Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: August 26,  2019
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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2019 
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
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...

  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter
Trump May Try To End Birthright Citizenship By Executive Order! 
Question: you said last week that immigration papers should be filed before the new law comes about in oct, but there is no way I will get my green card by then, so why should we rush to file the papers?
Answer: According to the new “Public Charge” rule, all petitions filed pre October 15, 2019 will be processed according to the current public charge policies and not be subject to the increased eligibility requirements under the new rule. This “grace period” does not require that the immigration case be actually processed before October 15, 2019, just that the immigration application is filed before that date, even if it is not finally adjudicated until a year or more later. I will be very surprised if a federal court does not issue an order preventing the Trump administration from instituting the rule, however, I could be wrong, and it is better to be safe and file before the deadline to avoid any risk. 
13 States Sue Trump To Stop The “Public Charge” Rule 
From Taking Effect On October 15th!
Close on the heels of his new “Public Charge” policy, created to prevent many immigrants from obtaining residency in the U.S., Trump obviously thinks he is “on a roll” and has turned his attention to one of his favorite subjects, ending Birthright Citizenship in the U.S.. As he told reporters last week, “We’re looking at that very seriously, birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land, you walk over the border, have a baby - congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen. ... It’s frankly ridiculous,”. 

This is similar to what he told Axios in 2018, "We're the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits," he said. "It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous. And it has to end."  
Important Tips On Immigration Medical Exams
Immigration How To:
How Do I Get A New Arrival Departure Card?
Replacing a Lost Arrival/Departure I-94 Card
An Arrival Departure card, often called an I-94 is a small slip of paper which was, until recently issued to all international visitors and visa holders entering the U.S.. The I-94 contains the date of entry into the U.S. as well as the date by which the individual must depart from the U.S.. Often, individuals do not understand how important this little card is until it is too late.

In order to change immigration status inside the U.S. to any other immigrant or non-immigrant visa status, immigration regulations require that a copy of the I-94 be included with the application to establish eligibility, foreign nationals must prove that they entered the U.S. legally and were inspected by an immigration officer in order to qualify to file for immigration status in the U.S.. 
Last week thirteen (13) states filed suit to prevent the Trump administration from applying its new "public charge" rule to make it more difficult, if not impossible for immigrants to obtain residency in the U.S.. These states include: Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and Rhode Island, as well as Santa Clara County and San Francisco in California.

The new policy set to be implemented beginning October 15, 2019, greatly expands the types of government benefits, which disqualify immigrants who have received them from obtaining residency. The rule further changes the entire definition of “public charge,” to include an arbitrary determination of an immigrant’s likely need for use of aid at any time in the future. The new policy would allow immigration officers to use factors such as Age, Health, Family status, Assets, Resources and Financial status (including credit scores), Education, Skills and Proficiency of English to determine whether the officer believes an immigrant may be more likely than not to need public assistance in the future. This will largely affect children under age 18 and adults over age 61 who are less likely to be able to work and support themselves, and more likely prone to need government assistance. 
As part of the residency process to obtain a green card, immigrants are required to undergo a medical exam performed by a doctor who is authorized by the USCIS to provide such services. These doctors do not actually work for the government, but they are “designated” civil surgeons, specifically allowed to perform the exam, whereas other doctors are not. As a result, you generally cannot just have the exam performed by your regular doctor and it is usually not covered by medical insurance. The purpose of the medical examination and tests is to ensure that immigrants are admissible to the U.S. by meeting certain health standards.

 The cost of the exam ranges widely, anywhere from $250 to $500, depending up how many vaccines you are required to have and according to which doctor you happen to choose from the list provided by the USCIS on its website. Locally, you can find many designated doctors in the South Florida area who charge $250-$300, but you may need to call around to compare prices or ask your Immigration Attorney for a list. 
For background, the right to automatic citizenship comes under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides that children born in the U.S. automatically become U.S. Citizens: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." However, Trump and his advisors, including Michael Anton, a former national security adviser believe that an executive order can be issued to end automatic citizenship, telling Fox News "there’s a clause in the middle of the amendment that people ignore or they misinterpret – subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” "What they are saying is, if you are born on U.S. soil subject to the jurisdiction of the United States — meaning you’re the child of citizens or the child of legal immigrants, then you are entitled to citizenship,” “If you are here illegally, if you owe allegiance to a foreign nation, if you’re the citizen of a foreign country, that clause does not apply to you.”

Experts and scholars laugh at the notion that Birthright Citizenship could be ended by an Executive Order, since the legal right is guaranteed under the constitution, but neither the law, nor logic have ever gotten in Trump’s way. So as the economy weakens and the campaign rhetoric heats up going forward towards the 2020 Presidential election, look for Trump to act out in more and more outrageous ways, including the signing of executive orders to end Birthright Citizenship and any other immigration program he can think of, as publicity stunts to impress his anti-immigrant base of supporters. Stay tuned….

This also includes the elderly and those with disabilities and chronic health conditions, who may be more likely to use subsidized medical and hospital care. Others who would be penalized include those who are not proficient in English, as well as those who lack “adequate education and skills to either obtain or maintain employment”. 

