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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
  Immigration News & Updates              
Immigration How To:
How Do I Make A Request On My Immigration Case?
Questions About Immigration? We have the answers!
We Are Here To Help, Call us now for a FREE consultation (954) 382-5378
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...
Question: I have a question about my daughters case. I am a citizen and filed for her back in 2014. She is 28 and not married. In April I got a notice from the visa processing center and paid the fees and paid for someone to submit all the required documents for her case. In august I got a notice that everything was complete and nothing since then. Ive been waiting for her embassy appointment to be scheduled but have received nothing as of now. Does it usually take this long? 
According to the Pew Research Center, even though newly naturalized citizens are one of the fastest-growing voting groups in the U. S., historically they have lower rates of voting than most native born citizens. For example, in the 2016 election, 54 percent of naturalized citizens voted in the general election, compared with 62 percent of native-born citizens. 

Hopefully 2020 will be different, as many newly naturalized citizens have come to the realization that this election is perhaps the most important of a lifetime, with the outcome to shape the policies and character of the U.S. for decades to come. 
First Time Florida Voters Beware - 
Don’t Let Your 2020 Presidential Election Vote Be Disqualified! 

                  LAW CENTERS

Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
 POSTING DATE: October  12, 2020
Answer: I understand how frustrating it can be after all this time to have the case complete, but be required to wait. Unfortunately, your daughter is subject to Trump’s immigration ban which he imposed on most family immigration categories except spouses and minor children of U.S. Citizens. Since your daughter is not a minor, she will need to wait until either the immigration ban is lifted on December 31st (if Trump is re-elected he may extend it indefinitely) or if Biden is elected, once he is sworn in. Until that time the consulates are holding all completed cases waiting for authorization to proceed in scheduling consular appointments.
What is An E-Request and How Do I Make One?

If you have been reading my posts over the years, I am sure you are tired of having me repeat over and over again how important it is to be informed about your immigration case, including qualifying, understanding the typical process, timing and staying updated on your case status. So assuming you have done all that, what happens when your case remains pending past the posted processing times? 
Tips On Filing A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 
To Request A Copy Of Your Immigration Case

Its always important to keep a copy of your immigration documentation, including your I-94 Arrival/Departure card, original passport that you entered the U.S. on, immigration applications made by you or on your behalf, as well as immigration notices and letters. However many Immigrants who have been living in the U.S. for many years have often moved several times and lost since lost these vital documents. 
Government Plans To Place Tougher Requirements On Immigration Sponsors 
In order to fulfill Trump’s May 2019 Presidential Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens to get tougher on Immigration sponsors, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced plans to get tougher on the requirements for U.S. citizens and U.S. residents who sponsor immigrants by submitting the required Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. 

Under the new proposal, sponsors will be required to provide credit reports and credit scores, certified copies of income tax returns for the last three years, and bank account information to prove that they will maintain the required minimum income. Further, any sponsor who has received public benefits within the last 36 months of submitting a Form I-864 will be required to have a qualifying joint sponsor. 
In 2016, Trump won the State of Florida by only 113,000 votes, and with the State of Florida again an important battleground for the Presidential election this year, every vote counts!

Unfortunately, the Coronavirus has made things more difficult for all voters this year, with many voters fearful of voting in person, opting instead to vote by mail for the first time. Vote by Mail or “Absentee Voting” is the same thing, don’t let Trump confused you, he is the one confused. The Florida Division of Elections reports that some 4.5 million voters have requested  mail-in ballots for the Presidential election this year. And while some voters regularly vote by mail, many do not, making 2020 the first time, which does have its risks, due to ballot disqualification. In fact, more than 35,500 vote-by-mail ballots were disqualified in Florida’s recent August 2020 primary election alone. Some 66 percent of the disqualified absentee ballots were rejected for arriving after the 7 p.m. Election Day deadline and the remaining ballots were disqualified under signature match requirements. So, given the high turnout expected in the Presidential election next month, perhaps 200,000 or more ballots could be disqualified for technical reasons, including forgetting to sign, signing in the wrong place and even signature mismatch.

