Senate Bill 744 – Comprehensive Immigration Reform, But What Does That Mean

November 8th, 2013 No comments
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In June 2013, the Senate passed Senate Bill 744, a comprehensive immigration bill that would completely re-work the country’s immigration system. As of this date, the House is still undecided. The key issue for House Republicans is the path to citizenship for undocumented aliens. There are many rumors about what Senate Bill 744 includes, and I hope with this post to clear up any misconceptions regarding what’s involved in Senate Bill 744.

Senate Bill 744 involves several major areas of immigration policy including border security, immigrant visas and agricultural workers, interior enforcement of immigration laws and E-Verify, and non-immigrant visas.

BORDER SECURITY

Regarding border security, Senate Bill 744 increases the Department of Homeland Security budget from $59 billion to $79 billion, which is a 34% increase. There would be a huge increase in the resources for the border, and the number of agents would be doubled from 19,000 to 38,000. A new passport control system would be put in place to track the exits of aliens departing the United States as well. 700 miles of additional fencing along the southern border would be installed and more mobile surveillance would be used.

The bill would give Department of Homeland Security six months to create a strategy for using the resources, and a six month time frame to develop a security strategy to monitor 100% of the borders and prevent 90% of illegal crossings.

IMMIGRANT VISAS AND AGRICULTURAL WORKERS

Senate Bill 744 would develop a new category for immigrants called registered provisional immigrants (RPI). Undocumented aliens currently in the US would be eligible to become RPI under Senate Bill 744. The RPIs would be eligible to become lawful permanent residents and obtain a green card in the future, but certain border security goals must be met before this is possible. In order to qualify for RPI status, the alien must have been residing in the US since December 31, 2011. The alien cannot have any felonies, aggravated felonies in order to qualify, and if the alien has two or more misdemeanors, s/he will be ineligible. Aliens must pay assessed taxes and a $1,000 penalty fee along with application fees. Spouses and children would be eligible for RPI status as well. The RPI status waives the three and ten year bars for unlawful presence. Prior deportations and exclusions may be waived if the individual has a close relative who is a US citizen or permanent resident. RPI status would be available only after DHS issues the final regulations, and DHS would have one year to develop regulations. (This means that even if Senate Bill 744 passed today, no one could file for about a year or more.)

RPI approved aliens would receive work authorization. The initial approval would be for six years, but the RPI can renew for an additional six years if s/he has been continuously employed. RPI can apply for permanent resident status after ten years if certain other immigration policy goals are met. To become a permanent resident, aliens must show English proficiency, pay an additional $1,000 penalty and filing fees and taxes. Once the RPI is a permanent resident, s/he can apply for naturalization in three years. The total path to citizenship would be around 13 years.

RPI would also be available for Dream Act applicants. In order to file for RPI for Dreamers, the alien must meet all criteria for regular RPI. Dreamers will be eligible to adjust status to permanent residents after only five years. They can immediately naturalize upon becoming permanent residents. Path to citizenship would be five years. To be eligible for the Dream Act, the alien must show that s/he entered before age 16, graduated high school or passed the GED, completed two years of college or four years of military service, and passed background checks. The Dreamer must pass an English test as well.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is to be made permanent as well. Premium processing of EB-5 cases will be possible. EB-5 applicants will be able to concurrently file for adjustment of status when they apply for the EB-5. The required investment amount will fluctuate based on percentage change to CPI during prior fiscal years.

INTERIOR ENFORCEMENT

Senate Bill 744 would make E-Verify a mandatory process. It would phase in E-Verify over time. E-Verify is an electronic employment verification system for employers to check whether an individual is authorized to work in the US. E-verify would be required for new hires and current employees. Employers with 5,000 or more employees would be required to use E-Verify within two years of regulations being finalized. All employers must use E-Verify within four years. The fines for employer violations are increased as well.

Senate Bill 744 requires the Social Security Administration to issue identity theft resistant social security cards within five years.

NON-IMMIGRANT VISAS

Senate Bill 744 would increase the number of H-1B visas from 65,000 to 115,000 – 180,000, but ties the number available to market conditions such as unemployment rate. Employers will not be allowed to have more than 50% of workforce on H-1B or L visas. For H-1B visas, employers will need to advertise the position, which might end up being a mini version of PERM certification.

The comprehensive immigration reform bill would also introduce the W visa. There are many other new visa options under Senate Bill 744 such as the retiree visa, the X visa, and the EB-6 visa.

