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Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’

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.

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.

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.

Deferred Action (DACA) Approved for Santa Ana Client; Next Step Filing for Advance Parole

April 10th, 2014 No comments
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We just received an approval for one of our DACA clients in Santa Ana. We filed the case at the end of 2013, and we received the approval almost exactly three months later.

In order to be eligible for deferred action for childhood arrivals, the applicant must meet many requirements and be able to prove it. He must show he arrived in the US before he turned 16 years old. He has lived in the US continuously since June 15, 2007. He was in the United States on June 15, 2012. He graduated or is currently in high school or he has taken or is preparing to take the GED. He cannot have a significant criminal history either. There are several other baseline requirements that all DACA applicants must meet before deferred action will be approved by USCIS.

Our client arrived in the United States when he was nine years old, and we were able to prove his continuous presence since that time by providing school immunization records and other public school attendance records. We provided W2s and other tax documents to prove continuous presence for the last five years. We gave USCIS bank records to show he was in the United States on June 15, 2012.

Our client also received work authorization which will allow him to work legally in the United States for the next two years. We intend to file for advance parole so our client can visit his ailing grandfather in Mexico. He has not seen his grandfather for many years, and, unfortunately, the grandfather will likely pass away some time soon. DACA approved immigrants are eligible for advance parole in certain limited circumstances, and we hope that having a terminally ill grandparent will qualify.

If you are considering the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals process, 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 you have a viable case.

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.

Case Brief: In Re Garcia-Hernandez, 23 I&N Dec. 590 (BIA)

March 3rd, 2013 No comments
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FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The respondent is a native and citizen of Mexico who entered the United States without inspection or parole. The respondent was served a Notice to Appear on May 14, 1997, and in due course applied for cancellation of removal for nonpermanent residents and, in the alternative, for voluntary departure.

In 1997 the respondent was convicted for corporal injury to a spouse in violation of § 273.5 of the California Penal Code, for which he was sentenced to probation on the condition that he serve 90 days in custody. The IJ determined that the conviction was for a crime involving moral turpitude. The IJ further determined that the respondent was not eligible for the “petty offense” exception in section 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) (1994), because he had not been convicted of “only one crime.” The IJ based this finding on the respondent’s 1994 conviction for battery under § 242 of Cal. Pen. Code. A crime not involving moral turpitude. The Immigration Judge accordingly found that the respondent was ineligible for cancellation of removal because he had been convicted of an offense under section 212(a)(2).

The IJ further found that the respondent could not meet the good moral character requisite under 240A(b)(1)(B) of the Act because of his 1997 conviction.

ISSUES

(1)    Whether an alien is ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1) of the Act if he committed a crime involving moral turpitude that falls within the “petty offense” exception in section 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II); and, if not

(2)    Whether the commission of another offense that is not a crime involving moral turpitude renders the “petty offense” exception inapplicable.

RULE

1) An alien who has committed more than one petty offense is not ineligible for the “petty offense” exception if “only one crime” is a crime involving moral turpitude.

2) An alien who has committed a crime involving moral turpitude that falls within the “petty offense” exception is not ineligible for cancellation of removal.

3) An alien who commits a crime involving moral turpitude that falls within the “petty offense” exception is not ineligible for cancellation of removal.

HOLDING

1. An alien who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude that falls within the “petty offense” exception in section 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) (1994), is not ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(C) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1)(C) (Supp. IV 1998), because he “has not been convicted of an offense under section 212(a)(2)” of the Act.

2. An alien who has committed a crime involving moral turpitude that falls within the “petty offense” exception is not ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(B) of the Act, because commission of a petty offense does not bar the offender from establishing good moral character under section 101(f)(3) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(f)(3) (Supp. IV 1998).

3.  An alien who has committed more than one petty offense is not ineligible for the “petty offense” exception if “only one crime” is a crime involving moral turpitude.

4. The respondent, who was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude that qualifies as a petty offense, was not rendered ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1) of Act by either his conviction or his commission of another offense that is not a crime involving moral turpitude.

REASONING

A. Applicability of the “Petty Offense” Exception to Cancellation of Removal Eligibility

The court concluded that respondent’s 1997 conviction for spousal injury did not render him ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(C), or sections 240A(b)(1)(B) and 101(f)(3) of the Act, because the conviction, considered alone, clearly qualifies for the “petty offense” exception. The court reasoned that because the respondent was convicted under a misdemeanor statute that carried a maximum sentence of no more than 1 year in prison and he received a sentence of less than 6 months. Thus, the court concluded that the respondent would not be inadmissible on the basis of this offense.

