Archive for the ‘Naturalization’ 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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Immigration Appeals

April 25, 2012

New York Immigration attorney Susan B. Henner is ready to represent individuals facing a variety of immigration issues such as removal, visa overstay, and deportation.

The highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws is The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). With up to 15 Board Members, including the Chairman and Vice Chairman who share responsibility for BIA management, the BIA decides appeals by conducting a "paper review" of cases.

Generally, the BIA does not conduct courtroom proceedings, but will hear oral arguments of appealed cases on special occasions at its headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. The Law offices of John E. MacDonald Inc,. will assist you in presenting your Immigration Appeals against any decisions rendered by immigration judges regardless of whether you are an alien, a citizen, or a business firm.

How an Immigration Appeal works

The Board of Immigration Appeals generally reviews cases that involve orders of removal (deportation) in addition to applications for relief from removal. The majority of cases are reviewed by a single selected board member, although there are certain types of cases that are handled by special panel of three. Most appeals are the result of:

  • A need to clarify the meaning of a law or procedure, which will be followed in future cases

  • An inconsistency between the law and a decision made by an immigration judge or DHS officer.

  • A nationally relevant or controversial case widely considered to hold national importance

  • A mistake, or factual error made by an immigration judge

  • An inconsistency in the rulings between two or more immigration judges

If you wish to Appeal

The most typical of appeals that reach the BIA involve orders of removal and applications for relief from removal, and has standardized the process to some degree. If you or a loved one is an immigrant in the state of New York and are now facing deportation, you have the right to appeal the BIA. Please contact New York Immigration attorney Susan B. Henner today at 1-888-733-0141 or (914) 358-5200. If you wish to contact Susan by email please write to: Susan@sbhenner.com.

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Anti-Immigration Law Blocked by Appeals Court in Alabama

March 23, 2012

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

Victory! Appeals Court Blocks Additional Provisions of H.B. 56, Alabama’s Anti-Immigrant Law
Posted by Cecillia Wang, Immigrants’ Rights Project

A federal appeals court issued an order Thursday blocking two draconian provisions of Alabama’s immigration law, H.B. 56. The order brings immediate relief to the countless Alabamians who have suffered under these provisions, which were intended "to attack every aspect" of their lives and to expel them from the state.

The court’s order first restored the right of Alabamians to enter into contracts without fear. Section 27 of H.B. 56 would effectively void any contract where one party knows or has reason to know that another party to the contract is an undocumented immigrant. Under this measure, such contracts would be unenforceable in Alabama state courts.

The Alabama law takes aim at immigrants but affects all Alabamians by destabilizing contract law, a basic building block of our civil liberties as Americans. Even U.S citizens, as well as immigrants with and without lawful status, would be viewed with suspicion and denied the right to rent a home, or to lease a car or buy a new dining table on an installment plan. If you speak English with an accent, or you somehow seem "foreign" to a landlord or a salesman, Alabama’s law would make it impossible for you to do your everyday business and to keep a roof over your family’s head. Section 27 would turn neighbor against neighbor, forcing Alabamians to view each other with suspicion based on stereotypes.

The Court also blocked Section 30 of H.B. 56, which makes it a felony for an undocumented immigrant to enter into "any transaction" with the state government. We’ve already seen the human rights crisis caused by this law. Families who tried to pay for life necessities like water and electricity were turned away by state-run utilities. Alabamians were forced to show proof of their citizenship or immigration status when paying their property taxes. And so entire neighborhoods emptied overnight as families abandoned their homes and fled with only the belongings they could carry with them. This measure worked just as the state legislature intended – it literally made it impossible for people to live in Alabama.

The federal court ruling does not only restore the civil rights of Alabamians. It also puts things back into a constitutional order. As Americans, we have the right to disagree with one another in good faith about immigration policy. But one thing is for sure, as yesterday court order demonstrates: State laws that authorize discrimination and systematic violations of the U.S. Constitution cannot stand.

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Obtaining a Green Card

March 9, 2012

A green card is essential for all immigrants who wish to reside in the United States legally and permanently. Though there are a few exceptions, within five years of obtaining your green card you will be able to apply for citizenship.

Any immigrant that legally marries a U.S. citizen will be eligible to apply for citizenship after only three years. There are also many benefits for military personnel that wish to be granted the opportunity to become permanent residents as well.

There are many benefits that come with acquiring a green card, including the legal right to not only live in the United States, but also the right to work, or start a business. The process of getting a green card can be hampered if you have a criminal past, or if you have entered the United States illegally; but not impossible.