Keep in mind that Senate Bill 744 is not law. It is merely proposed law. Congress could change the terms of comprehensive immigration reform over the next several months. Also, note that even if comprehensive immigration reform passed tomorrow, DHS and other related agencies would need to prepare and finalize regulations governing the new law before any new benefits will be available. The process of developing regulations could take up to a year.

 

 

Geographic Boundaries of an EB-5 Regional Center and Requirements for USCIS Approval of an I-924

November 7th, 2013 No comments
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The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was created with the goal of generating greater economic growth. Regional centers should help grow the economy of the geographic area in which they are located. The regional center model within the EB-5 program offers an immigrant investor already-defined investment opportunities. It reduces the immigrant investor’s responsibility in identifying acceptable investment vehicles.

Under 8 CFR 204.6(e), a regional center “means any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, including increased export sales, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment.” Some regional centers contain one or more new commercial enterprises.

A regional center seeking approval from USCIS must file an I-924 form with USCIS. The I-924 must clearly describe how the regional center focuses on a geographical region of the United States, and how it will promote economic growth through increased export sales, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment. USCIS will require that the applying regional center provide verifiable detail regarding how jobs will be created either directly or indirectly. Regional centers applying to USCIS for EB-5 involvement must provide detailed statements regarding the amount and source of capital which has been committed to the regional center, as well as a description of the promotional efforts taken and planned by the sponsors of the regional center.

Applying regional centers should provide USCIS with a detailed prediction regarding how the regional center will have a positive impact on the regional or national economy in general. USCIS will focus on factors such as increased household earnings, greater demand for business services, utilities, maintenance and repair, and construction both within and without the regional center. The regional center must convince USCIS that the plans and predictions for the regional center are supported by economically and statistically sound forecasting tools that are valid, including , but not limited to, feasibility studies, analyses of foreign and domestic markets for the goods or services to be exported, and/or multiplier tables.

USCIS will review the proposed geographic boundaries of a new regional center and will decide whether they are acceptable. The applicant regional center must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the proposed economic activity will promote economic growth in the proposed area. This question can be very fact-specific and the law and regulations do not require any particular form of evidentiary showing. The reasonableness of the proposed geographical boundaries may be demonstrated through evidence that the proposed area is contributing significantly to the supply chain, as well as the labor pool, of the proposed projects.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is an excellent way for foreign investors to relocate to the United States. Investors have different motivations for wanting to pursue the EB-5 program including having their children raised in the US, retirement, or starting a new business in the U.S. Before starting the process with USCIS, it’s important to have a full understanding of the pros and cons with each immigrant investment option – EB-5, EB-5 regional center, or E-2 visa. There are many misconceptions about the EB-5 program. Contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to better understand your goals and objectives and help you discover which option is best suited to you.

For more information on EB-5 source of funds, click here.

 

Long Beach Client Approved for Marriage Based Green Card After Interview with USCIS Los Angeles

November 5th, 2013 No comments
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I recently attended an adjustment of status interview in Los Angeles for one of our Long Beach clients. In July 2013, we filed the I-130 and I-485 concurrently so that our client could receive a green card in the United States.

He is currently a student at Cal State and he married his long time girlfriend. Because they are both currently students it was difficult to provide USCIS with ample evidence of their good faith marriage. We had a lease agreement, a joint car registration, joint car title and many photos, but that’s it. The young couple still relied on their parents for auto insurance and health insurance.

At the interview, the officer seemed leery at the beginning of the interview. He asked for evidence like joint bank account, but I explained that my client just recently received his social security card, and the couple didn’t have time to open the joint bank account yet. He asked if the parents knew about the marriage, and we told him that the husband’s family knew but the US citizen wife did not know yet. He was very suspicious of this at first, but we explained that the wife’s parents were very traditional and always wanted her to marry someone from the same background. The wife explained that she intended to tell her parents about the marriage, but she wanted to get them comfortable with her husband for the time being.

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In general, USCIS officers are taught to be skeptical if the family of the couple is unaware of the marriage. The lack of family knowledge is a red flag that the marriage might not be bona fides. The officer was open-minded and listened to the rationale. I interjected on several occasions to further explain that the wife felt bad about misleading her parents, but she knew her parents better than anyone. She knew that her parents would eventually come around to accept the marriage, but they needed to be moved in that direction slowly.

