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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
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

Reports Increase That Immigrants With Criminal Records Or Deportation Orders Who Apply For Residency Are Arrested By ICE
Attorneys and Immigration Advocates from around the country are reporting with increasing frequency that some Immigrants who apply for Residency or other Immigration benefits, who have either a criminal record or deportation order (no matter how old) are being arrested by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) and taken into custody. 

Similarly, many Immigrants with old deportation orders with a “stay” of deportation, who appear for their yearly check-in are being detained and put in detention.
Trump Ramps Up Attacks On Professional Worker Visas
As broadly outlined in unsigned draft Executive Orders leaked to the media recently, the Trump administration has begun imposing restrictions on work visas for professional foreign workers, called the H-1B Work Visa, with the stated goal of prioritizing “the interests of American workers and — to the maximum degree possible — the jobs, wages, and well-being of those workers.”

 To this end, the USCIS issued a news release on April 3, 2017, announcing “multiple measures to further deter and detect H1B visa fraud and abuse.”, including using new criteria to target H1B employers for site visits, increasing the number of site visits it conducts and making it easier to report H-1B employer abuse with a special email: [email protected]
Question: I was sponsored for my Green Card by my U.S. citizen son last year and we attended my residency interview in February of this year. The officer was very nice and approved everything but said that the copy of the criminal case I had 10 years back for driving without a license was not sufficient, that she needed a certified copy. She gave me a notice with instructions where to send back to her. So my son and I went that very day to the police station and got some documents certified about the case and sent them to the officer several days later before the deadline in the letter. But instead of receiving my Green Card, we were so upset because I received a letter last month denying my case saying that I had failed to provide the officer with the correct court document. I thought that the police documents were the right ones. I’m just in shock! I went to the Oakland Park immigration office and spoke with an officer there and he said the letter was correct and that I could file for review of the denial or file the case all over again and pay all the filing fees which have now increased! My question is if you can please help me to get the correct documents that the officer wants so I can go and give them to the immigration officer? Is it possible will she approve my case? The letter says I can’t appeal. Thanks.
Answer: What you are experiencing is very common and avoidable. It’s important to understand that when the USCIS issues a request for documentation, you generally only have one opportunity to provide EXACTLY what is requested or the case will be denied. With USCIS Requests For Evidence, it is crucial to determine exactly what the request is asking for, so that you can provide it, since there are no second chances. For criminal cases, Immigrants must provide the USCIS with a certified copy of both the Police Report or Ticket AND the Court Disposition. One or the other will not be sufficient. It’s also important to know that in many cases like yours which cannot be Appealed, an Immigrant can still make a request for the officer to reopen the case or reconsider it (I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion). The filing fee is $675. A motion to reopen must be based on factual grounds, such as the discovery of new evidence or changed circumstances, while a motion to reconsider must establish that the decision was incorrect based on the evidence of record at the time of that decision. Unlike a motion to reopen, no new evidence circumstances can be submitted to support the request. While not required, due to the technical legal issues involved in such Motions, its always best to have a qualified Immigration attorney prepare and submit the request. 

In some Immigration cases, filing an Appeal, Motion to Reopen or Reconsider is not advised and just a waste of money. These types of cases involve eligibility issues, for instance when an Immigrant files for residency or some other immigration benefit that they are clearly not eligible for. For example, when a Resident sponsors a married a child. In such a case, no eligibility exists, since there is no immigration category for a adult married child of a Resident, only for single children. Only U.S. Citizens can sponsor their married children.

In your case, we can get the required certified court disposition and it is likely possible to request that the case be reopened to submit the correct documentation and explanations as to why the documents were not initially provided. However, there is no guarantee of approval and the processing times for review of the request can be 3 to 6 months or more. But, if the motion is approved, the USCIS will reopen/reconsider the case and approve it. The other option is simply for me to properly re-file the case on your behalf from the beginning so everything will go smoothly.
Question:I had my American daughter file for me early last year and the case was approved. But we come to find out that my wife and 16 year old son were not included in my case. We found this out when the National Visa Center sent us a letter and my daughter called to get the visa fee bills for my wife and son. The officer said that my wife and son could not immigrate with me to the U.S.. We are very confused and don’t understand what this means. My daughter listed them on the section for spouses and children! My wife is like her mother, because she was only 10 when we got married and my daughter lived with us until she immigrated to America. My question is, can I still at this point add my wife and son to my case so we can immigrate to America together?
Answer: That’s a very good question and important for you to understand. The Immigration category for Parents of U.S. Citizens, called “Immediate Relatives” does not allow for any dependent (Spouse and children) to immigrate with the Parent to the U.S.. Immediate Relatives can only immigrate as individuals, not as a family. In order for the spouse of a Parent (step-parent to the U.S. Citizen child) to be able to immigrate, the marriage between the U.S. Citizen child’s biological Parent and the step-parent must have taken place before the U.S. Citizen child reached age 18. If it did, then the step-parent can immigrate as a separate Immediate Relative, just like a biological parent would. However, children of the Parent do not qualify to accompany the immigrating parent. The only way the child, who is the sibling of the U.S. Citizen sponsor can immigrate through the U.S. Citizen, is in the F4 Immigration category for siblings, which can take 12-14 years. 

