Continued OPT Approved and Employment Authorization Issued for Irvine Client

February 27th, 2014 No comments
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USCIS approved an extension of OPT (optional practical training) for one of our Irvine clients. His OPT was set to expire in June 2013, and he filed for an extension without the help of an attorney. He received a detailed request for evidence from USCIS. They were concerned about several issues including 1) how he could be employed by a company based outside California, while he was working in Orange County; 2) whether he had been unemployed for any extended period of time while on OPT; and 3) where he had lived during his OPT.

We explained that our client has been employed by his employer which is based in another state. Our client works in Irvine as an on-site consultant for an Orange County based company. We showed USCIS that our client receives his pay checks from his out of state employer. We also provided the contract between his employer and the Orange County company to better explain the relationship. We had the CEO of our client’s employer write a detailed letter explaining the nature of the job duties, the relationship between the employer and the Orange County based company, and why our client could not perform his work while based outside Orange County.

Regarding the issue of unemployment during OPT, we provided pay stubs that showed that during the OPT period, our client was unemployed for less than ten days. Under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(ii)(E), an OPT applicant’s unemployment may not exceed ninety days during the OPT period. Through paystubs, time sheets and letters from current and prior employers we were able to show that our client did not violate the 90-day rule.

The third issue was rather strange, and we weren’t sure why USCIS was so interested in our client’s addresses for the last four years. However, if USCIS issues a request for evidence it is best to answer as completely as possible. We provided proof of prior addresses including leases, letters from landlords and roommates, and bills to show where our client lived while in the US.

USCIS was satisfied with the evidence we presented, and they issued the employment authorization which will not expire until fall 2014. In the meantime, our client intends to pursue an H-1B visa so he can continue his work in the US. If you are considering OPT or need to renew your OPT, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule an appointment. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will meet with you to better explain the process and how we can help.

I-130 Visa Petition Approved Despite Married Couple Living Apart; I-485 Pending

February 25th, 2014 No comments
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We received an approval notice for an I-130 visa petition filed by a lawful permanent resident for his wife. We filed the case in September 2013 and included the I-130 visa petition and I-485 adjustment application. At the time of filing, the priority dates were current, so we were able to concurrently file the I-130 and I-485.

We provided evidence that the couple had been together for several years. We gave USCIS photos of the couple over the years along with flight itineraries for the couple. Because the wife is currently finishing school in another state, and the husband lives in Irvine, the USCIS officer requested additional evidence to prove the good faith marriage. Although some couples live apart, it is certainly not regarded as uncommon and the officer was right to ask for additional evidence. We complied and provided more documentation to show the couple was commingling their assets.

At the time of the interview, the priority dates had retrogressed, so USCIS was unable to process the I-485 adjustment of status application. USCIS approved the I-130 visa petition. Now, we must wait until the priority date becomes current. Then our client will receive her green card. In the meantime she is entitled to work authorization which will allow her to work.

If you are considering the marriage based green card process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally explain the process and help you better understand the various considerations.

Joint I-751 Approved for couple in Baltimore, Maryland

February 11th, 2014 No comments
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One of our clients was approved for the ten year green card recently. We originally represented them while they were living in Irvine, and we obtained the two-year conditional green card based on marriage through adjustment of status. A year ago, the husband accepted a job in Maryland, and the couple moved.

Despite the move, they wanted us to represent them with the I-751 petition to remove conditions on residency process. We collected the necessary evidence and prepared a comprehensive packet of evidence to prove the couple’s marriage was real and entered into in good faith. Four months later, the case was approved.

The couple was very happy that they did not need to attend an I-751 interview. When USCIS adjudicates an I-751, they have the option to call for an interview or they can approve the case without interview. For more info on the I-751 process, click.

The permanent resident husband looks forward to naturalizing later this year.

If you are considering or currently involved in the marriage based green card process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you and help you better understand the process.

K-1 Visa Issued for Fiance of Laguna Niguel Client; Adjustment of Status Next

February 6th, 2014 No comments
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A K-1 fiance visa was issued for the future wife of one of our Laguna Niguel clients. The couple met in Mexico a few years ago. They dated for a while before he proposed marriage. He visited her often during their courtship, and in spring 2013, he approached me asking for help with the fiance visa process. We prepared all the necessary elements of the initial I-129F filing. We received a decision from USCIS within five months.

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Then, we filed the necessary documents with the Department of State’s National Visa Center prior to the scheduling of the visa interview in Ciudad Juarez. At the interview, the officer said they could not make a decision on the case because they were waiting for additional information from background checks. Because this was a consular interview, I was not present and was unable to ascertain the nature of the inquiry. That is one of the main issues with consular processing. Attorney representation is not permitted at the interview. However, within a few weeks, the visa was approved.