Under the new rule, immigrants would also be required to submit a “Declaration of Self-Sufficiency” providing financial, asset and other information, which will be used by officials to determine whether the applicant is likely to become a “public charge” in the future. Immigrants who earn less than 250% above the federal poverty lines may be penalized and required to post a public charge “bond”, while others may not even be given the opportunity to do so and instead simply denied.

The pending lawsuits seek a federal court order to temporarily stop the law from taking effect, in order to allow the litigation to work its way through the courts to determine its constitutionality. Critics of the rule say Trump’s new policy is an overreach, attempting to circumvent laws passed by Congress by instituting unlawful policies in violation of existing regulations. And while experts say the rule is unenforceable, if the policy goes into effect, innocent immigrants may find themselves in a very difficult uphill battle to prove financial eligibility. As a result, its always best to be safe, rather than sorry and file your immigration applications way ahead of the October 15th deadline. That way, your case will be processed under the current lenient public charge rule.

To prepare for your medical exam, you will need to bring the following with you to the exam:

-Valid passport or other government issued photo identification;
-Your past vaccination records if you have them;
-List of any chronic medical conditions you have and medications you take on a regular basis;
-If you have ever had a previous positive skin test for tuberculosis (TB) you should bring a certificate from your doctor giving the circumstances of the positive test result, indicating any treatment prescribed and how long it lasted. If you have ever been diagnosed with tuberculosis, you must present a written certification, signed by your doctor, proving that you were adequately treated. The certificate must include dates and types of medications you took;
- If you have had syphilis, a written certificate, signed by a doctor or public health official, proving that you were adequately treated;  
- If you have been treated or hospitalized for psychiatric or mental illness, alcohol or drug abuse you will need a written certification from your doctor including the diagnosis, length of treatment, and your prognosis.
-Be prepared to answer questions about any alcohol or drug use, understanding that your answers could result in additional medical tests, which might disqualify you from obtaining residency;

What to expect during the exam:

During the exam, the doctor will look at your eyes, ears, nose and throat, extremities, abdomen, lymph nodes, skin, and external genitalia. They will also listen to your heart and your breathing, take blood and ask you questions about your medical and health history. Based upon your age and vaccination history, the doctor will tell you which, if any, vaccinations he or she will need to administer to complete your immigration medical exam. The vaccinations required include:
•Hepatitis A and B
• Influenza
• Influenza type b (Hib)
• Measles
• Meningococcal
• Mumps
• Pneumococcal
• Pertussis
• Polio
• Rotavirus
• Rubella
• Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
• Varicella

Other Tests:

Tuberculosis (TB): You will also be tested for Tuberculosis (TB) through a skin test called TST. If evidence of TB infection is found, a chest X-ray is required. After the TST is administered, the doctor will ask you to return in 48 to 72 hours for the results to be read. If the results are measured as 5mm or larger, you will then be required to have the chest X-ray to rule out tuberculosis as the cause.

Syphilis Blood Test/ Gonorrhea Urine Test: Immigrants age 15 and older are required to be tested for syphilis and Gonorrhea and if detected, you would need to be treated before the medical exam can be completed.

Medical Conditions Which Disqualify Immigrants From Obtaining Residency:

Immigrants often fear that medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or even a history of cancer will make them ineligible to immigrate, when in fact, there are only a very few medical conditions which can make an immigrant “inadmissible” to immigrate to the U.S. under health-related regulations. However, if Trump’s new “Public Charge” rule is allowed to take effect in the coming months, such medical conditions may become a major factor used to disqualify an immigrant. 

Currently, the following are the only conditions which can make a person inadmissible for immigration:

•A communicable disease of public health significance. These include active tuberculosis, gonorrhea, infectious leprosy, and infectious syphilis. HIV was removed from this list on Jan. 4, 2010.
• A physical or mental disorder and a history of behavior associated with the disorder that may pose or has posed a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the applicant or others.
• A physical or mental disorder and a history of behavior associated with the disorder that may pose or has posed a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the alien or others, and which behavior is likely to recur or lead to other harmful behavior.
• Abuse of or addiction to drugs usually determined by the history you provide to the doctor regarding your past and current condition.

Getting And Keeping A Copy Of Your Medical Exam Form

Once the doctor has completed the exam, they will notify you to return to the office and pick it up in a sealed envelope, which you should include in your residency filing package. However, you are entitled to a copy of the exam and you should have it to make sure that the form has been properly signed by you and the doctor before submitting to the USCIS, since incomplete forms will be rejected and can delay your residency process. So be sure to notify the doctor’s staff that you want a copy of the forms once it is completed and signed, before the original is placed in the sealed envelope. There is no prohibition against you having a copy, just don’t open the sealed envelope to get it. And don’t let the doctor’s staff tell you that you are not allowed to have a copy, this is totally false.

Final Notes

All medical exams on or after November 1, 2018 are only valid for 60 days after the doctor signs and dates the form. For example, if your doctor signs and dates the form in August, but you don’t file your residency case until October more than 60 days later, the medical is no longer valid. The good news is that all exams performed on November 1, 2018 and after are now valid for two years, rather than one once they are submitted.

