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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2017 
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: I applied for my wife’s status and sent immigration our marriage certificate and my past divorce certificate that I took as a picture on my phone. It looks clear to me. I just got a notice that says I have to send in legible copies of all the documents, but doesn’t specifically say which ones they don’t like. I don’t have a copy machine and work full time and can’t get time off easily. How can I find out which papers I need to resend to them?
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

Answer: Great question, easy answer, make a very clear photocopy of every single document you originally included in your application and send back to the USCIS along with a copy of the Request For Evidence on the top. Don’t ever send a copy of documents you took as a picture or image on your phone, since they do not qualify under USCIS requirements. Make a copy of the entire package for yourself for your records and send to the USCIS using U.S. Priority or Express Mail as soon as possible, but no later than 10 days before the deadline, just to be safe. Good luck!
Driving Without A License Is Now A Deportable Crime – Time To Consider Getting A Legal Driver’s Licenses While You Still Can!
Under Trumps new draconian enforcement policies, any crime may subject an Immigrant to deportation. One of the most common violations of the law by many Immigrants, is driving without a valid license. This is particularly true in Florida, a state which does not issue licenses to anyone who is not in legal immigration status. However, many states do, and this may be a very good time for you to make it a priority to get a valid Driver’s License.

States which have passed laws to provide Driver’s Licenses to Immigrants regardless of Immigration status defy a Federal Law called “Real ID”, which prohibits the issuance of Driver’s Licenses to anyone who is not in legal immigration status. Under Obama Presidency, states were encouraged to refuse to implement “Real ID” and to instead issue Driver’s Licenses to Immigrants.
Overview of Trump’s New Immigration Enforcement Policies 
Just when you think things can’t possibly get worse - sometimes they do. So it goes with Trump and his administration’s frenzy of Executive Orders against Immigrants, Immigration “bans”, ICE raids, arrest of hundreds of Immigrants and now, radical Immigration enforcement policies which target not just criminals, but nearly every Immigrant inside the U.S. who is not currently in legal immigration status, with a few exceptions. 

In the wake of the recent government raids in Immigrant communities and the backlash against authorities, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released two Immigration policy Memorandums, “Implementing the President’s Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvement Policies,” (to prevent illegal entry into the U.S.) and “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest,” (to enforce Immigration laws within the U.S.. 
Immigration How To:
How Do I Take Pictures At Home To Submit With My Immigration Application
Photograph Requirements For Residency Applications
More details about having Passport type photos taken:

Type and Number
Photos must be original printed photos (on special photo paper) taken within the past six months. Scanned, copied, and reprinted photos are not acceptable. They must be in full color and printed in double (two identical shots). You will need to submit both with your I-485 application.

Photos must be exactly 2-inch by 2-inch squares. The head, from the crown to the chin, must fill 1 to 1 3/8 inches of the height of the photo. Eye height from the bottom of the photo must be between 1 1/8 and 1 3/8 inches.

Backgrounds must be completely bare; no patterns, images, or textures. The color should range from bright white to slightly off-white (egg shell). Colored backgrounds are not acceptable.

Subject Appearance
The subject in the photo should be wearing casual clothing (no dress wear) and have his or her head completely bare--no hats, sunglasses, large earrings that overlap the face, scarves, or head bands. If you regularly wear prescription glasses or a hearing aid, wear them in the photo. The only exception to the head gear rule is concerning headdresses of a religious nature, granted they do not cover the face. The full face must be showing, with no exceptions. The subject must look directly at the camera, no side shots or angled views. You can either smile or maintain a neutral face; there are no regulations regarding smiling.

Back of Photo
On the back of each photo you must write your full name and your alien registration number (A-number) using either a pencil or felt pen that does not bleed through the photo.

Good luck!

U.S. Residents Who Qualify - File For Naturalization Now!
As more and more Residents apply for Naturalization,
 processing times continue to increase
With new Trump immigration policies implemented almost daily, Immigrants should protect themselves to the safest extent possible. For Residents, that means Naturalizing! U.S. Citizenship provides the ultimate protection of your Immigrant status and in some cases, for your loved ones as well. And as more and more Residents apply for naturalization, the processing time gets longer and longer. At present, it can take 8 months or more to naturalize and that time could increase up to a year or more very soon!
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use
So don't wait until it takes a year or more to Naturalize, or until eligibility requirements are tightened, apply now.  The USCIS has free online Naturalization tools available for U.S. Residents who are applying for U.S. Citizenship. 

These tools include an online Citizenship Resource Center, Civics and Citizenship Toolkit for information on citizenship and naturalization topics, study guides and tests and Literacy resources, to assist Residents in learning or improving written English writing skills.
These measures have sent shock waves throughout the country, as Immigrant’s rights advocates scramble to make sense of the expansive nature of the dictates and represent a radical departure from President Obama’s guidelines, which mainly gave priority to deporting those convicted of serious criminal offenses. However, under Trump’s new directives, it appears that nearly all Immigrants who are violation of any criminal or Immigration rule would be subject to deportation if encountered by authorities.