The client recently arrived in the United States on her K-1 entry. The couple married within a few days. Now, we will prepare the I-485 adjustment of status application so that we can process the green card. We intend to file the adjustment packet within the next few weeks. From recent past experience, the green card interview will likely occur about 3-4 months after we file the I-485, and I will attend the interview with my clients to ensure that everything processes smoothly.

If you are considering the fiance visa process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help determine which options are available and whether the K-1 fiance visa process is right for you.

Well-Known GOP Political Commentator Suggests Republicans Abandon Immigration Reform

February 4th, 2014 No comments
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As Republican politicians wrestle with the thorny issue of immigration reform, they need to remember one thing: Conservative commentator Ann Coulter is always right.

If you don’t believe she’s always right, you’re either a weak-kneed Republican-in-name-only or a sexist America-hating leftie. That’s a lose-lose, so the GOP should listen up.

Republicans gathered in Maryland recently for the party’s annual retreat and polka party, and a key item on the agenda was forging a cohesive plan to address the country’s broken immigration system. To help out, Coulter wrote the lawmakers a 900-word anti-pep talk titled: “GOP Crafts Plan to Wreck the Country, Lose Voters.

In her piece, Coulter puts forth the reasoned argument that immigrants will never vote for Republicans, so to heck with them.

Coulter reached that conclusion after reading what she calls a “stunning report” by conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly. The report seems to be a collection of data plucked from various polls and designed to prove Schlafly’s point, which is basically that immigrants are un-American and the GOP should deal only with white people.

Fiance Visa Issued for Future Wife of Huntington Beach Client

February 2nd, 2014 No comments
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Fiance visa approved for future wife of Huntington Beach client. We just received the good news that one of our K-1 fiance visa cases was approved by the consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. After dating for several years, the couple decided they were done with long distance. The husband would travel to Mexico at least once per month to visit, and they wanted to live together in the US so they could start their life together.

We advised that the K-1 fiance visa was the best option for them. We helped them collect the necessary evidence and information and filed the I-129F with USCIS. A few months later, the K-1 visa petition was approved by USCIS, and the case was forwarded to the Department of State for further processing. We filed additional documents, including the visa application, with the Department of State.

Wedding rings

A month or so later, the case was scheduled for a consular interview. The interview went smoothly and the visa was approved. The wife should arrive in the US within the next week or so. The total time from filing the I-129F to visa approval by the Ciudad Juarez consulate was less than 8 months.

After that, the couple will marry within the first 90 days of the wife’s arrival. Then, we will file the I-485 adjustment of status application. Because the marriage will be less than two years old at the time of interview with USCIS, the wife will be eligible for conditional permanent resident status. This means she will need to file additional evidence two years from now in order to prove to USCIS that the marriage was entered into in good faith.

If you are considering the K-1 process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Every year, we handle many fiancé visa cases from all over the world. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to gain a better understanding of your situation and whether the K-1 visa is your best option.

GOP Releases Guiding Principles Regarding Immigration Reform

January 30th, 2014 No comments
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CAMBRIDGE, Md. – A Republican blueprint for immigration reform offers legalization for some of the nation’s 11 million people who are in the country illegally, but no special pathway to citizenship, except in the cases of children brought to the country illegally by their parents, according to a draft of the plan obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

The much-anticipated blueprint, discussed Thursday during a Republican retreat at a Chesapeake Bay resort here, would offer legal status to immigrants as long as they admitted to wrongdoing, paid fines and taxes, submitted to a criminal background check and demonstrated a mastery of English and civics.

Those steps would come only after measures were taken to secure borders, according to the plan.

Immigrants brought to the country as children — so-called dreamers — would be allowed to apply for legal residence and citizenship, the document says. It also calls for a system that tracks when travelers exit the country and would require employers to verify the immigration status of new hires with a federal database.

The one-page list says there should be a zero-tolerance policy for immigration law violators after reform is enacted and it calls for stripping the power of a president to use discretion when it comes to deciding whom to deport.

Green Card Approved Based on VAWA for Los Angeles Client After Deportation Proceedings Dismissed by Immigration Judge

January 30th, 2014 No comments
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One of our Los Angeles clients recently received her green card after her I-485 adjustment of status application was approved. She was approved for VAWA based on being the victim of domestic violence; however, because she had an outstanding removal order, her I-485 was denied. We did not represent her with her initial VAWA adjustment.

