Archive for the ‘Citizenship’ Category

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The New Dream Act/Deferred Action; What Does It Mean for You?

August 12, 2012

Next week the new immigration laws regarding young immigrants will finally be revealed in full.  What does this mean for us? Although these laws may help some, the regulations seem to exclude more people than they help.  They leave a lot of uncertainty and worry amongst potential applicants as well. 

The new laws will be available to those who are in an illegal status at this time, and who entered the US prior to their 16th birthday.  Thus, those who were already 16 upon entry are excluded. Unfortunately, we have come across several clients who missed this deadline by a few days or a few weeks. Should a person be excluded from DREAM because they were 16 years old and three weeks when their parents brought them here?  It seems a bit of an arbitrary cut-off.

The applicant also has to have lived in the US for at least five years continually with only brief interruptions. The burden will be on the applicant to prove they have been present in the US for at least the last five years. This can be proved by showing medical records, school records, phone bills, or other documentary evidence regarding physical presence in the United States.  The rules seemingly indicate that the applicant may have left the US for brief periods of time, yet there is no hard and fast rule as to what will constitute "brief" absences.   Will the old "Fleuti" doctrine of 180 days apply? Or will DREAMERS be held to a stricter standard? Hopefully, more concrete guidance will be released next week with respect to the new laws.

Those applying must currently be between the ages of 15 and 30.  I have had clients cut off by being both too young or by being too old. It’s a shame that someone who fits all the other requirements can miss benefiting from the law because they turned 30 a few months ago or because they are now 14.

The law will also require applicants to  be currently enrolled in a high school program, or completed HS or a GED. They can also be enrolled in college or serving in the military in some instances. We have also come across persons who never finished high school. They had to work to help support their family or to send money back to their family at home. They do not speak English or even know they could attend school here. These persons may too be excluded. Some persons are enrolling  in high school now or starting to enroll in local or online GED programs. I bet the organizations that offer GEDs are seeing a sudden boon in enrollees. But will enrollment in a GED program be sufficient to meet the requirements of this law? The law says persons may be "currently enrolled" in high school to qualify. So will such GED programs suffice? It will be interesting to find this out.

What about those who have been arrested? Those with more than one arrest or any "significant" crime may not be eligible for relief under the law. Then what will happen if they choose to apply and are denied? Will they be placed in removal proceedings? Will they be deported? Presumably not. But I am not yet convinced that this will ultimately be the case. Anyone with more than a traffic ticket should be extremely careful of this law and consult an immigration attorney prior to applying.

So what will the new law provide to applicants? Those who "pass" all these tests will get a work permit for two years. With this permit they will be able to get a social security number and renew or obtain a drivers license.  This relief will need to be renewed every two years. It does not grant residency or lead to a green card. Spouses are not automatically included. Your children are not necessarily included. The law does not legalize a person or permit them to change status. 

The filing free will be $465 total per application.  The forms and filing procedures will be released next week. Those already in removal proceedings may also apply with USCIS

The real question everyone wants to know is whether those who apply are at risk of deportation in case of a change in the administration. While we are told that  applicants who are denied relief are not being turned over to ICE for removal, the effects of the law remain to be seen.  One USCIS officer in Connecticut actually warned us to tell clients not to apply under the law. What does she know that we do not know?  Hopefully she was just being overly cautious.  To be continued after the regulations are released next week.

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Political Asylum

August 8, 2012

One common cause for Illegal Immigration among immigrants is a fear for one’s own safety based on a reasonable threat from their native country. In this situation, it is possible for an immigrant to be granted what is called political asylum.

In order to help immigrants escape the threat of persecution and oppression, The United States enacted "The Refugee Act"; which states that political asylum may be granted to those who have a well-founded fear that returning to their native country will result in persecution, or violence.

Political Asylum does not apply to those that have committed crimes in their native country and wish to evade justice, but instead was enacted to assist those facing persecution related to race, sex, religion or nationality.

Professional Assistance

Obtaining legal citizenship in The United States can be a daunting task, filled with many legal obstacles. If you or a loved one is seeking assistance from an experienced Immigration attorney in New York, contact Susan B. Henner at (914)358-5200 for a free consultation or more information.

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Immigration in New York

August 1, 2012

Immigration is a priority for millions of people around the world who wish to improve the quality of their life. Some immigrants are attempting to escape war, oppression and poverty, while others simply desire to start a new life in a new place. Immigration occurs legally and illegally all over the world. Illegal Immigration is essentially defined as entering a country without authorization. Entering the United States illegally is a crime and may lead to prison time or deportation.

Legal Methods of Entry

There are different ways to legally immigrate to the United States of America depending upon your specific situation. Those specifics include your country of origin, the reasons you wish to immigrate, your background, and your ability to be independent. Legal Immigration into the United States is not an easy process and requires a good deal of time, effort, and patience.

Some of the ways to acquire legal residency in the US include the act of obtaining a Visa. A Visa is an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country.

Family-Based Visa: A Family based Visa is an Immigrant Visa that is reserved for foreign relatives of current legal US citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents.

K-1 Visa (Fiance Visa): A Visa that is typically issued to the fiance/fiancee of a United States citizen. This kind of Visa also requires a certificate of marriage between the immigrant and the U.S. citizen.

