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1)     
Options for Individual or Family
Immigration and Citizenship Issues

 

Applying
for a Marriage-based Green Card is one of the most popular options for
having someone become a permanent resident of the United States.  With this process a U.S. citizen petitions to
have his/her spouse receive a specific type of Green Card.

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Understanding DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals began
when President Obama, on June 18, 2012, announced that some immigrants who came
to the U.S. as children would be allowed to remain temporarily in the U.S.,
along with an official authorization to work. 
However, it is important to know this status does not grant immigration
status and will not provide a pathway to citizenship.  It is temporary in nature; thus, we recommend
you consult with one of our attorneys to learn how this process works.  We can assure you it is more complicated than
it appears.  Yet please understand the
bottom line, it is basically a temporary authorization to remain in the U.S.
aided by a work authorization.  Based on
our experience, you will want to know some of the other conditions that go
along with DACA, such as the necessity of having a clean criminal record.  Consulting with our attorneys is important
for this reason: Applicants for DACA need to receive a comprehensive evaluation
of their immigration case before filing for DACA status.

LGBT Immigration Policies:
Preserving the rights of the LGBT community remains foremost on the
minds of our attorneys.  To this end we
want to see people in this community receive fair treatment as they navigate
the U.S. immigration system.  Here’s how
things can play out: If someone needs a gay marriage green card or needs to
seek LGBT asylum, they will need access to knowledge vital to proceeding with
confidence.  Again, the system can get
complicated at times.  Immigration law
attorneys must stay committed to simplifying the process, so the needs of the
LGBT community can be met.

I-751 Removing Condition on Residency.  This is usually filed as a joint petition
when both spouses remain married and other conditions are satisfied.  If a couple fails to file a joint petition, a
conditional permanent resident can file this petition without a signature from
his or her spouse.  This process can include
immigration’s examination of a divorce, pending divorce and whether the couple
entered in to the marriage in “good faith.” This form received an important
update on 12/23/2016; our attorneys can help you apply the new ruling.

Naturalization and Citizenship: To qualify for U.S. citizenship,
five basic conditions must be satisfied. 1) you must have maintained lawful
residency for at least five years, or in some cases, three years.  2) You must maintain a continuous physical
presence in the U.S. for a specific length of time.  3) You must be deemed by immigration officials
as a person of good moral character and it needs to be established that you
kept the laws of this country for a sufficient time period.   4) Pass government-made test proving you can
read, write and speak English; however, some exceptions apply to this
stipulation.  5) Pass an exam on U.S.
history, civic issues, and government.

 

601 Waiver: If you are considered inadmissible to the United States and
still would like to obtain an immigrant visa, adjustment of status, certain
nonimmigrant statuses, or certain other immigration benefits, you must file a
601 Waiver form to seek a waiver/removal of certain conditions of
inadmissibility.

Parole in Place
(PIP): This
status is basically a retroactive granting of permission.  It applies when a person entered the U.S.
without permission -thus, it essentially forgives unlawful entry.  This allows specific undocumented family
members of a U.S. Citizen to adjust their status, which often means obtaining
their green card.

Nicaraguan
Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA): Immigrants from specific countries who entered the U.S.
before certain dates and who have applied for asylum or registered for certain
benefits may be eligible for NACARA status. 
Some Cubans, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, along with nationals
of former Soviet bloc countries, as well as their dependents, may be eligible
for possible immigration benefits.  NACARA
may also apply to family members of people who have already received this
benefit.  You may be in a situation where
these benefits could prove useful.  In
that case a consultation with an attorney is certainly advised.

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): When the act was passed it provided for certain protection for men or
women who have suffered abuse from a legal permanent resident of the U.S. who
he or she is married to.  This also
applies to recently divorced men or women. 
Within VAWA’s provisions an abused spouse can be granted permanent
residence or remove the condition attached to his or her “conditional”
residence.  This can also be performed
without the abusive spouse knowing about it. 
Should the abuser not be a legal resident or U.S. citizen, the victim
could qualify for a U Visa.

2)     
Applying
for a Marriage-based Green Card is one of the most popular options
available for becoming a permanent resident of the United States.  With this process a U.S. citizen petitions to
have his/her spouse receive a specific type of Green Card.  Although common, there are steps to the
process that should be consulted with your attorney, first, because the steps
to gaining a Green Card for a spouse may be more complicated than you expected.

