Rourke & Rosenberg LLC

Frequently asked questions

*************** WHAT TO BRING TO YOUR APPOINTMENT ***************

 


 I look forward to meeting you.

Before coming to our office, it is helpful for us to have some information on you so we can best serve you. Please complete this questionnaire as much as possible. Do not worry if you need to skip questions. We will go over your answers when we meet. If you do not have time to mail or fax it, just bring it to your appointment! Being as much of the following as possible, if applicable.

If you cannot complete all the information, do not worry, we can still see you for the initial consultation

Try to bring

Any immigration correspondence, especially notices to appear in immigration court

Copies of any previously filed cases with immigration

Your passport and I-94 card 

Marriage certificate

Divorce and/or death certificates for previous spouses

Birth certificate

Your spouse if in the US

Your permanent resident card if applicable

Tax returns

Passport style photos - Call or email for number needed, depending on your type of case  

For marriage based cases, copies of joint bills and assets 

 


 

Please Print and Complete my CLIENT QUESTIONNAIRE (Click on link)



************************* CATEGORIES OF VISAS *************************

There are several paths to obtain permanent residence. We can help you with any of them!

We will be posting additional information on each category as we continue to develop this website!

1. Family based Categories

    Petitions based on Marriage to a permanent resident or US CitizenThis category includes petitions filed for spouses both within the US and through consular processing. Marriage to a US citizen is the fastest way to permanent residence, but the marriage must be real, and you must prove you have a shared life together. This is a hgh fraud rate category and marriage to a US citizen  for purposes of gaining status is unlawful and can lead to a lifetime bar from ever getting a green card. Be AWARE!    

    Children and sons and daughters of permanent residents or US citizens - Children are defined as under 21, sons and daughters are over 21. However there is the possibility of still being able to sponsor your child who turns 21 after filing, under the Child Status Protection Act. Make an appointment to look at your specific circumstances.

     Petitions for parents of US Citizens - This is also a quick category and sometimes it is easier to bring your parent here as a green card holder than it is to get him/her a visitor visa. Be AWARE - your parent needs to stay in the US more than half the time to keep his/her green card.

     Petitions for siblings of US citizens - This is a very backlogged category but do not despair. I call this the "file it and forget it" category, and one day you will a pleasant surprise when the visa number becomes available. If you never file, there will never be a visa number.

2. Employment Based Categories

    Extraordinary Ability - Are you at the very top of your profession? Have you published? lectured? mentored others? There are plentiful visa numbers if you qualify.

    Exceptional Ability or Workers with Advanced degrees - Do you have a Master's degree or above? This category is similar to the extraordinary ability category. Call for a consultation.   

    Skilled Workers - A minimum of a two year degree or equivalent is required for the sponsored job, includes the professional worker category and previous Schedule A category  

    Unskilled Workers - Requires job offer based on less than two years of experience or education 

    Religious Workers - Do you have a religious vocation or occupation? This category may be right for you, but there are many fraudulent applications and this is one of the categories where you definitely need an experienced attorney to assess your chances of success.

    Special Immigrants  - Includes Investors who invest in a US business that will generate US jobs.

3. Asylum and Refugee - Were you persecuted in your home country on the basis of gender, religion, race, political opinion or membership in a social group? Have you been in the US less than one year? There is a one year deadline to file for asylum, with exceptions only for changed circumstances 

4. Diversity Lottery - Yes, people do win the diversity lottery! Apply as soon as it is announced each year if you come from a qualifying country.  

 


 



*********************************************DIRECTIONS**************************************************

From Downtown Baltimore

Take I-83 N to the Baltimore Beltway I-695. Take I-695 West towards Owings Mills/Pikesville. Exit 20,  MD 140/Pikesville (SOUTH). You will travel .5 mile on Reisterstown Road. You will pass a cemetery on your left. Get in the middle turn lane and turn left onto Old Court Road. You will travel three blocks. Go past the Giant and a row of mailboxes, and turn right at the brown sign, Old Court Executive Park.  We are in Unit 6. Plenty of free parking


FROM WASHINGTON, D.C. and points south:
Take I-95 N to the Baltimore Beltway I-695. Take I-695 towards Towson. Take Exit 20, MD 140/ Reisterstown Road/Pikesville (SOUTH)  You will travel .5 mile on Reisterstown Road. You will pass a cemetery on your left. Get in the middle turn lane and turn left onto Old Court Road. You will travel three blocks. Go past the Giant and a row of mailboxes, and turn right at the brown sign, Old Court Executive Park.  We are in Unit 6. Plenty of free parking


FROM POINTS NORTH
Take I-83 (or I-95 S) to the Baltimore Beltway I-695. Take I-695 West towards Owings Mills/Pikesville. Exit 20, MD 140/ Reisterstown Road/Pikesville (SOUTH). You will travel .5 mile on Reisterstown Road. You will pass a cemetery on your left. Get in the middle turn lane and turn left onto Old Court Road. You will travel three blocks. Go past the Giant and a row of mailboxes, and turn right at the brown sign, Old Court Executive Park.  We are in Unit 6. Plenty of free parking



 



Visa Bulletin News

JULY 2017 VISA BULLETIN

 

What is the Visa Bulletin?

Every Month the US Dpartment of State announces visa availability by type of petiiton and country.  The priority date is established as the date that your initial applicaition is received by USCIS.  The Immigration and Nationality Act sets an annual limit on how many people can immigrate in each category. Some categories are called oversubscribed which means that it can take many years to get a visa. Other categories are only a few months behind in wait time. There are also some types of visas where there is no quota such as marriage to a US citizen. There are unlimited visa numbers in this category.

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:  114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents:  23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens:  65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

A.  FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED
     PREFERENCE CASES

On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and "U" means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date listed below.)

Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-mainland 
born
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES 
F122DEC1022DEC1022DEC1015JAN9615SEP06
F2A08SEP1508SEP1508SEP15 22AUG1508SEP15
F2B01NOV1001NOV1001NOV10 01JUN9601NOV06
F308JUL0508JUL0508JUL0522MAR95 15DEC94
F408MAY0408MAY0422SEP0301AUG9715FEB94
22MAR05
22MAR05

*NOTE: For July, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 22AUG15. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 22AUG15 and earlier than 08SEP15. All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit.

B.  DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED
     VISA APPLICATIONS

The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart below may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa. If a category is designated “current,” all applicants in the relevant category may file applications, regardless of priority date.

The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date which is earlier than the listed date may file their application.

Visit www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo for information on whether USCIS has determined that this chart can be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 4.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS. 

Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland 
born
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES 
F122JUL1122JUL1122JUL1101APR9608SEP07
F2A08APR1608APR1608APR16 08APR16 08APR16
F2B01SEP1101SEP1101SEP1108AUG9622JUL07
F301DEC0501DEC0501DEC0501MAY9501FEB95
F415NOV0415NOV0422JUN0408JAN9808FEB95

5.  Section 203(b) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Employment-based immigrant visas as follows: 

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

First:  Priority Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second:  Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.      

Third:  Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "*Other Workers".

Fourth:  Certain Special Immigrants:  7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth:  Employment Creation:  7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.

A.  FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED
     PREFERENCE CASES

On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and "U" means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date listed below.)

