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Stay Tuned for Immigration Updates

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Stay Tuned for Immigration Updates!

Immigration has been a hot topic in the recent election.  For those of you who have approved applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), or who are eligible to apply, this program is still in effect.  We have no information on how this program will be treated going forward.  We want to let you know that we will be closely monitoring this program, and other developments in immigration, and will post updates as they become available.

Click on DACA for more information on this program as it exists now.

How to Avoid Immigration Scams

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It is very important to be careful of immigration scams.  We expect that in the next few months a new kind of immigration application may become available to those who are undocumented and meet the requirements for a new  expanded kind Deferred Action.  Click here for tips on how to prepare for this new program. There is nothing you can file now for this new program.  Be careful of following the advice of anyone who tells you that you can apply now. You may not only waste your money, you may end up committing fraud, and or getting deported.

For more information on how to recognize an immigration scam go to Immigration Scams.

Some people may be able to apply for Deferred Action under the Program under the old program.  For information on the  old program go to  Who Can Apply for DACA (Deferred Action) Now.

 

 

 

The Provisional Waiver Program

Divya Hoffmann, Associate Attorney

 

Violating US immigration laws can have harsh consequences for foreign nationals. One example is the three and ten year reentry bar.Under this law, any foreign national who is in the US, without authorization for more than six months can be barred from reentering the US for three years; if the foreign national instead stays in the US for more than a year, his reentry bar increases to ten years. 

For an example from our own community, you can read about the experience of Nicole Salgado and her husband, Margo Resendiz here. Nicole and Margo decided that he should take the steps to regularize his immigration status, so they moved to Mexico in 2006 to wait out his reentry bar. They both left behind their jobs, families, and their lives in the US to make the move. (See Marnie Eisenstadt, Syracuse woman talks about her life married to an undocumented immigrant, Syracuse.com.)

 

Until 2013, a foreign national could only overcome the reentry bar by leaving the US, becoming subject to the reentry bar, and then applying for an I-601 waiver at a US Consulate outside the US. If the waiver application was denied, the foreign national likely would not be able to reenter the US for the duration of his reentry bar. (For more information on the I-601 waiver, see the application instructions for the I-601 waiver here.) Because of this, many foreign nationals have chosen to stay in the US and live in the shadows rather than apply for a green card.

 

In March 2013, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) launched the I-601A Provisional Waiver program to address this situation. This program allows eligible foreign nationals to apply for a reentry bar waiver within the US, and stay in the US while their applications are being processed. Once the waiver application is approved, the applicant can then apply for an immigrant visa at a US Consulate through the normal channels. (By way of comparison, the standard waiver process requires a foreign national to request a waiver outside the US, after he has applied for an immigrant visa and been denied. Even if the waiver application is approved, the foreign national may still need to wait 1-2 years outside the US while the application is being processed.) The eligibility criteria for the Provisional Waiver program is very specific. To be eligible for the program, an applicant must:

  1. Be 17 years old or older.
  2. Be physically present in the US to file the provisional waiver application and provide biometrics (i.e. fingerprints).
  3. Be the beneficiary of an approved relative petition (Form I-130 or I-360).
  4. Have a pending immigrant visa case, based on the approved relative petition, and have paid all applicable visa processing fees.
  5. Demonstrate that refusing admission to the applicant would cause “extreme hardship” to the applicant’s US Citizen parent or US Citizen spouse.
  6. The foreign national may not be subject to any ground of inadmissibility, other than the reentry bar for unlawful presence.

The following criteria may make a foreign national ineligible for the Provisional Waiver:

  1. The foreign national’s immigrant visa interview was scheduled before January 3, 2013.
  2. The foreign national is in removal proceedings. (Exceptions: (1) the foreign national’s removal proceedings have been administratively closed; (2) the foreign national is a DACA grantee and shows that any immigration court proceedings against him have been terminated or dismissed.)
  3. The foreign national reentered the US without authorization from the immigration service, after being deported.

 

While there were initially technical and legal issues in the program, we have been encouraged to see that the immigration service has been resolving these issues in response to feedback from immigration stakeholders. (See Alan Lee, I-601A Filers with Approved Immigrant Visas Facing $165 Glitch, ILW.com.) However, we also believe that the ongoing evolution of the Provisional Waiver program highlights the need for legal representation in these cases. An experienced attorney can work with a foreign national to assess whether he is eligible for the provisional waiver, anticipate any ongoing procedural and technical issues, and identify any legal issues that might affect the case.

 

Our office has represented hundreds of applicants, seeking a variety of immigration benefits, including family and employment visas, green cards, naturalization, and proof of US citizenship. We can work with you to determine whether the provisional waiver is the right choice for you and your family, and we can also work with you to assemble a strong waiver application. If you are interested in learning more about the provisional waiver process, please contact us.

Deferred Action Tips

The new Deferred Action Program for Parents of US citizen of permanent resident children will help some who are in the US without documents (sometimes called illegal immigrants). The program is not yet in place and no applications can be filed until the regulations and forms are in place.

Both the Deferred Action for Parents (DAPA and Deferred Action for Children (DACA) require the applicant to show physical presence in the US for at least 5 years. Here are some tips on what you can do now to prepare for an application:

Look for as many of the following paper documents that you can find:

1. Receipts and invoices with your name on them.

  •             Leases
  •             Mortgages
  •             Phone and utility bills
  •             Tax receipts

2. Medical Documents showing:

  •             Medical care
  •             Medical appointments
  •             Prescription refills (Your pharmacy may be able to print out                        prescriptions filled in the past year
  •              Medical records for children that include your name and child’s                  name

3.  Birth certificates for children born in the US

4.    School Records for yourself and or yourself

  •  Report cards
  •  Parent-Teacher Meetings
  •  Participation in school events
  1. Employment Records
  • Pay stubs or W-2 forms
  1. Letters or sworn statements from people who have had contact with you regularly for  the last five years. Although you may provide letters from friends or relatives, it is more helpful to provide letters and statements from someone who is more independent such as the folloing:
  • Local businesses – letter on their letterhead if possible (attach                      receipts)
  •  Community organization
  • If you regularly attend religious services, a religious leader for a     statement

7. Be careful – Only submit real documents with truthful          information.

  • If you  provide false information you are committing fraud. This could not only lead to a denial of an application. It could keep you from ever being able to immigrate to the US. You could also be charged with a crime.

8. Do not work with notarios, people who are not licensed to provide legal advice. Seek legal advice from an experienced immigration lawyer. This is especially important for the following groups:

  • If you have ever been arrested,
  • If you have ignored a removal order,
  • If you have ignored a court date, you may have been ordered removed  (deported)
  • If you have entered the US without inspection (sometimes called illegal entry) since January 1, 2014.