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POSTING DATE: August 13, 2018
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Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News
Question: Hi there. I want to file for citizenship but I am not working. I was until February, then I got laid off and now that I have had my green card for 5 years I want to apply for my citizenship. I heard there are new restrictions that mr. trump put on citizenship. Is the fact that I am not currently working a problem? Do I need a financial sponsor for an affidavit of support like I had with my original green card case to be a resident? Thanks.
Answer: Great question, no, under current regulations, you are not required to be employed in order to qualify for naturalization. However, you need to be able to explain to the officer how you are supporting yourself without receiving public assistance, for instance that you live with a spouse or family member supporting you during this time. If you live alone and have no way to prove how you are supported, that could be a problem. The Trump administration is in fact gearing up to try and change the rules with regard to eligibility for Naturalization in the next few months, intending to deny Naturalization to residents who have accepted any kind of public benefit in the past several years, including earned income and child tax credits, Obamacare, children's health insurance (SNAP, WIC), food stamps, housing assistance and other benefits, even if the public benefits have been used for a U.S. Citizen child in the same household. So for some cases in the future, the USCIS officer could request prove proof of your support, for example a letter from the family member who is providing financial assistance, but for now, that would be very rare. There is also no current requirement that you provide an affidavit of support from a sponsor, that is only required in residency cases. I hope this has been helpful to you.
Federal Judge Orders Trump To Reinstate Full DACA Program
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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter
A federal judge in Washington recently issued an order requiring the Trump administration to fully restore the original Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, created by former President Obama. Federal Judge John Bates agreed to delay his ruling to give the Trump administration 20 days, until August 23rd, "to determine whether it intends to appeal the Court’s decision and, if so, to seek a stay pending appeal."
Attorney General Sessions indicated last week that the Department of Justice does intend to appeal the judge’s ruling, but no request for a “stay” to stop implementation of the order to reinstate the full DACA program has been filed to date. This comes as the original case brought against the Obama administration by eight Republican held states to terminate DACA, finally comes up for hearings in Texas for a final decision on the matter.
The case in Texas will be decided by the same federal judge who ordered that Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program be cancelled before it could even be implemented.
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know If I Need To File An Affidavit of Support To Sponsor My Child?
Advice On Filing Immigration Applications With the USCIS
Always Check the USCIS website for current Forms, Filing Fees & Mailing Addresses: When filing Immigration applications yourself, without the advice and representation of an Immigration attorney, be sure to pay particular attention to important technical details like form expiration dates, USCIS Filing Fees & current mailing addresses. One of the most common reasons that the USCIS rejects applications - is for failure to complete the current form, the correct filing fees or to send to the proper mailing address. Avoid using forms provided to you by friends and family, since they might not be the current version and never pay for an immigration form, since all forms are FREE on the USCIS website! Similarly, before filing your application, confirm the current "direct" mailing address for the form and be sure to attach a Money Order or Cashier's Check payable to the Department of Homeland Security for the correct fee.
Affidavits of Support Are Not Required For Certain Minor Children Of U.S. Citizens
Children of a U.S. Citizen parent who are under age 18 at the time of immigrating, are not required to have an Affidavit of Support filed on their behalf? Eligible children under age 18 who become U.S. Residents (Green Card holders) and by operation of law, automatically become U.S. Citizens, are not required to have an Affidavit of Support filed on their behalf. This is true for children immigrating from abroad through a U.S. Consulate, as well as children adjusting status to U.S. Residency inside the U.S. through a U.S. Citizen biological parent.
Melania Trump’s Parents Just Naturalized Under Family “Chain Migration”
In a formal swearing in ceremony last week, the First Lady, Melania Trump’s parents quietly took the oath of allegiance to the U.S. and were sworn in as new U.S. Citizens in a “private” ceremony, after being sponsored by Trump’s wife, through a process he wants to end, which he calls family “Chain Migration”.
As thousands do every dear, daughter Melania Trump sponsored her parents under the current legal family immigration system some five years ago to become U.S. Residents, and then once they held residency for four years and nine months, they were eligible to apply for Naturalization to become U.S. Citizens. So all during the legal family immigration process to sponsor her parents and up to now, Trump has been vehemently opposed to the current family process, calling for its termination and replacement with a “merit based” immigration system. The hypocrisy of Trump, his wife and his supporters is beyond words, just as he is gearing up to again wage war on legal family immigration in a bid to rile up his often racist base of supporters, just before the November elections.
