Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: January 7,  2019
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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2019 
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
Question: I want to get my social security number so that I can come and work in the united states. I filled out the application online and paid the fees but I did not receive it yet. I am wondering if I should call the social security department? Once I get the card does that mean I can come and work there?
Answer: There are no fees to apply for a Social Security number and any website or organization which charges you for the service is a scam! First, only certain foreign individuals are eligible for Social Security numbers, these include most immigrants with work authorization, some students as part of their work programs and certain work and exchange visa holders. Obtaining a Social Security number does not in itself authorize a foreign individual to work, rather it is required in addition to another document which specifically authorizes the individual to work, for instance a work authorization (Employment Authorization Document-EAD) card, or H, E, L or other work visa. In fact, for non residents and citizens the Social Security card itself contains the advisory "VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION." Therefore, if you want to work in the U.S., you need to first start with determining if you might qualify for a work visa, for instance and H-1B for professionals with a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree or higher and if so find an employer in the U.S. to sponsor you. There is no way for a foreign individual abroad to simply apply for a work visa on their own without being sponsored by a U.S. company. If you have any questions or want to know more about work visas, give me a call at: 954-382-5378. have this one chance to prove the case. If you only send in a few documents, the case will likely be denied. I hope this is helpful to you.
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...

  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter
Immigration How To:
How Do I  Know If I Should Renew My Green Card Or File For Citizenship?
Immigration And the Government Shutdown, 
How Does It Affect You?
With Trump’s Government shutdown going on now into the second week, it’s important to know which agency services are being reduced or shutdown and how this can impact immigration services.

 There are nine government agencies and departments which are affected by the government shutdown, requiring some 800,000 federal workers and employees to work without pay: Department of the Treasury, Department of Agriculture, Homeland Security Department, Department of the Interior, Department of State, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce and Department of Justice.
According to news reports, both the FBI and State of New Jersey are investigating the Trump organization for employing workers in the U.S. illegally at his New Jersey Golf Course. Similarly, various media organizations are reporting that Trump also employs foreign models who are not authorized to work in the U.S. at his modelling agency, Trump Model Management. According to the Washington Post, Federal and state investigators are actively investigating employment practices at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where Trump management allegedly obtained fake green cards and Social Security cards for employees. 
Trump Businesses Investigated For Employing Illegal Workers
Tips On Renewing or Replacing Your Green Card

U.S. Permanent Residents receive a 10-year Green Card, which should be renewed before expiration. The renewal request should be filed with the USCIS within 6 months of expiration. However, contrary to popular belief, the expiration of your Green Card does not mean that you are no longer a Permanent Resident, it just means that, once the card expires, you will no longer have documentary evidence that you are a U.S. Resident. 

Those applying for Naturalization must either have an unexpired Green Card, or receipt showing that a renewal application has been filed.
Yet even while agencies are shutdown, essential services will continue, for instance the U.S. Postal Service will continue to deliver mail, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents will still work, and air travel would continue, Customs and Border Patrol will work as usual, its just that they won't get paid until the shutdown is lifted, crazy, but true.

Turning to immigration, the USCIS agency is largely supported by filing fees and not affected by the shutdown, so USCIS regional and field offices will remain open and continue to operate as normal and immigrants must still attend interviews and appointments as scheduled. 

Similarly, the State Department’s operations are funded by filing fees and are likely to remain open for the near future, meaning that consular offices abroad will continue to accept applications and issue visas. Likewise, the National Visa Center, National Passport Information Center, and Kentucky Consular Center will still remain open and accept telephone calls and inquiries from the public. However as the shutdown continues, consular and other services could be reduced or limited and if funding resources become too low through an extended shutdown, consular services abroad could be suspended and priority given only to diplomatic and emergency American services. The State Department released official guidance recently saying: “Consular operations domestically and abroad will remain operational as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations. However, if a passport agency is located in a government building affected by a lapse in appropriations, the facility may become unsupported. The continuance of consular operations in such instances will be treated on a case-by-case basis by the Office of the Under Secretary for Management.”

Immigration Courts will continue to operate for detained immigrants and cases will be rescheduled for those who are not in custody. Similarly, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will continue unaffected and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) will remain in operations but delays are expected at some airports and ports of entry.

