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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter
POSTING DATE: January 15, 2018
Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter © 2011 - 2018
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Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News
Question: I have a question about my boyfriend. We met a few years ago as school mates at the University of Miami. He graduated last year and went home to Colombia, then recently came back on his visitor visa to see me in November for thanksgiving and he is still here. We love each other so much and can’t stand being apart, so we have decided to get married. My questions are, once we get married, can you file his immigration papers right away, or is there any waiting period? If we get married at the courthouse, is that valid and can we use that certificate or do we have to have the wedding ceremony first? Do you know who we contact to get information about the marriage license? Also, once his papers are filed, does he have to go back to Colombia or is there any way he can stay here with me while he goes through the immigration process and work? You helped my sister’s husband get his green card. Thank you for answering so many questions.
Answer: Great questions. To be validly married, you must: 1) get your marriage license and either 2) have your civil marriage ceremony performed at the clerk’s office, or 3) have a religious clergy member or notary perform the ceremony. The quickest way is usually to get your marriage license and have your ceremony performed at the clerk’s office at the same time. You can always have your religious ceremony later, without delaying the filing of your husband’s immigration petition. Once you are married, there is no waiting period, we can file your husband’s residency petition right away. However, first, he needs to have a medical exam performed by a doctor authorized by the USCIS, so we can include his medical report in the immigration package when filing. I will email you the link to find authorized doctors in your area. Since your boyfriend entered the U.S. legally, he can stay here in the U.S. legally during his entire Residency process. Once the case is filed, he will receive his work authorization and social security card in about 90 days. Once he has that, he can work and obtain his Driver’s License. It will then take about 6-8 more months to receive his residency interview and then Green Card.
Here are the contacts for several South Florida Marriage License websites:
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know How Long It Will Take To Get My Citizenship Once I Apply?
U.S. Residents Who Qualify - File For Naturalization Now!
Federal Court Temporarily Reinstates DACA Program!
Following a televised meeting at the White house last week, during which Trump told a group of Senators and reporters that he would sign any deal presented to him, a Bi-Partisan group of six senators—Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, Cory Gardner and Democratic Senators Dick Durbin, Michael Bennett and Robert Menendez, presented Trump with the "deal" the group had reached after tough negotiations.
Trump Rejects Bi-partisan DACA Deal After Criticism For His S***hole Comments
As more and more Residents apply for Naturalization,
processing times continue to increase
With new Trump immigration policies implemented almost daily, Immigrants should protect themselves to the safest extent possible. For Residents, that means Naturalizing! U.S. Citizenship provides the ultimate protection of your Immigrant status and in some cases, for your loved ones as well. And as more and more Residents apply for naturalization, the processing time gets longer and longer. At present, it can take 8 months or more to naturalize and that time could increase up to a year or more very soon!
In a surprising decision last week, a Federal Court in California ruled against Trump’s cancellation of DACA, temporarily blocking the Administration from ending the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ) program. The judge ordered the Trump administration to immediately reinstate DACA and to allow Dreamers who had DACA status prior to the date Trump cancelled the program on September 5, 2017, to continue to renew their DACA status and to accept new DACA applications, until lower courts make final decisions in the pending lawsuits. As a result, according to the order, Dreamers should be able to immediately apply for DACA renewals.
The USCIS has updated its DACA website page and issued specific instructions on new DACA applications and renewal filings.
Dreamers are advised that the Trump administration can appeal the ruling and if that happens there is a possibility that the program could be halted again. In light of this, it is very important that Dreamers file DACA applications and renewals as soon as possible!
The agreed deal is said to include permanent DACA protection for Dreamers, funds for the border wall and security, near elimination of the Green Card lottery and possible drastic reductions to family immigration, which Republicans call “Chain Migration". The measure may also have included some protections for nationals of TPS programs which Trump recently cancelled.
But as often happens with Trump and his promises, the deal went downhill quickly from there. Rather than agree to the terms negotiated in good faith between Democrats and Republicans, Trump instead made disparaging remarks about Haiti and African countries, asking why the U.S. needed to allow people from “shithole” countries into the U.S., which outraged Democrats, who then passed on Trumps vulgar comments to reporters. This enraged Trump, who then decided that he would reject the DACA deal presented because it did not go far enough to curtail so-called “chain migration” and wanted further cuts to family immigration. Over the weekend Trump continued his tweet storm against Democrats and “Chain Migration”, leaving the future of permanent DACA protections in doubt. As the budget deadline draws closer this week, some Democrats are threatening a government shutdown unless a DACA deal is reached. Stay tuned…
The Bi-Partisan DACA deal negotiated between Democrats and Republican is said to reduce overall U.S. immigration, including reductions to family immigration. Without details, some experts believe the final deal could eliminate entire family immigration categories like those for Siblings (F4) and perhaps even reduce the ability of U.S. Citizens to sponsor married children and their families (F3). Trump rejected the deal last week because he decided that it did not go far enough in reducing family “Chain Migration”. As a result, any new deal presented to the White house may include further reductions in family immigration, which could drastically alter our present system.