Visit the USCIS webpage: USCIS Medical Examination

Question: My U.S. Citizen brother got his American naturalization back in 2009 and filed for my immigration papers in 2010. At that time I was single, but now I’m getting married by the end of this year. My question is whether my upcoming marriage will delay my immigration case.
Answer: Under Immigration regulations, brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens are in a category called F4, which includes the sibling, his or her spouse and all minor children (under age 21). As a result, any spouse or child the foreign sibling acquired after the U.S. Citizen’s sibling files the immigration petition, will be automatically included and allowed to immigrate to the U.S.. Therefore, your upcoming marriage will not have any bad consequences on the Immigrant petition filed on your behalf by your U.S. Citizen brother. Once the immigration process is in the final stages, approximately 14 years after the case is filed, your U.S. Citizen brother can notify the National Visa Center that you have married and provide all the relevant information including Birth and Marriage Certificates for your spouse and any children you may have at that time. I hope this is helpful.
Question: I have a question about a case my mom filed for me back in 2012. I’m 30 years old now. How much more time do I have to wait before I can immigrate to the us? 
Answer: The time that it takes for an adult child to immigrate to the U.S. depends upon several factors. First, whether the adult is the child of a U.S. Resident or U.S. Citizen. For adult children of U.S. Citizens, it takes about 7 years waiting time for single children and 12+ years or more if married. For adult children of U.S. Residents, only those that are single are eligible, and the waiting time is approximately 6 years. There is no immigration category for married children of U.S. Residents. So to answer your question, you’ll need to let me know whether your mother is a Resident or Citizen and whether you are single or married. 

Find out more about waiting times for family visas

Question: I have been on DACA for 5 yrs now and I am wondering if there is anything I could do to speed up my process to obtain citizenship? I have my work permit but it expires every few years and I need to reapply so I'm frustrated and want to know if there's anything extra I can do to make my status permanent? 
Answer: For now, under existing law, there is nothing a Dreamer holding DACA status can do to obtain Residency (green card) or Citizenship, with a few exceptions, including a real marriage (for love) to a U.S. Citizen, as long as the DACA holder entered the U. S. legally. However, if Trump is defeated in 2020 and the Democrats win the Presidential election next year and increase representation in the Senate, there may be a possibility for getting Immigration Reform which would include some path to Residency and Citizenship for those like you with DACA status. Keep your fingers crossed. 
Family Immigration – Why Does It Take So Long?​

​Many Americans and Immigrants alike believe that once a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Resident sponsors a family member to immigrate to the U.S., the only delay in their relative actually immigrating is the time it takes the USCIS to process the case. 

This often causes quite a bit of confusion and frustration for sponsors and family members who are unsure about how long the immigration process will actually take and how to determine how much more time they will need to wait.
Category/Family Relationship

F1 Single, Adult Children of U.S. Citizens
(and their minor children under 21)

F2A Spouses & Minor Children of U.S. Residents

F2B Single, Adult Children of U.S. Residents
 (and their minor children under 21)

F3 Married, Adult Children of U.S. Citizens
(their Spouses & minor children under 21)

F4 Siblings (Brother/Sisters) of U.S. Citizens
(their Spouses & minor children under 21)
7 years

**Currently No Waiting Time

6  years

12 years

14 years
Approx Wait Time
Simply put, Immigration waiting lines are based not upon processing time, but instead upon supply and demand. This means that since there are only a certain number of Immigrant Visas available each year to family members in immigration categories, if too many visa applications are filed, the long and longer the line gets. So in a way, when a family petition is filed to sponsor a relative, even though there are no immigrant visas available at the time, the application is put in a line behind all the others who applied earlier, waiting to get to the front of the line. It’s kind of like a “rain check”, when you go to the store to buy an item on sale and the store is out of stock, once the stock becomes available again, you can complete your purchase – which in this case – can take many years. Visit the Visa Bulletin to view the current waiting lines for Family and Employment Immigrant Visas. 

You can read a full explanation of Family Immigrant Visa lines and processing to give yourself a fuller understanding of the issue.

The chart below gives readers an idea of the various family categories and waiting lines for all countries except China, Mexico & Philippines, which often have waiting  lines exceeding 20 years or more due to high demand:
Those who did not enter the U.S. legally are generally not entitled to obtain any new immigration status in the U.S., even when married to a U.S. citizen unless a Waiver is obtained.

If your I-94 card is lost, stolen or seriously damaged, you can apply to replace it by filing Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Arrival-Departure Document. You also may file Form I-102 if you wish to receive a replacement I-94 card with corrected information on it — for example, if the immigration officer spelled your name wrong on the initial I-94 card. The nonrefundable filing fee for Form I-102 is $445. It generally takes about 60 days to receive the I-94 replacement card in the mail.

Under the new electronic I-94 system implemented in 2013, international visitors are no longer issued paper I-94 cards upon entry into the U.S.. Instead, individuals are provided with instructions on accessing their I-94 records online and printing the I-94 card out from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. You can visit the CBP site to print out your paper I-94 cards:

Get Your I-94 Printout -U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)