About Jennifer Varughese

Jennifer S. Varughese is the lead immigration attorney at Livesay & Myers, P.C. Her immigration law practice covers both family-based and employment-based green cards, temporary visas, adjustment of status for those already present in the country, citizenship, and deportation cases. Ms. Varughese has been recognized for her work in the area of the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.

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Immigration Updates From the 2015 AILA National Conference

Posted on June 30th, 2015, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. No Comments

Recently, the immigration team at Livesay & Myers, P.C. attended the AILA Annual Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. AILA (the American Immigration Lawyers Association) is the largest professional organization for immigration attorneys worldwide. The four-day conference was filled with educational seminars and the latest updates in immigration law. Here are some noteworthy highlights from the conference:

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) confirmed that 18 new judges were hired in June to fill an urgent need in immigration courts nationwide. Unfortunately, no new judges will be placed in our local courts in Arlington, Virginia or Baltimore, Maryland. In Arlington, hearings for new, non-detained immigrants continue to be scheduled for 2019.
After a several-week technological outage for many embassies and consulates worldwide, the Department of State reported that all visa-issuing posts are back online. To help clear a backlog, some 410,000 nonimmigrant … Read More »


Immigration Law Updates for May 2015

Posted on April 30th, 2015, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. No Comments

Immigration law continues to be a hotbed of legal and political activity in the United States. As we enter May 2015, here are updates on three important areas of immigration law:

Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)

In November 2014, President Obama announced a new plan for executive action on immigration, which included Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). As explained in my earlier blog post, DAPA permits immigrants who have sons or daughters who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to not only remain in the U.S. but receive work permits as well. The President’s executive action immediately came under scrutiny. On February 16, 2015, a judge in Texas issued a nationwide injunction to stop implementation of DAPA. On April 17, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit … Read More »


Is Virginia Larceny an Aggravated Felony for Immigration?

Posted on January 28th, 2015, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. No Comments

In my immigration practice, one of the most common issues I come across is a theft-related crime in the background of my immigrant client. Whether a non-citizen is applying for a green card, a green card holder is coming back into the country after a trip abroad, or a green card holder is applying for naturalization, a theft-related conviction can have dire consequences.

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit took a closer look at Virginia’s grand larceny statute, Virginia Code § 18.2-95, to see if grand larceny in Virginia constitutes a theft “aggravated felony” for immigration purposes. To be deemed an aggravated felon for a theft conviction, the immigrant must have been convicted of an actual theft offense that carries with it a term of imprisonment of at least one year. In Omargharib v. Holder, Mr. Omargharib, … Read More »


President Obama Announces New Immigration Plan

Posted on November 21st, 2014, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. No Comments

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a new plan for executive action on immigration, which will offer temporary relief from deportation to millions of undocumented immigrants. The highlights of the plan include:

Deferred Action. Under the new plan, undocumented immigrants can receive work permits if they satisfy ALL of these criteria:

Entered the U.S. before January 1, 2010;
Not in any kind of lawful status as of November 20, 2014;
Have a son or daughter who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder);
Do not have various convictions, ties to gangs or terrorism, etc.; and
Do not present other factors that negatively affect a granting of deferred action.

DACA. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is a program announced in 2012, which allows certain individuals to receive work permits and be safe from deportation. President Obama’s new executive action expands the DACA program … Read More »


Gubernatorial Post-Conviction Relief and Immigration

Posted on September 16th, 2014, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. No Comments

As I detailed in Chaidez Case Limits The Reach Of Padilla and Post-Conviction Relief And Immigration Consequences, the area of post-conviction relief is a hot topic for non-citizens living in the U.S. Generally speaking, post-conviction relief is the means by which one convicted of a criminal offense seeks help in the form of a conviction modification or even the vacating of the conviction itself. The result in my Virginia Supreme Court case, Commonwealth v. Morris, unfortunately reduced the time in which one may try to collaterally attack a conviction in a Virginia court.