The Court further found that the conviction, standing alone, does not render the respondent ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(C) of the Act, which requires an applicant to show that he “has not been convicted of an offense under section 212(a)(2).” The court reasoned that a “petty offense” exception also applies when determining eligibility for cancellation of removal.

Furthermore, the court concluded that on the basis of his 1997 conviction alone, that respondent was not an alien “described in” section 212(a)(2)(A) of the Act for purposes of the good moral character definition in section 101(f)(3) because an alien is not within the class of aliens described in section 212(a)(2)(A) if the “petty offense” exception applies to his or her crime.

B. “Only one crime” exception to 212(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Act.

The court further construed the “only one crime” proviso as referring to “only one such crime,” meaning it had to involve a crime of moral turpitude. The court reasoned that while the IJ view would mean that the commission of any offense—even one of a very minor nature, such as a driving infraction—would preclude application of the “petty offense” exception the court believed that the far more sensible construction is to read the word “crime” in the context of offenses that are the subject matter of section 212(a)(2)(A). Viewed in this fashion, the court stated, the word “crime” refers most logically to a crime involving moral turpitude.

C. Voluntary Departure

For the above mentioned reasons, the court concluded that the conviction does not bar respondent from this form of relief on statutory grounds.

CONCLUSION: The respondent’s appeal is sustained.

If you are currently in immigration court proceedings, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you and help you better understand the options available to you in order to avoid deportation.

Adjustment of Status Approved for Orange County Client Based on Matter of Quilantan, 25 I&N Dec. 285 (BIA 2010)

February 8th, 2013 No comments
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We just received great news that one of our clients from Garden Grove was approved for a conditional resident card through adjustment of status. She married her husband last year after the couple knew each other for many years. Everything about the case was fairly standard except one issue – whether she was admitted into the United States.

In general, in order to adjust status to permanent resident through marriage to a US citizen, the couple must prove many things such as good faith marriage and joint asset ownership among others. The alien is permitted to adjust status (subject to the discretion of USCIS) if the alien was inspected and admitted into the United States. In most cases, the alien will have an I-94 arrival record to prove lawful admission. A stamp in the alien’s passport is helpful evidence as well.

In 2010, the Board of Immigration Appeals decided the case of Matter of Quilantan. In Quilantan, the BIA held that an alien who physically presents herself for questioning and makes no knowing false claim to citizenship is inspected even though she volunteers no information and is asked no questions by the immigration authorities, and that such an alien has satisfied the inspected and admitted requirement of INA 245(a). In Quilantan, the alien was a citizen of Mexico. She did not have a visa or border crossing card when she approached the border as a passenger in a car driven by her US citizen friend. The immigration officer asked the driver if he was an American citizen and the driver confirmed that he was. The officer did not ask Ms. Quilantan any questions before waving the car through to the United States. The BIA held that Ms. Quilantan had been admitted to the US as required in order to adjust status to permanent residency. The BIA held that Ms. Quilantan’s entry had been procedurally proper because she underwent an inspection by an immigration officer, who subsequently admitted the alien. DHS argued that Ms. Quilantan’s entry was not procedurally proper because she had not shown that she was admitted in a particular immigrant or non-immigrant status. DHS argued that Ms. Quilantan was required to present herself before an immigration officer as an alien. The BIA disagreed.

In our case, the facts were remarkably similar. Our client was a young child when she was placed in a car with her relatives. There were five individuals in the car. All were either US citizens or lawful permanent residents other than my client. The officer at the border asked for the driver’s green card, but did not ask for anyone else’s proof of admissibility. The officer waved the car through.

Because Quilantan is a relatively new case, we provided USCIS with a legal brief explaining why our client was eligible for adjustment of status. During the interview, the officer asked many questions about my client’s entry into the United States. My client answered the questions honestly and to the officer’s satisfaction. The officer took the case under review and a few weeks after the interview the case was approved.

Because my client’s marriage is less than two years old, she will be required to file an I-751 in two years to remove the conditions on her residency. I advised her that she should collect evidence of living together and conducting themselves as a married couple for the next two years.