Employ-
ment
based
All Charge-
ability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland 
born
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES
1stC01JAN12C01JAN12CC
2ndC22MAR13C22JUL08CC
3rd08JUN17 01JAN1208JUN17 15FEB06 08JUN17 15MAY14
Other Workers08JUN17 15JUL0608JUN17 15FEB0608JUN17 15MAY14
4thCC15AUG15 15AUG1515AUG15 C
Certain Religious WorkersCC15AUG1515AUG15 15AUG15C
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C08JUN14CCCC
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
C08JUN14CCCC

*Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year. This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program. Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.

B.  DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED
     VISA APPLICATIONS

The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa. If a category is designated “current,” all applicants in the relevant category may file, regardless of priority date.

The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date which is earlier than the listed date may file their application.

Visit www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo for information on whether USCIS has determined that this chart can be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 5.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS. 
 

Employment-
based
All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland 
born
INDIAMEXICO PHILIPPINES 
1stCCCCC
2ndC01OCT1301FEB09 CC
3rdC01SEP1501OCT06C01JUL15
Other WorkersC01JUN0801OCT06C01JUL15
4thCCCCC
Certain Religious WorkersCCCCC
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C01SEP14CCC
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
C01SEP14CCC

6.  The Department of State has a recorded message with the cut-off date information for Final Application Action which can be heard at:  (202) 485-7699.  This recording is updated on or about the tenth of each month with information on final action dates for the following month.



Why People are out of status and Cannot FIx It - For those who ask

My colleague Helen Parsonage prepared  a draft of this answer and I would like to share what she wrote plus some of my own thoughts.

tIn order to take steps, there must be steps to take.

A person can become an undocumented immigrant or go out of status in one of two ways. Some enter the United States across the border without permission or a visa. The
se folks make up about one third of our undocumented population, according to the Center for Migration Studies. The other two thirds came here on a visa of some kind and simply stayed for one reason or another—they ran out of funds to continue school beacsue of finnacial reverses in thier family, they started a family, put down roots, want a better life and education for their children, or simply like it here. Which way they came makes a huge difference.

To become a citizen, an immigrant must first be a permanent resident (or, greencard holder) for 3-5 years. To become a resident, an immigrant must first have someone who is entitled by law to petition for them to receive legal status (typically, a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent, spouse or adult child, or an employer) and then the immigrant must show that they came into the United States legally, with a visa, and stayed here legally the whole time since.

An exception is made for spouses, minor children and parents of United States citizens, who can become residents if they entered with a visa, no matter how long they stayed on after it expired. Everyone else must first wait for a visa to become available (which can take 5-25 years) then leave the United States and get their residency abroad, which requires a ‘pardon’ for having been here undocumented. This pardon is only possible if they can show extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen or resident spouse or parent, and if they only have one period of unlawful presence.

Many are never able to rerturn, and lose houses, cars, family and do not want to take the chance understandably. For many immigrants, the only U.S. citizen relative is their child – who does not qualify them for this type of pardon. Parents of United States citizen children who came in without a visa are almost never going to be able to become residents. There are, of course, some exceptions that fit a tiny minority of these folks, but on the whole most are not able to become residents and therefore cannot become citizens.There is no such thing as an anchor baby

Until there is a path for people to legalize, they either stay here out of status or get deported, losing everything and never seeing thier family again. They pay taxes and never collect social security. They keep our social security system afloat. This needs to be fixed NOW.  



DACA FAQ What to do now?

The President is ending DACA, what do I do now?

On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration set an arbitrary deadline to disenfranchise more than 800,000 young people, declaring the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months. The decision to target some of America’s most talented, diverse, and successful immigrants is morally reprehensible. Immigration Equality will do everything we can to support and uplift this remarkable part of our community. We are with you!

In addition to recognizing the simple fact that America is the only country many DACA recipients have ever known, DACA allowed young immigrants the opportunity to thrive. And, as is always the case, when immigrants succeed so does all of America. Even if DACA ends, we know that you will continue to help secure a better future for everyone! You are strong, you are resilient, and you will overcome this setback.

Many of you have contacted Immigration Equality to ask “what do I do now?” Below, you will find our frequently asked DACA questions. In addition, we know that some of you may be eligible for other immigration benefits. Over the course of the next six months, Immigration Equality will be conducting free legal consultations for LGBTQ or HIV-positive DACA recipients who wish to explore other options.

For those of you who do not have other options, there is still hope. Immigration Equality Action Fund will lobby Congress to demand that they pass the DREAM Act, a bipartisan bill that would provide DACA recipients and other similarly situated young people a pathway to citizenship. To sign up for alerts or to take action in support of our lobbying efforts, click here. We need the DREAM Act now!

 

When will my work authorization expire?

If you currently have DACA, your work authorization will be valid until the expiration date listed on your work authorization document. If your work authorization expires before March 5, 2018, you may apply to renew it for two more years as long as you do so by October 5, 2017.

 

Can I apply for DACA for the first time within the next six months?

No. The Trump Administration will not grant any new DACA applications.

 

I provided the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with my address when I applied for DACA. How likely is it that ICE agents are going to come to my home?

This is a hard question to answer. While the President has indicated that individuals who had DACA will not be a priority for deportation, his general emphasis on deportations should be taken seriously. For as long as you live at an address known by the immigration agents, you are at risk.

 

What do I do if immigration agents or officers come to my home?

If Immigration agents come to your home and ask you if they can enter it, tell them “no.” Make sure your family, friends, loved ones, and anyone else living with you or visiting you also know not to open the door for ICE.

No one can enter your home without permission unless they have a search warrant or an arrest warrant signed by a judge.

If an officer informs you that they have a warrant, ask them to slip it under your door.  Read it carefully. Immigration officers often have papers that look very official but are not judicial warrants. Please also note that immigration agents frequently come to a person’s home very early in the morning and claim to be the police. If someone says that they are a police officer, ask to see their badge. Look closely at the badge for the word “police,” as many immigration officers also have badges. If the officers cannot show you a police badge, they may be immigration officers. Regardless of which agency the officers work for, no one can enter your home without permission unless they have a search warrant or an arrest warrant signed by a judge.

 

How do I stay safe in public?

Being able to prove your identity is important for a lot of reasons in the United States. If possible, avoid carrying a passport or other papers that indicate that you are not in an immigration status. Some states and cities issue local IDs without reference to a person’s immigration status. Even a library card is better than no ID.

If someone approaches you claiming to be an immigration agent, respectfully ask to see their badge. Read it carefully. If they are an ICE agent and you do not have permission to be in the U.S., you always have the right to remain silent. You can also ask to speak to your lawyer before answering any questions.

You always have the right to remain silent. It is better to remain silent than to be dishonest with immigration agents.

If you are searched by immigration agents, note that they are generally not allowed to look in your wallet or to read your papers. A search of a person is generally restricted to looking for weapons or of possession of something illegal. You do not have to consent to any other kind of search.

Do not sign any document you do not understand. Ask to speak with a lawyer and for a hearing in immigration court before signing away any of your rights.

 

What do I do if immigration agents stop me in my car?

