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This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2014  
For questions about U.S. Residency, Green Cards and Immigration Visas, Visit our Website at: or  call our office at: (954) 382-5378

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Questions & Answers

Question: I was wondering how my permanent residency will affect my ability to file for financial aid for school. I was told (by my friends) that right now I'm NOT allowed to file for governmental financial aid (for school) or any other government assistance. Is that true? I would like to know since I'm applying to college and will need to get a loan, but at this same time I don't want to do anything what might affect me later in my immigration process for Filing for my citizenship. I would appreciate if you could clarify this for me.
Answer: ​Great Question. U.S. Residents (Green Card holders) are eligible for student assistance including Grants and Aid, Scholarships, loans, etc. Receiving these types of financial assistance does not negatively affect U.S. Citizenship eligibility in any way, no need to worry!

You can see the official government website below for more information: 
Student Aid Government Website
Helpful Immigration Hints You Can Use
Renewing or Replacing Your Green Card
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know If I Need An Affidavit of Support?
Affidavits of Support – What are they and who needs them?

In order to sponsor a family member to immigrate to the U.S. to become a Resident (receive a Green Card), all U.S. citizens and Residents must prove that they have the ability to support their foreign relative financially for a period of years. This is required to show the U.S. government that the family member immigrating is not someone likely to immigrate to the U.S. then go collect government assistance (often called "welfare"). The Affidavit is a legally binding promise by the Sponsor that they will take financial responsibility if the need arises so that their relative will not collect government assistance and if that does occur, the Sponsor will be responsible to reimburse any government agencies from which their immigrant family received financial assistance. 
U.S. Permanent Residents receive a 10-year Green Card, which must be renewed before expiration. The renewal request should be filed with the USCIS within 6 months of expiration. However, contrary to popular belief, the expiration of your Green Card does not mean that you are no longer a Permanent Resident, it just means that, once the card expires, you will no longer have documentary evidence that you are a U.S. Resident. 

Once the Green Card is within 6 months of expiration or even when it has actually expired, in order to obtain evidence of Residency, a Permanent Resident must file a renewal request, then make an INFOPASS appointment at your local USCIS Field Office and take the Green Card renewal receipt provided to you by mail from the USCIS in order to obtain a temporary residency stamp in your passport. This temporary residency stamp is used as a temporary Green Card until the renewed Green Card is received. It can be used to work, travel, obtain Driver’s License renewal and any other purpose that an actual Green Card would serve.
So What’s Up With Immigration Reform??
For those who are losing hope for Immigration Reform….cheer up, there’s still plenty of behind the scenes action going on which could lead to a solution before years’ end.

After private meetings between President Obama and House Speaker Boehner recently, both emerged from their discussions telling reporters that Immigration Reform remains a “top priority” and should include “a pathway to citizenship”. It’s clear that these two have reached some sort of “truce” on Immigration Reform, based upon their common understanding of the challenges Boehner faces in the House from a small, but vocal faction of his Members who vehemently oppose any kind of Immigration Reform. So the strategy seems to be for both to buy a little time, at least for another month or so, for Boehner to try again in April or May to persuade his reluctant Republican House Members to tackle the issue. If unsuccessful, it will likely spell the death of Immigration Reform for 2014.

You can learn more about Family and Employment Visas by visiting our website or by calling our office at: (954) 382-5378.
Read more about Immigration Reform:

However, Obama still has the power of Executive Action and other options to expand existing Immigration regulations like “Deferred Action” (currently used to provide a quasi-legal status and work permits to DREAMers) to provide Amnesty-type benefits to a wide range of immigrants currently without status in the U.S., without the need for Congressional action. This has always been the “last bullet in the barrel” of Obama’s Immigration Reform gun, which he has been reluctant to use. The understanding is that creating a massive Amnesty program without Congressional approval is sure to create a storm of criticism and rage against the Administration for exceeding it’s “Presidential Powers”, which could hurt Democratic Members of Congress in the 2016 & 2018 elections. So, this so called “Nuclear Option” is one that the President is surely only likely to consider when it is absolutely, positively clear that nothing can be done by Boehner in the House to pass an Immigration Reform Bill. 
Meanwhile, House Democrats also have some Immigration Reform “tricks” up their sleeves, and are said to continue to be planning to try to force a vote on the issue by the end of March. And while many believe it is worth the effort, others are not optimistic about its chances of success. The plan would have House Minority Leaders employ a procedural maneuver called a “discharge petition”, which would allow House Democrats to bring an Immigration Reform Bill for a vote which would require a 218-vote majority in order to succeed. 
Whether any of the current options prove successful is uncertain. But what is clear is that the Immigration Reform issue is not going away and the growing frustration is fast reaching a point of no return…Stay tuned…
Question: I'm a green card holder through asylum. I have a fiancé in my country Nepal, so can I bring her here to the U.S.A? 
Answer: ​Unfortunately, under Immigration regulations, a U.S. Resident (Green Card holder) cannot bring a Fiancée to the U.S. on a Fiancée visa. Only U.S. Citizens can sponsor a fiancée. Once you have been a U.S. Resident for 4 years and 9 months you can apply for your Naturalization. It currently takes about 4-6 months to obtain your U.S. Citizenship.
Question: My citizenship interview is scheduled in the next few weeks. Could you please let me know if I get the naturalization certificate on the same day? If I do, can I apply for passport any day after that? When am I officially considered as a US citizen? Is there any paperwork that needs to be done after the citizenship interview? 
Answer: ​You should get your certificate the same day you are sworn in and you can immediately apply for a passport. You're a citizen from the moment you take the oath. 
Question: I got my Green Card through my husband and I understand that I can’t file to sponsor my dad for his Green card until I am a Citizen. My question is whether my American husband can file for my father (his father in law)? Thanks.
Answer: ​Immigration regulations only allow U.S. Citizen children age 21 or older to file for their parents. A parent can be a biological parent by birth, or step-parent, as long as the step-parent relationship was established by the marriage of the step-parent the child’s biological parent before the child turned age 18. There is no category for “in-laws”, so unfortunately, your husband cannot sponsor your father for his Residency.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a Federal law which in part allows individuals to obtain copies of documentation contained in government files, including those related to Immigration matters. Under current technological advances, FOIA requests made to the USCIS can now be made online. However, it is important to understand that not all documents are available under FOIA, including requests to obtain duplicate approval notices or original documents submitted to the USCIS. Typically, documents which can be obtained are copies of Immigration case filings, including supporting documents. This is particularly important when an immigrant has lost a copy of a vital document such as an I-94 which was previously submitted to the USCIS as part of an Immigration application. 
Obtaining Copies of Immigration Documents Under The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
To make an Email FOIA request to the USCIS: 
Download and complete form G-639 Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act Request
Then scan and email to the Department of Homeland Security at:
[email protected]
The Affidavits of Support must always be filed by the U.S. citizen or Resident for their immigrating family member(s), even if they do not meet the minimum financial guidelines. In such cases, a Joint-Sponsor who does meet the financial requirements can provide an additional Affidavits of Support and will be bound by the same obligations. Joint-Sponsors must be either a Resident or U.S. Citizen, but are not required to be a family member. The sponsor’s obligation lasts until the immigrant either becomes a U.S. citizen, has earned 40 work quarters credited toward Social Security (about ten years of work), dies, or permanently leaves the United States. If the immigrant has already been living in the U.S. and worked legally, earning work credits before applying for the green card, those count toward the 40.

Minor Children (under age 18) of U.S. Citizens who automatically obtain U.S. Citizen upon being granted Residency are not required to have an Affidavit filed on their behalf, but must for a waiver form.

Good to know…