Whether it lasts for a few days or several weeks, the federal government shutdown is already having an immediate impact on the U.S. immigration system. Here is a summary of the most recent updates from various immigration agencies and departments:
Department of Homeland Security.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – detention and enforcement will continue.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – all offices are open, so green card, naturalization, asylum, and all other interviews will continue as scheduled.
Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR – Immigration Courts). Locally, the Arlington and Baltimore immigration courts are open but operations are limited. At this time, the courts are only hearing cases of individuals who have been detained.
Department of State. Embassies and consulates worldwide will continue to operate until their operating funds are depleted. This could result in … Read More »
After learning of an increase in L-1 visa denials at this summer’s annual AILA Conference, our office began to see just how extensive these denials have become. As a reminder, an L-1 visa can be used by a U.S. company to bring foreign workers from an overseas branch, parent company, subsidiary, or affiliate. L-1 visas are divided into two categories: 1) L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager and 2) L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge. A brief summary of both types is provided below as well as some of the current issues with L-1B visas, in particular.
L-1A Visa – General Description
This visa allows a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from an affiliated foreign office to work in the U.S. It can also be used by a foreign company to send an executive or manager to the U.S. to … Read More »
Recently, I attended the 2013 AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) national conference in San Francisco. This conference brings together some of the best and brightest immigration practitioners nationwide. After attending numerous sessions, I gained new insight into a variety of topics. Below are some of the main highlights:
Nonimmigrants who are accustomed to receiving paper I-94 cards upon entry into the United States may be pleased to hear that Customs now issues paperless I-94s to those traveling by air or sea. The foreign national will be able to print a computer-generated copy of the paperless I-94 online here. It is a good idea to review the computer version for accuracy and then print and staple the I-94 into a passport.
During the Conference, on June 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, also known as … Read More »
I thought I’d take this opportunity to depart from my usual blogs on U.S. immigration law and procedure to showcase how immigration law works on the international stage. By now, many of you have heard of the former CIA official, Edward Snowden, who is facing a world of trouble for revealing a secret surveillance program run by the U.S. government. Lauded by some as a hero and denounced by others as a traitor, Snowden, a U.S. citizen, is now trying to do something that may sound peculiar at first – seek asylum in another country. Each year, scores of individuals come to the United States seeking asylum based on meeting a standard of past or potential future persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Is it possible, however, that the U.S. … Read More »
With Congress seemingly moving closer to passing comprehensive immigration reform, NPR recently ran a story on the lack of qualified immigration attorneys available to help the millions of immigrants who will need legal assistance under the new plan. In a previous post, I detailed some simple steps immigrants can take to prepare for immigration reform. In this post, I’ll talk more specifically about the need of immigrants for qualified and trustworthy legal counsel in applying for relief under the new legislation.
The NPR article highlights the problems many immigrants encounter in dealing with attorneys or non-attorneys who make grand promises with little to back them up. Hoping to make large profits, these individuals prey on the immigrant population. In the coming months, the possibility for fraud is higher than ever. Be wary of individuals who urge immigrants to hire them before reform even … Read More »
Many immigration applications require an applicant to demonstrate extreme hardship. In light of the recent decision by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to allow hardship waiver processing in the U.S., this hardship determination is particularly important. Many immigrants and their loved ones often wonder, though, what is extreme hardship? Does my case rise to the level of “extreme”?
Before jumping into the relevant factors, it is helpful to consider who actually needs to suffer the extreme hardship in order to qualify. Here are some examples of the “qualifying relatives” for three common waivers:
Unlawful presence waiver – extreme hardship must be to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent;
212(h) waiver for certain crimes – extreme hardship must be to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent, son, or daughter; and
212(i) waiver for misrepresentation/fraud – extreme hardship must be to … Read More »
On February 20, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a much-awaited decision on the retroactivity of its March 2010 decision, Padilla v. Kentucky. As a reminder, under Padilla, the Court held that the Sixth Amendment requires a defense attorney to inform a non-citizen of the deportation risk of a guilty plea. In Chaidez v. United States, the Court held that Padilla is not retroactive. In other words, non-citizens cannot allege ineffective assistance of counsel for convictions finalized before the Padilla decision was issued in March 2010.
In my August 22, 2012 article Post Conviction Relief and Immigration Consequences, I summarized the then-current state of post-conviction relief in the U.S., focusing on Virginia in particular. Thousands of non-citizens found reason for hope after the Supreme Court issued its landmark Padilla decision. But then hope hung in the balance after … Read More »
This has been an exciting week for immigration law in the United States. On Monday, a bipartisan group of senators revealed a comprehensive immigration reform plan. On Tuesday, President Obama largely endorsed the senators’ plan. In the next few months, lawmakers will undertake the difficult task of drafting, and then voting on, proposed legislation.
The plans proposed by the President and the bipartisan group of senators both contain one very important element: a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants presently living in the U.S. These immigrants would obtain a “probationary” or “provisional” legal status followed by a green card and then U.S. citizenship.
Although several details must be ironed out, the immigration reform plan that Congress and the President are likely to enact should open up tremendous new opportunities for green cards and citizenship for millions of people who where … Read More »
2013 is poised to be a significant year for immigrants in the United States. From deferred action for young immigrants to new rules for extreme hardship waivers, and from new policies regarding prosecutorial discretion to the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform, this is a critical time for immigrants.
In this environment, good legal counsel will be essential to obtaining any immigration benefit. In that light, on Thursday, January 17, 2013, the immigration department at Livesay & Myers, P.C. will be hosting its first Open House of the year. Free, 30-minute consultations will be given between the hours of 9:30 – 5 p.m. at our Manassas office located at 9408 Grant Avenue, Suite 402, Manassas, 20110. Though walk-in appointments will be accommodated on a case-by-case basis, interested individuals are strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment in advance by calling 571-208-1267.
As the dust has now largely settled on the recent Presidential election, we can put voting aside until the next State or Federal election. Regardless of whether your particular candidate won, I think we can all acknowledge that voting in America remains a truly safe and democratic process that is simply not present in some countries.
Gaining the right to vote is one of the most prized features of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. I have watched many clients describe, with great fervor, their excitement over voting for the very first time as an American citizen. It’s a particular type of fervor that reminds me to never take such a privilege for granted.
On the other hand, non-citizens who, purposefully or inadvertently, vote or simply register to vote in State or Federal elections can land themselves in some very hot water. Not only … Read More »