Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: September  30,  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
Question: my girlfriend has her green card through her parents and lives in Lauderhill. I am in school in Jamaica and can take time off, so I come to visit her every few months since she works and cannot come see me. I came in last week through immigration and it was a nightmare. The officer was demanding I tell him why I had come here 4 times in the past 6 months and why was I here again. I explained that I was a student and had time off and was visiting friends here. He was not satisfied and asked me to show him my phone so he could see my texts and I was afraid if I didn’t he would cancel my visa and send me back, so I put in the password and gave it to him and he looked at my texts and saw messages between me and my girlfriend with some very personal pictures. He laughed, but said this was the last time I could come this year, gave me 30 days, instead of 6 months and he wrote a note in my passport about me not being able to change status here. After that, me and my girlfriend had a talk this weekend and decided its too risky for me to go back because I maybe cannot come back here until who knows when. Our question is can we get married and file my immigration papers even though the officer only gave me a month to stay and the note says I cannot file anything? Is there something you can do to fix this for us?
Answer: Sorry to hear about your bad experience going through immigration inspections. It is becoming more and more common for the Dept of Homeland Security (DHS) to use personal data, including those on cell phones, computers and social media, when a CBP officer suspects a traveler may be coming to the U.S. too often and may be working or intending to immigrate or engaging in other activities which violate immigration regulations. These days, much of our lives are public and increasingly this information is used by the DHS for border and immigration purposes. Since the CBP officer did allow you to enter the U.S., regardless of his admonition, once you get married and your Residency petition is filed, you will be allowed to legally remain in the U.S. while your adjust of status is processing. You will not be required to leave the U.S. by the date the officer wrote in your passport. It is important to note that up until recently, spouses of U.S. Residents (green card holders) had to wait in a two year visa waiting line and were not allowed to stay in the U.S. past the authorized period of stay. However, as of July 1st 2019, the F2A immigration category for spouses and children of residents is “current”, meaning that spouses and children who are legally in the U.S. and whose stay has NOT expired are eligible to file for adjustment of status, while this unusual situation lasts. Other family members like adult children and sibling of U.S. Citizens and spouses and children of Residents are not allowed to stay in the U.S. past their authorized stay and in most cases, lose their eligibility to get a Green Card once they overstay. I’ve attached a document list for you so we can get started on your residency case.
Immigration How To:
How Do I   I Know If I Should Appeal My Case Denial?
To Appeal Or Not To Appeal, That Is The Question!

As most are aware, immigration application denials are much more common these days than in the past, and are often issued without even allowing an applicant the chance to provide additional evidence to prove eligibility. Even worse, most applicants receiving denials who have fallen out of legal immigration status, are now also at risk for deportation under the new NTA rule. As a result, it’s important to understand the options available once a case is denied and whether filing for review is appropriate. 
Don’t Get ICE’d - Understanding Your Risks and Protecting Your Rights!

Trump’s 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, it is prudent for immigrants who do not have legal immigration status to have contingency plans in case of arrest and detention. And while Immigration advocates and attorneys like myself provide vital advice and assistance to many in need, for most, current Immigration laws provide few, if any legal options. 
Less Than Two Weeks Remaining To File Immigration Case
 Before Trump’s Public Charge Rule Takes Effect!
In the coming days, a new immigration rule is scheduled to take effect which will forever change residency and visa eligibility requirements for many immigrants and non-immigrants alike. So with less than two weeks remaining to file residency and other applications, it is important to know that all applications must be RECEIVED by the USCIS, no later than October 14th. 
E-Notification, Don’t file Your Case Without It!
You can get a text message from USCIS when your immigration application is received & updates on case processing!

Even with all the anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies coming out of the Trump Administration, many of the useful tool to help immigrants file and track their cases, put in place during the Obama era still remain. The USCIS offers several ways for Applicants to get updates on newly filed and pending Immigration cases. Immigrants and Sponsors filing Immigration applications with the USCIS can sign-up to receive text messages and email E-notifications confirming application receipt by the USCIS, along with the case receipt number(s). The receipt number allows individuals to track the status of their case online. E-notifications are issued within 24 hours after the USCIS receives the application.
Any application received AFTER that date, even though it is postmarked before October 15, will be rejected. Applications should be sent using Express Mail, or by Fedex, UPS or DHL for at least next day or 2-day delivery. Current immigration forms which will be revised according to the rule, which will no longer be accepted by the USCIS on or after October 15th include: Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (current revision date 7/15/2019) , Form I-864 Affidavit of Support (current version date 3/6/2018), and Form I-539 Application To Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status (current version date 2/4/2019), among others.