If you have a valid driver’s license, you may show that to an immigration officer. If you do not, you should ask if you are under arrest. If you are not, ask if you are free to go. Remember, you can always remain silent. You can also ask to speak to an attorney before you answer any questions. If officers ask if they can search your car or look in your trunk, you have the right to say “no.” Note, however, that if the police have “probable cause” to believe that you are involved in criminal activity, they may search your car anyway.

 

Is it safe for me to travel abroad? What about advanced parole?

If you are not documented in the United States, you should not travel internationally. If you do, it is very likely that you will be prevented from re-entering the United States. It is also likely that any pending immigration applications you have will be deemed by the U.S. government to be abandoned.

Some individuals with pending applications may be eligible for advance parole. Before you apply for or use advance parole, you should consult with a legal representative. Advance parole is not a guarantee that you will be allowed to re-enter the U.S. Under the Trump Administration, we recommend that you avoid travel.

If you have ever been arrested for a crime, convicted of a crime, or even accused of a crime, you should not travel internationally. If you find that you must travel, consult with a reputable immigration attorney before doing so.

 

Is it safe for me to travel domestically?

For those who are not in an immigration status, or who have applications pending, even domestic travel is risky.

If you are undocumented, or if you are waiting on a pending immigration application, you should avoid domestic air, train, or bus travel.

Please note that almost all domestic airports are also international airports. Therefore, immigration agents are very likely to be present at almost every airport. Similarly, there are many roads and highways near the borders of the U.S. where immigration agents set up checkpoints. And, finally, certain train and bus lines are regularly boarded and searched by ICE agents. Long distance travel, or travel near the border, is strongly discouraged.

 

Are U.S. territories such as the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico considered domestic or international travel?

While all U.S. territories are indisputably part of the United States, ICE has begun to police them as though they were foreign jurisdictions. Immigration Equality is currently contesting whether ICE should treat U.S. territories as though they are foreign jurisdictions. Several Immigration Equality clients have been detained by ICE while they were visiting U.S. territories. For example, in March, an asylum-seeker we represent was detained after visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands. Even though he has a valid state ID and a valid work authorization document, ICE detained him anyway. While we are confident that we will win this issue in court, you should avoid travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories if unless you can show that you are a citizen, a permanent resident, or a valid, current visa holder.



IF YOU ARE STOPPED BY CBP ON DOMESTIC FLIGHT - posted February 28, 2017

f you are stopped by CBP within the interior of the US, on a domestic flight, as were the passengers of an SFO to JFK flight last week, while remaining calm and polite, know you have the right to do the following:

1. Ask if the officer has a warrant to speak to you. If the answer is no, ask if you are being detained. If the answer is no, leave.

2. If the CBP officer says you are detained or under arrest, ask what the reasonable suspicion is. If none is articulated, tell them you will be leaving and leave.

3. If you are told that there is a warrant, you are under arrest, or there is reasonable suspicion for detention, say you wish to speak with your lawyer. And say nothing else.

CBP can only stop you (US citizens) in the interior with your consent. They cannot tell by looking at you that you are a citizen. By declining, you not only support the constitution and rule of law, but expose the discriminatory practice for what it is (racial profiling; stopping people who "look like suspected non citizens" which is obviously impossible), and provide some insulation for non-citizens against what is obviously a pure show of force by DHS in sanctuary jurisdictions.

CBP has no independent arrest authority, but can request that a federal prosecutor bring charges for forceful interference with their duties, so do not argue or use your body in any way to avoid or resist them.

If you are a lawyer or other professional with confidential client information on your devices, and you are a US citizen, strongly consider declining to provide any passwords and otherwise denying CBP access to your devices. This far, CBP has only requested this access from people seeking entry to to US. You may be detained for a brief period of time, but you cannot be held or denied entry to the US if you are a citizen. And consider filing a lawsuit in either scenario. I will happily help represent you.

DHS has approval to hire 15,000 new officers, and has sought to reduce both the qualifications of those officers and their background checks, in order to fill this quota set out in the Executive Order on protecting the interior. This will only get worse until it is challenged in court.

Feel free to share



TRAVEL WARNING - JANUARY 30, 2017

Travel Warning: President Trump signed an Executive Order on Friday, January 27, entitled Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States by Foreign Nationals which "suspends" the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry of individuals “from” the 7 countries ofIran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, effective immediately, for a minimum of 90 days, together with other restrictions. Notwithstanding federal court orders enjoining enforcement of the ban, statements and announcements from the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. State Department indicate that both agencies will continue to implement the order, albeit with some possible modifications. Additionally, we are receiving reports that in practice this ban has impacted the entry and admission of permanent residents (green card holders) born in these 7 countries and dual nationals (i.e., persons who are or were nationals or citizens of one of the 7 listed countries notwithstanding they now hold dual nationality or citizenship of a non-listed country), as well as refugees and nonimmigrant visaholders. Hopefully, guidance in the coming days and weeks will bring clarity to this situation. In the meantime, we advise that anyone who might fit into these classes of travelers refrain from international travel. Additionally, because other countries may be added to the current list of 7 countries, we also recommend that non-U.S. citizens who may be affected by the Executive Order similarly refrain from non-urgent travel. In other words, if you are in the U.S. at present and this order could pertain to you, don't leave. If you are outside the U.S. at present and this order could pertain to you, consult with your attorney before trying to return to the U.S.



JANUARY 26, 2017 ADVICE TO CLIENTS IN LIGHT OF TRUMP INITIATIVES

We are sure you are aware that the White House is rapidly issuing executive orders with major impact on immigrants and other individuals who are not U.S. citizens. In light of these developments, we have the following recommendations which could be relevant to you or to someone you know.

1. Be sure that at least two trusted individuals know your name, date of birth, country of origin, and A number if you have one, and have the contact information for our office.
2. If you are a lawful permanent resident, student, visitor, or in other lawful status, carry a copy of your green card, I-94 card, or other proof of status with you.
3. If you are here on a student, visitor, exchange, or temporary worker status, consult with a lawyer before traveling out of the U.S.
4. If you are from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, or Somalia, it is highly likely you will not be able to return if you leave the U.S.
5. If you have DACA, consult with an attorney before traveling on an Advance Parole.
6. If you have a pending I-589 asylum application, I-360 application or I-485 adjustment of status application, carry a copy of the receipt with you and give a copy to a trusted person.
7. If you have a valid social security card, driver’s license, and/or work permit, carry that with you and give a copy to a trusted person.
8. If you are not currently in valid non-immigrant or immigrant status for any reason, and have been in the U.S. for more than two years, assemble proof of your presence here for at least two years. Proof could be bank statements, phone bills, rent receipts, your signature on your children’s report cards, or other documents. Carry a copy of these documents with you, and give a copy a trusted person. Do not carry with you any document that says where you were born. This is because it is possible that individuals who have been in the U.S. for less than two years could be deprived of the right to defend themselves in immigration court.
9. If you are afraid of being persecuted in your home country and have not yet filed for asylum, consult with an immigration attorney as soon as possible to analyze your asylum case.
10. If you have children, they should always have the name and contact information of a trusted person, and the trusted person should have your information.
11. If you do not have a license, do not drive.
12. If you are in a car which is stopped, only the driver has to present a license. Any passenger should only give his name and not answer any other questions. Ask if you are free to leave, if so, leave calmly.
13. If you are stopped by police on the street, do not answer any questions other than your name. Tell them you have the right to remain silent and ask if you are free to leave.
14. If you are arrested. Repeat clearly that you want to remain silent and you want a lawyer. Do not answer any questions other than your name. Call a trusted person and tell them to hire a lawyer.
15. If someone comes to your door saying “Police, open up” DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR. Ask the officials if they have a WARRANT, to pass it under the door. Take a photo of the warrant and send it to a lawyer or other trusted person. If the warrant is not signed by a JUDGE or MAGISTRATE and does not have your name and address on it, you do not have to open the door. Don’t answer any questions.



