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POSTING DATE: January 6, 2020
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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter
Question: I have a question for you about my appointment at the consulate next week and my sister said you can help me since you helped her before. My mom filed for me and I am finally getting through. I was reading over the list on the consulate website saying I have to bring a copy of the ds260 confirmation something to my appointment but I have no idea what that is! I looked through all the paperwork and I cant find anything like that. Can you please help me figure out what that is so I can take it, I am so nervous I don’t want to show up and be missing something. Thanks so much.
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know If Can Sponsor My Child When I Was Not Married To Her Mother?
Start The New Year Off Right – Keep Track Of Your Immigration Case From Start To Finish!
The USCIS has made it much more convenient to keep updated on immigration applications from the time the case is received at the service center and throughout application processing. Filing an immigration application is a very important step and one which should be taken with the utmost diligence and seriousness. Applicants should first educate themselves about eligibility, qualifications, procedures and timing of the case and keep updated on every aspect of process along the way.
Trump’s Invisible Immigration Wall Recap of 2019
As everyone knows, Trump’s election campaign centered on reducing legal and illegal immigration and building the wall, yet since his election, he has tried and failed to get funding from Congress to build his physical wall (the one that Mexico was going to pay for). However, what many do not realize is that he has been successful in building an invisible immigration wall which has become very effective in keeping even legal immigrants out.
Brick by brick, using executive orders, proclamations and twisting existing rules and regulations, his administration has successfully restricted legal immigration across the board.
Answer: I am glad that you are very carefully preparing for your interview. Don’t worry, the DS260 confirmation page is very easy to get. In the beginning stage of your consular process, you were required to login to the CEAC system to complete and submit the online DS260 Immigrant Visa form. Once you submitted that, you were supposed to either printout or save a copy of the DS260 confirmation page after submission. To get a duplicate, simply login to the CEAC system, select the immigrant visa form, then review the form, go to the very end and you will find the option to resend the DS260 confirmation page to your email or print it out. Good luck!
Understanding How To Prove the Parent-Child Relationship
For Children “Born Out of Wedlock”
Understanding what documentation the USCIS requires for each type of immigration application is vital to the success of the case, especially in difficult cases which involve proving the relationship between a father and his son or daughter who was “born out of wedlock”, meaning he was not married to the child’s mother. As part of my Immigration law practice, individuals frequently come to seek my advice AFTER they have filed an immigration application run into problems, asking me to FIX it.
Immigration Look Ahead -
What To Expect In 2020!
Here are just a few of the many ways that the Trump administration has successfully restricted immigration during his presidency:
Overall Trump Administration Strategy: Extreme Processing delays, increased USCIS requests for evidence, escalation of application denials and deportations
Reduced Family-Sponsored Immigration: Early on in 2017 Trump proposed to dramatic changes to the existing immigration systems, which would cut family sponsored Immigration by 50% and moved to a merit-based system. These proposals were later embodied in the RAISE Act Bill introduced in the Senate which would eliminate most current categories for family-sponsored immigration, including those for parents, adult children and siblings. However, since the bill failed to pass Congress, Trump has nevertheless tried to implement as many policies as possible to reduce family immigration using existing laws, recently including:
Public Charge rule - In August 2019 the Department of Homeland Security issued a directive to implement a controversial new “public charge” rule which gives the government broad discretion to deny immigration benefits to applicants, including those applying for residency. The rule greatly expands the types of prohibited government benefits and introduces factors which USCIS officers must use to determine whether immigrants would be likely to need public aid in the future, allowing them to deny residency to those including: young and old immigrants, those with low education and those who lack English fluency. The policy was set to be implemented in October 2019, but was temporarily stopped by several federal courts before taking effect.
Health Insurance- On October 4, 2019, Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation to deny the entry of immigrants who are unable to prove that they have the financial ability to pay for health insurance within 30 days of entering the U.S.. The measure would allow consular officials to deny immigrant visas to thousands of family members unable to provide proof of financial resources available to pay for such health insurance. The new policy called “Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System”, was set to take effect on November 1st , but has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge from being implemented.