O-1 Visa: A Visa available to foreign nationals who have extraordinary ability in science, art, education, business, or athletics that has been demonstrated via international acclaim and recognized in the field through extensive documentation.

If you need help with Immigration in New York, contact NY Immigration Attorney Susan B. Henner at (914)358-5200 for a free consultation or more information.

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Immigrants and US Healthcare

July 13, 2012

Now that the Supreme Court is upholding the national health care law, it is important that immigrants know how it will effect them. Undocumented immigrants will not be able to participate in the new mandate. However, if you are a legal immigrant with a valid Green card then you are subject to the mandates requirements and must obtain health insurance in 2014.

Immigrants that are in the US via student visas and some work visas are not eligible due to their "nonimmigrant" status and will not be subject to the individual mandate. Documented immigrants must live within the United States for a total of 5 years before they are eligible for Medicaid, with exceptions for asylees and refugees and those who fall within poverty guidelines.

Citizenship

Once the new health care bill is fully implemented, it is estimated that over 30 million US residents will be without health insurance, while 11.5 million of those residents will be undocumented immigrants. That is why it is important to apply for US citizenship. If you or a loved one is seeking assistance from an experienced immigration attorney in the State of New York, contact Susan B. Henner at 1.888.733.0141 for a free consultation or more information.

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Arizona Immigration Law in the News

June 27, 2012

If you need help with Immigration in NY, contact Immigration Attorney Susan B. Henner at (914) 358-5200 for more information or an appointment.

Arizona Immigration Law: Local Police Step Up Immigration Enforcement
by Elliot Spagat
June 27, 2012
ESCONDIDO, Calif. — State and local police across the country didn’t need the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding Arizona’s "show me your papers" immigration law to begin turning people over to the federal government for deportation.

Since late 2007, they have helped identify nearly 20 percent of the nation’s 1.6 million deportations – a trend that will likely accelerate.

The Obama administration plans to expand to every jurisdiction a program in which local police share fingerprints of those accused of breaking the law for federal officials to identify those they want to put into deportation proceedings.

The administration is making clear that federal authorities have always had – and will continue to have – the final say on who gets deported.

As debate has raged over the provision of the 2010 Arizona law, the federal government has been increasingly tapping the vastly superior presence of state and local police to identify undocumented immigrants for deportation.

State and local police made about 150,000 arrests that resulted in deportation from late 2007 to late 2011 under a program that empowers specially trained local officers to enforce immigration laws. Deportations under that program peaked in 2009 but are falling sharply as the federal government phases it out.

In the fingerprinting program, state and local agencies are responsible for the vast majority of another roughly 150,000 deportations during that time. ICE scans prints of everyone booked into jails for non-immigration crimes and tells local police when they want someone held for deportation proceedings.

Read more HERE

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DHS to offer deferred action to DREAMers

June 15, 2012

DHS will formally announce this morning that it will offer deferred action to DREAMers.
Preliminary information indicates that eligible applicants must:

  • Be 15-30 years old, and have entered before age 16
  • Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012
  • Have maintained continuous residence
  • Have not been convicted of one serious crime or multiple minor crimes
  • Be currently enrolled in high school, graduated or have a GED, or have enlisted in the military

The deferred action offer will be available to those in proceedings as well as to those who apply affirmatively.
The White House is expected to make a formal announcement this afternoon at 1:15 EST.
AILA will provide further details today.

If you need assistance with an Immigration matter in NY, contact Susan B. Henner at (914) 358-5200 now for a free consultation and more information.

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What is a Fiance/Fiancee Visa

May 4, 2012

Eligible Immigrants from all over the world have the opportunity to acquire permanent status in the United States if they are granted a K-1 visa, also known as a "Fiance" Visa.

A K-1 visa is typically issued to the fiance or fiancee of a United States citizen, and requires a certificate of marriage between the immigrant and the U.S. citizen and must be petitioned within 90 days of entry. Once married, the foreign citizen may be eligible for a green card, or lawful permanent residence in the United States. While a K-1 Visa is generally classified as a non-immigrant visa, it may include additional immigration benefits and is often under the jurisdiction of the Immigrant Visa section of United States embassy. Failure to acquire a certificate of marriage after attaining a K-1 visa for 90 days will result in deportation within 30 days. Immigrants that have been issued a fiance visa are also legally able to bring their children under a K2 Visa.

How to get a Fiance Visa

Despite being one of the easiest ways to get citizenship within the United States, approval of a fiance visa is not automatic, or guaranteed. The process involves moderate scrutiny of applications by immigration officials for the purpose of ensuring legitimacy of intent, and not for the sole purpose of gaining immigration benefits. Only a small percentage of K-1 visas are denied, however the process of Obtaining a Fiance Visa is complex and involves significantly large amounts of documentation and up to 5 months of USCIS and U.S. Embassy processing.

If you are applying for a Fiance Visa

The immigration process can be tricky and easily underestimated, that is why it requires the professional assistance of a competent attorney specialized in dealing with immigration topics. If you are an immigrant in or outside of the United States and want to know if you qualify for a Fiance Visa, please contact NY Immigration Attorney Susan B. Henner at 1-888-733-0141 for a consultation and more information.