In your case, since you married your wife when your U.S. Citizen daughter was 10, she qualifies as her stepparent and she can file a parent petition for her, just like he did for you. However, your 16 year old son will not be eligible to immigrate along with either of you. The best strategy is likely for you to immigrate to the U.S. and immediately file to sponsor your 16 year old son. Once you do, the waiting line for a visa in the F2A Immigration category for minor children of U.S. Residents is about 1 ½ years. Also remember that you likely won’t qualify to maintain your U.S. Residency and to sponsor your son if you don’t live in the U.S., so there may be some time when you are not residing together, but it is for a good cause. Let us know if you would like for us to handle your wife and son’s immigration cases

Find out more about sponsoring your Parents for a Green Card by calling our office at: 954-382-5378.
Understanding Conditional Two Year Residency Requirement
 For Spouses of U.S. Citizens
Did you know that a foreign spouse of U.S. Citizen who has been married for less than two years at the time of obtaining residency, only receives a two-year Conditional Resident status?

Its true. Unlike regular U.S. Residents who obtain a Green Card through family members, employment or other means, husbands and wives of U.S. Citizens who got married less than two years prior to U.S. Residency approval, only receive a two-year Green Card, rather than the full 10 year Permanent Residency. 
Immigration How To:
How Do I get a Driver’s License if I am illegal?
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.
Driving Without A License Is Now A Deportable Crime – Time To Consider Getting A Legal Driver’s Licenses While You Still Can!
Helpful Immigration Hints You Can Use
There has also been a sharp increase in the number of deportation court hearings being quickly scheduled for conditional Residents in Marriage immigration cases, where the I-751 Removal of Conditions was either denied or never filed, no matter how long ago. It is also anticipated that the USCIS will begin referring Immigrants with I-485 Residency denials to deportation very quickly after issuing the denial.

Immigrants in the U.S. with no criminal records or deportation orders are relatively safe and are not currently the target of ICE raids. However, applying for Immigration benefits puts a focus on the applicant. As a result, it is more important than ever for Immigrants to avoid filing any kind of immigration case without first being absolutely certain of eligibility! It is wise to consult with a qualified Immigration attorney to review your case BEFORE taking any steps to file an application with the USCIS. 

Read More:
Washington Post
Chicago Tribune
This comes just days after the USCIS issued a policy memorandum outlining its intentions to deny H-1B work visas for computer related positions offered at the lowest DOL Level 1 wage, which eliminated “computer programmer” as a qualifying “specialty occupation.” for issuance of the H-1B visa. This will particularly hurt Silicon Valley and companies like Facebook and Google which rely heavily on such visas to hire foreign talent in the field in order to innovate and create new products.
In order to qualify for removal, the foreign and U.S. Citizen spouses must file a request for removal of the conditional status within the 90 day period prior to the conditional Green Card expiration. Once the foreign spouse receives Permanently Residency, he or she can apply for early Naturalization once they have been a Resident for at least 2 years and 9 months.

In order to qualify for removal of the conditional status, a couple must continue to not only be married, but to live together as spouses (which includes same-sex spouses). The removal of condition request must be submitted with extensive supporting documentary evidence that the couple has and continues to live together in a real marriage. One of the biggest misconceptions that conditional residents have is the belief that as long as they remain “married” to the U.S. Citizen spouse, but not actually living together, they will still qualify result in tragic consequences which often leads to loss of Residency and in some instances, deportation.
Conditional Residents can file a removal request without the U.S. Citizen spouse in cases where the couple has divorced, where there is documented domestic violence and when a spouse is widowed. However, the burden of proof is on the conditional resident spouse to provide the USCIS with extensive evidence that prior to the divorce, domestic violence or death of the U.S. Citizen, the couple were living together in a real marriage.

You can find out more about removal of Conditional Resident status by visiting our Website at or by calling our office at: 954-382-5378.

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.

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