Working with a competent immigration attorney will make the process of completing the necessary steps much easier. You may also dramatically improve your chances if you fall into any of the following 7 categories:

•You have been found eligible for Asylum or Refugee status.

•You have invested a considerable amount of currency to the United States.

•Your employer has sponsored you by providing labor certification.

•You are considered an alien of extraordinary ability and are capable of petitioning for yourself.

•A close family member of substantial status sponsors you.

•You have resided in the United States for more than ten years, and have demonstrated that you are a person of good moral character.

•You are facing deportation that may result in extreme or unusual hardship such as physical harm to your person.

If you are currently an immigrant residing in the New York area who needs Immigration assistance, or if you or someone you know is facing the possibility of deportation, please contact Immigration Attorney Susan B. Henner now at 914-358-5200 for a free consultation.

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Are you an Immigrant with Extraordinary ability?

March 7, 2012

Did you know that the United States offers the opportunity to attain specialized visas to those who are considered Aliens Of Extraordinary Ability? An Alien Of Extraordinary Ability is someone the United States deems valuable, or a worthy candidate to be an asset to the US. One way in which this occurs is via O Visas.

O Visas may be granted to scientists, educators, artists, athletes, and business professionals, allowing them to come to the U.S. temporarily if a U.S. employer vouches for them in the form of a petition. The O visa also allows aliens of extraordinary ability to live in the U.S. and work in their field of expertise for a specific amount of time, after which point the alien of extraordinary ability may renew, or request permission to become a permanent resident of the United States.

What qualifications are helpful in acquiring an O Visa?

Non-United States citizens may be considered outstanding if they achieved internationally recognized awards such as the Nobel Prize, or specialized training in rare or difficult fields of study. They may be asked to provide documentation that validates any claimed abilities or qualifications. Sometimes O visas may be granted for members of exclusive scholarly associations known for contributing to society academically.

Another Visa that may be granted to Aliens of Outstanding ability is the O1B Visa, which is granted to artists such as performers, painters, musicians, actors, film makers and writers. If you are an immigrant in or outside of the United States and want to know if you qualify for an Alien of extraordinary ability Visa, please contact Immigration Attorney Susan B. Henner now at 914-358-5200 for a free consultation.

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Non-Immigrant Visa Overstayers

February 24, 2012

If you have been charged with entering the United States without legal authorization, or have maintained residence beyond the time that was previously authorized, you are considered to be an Illegal Immigrant according to the United States government. Very often, immigrants from all over the world enter the United States legally, but without inspection, or they stay longer than they are legally allowed. These individuals are considered "Non-Immigrant Visa Overstayers", and many of them are trying to avoid various forms of misfortune or danger, such as violence or poverty.

Another form of illegal immigration is the deliberate evasion of border patrol and entry into the United States undetected and without legal permission. If you have entered the US undetected then you are one of 7 million people to commit this felony annually, while also running the risk of receiving possible jail time and deportation. If you have been previously convicted and deported, and you have once again been caught in the United States Illegally, you may be subject to four times the minimum penalty because of a US policy called The “Protect Act”.

Although it can be a scary thing, the best course of action you can take if you are an illegal immigrant is to contact a competent attorney of your presence, so that you can explore all the possible ways to obtain a visa, and to become a permanent citizen of the United States legally. If you have been arrested, are facing deportation, or you simply want to avoid these unpleasant experiences and find the best outcome for your situation, contact Immigration Attorney Susan B. Henner now at (914) 358-5200 for a free consultation and more information.

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Immigration Agents Detain US Citizens

December 28, 2011

If you need assistance with an Immigration matter, contact Susan B. Henner at 1-888-733-0141 or (914) 358-5200, or by email at Susan@sbhenner.com.

Immigration paranoia: Why are Americans being arrested?
Activists say U.S. citizens are being detained under a federal program aimed at deporting illegal immigrants.

An already controversial Obama administration push to find and arrest illegal immigrants is facing a new round of criticism from civil rights and immigrant groups, who say that documented U.S. citizens are being detained under the program. How often is this really happening? Here, a brief guide to the federal government’s immigration crackdown, and some of its unforeseen consequences:

Are immigration agents really detaining U.S. citizens?
Yes, at least in a flurry of recent cases. These people are typically picked up by local police for other reasons — U.S. citizen Antonio Montejano of Los Angeles, for example, was arrested for allegedly shoplifting a $10 bottle of perfume last month. But in custody, he was tagged as a suspected illegal immigrant by federal agents, acting on bad information in their database. As is typical in these cases, Montejano was supposed to be released quickly, but immigration agents told police to hold him in a local jail for possible deportation.

Wait, they can do that?

Read more HERE