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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2016 
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
Question: My daughter got her American citizenship through her father when she was 16 years old and she just turned 21. I’ve have been here in the U.S. for many years on an expired student visa and my daughter wants to file for me. My question is how long the process will it take for me to get a work permit, my social security and driver's license? 
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen
Answer: As the Parent of a U.S. Citizen child age 21 or older, your daughter can sponsor you for your Green Card since you entered the U.S. legally. Once the case is properly filed, it takes about 90 days for your Work Authorization card to be issued and then you can apply for your Social Security card. Once you receive your Social Security card, you can then apply for your Driver’s License. It takes approximately 4-6 months or so for your Residency (Green Card). Let us know if you want us to handle your Residency process.

The New Trump Presidency – What Will It Mean For Immigrants?
In a crushing victory last week, which shocked many, Trump has been elected as the Forty Fifth President of the United States. And while Hillary Clinton won the “popular vote”, the majority of electoral votes went to Trump, taking many experts by surprise, resulting in a large number of Americans experiencing a feeling of disbelief, despair and fear about the possible negative ramifications it may have for our country. 

But those who may have the most to fear are Immigrants, particularly those who are currently benefitting from President Obama’s liberal Immigration policies which generally only favor deportation of criminal Immigrants and ignore most other Immigrants living in the U.S., who have not committed serious crimes. And most importantly, the many Dreamers who currently have the protection of the DACA (“Deferred Action under the Childhood Arrivals”) program from President Obama’s 2012 Executive Actions, which remain in effect.  
Question: I have been a resident for almost 10 years and my card is expiring soon. But I was convicted with pet theft shoplifting, my lawyer said was a misdemeanor in 2010. I’m afraid to apply for my Green Card renewal and I was thinking of trying to get the case expunged so it won’t cause a problem with my immigration case. If I can qualify, then I want to renew the card then get my citizenship right away so I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Thanks
Answer: Under Immigration Regulations, generally, as long as the charge was for "petty theft", which is a misdemeanor in Florida and you have only one conviction, then it should likely not have a negative effect on Green Card renewal or Citizenship (since the conviction was more than 5 years ago). There is a special “petty theft” exception in immigration law. However, any time a foreign national is convicted of a crime, due to potential immigration consequences, it is always a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney to be safe. It is also important to know that when an individual is convicted of a crime, even if the case was later expunged, the criminal conviction must still be listed on all immigration applications, since having a criminal record expunged does not apply to immigration. The USCIS requires that applicants provide certified arrest reports and court dispositions when applying for immigration benefits. Having a case expunged makes it much more difficult to obtain. Many immigration cases are denied each year, simply because an individual had his or her immigration case expunged, thinking that it would not have to be reported to Immigration, only to find out later that the conviction must be revealed and documented. 
Along with his promise to build a “great” wall across the U.S./Mexico border, which most believe will never happen, Trump has also promised his supporters to deport millions of Immigrants once he takes office, not only criminals, but also including those who entered the U.S. legally but are currently out of legal status and the so called “undocumented”, who entered the U.S. illegally. Trump has threatened to “immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties” referring to Obama’s 2012 and 2014 Executive Actions on immigration, DACA and DAPA programs. And since DACA and DAPA are Presidential programs which do not require Congressional action, Trump does have the power to cancel them immediately.

The 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program remains in effect for kids brought to the U.S. before June 2007 prior to their 16th birthday, providing DACA status and work authorization in three year renewable periods. The 2014 expanded DACA would allow kids who were brought to the U.S. by January 2010 prior to age 16 to obtain the same status and DAPA for Parents of Americans and Residents to have DAPA status and work authorization, however the courts have delayed implementation and the programs remain in limbo. The Trump victory means certain termination of these Executive measures, dashing the hopes and dreams of millions of Immigrants in the U.S., hoping to come out of the shadows and live the American Dream.

So the question is, before Trump officially becomes President on January 20, 2017, what measures can Immigrants take to prepare for possible negative changes in Immigration policies? At this point, no one can say for sure and we can only hope that once Trump takes office, and discovers the awesome responsibilities of the position, he will perhaps temper his extreme positions on Immigration and take a more practical approach which does not include the deportation of millions of Immigrants! But as a safeguard, Immigrants who are clearly eligible for any current Immigration program or status should apply as soon as possible, in hopes that a Trump “cancellation” of any existing program will only affect future applications and not those who currently hold the “status” or are awaiting approval. This is particularly true of DACA eligible Immigrants who may be eligible to apply for first time benefits or renewals now. Those who are eligible to apply for residency through a real marriage (for love, not for immigration purposes) or through a U.S. Citizen child and those eligible for waivers under Obama’s current waiver program may want to apply sooner, rather than later. Immigrants should, however, avoid applying for benefits that they clearly do not qualify for, like those who apply for asylum just because they can receive work authorization after applying even though they clearly don’t have a strong case for asylum, since swift deportation upon denial may become a reality soon. 