DACA Termination: In one of his cruelest measures, Trump cancelled the DACA, (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program in 2017, which had been implemented in 2012 by President Obama. Lawsuits were filed to prevent termination of the program and several Federal courts later issued temporary orders to force the USCIS to continue to accept DACA renewals until the cases worked their way through the courts. Recently the Supreme Court heard arguments on the DACA issue and all indications are that the majority of conservative justices agree that the administration has the power to terminate all DACA benefits. The court is expected to issue its ruling in the Spring of 2020.
Travel Ban: After several attempts in 2017, Trump was finally successful in enacting a travel ban on certain categories of individuals from eight countries (Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela (government employees & families) and Yemen).
USCIS Mission Statement Changed: In a disgraceful move, on February 2018, new Trump appointee, USCIS Director Francis Cissna, changed the agency’s mission statement, taking the term “nation of immigrants” out, saying “The old mission statement did not accurately describe the full scope of what USCIS does,” “eroded the dignity and importance of the work of USCIS while confusing employees and the public about who USCIS serves.”
NTA Rule: In June 2018 the USCIS issued a new rule which requires USCIS officers to issue a “notice to appear” in deportation court to immigrants who are denied for nearly any type of immigration case. This makes the filing of any kind of immigration application risky for the applicant.
With the final (and hopefully last) year of Trump’s time in office coming up before us, the year ahead is likely to bring a flurry of presidential order, policies and proclamations aimed at limiting immigration which could make major historical changes to our existing U.S. Immigration system.
Here are a few of the major immigration related policies and initiatives expected to emerge or continue during 2020:
Increased Immigration Fees: In November 2019, the Trump administration announced plans to dramatically increase USCIS filing fees, in some cases by more than 60%, for example Naturalization fees would jump from the current $725 fee to $1,170 and Residency filing fees to adjust status inside the U.S. will go from $1,760 to $2,750. The new fees are expected to begin in early 2020.
Trump’s Public Charge rule and Health Insurance Presidential Proclamation: which are temporarily on hold have been appealed and are currently being considered in several Federal appeals courts which may rule in Trump’s favor. If this happens, both restrictive measures could quickly be implemented very quickly in the near future.
Elimination of “Concurrent Filing” To Prevent Many Family Members From Adjusting Status In The U.S.: The Trump administration is expected to announce a new rule in the coming months to eliminate "concurrent filing" and prevent many spouses, children and other immigrants from obtaining green cards inside the U.S.. The term “concurrent filing” means the “filing together” of applications. The proposal is expected to prevent many family members from filing an immigrant petition (form I-130) and residency application (form I-485) together along with work and travel permit applications. Instead, sponsoring family members would be required to file and obtain approval of the I-130 family petition first, before the spouse or child would be allowed to file for residency. This may take one year or more.
DACA Termination: The Supreme Court recently heard arguments on the DACA issue and all indications are that the majority of conservative justices agree that the administration has the power to terminate all DACA benefits. The court is expected to issue its ruling in the Spring of 2020 which will very likely allow the Trump administration to terminate the DACA program, affecting nearly one million or more young adults who will be at risk, without legal status or work authorization. It will then be up to Congress to pass legislation to protect Dreamers, something they have been unwilling or unable to do in the past!
Ramped-up Immigration Raids & Enforcement: During the past several years, the level of immigration arrests have skyrocketed as part of sweeping ICE raids throughout the U.S., targeting businesses and immigrant communities. These raids are expected to continue with more frequency and fanfare in 2020, as Trump attempts to use such measures in his reelection campaign to prove that he is being “tough” on immigrants.
Increased Application Denials and NTA’s: The USCIS continues to deny applications at a staggering rate. For H-1B work visas, the denial rate has skyrocketed to an astounding 33%, up from only 6% in 2015! In addition, in accordance with the NTA directive issued by the USCIS in 2018, Notices To Appear in deportation court are authorized in most immigration cases where an application is denied.
Virtual Elimination Of Asylum Protections: Under Trump’s so called "Remain in Mexico" (formally named Migrant Protection Protocols) program, over 55,000 asylum-seekers who fled south and central America have been turned away at the southern U.S. border, and have instead been required to wait in Mexico for a future asylum court date. Asylees lucky enough to apply inside the U.S. have also been affected by new policies which have eliminated expedited processing of work permits and require certain applicants to wait for one year instead of 150 days after filing for asylum to apply for permission to work.
