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New Provisional Waiver Will Help Some Families Stay Together

By Tatiana - Posted on 04 January 2013

Some families facing long separations from their loved ones because of U.S. immigration laws will have an easier time of it in 2013. Thanks to a new regulation from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), immediate relatives of U.S. citizens will be able to complete part of the processing of their immigration cases without leaving the country. The “Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver of Inadmissibility for Certain Immediate Relatives” rule, often referred to as the new family unity rule, will be published tomorrow (January 3, 2013) and become effective on March 4.

The new rule allows immediate relatives (parents, spouses, and children) of U.S. citizens who entered the country without permission to apply for a waiver of their unlawful entry while still in the United States, in April of 2012. The change in procedure was proposed as a solution to a growing problem—families were facing months, and in some cases, years of separation because of two conflicting provisions of U.S. immigration law.
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a person seeking to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident must be admitted or paroled into the country if they wish to have their case decided in the U.S. If they entered the country unlawfully, the law requires them to go to a U.S. embassy or consulate for processing of their application. Departure from the United States in many cases, however, triggers a three to ten year bar to re-entering the country, which requires a separate waiver application. Under past practice, an individual applied for the waiver after having been found inadmissible by a consular official and then had to apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a waiver. The process was generally time consuming, inefficient, and often costly, particularly because it lengthened the amount of time families were apart.
For immediate relatives, at least, the new rule will streamline the process because they will not have to depart the U.S. until they have received notification that their waiver application has been “provisionally” approved, which means that they will be able to complete their visa processing in one step rather than two or three at the embassy. Other applicants will continue to follow the standard process, including immediate relatives who may need other waivers for final approval of their Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status.

Deferred Action Application form is now available!

By Tatiana - Posted on 14 August 2012

USCIS has made the forms necessary to apply for Deferred Action and an EAD available; the form is I-821D. US CIS noted that information of applicants and, significantly, their families will not be shared with ICE for immigration enforcement purposes. USCIS also expressed concern over applicants documenting past or current education, noting that educational institutions must be recognized and accredited by a state or federal government or both, likely receiving funding from public sources. Finally, USCIS advised those with final orders of deportation on what they should do - apply for Deferred Action through USCIS then go to the Office of the Chief Counsel and seek to reopen the removal matter. Should you need legal representation in this complex process, feel free to call us and schedule your free initial consultation.

DV 2014 Program-Online Registration

By Tatiana - Posted on 09 August 2012

Online registration for the DV-2014 Program will begin on Tuesday, October 2,2012 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight lime (EDn (GMT-4), and conclude on Saturday, November 3,2012 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight lime (EDn (GMT -4). Instructions for the DV 2014 Program are not yet available, so please check back later.

Who is eligible for deferred action?

By Tatiana - Posted on 03 August 2012

On August 3, 2012, USCIS issued revised FAQs further detailing the deferred action eligibility criteria, including disqualifying crimes and continuous residence, and providing new details on the application process, evidence, confidentiality, travel, and more. USCIS will release full details on the application procedure, including a deferred action form, on August 15, 2012. According to the new FAQs, an individual who meets the following criteria may apply for deferred action:

Was under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
Came to the U.S. before reaching his/her 16th birthday;
Has continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
Was physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of application to USCIS;
Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
Is currently in school, has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, has obtained a GED, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Armed Forces; and
Has not been convicted of a felony, a "significant misdemeanor," three or more other misdemeanors, and does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;

ALERT: DREAMers should NOT apply affirmatively for Deferred Action at this time. USCIS has stated that they will make all forms and instructions available on August 15, 2012. Stay tuned for more information on the application process.

If you are currently in immigration detention or face imminent removal and believe you meet the criteria, identify yourself to your detention officer, contact the Law Enforcement Support Center's hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) for those facing removal, or contact the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office's hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday) or by email at EROPublicAdvocate@ice.dhs.gov. Feel free to call our office if you need legal help: 215-355-9095.

President Obama's new immigration plan

By Tatiana - Posted on 15 June 2012

The sweeping proposal allows immigrants without criminal records who are under 30 years old, entered the country as children, have graduated from a U.S. high school and can prove they've lived in the country for five consecutive years to apply for temporary legal status and then two-year, renewable work permits. It does not provide them a path to citizenship. In his speech, Obama stressed that the move is "not amnesty," and he thinks Congress should still pass a broader legalization bill. Should you need help applying under this new law, feel free to contact our office.

New visa for those who invest $500,000 in real estate in the United States

By Tatiana - Posted on 28 October 2011

WASHINGTON, DC—With an excess of supply stalling a recovery in the U.S. housing market, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) announced today that they will offer a bipartisan proposal to boost demand for homes by luring foreign investors to purchase residences and live in the U.S. The concept is part of a broad immigration package aimed at boosting foreign travel and investment in the United States.

To confront the housing crisis, the legislation would provide, for the first time, a three-year residential visa for foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 in residential real estate in the United States. At least $250,000 must be spent on a primary residence where the visa holder will reside for at least 180 days out of the year while paying taxes to the U.S. Applicants would still be subject to standard criminal and national security background checks and, once approved, would not be able to receive government benefits such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The program would not serve as a path to citizenship for foreign nationals. Real estate analysts have said this proposal could lift demand for U.S. homes and help ease the housing crisis. Famed investor Warren Buffett has also supported the concept of enticing foreign homebuyers previously.

Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act

By Tatiana - Posted on 27 October 2011

H.R. 3012, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, introduced on September 22, 2011 by Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT), eliminates employment-based per-country cap and raises the family-sponsored per-country cap. The Act will be scheduled for House floor debate in the next few weeks.

THE 2013 DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT VISA PROGRAM (DV-2013)

By Tatiana - Posted on 15 September 2011

The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program will run this year between noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Tuesday, October 4, 2011, and noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Saturday, November 5, 2011. Applicants may access the electronic DV Entry Form (E-DV) at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period.

For DV-2013, natives of the following countries1 are not eligible to apply because the countries sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years:
BANGLADESH, BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN
REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM.

Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.

Changes in eligibility this year:
For DV-2013, natives of South Sudan and Poland are now eligible for selection, while Bangladesh natives are now ineligible.

US DOS cancels DV-2012 lottery results

By Tatiana - Posted on 13 May 2011

The US Department of State has announced that all selection results for Diversity Visa Lottery 2012 published worldwide in early May are now void.

"We regret to inform you that, due to a computer programming problem, the results of the 2012 Diversity Lottery that were previously posted on this website have been voided," the Department said in an announcement.

"They were not valid and were posted in error," it said.

"The results were not valid because they did not represent a fair, random selection of entrants, as required by U.S. law.

"If you checked this website during the first week in May and found a notice that you had been selected for further processing or a notice that you had not been selected, that notice has been rescinded and is no longer valid."

The results of the new selection process—to be conducted based on the original entries for the 2012 programme, will be available on the website (http://www.dvlottery.state.gov./) on July 15, 2011.

Entries to the lottery remain valid and there is no need for re-applying.

DREAM ACT IS BACK ON THE AGENDA!

By Tatiana - Posted on 11 May 2011

May 11, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Today, Senators Richard Durbin, Harry Reid, and Robert Menendez re-introduced the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Last fall, the DREAM Act passed the House of Representatives, and gained the support of a majority in the Senate, but was ultimately defeated when the Senate failed to invoke cloture and proceed to debate. The DREAM Act would address the plight of young immigrants who have been raised in the U.S. The proposal would offer a path to legal status to those who have graduated from high school, stayed out of trouble, and plan to attend college or serve in the U.S. military for at least two years.