Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: February 5,  2018
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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2018 
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’m an international student here in Miami and am about to marry my long time American citizen girlfriend and file my immigration papers. We read up on the papers we need to submit and saw something about the immigration medical exam. We looked up about the tests and saw that they do a blood test and ask questions about drug use. I have bad back pain and don’t get relief from steroids or pain medication, so now I have a legal prescription for medical marijuana and get it from the state of florida authorized dispensary. It really helps with the pain and I think it should not be a problem for my immigration but we thought we would check with you first. I hope you can give us some information on this. Thanks.
Answer: Great question. Very important for Immigrants to know. Immigration and Marijuana do not mix! Even legal, prescribed Marijuana is not “legal” for noncitizens. There is no logic here, just the law. Even while medical Marijuana is legal in states such as Florida, it is still illegal on the Federal level. The federal government has taken the approach that it will leave it to the states to enforce drug laws and allow states to legalize it for state purposes. But it’s still illegal for anyone to possess it or carry it across state lines or on airline travel. But for Immigrants, since their legal status in the U.S. is governed by federal law, the use or possession of even legal Marijuana is illegal, even in a state where Marijuana is legal. Sounds ridiculous! Only natural born and Naturalized U.S. Citizens can legally consume “legal” Marijuana. The use of Marijuana by an Immigrant during the Immigration process can prevent him or her from obtaining Residency (a Green Card) and even result in Removal from the U.S.. So it would be wise to completely abstain from marijuana use for a significant period of time before having your required immigration medical exam and blood tests.  

One you have your Green Card and are still in a happy marriage in 3 years, you can apply for early Naturalization and once you are a Naturalized U.S. Citizen, you are eligible to consume legal Marijuana again. I hope this is helpful to you.
In what has apparently become a common occurrence in Florida, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (ICE) agents were caught on camera recently during a Greyhound bus raid in Fort Lauderdale, demanding identification from passengers, then arresting an immigrant woman who could not produce ID and taking her into custody for Removal from the U.S.. 

A fellow passenger apparently caught the whole incident on camera and posted it on Twitter. Within hours the video went viral across the nation. Greyhound appears to be complicit with ICE, allowing them to board buses and perhaps even some of its own agents reporting suspected immigrants to ICE as well. The Jamaican Immigrant, Beverly, had apparently overstayed a legal visa and was travelling from Orlando to Miami, when she became a victim of Trump’s enhanced enforcement measures.
 Shocking Video of ICE Agents Arresting Immigrant On Greyhound Bus 
In Fort Lauderdale Goes Viral
Forgotten Truth: 
Trump’s Family Immigrated To U.S. Through “Chain Immigration”
But according to the Guardian and other published reports about the Trump family’s ancestry, his family history in America is entirely based on his grandfather’s immigration to the U.S. from Germany to join his older sister Katherine (Trump’s great Aunt) in New York in 1885. Apparently his grandfather, Friedrich Trump, poor and uneducated, arrived in Manhattan, to avoid mandatory military service in Germany. Later, another Trump sister, Louise, emigrated from Germany, joining her siblings in New York as well. Some seven years later, Friedrich returned to Germany, married Trump’s grandmother, Elizabeth Christ, and then brought her to America. The couple gave birth to Trump’s father, Fred. Trump’s mother, uneducated and unskilled, immigrated to America in 1930 from Scotland to live with her older sister in New York.

The Pence family “Chain Migration” heritage is similar. According to the New York Times, Pence’s “penniless” grandfather immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland at age 20 to join his uncle and an older brother in New York. He later married an American, whose parents had both emigrated to the U.S. from Ireland.

Similarly, Trump’s “Immigration Czar”, Stephen Miller is a direct product of “Chain Migration”. According to the Jewish Journal, his Jewish great-great-grandfather, poor and penniless, immigrated to America from Belarus in 1903 and became a junk dealer. His son, Miller’s grandfather and his great uncle later then joined him in America. He then married an immigrant and had Miller’s father and in accordance with the American Dream, Stephen, the grandson of immigrants goes on to become the often “ill-advised” anti-immigration advisor to Donald Trump.
My own father emigrated to America in the 1950’s from Denmark, my stepmother emigrated from Argentina, my mother’s father from Sweden, my great grandmother from England and my husband from Venezuela. My extended family includes nationals from Colombia, China, U.K, Spain, Trinidad and Jamaica.

So like millions of other Americans, myself, Trump, Pence and Miller all owe our very existence to ancestors who immigrated to the U.S. through “Chain Migration” in search of a better life. But now, it appears that since their own family has been settled here for several generations, they have decided that the door should be closed to other immigrants who like their own family, come here seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Perhaps the hypocrisy of their racist anti-immigrant propaganda is lost on them and in fact on most Trump supporters who are themselves direct products of family immigration. 

