What Does President Obama’s Immigration Reform Mean to YOU?

Immigration-reform-2014

President Obama’s immigration reform has created more immigration options for millions of undocumented individuals in the U.S. while promising to keep Americans safer.

  • 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.
  • Parents of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients are not eligible for the above relief, however the DACA program itself will be expanded.  The program guidelines will be revised to eliminate the age cap, and to change the date that continuous presence must have started to 1/1/10.
  • Individuals with an approved employment-based immigrant petition who are caught in the quota backlogs to file for adjustment of status will be advanced to permit them to obtain the benefits of a pending adjustment.
  • New reforms also promise to aid job-creating entrepreneurs gain access legal means to enter and operate in the U.S
  • To make the best use of limited ICE resources, newly outlined enforcement priorities will focus on security measures to keep suspected terrorists, convicted felons (including aggravated felonies), convicted gang members, out of the United States.  Additionally, close attention will be paid to people apprehended at the border, people convicted of serious or multiple misdemeanors, and very recent entrants.

Did You Know that You can Apply for a Green Card Even if Your Visa has Expired?

US-flag map

If you entered the United States “legally,” you probably came to this country with a valid nonimmigrant visa, such as a student visa, tourist visa, or temporary work visa.  Some people are even allowed into the U.S. on a visa waiver or with a special pass at one of the U.S. borders.  In either event, you would have been inspected by an immigration official at your point of entry and allowed into the United States.  This method of entering the U.S. makes it easier for you to file for an Adjustment of Status in the U.S.  Your U.S. citizen spouse can file a Petition for Alien Relative to apply for your green card.

However, did you know that even if you are now staying in the U.S. past the date of your authorized stay, , you are still eligible for a marriage based green card?  A green card is still available to you even if you are “out of status” or are staying here illegally.  If you have overstayed by six months or more since April 1, 1997 you may still apply but would need a waiver.  It is very important to note that if you leave the country, you would be barred from returning for three or ten years, depending on the length of your unauthorized stay.  Immigration law is a complicated field.  Your personal immigration path may have twists and turns that you did not expect!  We can help you to make your journey as smooth as possible.  Contact Your Immigration Angel today for your free consultation!

The Two Paths to a Marriage Based Green Card from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services: Which is Right For YOU?

artsy flag

There are two paths to apply for a marriage based green card.  Which path is right for you depends on your individual circumstances.  The two methods are:

1.)   If you are outside of the United States, then you can apply through a consular process and have your interview at the U.S. consulate in your county.

2.)  If you are currently in the United States, then you can apply to adjust status from within the U.S. and you will have the interview in the U.S.

If you are in the U.S., the USCIS will review your application based on if you came into the U.S. with an inspection or entered the U.S. without an inspection.  If you have fallen out of lawful status but you entered the U.S. legally, and had an inspection by an immigration official, you can generally obtain your green card from within the U.S.   If you are in the U.S. without lawful status, then you cannot change your status from within the U.S.  You will have to return to your home country to proceed through a consular process unless you qualify for an exception to this general rule as the spouse of a U.S. citizen.  Immigration law is very complicated and errors or problems with your petition for a green card can ruin the chances for success now and in the future.  For assistance with your marriage based green card, please contact Your Immigration Angel today!

Lawful Permanent Resident? You can Bring your Spouse and Child(ren) to the U.S.!

family immigration

As a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States, you are allowed to live in the United States indefinitely even if you are still a foreign national.  Permanent residency also entitles you to work in the United States and to travel in and out of the United States without seeking additional visas or permissions.  However, what is usually most important to many LPRs is the ability to petition for a foreign spouse or child(ren) to be granted permanent residency through a green card.  You can petition for your spouse and children and there are always green cards available, because they are immediate relatives!  For more information on petitioning for your spouse and child(ren), contact Your Immigration Angel today!

The Violence Against Women Act: Helping Undocumented Immigrants Suffering from Domestic Abuse

abused woman

The Violence Against Women Act or VAWA, provides wide-ranging support and comprehensive immigration law benefits for victims of domestic violence.  VAWA has also provided a foundation for federal financial support, as well as additional guidance for state and local law initiatives.  There has been significant progress in addressing the domestic violence crimes against immigrants.  However, many abused immigrant men and women are unsure of their rights.  If you or someone you know is being abused or thinks they are being abused and is an immigrant, please, feel free to contact Your Immigration Angel for a free consultation today.

 

Good Immigration News! Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program Soon to be Implemented by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

haitian immigrants

It will come as a relief to many that a new Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program will be implemented in early 2015.  Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas has said that “The rebuilding and development of a safe and economically strong Haiti is a priority for the United States.  [The] program promotes a fundamental underlying goal of our immigration system – family reunification.  It also supports broader U.S. goals for Haiti’s reconstruction and development by providing the opportunity for certain eligible Haitians to safely and legally immigrate sooner to the United States.”   Indeed, under this program, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will offer certain eligible Haitian beneficiaries of already approved family-based immigrant visa petitions, who are currently in Haiti, an opportunity to come to the United States up to approximately two years before their immigrant visa priority dates become current.

Is BIG Immigration Reform Around the Corner?  Actions Speak Louder Than Words! 

Passport immigration stamp

Although President Obama has yet to issue any statements or take official actions on immigration reform, it seems very likely that the government is gearing up ahead of a new immigration initiative.  On October 6, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) drafted a request for bids from potential vendors  for supplies “to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.”  These vendors specifically must be capable of handling a scenario of 9 million ID cards issued in one year.  The agency seeks to buy the materials need to construct both Permanent Residency Cards (PRC) aka “Green Cards,” and Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) cards, also used for the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program instituted by President Obama in 2012.  The proposal request indicates that the agency will need a minimum of four million cards per year.  However, a “surge” predicted in 2016 would mean the agency would need an additional five million cards – more than double the baseline annual amount for a total of 9 million.

It is rather telling that the proposal request also states that: “The guaranteed minimum for each ordering period is 4,000,000 cards. The estimated maximum for the entire contract is 34,000,000 cards.”  These actions tend to indicate that immigration reform is coming, and in a substantial way! Stay tuned…