If you are considering adjustment of status based on marriage to a US citizen, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will meet with you during a confidential consultation to help you better understand the options available to you.

Do I Need An Attorney To File For DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)?

August 9th, 2012 No comments
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This is the question many undocumented young people are asking as the August 15th start date for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process nears. Many people, including fellow attorneys, believe immigration law is simply filling out forms. Why would anyone hire an attorney to fill out forms?

Immigration law is not just filling out forms. It’s more akin to tax law in that it is based on regulations, statutes and ever-changing interpretations by government agencies. There are many pitfalls when filing the forms with the government. If an application or petition includes certain information, it can raise a red flag and start in motion the process of removal and court proceedings. Each question on any immigration form is included for a reason. Answering incorrectly can have substantial consequences for the applicant or applicant’s family members. From my experience, USCIS rarely regards incorrect information provided on a form as merely an error.

Many beneficiaries of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) will be able to fill out the forms, which are admittedly straightforward; however, there exists a broader context to the DACA process. For example, the forms, when released on August 15th, will likely ask for certain information about family members as well. Issues of confidentiality and potential deportation risks to those family members should be considered in depth.

I cannot tell you how many times I have met with people who either began the immigration process (245i adjustment, marriage-based adjustment of status, consular processing, I-601 waiver) on their own or had a family friend help them. They filed the wrong forms or included incorrect information or suddenly were facing deportation in immigration court. The cost to hire an attorney at the outset, or at least consult with an attorney before moving forward, would have been nominal, but the costs to extricate the person from the situation afterwards, was thousands of dollars.

When you hire an experienced immigration attorney, you are buying peace of mind. You know you have someone on your side that understands the pitfalls and knows how to avoid them. While you will undoubtedly pay less to fill out the forms yourself or hire a notario to file your DACA case, sometimes the cheap gets expensive.

At The Nunez Firm, we will be filing DACA cases later this month. We intend to charge a reasonable flat rate attorney fee that is affordable and fairly compensates us for the time spent preparing the case. We are offering free consultations to help potential DACA beneficiaries better understand the process and how we can help. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you and answer your questions regarding the exciting new changes that are coming about in immigration law.

 

Obama Announces Deferred Action Availability to Dream Act Qualifiers

June 15th, 2012 No comments
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Preliminary information indicates that eligible applicants must:

– Be 15-30 years old, and have entered before age 16
– Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012
– Have maintained continuous residence
– Have not been convicted of one serious crime or multiple minor crimes
– Be currently enrolled in high school, graduated or have a GED, or have enlisted in the military

The deferred action offer will be available to those in proceedings as well as to those who apply affirmatively.

The White House is expected to make a formal announcement this afternoon at 1:15 EST. The Nunez Firm will continue to update developments as they become available.

Immigrant Family Forced to Live Apart Due to US Immigration Policy

March 8th, 2012 No comments
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TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — Agustin Portillo checks the oil in his wife’s car, stores her luggage in her trunk and then drives her from his apartment in Tijuana to the U.S. border entry port because she is too afraid to maneuver the twisting streets of this sprawling, violent city by herself.

As they wait in the hours-long checkpoint line, he kisses and holds her hand. A romantic ballad comes on the radio and he sings to her softly. She responds with a smile.

When they are nearly at the border checkpoint, Agustin signs. He kisses his wife and steps out of the car. This is as far as he can go. After 20 years of living with his wife in Los Angeles, he is stuck here, on the wrong side of the fence.

Love, it turns out, does not conquer all, especially when it comes to U.S. immigration law.

“To see your family go and you can’t go with them, it breaks your heart,” he said.

It’s a common misconception that an illegal alien married to a U.S. citizen is immediately granted “green card” status or citizenship. But Ana and Agustin, and thousands of couple like them, know the truth.

Ana, 60, is an immigrant from El Salvador who was allowed to become a U.S. citizen because of her homeland’s war-torn past. She has a son who is a legal resident in Las Vegas and another son who is an illegal immigrant in Los Angeles. Her three grandchildren were born in the United States.

Agustin, 49, is an illegal immigrant from Mexico without much money, an unattractive candidate for legal status under U.S. immigration law.

They can live together in one of the poor, violence-plagued nations that they fled decades ago, or they can live like this, divided by a man-made border, desperate for the U.S. government to bless their marriage and unite their lives once again.

Read more at Associated Press here.

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