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  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter

  POSTING DATE: December 18,  2017
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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2017 
For questions about U.S. Residency, Green Cards and Immigration Visas, Visit our Website at: or  call our office at: (954) 382-5378
Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

Question: My wife’s mother sponsored us for our green cards and we immigrated to the US late last year in 2016 together with our 19 year old daughter. My green card expires in 2026. The problem is that me and my wife don’t get along anymore and have not for a long time and I told her recently that I want to divorce. She said if we divorce, I will lose my green card, because my residency depends on my relationship with her since it was her family that sponsored us. I don’t want to stay together just for immigration, but I am wondering whether its true that if we divorce I will lose it?
Answer: Sorry to hear about your marital difficulties. Fortunately, that is not the case. Since you and your wife were a bona fide (real) married couple at the time you immigrated, you will not risk losing your Green Card if you divorce. The case is different when residency is based upon marriage to a U.S. Citizen and can be much more complicated. 
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know What My Rights Are If ICE Arrests Me?
Green Card Holders With Criminal Records: 
Think Twice Before Travelling Outside U.S.!  
 New DACA Bill Gives Dreamers Few Protections 
And Eliminates Most Family Immigration
Understanding Your Risks and Protecting Your Rights!
With the Trump Administration promising to issue an updated version of the Executive Order “travel ban” today, Immigrants are bracing for further restrictions and are afraid to travel, fearing they may not be able to reenter the U.S.. 

However, even without a new Trump ban, U.S. Residents (Green Cards holders) with criminal records should now take great care before travelling abroad, since even old criminal convictions can cause difficulties in re-entering the U.S., result in a bar to readmission and in some cases, even removal from the U.S..
Trump’s recent ramped up Immigration “enforcement” policies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and arrests have left many Immigrants feeling fear and anxiety about their safety and security here in America, the land of Immigrants! 
According to its own data, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has escalated its enforcement efforts in Florida over the past year, arresting some 75% more immigrants in 2017 over the same period in 2016. ICE data shows that agents arrested some 6,192 immigrants in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands this year, a drastic increase over only 3,524 in 2016. 

Most troubling is that this increased enforcement is not aimed solely at Immigrants who have committed crimes, but instead, all Immigrants who do not have legal immigration status in the U.S..
Immigrant Arrests In Florida Skyrocket As ICE Aggressively
 Carries Out Trumps Immigration Agenda
A new Bill introduced in Congress by Republicans called the SECURE Act of 2017, purports to provide protections to Dreamers currently under the DACA (Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals) program, in exchange for border security and immigration reforms, including changing the current U.S. Immigration system from family to merit based. 

But far from providing protections for Dreamers, the Bill instead incorporates the “Bridge Act” previously introduced in Congress, which merely offers a temporary three year DACA status and no path to a Green Card or Citizenship. 
Reportedly, ICE’s Miami office Acting Field Director Michael Meade points to Trump’s January 25th Executive Order, effectively cancelling President Obama’s “prioritization” policy, which gave ICE directives to mainly focus on apprehending criminal Immigrants, not law abiding Immigrants who lacked immigration status. Under Trumps policy, any Immigrant in the U.S. encountered by ICE who is in violation of immigration laws, regardless of criminal history, is a potential target for arrest and deportation. The message is clear - if ICE encounters you and you have no proof of legal immigration status, you will likely be arrested and processed for Removal from the U.S.. Stay tuned...

Trump’s January Executive Order 
ICE Data

Worse yet, the measure includes the controversial RAISE Act, which eliminates all family-based immigration (with exception of spouses and minor children) in favor of a merit-based system. Apparently Republican leaders see the Bill as their offer to Democrats in exchange for protection of Dreamers. Democrats on the other hand see the Bill as a “nonstarter”, saying they will not agree to any measure which offers less than permanent protections for Dreamers and adamantly refuse to trade DACA protections for any limits on family immigration.  

As the standoff continues, thousands of Dreamers and their supporters stage rallies and peaceful protests in Washington and across the country, in hopes of swaying Trump and the Republicans. Participants vow to continue to rally and have their voices heard until congress passes a “Clean” Dream Act. Until then, readers are urged to contact Republican members of Congress to voice support of a permanent standalone DACA law, without any other provisions such as border policies and restrictions on legal immigration. 

