Naturalization Approved for Los Angeles Client After Years Defending Against Deportation

September 24th, 2014 No comments
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One of my Los Angeles clients was recently approved for naturalization. I began representing her five years ago when she was stopped at the airport and put into removal proceedings because she had two crimes involving moral turpitude from ten years prior. When she was a teenager she was convicted of writing bad checks – misdemeanors. When she tried to enter the US after a trip abroad, she was deemed inadmissible and put into removal proceedings.

We did a motion to change venue from Texas to Los Angeles. Then, for the next four years we pursued cancellation of removal, which was approved by an immigration judge earlier this year. After the deportation case was finished, we began the naturalization case. Everything went smoothly at the interview. The officer asked some questions about the prior convictions, but the general tone of the interview was cordial and friendly. My client will take her naturalization oath in the next month.

If you are considering the naturalization process, contact The Nunez Firm. Especially if you have a criminal conviction, you need to consult an experienced immigration attorney before filing. Otherwise, you could end up in removal proceedings, which can take many years and cost a lot of money to defend. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you and help you understand your position and chances for success with naturalization.

Marriage-Based Green Card Approved on Conditional Basis for Irvine Client

September 21st, 2014 No comments
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We recently received an approval for a marriage-based adjustment of status for an Irvine client. She entered the US on a K-1 fiance visa earlier this year and the couple married shortly after that. We filed the adjustment of status packet with substantial evidence to prove the marriage was entered into in good faith.

The couple met through friends a few years ago. She was living in Mexico, and my client would visit her every few months. Eventually they decided to take the next step and get married. I advised that the K-1 fiance visa was the best option for them and we started the process. About eight months later, she entered the US on the fiance visa. Per regulations, the couple married within the first ninety days of her arrival.

At the interview in Santa Ana, the USCIS officer asked several questions about the couple’s relationship, past marriages, time spent together, etc. I had prepared my clients regarding what to expect at the interview, and they did a great job answering the questions. The interview went smoothly and was over within thirty minutes.

Because the marriage is less than two years old, my client will receive a conditional resident green card valid for two years. She will need to file to have the conditions removed during the ninety days immediately preceding the expiration date of the green card. I advised my clients to collect as much documentation to prove good faith marriage as possible over the next two years. I explained that if they collect enough evidence the case could be approved without an interview. If they don’t provide enough documentation, USCIS will call for an interview and question the bona fides of their marriage.

If you are considering marriage and one of you is not a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the options available and whether any hurdles exist that could complicate the process.

Green Card Approved for Same Sex Marriage Adjustment of Status for Laguna Client

September 18th, 2014 No comments
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We recently received an approval for a marriage-based adjustment of status for a Laguna Beach client. He had been in the US for almost ten years. He was the victim of attorney fraud in another state and he pursued a U visa based on extortion among other crimes. He moved to California and hired another immigration attorney to handle the U visa, but he did not fulfill his promises and the U visa case languished for several years.

Originally, he hired me to take over the U visa case. While I was representing him in the U visa case, the laws on same sex marriage changed when the Windsor decision was announced. At that point, I advised that my client and his long-time partner could marry and he could adjust his status to lawful permanent resident. The couple married (as they had wanted to do for some time), and we started the adjustment of status process. A few months later, we attended an interview at the Santa Ana office of USCIS. I was afraid that the age difference between the two men would be problematic, but the officer did not raise serious objections in that regard. She asked my clients standard questions which they were prepared to answer. At the close of the interview the officer advised that she was inclined to approve the case, but she needed to receive the U visa file from the Vermont Service Center of USCIS. She told me Vermont would not transfer an open file, so we should withdraw the U visa case on our own. My client was initially reluctant to withdraw the U visa case, because we did not have any guarantee that USCIS would approve the marriage-based green card. I explained that I trusted the officer not to sabotage us like that and we really did not have many options for keeping the U visa pending while we awaited a decision on the adjustment of status.

Wedding rings

We withdrew the U visa case, and within 60 days the USCIS officer in Santa Ana approved the green card. My client received his conditional resident card this week. Now, he and his husband can live in Laguna Beach and know they do not need to worry about deportation. He can work legally in the US and even visit his family in his home country for the first time in many years. He can introduce his spouse to his family in person as well.

If you are in a same-sex marriage and considering the adjustment of status process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you privately to discuss your options and how we can help. We have worked with many LGBT clients with many different types of immigration cases such as U visas, marriage, domestic violence and asylum.

Permanent Resident Status Approved for Santa Ana Couple After 20 Years

September 16th, 2014 No comments
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We recently received approvals for a husband and wife to obtain their permanent resident green cards. They entered the US in the early 1990s. The wife entered on a visitor visa. The husband entered without inspection (EWI). The wife worked as a cook for many years and her employer filed a labor certification for her in the late 1990s. For many years, she tried to convert the labor certification into a green card, but she was represented by several inexperienced attorneys that botched and re-botched her case for years.

Ultimately, I helped her son obtain his green card through marriage, and subsequently helped him become a US citizen through naturalization. After he became a US citizen, we filed visa petitions and I-485 adjustment of status applications for his parents (as the parents of a US citizen). Because the mother entered legally, we filed a standard I-130 visa petition and I-485 concurrently; however, because the father entered illegally, we filed a 245i adjustment case for him (requiring an additional $1000 filing fee).