FAQs After Trump Election - Courtesy of Immigration Equity

Will having a new president affect my marriage?

The marriage battles that we have won over the last ten years are unlikely to be overturned under a new administration. The Supreme Court issued two landmark decisions recognizing the rights of same-sex couples to marry in 2013 and 2015. While the Supreme Court occasionally overrules itself, it does so sparingly and generally only after a very long time has passed. Still, with at least one position open on the Supreme Court, and many more positions open in the federal judiciary, Mr. Trump will likely be able to nominate very conservative judges. As such, it seems probable that anti-marriage advocates will bring cases to try and chip away at marriage equality. Even if this is the case, sponsorship of a same-sex spouse for immigration benefits should remain an option absent a substantial, unconstitutional shift of power in the federal government.

 

Will having a new president affect my asylum case?

The opportunity to file for asylum in the United States has its origins in decades-old international treaties. These in turn were promulgated into statute by Congress many years ago. No president can change a statute without the help of Congress. Therefore, a new president cannot eliminate the asylum system altogether. Similarly, it seems probable that the United States will continue to protect asylum seekers on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. However, presidents have a great deal of say about how the asylum system operates. Mr. Trump may well make it much harder to obtain asylum or delay asylum cases even more than they are now. At the same time, it may also be that the new administration does not change the asylum system at all.

You may be tempted to try to expedite your asylum case before the end of the Obama Administration. While all asylum offices have procedures to speed up cases for people with true emergencies, a fear of a Trump Presidency will not be considered to be an emergency. Please also note that many, many asylum seekers may be trying to expedite their claims too.

 

Will having a new president affect my family-based green card case?

Congress created the laws that allow someone to sponsor a family member for a green card. No president can change a statute without the help of Congress. Therefore, a new president cannot eliminate the green card system altogether. Nevertheless, a president has a lot of say about how the green card system operates. While Mr. Trump has spoken a great deal about immigration, he has not directly addressed the family-based green card system. For now, we assume that the procedures will continue to operate in roughly the same way. However, if you entered the United States without permission, and you’re seeking to apply for a family-based green card, you should speak to an attorney before filing any papers.

 

Should I apply for my green card or for naturalization?

If you are eligible for a green card or to become a citizen, yes, you should do so promptly. Please note that if you filed today, you would likely not receive a decision from the U.S. government until after Mr. Trump has taken office. Nevertheless, becoming a permanent resident or a citizen substantially increases your security to live in America. You may wish to contact an attorney for a consultation if you are unsure of what to do next. Again, if you have any criminal history of any kind, if you have ever filed incomplete or inaccurate immigration or visa papers in the past, or if you came to the U.S. without permission, you should consult with an attorney before filing any paperwork.

 

Will having a new president affect my DACA status?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program created by President Obama in 2012. “Deferred action” has been a tool that many presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, have used for years to prevent certain immigrants from being deported. Through an executive order, President Obama began a form of blanket eligibility of deferred action for immigrant children brought to the U.S. when they were very young. Mr. Trump indicated during his campaign that he would rescind DACA. So far, he has been consistent in that pledge. However, politicians often take a position on a campaign trail that changes after they take office. At the same time, advocates may well attempt to protect DACA through litigation.

Nevertheless, you should plan for and expect changes in DACA. Mr. Trump could cancel DACA and rescind the work authorization of those who currently have deferred action. Or, he may cancel the program, but allow those with DACA to continue with their status until it expires. Because there are more than one scenario that may play out, you should consult with an immigration attorney if you have DACA or if you are considering applying for DACA. We also strongly recommend speaking to an attorney to determine whether you have any other immigration options. You should not rely on DACA as a long-term immigration status.

Many of you have also expressed concern that you may be targeted for deportation if your DACA is revoked. We are concerned too. So far, Mr. Trump has not stated that he will target individuals who once had DACA. But of course, not knowing what might happen provides very little consolation to those who are about to be forced back into the shadows. Regardless of what happens, we stand with the Dreamers. And, we will fight every day to ensure your right to live in America without fear.

 

Will having a new president affect my ability to change my gender identity documents?

Mr. Trump has not specifically indicated that he will reverse the name and gender policies of any agencies. Nevertheless, you should update your documents now if you can. You can find the State Department’s current gender marker policy here: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/information/gender.html. Homeland Security’s policy is here: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Outreach/Feedback%20Opportunities/Interim%20Guidance%20for%20Comment/Transgender_FINAL.pdf

 

Will having a new president affect my immigration case if I am a person living with HIV?

Mr. Trump has not specifically mentioned people living with HIV in the immigration context. The previous immigration and travel ban for people living with HIV was statutory, and overturned by Congress in 2010. It seems very unlikely that such a ban would be reinstituted.

 

What do I do if immigration agents come to my home?

If Immigration agents come to your home and ask you if they can come in, tell them “no.” No one can enter your home without permission unless they have a search or arrest warrant signed by a judge. If an officer informs you that they have a warrant, ask them to slip it under your door. Read it carefully. Immigration officers often have papers that look very official but are not judicial warrants. Please also note that immigration agents often come to a person’s home very early in the morning and claim to be the police. If someone says that they are a police officer, ask to see their badge. Look closely at the badge for the word “police” as many immigration officers also have badges. Please also note that the police also cannot enter your home without a judicial warrant.

 


What To Expect from the Trump Administration - URGENT

Thanks to my colleague Andres Benach/

President  Elect Trump is going to be the worst anti-immigrant president and this is what we expect him to do. We will stand with you, defend you and help you

However - NONE OF THESE THINGS HAVE HAPPENED YET so STAY CALM and get your driver license renewwed, get your car in good order, don't get into bar room brawls, do not hang out at drive-by worksites

1.Repeal DACA. 750,000 young people have some measure of security against removal under DACA. They have employment authorization. When Trump campaigned against “Obama’s illegal executive orders,” he meant DACA. As DACA was created without Congress, it can be eliminated without Congress. We expect that he will eliminate DACA in the first week of his administration. It is not clear whether he would take a step to affirmatively revoke employment authorization for the hundreds of thousands of young people protected by DACA or whether he would simply not renew them when they expire. At this point, we think that anyone who needs to renew DACA or has yet to apply for DACA should still file. The window is short however. It is likely that by December, we would no longer recommend filing. People with DACA should consult with their attorneys and map out a strategy to protect themselves for the coming years. One thing that may be especially useful is for current DACA holders to obtain advanced paroles so that they can have a lawful entry which may help with residence in the future. Obviously, any travel on an advance parole granted under DACA must be completed by January 20, 2017.