Here’s a few highlights of the provisions:

The good news: 
Dreamers under DACA, expanded DACA & Parents of U.S. Citizens and Residents (DAPA) remain protected: The DHS memo specifically reinforces protections for Immigrants under the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program (2012 & 2014 Obama Executive Actions), as well as for parents of U.S. Citizens and Residents (DAPA) by protecting them from deportation, even though President Obama’s 2014 expanded DACA and new DAPA program were halted by a Federal Court. See Page 2 of “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest”. So even though expanded DACA Dreamers and DAPA parents won’t receive work authorization or any other benefits under the current policy, they won’t be deported either.

The Bad News:
Immigrants targeted for deportation
1) Individuals who are suspected of, charged with or convicted of any criminal offense (even minor ones like driving without a license, shoplifting, etc) and maybe even just being inside the U.S. without legal status, 
2) Those who already have a deportation order, whether they have a criminal record or not and 
3) The most “vague” of all, those who committed fraud or willful misrepresentation “in connection with any official matter before a governmental agency” or “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits” which could be so expansive as to include those who obtained a real or fake social security number or ITIN number to work, or obtained any kind of government benefits. 

However with all of that said, certain Immigrants who are eligible for residency through a relative may be able to avoid removal, depending upon their particular circumstances. And importantly, Immigrants who have overstayed a visa or entered the U.S. illegally, who have no criminal record will not be rounded up and detained, unless they are caught in an ICE raid or otherwise encountered by authorities. Meaning, no one is going to come knocking at your door!

Expansion of Expedited Removal: under policies used by the government for many years, an Immigrant who had been in the U.S. for less than two weeks, caught within 100 miles of the U.S. border would considered to be “in transit” and subject to expedited removal from the U.S. without a hearing. Any other Immigrant was entitled to a hearing before an Immigration judge. However, under Trump’s new policies, the government plans to expand the use of expedited removal, to deport many Immigrants who have been in the country for less than two years, no matter where they are apprehended within the U.S.. Here today, gone tomorrow…very frightening!

Enlistment of Local Police to target Immigrants: Using an existing provision of Immigration law called 287(g), the DHS can train local and state law enforcement officers to act as immigration officers to identify undocumented immigrants in communities and jails and to surrender them to ICE officials for removal. However, the negative impact of using local police to enforce immigration laws in the past, lead the government to stop using the procedure, since it discouraged Immigrants from reporting crime or cooperating in crime investigations due to fear of apprehension by the authorities. Nevertheless, the Trump administration has decided to reinstate the practice to aid in its enforcement measures.

End “Catch and release” & hold parents liable for children traveling alone: Rather than catching and releasing Immigrants who apply for asylum or are suspected of crossing the border illegally, Trump plans to detain Immigrants in facilities in the U.S. or even in Mexico (rather than release them) until a decision is made on their case. With children crossing the border alone, the new policy calls for prosecuting and deporting their parents in the U.S. for enabling their children to illegally enter the U.S..

Read the Enforcement Memos:
​Implementing the President’s Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvement Policies
Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest

Read more about the Trump enforcement policies:
New York Times
Washington Post
The Hill

Find out how the new enforcement policies may affect you 
by calling our office at: (954) 382-5378
However, under the new Trump Administration, he may “crackdown” on States which continue to issue licenses to Immigrants and the practice may be suspended, however those who have the license will be able to retain it. So, instead of putting your liberty and security at risk everyday when you go out on the road without a license, you would be well be advised to safeguard your right to drive legally and avoid the risk of charges for driving without a license and potential Immigration detention under Trump’s strict enforcement policies. 

Since Florida law does not allow Immigrants without legal status to obtain a Driver’s License, Immigrants in our state will need to seek alternative options available in other states.. According to the National Immigration Law Center, as of July 2016, the following states/districts now provide licenses to Immigrants residing in the jurisdiction, regardless of their Immigration status: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Puerto Rico, Utah, Vermont and Washington. 

You can contact each state’s Driver’s License website to find out what documents you will need and visit the National Immigration Law Center site to get a review of each state’s requirements.

Find out Driver’s License Registration Requirements:
National Immigration Law Center

As part of the Residency process, all green card applicants must submit passport-type photos along with their I-485 applications. The requirements for green card photos are original passport type photos on photo paper, not pictures take from a home camera or cell phone printed on paper. Even most home photos printed on photo paper don't qualify for the size and quality required. If you send in photos which don't qualify, .your application will likely be delayed.

This means you should not generally try to take your own photos and instead get Passport type photos  taken professionally, at most Walgreens, CVS, Pak Mail, Mailbox and other such locations.