USCIS Shutdown Advisory
State Department Shutdown advisory
CBS News
According to news reports, both the FBI and State of New Jersey are investigating the Trump organization for employing workers in the U.S. illegally at his New Jersey Golf Course. Similarly, various media organizations are reporting that Trump also employs foreign models who are not authorized to work in the U.S. at his modelling agency, Trump Model Management.

According to the Washington Post, Federal and state investigators are actively investigating employment practices at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where Trump management allegedly obtained fake green cards and Social Security cards for employees. 

Several such employees recently went public about their illegal employment in early December 2018, giving interviews to the New York Times. One employee, Victoria Morales told reporters that she had worked at Trump’s Bedminster club for five years, making Trump’s bed, ironing his clothes and was even awarded a certificate from the White House Communications Agency for her services. In her interview, Ms. Morales claimed that “People employed by the golf club recruited her and made her the phony documents.” and that managers at the Bedminster club had even given her directions to evade detection by the Secret Service as an undocumented worker. Morales said she could no longer keep silent and wanted to come forward to highlight Trump’s “hypocrisy.”. She said she was hurt by Trump’s constant campaign rhetoric equating Latin American immigrants with violent criminals and offended by abusive comments from a supervisor at work about her intelligence and immigration status, saying, “We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money,” “We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation.” Morales and other such workers are suing the Trump business for workplace abuse. Even the office of special counsel Robert S. Mueller has contacted Morales’ attorney about her claims.

According to Mother Jones news organization, Trump also employs models illegally at his modelling agency, Trump Model Management in violation of U.S. federal law. Several former models claim that the Trump agency specifically directed them to lie to U.S. Customs officials about why they were coming to the U.S. when they entered the U.S. Once inside the U.S., models were employed by the agency without legal authorization. 

These and other troubling allegations against Trump and his organizations have come just as the Democrats are retaking the House of Representatives. And as a result, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and House committees are sure to open investigations of all such claims, including issuance of subpoenas to testify about the details of Trumps illegal practices. Stay tuned…

New York Times
Mother Jones
New York Daily News
Washington Post
Ask yourself, could this happen to you or a loved one? What sound like a crazy sit com show, turned out to be a terrifying ordeal for a Florida man living in the Keys earlier this year. 

What started out as a normal day soon turned out to be a nightmare for Peter Sean Brown, a native born U.S. Citizen. Brown, who had a probation violation after testing positive for a small amount of marijuana turned himself into Monroe County Sheriffs (in the Florida Keys) thinking he would have to do some minor jail time and then get out and resume his life, which included his job at a local restaurant. 
American Born U.S. Citizen In Florida Nearly Deported To Jamaica By ICE!
After he was booked and fingerprinted, his prints were routinely forwarded to the FBI and then to U.S. Customs and Enforcement (ICE). What happened next should be a lesson to us all that authority without safeguards can be a danger to us all. After receiving his fingerprints, ICE filed a detainer request for the sheriff’s office to hold Brown for ICE to pick up to be deported. Brown was then informed that he would be deported to Jamaica, a country he had only visited once on a cruise! He repeatedly told sheriff’s officers that he was a U.S. citizen, born in Philadelphia and had been living in Florida for the past ten years, pleading with them to allow him to provide them his Pennsylvania Birth Certificate. His employer even called and confirmed that he was a U.S. Citizen. However, he claims that officers found his protestations humorous and even mocked him by telling him “mon” you will be fine in a Jamaican accent. According to the Miami Herald, it was later revealed that multiple entries in the sheriff’s own inmate file for Brown showed that he was indeed a U.S. citizen.

At his court hearing on April 26, the Judge gave Brown an additional twelve months’ probation and ordered him released, however, rather than being released, Brown was kept in jail and instead released to ICE the next and taken to the Krome Detention Center in Miami. Brown continued repeated protests that he was a U.S. born citizen and finally, nearly three weeks after his ordeal began, ICE agents relented and allowed a friend of Brown’s to provide them with a copy of his U.S. Birth Certificate.

Following his the terrifying experience, Brown enlisted the ACLU to file a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office for violating his rights. And even as the controversy surrounding local police and courts cooperating with ICE to carry out immigration actions grows, with many state agencies refusing to work with ICE, some 17 counties currently participate in the ICE partnership, including: Pinellas, Lee, Manatee, Bay, Walton, Hernando, Brevard, Polk, Indian River, Charlotte, Monroe, Sarasota, Columbia, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Hillsborough and Pasco. 