2. ICE Enforcement. ICE is a rogue agency staffed with rogue agents. Its union endorsed Trump and its bureaucrats have complained that Obama has stifled their ability to enforce the laws. Which is an odd claim when Obama has broken records for deportations. Regardless, ICE has stated that they feel shackled by several political directives. Specifically, ICE recoils at the “priorities” memos, a series of directives to ICE to set the standards as to who the agency seeks to detain and deport. Very roughly, the memos have instructed ICE to focus on individuals with removal orders, individuals convicted of crimes, and recent arrivals to the United States. Under these guidelines, ICE has not sought to enforce removal against those who may be here unlawfully but have been here for a long time and stayed out of trouble. Tens of thousands of deportation cases have been “administratively closed,” which is a pause in the removal process, because the individual was not a priority to ICE. For the administratively closed cases, it is an easy step for ICE to put those cases back on the docket, requiring immigrants to apply for relief for removal, if it is available, under circumstances much less favorable than they have been for years. As for those that have not been placed into removal proceedings, we see increased enforcement activity by ICE in arresting and detaining people who were largely left alone by ICE.

3 Raids   We think that raids will return. By raids, we mean, ICE agents descending upon businesses, homes, soccer fields, and other places immigrants gather to arrest . suspected undocumented immigrants. This is not immediate. It takes time to set a strategy and to plan the raids. We expect an increase in “interior enforcement,” which is what ICE calls this process. The absence of a robust interior enforcement effort by the Obama administration is one key gripe of those who will now take over the reins of ICE.

4. No renewal of Temporary Protected Staus  Temporary Protected Status has provided some sanctuary for immigrants where circumstances in their home country have made return particularly dangerous or inappropriate. TPS designations are made by the administration and there are currently nine countries with TPS designation. Some of these TPS designations have been in place since 2001 and their extensions have been more a function of grace than necessity. It is very likely that a new administration would decline to continue TPS for many of these countries. 350,000 people could lose their protection and their employment authorization with the stroke of a pen. (We are up to 1 million, for those counting.) Increased scrutiny over applications by Muslims and people from predominantly Muslim countries. All applications for everything already undergo some type of fingerprint and background checks. We know from past experience that there are more detailed and onerous background checks that can be conducted and that take more time. We expect that every application will be delayed by the imposition of more rigorous background checks. This will be especially true of applications by people from Muslim countries and we believe it will apply to everything from tourist visas to green card applications to citizenship.



We Will Fight Hate - Thoughts on what a Trump administration means

We will fight tjhe new administration with everything we have. If you are eligible to naturalize, do it NOW. If you entered lawfully but are now  here out of status and on the fence about marrying your US citizen girlfriend or boyfrined, think about it more seriously.  On the positive side, if you are put in immigration proceedings, the courts wil be so crowded, you may well not get your day in court for three or four years. Do not leave, especialy if you are a Muslim. You may not be able to get back. More thoughts later.



Proposed New Laws Weeks Away - April 10, 2013

Today was a massive rally for immigration rights in Washington DC. This will be followed by National Day of Action when hundreds of immigration lawyers will storm Capital Hill to explain why we need  immigration reform NOW.

There should be some good news for everyone in the coming weeks, although no one will be completely happy.  There will be a path to legalization of some type and an increase in business visas. We are very excited a tthe thought of pathways  for those who have waited patiently so long.

One warning: there is a strong possibility that the sibling category and/or parent categorys under family sponsorship will not last much longer. If you are a US citizen, and comtemplating filing for your parents, now may be an opportune time to do so.

I eagerly await definitive news for you.



What's New in Immigration Law?

June 26, 2013

Ding Dong, DOMA is Dead.

We applaud the Spreme Court and look foward to filing marriage case of all types for you.  If you are LGBT, and are married or plan to marry  a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, you may be sponsored for permaneent residence. Call us and let us help. 

November 7, 2012

Hooray, the Maryland DREAM ACT in state tuition PASSED! This is just the beginning. A new Congress with fresh ideas. We are very hopeful!

Children Brought Here as Children:

Come see us to discuss your DACA case now to get that state ID or driver license and social security card.

 

 

 

June 28, 2012

News on EB2 and EB3 VIsa Numbers

  • lIn October 2012 (beginning of the 2013 fiscal year), the EB-2 cut-off dates for China-Mainland born and India, which are currently "unavailable," will move to August or September 2007 (China may be slightly better). It is unlikely that the cut-off dates will move forward at all for the first two quarters of FY2013. If they do, it will only be if the Visa Office is convinced that there is insufficient demand for the rest of the year. Mr. Oppenheim's office already has 17,000 EB-2 cases for natives of India, China, and worldwide with priority dates after January 1, 2009, pre-adjudicated. There will be a lot of cases queued up for adjudication in October 2012, and it will take some time to get through them.
  • EB-2 worldwide will be current in October 2012.
  • If USCIS approves many pending cases during the month of June, the worldwide EB-2 category may retrogress or become unavailable for the rest of the year.
  • Why did the priority dates move ahead so far and then retrogress so drastically? USCIS encouraged Mr. Oppenheim's office to move the categories forward so much in January, February, and March of 2012. USCIS reported that they had a lot of approved petitions but they were not receiving enough I-485s. USCIS wanted the cut-off dates moved even more in March 2012, but DOS resisted, since there already appeared to be heavy demand. In February, the demand had already increased 50%. In addition, USCIS said that they believed that adjudication of EB-1 cases would be at the same rate as last fiscal year, and this was not the case. It could be due to the fact that many EB-1 cases had very long adjudication times with USCIS. In addition, EB-5 usage has been higher this year. Unused EB-5 cases fall into EB-1, and unused EB-1 cases fall into EB-2.
  • Applicants from China and India who filed will be waiting years for adjudication of their I-485s.
  • USCIS also advised a 4-6 month timeline in the processing of I-485s, and then they processed a lot of cases in 3 months, which increased the demand as well for visa numbers this fiscal year.
  • The group of cases that were filed in July and August of 2007, when all employment-based categories were made "current," were all completed by November 2011, and at that point, Mr. Oppenheim's office had to depend on USCIS estimates for adjudication of cases. Mr. Oppenheim's office had no pre-adjudicated cases that gave him a point of reference to determine what was left or pending.
  • Mr. Oppenheim's office has been very clear that they do not like retrogression.


June 19, 2012

We welcome the Administration’s recent announcement that younger immigrants may be eligible for “Deferred Action” and work authorization.  The policy will grant qualified immigrants the opportunity to live free from fear of deportation and allow them to work legally. This exciting new development brings hope to immigrants and their families. It is not, however, a permanent fix and does not grant permanent legal status to anyone.

 

To qualify, an individual must:

  • Be 15-30 years old, and have entered before age 16;
  • Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012;
  • Have maintained continuous residence;
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or multiple minor misdemeanors;
  • Be currently in school, graduated or have a GED, or be an honorably discharged veteran.

 

The deferred action offer will be available to those in proceedings, those with final removal orders, as well as to those who apply affirmatively.

 

The Administration is not yet accepting applications for this action. Within sixty days – by the middle of August – the Administration expects to issue guidance and information about how eligible individuals can request deferred action and work authorization. 

