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Question: I have a question about my sister sponsoring me. I came to the U.S. in 2012 with a student visa but after I graduated, I got a job with a work permit and then it expired and I stayed and kept working. I never wanted to do anything fake, so I never got married to get my papers like everyone was telling me to do. My sister filed for me in 2015 and I know that I still have some time to go in the immigration line, but I am wondering if my mom who has her green card can file for me and will it be quicker and will I be able to get my legal status again?
New Federal Court Ruling:
A Federal court in New York issued a ruling last Friday November 4th, ordering the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to its status pre-Trump state, prior to the administration’s termination of the program in September of 2017. The court gave the USCIS three calendar days to not only begin accepting new DACA applications, but to further issue approvals for the full two years and to resume approving DACA advance parole (travel permits) as well.
Judge Orders USCIS To Begin Accepting New DACA Applications –
Here’s What You Need To Know!
Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
POSTING DATE: December 7, 2020
Answer: It is important to know that under current immigration regulations, most immigrants who are inside the U.S. without legal status, or with expired status are not eligible to obtain legal status inside the U.S.. This includes adult children of U.S. Citizens and Residents, and Siblings of U.S. Citizens. There are, however, exceptions for parents, spouses and minor children of U.S. Citizens, who can obtain residency status in the U.S., as long as they entered the U.S. legally, even though they may have later fallen out of legal immigration status. This is why so many desperate immigrants resort to entering into fake marriages in an attempt to obtain legal status, because the law is stacked against them!
Since you are single, your U.S. resident mother can file a family petition for you, and the waiting time for an adult, single child of a resident is about five years (F2B Immigration category). However, unless the law changes, once you get to the front of the immigrant visa line in five years or so, you will not be eligible to get your green card in the U.S.. In the good old days, before April 30, 2001, a policy called 245(i) (which has since expired) allowed any immigrant in the U.S. who was not in legal status to simply pay a $1,000 penalty, but still get his or her residency, it was as simple as that! But those days are long gone. So your mom can file for you to get you a place in the immigrant visa waiting line and just be patient and hopeful that now that the Democrats have won back the Presidency, we can get control of the U.S. Senate in the January runoff election, so we can get a comprehensive immigration reform law which would allow you and millions of others to finally obtain legal status. The other option may be Biden issuing some kind of executive order to offer status and a work permit to millions of immigrants while waiting for congress to pass a law which gives them permanent status.
How To Replace A Lost I-94 Card
If your I-94 card is lost, stolen or seriously damaged, you can apply to replace it by filing Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Arrival-Departure Document. You also may file Form I-102 if you wish to receive a replacement I-94 card with corrected information on it — for example, if the immigration officer spelled your name wrong on the initial I-94 card.
The nonrefundable filing fee for Form I-102 is $445. It generally takes about 90+ days to receive the I-94 replacement card in the mail.
Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) Is Now Digital
USCIS has expanded its digital Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Immigration Records System called (FIRST). FIRST allows users to submit and track FOIA requests and receive documents digitally. The first phase, which was implemented in June, allows FOIA requesters to create a USCIS online account and submit requests for their own records.
Requesters may be able to receive their documents digitally, rather than through the mail on a CD Rom (which is the current method of delivery).
New USCIS Policy Makes It Easier For Agency To
Strip Green Card Holders Of Their U.S. Residency
A new policy released by the USCIS on November 18, 2020, encourages officers to more fully scrutinize applications for Naturalization in order to determine whether a U.S. resident applicant has “abandoned” his or her residency status by remaining outside the U.S. for long periods of time or even short periods, when circumstances lead the officer to believe that the resident intended to abandon U.S. residency and reside abroad.
In his order, federal judge Nicholas Garaufis directed the Department of Homeland Security “…to post a public notice, within 3 calendar days of this Order, to be displayed prominently on its website and on the websites of all other relevant agencies, that it is accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under DACA, renewal requests, and advance parole requests, based on the terms of the DACA program prior to September 5, 2017,”.
However, as of this writing, Monday, December 7, 2020, the USCIS has not posted that required notice and continues to defy the order by posting a notice with says it will not accept new DACA applications. We will keep checking back throughout the week to see if the agency will comply with the judge’s order. In any event, once he takes office, President Biden will restart DACA according to the full benefits of the original 2012 program.
Background of DACA:
For background, the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted by President Obama in 2012, was meant to shield hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. at a young age by their parents, from deportation. To qualify, young immigrants were required to:
1) be between ages 15 and 30 as of June 15, 2012;
2) have come to the US before age 16,
3) have been in the U.S. continuously for at least 5 years before June 15, 2012, meaning by at least June 15, 2007 or before
4) be in the U.S. as of June 15, 2012,
5) be currently be in school (any middle, high school, GED, college or tech school), or have graduated from high school, have GED or be honorably discharged and
6) have not have been convicted of a Felony offense, major or multiple Misdemeanors
Those who qualified under the program received two year DACA status, a Work Authorization card, a Social Security Card, eligibility to apply for a Driver’s License, and the right to attend college and serve in the military.
