Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: January 13,  2020
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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2020 
For questions about U.S. Residency, Green Cards and Immigration Visas, Visit our Website at: or  call our office at: (954) 382-5378
Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...

  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter
Question: I came here as a visitor many years ago and my daughter was born in the U.S.. We have been here ever since. She is 20 and will turn 21 in april of this year. My question is whether I can still qualify to get my papers even though my status expired? If so can we go ahead and file my immigration paperwork now since she is almost 21 and get the process started? 
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know If It’s A Scam?
Check the USCIS Processing Times For Your Immigration Case

When making an application for Immigration benefits with the USCIS, its always important to understand how long the process is likely to take for a decision to be made on the case. The USCIS publishes information about the approximate processing times for different Immigration cases on its website. Before filing, you can find out which USCIS Service Center will be handling your type of case by checking the appropriate USCIS address for your application form. 
 Great News! Appeals Court Rejects Trump’s 
Request To Implement Public Charge Rule!
In a positive move last week, the 2nd Circuit federal appeals court in New York issued a ruling against the Trump administration, refusing to allow the so called “Public Charge” rule to be implemented nationwide. This controversial policy is just one of a series of measures brought forward by the Trump administration aimed at curbing legal family immigration by making it harder for immigrants to obtain  green cards. 

The recent decision represents a temporary reprieve for immigrants which blocks the policy from going into effect and could last well into the end of 2020 or even later, as the court case moves its way through the system. 
Answer: Under Immigration regulations, Parents/Spouses and Minor children of U.S. Citizens are “Immediate Relatives” and as long as they entered the U.S. legally (meaning being inspected by an immigration officer), then even if the I-94 period of stay expires and they become “out of legal status”, they can still obtain U.S. Residency through their U.S. citizen child (age 21 or older). So in your case, since you entered the U.S. legally as a visitor, even though you are not currently in legal immigration status, you are still eligible to obtain a green card in the U.S. as an Immediate Relative of a U.S. Citizen. Unfortunately, you cannot begin the process until AFTER your daughter turns age 21. You have to prove eligibility on the date the case is filed, meaning that your daughter has to be age 21 or older.If your case is filed earlier, either the USCIS will reject it, or worse, they will accept it, take your filing fees, then deny the case. 
Warning - Immigration Payment Scams Targeting Immigrants!

The USCIS reminds Immigrants to be aware of immigration scams, including scammers who call or email Immigrants pretending to be a government official. USCIS officials never call customer for personal details, to request payments over the phone, by wire, such as Western Union or in an email. The USCIS advises Immigrants to avoid becoming a victim of one if these scams by never responding to an email or call from a person pretending to be a government official or Immigration officer requesting payment. As part of one particular immigration scam, a fake Immigration official calls or emails an Immigrant saying that there is a problem with an application or additional information is required to continue the immigration process. 
Tips To Avoid Losing Your Green Card At The U.S. Border! 
Since Trump took office in 2017, many U.S. Residents (Green Card holders) have been wary of travelling abroad, in fear that they may not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. and could have their Green Card taken away at the U.S. border. This fear is exacerbated by reports that Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) officers at airports and other borders have increasingly been requesting that residents relinquish their cards and sign official I-407 forms to "voluntarily" abandon their status as a permanent resident of the U.S..This is most common in circumstances where a resident has been absent from the U.S. for a long period of time, including a year or more, or when the traveler otherwise gives information or statements which clearly indicate that he or she does not reside in the U.S.. 
However, its important to understand that residents who really do live in the U.S. and who have not been travelling abroad for extended periods of time (180 consecutive days or more), and who do not have any serious criminal convictions, should not fear travelling abroad and are not at risk of losing their Green Cards when they try to re-enter the U.S..

Here’s a few quick tips for residents who frequently travel abroad or who have spent more than six months outside the U.S. in the past year:

1) Take documents with you which show that you actually live in the U.S., including:

a) Paystubs for past several months 
b) Current electric or other utility bill and 
c) Current Lease or property Deed and 
d) Current bank statements which show regular purchases and use of the bank account in U.S.. 

Note that items such as U.S. Driver’s License or tax return do not necessarily show that a Resident actually lives in the U.S., especially if the tax return shows foreign earned income and does not show employment in the U.S..

2) Never stay outside of the U.S. for more than 179 continuous days at one time, since a reentry to the U.S. after 180 days not only “resets” the clock for accrual of physical presence for Naturalization purposes, but it is also a potential red flag to the CBP officer that you may not actually reside in the U.S. and can lead to more serious questioning, which can sometimes lead to a request for you to voluntarily relinquish your Green Card.  

