Obama’s new immigration policy: I-601A Waivers

November 21st, 2014 No comments
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As part of President Obama’s new immigration policy, the I-601A provisional waiver process will be expanded to include spouses and children of LPRs.  Additionally, the definition of extreme hardship will be expanded and clarified.

Deferred Action for Parents (DAP) Program Announced by President Obama

November 21st, 2014 No comments
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Parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (of any age) who have been continuously present since 1/1/10, and who pass background checks and pay taxes, will be eligible to apply for deferred action, which will be granted for a 3-year period.  The goal is to have this program up and running within 180 days (for applications to be accepted).  Note that parents of DACA recipients are not eligible.

DACA Age Cap To Be Removed Pursuant to President Obama’s Most Recent Policy

November 21st, 2014 No comments
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Currently, DACA is limited to aliens who were under the age of 31 years old as of June 15, 2012. As part of Obama’s most recent announcement on immigration policy, the age cap will be removed and those aliens who meet all other requirements will be allowed to apply for deferred action and receive work authorization.

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.

 

 

 

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