An important issue that I have encountered in practice is attorney-client communication and preparation. Immigration law, in particular, is a very uncertain area because most types of relief are discretionary, and policies can change without much notice. Thus, it is crucial for there to be open communication between the attorney and client, and for the client to be well prepared.
Department of Homeland Security issued two memoranda implementing President Trump's executive orders regarding border security and interior immigration enforcement. Here are some highlights and comments:
***** This is not meant as legal advice and you should consult with an immigration attorney if you believe you may be affected by these new Orders. ******
Our client came to the United States in 2001 on a B-2 visitor's visa. In 2005 he married a U.S. citizen and sponsored our client's permanent resident status. Four years later, the Immigration Service denied his application because they believed he married he committed marriage fraud (what immigration calls an INA §204(c) decision). Such a decision is generally treated as the "death penalty" by the Immigration Service and Immigration Judges for any future applications a person might file to seek resident status. As a result of the denial, our client was put into removal proceedings -- not because of the fraud the government thought he had committed, but solely because he had remained in the United States longer than he was authorized.
Last month, the Firm represented three individuals in removal proceedings. Each of the individuals had been longtime permanent residents (LPR) and each had been placed in removal proceedings based on criminal convictions that had occurred at least ten years ago. In each of the cases, the convictions were for offenses that most would view as serious to very serious. Because the immigration judge had the authority to deport them, the individuals all sought relief under INA §212(c) or INA §240A. In each case, the immigration judge was required to balance the positive factors of their lives against the negative aspects in deciding whether to allow these individuals to stay in our country. These factors can be found in an immigration case called Matter of Marin, 16 I&N Dec. 581 (BIA 1978).
Update on DACA statistics through August 31, 2013 - the USCIS approved over 455,455 requests for Deferred Action, from 588,725 applications received. Of these, 350,056 citizens of Mexico, and 3,203 from Philippines closes out the bottom of the Top 10 countries receiving approvals. California is leading among the states with 161,624 and Texas with 93,277 applications submitted is at No. 2.
Beginning on September 9, 2013, all Applicants and Petitioners appearing at USCIS Filed Offices will undergo a biometric screening for fingerprints and photographs for security and verification purposes. The Customer Identification Verification (CIV) system was announce in May 2013, and goes into effect today. For example, when appearing at a "green card" or naturalization interview, both the Petitioner and Beneficiary will have to submit to the CIV check while your child or attorney would not.
The Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that the Supreme Court ruling will allow U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents petition for their same-sex spouses who would be able to obtain their "green cards". It is estimated that 36,000 foreign nationals will benefit from this groundbreaking ruling.
On January 3, 2013, the USCIS published the final rule for provisional waivers with the effective date of March 4, 2013. Meaning, the USCIS will not accept waiver regulations until then. However, if you have not filed the I-130 petition, a step necessary to file the provisional waiver, you can do this now. What is this new rule?
On today's radios show, we hosted Marco Malagon, the President of the North Texas Dream Team, who spoke about his point of view on Immigration Reform and Deferred Action. Tune-in each Monday at 10:30AM to Univision America 1270 AM, and listen to the Chavez & Valko Immigration program.