But even with so much “unknown” about Trumps future Immigration policies until he takes office in January, one thing is almost certain, that even under an anti-immigrant Presidential Administration, there will not be a general round-up and mass deportation of Immigrants, no matter what the candidate Trump told his supporters in order to get elected. In reality, there will likely be cancellation of many of President Obama’s current “humanitarian” policies like DACA and more aggressive enforcement of existing deportation policies, but for most “non-criminal” Immigrants, the government won’t be searching them out to put them in detention and removal. So don’t stay awake at night worrying about a “knock on the door” from Immigration enforcement! In general, only Immigrants who are already in the deportation process or those who are later detained for some other reason will face harsh penalties. Immigrants should just keep living their lives and believing that the American Dream still exits for us all…no matter who occupies the Oval Office…stay tuned…
The State Department’s Visa Bulletin 
Released For December 2016
The Visa Bulletin released by the State Department each month details the current waiting times for Immigrant Visas in Family and Employment Immigrant Petition cases.

You can view the current Visa Bulletin  by clicking on the link below:

December Visa Bulletin
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use
Visit USCIS Facebook Page
Yes, even the USCIS has a Facebook page. You can visit the USCIS Facebook page by clicking on the link below:

USCIS Facebook Page
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know What To Do At My Naturalization Swearing-In Ceremony?
Understanding What Happens At Your Naturalization Ceremony
 And Once You Become a U.S. Citizen
Once your Application for Naturalization is approved, the USCIS puts your case in the queue to be scheduled for your Oath of Allegiance which takes place at your naturalization ceremony. This taking of your Oath of Allegiance complete the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
Understanding the types of Oath Ceremonies:

There are two kinds of Oath of Allegiance ceremonies, one, is a judicial ceremony, where the court administers the Oath of Allegiance for Residents who have requested a name change and the regular administrative ceremony, during which the USCIS administers the Oath of Allegiance.

So what’s going to happen at your naturalization ceremony?

1. Receive Your Naturalization Ceremony Notice to Take the Oath of Allegiance

While some Immigrants who request it may be able to participate in a naturalization ceremony on the same day as their naturalization interview, many Residents must wait for the USCIS mail them a notice with the date, time, and location of their scheduled naturalization ceremony, called a Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony (Form – N-445). Those who cannot attend the scheduled naturalization ceremony must return the notice to their local USCIS office, along with a letter requesting a new date and explaining why they are not able to attend the scheduled naturalization ceremony. Residents who fail to show up for their naturalization ceremony without having requested a rescheduling may receive a denial of their naturalization case.

2. Complete Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony before checking in at the Ceremony
Residents should complete Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony before arriving at the ceremony, prior to check in with USCIS. During check-in, a USCIS officer will review your responses to the questionnaire.

3. Surrender of your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) 

Residents who are becoming U.S. Citizens must surrender their Permanent Resident Cards to the USCIS at the time they check- in for the naturalization ceremony. Those who have lost their cards can receive a waiver. 

4. Taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States

A Resident is not a U.S. citizen until he/she takes the Oath of Allegiance to the United States during the naturalization ceremony. After the Oath, new U.S Citizens receive their Certificate of Naturalization.

5. Notes about the Certificate of Naturalization

New U.S Citizens should carefully review the Certificate of Naturalization for accuracy while still at the ceremony. Any inaccuracies must be brought to the attention of the USCIS before leaving the ceremony. Unless or until you apply for your U.S. Passport, your Certificate of Naturalization is your official proof of your U.S. Citizenship. Those who lose their Certificate of Naturalization must request a replacement by filing Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document and paying the $345 USCIS filing fee. The waiting time for a replacement can be lengthy.
downloading the form. 

6. Time to apply for Your U.S. Passport

Once you receive your Certificate of Naturalization, you can immediately apply for a U.S. passport. You will receive an application for a U.S. passport at your naturalization ceremony, called the “U.S. Citizenship Welcome Packet” or you can go online to the U.S. Passport office  

7. Time to Register to Vote!

Now that you are a U.S. Citizen, it is your right and privilege to vote. You can register to vote at certain locations in your community, which may include post offices, motor vehicle offices, county boards of election, and offices of your state Secretary of State. You can read more about registering to vote by reading the government publication: “A Voter’s Guide to Federal Elections."

8. Final Step: Update your Social Security Record

After you become a U.S. Citizen, you will need to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) to update your Social Security record. You can find your local Social Security office by calling 1-800-772-1213 or by visiting: You can go to your local SSA office about ten days after your ceremony to give time for the SSA to be able to access your new status in the USCIS records. Be sure to take your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport with you. Good luck!