For this reason, many voters who are not at high risk might want to opt for early voting instead. Most early voting sites in Florida begin early voting next week on October 19th and many in South Florida are open from 7am to 7pm. Voters arriving early on Saturday or Sunday at 7am may find themselves nearly alone. But for those who are in a high-risk category, with voting by mail the only option, here are a few tips to help ensure that your ballot will be counted:

Complete the form front and back correctly using black ink: otherwise it could be disqualified.

Signature: you must complete the information and sign the ballot envelope and yes, that is on the outside of the envelope where everyone can see it. Your signature must also match the signature that you used when you originally signed up to vote. So, if your signature has changed over the years, your ballot will likely be disqualified.

Ballot Envelope: You must use the ballot envelope for your ballot which has a bar code on it. If you mix your envelope up with other ballot envelopes for other family members, all the ballots will be disqualified.

Get your ballot in early, long before the deadline: If mailing, try to mail 7-10 days ahead of time to account for slow Postal Service processing (by October 24th). Better yet, drop your ballot off at an early voting site between Oct. 19 through Nov. 1. There will be special vote by mail drop boxes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. But be careful, you must still use the envelope provided and sign as required.

Track your ballot: Once you send in your ballot you can track it to make sure that it was received and counted (not disqualified). If your ballot is disqualified for some reason, the elections office is required to call or email you to give you the chance to fix the issue. If you track it and see it is not showing as counted, call your local elections office.

Vote in person: If you ordered a vote by mail ballot, but decide to go and vote early to avoid lines, you must take your mail in ballot with you when you go to vote and the poll worker will cancel it so you can vote in person. 

Track your vote by mail ballot 
​Vote By Mail
Early Voting dates and locations by county
There is no specific date when the rule will take effect, but it is expected to be published shortly. 

USCIS Announcement
Trump Administration Toughens H-1B Visa Rules
 Just Ahead Of The November Elections
As long expected, the Trump administration has finally released H-1B regulatory changes which will make it much more difficult for professional foreign workers to obtain work visas in the U.S.. 

The rules will immediately increase the minimum wage levels which U.S. employers must pay foreign workers for both H-1B work visas and green cards and will eventually restrict the types of jobs eligible under the program by narrowing the definition of “specialty occupation.” 
Called: Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States’ as proposed by the DOL and ‘Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program’ proposed by the DHS, both rules aim to reduce the number of H-1B work visas issued to foreign nationals each year in order to preserve jobs for American workers. However, many studies have shown that immigrant workers and immigrant entrepreneurs actually create millions of jobs for U.S. workers each year. 

For background, each year there are some 85,000 H-1B work visas available to foreign nationals with Bachelor’s degrees and above, who are offered a job by a U.S. company in a “specialty occupation”, which generally requires at least a bachelor’s degree in a specific field in order to qualify. 

Since Trump took office in 2017, the denial rate for H-1B visas has more than doubled, with nearly every application receiving a Request For Evidence, requiring extensive documentation to demonstrate eligibility. Increasingly, H-1B denials have been based upon the premise that if a position offered to the foreign worker does not require a specific Bachelor’s degree field, as determined by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, then the occupation does not qualify as a specialty occupation for issuance of an H-1B work visa. The new rules also limit the validity of H-1B visas at third-party worksites to one year for workers employed by staffing companies. Experts believe that multiple lawsuits will be filed to stop the new rules from going into effect, however none have been filed as of the date of this publication, stay tuned…. 
DHS Announcement
DOL Announcement

