Articles Posted in Spouses & Fiancés

_a out of jail.JPGIf you are in removal or deportation proceedings and you have a family based petition (Form I-130) petition pending or it has been approved, you could go home is as little as 30 days! This article addresses the new handling proceedures for individuals in removal or deportation (issued an NTA) with a pending or approved application or petition with USCIS.

Petition for Alien Relative (I-130) Expedites Removal:
A recent policy memo instructs the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on handling removal deportation proceedings of aliens with pending or approved I-130 applications or petitions. The new ICE policy outlines a framework for ICE to request expedited adjudication of an application or petition for alien relative in removal proceedings. The petition must be pending before U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). The case will be expedited if the approval of such an application or petition would provide an immediate basis for relief for the alien.
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new green card.JPGIf you are the beneficiary of a family-based green card based on a petition filed by your U.S. citizen family member, you can be required to attend a green card interview. If you miss the green card interview, your case will be denied. However, if you need to reschedule your green card interview or if you have missed your green card interview, USCIS allows a solution to correct the problem. This articles addresses USCIS’s guidance.

Request to Reschedule Interview: Biometrics
First, there are two types of appointments you will be required to undergo in a green card case through family. You will need to have a biometrics appointment then a green card interview. The biometrics interview will be set before the green card interview. If you need to change the date of the biometrics, simply follow the instructions on the notice (Form I-797). The instructions basically tell you to mail the original notice back to the local USCIS field office asking to change the date of the biometrics. Once you do that, you will receive a notice with a new date. Be sure to attend this biometrics as USCIS must have your fingerprints on file to issue your green card.
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i-94.jpgThis question has been raised by a few of our clients. If you have not turned in your I-94 upon departure, the US will have no record of your departure. This means, according to the US, you are still in the country because your departure was not recorded properly. This article offers assistance to correct this problem.

Ooops, I did not return my I-94 upon Departure
If you leave the country and the CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) officer forgets to collect your I-94, you will be ok if you left by airplane or a cruise ship. Your departure will be automatically verified. So, you do not need to contact the U.S. officials regarding your exit. To be safe, hold on to your outbound boarding pass. This will help CBP officials next time you enter the U.S. andit will expedite the re-entry process so you do not have to explain the error.
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victoria_family_tree_1901.jpgThe USCIS (formerly the INS) understands the importance of keeping the family together and family reunification is an important theme in the immigration laws. However, family sponsored immigration is difficult and can be complex. Detailed attention to deadlines, definitions, and the interplay of numerous provisions of the immigration code is key to succesfully bring a family member to the United States.

Obtaining a Green Card for a Foreign Family Member:
Not all family relationships serve as a basis to apply for a green card (i.e., to become a lawful permanent resident LPR). Under the immigration laws there are two basic groups:
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In a well reasoned order handed down by Judge Susan R. Bolton of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, the most unreasonable, atrocious and unconstitutional aspects of Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 were blocked, or rather, enjoined from taking effect with the remainder of the legislation on July 29, 2010. In what almost certainly will set the stage for an appeals process culminating in review of state government’s power to supplement federal law in the area of immigration, Arizona has appealed this ruling to the United States Circuit Court for the Ninth Circuit. If the Ninth Circuit rules on the matter before the end of the year, the case could be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States in its next session, and possibly decided within a year from now.

While the most egregious aspects of SB1070 have been strategically excised from the whole of the bill by the order of Judge Bolton, the bill ultimately stands and the remaining portions went into effect July 29, 2010. Because the process for enjoining and appealing this bill as well as its ramifications may not be entirely clear, I have briefly summarized the judge’s legal opinion and the effects that this ruling has on SB1070 in board terms. As a reminder, this attorney and The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates has offered the following aspects of Arizona law for the purposes of public discussion and discourse only. This lawyer does not suggest nor insinuate that he is licensed practice civil or criminal law in the state of Arizona.
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dreamstime_4189431[1].JPGThe American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) posted on its website processing times for the Administrative Appeals Office, the AAO. The AAO has authority to review certain applications denied by the US CItizenship & Immigration Service (“USCIS”). Decisions issued by the AAO have been controversial as the USCIS may or may not be bound by them as a “legal precedence” or “lawmaking authority” as the American legal system normally operates. Hence, practitioners in the field of immigration law have found the administrative appeals before the AAO as futile and time consuming process. Nonetheless, applicants and petitioners whose cases have been denied by the USCIS have the legal obligation to “exhaust their administrative remedy” before taking their cases to Federal Court to challenge the USCIS’ denial. In other words, the Federal Court system may not accept a challenge to a USCIS decision prior to having them try to resolve the matter before the AAO. Hence, the AAO appeals step is viewed by many as a necessary step, though time consuming.

