has also stated that individuals whose cases are administratively closed will be eligible to apply for a work permit (or EAD). An EAD means that an individual can legally work in the United States and obtain a social security number for work. In some states, having an EAD also means you can apply for a drivers license or other identification). An EAD does not give a person legal status–it is just temporary permission to work.

What is an EAD?

An EAD or employment authorization document (also known as a work permit) is a temporary document that gives an individual permission to work lawfully in the United States. An EAD is generally valid for one or two years (though it is unclear at this time how long an EAD under this policy will be valid), and can generally be renewed. The application fee is currently $380, though individuals who can demonstrate financial hardship may be eligible for a fee waiver. An EAD is NOT an immigration status in and of itself.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

American Immigration Lawyers Association

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Immigration Law

 

Tags: , , , , ,

October 2011 Visa Bulletin

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

  • First:(F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens
  • Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents
  • (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents
  • (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents
  • Third:(F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens
  • Fourth:(F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

  • First: Priority Workers
  • Second: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability
  • Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers
  • Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants.
  • Fifth: Employment Creation
Family- Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIP
F1 15JUN04 15JUN04 15JUN04 22MAR93 8J97
F2A * 08JAN09 08JAN09 08JAN09 15OCT08  8J09
F2B 15JUL03 15JUL03 15JUL03 22NOV92 1MAY1
F3 08SEP01 08SEP01 08SEP01 01DEC92 8JUN92
F4 15MAY00 15MAY00 15MAY00 08APR96 1AU88
Employment- Based All Charge-ability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPP
1st  C C C C C   
2nd  C 15JUL07 15JUL07 C C           
3rd 08DEC05 08AUG04 15JUL02 08DEC05 8D05
Other Workers* 15SEP05 22APR03 08JUN02 15SEP05 15S5
4th C C C C C      
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C      
5th    
Targeted Employment Areas/Regional Centers and Pilot Programs
C C C C C
         
         
                 
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Immigration Law

 

Tags: , , , ,

Gov. Rick Perry on Immigration

Rick Perry (Photo from Wikipedia Page)

I do not support the majority of Gov. Rick Perry’s policies; however, I do admire his support for in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants in Texas. It is clear, that Gov. Perry understands more about immigration than his fellow republican candidates. At a recent republican presidential candidate debate, Rick Perry said the following in regards to in-state tuition. ““If you say that we should not educate children who come into our state for no other reason than that they’ve been brought there through no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society.” The U.S. constitution requires that all school age children who reside in the U.S. be given access to public school in the U.S. regardless of immigration status. The U.S. Supreme Court case which finally decided on this ruling actually originated in Texas. However, there is no such requirement that these same children be allowed to attend public universities and receive in-state tuition. Those who argue against the practice say that it is unfair to U.S. Citizens from other states. What these individuals do not realize is that those U.S. Citizens already have the right to in-state tuition in their own state, while undocumented children are without any option. The majority of these children, know only the U.S., they were educated in U.S. public schools, speak English, act in every way like an American and generally know very little of their birth country. They had no choice in the way they entered this country. To deport them to a country they never knew would be cruel and provide no benefit to the U.S., but to allow them to become educated legal residents with the opportunity to be U.S. Citizens would provide tremendous benefits to the U.S. as educated productive members of society.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Immigration Law

 

Tags: , , ,

Country Condition Research for Your Asylum Case

Country Condition Research is extremely important when putting together a strong asylum packet, for both affirmative asylum in front of the asylum officer and defensive asylum in front of an Immigration Judge. This post will help both asylum seekers and their attorneys.

State Department Human Rights Report – The asylum officer or ICE attorney has very little time to do their own country research for asylum claims. They will generally rely only on the State Department Human Rights Report. It will be regarded as highly persuasive and should be read thoroughly for supporting and contradicting evidence. The reports are updated each year and are available here www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt
 
International Human Rights Organizations – There are several major international human rights organizations that issue country reports and issue specific reports. The following organizations should be surveyed for supporting evidence for your case, such as evidence that certain human rights abuses are occurring in your country. 1. Amnesty International http://www.amnesty.org and http://www.aiusa.org 2. Human Rights Watch http://www.hrw.org 3. Human Rights First http://www.humanrightsfirst.org 4. United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights http://www.ohchr.org There may also be regional and local human rights organizations. They can usually be found by typing the search terms ["human rights"] and ["country name"].
 
Issue Specific Research - Many of the human rights organizations will cover broad topics with the occasional issue specific report. It is important to have information that addresses the issue that is at the heart of the asylum claim. One should search the issue term in google along with the country name, such as “gay rights” and “mexico” or “FGM” and “Yemen”. There are also many issue specific organizations that will have country specific information. Here are a few: International Gay and Lesbian Association http://www.ilga.org International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission http://www.iglhrc.org http://www.humantrafficking.org http://www.madre.org (international women’s rights org.) http://www.ifj.org (International Federation of Journalists) http://www.jdhr.org/ (Journalists for Democracy and Human Rights) http://www.transparency.org (Transparency International – Corruption) www.freedomhouse.org
 
Newspapers and Media – Supporting evidence can also be found in newspaper articles, whether they are about a general topic or one event specific to your case. You should be looking at the websites of all the newspapers in your country as well as the major international newspapers such as the New York Times (www.nytimes.com) and the BBC www.bbc.co.uk.
 