After a 30-40 minute interview, the officer approved the case, and explained that the marriage based green card would arrive in the mail within a few weeks. The I-130 visa petition and the I-485 adjustment application were approved.

After the interview, I explained to my clients that because their marriage was less than two years old at the time of approval, the husband would receive a conditional permanent resident card. Two years from now they would need to file additional documentation with USCIS to prove that they were still married and conducting themselves as a married couple would be expected. (For more information on the I-751 process, click here.)

If you are married to a US citizen and want more information about the process to acquire permanent residency through marriage, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the process and which strategy is appropriate for your situation.

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program – Investor Must be Actively Engaged in the Management of the New Commercial Enterprise

November 2nd, 2013 No comments
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Under the federal regulations governing the EB-5 immigrant investor program, the immigrant investor must be actively engaged in the management of the new commercial enterprise, either through the exercise of day-to-day managerial responsibility or policy formation. The immigrant investor cannot maintain a purely passive role under 8 CFR 204.6(j)(5).

The immigrant investor should provide USCIS with a statement explaining the position the investor will hold. This should include the position title and a detailed description of the position’s duties. Alternatively, the EB-5 applicant can be a corporate officer or member of the board of directors.

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If the new commercial investment is a partnership, either limited or general, the immigrant investor should provide evidence that s/he will be engaged in either direct management or policy making activities.

If the applicant is a limited partner, the limited partnership agreement should grant the immigrant investor with certain rights, powers, and duties normally granted to limited partners under the Uniform Limited Partnership Act. In such cases, the immigrant investor will be considered sufficiently engaged in the management of the new commercial enterprise.

Active management is not as much of an issue with EB-5 Regional Center cases as the investor’s capital is pooled with other investors for larger projects. Each investor has limited input on how the capital is used and the project is run. The EB-5 program is a complicated area of immigration law and includes many detailed requirements.

If you are considering the EB-5 program, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation in our Irvine office. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the process and whether the EB-5 program is right for you.

For more information on proving source of funds for EB-5 investors . . .

Clarifying the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments Act of 1986 and INA 216 Regarding Conditional Residents and Form I-751

October 31st, 2013 No comments
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The Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments Act of 1986 was enacted because of Congress’s growing concern over aliens seeking permanent residence in the US on the basis of marriage to a US citizen or permanent resident. Congress heard several accounts from US citizens who had been victimized by ex-spouses who married for the sole purpose of obtaining a marriage-based green card. Similarly, government adjudicators offered accounts of couples (a US citizen and foreign born spouse) acting in concert to obtain permanent residency for the alien spouse either as a friendly agreement or as a financial arrangement. (There was also a movie starring Gerard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell.) In such cases, the couple would dissolve the marriage shortly after the alien’s marriage based green card was approved.

In response to these concerns, Congress passed the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments Act of 1986 adding INA 216, which created a conditional residence requirement for aliens who acquire permanent residency based on new marriages. Under INA 216 conditional residents  must petition USCIS (then called INS) approximately two years after obtaining the green card. The alien spouse and US citizen must file and I-751 and provide evidence that the couple was still married and conducting themselves as would be expected of a married couple. Section 216 also included a waiver provision as Congress acknowledged that in some circumstances it would be inappropriate to terminate the alien’s residency and deport the alien merely because the marriage did not last. (For more on the I-751 process . . .)

Wedding rings and money

INA 216′s conditional residency requirements apply to:

  • Any alien who, based upon a marriage to either a US citizen or lawful permanent resident obtains permanent residency within two years of such marriage, and
  • Any child of such alien who also obtains permanent residency through his or her parent’s marriage within two years of the marriage.

NOTE: The crucial date when calculating the two years of marriage is at the time of adjustment or admission. For example, if the alien files the I-485 when the alien has been married for one year and six months, but the adjustment interview (and approval) does not occur until after the second anniversary, the alien is not subject to INA 216. Likewise, if the alien consular processes and the visa interview occurs when the marriage is one year and eleven months old, but the alien is not admitted into the United States until after the second anniversary, the alien is not subject to the conditional residence requirements of INA 216.