 

If you are not in removal proceedings, DO NOT apply for deferred action at this time. Unfortunately, this policy may open the door for fraud and deception by so-called “Notarios.” In the United States, notarios have no legal background and cannot act as a qualified attorney. Anyone claiming they can submit an application or charging a fee for applying for deferred action should NOT be trusted until the process been announced by the federal government. An immigrant’s case can be delayed by notarios acting in bad faith, resulting in penalties and even deportation.

 

February 26, 2012

The politicians continue to argue over ways to strip the rights of immigrants and yet, there are glimmers of hope. The DREAM ACT will continue to be introduced and voters in Maryland will have an opportunity to vote for the state DREAM ACT this fall.  Along with other members of the Maryland State Bar Asociation Immigration Section, I will be hitting the streets to inform voters of this vital law.

As VIce Chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, DC/MD/VA chapter, I will continue to lobby for more humane immigration laws and policies and will be on Capital Hill at the end of March to lobby for those changes. 

You may have been hearing about prosecutorial discretion in terminating removal (deportation) proceedings. While I have not seen a lot of these cases yet, Baltimore was a test site for the program and cases are starting to be terminated. It is important to note than not all cases should be removed from court. Sometimes, court is the fasted way to a solution and terminating the proceedings leaves you with no way to change status.  Do not put yourself in removal proceedings or agree to have your case terminated unless we have talked about it.



Meeting with Charles Oppenheim

October Meeting With Charles Oppenhein Regarding Visa Bulletin

I had the honor of sitting on the podium next to Mr. Oppenheim at the American Immigration lawyers meeting in October. His biggest news: F2A will not move forward again for at least six months, China third preference will remain ahead or China second preference for months as well. Chinese applicants - best to stay with EB3 for now.

EB-2 India as predicted retrogressed significantly in the December 2013 Visa Bulletin.   EB-3 India will remain unchanged or retrogress slightly over the near term.    EB-3 ROW will move forward significantly (by a year) in the near term (few months), with possible slowdown towards the middle of the fiscal year.   

EB-1.   This category is expected to remain current throughout the fiscal year.

EB-2 Other countries  This category is expected to remain current throughout the fiscal year; however, Mr. Oppenheim suggested that depending on demand he may introduce a cutoff date towards the end of the fiscal year.

EB-2 China.  This category is expected to continue to move forward by approximately 3-5 weeks per month in each Visa Bulletin.

EB-2 India.     It is expected that EB-2 India will remain at that level (late 2004 or early 2005) until the summer of 2014.    The rationale behind this severe retrogression in EB-2 India is that there is simply too much “demand” (number of pending cases caused by I-485 filings and EB-3 to EB-2 porting cases, plus adding dependents) in this category and the Visa Office has to stop the rate of new filings until USCIS and DOS are able to approve the pending cases and “clear the demand.”

EB-3 Other Countries  This category is expected to move forward significantly (up to one year) over the next one or two months to stimulate “demand” for the next several months.

EB-3 China/Philippines.  Each of these two categories is expected to keep moving forward by 2 weeks per month.

EB-3 India.  This category continues to be oversubscribed and there is no forward movement expected in the next (December 2013) Visa Bulletin.     In addition, Mr. Oppenheim indicated that a retrogression is very possible in the near future.   This would be caused by the fact that there are simply too many EB-3 India applicants waiting for a visa number to become available.   However, as a positive sign, as many EB-3 India applicants are porting into EB-2, there is some possibility that some EB-3 visa numbers may be “freed” simply because some EB-3 candidates will drop out of the EB-3 demand line after receiving a green card under a newly ported EB-2 category.

EB-5.   Mr. Oppenheim suggested that the demand for EB-5 is on an upward trajectory and he indicated that the most recent fiscal year noted a 15% increase in EB-5 China cases.   This makes it likely that there would be a cutoff date introduced towards the summer for EB-5 China (only).

Visa Bulletin Predictions – Family-Based

Additionally, Mr. Oppenheim was able to provide some predictions and expectations for movement of visa numbers over the next few months for the family-based categories as well.

FB-1 ROW.   This category is expected to advance by 3-5 weeks per month.

FB-2A.   This category is expected to be held at its current level for the foreseeable future.  Mexico is likely to retrogress.

FB-2B.  This category is expected to advance by 3-5 weeks per month.

FB-3.  This category is expected to advance by 3-5 weeks per month.

FB-4.  This category is expected to advance by 2-3 weeks per month.



2014 will be the Year for Reform

December 31, 2013

Comprehensive immigration reform will again be on the agenda when Congres returns.  Yes it has taken longer than expected but I do beleive we will have a bill this year.. Wishing all my clients, friends ancd colleagues a Happy New Year. I am happy to meet with you anytime.  If your spouse is in the US military, talk to me about possible advantages to you as a foreign national.



In the News Again - My Letter in the Baltimore Sun January 14, 2014


Why Do You Need an Immigration Attorney?

It's just forms! I can just fill out the forms myself.  WRONG

The United States Citizenship & Immigration Service reports that 67% of all applications and petitions filed without legal counsel are DENIED. Why does this happen? It happens because immigration law is one of the most complex areas of law in the United States. Here is what our courts have said about the complexity:

"The statutory scheme defining and delimiting the rights of aliens is exceedingly complex. Courts and commentators have stated that the Immigration and Nationality Act resembles 'King Mino's labyrinth in ancient Crete,' and is 'second only to the Internal Revenue Code in complexity.'" Chan v. Reno, 1997 U.S. Dist. Lexis 3016, *5 (S.D.N.Y. 1997).

Preparing your immigration case involves much more than completing  forms. We review the specific facts of your case, determine the appropriate legal remedies, determine potential pitfalls or liabilities associated with the application, and guide your case through the appropriate federal agencies. I ask a lot of quetions as part of my job to anticipate legal issues, solve legal and pragmatic problems, avoid delay, and resolve legal complications.

When you hire an immigration lawyer, you benefit from the years of experience, legal training, continuing education, and personal and professional relationships of that attorney with the government officers. Chances are good that the people, plans, and future opportunities that are depending on the outcome of your immigration case deserve good legal representation. Limiting yourself to odds of success of "one in three" is not acceptable.

Why Hire an Immigration Lawyer?

Immigration law can be incredibly complicated without the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney. Over the last few years, immigration law has become very strict. This overly protective attitude can be especially frustrating for those wanting to gain access to the United States and the advantages that come with being a citizen of this country. Legal immigration into the United States requires an immense amount of dedication and focus. Though with so many laws, processes, and paperwork standing in the way, it can often be difficult to understand what exactly where and what you should focus on. We minimizie the confusion.

The United States controls and regulates the amount of people flowing into this country through a number of classifications and procedures to determine an individual's eligibility for certain privileges. In order to accomplish this goal, visas exist to provide individuals with the specific rights and privileges he or she needs for the time he or she will spend here. There are a number of different types of visas for certain situations. Each visa requires its own set of qualifications and requirements. A skilled and knowledgeable attorney will be able to successfully guide you through the application process so that you will get the specific visa you need to live in this country.