Below, please find the most recent AAO Processing Times. As can be seen, it may take more than a year to review an H-1B visa case denial. An EB-2 or EB-3 I-140 denial may take 2 years to appeal before the AAO. In comparison, an alien entrepreneur petition form I-526 denial will take 6 months to appeal before the AAO.
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Columbus Ohio.jpgArizona has recently passed one of the harshest anti-immigration bills in America’s modern history. While the bill is obviously aimed at those persons who have entered the United States from Mexico without inspection, the effects of this bill will be felt in all immigrant communities. The law gives state and local officers the authority to arrest and detain any person in violation of federal immigration law as well as proscribing punishments for those who aid immigration law violators. Those persons who are present in the United States on valid employment based visas, such as H-1B, L-1 and H-2A, as well as those persons who are eligible or have applied for a Green Card or Legal Permanent Residency through the PERM process or family based petition, now must be extra careful to remain in valid immigration status at all times and above all else always carry their “papers” on them. Just as the tide raises all boats, Arizona’s law will affect all immigrants and their employers within that state

On the heels of Arizona’s new law, certain Ohio senators have begun the process of drafting copycat legislation. The consequences of such legislation for Ohio business if such legislation were to be passed could be very grave. A bill that damages the confidence of Ohio’s vital, skilled and hard working immigrant population in the state’s openness and welcome for immigrants in general would do unnecessary harm to Ohio’s already recession weakened economy. Before Ohioans jump on the anti-immigration bandwagon, perhaps they should instigate the wording of Arizona’s legislation and its potential to harm Ohio’s economy.
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road blur.jpg“Fast-Track” green card through family immigration: If you have a relative residing in the United States, you may be eligible to permanently immigrate to the U.S., obtain a green card (i.e., lawful permanent resident status) and eventually apply for citizenship.

Certain relatives are able to obtain a family-based green card immediately while others must wait for an immigrant visa number to become available to them. Whether or not you have to wait to apply for a green card depends on your relationship to your U.S. citizen relative or a lawful permanent resident.

The process for applying for a family member to immigrate to the U.S. is basically involves two-steps. First, the relative in the U.S applies for what is called an immigrant visa petition (I-130). The immigrant visa petition proves to the government that the relative is a qualifying U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident and it establishes the family relationship with the foreign national. As will be discussed below, the “fast-track” family categories include immigrant visa petitions filed for your foreign born mother or father, children, and/or spouse.
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Thumbnail image for key to victory.jpgIf you are residing abroad and have recently had your immigrant or nonimmigrant visa application denied by a consulate officer, you may request an advisory opinion from the Department of State’s Visa Office Advisory Opinions Division (AOD) and “open the door” to a denied case. With the powerful advisory opinion, a foreign national has the opportunity to obtain the original visa classification sought instead of filing an entirely new case from the start.

When a foreign national files for an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa from a consulate abroad, the consulate officer may erroneously deny the petition taking an incorrect legal position. The foreign national may not feel that s/he has any options for appeal. However, an attorney may request an advisory opinion from the Department of State’s Visa Office Advisory Opinions Division (AOD). If the AOD agrees with the attorney and issues the advisory opinion, the consular officer’s determination will be overturned allowing the foreign national to obtain the visa s/he is seeking. This is a very powerful tool that not many foreign nationals know exists. This article discusses the various advisory opinion procedures and discusses the benefits of requesting the advisory opinion especially when the foreign national’s petition has been incorrectly denied.
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