INA 216 does not apply to the following:

  • a special immigrant classification
  • a refugee or asylee classification
  • a preference classification other than second preference
  • any other provision of the INA, or any other law, which allows dependents to accompany or follow to join a principal alien

Under the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments Act, USCIS is required to notify the alien of his/her duty to file the I-751. USCIS must notify the alien on two separate occasions: first, at the time an alien acquires conditional residence; second, approximately ninety days before the second anniversary of the date on which the alien obtained conditional permanent resident status. USCIS will notify the alien of the I-751 requirement at the last known address. However, failure by USCIS to notify the alien does not relieve the alien of his duty to file the I-751. If the alien fails to file the joint I-751 during the ninety days preceding the expiration of the two year green card, his/her status is automatically terminated.

A conditional permanent resident whose I-751 remains pending for an extended period of time may file the N-400 application to naturalize even if the I-751 has not been adjudicated.

If you are approaching the I-751 filing time, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will help you better understand the process. We have represented countless I-751 clients whether they were filing jointly or based on one of the waiver options such as good faith marriage or victim of domestic abuse.

 

Republican Lobbying Groups Push For Immigration Reform

October 29th, 2013 No comments
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Republicans who back immigration reform are ramping up their push to get the House to bring legislation to the floor, as the issue threatens to potentially create a public divide within the GOP.

The Wall Street Journal reports the group Republicans for Immigration Reform is building up its lobbying efforts in Washington, releasing a web ad last week urging the House to act that has been viewed over 600,000 times, according to the group.

This week, the New York Times reports a coalition of about 600 mostly Republican leaders in business and agriculture will begin an effort to lobby 80 GOP representatives on the issue. Some GOP donors are also reportedly privately withholding their contributions from members of Congress who oppose action of immigration reform.

The issue has the potential to divide GOP lawmakers again after public in-party fighting over the recent budget negotiations.

The New York Times reports that while some House members and House Speaker John Boehner are pushing for the lower chamber of Congress to pass its own immigration legislation before the end of the year; some conservative lawmakers have said they will not act on the issue regardless of pressure.

“I care about the sovereignty of the United States of America and what it stands for, and not an open-door policy,” Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., who is opposing all of the bills the House is currently considering, told the New York Times.

However, both President Obama and Boehner expressed optimism last week that the House could pass immigration legislation.

Proving Extreme Hardship for I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers

October 29th, 2013 No comments
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At the heart of any I-601 or I-601A unlawful presence waiver is the issue of extreme hardship to the qualifying relative of the alien applicant. In order to win approval for an I-601 extreme hardship waiver or I-601A waiver, the attorney must show that it would cause the qualifying relative extreme hardship if the alien is not permitted to live in the United States.

Extreme hardship is a vague term, and the adjudicating officer is given broad discretion on how to interpret extreme hardship. Generally, extreme hardship is defined as greater than the normal hardship the qualifying relative can be expected to experience if the Alien is denied admission. The I-601 or I-601A should always cover two hypothetical scenarios when attempting to satisfy this issue: 1) would the qualifying relative experience extreme hardship if the relative stays in the United States and the alien lives in his/her home country? 2) Would the qualifying relative experience extreme hardship if s/he moves with alien to the home country?

There are many strategies and potential arguments to consider when trying to prove extreme hardship. Each case will involve different facts, but it’s important to consider all possible angles. Here is a sampling of some of the arguments that USCIS or the Department of State might consider persuasive. This list is not exhaustive.

- Qualifying relative (“QR”) has a serious medical condition that makes relocation to the foreign country impossible. This is a very strong argument, and if accompanied by other arguments and presented in a persuasive manner, should result in an approval. We’ve had several waiver cases approved involving a QR with a serious medical condition.

- Child of QR has a serious medical condition which causes extreme hardship to QR if alien is forced to live outside the US. Although the child’s hardship from the medical condition is not directly considered for the I-601 or I-601A waiver, hardship to the child of the QR will always cause hardship to the parent. For example, one of our client’s children was autistic, so we explained that if the alien wife was forced to live abroad, the child would either move to the foreign country and receive inadequate support services or the child would stay in the US and the US citizen husband would not be able to provide adequate supervision because he worked two jobs.

- Qualifying relative takes care of an elderly relative with a serious medical condition. Be sure to document the medical condition and show proof that the QR provides care. Also, explain why other relatives (siblings, etc.) cannot provide care if QR were to move abroad. In one of our cases, we showed that the mother of the QR was very old and had several medical problems. The QR and his alien wife lived a couple blocks away and would care for the mother every day. While the QR went to work, the alien wife would stay with the mother, massaging her feet, preparing food and keeping her company. We provided photos and medical records for the mother.