These are just a few of the many immigration related restrictions planned by the Trump administration in the months ahead. So hold on to your hat…. we are all in for a bumpy immigration ride in 2020! Y
USCIS Requests For Evidence On The Rise –
Make Sure You Respond Properly To Avoid A Denial
Once an immigration application is filed and the USCIS issues a receipt for the case, at some point down the road the officer adjudicating the case may issue something called a Request for Evidence (RFE). This request comes in the form of a letter from the USCIS officer to request additional information or documentation on your application. RFE requests are frequently issued for missing information or documentation to establish your eligibility and are often very cryptic, frequently appearing to request information which was already provided and can often be quite frustrating.
For instance a request may say that you are required to submit a complete copy of your 2018 tax return with all the schedules.
You may think you submitted the return, but look again, since maybe you only submitted the first or second page and left out any supporting schedules for instance the Earned Income Credit for Qualifying Child, etc.
Responding to an RFE from the USCIS:
The first step is to read the RFE letter very, very carefully to determine exactly what kind of evidence or document is being requested. Some RFE's are more complex than the others and it is difficult to determine exactly what the officer is requesting. For more complicated RFE letters, you may want to retain an immigration attorney to assist you. Once you have determined what the letter is requesting, be sure to provide the exact document(s) requested. For instance, an officer may request a “long form” of a Birth Certificate. If you respond that you do not have one, your case will likely be denied. The appropriate action to take is to request one from the departmental authority in your country of birth.
How much time do I have to respond to an RFE?
Depending on the type of case, you may have from 33 days to 87 days to respond so that the USCIS receives your response before the expiration date. The RFE request will state exactly how many days you have to respond. If you fail to respond or filed after the deadline, your case will likely be denied. To be on the safe side, you should always send your response by Express or Priority Mail and get a delivery confirmation. Never send any communications to the USCIS via Certified Mail, which takes much longer and can risk your response being received late. Finally, remember that your response to the USCIS officers request must be RECEIVED by the USCIS ON or BEFORE the deadline. Responses received even one day late result in complete case denials.
After I respond what happens next?
Depending upon the case, it could take up to 60 days or more. You can check the online status to see if it is stating that your RFE response has been received, or call the USCIS 800# to ask if the computer show the USCIS received it. For adjustment case (I-485) requests, the officer may wait to receive your response before continuing processing of your Work Authorization application which will cause delays in its issuance. To avoid this, send your response as soon as possible and do not wait until you get near the deadline in the letter.
We can assist you in properly responding to a USCIS RFE, give us a call at 954-682-7509.
Question: I want to get some information about the case my dad filed for me. He is a resident and filed for me once he got his green card in 2014. By that time I was 22 years old so I had to wait for a few years. Now the immigration website says the case was approved a few months ago, but my dad never got the notice and he still lives in the same place. My question is whether I need to get the approval or not. I know its almost time to immigrate so we want to know what we should do now? Thanks in advance for your advice.
Answer: Good question. You dad needs to call the USCIS at: 1 (800) 375-5283, give them the case number and tell them that the online system says the case was approved and he never received the notice. The USCIS may then send out a duplicate notice. However, since your case will begin consular processing very soon, you may not even need the actual approval notice. Have daddy also call the National Visa Center (NVC) and give them the case number and confirm that the USCIS has sent them your file. Once they have your file, you no longer need the approval notice itself (although it is always nice to have). Have him confirm his mailing and email address so that the NVC can contact him to begin consular processing when the time comes. NVC telephone: (603) 334-0700. 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight EST. I hope this is helpful to you. Let me know if you want me to take care of your consular processing.
Question: I want to find out about my son getting his citizenship. He got his green card along with me 4 years ago when I married his stepdad. I can file for naturalization early since my husband is a us citizen since we married. It has a part on the application about listing all my kids and I want to know if my son will get his citizenship along with me since I am applying now while he is still 17?
Answer: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CSPA) allows U.S. Resident children who are under age 18 to automatically obtain U.S. Citizenship when a biological parent Naturalizes. However, it’s important to know that qualifying children must be under age 18 at the time their parent actually naturalizes (takes the Oath), not the date the parent files for Naturalization. So, the fact that he is 17 now will not guarantee that he will actually obtain automatic citizenship unless you have both your naturalization interview and swearing in before he turns 18. If you go to your naturalization interview while your son is still age 17 and all goes well, make sure and let the officer know the date that he will be turning age 18 and ask if the officer can expedite scheduling of your Naturalization Swearing In ceremony. In some cases, they will do that and it never hurts to ask!