In the current Immigration debate, Republicans are holding Dreamers hostage, as ransom, dangling DACA in exchange for terminating Family Immigration. So as the debate goes on and Conservative Republican Politicians rail against Family Immigration, it might be very helpful to do a quick search of their family history and publicly remind them that their very existence is directly related to their own family heritage of mostly poor, unskilled, unemployed Immigrants who sought and found the land of the free where everything is possible….the American Dream. Stay tuned… 

The Guardian

With all his bluster about abolishing the U.S. Family Immigration system, which he calls “Chain Migration”, Trump must have forgotten that his family immigrated to America using this very same system. 

 In his efforts to stop what he characterizes as the flood of uneducated and unskilled foreigners into the U.S. and instead to base Immigration on “merit”, Trump went on a racist Tweet tirade late last year against family immigration, saying: “Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil…NOT ACCEPTABLE!”.
ICE has responded to criticism by telling reporters that such raids at Florida’s transportation hubs are routine and will continue. As a result, Immigrants would be wise to avoid the risk of riding on a Greyhound bus and instead seek other methods of travel. 

Sun Sentinel
Washington Examiner
Miami News
Local 10  News
Earlier last month, ICE conducted silent raids on ninety eight (98) 7 Eleven stores in seventeen states, from California to Florida, arresting Immigrants who were caught working in the stores illegally. Under its new policy, Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement (ICE) is stepping up workplace raids and demanding to review employee records to verify work eligibility. So far, the raids have resulted in twenty one arrests.

This comes as part of a recent ICE announcement of its new stepped up program on worksite enforcement. The new program has a three-prong approach, which includes 1) worksite raids to determine immigration compliance and arrest of unauthorized Immigrants, 2) civil fines imposed on employers and 3) arrest of employers who knowingly employing undocumented workers. 
 Raid on 7-Eleven Stores Across The Nation Results In Arrests
To date, most raids are limited to large employers or franchise chains known to employ unauthorized workers. It would likely be rare for the agency to waste limited resources on raids of small mom and pop businesses, even in typically Immigrant areas of the U.S..
Question: Now that sponsoring a brother or sister is going to be illegal soon, I want to go ahead and get the papers in for my older brother and younger sisters. I have a 35 year old daughter in Bahamas who is just divorced and I’m afraid if I don’t do it now, she may not be allowed to immigrate to America later either. I know something is going to happen soon and I want to have everything in, like you said once the immigration papers is filed, even when the law is cancelled my family will still be able to come here eventually. So my question is what is the limit on how many family members I can sponsor at one time? Do I have to show my taxes now? What if I don’t make enough money? Thank you for all your help over the years and bless you and your family.
Answer: Under current Immigration regulations, there is no limit on how many family members you can sponsor at the same time. For instance if you have your two parents, six siblings and four adult children, you can file family petitions to sponsor all of your family members and have those cases all pending at the same time. The only time the issue regarding the ability to sponsor family members comes into play is at the time of actual immigration to the U.S. when you are required to submit financial documents to prove that you meet the minimum financial requirements for the Affidavit of Support. And even if you don’t make enough money, you can always have a Joint Sponsor who does. 

So for better illustration, if you sponsor your mom, the process takes about 8-12 months. During the Immigration sponsorship process, about 8 months down the road, the National Visa Center begins processing your mom’s case and you are required to submit an Affidavit of Support and financial documents to prove you meet the requirements and if you don’t meet them, you submit those of a Joint Sponsor as well. As long as the requirements are met, mom will then proceed through the process and be able come to the U.S. about 2 months later. 

This is in contrast to sponsoring your adult daughter, who will be in a waiting line of about 7 years. So in her case, the family petition is filed with the USCIS, then about 7 years down the road, the National Visa Center begins processing her case and only at that time are you  required to submit an Affidavit of Support and financial documents and if you don’t make enough money, you submit those of a Joint Sponsor as well. It’s the same process for your siblings, but in that case the process will take between 12 to 14 years. So to recap, the Affidavit of Support for adult children and siblings is only required many years down the road when it’s time to immigrate, so you don’t need to worry about qualifying now. Let us know if you would like our assistance in filing the Family Petitions for your loved ones. You can give me a call at 954-382-5378 for a free consultation and I will explain the entire process.
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know What Filing Fees Are Required?
One of the most common reasons for case rejection by the USCIS is for the wrong Filing Fees. You can see the current USCIS Filing Fees by clicking on the link below:
Current USCIS Filing Fees
Avoid Case Rejection By Enclosing the Correct USCIS Filing Fee
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...
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 completes 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 to 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 $555 USCIS filing fee. The waiting time for a replacement can be lengthy.

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! 

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