At the interview everything went smoothly. I had worked with the Santa Ana officer many times and she approved the case.

When my clients finally received the permanent resident cards, they were overjoyed and relieved. Over the years many attorneys had made false promises, so they were skeptical that I would resolve the case until they finally received the cards in hand. Now, they can live and work in the United States without fear that they could be separated from each other and their children without warning. After 20 years of calling the US their home, they now have the legal status to feel safe here.

If you are in the US illegally, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will help you better understand your situation and whether you have options for obtaining a green card.

I-751 Waiver Approved for Huntington Beach Client

September 11th, 2014 No comments
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We recently received an approval for one of our Huntington Beach clients. She was married to a US citizen and obtained her conditional resident status through the marriage. The couple was married for over three years when the husband became more controlling and emotionally abusive. He objected to his wife working and going to school. He expected her to be his sexual pet that would succumb to his every whim. Eventually, she left and moved out. She came to me after she separated from him.

Because she left in a hurry, she did not have many documents to prove good faith marriage. Additionally, we did not have any police records regarding abuse – in fact, he was never physically abusive. He was emotionally abusive. He would manipulate her psychologically, constantly pointing out the sexual abuse she suffered when she was younger as a reason she could not satisfy him sexually.

We decided to file the I-751 petition to remove conditions with all three waiver categories checked – good faith marriage, victim of extreme cruelty, and extreme hardship.

For good faith marriage, we provided marriage counseling records, email correspondence between our client and her in-laws showing they had a close relationship, and letter and cards from in-laws. We also provided a deposition transcript from a car accident in which both spouses were involved. The evidence was unconventional and sparse, but it was all we could gather.

To prove emotional abuse victimization, we provided a psychological evaluation and correspondence between the spouses to show how the husband manipulated her.

To prove that our client would suffer extreme hardship if she was deported to her home country we argued that she was sexually abused by her brother, and if she returned home she would be forced to live near him again.

When we received the approval notice, it did not tell us which basis for the waiver was approved. However, the client was overwhelmed with happiness. We received the approval within a couple weeks of sending the response to the request for evidence.

If you are a conditional resident and your expiration date is approaching within the next six months, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you understand the process and how we can help. We have experience with all types of I-751 cases: joint petitions, good faith marriage waivers, domestic abuse waivers, and extreme hardship cases. We have represented several clients in having denied I-751 cases reviewed in immigration court as well.

Marriage Based Green Card Approved Based on Adjustment of Status for Costa Mesa Client

August 5th, 2014 No comments
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I just attended an adjustment of status interview with clients from Costa Mesa. The interview was held in the Santa Ana field office of USCIS. The couple met each other while the husband, a US citizen, was vacationing in Mexico with his family. The wife was working in a restaurant and the two of them began talking. After his vacation ended, they stayed in contact and he visited her in Mexico several more times.

In the fall of 2012, they began discussing the long-term plans for the relationship. In early 2013, he proposed and their two families had an engagement party in Mexico. The husband hired us to help with the fiance visa process, which we started in Spring 2013 when we filed the I-129F. In early 2014, the K-1 visa was approved by the US consulate in Mexico, and the wife arrived in the US shortly thereafter. The couple married within the first 90 days of her arrival, and we filed the I-485 application for adjustment of status shortly thereafter.

The Santa Ana field office is processing adjustment of status cases very quickly these days. Within three months of our filing the I-485, the interview went forward. We provided the USCIS officer will substantial evidence to prove that the marriage was entered into in good faith including bank statements, travel itineraries and photos of the large wedding celebration (150 guests).

The interviewing officer asked many questions about how the couple met, started dating and decided to get married. After reviewing the evidence and interviewing both spouses, the officer was satisfied that the marriage was entered in good faith by both parties, and he approved the case. The interview lasted about 45 minutes. The wife was granted conditional resident status for a period of two years, which means that she will need to file the I-751 to have the conditions removed two years from now.

If you are married or engaged to a non-US citizen and want to help your loved one obtain permanent resident status, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will help you better understand the process and how we can assist you in making everything proceed smoothly. Every year we represent dozens of married or engaged couples and help them decide on which process will best accomplish their goals.

Executive Office of Immigration Review Shifts Priorities for Immigration Court Cases

July 25th, 2014 No comments
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EOIR has reordered its priorities in the immigration courts to address the current border situation.

The Department of Justice recently announced new priorities in light of the ongoing migrant children crisis along the southern border. The Executive Office of Immigration Review (“EOIR”), which includes the immigration courts and Board of Immigration Appeals, has reordered its priorities in the immigration courts. EOIR has set as its top priority the adjudication of cases that fall into the following four groups:

  • unaccompanied children
  • adults with children in detention
  • adults with children released on “alternatives to detention”
  • other individuals in detention.

As EOIR prioritizes these cases of individuals who recently crossed the border, and continues to hear cases of those who are detained, the cases of individuals that do not fall into those priority categories may take longer to resolve. This could involve continued immigration proceedings for many aliens currently in immigration court.