Question: My brother got his citizenship though his wife in the states and filed to sponsor me in in feb 2006. I was married at the time, then I got divorced about 5 years ago and now I am remarried again with a little 2 year old daughter. I am worried that my husband and daughter wont be able to immigrate with me because my former husband was listed on my application. Can you please help us out with this and let us know what we need to do next? 
Answer: Under Immigration regulations, brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens are in a category called F4, which includes the sibling, his or her spouse and all minor children (under age 21). As a result, any spouse or child the foreign sibling acquired either before or after the U.S. Citizens sibling files the immigration petition, will be automatically included and allowed to immigrate to the U.S.. Therefore, your husband and daughter will be eligible to immigrate with you once an immigration visa is available and your “Priority Date” (the date your brother filed the I-130 for you) is current.. It usually takes 14+ years for an immigrant visa to be available to F4 siblings and their families. Right now there are currently visas available in the F4 immigration category for cases filed in Sept 2006 (except for India, Mexico & Philippines). Since your brother filed for you in February 2006, you still have some months to go. Also, the F4 category does not always progress every month, so it could be up to a year more to wait, but after waiting all these years, you are getting very close! Once the visa is close to being “current”, the National Visa Center (NVC) will contact your brother to begin consular processing. At that time I will notify the NVC that you have remarried and have them add your husband and daughter to your case so you can all immigrate together. I hope this is helpful 
Question: My family members are all in the US and my US citizen mom filed my immigration papers for me about two years ago. Because I am single, I know I only have to wait a few more years, but I was wondering if it would be possible for me to get a social security number and work permit so I could come to the US before that time to start working while I am waiting for the process to be complete. I have been looking on the internet and there are lots of sites that say I can fill out a form and pay fees to get the social security card, but my sister says its not true and I am not allowed to get one until I immigrate there. Can you tell me if I can or not?
Answer: It’s really important to know that 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. In your case, since your mother sponsored you, its best to wait until your priority date becomes current in a few years so you can immigrate here and obtain a legal social security card.

So in these turbulent times, with constant government threats against even legal immigration, it’s more important than ever for immigrants to fully understand their immigration status and have possession of any immigration documentation they may need to help determine whether or not they are eligible to obtain residency through a family member or by other means. In these cases, filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with federal immigration authorities can be very useful to obtain critical information on an individual’s immigration history and even some documents to prove legal entry, when the I-94 card or old passport has been lost over the years.

FOIA requests do not trigger any kind of negative action on an immigrant’s case, but they can often take many months to process. The key to success is to provide full and complete information to enable the agency to locate the file and any related case information pertaining to the applicant. Depending on an immigrant’s particular case, documentation may sometimes be held by various government agencies, including: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of State (DOS), the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), and, for some, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). In these cases, a separate FOIA must be requested from each agency separately.

Before undertaking a FOIA request, it is important to understand that not all documents are available under FOIA, including requests to obtain duplicate approval notices or original documents submitted to the USCIS. Typically, documents which can be obtained are copies of Immigration case filings, applications, including supporting documents and immigration court documents. FOIA’s can also be particularly important when an immigrant has lost a copy of a vital document such as an I-94 which was previously submitted to the USCIS as part of an Immigration application. We can make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on your behalf, just give us a call at: 954-382-5378.

Learn more about filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for Immigration case copies:

Learn more about getting a copy of your immigration court file

Or, the online status says the USCIS sent you a notice, but you never received it after 30 days? Well, a helpful tool which can sometimes provide you with updated information or a duplicate notice is to file an USCIS E-Request. USCIS allows the E-Request to be filed for the following reasons:

-Your case over the normal processing times posted on the USCIS website
-You did not receive a notice, card or document by mail
-You changed your address online as required, but the USCIS is still using your old address 
- A notice or card you received has a typographical error

If your issue falls within one of these categories, you can go online to the USCIS E-Request webpage and place what is referred to as a “Service Request”, by fully completing the online form. Have your receipt handy so you can input the correct information. Once the request is submitted, you will receive a number and estimated completion date to hear from the USCIS regarding your request. This is usually within 15-30 days. Note that E-Requests complete online will not be allowed to be submitted for a case which you believe it pending too long if your case is not over the normal processing times posted on the USCIS website.

After your Service Request has been submitted, you can expect one of the following responses:

1. You will receive the pending notice, approval, document or notice of correction prior to the USCIS estimated completion date;
2. You will receive a response from USCIS stating the case is within normal processing times and they will process the case as their resources allow; or,
3. You will not receive a response at all. In these cases, wait at least 30 calendar days from the date you filed the previous Service Request, then either place an new one, explaining that the previous one has not been answered, or call the USCIS 800#.

If all else fails and you have filed the E-Request, gotten no response after 30 days, called the 800# and still gotten no response within another 30 days, you should probably go the next step and contact a qualified immigration attorney to sort out your immigration issue and get your case moving again.