- Alien’s home country is at war, is politically unstable, or has serious violence. Use country condition reports and US government sources to prove this. Avoid news articles if possible. This is always a worthwhile argument if the alien is from Mexico.

- QR is the primary caregiver for children from a prior relationship. Be prepared to show custody documents or other proof of primary caregiver.

- QR must help support family members financially. For example, one of our clients helped his parents pay their mortgage because they were older and could not work. In another case, our client was putting two college-aged kids through school, and he could not move abroad because the kids would need to drop out of school.

- QR helps support children from a prior relationship but is not the primary caregiver. This argument will receive less attention, but it is still important to point out. Include proof of child support payments and try to get a written statement from the children or other parent of the children attesting to the QR’s involvement in the kids’ lives. In one case, the mother of the QR’s children provided a written statement attesting to the alien’s good relationship with the children and saying that the QR was a good father and provider.

- QR has suffered depression, anxiety or other psychological problems as a result to Alien’s uncertain immigration status. A psych evaluation from a qualified professional is necessary here.

- QR and Alien have children together. There are many rumors that if a couple has kids together, the I-601 or I-601A will be granted. While having children together makes the case stronger, it does not, in and of itself, guarantee approval. Likewise, not having children involved does not guarantee denial.

- The Alien entered the US at a young age through no decision of his/her own. Although this should not have a direct bearing on extreme hardship to the QR, some officers regard this as a relevant consideration. It might be possible to argue that the alien would be just as ill-prepared to live in the foreign country as the QR therefore making the stress of living separately or trying to live abroad for ten years more daunting.

- QR could not find employment in the foreign country. One of our clients was a floor restoration specialist and had his own business. If he moved to the foreign country he would not be able to practice his trade. He wouldn’t know the language and the houses were built differently in that country. His skills would be useless if he moved abroad.

- QR would be a target for violence in the foreign country. In another case, we explained that the QR would stick out in the foreign country because of his race. We included country condition reports that discussed various incidents of individuals like our client being targeted for violence, kidnapping, and robbery. We also included news articles.

- Alien would be a target for violence in the foreign country. In the home country of one of our clients rape was prevalent, and our alien client was previously attacked while she lived there. We included her written testimony, country condition reports and news articles. We explained that the QR would be constantly worried that he could not protect her while he was living in the US and she lived abroad.

- QR and alien (assuming marriage) are without children, but they are trying to start a family and being separated for years to come will make a family impossible. If appropriate provide documentation to show trouble getting pregnant. For example, with one couple that did not have kids, we provided evidence of a prior miscarriage. We argued that the wife was in her early thirties and had already suffered a miscarriage. She was getting older and the couple would either need to move to Mexico and have the child there, or give up on having a family if the wife was forced to live in Mexico for the next ten years.

Keep in mind that officers are given broad discretion on which cases to approve, and the attorney filing the waiver packet has no control over which officer adjudicates the case. Each adjudicator may have their own preferences and guidelines, and the case law supports this by acknowledging that each case is unique. For this reason it’s important to have an immigration attorney experienced with I-601 and I-601A waivers help prepare the case. A good attorney will have prepared many waiver packets and will know which cases have been approved and which have not.

To schedule a consultation with The Nunez Firm, contact us. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the I-601 and I-601A process and whether your case is viable and worth pursuing.

Invest New Hampshire Regional Center Enters the EB-5 Field

October 28th, 2013 No comments
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Northern New England’s immigrant investment playing field just became more crowded. A new EB-5 regional center, based in Campton, N.H., was approved Monday by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The Invest New Hampshire Regional Center aims to raise $10.5 million in $500,000 increments from 21 investors. The money will fund expansions at the Owl’s Nest Resort and Golf Club in the White Mountains, according to USCIS documentation published on its website.

The center’s manager, Kelly Wieser, is the daughter of Owl’s Nest developer and regional center principal Thomas Mullen. A January report in New Hampshire Business Review quoted Mullen as saying the group plans to expand their EB-5 investment portfolio beyond Owl’s Nest. Representatives from Invest New Hampshire could not be reached before publication time for this article.

Invest New Hampshire is the fourth such regional center approved to operate in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire EB-5 Regional Center was created to raise $35 million to turn Ragged Mountain Resort into a four-season destination, much like plans for the EB-5-funded Jay Peak and Burke Mountain expansions in Vermont.

“You’ve heard of the term, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?” Bill Stenger said. “This applies.”