3) Understand your rights! You are not required to voluntarily relinquish your Green Card at the border and have the right to request a hearing before an immigration judge and you will be allowed to enter the U.S. to wait until that hearing. During the hearing, you have the burden of providing substantial documentary proof that you actually reside in the U.S. and that your absence from the U.S. was temporary. It’s always a good idea to have a qualified Immigration attorney to advise and assist you in understanding what kind of proof is required to present your best case to the Judge.

Finally, more than ever, 2020 may prove to be a very “anti-immigrant” year, with Trump potentially issuing all sorts of executive orders, policies and proclamations to make life harder for immigrants and residents alike. As a result, residents who do not now live in the U.S. should spend more time here and avoid spending extended periods outside the U.S. when possible. It's also a good idea to establish documentary proof of residence, like having a lease, utilities, car, insurance, etc in your name. Remember that residents are required to file U.S. tax returns as residents and must report worldwide income (but not assets). It is always best to be conservative and protect yourself when possible, since once a resident loses his or her green card, they cannot ever get the same one back, instead, they must start the immigration process all over again. Sometimes that is possible if you are the parent or spouse of a U.S. Citizen, but in many cases, a Resident obtained their Green Card through a marriage that is now dissolved, or through parents that are now elderly or through siblings and may have to wait a decade or more once the process is started all over again. 
Upcoming USCIS Naturalization Information Sessions Scheduled At Some South Florida Locations
The USCIS provides free naturalization information sessions for residents (green card holders) who plan to file for naturalization and have questions about naturalization eligibility, testing, and citizenship rights and responsibilities. 

Here is a list of several upcoming information sessions scheduled in South Florida in the next few months:
Click Here To Find Free English And Citizenship Preparation Classes In Your Area
Question:  I am the 27 yr old son of US Resident (my father has a green card). He filed my immigration case to ask for me in 2015 so I still have a few more years to wait. But I have been dating my citizen girlfriend for a few years now and we want to get married and she wants to do a fiance visa for me. Can my girlfriend still do the visa for me even though my dad filed for me? Does my dad have to cancel it first? Thanks
Answer: Yes, your girlfriend can sponsor you for the K-1 fiancé visa. The I-130 family petition your dad filed for you does not need to be withdrawn. Under Immigration regulations, an Immigrant can have multiple Immigration petitions filed for them in several different family categories and they do not conflict with each other. However, once you enter the U.S. and marry your U.S. Citizen Fiancé (as required under the K-1 Immigration regulations), the I-130 petition that your dad filed for you will automatically be cancelled, since there is no Immigration category for a married child of a U.S. Resident. 
Question: I have a question about taxes. I overstayed my visa last year and just got married. My husband wants to file for me but he says that he owes back taxes for 2017 and 2018 and has some agreement with the government to pay some on it every month. Does this prevent him filing for me? Thanks for your advice. 
Answer: That’s a really great question. In Residency cases, Immigration regulations only require that a Sponsor or Joint Sponsor provide copies of IRS Tax Returns proving that all required taxes have been filed. There is no requirement that all taxes owed have been paid. In Naturalization cases, however, residents are required to show that not only have all required tax returns been filed, but as well that either all outstanding taxes have been paid or an agreement for repayment has been reached with the IRS and all payments due under the agreement have been paid as agreed, even if a balance is still due. So in your case, your husband can still sponsor you, even though he still owes money to the IRS. I hope this was helpful to you. 
If your case has already been filed and you have received the I-797 Notice of Action Receipt, you can easily use the information on the receipt, which shows the form type and service center, to check the current processing times. If  your case is outside of the normal processing times posted on the USCIS website, you can then either call the USCIS at (800) 375-5283 to make an status request or do an e-inquiry yourself, in order to try to get more information. In either case, you will normally receive a letter from the USCIS in about 15-30 days responding to your request. If your case is not resolved by either method, then you likely need to get an immigration attorney involved to try and get a decision on the case.

Understanding Information On Your I-797 Notice of Action Receipt

USCIS Processing Times
They ask for personal and sensitive details, and demand payment to fix the problem. If you receive such a request and are not sure if it is a scam, forward the suspicious email to the USCIS at [email protected] USCIS will review the emails received and share with law enforcement agencies. Visit the USCIS Avoid Scams Initiative. If you have a question about your immigration case, call the USCIS at 800-375-5283.

Click on the links below to read some good information about common scams to avoid:

USCIS Scam Warning
Fake IRS Scam