Additional information is available in the DOJ press release and the fact-sheet.

 

 

 

I-130 and I-485 Approved for Mission Viejo Husband of US Citizen

July 23rd, 2014 No comments
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I recently attended an adjustment of status interview for one of my Mission Viejo clients. He entered the US on a visitor visa more than ten years ago. Then, he changed status to an F-1 student visa. In 2009, he met his future wife while registering for classes. The couple dated for almost a year before deciding to get married. Four years later they came to see me seeking help with the adjustment of status process.

We collected documentation to prove that their relationship was entered into in good faith. Three months after we filed the I-130 visa petition and I-485 application to adjust status packet with USCIS, our interview went forward. The interview was handled by a veteran officer that I’ve worked with on several occasions. He was friendly and efficient and asked a handful of questions about how the couple met and how the relationship progressed. Everything went smooth, and, by the end, we received an approval notice. Our client should receive his green card within the next few weeks.

Because the couple had been married for over two years at the time of the interview, the husband will receive a permanent resident card without conditions. This means he will not need to file an I-751 petition to remove conditions in two years. He will be eligible to naturalize in three years.

If you are considering a marriage-based green card case, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Every year we help a dozen or more couples navigate the complicated marriage-based visa process whether the foreign-born spouse lives in the US or abroad. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the process and how we can help.

Immediate Relatives of Armed Services Members (Active and Veterans) May Be Eligible for Adjustment of Status Despite Illegal Entry Into The United States

July 21st, 2014 No comments
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The Military Parole in Place process has been in effect for many years. Under the MPIP system, the spouses, children and parents of active duty armed forces members were eligible to adjust status to lawful permanent residency despite illegal entry into the US. As a general rule, any individual who illegally entered the US is ineligible for adjustment of status unless he is 245i eligible. The MPIP program was put in place to help active duty military members keep their families united.

For years the MPIP program was limited to active duty armed forces, selected reserve and ready reserve; however, in November 2013 the program was expanded to veterans as well. The USCIS memo states that “our veterans, who have served and sacrificed for our nation, can face stress and anxiety because of the immigration status of their family members in the United States. We as a nation have made a commitment to our veterans, to support and care for them. It is a commitment that begins at enlistment, and continues as they become veterans.”

This is a huge change that could effect many undocumented aliens. If you entered the US illegally and your parent, child or spouse is a veteran of the armed forces, selected reserve or ready reserve, you might be eligible to adjust status to lawful permanent resident (assuming you are otherwise eligible for a green card). “Absent a criminal conviction or other serious adverse factors, parole in place would generally be an appropriate exercise of discretion for such an individual.”

The parole in place program can help an alien avoid the I-601 or I-601A extreme hardship waiver process which can be more expensive and require travel to the alien’s home country for consular processing. If you are in the US illegally and are married to an active duty or veteran armed forces member, or if your son or daughter is an active duty or veteran armed forces member, contact The Nunez Firm to discuss the possibility of parole in place and adjustment of status. The process is complicated and we will need more information before we can assess your eligibility, but managing attorney Jay Nunez will meet with you during a confidential one-on-one consultation to evaluate your position.

VAWA I-360 Approved for Mission Viejo Client; Next Step Adjustment of Status to Permanent Resident

July 18th, 2014 No comments
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We just received an approval for one of our VAWA domestic violence cases. This was the fastest approval I’ve received in the last several (maybe five) years. We filed the VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) I-360 with the Vermont Service Center in late March 2014, and we received the approval less than four months later. In most cases, it takes USCIS a year to adjudicate an I-360 case.

For a VAWA case, the self-petitioner must prove that she was marred a US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse in good faith and she was the victim of domestic violence or extreme emotional abuse.

In this case, our client had a child with her ex-husband, so we felt confident that good faith marriage would not be an issue. The abuse was more difficult to prove. The ex-husband was never arrested for his abuse, and she did not get a restraining order against him. He had a history of domestic abuse with a previous wife, so we used that as probative evidence. We also had written statements from our client’s co-workers explaining that the ex-husband would often spy on her while she was at work. He would get drunk at her work as well. She filed one police report regarding his abuse, but the report did not say much. The ex-husband also used her immigration status as leverage as a way to manipulate her into obeying his demands.

We helped her draft a written statement explaining how they met, when the abuse started, and how it progressed. We also had her evaluated by a psychiatrist and he issued a report on how the abuse has affected her.

I was surprised we received the approval so soon. The client, who resides in Mission Viejo, was thrilled by the good news. The next step will be an adjustment of status interview in Santa Ana. Because we filed the I-485 adjustment of status application concurrently with the I-360, USCIS should transfer the file to Santa Ana soon. The interview should be rather straightforward because my client does not have any inadmissibility bars that would prevent her from obtaining a green card. Even though she entered the US without inspection or admission, that will not bar her from obtaining a green card because this is a VAWA case. I expect the interview to move forward in the next 2-4 months.

If you are the victim of domestic violence, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez works with male and female victims of domestic violence so they can secure their immigration status in the United States, and we would be happy to help you better understand the process.

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