The Jay Peak co-owner is the public face of a combined $425 million set of EB-5 projects promising thousands of jobs in the Northeast Kingdom. In addition to Jay Peak and Burke Mountain, Stenger and his business partner, Ariel Quiros, are working to bring a Korean biotech firm to Newport and develop a city block and waterfront lot in the town.

For more information on the EB-5 program in general, click here.

If you are considering the EB-5 Investor Visa Program, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the process and whether the EB-5 program is a viable option for you.

The contents and information provided in this post should in no way be considered an endorsement or recommendation by The Nunez Firm, P.C. in favor of the investment opportunities or regional centers mentioned herein. The contents are strictly for informational purposes. As with any investment, investors considering the EB-5 program should consult a financial advisor and perform the necessary due diligence.

Green Card Approved For Irvine Client Based on Marriage to US Citizen husband

October 27th, 2013 No comments
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One of our Irvine clients was approved for a marriage based green card this week. The couple met in 2005 while they were both working for the same company. They were friends at first as the husband was going through a difficult divorce. Over time the couple’s relationship became more romantic and they started dating. When the divorce finalized in 2011, the husband proposed marriage, and a year later, the couple married.

They initially hired another attorney, but they were unhappy with the pace at which the case was proceeding. They hired The Nunez Firm earlier this year. We collected evidence to prove that the marriage was entered into in good faith including joint auto insurance, utility bills and joint tax returns. The husband’s brothers provided written statements attesting to the bona fides of the marriage as well.

Wedding rings

At the interview, the examining officer raised an important issue – the wife was previously married (almost 20 years ago), and her husband filed for her to receive a marriage based green card. The marriage did not work out and the couple divorced without pursuing the green card further. I explained that the filing of the visa petition on behalf of my client did not make her ineligible to receive a green card through her current marriage. I pointed out that the prior filing was not denied, it was abandoned. And, there was no evidence of marriage fraud in that case. My client and her ex-husband were merely young and rushed into a decision too quickly. The officer agreed, and approved the case on the spot.

The couple was very happy about the outcome. After the interview, I advised them that they would need to file the I-751 application to remove conditions two years from now because their marriage was less than two years old at the time of the approval. For more information on the I-751 process, click here.

If you are married to a US citizen and are considering consular processing or adjustment of status, contact The Nunez Firm. Each case is different and you should consult an experienced immigration attorney to help you devise the best strategy for obtaining a green card through your marriage. Some cases will require an I-601A extreme hardship waiver, and you should know what will be involved before you begin the process.

I-601A Provisional Waiver Approved for Santa Ana Client Based on Extreme Hardship

October 25th, 2013 No comments
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We received an approval notice for an I-601A Unlawful Presence Waiver for one of our Santa Ana clients. Our client is married to a US citizen and has two US citizen children (ages 2 and 4). She entered the US without inspection in the mid-1990s.

Both of the children are healthy. The husband has some medical issues (asthma and high blood pressure). The husband works two jobs and the wife stays home with the kids. In our I-601A packet we explained to USCIS that the husband would experience extreme hardship if the wife were not permitted to live in the United States.

As with any I-601A extreme hardship waiver, we covered to primary questions: 1) Would husband experience extreme hardship if wife lived in Mexico and husband stayed in the US? 2) Would husband experience extreme hardship if wife and husband moved to Mexico?

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On the first issue, we explained that the husband would have difficulty maintaining two households if the wife moved to Mexico. The husband was already working two jobs in order to support his family. If the wife moved to Mexico, he would need to support her in Mexico. Additionally, his children would either live with her or stay with him. If the kids lived with him, he would need 12 hours of child care per day while he worked. We explained that he had no immediate family capable of helping with child care, so he would need to pay for child care. He would not be able to afford that while also helping to support his wife in Mexico. We explained that if the children lived in Mexico with the wife, there would be safety issues for all of them. We provided a psychological evaluation for the husband that showed that he was experiencing severe anxiety over the prospect of his wife and children living in Mexico for the next 10 years.

We provided extensive documentation to support our claims of extreme hardship. The final packet was over two hundred fifty pages long. We filed the I-130 visa petition earlier this year, and once it was approved, we were able to file the I-601A unlawful presence waiver with USCIS.

The couple is very happy. The next step is to set up the consular interview in Ciudad Juarez. The wife will go to the interview and she should be back in the United States with an immigrant visa (green card) within a 7-10 days.

If you are considering the I-601A process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation.

 

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