Obama Announces New Immigration Fixes

Fixing Our Broken Immigration System Through Executive Action - Key Facts

The President asked Secretary Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to undertake a rigorous and inclusive review to inform recommendations on reforming our broken immigration system through executive action. This review sought the advice and input from the men and women charged with implementing the policies, as well as the ideas of a broad range of stakeholders and Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. Our assessment identified the following ten areas where we, within the confines of the law, could take action to increase border security, focus enforcement resources, and ensure accountability in our immigration system.

Executive Actions

Strengthen Border Security

DHS will implement a Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Strategy to fundamentally alter the way in which we marshal resources to the border.  This new plan will employ DHS assets in a strategic and coordinated way to provide effective enforcement of our laws and interdict individuals seeking to illegally across land, sea, and air.  To accomplish this, DHS is commissioning three task forces of various law enforcement agencies.  The first will focus on the southern maritime border.  The second will be responsible for the southern land border and the West Coast.  The third will focus on investigations to support the other two task forces.  In addition, DHS will continue the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer. This included additional Border Patrol agents, ICE personnel, criminal investigators, additional monitors, and working with DOJ to reorder dockets in immigration courts, along with reforms in these courts.

Revise Removal Priorities

DHS will implement a new department-wide enforcement and removal policy that places top priority on national security threats, convicted felons, gang members, and illegal entrants apprehended at the border; the second-tier priority on those convicted of significant or multiple misdemeanors and those who are not apprehended at the border, but who entered or reentered this country unlawfully after January 1, 2014; and the third priority on those who are non-criminals but who have failed to abide by a final order of removal issued on or after January 1, 2014.  Under this revised policy, those who entered illegally prior to January 1, 2014, who never disobeyed a prior order of removal, and were never convicted of a serious offense, will not be priorities for removal.  This policy also provides clear guidance on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

End Secure Communities and Replace it with New Priority Enforcement Program

DHS will end the Secure Communities program, and replace it with the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) that will closely and clearly reflect DHS’s new top enforcement priorities. The program will continue to rely on fingerprint-based biometric data submitted during bookings by state and local law enforcement agencies and will identify to law enforcement agencies the specific criteria for which we will seek an individual in their custody. The list of largely criminal offenses is taken from Priorities 1 and 2 of our new enforcement priorities. In addition, we will formulate plans to engage state and local governments on enforcement priorities and will enhance Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) ability to arrest, detain, and remove individuals deemed threats to national security, border security, or public safety.

Personnel Reform for ICE Officers

Related to these enforcement and removal reforms, we will support job series realignment and premium ability pay coverage for ICE ERO officers engaged in removal operations.  These measures are essential to bringing ICE agents and officers pay in line with other law enforcement personnel.

Expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program

We will expand eligibility for DACA to encompass a broader class of children.  DACA eligibility was limited to those who were under 31 years of age on June 15, 2012, who entered the U.S. before June 15, 2007, and who were under 16 years old when they entered.  DACA eligibility will be expanded to cover all undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16, and not just those born after June 15, 1981.  We will also adjust the entry date from June 15, 2007 to January 1, 2010.  The relief (including work authorization) will now last for three years rather than two.

Extend Deferred Action to Parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents

DHS will extend eligibility for deferred action to individuals who (i) are not removal priorities under our new policy, (ii) have been in this country at least 5 years, (iii) have children who on the date of this announcement are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, and (iv) present no other factors that would make a grant of deferred action inappropriate.  These individuals will be assessed for eligibility for deferred action on a case-by-case basis, and then be permitted to apply for work authorization, provided they pay a fee.  Each individual will undergo a thorough background check of all relevant national security and criminal databases, including DHS and FBI databases. With work-authorization, these individuals will pay taxes and contribute to the economy.

Expand Provisional Waivers to Spouses and Children of Lawful Permanent Residents

The provisional waiver program DHS announced in January 2013 for undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens will be expanded to include the spouses and children of lawful permanent residents, as well as the adult children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.  At the same time, we will further clarify the “extreme hardship” standard that must be met to obtain the waiver.

Revise Parole Rules

DHS will begin rulemaking to identify the conditions under which talented entrepreneurs should be paroled into the United States, on the ground that their entry would yield a significant public economic benefit.  DHS will also support the military and its recruitment efforts by working with the Department of Defense to address the availability of parole-in-place and deferred action to spouses, parents, and children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who seek to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces. DHS will also issue guidance to clarify that when anyone is given “advance parole” to leave the country – including those who obtain deferred action - they will not be considered to have departed.  Undocumented aliens generally trigger a 3- or 10-year bar to returning to the United States when they depart.

Promote the Naturalization Process

To promote access to U.S. citizenship, we will permit the use of credit cards as a payment option for the naturalization fee, and expand citizenship public awareness. It is important to note that the naturalization fee is $680, currently payable only by cash, check or money order. DHS will also explore the feasibility of expanding fee waiver options.

Support High-skilled Business and Workers

DHS will take a number of administrative actions to better enable U.S. businesses to hire and retain highly skilled foreign-born workers and strengthen and expand opportunities for students to gain on-the-job training.  For example, because our immigration system suffers from extremely long waits for green cards, we will amend current regulations and make other administrative changes to provide needed flexibility to workers with approved employment-based green card petitions.

Additional Information

Last Published Date: November 20, 2014


The Executive Order - How Will It Help You? - Updated 11/26/2014

NEWS WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR

HOW WILL PRESIDENT OBAMA’S EXECUTIVE ORDER HELP YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?

 

On November 20, 2014, President Obama  announced some important incentives to change the way that immigration law will be practiced.  Approximately 4.5 million people will now be eligible for temporary status in the US, and we at Rourke & Rosenberg are gearing up to provide representation to those who qualify.  

 

DO I QUALIFY?

There are two programs that may help you

 

1. Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA or DAP)

 

This is a temporary solution which will grant eligible applicants the authority to remain in the US with work authorization.  It is not a path to a green card (lawful permanent residence) but there are other developments that may allow some individuals, once granted this status ,to leave on a travel permit, reenter the US and then be eligible for adjustment of status. We will determine if this applies to you.

 

You must meet ALL of the following criteria

  • As of November 20, 2014, you had a “child” (can be biological or adopted or stepchild) who is either a US citizen or lawful permanent resident;
  • You have lived in the US continuously since before January 1, 2010;
  • You were physically present in the US on both November 20, 2014 and when filing your application for DAP;
  • You were NOT in lawful status on November 20, 2014;
  • You are not an enforcement priority which includes persons suspected of terrorism, gang members, visa abusers, unlawful border crossers and people accused of felonies, aggravated felonies, significant misdemeanors or three or more misdemeanors, and
  • You meet the criteria for a positive exercise of discretion.

 

 

What Does it Cost?

 

We are not sure yet, but it appears that the government filing cost will be the same as DACA, which is a $465 filing fee, including background checks. The attorney fees have yet to be determined, but will be in line with our usual modest fees.  Your consultation fee, to determine your eligibility, will be applied to the ultimate attorney fee.

 

When can I apply?

 

Applications will be accepted in May 2015, according to the latest information from USCIS.

 

1. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – (DACA) - EXPANDED

 

Deffered Action for Childhood Arrivals will be expanded. This temporary protection from deportation is for those individuals who entered the US before their 16th birthday, are enrolled in high school or completed high school or GED, or served in the US military. It also allows those applicants to remain in the US temporarily and receive employment authorization.