Miami Herald
​CBS Local
Question: I got my residency back in 2015 and filed for my 40 year old daughter in Jamaica. She got divorced in 2014 and has a 12 year old daughter. After immigration got my request, they sent me a letter with the case number but I am still waiting for more news. I keep calling the immigration 800# and they keep saying that her case is pending. I am getting so frustrated and I don’t know what to do. They don’t have a visa and cant come and visit me. I’m asking if you can please tell me what I need to do to get her case approved so she and my granddaughter can finally come to the U.S. and live here with me?
Answer: That is a really great question and an issue with is often misunderstood by both sponsors and immigrants. Due to the high demand for Immigrant visas to immigrate to the U.S. and the small number of visas available per year, most relatives sponsored by U.S. Citizens and U.S. Residents must wait in long lines for an Immigrant Visa to be available.

For Adult, single children of U.S. Residents, the waiting line is currently about 7-8 years long. Therefore, once the USCIS issues the I-797 Receipt Notice, it can take some 4-5 years for the case to be approved. Once the case is approved, it sends out an I-797 Approval Notice, then forwards the file to the National Visa Center (NVC) and put on a shelf just waiting the many years for a visa to become available. Once the National Visa Center is notified by the Department of State that a visa will be available soon, the NVC sends the sponsoring U.S. Resident parent a notification for payment of visa processing fees, which begins the final processing phase to prepare the case for the U.S. Consulate which will conduct the Immigrant Visa interview. 

The Visa Bulletin website publishes updated dates of visa availability for all family categories. Using the I-130 Receipt and Approval Notice, there is a date called a “Priority Date” listed (which is the date the case was filed). When the Visa Bulletin reaches that date in the appropriate family category, a visa is available for the adult child. The Immigration Visa category for Adult, Single children of U.S. Residents is called “F2B”. Currently, this category has Immigrant visas available for I-130 petitions filed in March 2012.  

Since you filed your daughter’s case in 2015, she will have a “Priority date” of 2015 and will need to wait at least another several years or so. You can always call our office for free advice about priority dates and the immigrant visa process. You can also check out the Visa Bulletin to see the current Priority Dates by visiting our website at: and clicking on the Immigration Newsletter link.

Visit the Dept of State’s Visa Bulletin

Read more information about family Immigrant Visa waiting lines

Advisory To Green Card Holders At U.S. Border: 
Don’t Relinquish Your Residency Without a Hearing!
Concerns mount among U.S. Residents (Green Card holders) who plan to travel abroad, amid fears that they will not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. and could have their Green Card taken away at the U.S. border. This comes after reports that Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) officers at airports and other borders have been requesting that Residents relinquish their cards and sign official I-407 forms to "voluntarily" abandoning their status as a "lawful permanent resident of the U.S.. Such actions by CBP officers requesting Green Card holders to voluntarily relinquish their U.S. Residency status is 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..
U.S. 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) recently, and who do not have any serious criminal convictions, should not fear travelling abroad and do not risk losing their Green Cards when they try to re-enter the U.S..

Here’s a few quick tips:

Take documents with you which show that you actually live in the U.S. like 
1) Paystubs for past several months 
2) current electric or other utility bill and 
3) copy of a current Lease or property Deed and 
4) current bank statements which show regular purchases and use of the bank account in U.S.. 
However, recent events at airports have caused heightened alarm among many Residents so much so, that even in emergency circumstances like a death in the family, many fear traveling, even for a brief trip abroad.
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..

Never stay outside of the U.S. for more than 179 continuous days at one time, since that 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.  

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, as I have advised in the past, things are likely going to get tighter at the airport inspections and other borders. U.S. Residents who do not now live in the U.S. should start making plans to either begin residing here for more periods of time during each year and start establishing 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’s best to prepare now, rather than face losing your U.S. Residency because you were not better prepared. 

Once a Resident loses his or her Green Card, they cannot ever get the same one back, instead, they must start 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. 
Once the Green Card is within 6 months of expiration or even when it has actually expired, in order to obtain evidence of Residency, a Permanent Resident must file a renewal request. If the card expires or is about to expire while the renewal is still pending you can then make an INFOPASS appointment at your local USCIS Field Office and take the Green Card renewal receipt provided to you by mail from the USCIS in order to obtain a temporary residency stamp in your passport. This temporary residency stamp is used as a temporary Green Card until the renewed Green Card is received. It can be used to work, travel, obtain Driver’s License renewal and any other purpose that an actual Green Card would serve.