Trump Termination of DACA and resulting Federal Court Litigation:
Unfortunately, shortly after taking office in 2017, Trump cancelled the DACA program, which then lead to numerous lawsuits against the administration. These lawsuits continue and have been winding their way through the various federal courts since 2017. One such lawsuit was decided by the Supreme Court this past June, resulting in a decision against the Trump administration, preventing it from abruptly cancelling the DACA program. The court ruled that the USCIS should resume accepting new DACA applications for Dreamers who qualify under the 2012 Obama program, but did give the agency the option of properly terminating the program at a later date in the future. The Trump administration then ignored the Supreme Court ruling and refused to resume the full DACA program, which lead to further federal lawsuits and similar rulings against the administration. However, rather than resume the DACA program and accept new applications as ordered, the acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf issued a memo in July to refuse to accept any new DACA applications, to even further restrict DACA to only one year (instead of two years) and to refuse acceptance of any applications from DACA holders for a travel permit, except in very limited circumstances.
After a hearing on the case last month, judge Garaufis issued a ruling on November 14th invalidating Wolf's July memo, concluding that the acting Homeland Security secretary was not properly appointed and did not have the legal authority to make these changes. The recent hearing this past Friday resulted from that order.
What Happens Now:
For now, Dreamers must wait until the USCIS posts a notice that it will begin accepting new DACA applications, or until Biden restarts the program (hopefully in January). Once that happens, young immigrants who meet the (above) DACA requirements can begin to apply for DACA status and work authorization. Applicants should complete forms: I-821D, I-765 and I-765W and be very careful to provide extensive documentation to prove eligibility, including:
-Two (2) Passport photos for Work Permit with name printed on back
-Copy of Birth Certificate (with English translations if in a foreign language) or Passport showing date of birth
-Copy of I-94 Card or Passport Stamp (if entered legally)
-Copy of Educational Documentation
a. Copy of Diploma(s) or GED certificate or Receipt for Current enrollment in GED prep
b. Copy of School Transcripts for all years attending school in the U.S. (in date order)
-Criminal Documents (if you have EVER been arrested or detained) Certified copies of the following for any and all instances in which you were arrested for any reason:
a. Police Reports
b. Court Dispositions
- Copies of Additional Documentation to prove that you have resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, have remained physically here since that time and were in the U.S. on June 15, 2012. Documents should cover the entire period from 2007 to present to prove that you have remained inside the U.S. and typically include:
In date order:
Copy of school transcripts
Copy of school report cards/Awards/Certificates
Copy of Marriage Certificate(s) for all marriages in the U.S.
Copy of Divorce Certificate(s) for all divorces in the U.S.
Copy of Driver’s License(s)
Copy of Paystubs/Work Records showing dates of employment (not just letter from employer)
Copy of Bank Statements showing activity
Copy of Tax Returns (if you have a SS or ITIN#)
Copy of Lease & Rental Payments
Copy of Cell Phone Bills
Copy of Utility Bills
Copy of Gym or other memberships
Copy of credit or installment payments (if you have a SS or ITIN#)
Copy of automobile insurance
Copy of automobile registration & title
Copy of medical/dental/hospital records
Copy of health insurance
Copy of vaccination records
Copy of Receipts for items purchased
Copy of Church & Club Memberships
Copy of BJ’s, Costco & other similar Cards
Any other document of any kind to prove that you have been living inside the U.S.!!!!!
Affidavits from Family, Co-workers, Friends, Pastors/Ministers/Priest, important members of the community such as police, mayor, School Principle, etc. (we will provide a sample). Note that Affidavits from family members are not given much weight, so try to provide those from non-family members whenever possible.
Our Firm can assist DACA applicants in submitting new and renewal applications.
For more information, give us a call at: 954-382-5378.
Under the new policy officers may not only determine that a residency is ineligible for naturalization due to “abandonment”, but may even further refer the applicant’s case for possible termination of residency status and deportation. This is especially problematic going forward, when thousands of residents who were on short vacations abroad were stranded outside the U.S. and unable to re-enter within six months due to pandemic shutdowns.
Residents who remain outside the U.S. for long periods of time always risk endangering both residency status and the ability to apply for future naturalization. However, under the new guidance, USCIS officers adjudicating naturalization applications are now encouraged to second guess border officials (Customs and Border Protection CBP) who originally made a determination at the time the resident sought re-entry into the U.S., as to whether or not the resident had abandoned his or her residency in the U.S.. For instance, when a resident has remained outside the U.S. for six months or more and seeks to re-enter the U.S., a CBP officer may determine that the resident has abandoned residency status and seek to obtain further information about the residents reason for travel, activities abroad and whether or not the resident continues to maintain a home or apt in the U.S., utilities, a job, car, auto insurance and other evidence of maintaining residency. In many cases officers are satisfied with explanations given by residents and provide entry without further inquiries. Going forward officers may make further inquiries and require that residents provide documentary evidence that they maintained their residence in the U.S. while abroad, not only to remain eligible for U.S. citizenship, but to retain residency status and avoid removal from the U.S. as well!