 

There are three changes to the current DAC program.

  • Elimination of the upper cap on age,   The old law required that you be under age 31.
  • The rule concerning physical presence has changed so that you need to be in the US continuously from before January 1, 2010 to the present.
  • Work authorization will be for three years, instead of two under the current law.

 

 

When can I apply?

 

Applications will be accepted in February 2015, according to the latest information from USCIS.

 

 

What can I do now?

 

Start gathering your documents showing physical presence, per the following list:

 

PROOF OF AGE

  • Birth Certificate w/certified translation and another form of photo ID (i.e. school ID)
  • Passport
  •  Matricula Consular

 

 PROOF OF ENTRY DATE

  • Stamp in passport or I-94
  •  Travel records (i.e. plane tickets, bus tickets)
  •  School Records (transcript, report cards, enrollment records)
  •  Vaccination Records
  •  Medical Records
  • Pay Stubs
  •  Rental Receipts

 

PROOF OF 5 YEARS CONTINUOUS RESIDENCE IN U.S. FROM 01/01/2010 to present

  • Driver’s license or other government issued ID documents
  • School ID cards
  • Certificates /Awards from school
  • Tax returns, W-2s, pay stubs from 2010 to present
  • Insurance (car / health / home)
  • School Records
  • Medical Records
  • Dental Records
  • Church/Religious Entity Records
  • Community Service records (from youth groups i.e. Boys/Girls Scouts, or service organizations i.e. Boys and Girls Club)
  • Sports Records (i.e. Little League, Soccer or other recreation league activities)
  • Bank account and/or credit card statements from Jan 2010 to present
  • House title or lease/rental agreement or rental receipts
  • Utility bills (gas, water, electricity, phone, etc.)
  • Memberships (gym, Blockbuster, Sam's Club, etc.)
  • Birth certificates of children born in the US

 

 

PROOF OF PRESENCE IN THE U.S. ON 11/20/2014

  • Any receipts for purchases or ATM receipts made in November 2014
  • Paystub or official time card showing for month of November 2014
  • Bank statements showing transactions in month of November 2014
  • Cell phone records showing telephone numbers called in month of November 2014
  • Library records (maybe you checked out a book during the month of Nov 2014)
  • Date-stamped photos Letter from pastor/priest
  • Facebook (especially “Check-Ins”) & other social media – Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • Medical records for the month of November 2014
  • Church records

 

 

 PROOF OF EDUCATION/MILITARY STATUS

  • High school diploma
  • High school certificate of completion
  • GED certificate
  • Military discharge documents
  • Proof of school enrollment i.e. current transcript, proof of school registration

 

 

PROOF OF CRIMINAL RECORD

  • All arrest records
  • All final court dispositions

 

 

IMMIGRATION RECORD

  • Voluntary Departure Order
  • Deportation order
  •  Notice to Appear
  •  Other immigration documents i.e. visa, I-94, border crosser card

 

 

Complete our immigration questionnaire and call for an appointment so we can assess your eligibility. The only fee is my normal consultation fee of $200, which will be applied to any future work on your application when the time is right.   Our consultations are thorough and take between ½ hour to an hour, and we assess if you qualify for any and all immigration benefits, not just those under the executive order, or any new laws and policies.

 

We look forward to helping you achieve your American Dream.

 

Cynthia Rosenberg and Stephen Rourke



Beware of Notarios

It has come to the attention of the American Immigration Lawyers Association  that many places such as H & R Block are attempting to assist foreign nationals with immigration filings. Do not be deceived.

1. Decent immigration attorneys charge less for higher quality service than notarios, know what questions to ask and are licensed to provide legal advice

 

2. H & R Block gives their employees a few weeks of training. Lawyers go to school for years and go to continuing education classes constantly.

 

3. Cleaning up the mess in immigration court for someone who goes to a nortario is much more expensive in the end.and H & R Block will NOT be there to help  you.

 

BEWARE



New Visa Bulletin With Two Sets of Application Dates

The U.S. Department of State, starting in October 2015, has issued a visa bulletin with two “application dates” for beneficiaries of family-based and employment based immigrant petitions. There is an application final action date when the beneficiary will be eligible to receive his/her green card, but there is also a date for filing visa or adjustment applications which is when the beneficiary will be eligible to file , and if the beneficiary files an adjustment of status application, he or she will get the benefits thereof such as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), advance parole and protection under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).

As an example, Indian born applicants with approved I-140 petitions in the EB-2 category whose priority dates are July 1, 2011 or earlier can begin submitting adjustment applications in October 2015 even though they would not get the actual green card until their priority dates are current under the application final action date table, which could be many years yet. In the meantime they could avail themselves of the benefits of an adjustment application, such as an EAD, advance parole and protecting the child from aging out under the CSPA. It bears repeating that only beneficiaries with priority dates of May 1, 2005 in the EB-2 category can actually receive their green card next month. This new version of the visa bulletin will greatly impact many who have been caught in the crushing backlogs. Visa availability will no longer be defined by when visas are actually available.

The October Visa Bulletin now views it more broadly as “dates for filing visa applications within a time frame justifying immediate action in the application process.” The USCIS similarly views visa availability opaquely as "eligible applicants" who "are able to take one of the final steps in the process of becoming U.S. permanent residents." These new interpretations provide more flexibility for the State Department to move the filing date even further, and make it closer to current. The new way of interpreting visa availability makes it possible to file an adjustment of status application, along with all the accompanying benefits, and to even lock in the age of a child under the CSPA, whether the applicant is in the United States or processing at a US consulate.

We must await further guidance from the DOS and USCIS to be sure, but must strongly advocate for these positions: •I-485 adjustment applications filed under the new filing priority date will result in the same benefits, which is EAD, Advance Parole, 204(j) portability and CSPA protection. •With respect to an “after acquired” spouse, where the principal already has a pending I-485, the spouse can file under the new filing priority date. Ultimately, both the principal and spouse’s I-485 application will get adjudicated when the priority date of the principal become current under the final action priority date.

There is no prohibition to filing a concurrent I-140/485 or I-130/485 under the filing priority date. • With respect to a priority date that has been captured from an old EB petition, the same rules apply – you have to see whether the captured priority date coincides with the filing priority date or the final action priority date.

There may be no need to submit a medical with an I-485 filed under the filing priority date, especially when there is a long interval (years) between the filing and the final action priority date.

The new policy applies to both Family I-130 and Employment I-140 petitions.

With respect to consular processing of cases, the filing priority date would be equally applicable, especially to lock in the age of a child under CSPA.

Do we have to rush to file all our I-485s in October 2015 itself? The jury is not yet out whether the dual priority dates system would cause more backlogs and retrogression; although probably not, since the filing priority date, unlike the 2007 July Visa Bulletin, does not signify that visas are immediately available. We have enough time (around the 10th of the month) to wait and watch as to how the dates will progress in November and after that.



DAPA and expanded DACA are Killed by Supreme Court

Sadly, the US Supreme Court today, June 23, 2016 ruled 4-4 to allow the lower court ruling to stand. We are deeply saddened by this betrayal of common sense and decency. The original Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals will contiue.