What about the issue of elected officials modifying a conviction in some manner? Is this a plausible means of relief in Virginia and beyond? In Sharma v. Taylor et. al., we will see exactly how a federal court views post-conviction relief in the naturalization context. My client in this case … Read More »


Green Cards Through the Immigration Registry

Posted on July 21st, 2014, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. No Comments

I recently handled the immigration case of an individual who has resided in the U.S. since the late 1950s. Having entered on a farmworker visa and then falling out of status once the visa expired, my client filed for a green card based on a little-known program in the U.S. called Registry. Quite simply, Registry allows for a person to obtain a green card (or permanent residency) if they can prove physical and continuous presence in the U.S. since January 1, 1972.

Other criteria for a green card through the Registry include that the individual is:

a person of good moral character;
not ineligible for citizenship; and
not deportable as a terrorist or inadmissible for engaging in Nazi persecution, genocide, torturous acts, or extrajudicial killings.

Importantly, the applicant must have proof of his/her continuous physical presence in the U.S. since 1972. Such proof includes: bills, … Read More »


Criminal Convictions and Fiance Visas

Posted on May 27th, 2014, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. No Comments

In 2006, the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (AWA) was signed into law. Among its more well-known features, the AWA revised requirements for sex offender registration. Lesser known, however, is the significant detrimental effect the AWA can have on U.S. citizens who seek to sponsor loved ones for fiancé/fiancée visas or other U.S. immigration benefits.

Perhaps it’s best to start with an example. Jack, a U.S. citizen, and Jill, a citizen of a foreign country, meet and fall in love. Jack and Jill get married. Jill needs a green card to either enter or remain in the U.S., so Jack files the requisite paperwork on her behalf. While their application is pending, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues a Notice of Intent to Deny letter, threatening to deny Jack’s petition based on an incident from his past … Read More »


The Affidavit of Support in Immigration Law

Posted on April 1st, 2014, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. No Comments

The Affidavit of Support is an immigration law document that places special obligations on an immigrant’s sponsor. It is very important that both those signing the document (i.e., U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents) and the sponsored immigrants understand exactly what an Affidavit of Support is, and what it means. It is also important that family law attorneys, who may see such documents in divorce proceedings, have a general understanding of the Affidavit of Support.

To aid in the understanding of sponsors, immigrants, and family law attorneys, here are answers to five frequently asked questions about the all-important Affidavit of Support:

What is an Affidavit of Support? The Affidavit of Support is a document an individual signs to accept financial responsibility for another person, usually a relative, who is coming to the United States to live permanently. Make no mistake, the Affidavit … Read More »


Immigration Court Delays: When Will Your Case Be Heard?

Posted on February 26th, 2014, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. Comments Off on Immigration Court Delays: When Will Your Case Be Heard?

Proceedings in present day immigration court present a very stark contrast. Many cases now drag on for many months or even years before being heard. But when an immigrant’s day in court finally arrives, overcrowded court dockets often leave the judge with only a few minutes to decide the fate of the immigrant and their family.

If you or a loved one are currently going through deportation (now known as removal) proceedings in immigration court, and have filed an application for relief, you are likely aware of the sometimes extraordinary length of time it takes to resolve a case. Lengthy delays for a trial (known as an Individual Hearing) are commonplace in many of the 50+ immigration courts located in 29 states.

Our local court in Arlington, Virginia currently has five immigration judges (often referred to as IJs), after losing one to retirement earlier in the year. Perhaps … Read More »


Justin Bieber Faces Deportation

Posted on January 29th, 2014, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. Comments Off on Justin Bieber Faces Deportation

Reports of pop star Justin Bieber’s recent run-ins with the law have dominated the news. Certainly, many young stars in the throes of fame find themselves in similar situations. What adds an extra wrinkle to Bieber’s situation, however, is the fact that, as a Canadian citizen, criminal activity can jeopardize his U.S. immigration status.

Bieber currently holds an O-1 visa. O-1 visas are given to those individuals who demonstrate “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, education, athletics, or the arts. Such ability in the arts means that the individual is renowned, leading, or well-known in their field of creative endeavor. Examples of O-1 visa holders include: NBA star Dirk Nowitzki, Israeli concert pianist Inon Barnatan, and Canadian author Jennifer Gould Keil. The O-1 visa holder is given an initial stay of up to three years, followed by extensions for one-year increments.

Bieber now faces a litany of criminal charges, including: … Read More »


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