Google - Google is an amazing tool, it will help you find anything. One trick is to use several different ways of saying the same search term. Don’t just type in “police abuse” and “iran”, also type in ” police” and “human rights” and “iran”. Also try “Tehran” and “police” and “corruption”. Try “police” and “middle east” etc…
 
Amazon.com and Books - Finally, search amazon.com for a book on your country or your specific issue. When you find the book, look for the author’s name and do a google search of him or her. You may be able to find their own website. Books on countries and politics are usually written by academics or journalists, so they may have their own bio up with an email. Don’t hesitate to email them and ask for any help. They may be able to write an affidavit attesting to their knowledge of the human rights abuses that occur in your country.
 

Tags: , , ,

Tips on Preparing for an Asylum Interview

This guide will give you some tips on preparing for your asylum interview in front of the asylum officer.

Practice Telling Your Story – Find a friend that you trust and tell them your story. If you are going to be using an interpreter, have an interpreter present when you are practicing. Allow your friend to ask you questions and listen carefully to the questions that your friend asks as they may provide you with an idea of where your story is confusing or missing details.

Prepare an Outline – Prepare an outline of your story so that you can remember the main points and especially the names and dates. You will want to highlight all the instances of persecution no matter how small. It is also important to make sure that you understand the order that the events occurred. You should also re-read your application so you know what you put down.

Tell the Truth – You MUST tell the truth even if you think that it is not helpful to your case. If you do not, it will likely hurt you in the end. Sometimes omitting important facts is the same thing as lying. However, in some cases, it may be okay not to volunteer information unless asked. An attorney will help you decide when and when not to disclose certain facts.

Speak Slowly and Listen Carefully – Sometimes the Asylum Officer will be typing everything you say. If you speak quickly he or she may not hear something important. You will have to speak very slowly. You will also need to listen very carefully to his questions and try to answer his precise question first before elaborating.

Details – The officer will want to hear details. The more details you can provide the more likely he will believe your claim. He or she may have just read your asylum application that day, or maybe not at all, so you will have to treat the interview as if he is hearing everything for the first time.

Beliefs - Be prepared to talk about your beliefs especially the ones that your claim is based on. If you are claiming political asylum, it’s probably important that you can explain your political beliefs. If you are seeking religious asylum you should know something about your religion. You do not need to be an expert, but at least know enough for the officer to believe that you are a member of that religion or political party.

Snack - Have a snack before your interview, but not too much. You may be waiting for an hour and the interview may last an hour or more so you want to be comfortable.

Attorney - You really should be working with an attorney who has experience in asylum law. The application is just as important as the interview. An attorney will make sure that you have a strong application with a significant amount of evidence. Some asylum applications may be over 150 pages in length. An attorney will be able to best prepare you and attend the interview with you. At the interview an attorney will mostly stay silent but they may speak of if they feel that the asylum officer is out of line or if there is any miscommunication. An attorney can also ask you questions in front of the officer at the end in case there is important information that the Asylum officer forgot to ask you or you forgot to provide.

 
 

Tags: , , ,

Tips on Proving a Bona fide Marriage for a Greencard

If you are filing for a green card based on Marriage to a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, USCIS requires that you provide evidence that the marriage is bona fide or genuine. The following tips will be helpful in proving this.

  • Your marriage must be valid where the marriage took place. In order to document this you should provide a copy of the marriage certificate.
  • Unless you have a valid excuse for living apart, it is expected that a married couple live together. In order to provide proof of this you should provide a lease agreement that has both of your names on it. If you own the home, the mortgage should include both names. Copies of joint utility bills such as water and electricity should also be included. If you do not have these or you would like to provide more proof, an affidavit of a friend or relative could also state that they know that the two of you live together.
  • If the marriage is genuine it is likely that you have a romantic relationship. You can document this by including copies of love letters, Valentines day cards, photos of the two of you together and affidavits from friends or family. It is more helpful if these items show several different instances throughout the relationship and not just shortly before you filed the application
  • Married couples are generally expected to commingle their finances. You should include copies of joint bank accounts, joint credit card accounts, and tax returns that have shown that you filed as a married couple.
  • You should include letters from each of you and from two friends or family members that can attest to your relationship. They should explain how they know you, what they know about your relationship and that they believe your relationship to be genuine. It is helpful if they mention specific things they know to support their assertion, such as the fact that they have gone on double dates or that you have met each other’s families. Letters from U.S. Citizens and L.P.R.s are preferable to Foreign Nationals.
  • You should include copies of photos. Do not just include wedding photos. Include photos from different events and time periods throughout the relationship. Include photos of the two of you alone and with each other’s friends and family.
  • If either one of you have been previously married, you will need to include the divorce decree.
 

Tags: , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.