This means filing each case properly and enclosing form G-1145 with each application separately, (by placing one form G-1145 on top of each separate form in the package), in order to receive notification by the USCIS once the case is received and being provided with a case number via text or email. For instance, when an applicant is filing for residency, generally the application package will include several separate application forms, usually including form I-485, form I-765 and form I-131, which would necessitate a separately completed form G-1145 being placed on top of each form, so three (3) in total. This is a free service provided by the USCIS and very important to have proof of receipt and the case number for each application filed in case the actual USCIS I-797 Receipts for the filing are lost in the mail or otherwise not received. Having the case numbers allows applicants to call the USCIS 800# and request duplicate receipts by mail once the initial receipts have not been received within 30 days of filing. Receiving the case numbers via text or email also allows applicants to sign up for Email Status updates on their cases through the USCIS My Case Status program. Once registered and the case number(s) entered into the system, the USICS will automatically email the applicant notifications and updates on any actions take to keep applicants informed about their case status.
Such is often the case with difficult immigration issues like those involving children who were “born out of wedlock”, meaning their father was not married to their mother. In these instances, either a U.S. Citizen child is sponsoring a father who was not married to his or her mother, or a father is sponsoring a chiId and was never married to the child’s mother. In either case, proving a father-child relationship can be very challenging, particularly for countries like Jamaica, in which 60% of all children are born outside of marriage by some estimates. Further, in such countries there are generally no formal court ordered custody arrangements or child support documents, support for children is often paid in cash, or expenses such as tuition, clothing/supplies and there are few if any records of a father’s relationship with his children.
When an immigration petition is filed by either the U.S. Citizen child or father and the father was not married to the child’s mother, the USCIS requires extensive documentation to prove that a parental “relationship” existed and continues to exist to prove that a bona fide father-child relationship was established between the father and the child while the child was under 18 years of age. The law requires that the father prove he has demonstrated an active concern for the child’s support, instruction, and general welfare; that the father and child actually lived together or the father held the child out as his own; that the father provided for some or all of the child’s needs, or that in general the father’s behavior evidenced a genuine concern for the child.
Without documentary evidence, the USCIS will generally deny family petitions filed for children or a father, even when the USCIS has no doubt about the biological relationship. The main issue is always, did this biological father show “care and concern” for his child while the child was a minor under age 18. This can be shown by documentation including:
-Cancelled checks or receipts of money given by the father to the child, Western Union/MoneyGram receipts, etc.
-Father’s income tax returns showing the child as a dependent.
-Father’s medical Insurance records listing the child’s medical coverage.
-Father’s insurance policy showing the child as a beneficiary.
-Child’s School records showing petitioner as the child’s father.
-Child’s medical/Vaccination records listing the father’s name.
-Pictures of the father and child together
-Child’s Baptism & Church records showing the father’s relationship with the child;
-If the father and child lived together, documents from each showing their address was the same
-Other similar and relevant documents, including: Letters, telephone bills, airline tickets, email printouts and other communications between the father and child.
-Notarized affidavit from the child’s father and mother regarding the father providing support, caring for the needs of the child and providing for the child’s general welfare other notarized Affidavits of relatives, friends, neighbors, school officials, or other associates stating facts showing that they personally know that there is a bona fide father and child relationship.
It’s important to note, however, that Affidavits alone are generally not enough proof of the relationship without other documents such as proof of child support payments, etc. I like to sit down with client and go over a detailed history of their father-child relationship to assist in determining which type of documents my client may be able to obtain which will best suit their case. In many cases where a father is in the U.S. seeking to sponsor a child abroad and support has been paid through Western Union or other money transfers, I advise clients to order a ten year transaction history (if available) in order to show support payments to the child or his or her mother. That, coupled with several other types of documents, photos and well written Affidavits will often suffice to win a case. The most critical aspect of every immigration issue is fully understanding what the exact requirements before filing the case! That saves a lot of money, time and heartache.