The Biden administration will likely revise the new guidance and revert to the previous policy, however until that happens, naturalization applicants who have remained outside the U.S. for extended periods of time should be prepared to provide detailed explanations of all trips abroad and provide documentary evidence of maintaining U.S. residency.
For the Technically Challenged, You Can Still File
Your Green Card Renewal By Mail, Here’s How!
Many immigrants want to file to extend or replace their green card, but don’t want to do it online. And although the online option is meant to be more efficient, it can be a little technically challenging for some. So for Residents who don’t feel comfortable with filing online, the option still exists to file a paper application.
But how do you find the form and where do you send it? It seems the USCIS may be trying to discourage paper filing, by hiding the fillable Form I-90, so here’s how to find it:
Go online to www.uscis.gov and click on the forms. Go to the I-90 form page and scroll all the way down to “Filing Options”, then choose “File by paper”, which brings you to the Form I-90. Fully complete the form and send it in along with two passport photos and the USCIS filing fee of $540. If using U.S. Postal Service (USPS), send to: USCIS, P.O. Box 21262, Phoenix, AZ 85036. If sending via FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries, send to: USCIS, Attention: I-90, 1820 E. Skyharbor, Circle S, Floor 1, Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ 85034. Don’t forget to include form G-1145 on top so you will get an email or text confirmation when the USCIS receives your case.
Question: I arrived her a few weeks ago and the guy at immigration in the airport only gave me a month to stay. He kept telling me he knew I was here to work illegally but he was only going to give me a month and if I stayed past that I would be deported. My girlfriend who I have been dating for 2 years is a citizen and now we only have two more weeks to be together. We was planning to get married next year in April in Jamaica. But this thing messed us all up and we are afraid now I won’t be able to come and visit and we don’t want to be separated any more so we decided on getting married now. But we are worried that I could get deported because the guy at the airport said so. Can you please tell me if I will get into immigration trouble if we get married and file my papers or can we do it legally even though he only gave me one month. Thanks.
Answer: Yes, even though the CBP officer gave you one month, you can still get married and legally stay in the U.S. and adjust your status. You will not get into any trouble. I would recommend that you wait at least 30 more days to get married and file your residency case, so that the immigration officer who adjudicates your case does not assume that you entered the U.S. with the intent to stay here. Once you get married and your residency case is filed you can legally stay and live in the U.S. during your entire immigration process. There is no requirement for you to leave. The first step is to get married, then we will prepare and file your residency package. It takes about three weeks to get the USCIS residency receipts, then another six months for your work and travel permit and several more months for your residency interview and green card.
Question: I am a citizen. My husband came here over 10 years ago with his parents for a visit and they ended up staying. I met him in college and we got married over a year ago. We didn’t file for his green card yet due to my tax situation. I was in real estate and owed a lot of taxes to the IRS and didn’t file my returns for 2018 or 2019. I made some good money this year and put aside some to pay for the taxes I owe, but I wont be able to pay it all off for a few years. I have an accountant finishing up my taxes now. We are wondering if I have to wait until I pay all the taxes I owe from 2018 & 2019 before I can file my husbands papers? If not, can we file now and how do I prove that I qualify for the affidavit of support?
Answer: In Residency cases, Immigration regulations require that a Sponsor (and if applicable Joint Sponsor) provide copies of the most current IRS Tax Returns proving that all required tax returns have been filed. However, there is no requirement that all taxes owed have been paid. This is in contrast to Naturalization cases, where Residents are required to show that they not only filed all required tax returns, but that either all outstanding taxes have been paid or an agreement for repayment has been reached with the IRS. So, in your case, you can still sponsor your husband once your tax returns have been filed, even though you still owe money to the IRS. However, since you are self-employed you will likely not qualify to meet the minimum income requirements for the affidavit of support and you will need a joint sponsor who makes W-2 income. In that case, as the sponsor you still have to file the affidavit of support and provide copies of your 2019 tax return and the joint sponsor will need to do the same, as well as provide copies of his or her past 90 days paystubs and an employer letter.
An I-94 is a small slip of paper which was, until recently issued to all international visitors and visa holders entering the U.S.. Officially called the Arrival/Departure card, the I-94 contained the date of entry into the U.S. as well as the date by which the individual must depart from the U.S.. Often, individuals do not understand how important this little card is until it is too late.
In order to change immigration status inside the U.S. to any other immigrant or non-immigrant visa status, immigration regulations require that a copy of the I-94 be included with the application to establish eligibility. Foreign nationals must prove that they entered the U.S. legally and were inspected by an immigration officer in order to qualify to file for immigration status in the U.S.. Those who did not enter the U.S. legally are generally not entitled to obtain any new immigration status in the U.S., even when married to a U.S. citizen unless a Waiver is obtained.
Under the new electronic I-94 system implemented in 2013, international visitors are no longer issued paper I-94 cards upon entry into the U.S.. Instead, individuals are provided with instructions on accessing their I-94 records online and printing the I-94 card out from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. You can visit the CBP site to print out your paper I-94 cards: