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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:My husband and I, along with our 2 kids came here to Florida as tourists in 2012 and my brother offered my husband a really good job in his warehouse, so we stayed here. We don’t have florida driver’s licenses or social security cards, but we have to get around so we use your international driving permit. But for the past few months we are getting more and more worried with the new laws and hearing about all the immigration arrests on the news and are starting to feel like we and our kids aren’t safe here anymore. Last night we talked about the possibility of leaving and going home so we don’t get deported. But our concerns are that our kids will have problems adjusting back in Jamaica and are so confused about what to do. We really want to know, is it better to leave now instead of risking getting deported or better to stay in America?
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

Senator Rubio Hints About Possible Immigration Reform
In an encouraging comment, Sen. Marco Rubio recently told reporters and Fox news commentators that he thinks it’s “going to be difficult” but that it “is possible” to make progress on immigration reform under the Trump Administration. 

Rubio appeared to be proposing that recent movement on Trump’s law enforcement policies and efforts to move immigration laws into a more “merit-based” system, could open a path for providing status to law abiding Immigrants, saying, “then you can do something very reasonable with the people who have been here a long time who are not gang bangers, who are not criminals, who are not a threat to public safety.”
Quick Rundown Of Trump’s New Travel Ban – 
Who’s Affected –Who’s Not?
As expected, the Trump administration released it second “Travel Ban” last week, which would again, consistent with the first travel ban attempt, bar entry of nationals from certain predominantly Muslim countries.  

The new Trump Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” goes into effect this week on Thursday, March 16, 2017 for an initial period of 90 days. The main changes from the first ban which was rejected by the Federal Courts, is the removal of Iraq from the list of countries, explicit exemptions for U.S. Residents and Visa holders, dual nationals, those on diplomatic visas, the allowance of continued asylee/refugee status for those previously granted such status before the ban and a temporary bar for Syrian refuges, rather than the permanent one. The new order continues to ban entry of all refugees to the U.S. 120 days. 
Understanding Your Risks and Protecting Your Rights!
Answer: That is a very common and concerning question lately, which is not well understood by many Immigrants. First, it’s important to understand that the legal consequences of overstaying your lawful period of authorized stay (I-94) and then leaving the U.S., compared with that of being deported are about the same:

Overstaying your Visa: Once an Immigrant has remained in the U.S. for 365 days or more past their authorized stay, leaves the U.S., he or she is “barred” from re-entering the U.S. again for 10 years.

Deportation: Once an Immigrant is deported from the U.S. he or she is usually “barred” from re-entering the U.S. again for 10 years. There are lesser “bars” depending upon the circumstances, 20 years for some criminal violations and permanent “bars” for others.

No attorney can legally advise you to break U.S. laws by remaining in the U.S. past your authorized stay, but it’s clear to see that the consequences of leaving the U.S. voluntarily after being here for a year or more, compared with those resulting from deportation are the same. In many cases, Immigrants determine that the benefits of staying here and hoping for some Immigration reform in the future far outweigh the risks of being arrested and consequences of being deported. More clearly stated, many Immigrants feel that on a practical level, there is no benefit in “self deporting” and one could argue that they would be right.

So in your case, given the information provided, you would want to weigh the risks and benefits of leaving and determine what is best for your family.

Understanding The Most Common Immigration Bars:

The Five-Year Bar:  Immigrants who are found inadmissible and immediately removed/deported upon arrival at a U.S. port and those who are removed/deported shortly after arrival in the U.S., who have been placed in removal proceedings are ineligible to return to the U.S. for 5 years.

The Ten-Year Bar: Immigrants who have a removal order issued by Immigration judge are ineligible to return to the U.S. for 10 years.

The Twenty-Year Bar:  Immigrants who are deported and who attempt to reenter the U.S. prior to the expiration of the ten-year ban can receive an additional 10 year bar for a total of 20 years.

The Permanent Bar:  Immigrants who are convicted of an aggravated felony, entered without permission after being removed, or illegally reentered the U.S. after having previously been in the U.S. unlawfully for more than one year, may be permanently barred from ever entering the U.S.

Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use
Read The State Department’s Visa Bulletin 
Released For April 2017
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:

April 2017 Visa Bulletin
InfoPass allows you to schedule an appointment a the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office and to make an inquiry about your case with an Immigration Officer.

Click Here to schedule an appointment and select “Make Your Appointment with Infopass”

Type in your mailing address ZIP code (so that InfoPass will assign you to the correct USCIS office)
Select the type of appointment you need to solve your problem, Provide your name, date of birth, ZIP code and telephone number, choose an available date and time for your appointment (if you don’t see a convenient time, check back with InfoPass – new appointment choices are made available each working day); and when the appointment notice appears on your computer screen (showing the time, date and location of your appointment), print it out to show at your InfoPass appointment. 

On the day of your appointment you will need bring:

Printout of the InfoPass appointment notice confirmation

Government-issued Photo identification (passport, valid driver’s license, Employment Authorization Document, or Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (‘green card”)

All immigration forms, receipt notices, approval or denial letters-including translations and original documents that relate to your inquiry.

For general information you can call the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283
I should also note that under the Trump Administration’s new “extreme vetting” and enhanced border security measures, nationals from most other countries should also expect more scrutiny at the airport and be aware that no electronic or media information about them is private. This means that the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) can search your social media online and any and all electronic devices you have in your possession, including IPads, Notebooks, laptops, cell phones, etc, not just for evidence of security threats, but also of your intent to immigrate to, work in the U.S. or engage in any other activity which may be a violation of your visitor visa. Good to know!

Read more:

Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States Travel Ban
CBP Q & A About Electronic Device Searches
And as a member of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight,” Sen. Rubio was involved in significant comprehensive immigration reform legislation proposed in 2013, which would have created a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.. Unfortunately the measure failed to gain the needed support in the Republican held House of Representative and did not become law. Immigration advocates are heartened at the recent statements by Rubio and other Republicans, but remain skeptical about the possibility of such a measure in the near future, given Trump’s history of contradictory positions on immigration reform. Stay tuned…. 

Read More:
“Gang of Eight” 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill
Trump’s recent ramped up Immigration “enforcement” policies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and arrests have left many Immigrants feeling fear and anxiety about their safety and security here in America, the land of Immigrants! 

As a result, many are making contingency plans in case of arrest and detention. And while Immigration advocates and attorneys like myself provide vital advice and assistance to those in need, for most Immigrants without legal status, current Immigration laws provide few, if any legal options. Consequently, advocacy groups like the Immigrant Defense Project focus on spreading awareness of Immigrants’ rights throughout Communities in case of contact with Immigration authorities or ICE.
Immigration How To: 
How Do I Make An Infopass Appointment?