She came to me through a client referral. I explained that we first needed to reopen her removal proceedings and get the deportation order taken off her record. After that, we could proceed with the adjustment of status based on the approved VAWA.

I contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement and explained the situation. They agreed to join in a joint motion to reopen her immigration court case. The immigration judge agreed to reopen the case, dismiss the removal order, and close the court case.

Once the court case was closed, we spoke with USCIS asking them to adjudicate the I-485. After an interview in the Los Angeles office of USCIS, the officer approved the I-485, and, within a few weeks, my client received her green card.

She is very excited that she is a permanent resident. The next step will be to petition for her daughter to come to the United States to live and go to school.

If you have an immigration situation and would like to better understand the options available to you, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will meet with you on a confidential basis and help devise the best strategy to accomplish your goals.

GOP Support Grows for Legal Status for Undocumented Aliens

January 28th, 2014 No comments
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WASHINGTON — The House Republican leadership’s broad framework for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws will call this week for a path to legal status — but not citizenship — for many of the 11 million adult immigrants who are in the country illegally, according to aides who have seen the party’s statement of principles. For immigrants brought to the United States illegally as young children, the Republicans would offer a path to citizenship.

But even before the document is unveiled later, some of the party’s leading strategists and conservative voices are urging that the immigration push be abandoned, or delayed until next year, to avoid an internal party rupture before the midterm elections.

“It’s one of the few things that could actually disrupt what looks like a strong Republican year,” said William Kristol, editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, calling an immigration push “a recipe for disaster.”

“Don’t Do It,” said the headline on a National Review editorial on Monday aimed at the House speaker, John A. Boehner of Ohio. “The last thing the party needs is a brutal intramural fight when it has been dealt a winning hand” — troubles with the president’s health care law — ahead of the elections, the editorial said.

At the same time, Republicans have seen their support from Latinos plummet precisely because of their stance on immigration, and the “statement of principles,” barely more than a page, is intended to try to reverse that trajectory.

The statement of principles criticizes the American higher education system for educating some of the world’s best and brightest students only to lose them to their home countries because they cannot obtain green cards; insists that Republicans demand that current immigration laws be enforced before illegal immigrants are granted legal status; and mentions that some kind of triggers must be included in an immigration overhaul to ensure that borders are secured first, said Republican officials who have seen the principles.

With concern already brewing among conservatives who call any form of legal status “amnesty,” the document has the feel more of an attempt to test the waters than a blueprint for action. House Republican leaders will circulate it at a three-day retreat for their members that begins Wednesday on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Several pro-immigration organizations that have been briefed on the guidelines say they are not intended to serve as a conservative starting point for future negotiations, but as a gauge of how far to the left House Republicans are willing to move.

The principles say that Republicans do not support a “special path to citizenship,” but make an exception for the “Dreamers,” the immigrants brought into the country illegally as children, quoting a 2013 speech by Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader. “One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents,” Mr. Cantor said at the time. “It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and who know no other home.”

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The Filipino Community Pushes for TPS Designation In Wake of Typhoon Haiyan

January 17th, 2014 No comments
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NEW YORK, USA – With the seeming lack of action by the US government on the Philippines’ request for Temporary Protected Status, several Filipino American organizations in the New York-New Jersey area banded together last week to press for the immediate granting of the status.

“As one Filipino community, let our voices, let our coming together, once again remind the Department of Homeland Security of the pending request for TPS,” Fr. Julian Jagudilla, OFM, Director of the Migrant Center at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi (CSFA), said.

“The TPS can and will be a big help in easing the suffering of Filipinos in the US who have families and friends directly affected by Typhoon Haiyan. We are asking the Obama administration and the DHS to be sensitive to the plight of the Filipinos here in the US as well as of those in the Philippines,” Fr. Jagudilla, who convened the meeting, said.

The new coalition, TPS for the Philippines Now, has scheduled a forum and an interfaith vigil to rally the community to campaign for the speedy approval of the TPS.

The forum, which aims to gather widespread support for the granting of the status, will be held on Saturday, February 1 (New York time), from 1 to 4 pm at the San Damiano Hall of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in midtown Manhattan.

On February 13, an inter-faith prayer vigil in support of the TPS campaign will be held from 6 to 7:30 pm in front of the DHS office at 26 Federal Plaza in downtown Manhattan.

Under Section 244 of the US Immigration and Nationality Act, a Temporary Protected Status or TPS can be granted to foreign nationals in the U.S. when conditions in their home countries temporarily prevent them from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.

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