Seems there is one set of rules for Trump and the “good” immigrants like his in-laws and another for all the other immigrants who as Trump likes to say are “bad hombres”, “rapists”, “murderers” and “terrorists”. Sad.
So as the future of DACA hangs in the balance, Dreamers who qualify would be well advised to renew their DACA status as soon as possible before expiration, since any ruling would affect future applicants and likely allow current DACA holders to retain that status until it expires. Stay tuned….
Question: I have a question for you. I came to america on a student visa in 2015 and attended school, but I dropped out in 2016 because my dad in Jamaica lost his job and couldn’t come up with my tuition money. I started working under the table to support myself. In 2017 I met my girlfriend who is American and now we want to get married and get my immigration papers. Since we plan to get married later this year when my parents can come for the wedding, can I apply for my Employment Authorization now as the fiancée of a U.S. Citizen, then apply for my Green card once we get married? Will I risk deportation if my papers are filed after my student visa expires this year?
Answer: Unfortunately, until you get married and your petition for adjustment of status to Residency is filed, you are not entitled to a work permit. The good news is that even with restrictive Trump policies, as the spouse of a U.S. Citizen, it does not matter that you worked illegally, or that you are now out of status, you can still obtain your Green Card since you entered the U.S. legally. Under current slow USCIS processing times, once your case is filed, it can take up to six months to receive your work and travel permit and another 1 to 1 ½ years for your residency interview and green card. Let us know if you want us to handle your Residency case.
Make Copies: Be sure to make a copy of your entire application, Including all supporting documents before sending to the USCIS and keep it for your records.
Send USCIS Applications and Correspondence by U.S. Express Mail for easy tracking and delivery confirmation: Immigration applications and any follow-up correspondence with the USCIS are such important matters, that you should take the additional step of sending these documents to the USCIS by a safe, quick method, which allows you to verify the date and time of delivery to the USCIS. This is especially critical when you have received a Request For Additional Evidence from the USCIS and must provide the requested documentation by a specified deadline. Many applicants do not know that if their response sent to the USCIS is postmarked before the deadline date, but is actually delivered and received by the USCIS after that date, the case is likely to be denied. Not only is this a tragedy for the beneficiary of the immigration application, but in such instances, all the USCIS filing fees are lost, which in some cases can be thousands of dollars. Certified Mail is not delivered quickly and as a result, your application or correspondence with the USCIS will be delayed. The safest way to send applications/documents is to use the U.S. Express Mail service. The cost is about $16.00 and well worth it. You will receive a tracking# so you can go online and confirm delivery. Be sure to send any responses requested by the USCIS at least one week or more before the deadline and as with your initial application, make a copy of everything you send to the USCIS in all follow-up communications.
Finally, unless specifically requested, never, ever send originals! Good luck!
In these cases, the U.S. Citizen parent must file form I-864W, Intending Immigrant's Affidavit of Support Exemption, instead of form I-864 Affidavit of Support.
USCIS Temporarily Delays Issuance of Deportation Notices
For Denied Immigration Applications
On June 28, 2018 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a
policy memorandum which dramatically changes the way immigration policies are carried out, making the filing of nearly any immigration application a risk for possible deportation, if the case is later denied. The new DHS policy significantly expands the types of cases under which an individual can be issued a Notice To Appear (NTA), and referred to immigration court for Removal proceedings and deportation from the U.S..
The memorandum significantly broadens the range of cases under which an individual can be deported from the U.S. and encourages officers to do so whenever possible.
Under this directive, the USCIS aims to put nearly every individual who files any kind of immigration application and a denial is issued by the USCIS after the applicant’s period of stay (I-94) has expired in deportation. This covers an extremely wide range of circumstances, meaning that even those who are in legal immigration status who file non-immigrant change or extension of status applications. This would include F-1 student visas, H-1B or L work visas, E-2 investor visas, etc, whose period of stay will have expired by the time a denial is issued in the case, causing them to fall into a period of “unlawful presence“ during processing of the application. Simply put, anyone who has an extension or change of status denied after that individual’s I-94 expires will be issued an NTA and referred for deportation from the U.S..
On July 30th, the USCIS posted a notice on its website, quietly postponing implementation of the program, pending the release of “operational guidance”, meaning instructions on how to carry out the measure, including the criteria for issuance of Notices to Appear (NTA’S).