For background, on August 14, 2019 the Trump administration released its sweeping “public charge rule”, scheduled to take effect on October 15, 2019, which is expected to severely restrict the ability of many otherwise eligible immigrants to obtain residency (green cards) in the U.S.. The rule applies to many non-immigrants as well. The new rule not only expands the types of government benefits, which disqualify immigrants, but also further requires that the immigrant provide proof that he or she will not be likely to use any kind of prohibited public aid at any time in the future. USCIS officers will use assessment forms to determine positive and negative factors when making a determination in each immigrant’s case, using Age, Health, Family status, Assets, Resources and Financial status (including credit scores), Education, Skills and Proficiency of English to evaluate whether they believe the immigrant qualifies. 

Immigrants who are not able to work to support themselves, including children under age 18 and adults over age 61 may be deemed more likely to need government assistance. This is especially true of elderly parents, including those with disabilities and chronic health conditions. Immigrants who are not proficient in English, as well as those who lack “adequate education and skills to either obtain or maintain employment” would be penalized. Finally, the new rule requires immigrants to submit a form I-944 “Declaration of Self-Sufficiency” providing financial, asset and other information. Those 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.

And while over thirteen (13) states have filed suit to prevent the Trump administration from applying its new "public charge" rule, to date there has not been a ruling from a Federal court stopping the Department of Homeland Security from implementing the rule. So we should assume for now that it will be going forward. Stay tuned…

Read the new Public Charge final rule
Draft form I-944 “Declaration of Self-Sufficiency” 
Trump’s new ‘Public Charge’ Rule And What It Means For Immigrants
13 States Sue Trump To Stop The “Public Charge” Rule From Taking Effect On October 15th!
To request e-notification, download and complete form G-1145 and mail along with all Immigration applications. Once you receive your case number, go to the USCIS website and sign up for Email Status updates on your case through the USCIS My Case Status program. Once you register and enter your case number(s), the USICS will automatically email you notifications and updates on any actions take on your case so that you are better informed about your case status. 

For instance, once your Immigration application is filed, the USCIS may issue you a letter requesting more evidence in order to continue processing the case. If you are registered to receive case status updates, you will receive an email notification that the USCIS has issued the request, which helps you to be aware that you should be receiving the request by mail soon. If you have not received the request, you can then make further inquiries. Similarly, once you respond to the USCIS request, you will receive an updated email notification that they have received your documentation. It’s a great way to stay informed and keep up to date on the status of your case as it is being processed.
Upcoming USCIS Naturalization Information Sessions
 In South Florida For October
The USCIS has scheduled the following Naturalization Information Sessions in Miami for the month of October:

Northeast Dade Aventura Library, 2930 Aventura Blvd. Aventura, FL 33180 10/03/19 6:30 - 7:45 p.m (English/Spanish)

Kendall Branch Library, 9101 SW 97th Avenue, Miami, FL 33176 10/02/19 6 - 7:30 p.m. (English/Spanish)
Trump’s Department Of Justice Seeks Court Order To Deport Haitians
In November 2017, the Trump Administration announced its decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians.

 This policy against Haitians was in stark contrast to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign speech given to Haitians, telling them to vote for him, not Hillary Clinton, since he would be their “greatest champion”. In fact, many Haitians did vote for Trump, only to find that he was not their champion, but instead, their adversary, seeking to send them back to an unstable political environment and fragile economy, in a country still recovering from a devastating earthquake in 2010.
Before TPS was terminated, a Federal court blocked Trump’s cancellation of the program, instead ordering the administration to extend protected status. However earlier this month, the Department of Justice asked a Federal appeals court to overturn the lower court ruling and allow the government to terminate TPS for Haitians in order to deport tens of thousands of Haitian nationals back to Haiti.

For now, the case remains pending, awaiting a decision on the Trump administration’s request, while the fate of thousands of innocent Haitians and their families hang in the balance.  


