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This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

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As Congressional Republicans stall on Immigration Reform in the House of Representatives, the State of New York State considers a new Legislative Law which would provide “State Citizenship” to Immigrants in the State. 

Under the proposal, sponsored by New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera and introduced on June 16th, called the “New York Is Home Act”, both documented and undocumented Immigrants would be granted New York State Citizenship, which would allow them to do many of the same things that U.S. Citizens can do, including paying in-state tuition, receiving financial aid to attend state universities, receiving healthcare under Medicaid, a New York State driver's license, the right to vote in local and state elections, serve on a jury and even run for public office. To qualify, Immigrates would be required to prove that they have lived in the state and paid their taxes for the past three years, and who promise to obey state laws.
Stay tuned…
New York Considers Granting State “Citizenship” to Immigrants

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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
Questions & Answers
Question: I have a question about getting my husband’s green card. After we filed his immigration papers we had to go to an interview at the immigration office and the officer was so mean and saying that we were not a real marriage because we didn’t bring much documents (because we didn’t know we needed to) and because I did not take my husband’s last name. We tried to explain that I wanted to take his name, but we didn’t know how to fill out the immigration paperwork that way because my Citizenship Certificate has my maiden name. 
Its been 3 months since the interview and my husband’s work permit is about to expire soon. We want to know if its true that the immigration can deny us for not bringing much married paperwork and for the married name issue? We brought notarized affidavits from friends that stated we are married. They said we would get something in the mail but so far we got nothing. Thanks for your help.
Answer: ​Sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience. USCIS regulations do not require a wife to take her husband's last name in marriage-based immigration cases. A married woman may keep her own name, adopt her husband's last name or choose to hyphenate her name along with his. The real, main issue in marriage-based immigration cases, is the critical necessity for a couple to clearly establish that the marriage is real - by providing extensive documentation from the time of the marriage until the interview, not just for the past month (for example Joint: bank statements, driver’s license or state ID at the same address, auto insurance, utilities, both names on the lease, tax return “married filing jointly”, lots and lots of photos, etc. the list goes on and on. Affidavits attesting to a genuine marriage are usually not given much weight by an officer and are generally used as a last resort when a couple does not have enough other “real” documentary evidence to show. USCIS officers have a lot of discretion to decide whether a marriage is real or not, based upon the totality of all the evidence presented by the couple, as well as the way a couple presents themselves and especially the way they interact together at the immigration interview. 

In my experience, couples in marriage cases simply do not take marriage immigration cases seriously enough or prepare well enough for or USCIS interview - until they run into problems and enter the “nightmare” of the USCIS presuming they are in a fake marriage. The result often leads to successive interviews at the USCIS office, being separated and interrogated, waiting for months and sometimes even years to eventually receive approval of a Green Card which in many cases could have easily been approved at the first interview, with the proper planning. So, with that said, I suggest making an INFOPASS appointment to do a status check on your case. It is likely that you will be told that your case is still being reviewed by the officer, which could mean six months more waiting for a new interview to be scheduled. In the meantime, come see me and I’ll give you instructions on how you can begin preparing your case properly so that you will have everything you need and be fully prepared for your next interview.
Helpful Immigration Hints You Can Use
Immigration How To:
How Do I Contact the National Visa Center??
Understanding Immigration Categories for Children of U.S. Citizens
Under Immigration regulations, U.S. Citizens can sponsor minor children and adult children who are either single or married. The difference of course is the length of time that the child will have to wait in order to be able to immigrate to the U.S.. For minor children under age 21, called “Immediate Relatives”, there are no quotas or waiting times, just the time it takes the USCIS/National Visa Center to process the case which is usually about 8 months or so. 

Importantly, minor children remain eligible to immigrate as “minors” even after they turn age 21, as long as their U.S. Citizen Parent filed the family petition while they were still under age 21. This is not the case for minor children of U.S. Residents, who often become ineligible as “minors” once they reach age 21 if they cannot benefit from the Child Status Protection Act.
You can find out more about filing for and preparing properly for immigration marriage cases 
by calling our office at: 954-382-5378 
The National Visa Center (NVC) handles processing of cases for relatives outside the U.S., in order to prepare the case for the U.S. Consulate in your family member’s home country. Once the I-130 family petition is approved by the USCIS, the NVC will generally send a letter to the sponsor letting them know that the case has been transferred by the USCIS to the NVC. If the family member is in a “preference category”, for all relatives who are not the Spouse, Parent or minor child of a U.S. Citizen), the letter will also say that there are no visas presently available for the foreign family member and that he or she should not make any plans to immigrate to the U.S. until a visa becomes available (which can be many years down the road).

Often, family circumstances and addresses change and the NVC needs to be notified in order for them to have the sponsor and family members current updated contact information. Further, when U.S. Residents become U.S. Citizens, that speeds up the process for their family member, but the NVC may not be aware of the change unless they receive a copy of the new Citizen’s Naturalization Certificate. To contact the NVC, call: (603) 334-0700. Be sure to give them the case number on the correspondence provided to you by the NVC or mail documentation or correspondence to them at:: National Visa Center, Attn: DR, 31 Rochester Ave. Suite 100, Portsmouth, NH 03801-2914. Make sure that all correspondence includes a letter containing the NVC case number, your name/ birth date and the same for your relative.
SCAM ALERT: New IRS Scam Threatens Immigrants With Deportation
In a new twist on the IRS scam targeting immigrants, scammers are stepping up their tactics and using threats to extort thousands from innocent Immigrants – many from South Florida.

In this newest scam, fake IRS agents call unwary Immigrants, claiming that they owe taxes for previous years and demanding payment by purchasing pre-paid Home Depot gift cards. These impersonators sound very official, telling victims “"My name is John Jones...You can write down my badge ID number...My badge ID number is 16108”. The Scammer goes on to threaten the victim, saying that if they do not pay the taxes owed in the next 10 to 20 minutes, the IRS will come to their home and take their house, car, bank account and then put them in jail or deport them. The fake officer often instructs victims to withdraw money from their bank account while keeping the “agent” on the speakerphone, then directing Immigrants to purchase Home Depot gift cards and read off the digits on the back, so that the “IRS agent” can credit the Immigrant’s IRS account with that amount to satisfy the tax debt.
 To qualify, Immigrates would be required to prove that they have lived in the state and paid their taxes for the past three years, and who promise to obey state laws.Stay tuned…

Read more about the State Citizenship proposal:
New York Daily News
Fox News
Business Week
An IRS spokesman says that this scam is going on in Florida and nationwide, with scammers using the last four digits of the potential victim's social security number and address. IRS officials said they always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. Postal Service and would never ask taxpayers for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the phone. "The IRS does not make any kind of phone calls that are asking for information such as credit card information, ,We don't ask for payment over the phone."
Adult children of U.S. Citizens have several Immigration categories, depending upon whether they are single or married. The F1 category for unmarried sons & daughters of U.S. Citizens has a waiting time of approx 7 – 8 yrs and includes any minor children of the single adult child. The F3 category for married sons & daughters of U.S. Citizens, has a waiting time approx 11 12 yrs and includes both spouses & minor children (under age 21).
Good to know…