There are also strict requirements
to consider.  For one, the applying
couple will need to complete a variety of forms.  You will also need to show proof the marriage
is real.  Next, you will  need to provide some biometrics and medical
examination results.  Both spouses are
required to undergo an interview with an immigration officer from USCIS.  All of this can add confusion to those
seeking a marriage-based Green Card.

3)     
Petition for K-1 Fiancé Visa
is another option found in certain immigration scenarios.  Under its provisions a U.S. citizen can file
a request for a fiancé visa if the couple plans to marry within the U.S., that
is, after the fiancé receives her K-1 visa overseas, among other conditions
which we’re equipped to explain.  Know
this: officials will demand several documents to prove the relationship is
real.  The foreign fiancé will also need
to gather certain civil documents, accept an interview at the U.S. Consulate
abroad, and take a medical exam.  Of
course, there are more considerations to discuss with our experienced
attorneys, for example, what are the available options for the minor children
of a K-1 visa holder?

 

4)      Naturalization and Citizenship: To
qualify for U.S. citizenship, five basic conditions must be satisfied. 1) you
must maintain lawful residency for at least five years, or in some cases, three
years.  2) You must maintain a continuous
physical presence in the U.S. for a specific length of time.  3) You must be deemed by immigration
officials as a person of good moral character and it needs to be established
that you kept the laws of this country for a sufficient period of time.   4) Pass government-made test proving you can
read, write, and speak English; however, some exceptions apply to this
stipulation.  5) Pass an exam on U.S.
history, topics of a civic nature and government.

 

 

5)      Visas for Crime Victims: Immigration
law in the U.S. provides various kinds of protection for
victims of domestic abuse, human trafficking, and other major crimes.  Additionally, the government may assign
immigration status and provide visa for crime victims or those who have
knowledge of a crime and are willing to assist in the criminal investigation of
that crime. We can assist you to obtain a visa for crime victims if your case
relates to any of the following.

 

6)      Asylum: The
definition of this term defines the benefit. 
Basically, government grants safety to an eligible individual who has good
reason to fear certain conditions in his home country.  These ‘conditions’ usually imply danger to
that person, such as possible or likely torture; or possibly, imprisonment for
unjust causes.  Applications for such
status must be filed within one year of a person’s entry into the United
States.  If you think you qualify, you
should consult with one of our attorneys right away.

 

7)     
Temporary
Protective Status: These applications to protective immigration policies
get updated from time to time.  For
instance, the USCIS website reveals the former Acting Secretary of Homeland
Security announced changes to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for
Nicaragua and Honduras.  Certain
countries have acted in ways toward their citizens where the U.S. government,
as a result, sought the need to provide asylum and other protective services.
Our firm stands ready to inform you of these conditions as they develop.

 

8)     
Removing
the two-year condition on residency: If someone wants this condition
removed, he or she must file a petition to remove the conditions on permanent
resident status or risk losing their lawful status.  The two-year requirement applies to someone
married to a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or to a person coming
to the United States as a fiancé of a U.S. citizen, who then marries that
American citizen.  This requires some
navigational ability, so you can grasp the policies of USCIS for the two-year
condition.  Rest assured our attorneys
are equipped to help you.

 

 

9)     
Deportation
Defenses: At times the U.S. government will find reason to send someone
back to their home country.  The reasons
they can do this usually vary, from legal problems to evidence of terrorist
ties with threatening groups abroad. 
Filing  Form I-212 may be your
best defense for allowing a person to return to the U.S.  However, this should be prepared only through
careful legal counsel.  Our attorneys
know the fine points of criminal waivers, noncriminal waivers, prosecutorial
discretion, U Visas, and Motions for Administrative Closure based on I-601-A.

 

10)  
Immigration
Waivers & Appeals: At times the USCIS, an immigration court or the BIA
will deny a case.  When this happens, you
need to act quickly so that you file an appeal on time.  To understand the appeal process more fully,
the plan calls for an attorney to present your case to either the
Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), the 9th circuit Court of
Appeals, or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).  We know how the process works.   Keep
in mind, a provisional unlawful presence waiver only applies to a person who is
physically present in the U.S.  However,
there are more considerations you will need to understand before you initiate
an appeal or request a specific waiver.

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