Read the new SECURE Act of 2017
Washington Post
Bridge Act
Question: My husband and I have been in America for over 10 years ever since we came to visit and never returned home. We feel like this is our home, but its getting harder and harder to keep going without status, no drivers license, always worrying if me or my husband will get stopped. We have grown kids back home and they keep telling us to come home and stop waiting for amnesty because that is never going to happen. We are so tired of waiting and worrying that now me and my husband are thinking we maybe should go home that way we don’t have to worry about getting deported, but we are just not sure what to do. If we leave, will we still be able to come back for visits? Can you please tell us if its better to stay or leave. Thank you.
Answer: That is a very common question lately. First, it’s important to understand that the legal consequences of overstaying your lawful period of authorized stay (I-94) and then leaving the U.S., compared with that of being deported are about the same:

Overstaying your Visa: Once an Immigrant has remained in the U.S. for 180 days or more past their authorized stay, leaves the U.S., he or she is “barred” from re-entering the U.S. again for 3 years. Once an Immigrant has remained in the U.S. for 365 days or more past their authorized stay, leaves the U.S., he or she is “barred” from re-entering the U.S. again for 10 years.

Deportation: Once an Immigrant is deported from the U.S. he or she is usually “barred” from re-entering the U.S. again for 10 years. There are lesser “bars” depending upon the circumstances, 20 years for some criminal violations and permanent “bars” for others.

No attorney can legally advise you to break U.S. laws by remaining in the U.S. past your authorized stay, but it’s clear to see that the consequences of leaving the U.S. voluntarily after being here for a year or more, compared with those resulting from deportation are the same. In many cases, Immigrants determine that the benefits of staying here and hoping for some Immigration reform in the future far outweigh the risks of being arrested and consequences of being deported. More clearly stated, many Immigrants feel that on a practical level, there is no benefit in “self deporting” and one could argue that they would be right. So in your case, given the information provided, you would want to weigh the risks and benefits of leaving and determine what is best for your family.

Understanding The Most Common Immigration Bars:

The Five-Year Bar: Immigrants who are found inadmissible and immediately removed/deported upon arrival at a U.S. port and those who are removed/deported shortly after arrival in the U.S., who have been placed in removal proceedings are ineligible to return to the U.S. for 5 years.

The Ten-Year Bar: Immigrants who have a removal order issued by Immigration judge are ineligible to return to the U.S. for 10 years.

The Twenty-Year Bar: Immigrants who are deported and who attempt to reenter the U.S. prior to the expiration of the ten-year ban can receive an additional 10 year bar for a total of 20 years.

The Permanent Bar: Immigrants who are convicted of an aggravated felony, entered without permission after being removed, or illegally reentered the U.S. after having previously been in the U.S. unlawfully for more than one year, may be permanently barred from ever entering the U.S.

Under the Department of Homeland Security’s new enforcement priorities announced in February, the government’s application of strict Immigration enforcement laws are tightening, resulting in raids and the apprehension of Immigrants with even “suspected” criminal activity. This of course also means more scrutiny of both foreign visitors and U.S. Residents seeking to enter the U.S. from abroad as well.

This is particularly a concern for U.S. Residents with certain criminal convictions who travel abroad, even for brief periods, since they will now be more fully vetted upon returning to the U.S.. Many Residents are unaware of the immigration implications of old, seemingly insignificant criminal convictions. Under the regulations, many crimes are considered Crimes of Moral Turpitude, which fall into three categories:

1) those involving fraud, larceny (i.e. theft), 
2) crimes against persons or 'things', and 
3) governmental authorities. 

Alone, many crimes do not have negative consequences for Residents, however, if a person has two or more such offences, no matter how old, depending upon the circumstances, they run the risk of being inadmissible to the U.S. or of being deportable. And while waivers are available in some cases, there is never a guarantee of approval and new border policies may require such individuals to remain in detention until the case is resolved. Note that many crimes committed by juveniles before age 18, may be excused, and under some circumstances, a pardon will be recognized, but for immigration purposes, expunged criminal convictions remain convictions and may still have consequences.

Therefore, the best advice for Residents with a criminal background who wish to travel, is to have their particular circumstances reviewed by a criminal immigration attorney first, before making any plans to travel abroad. Better to be safe, then sorry!
Trump’s recent ramped up Immigration “enforcement” policies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and arrests have left many Immigrants feeling fear and anxiety about their safety and security here in America, the land of Immigrants! 

As a result, many are making contingency plans in case of arrest and detention. And while Immigration advocates and attorneys like myself provide vital advice and assistance to those in need, for most Immigrants without legal status, current Immigration laws provide few, if any legal options. Consequently, advocacy groups like the Immigrant Defense Project focus on spreading awareness of Immigrants’ rights throughout Communities in case of contact with Immigration authorities or ICE.

Download the latest IDP’s KNOW YOUR RIGHTS with ICE advisory 
Tips On Surviving This New "Trump" Anti-Immigrant Era