Question: I became a citizen in 2012 and put in the papers for my sister and her husband. I got the receipt way back then, but nothing else. I know it takes a long time but its been 7 years already and I haven’t heard nothing. I call the immigration and they said the case was still processing. My sister keeps asking me about it and I don’t know what to tell her. I want to know if you can get this sorted out for us as soon as possible and get the case expedited. thank you.
Answer: That is a great question. I understand your frustration. For background, the waiting line for siblings (the F-4 Immigration category) is about 14 years. It is confusing because the USCIS processing time for the actual I-130 family petition you filed is what the USCIS website is referring to, since it now takes about 10 years for the USCIS to process and approve the case. You can check the current USCIS processing times on its website by clicking on the “current processing times” link and choosing the form I-130, then the USCIS service center listed on the I-130 receipt (called the I-797 Notice of Action). Once the case is approved by the USCIS, it sends the file to the National Visa Center (NVC) to hold until a visa becomes available. This is where it gets tricky. The National Visa Center is in charge of holding Immigration cases until Immigrant Visas become available, then taking care of processing the case for the U.S. consulate in order for Immigrants to receive their interview so that they can be issued Immigrant Visas and proceed to finally immigrate to the U.S.. 

There are long waiting lines for most family members to immigrate to the U.S. depending upon their relationship to the U.S. Resident or Citizen sponsor and also depending upon their nationality. The general waiting line for siblings of U.S. Citizens is 14 years for all countries except China, India, Mexico and the Philippines which are longer. You can keep up to date on the monthly visa availability by visiting the Visa Bulletin website. Once the NVC receives the case, it will send you a letter/email notifying you that consular processing is beginning. Nothing happens between now and then. If you move before the I-130 case is approved, make sure you update the USCIS online by changing your address. If you move after the I-130 is approved, make sure you notify the NVC. There is no way to expedite the process because it is not a matter of “processing”, it is a matter of too much demand for too few Immigrant visas for siblings. Since you filed the case in 2012, you should receive the I-130 approval notice by 2022 and a visa should be available sometime around 2025 or 2026. Once the visa bulletin shows that a visa is available in the F4 immigration category, you will receive a letter or email from the NVC notifying you that consular processing has begun. I can file an attorney representation notice to begin representing you and to get notifications from the USCIS and later the NVC to keep track of case processing. Once final processing begins, I will take care of preparing all the financial affidavits of support and other required documents necessary to finalize the case and get the family through the consular interview process so that they can finally join you here in the U.S..
Question: Hi I am filing my citizenship papers and want to know do I need to send my pictures to immigration with my application?
Answer: No, USCIS no longer requires that you provide photos when filing your Naturalization application. Your digital photos are taken when you attend your Biometrics appointment at the local USCIS office once you file your case. I hope this is helpful.
As a result, 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. 

You can download the latest IDP’s KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Under the new NTA rule, the USCIS will hold off on issuing a deportation notice for at least 33 days, giving the applicant a chance to file a motion or appeal (for review). If the applicant files for review, the USCIS will not take any further action until the review process is complete. This provides applicants with the opportunity to file a motion or appeal and wait for a decision, which can take 3 to 12 months depending upon the case type, buying some precious time before the issuance of an NTA. 

Many types of immigration case denials can be appealed to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) or Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) within 33 days, and those which cannot, can still be requested for review or reconsideration. And with so much on the line, it’s important to know the difference between the options for review and what they require. An appeal is based upon the argument that the denial was based upon either an error in the application of the law or the officer’s interpretation of law to the facts of a case. A motion can either be requested to reopen a case, based upon new facts or documents not available to have been previously submitted with the original application or to reconsider the case, due to the USCIS having misapplied or misinterpreted the law and/or facts of the case or both. For practical purposes, filing an appeal or request for review or reconsideration does not mean that it will be approved and the USCIS filing fee is $675. But, given the current risks involved in USCIS denials and deportation, the risk may be well worth it, particularly in cases where an applicant is clearly eligible, but did not provide adequate documentation with the immigration application, or provided requested information after the USCIS deadline (with a reasonable explanation) which can now be provided. Ironically, when an appeal or motion is filed, it’s frequently the same USCIS officer who originally denied the case, that gets to review or reconsider the case and either affirm the original denial or reverse it and approve the case. In an appeal case, if the USCIS officer decides not to approve the case, the appeal will automatically be sent to the AAO or BIA for a final decision. For Motions, the officer’s decision not to reopen or reconsider is final. Ultimately, the filing of an appeal or motion is important and should be well prepare and properly submitted. As a result, it often best to seek immigration advice from a qualified attorney regarding eligibility for any immigration application BEFORE filing and if denied, guidance on whether or not to proceed with an appeal or motion. 

You can get free information about filing Appeals and Motions by calling our office at: 954-382-5378.