New Immigration Deal May Drastically Reduce Family Immigration!
To keep one step ahead of likely changes which could be signed into law in the coming weeks or months, U.S. Citizens and Residents who plan to sponsor family members should act quickly to file applications before the final Bill is signed into law. Those with filed applications will remain eligible to immigrate, even when the new law changes and restricts immigration going forward.
Question: I had a really scary experience recently when I came to America with my visitor visa. I have an American boyfriend and have been going back and forth from the Bahamas to Miami in the past year to see him. This was my 5th time in a year and when I went through the airport, the officer asked me why I was coming so frequently and I said I was here visiting friends. The officer escorted me to another room at the airport and asked me for my tablet and phone and what was my passwords and facebook login. It was really scary and I didn’t know what to do so I gave it to her. After that, she looked at my facebook posts and went through my texts and saw messages between me and my American boyfriend and our pictures together. She told me that it looks like I am coming here to stay and I said no, I only come for visits like in the past and I plan to go home. She said she would let me in for 30 days and then I need to wait 6 months before I come back. That was so scary and now me and my boyfriend are worried that if I leave, I won’t be able to come back again. After that he proposed to me and we plan to get married next week. My question is that I only have 30 days which is up early next month, so will I still be able to file my immigration papers once we get married, what happens once my 30 days expires, do I have to go home and wait?
Answer: What you are experiencing is becoming a common occurrence at the U.S. border and ports of entry into the U.S.. It’s now more and more common for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to use personal data, including those on cell phones, computers and social media, when a CBP officer suspects a traveler may be coming to the U.S. too often and may be working or intending to immigrate or engaging in other activities which violate immigration regulations. I have even been told of instances where the officer called a contact on the traveler’s cell phone list, who the visitor said he would be staying with during his vacation. The story has a happy ending because the friend confirmed everything and the visitor was admitted into the U.S.. But this just goes to show how much of our lives are public now and how increasingly, this will be used by the DHS for border and immigration purposes.
Since the CBP officer did allow you to enter the U.S., regardless of her admonition, once you get married and your Residency petition is filed, you will be allowed to legally remain in the U.S. while your adjust of status is processing. You will not be required to leave the U.S. by the date the officer wrote in your passport. However, it should be noted that under current law, only spouses, minor children and parents of U.S. Citizens are allowed to remain in the U.S. past their authorized stay, as long as they are filing to adjust their status to Residency. Other family members like adult children and sibling of U.S. Citizens and spouses and children of Residents are not allowed to stay in the U.S. past their authorized stay and in most cases, lose their eligibility to get a Green Card once they overstay.
Finally, under a new 90 day policy, visitors should wait at least 90 days from the date of entry into the U.S. before engaging in any activity or filing for any immigration benefit which could show they had “preconceived intent” at the time of entering into the U.S.. In your case, it would be very wise to wait until you have been here for 90 days before getting married and filing to adjust your status to residency. Let us know if you would like our firm to represent you in obtaining your Green Card.
USCIS Advisory About Phone Scams and Tax Identity Theft
Now that Tax season is rolling around again in 2018, the USCIS Public Engagement Division reminds Immigrants to beware of tax phone scams. Immigrants are advised not to fall victim to scammers who call and say they are with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)!
There has been an increase in aggressive phone scams where people call and threaten Immigrants with police arrest or deportation if they don’t pay a fine over the phone by credit, debit card or other means.
The USCIS and IRS wants Immigrants to know that a real IRS agent will:
NEVER call and demand immediate payment over the phone
NEVER try to threaten or intimidate, NEVER demand payment with a prepaid debit card, or ask for your credit card or debit card number over the phone and
NEVER threaten to call the police or immigration agents if you don’t pay.
If you get a call like this, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 800-366-4484.
Watch A Video About Scams:
Visit the IRS Tax Scam Website:
USCIS Scam Advisory:
So don't wait until it takes a year or more to Naturalize, or until eligibility requirements are tightened, apply now. The USCIS has free online Naturalization tools available for U.S. Residents who are applying for U.S. Citizenship.
These tools include an online Citizenship Resource Center, Civics and Citizenship Toolkit for information on citizenship and naturalization topics, study guides and tests and Literacy resources, to assist Residents in learning or improving written English writing skills.
Visit the USCIS Naturalization Resource Page: