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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 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 »
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 »
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 »
The new year is a great opportunity to discuss your immigration questions with seasoned professionals. Immigration law is complex, changing in content from year to year and in practice from one federal agency to the next. From extreme hardship waivers to parole in place for military members, green cards for spouses to expedited citizenship, any case benefits from strong counsel.
On Thursday, January 30, 2014, 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 9:00–5:00 p.m. at our Fairfax office located at 3975 University Drive, Suite 325, Fairfax, VA 22030. 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 (703) 865-4746.
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 »