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POSTING DATE: June 25, 2018
Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter © 2011 - 2018
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Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News
Question: My husband and I brought my son to the US many years ago on a visitor visa and we overstayed. My son met his american girlfriend while he was in college and in 2013 they married and he just got his citizenship last year. Me and his father have both been working illegally and live in Florida, while my son and his wife live in new York. My questions are whether my husband and I will still be able to get our papers even though we have overstayed our visa and have been violating the law and working without authorization? Will my son be able to sponsor us even though he lives in new York and we live in florida? Do we have to move up to new York and live there?
Answer: Not to worry, under Immigration regulations, Parents/Spouses and Minor children of U.S. Citizens are “Immediate Relatives” and as long as they entered the U.S. legally (meaning being inspected by an immigration officer), then even if the I-94 period of stay expires and they become “out of legal status”, they can still obtain U.S. Residency through their U.S. citizen child (age 21 or older). Similarly, the law forgives immediate relatives for working illegally while in the U.S.. Since you live in Florida, we would be filing your petition using your Florida address. Parents are not required to live at the same address or even the same state as their sponsoring children. However, if you are scheduled for a residency interview, your son should travel to Florida to accompany you. The USCIS had waived Interviews for most parents for the past few years, but Trump reversed that and has begun requiring such interviews again.
USCIS Processing Times Nearly Double For Work And Travel Permits!
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...
Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter
In the good old days, pre 2018, the USCIS gave priority to processing work permit requests (form I-765), generally issuing employment authorization documents (EAD’s) within 90 days or less. Applicants with Work permit applications pending for more than 75 days could file an erequest to find out the status of the case.
But oh how things have changed! The Trump administration apparently does not care much about backlogs and excessive processing times, which have generally doubled for many kinds of immigration cases over the past year and now seems to care even less about giving priority to work permit issuance. Never mind that Residency applicants cannot work, obtain a social security number or in many cases even drive legally in most states without the Work permit, what could possibly be the rush?
Immigration How To:
How Do I Know If I Need To Register For Selective Service?
Overview of the Naturalization Process - Becoming a U.S. Citizen
Millions of U.S. Residents (Green Card holders) have been scrambling to file for Naturalization over the past year in light of the election and now, to safeguard immigration status under the new administration. As a result, processing times have increased and are now nearly a year in some jurisdictions. So Residents are well advised to avoid even further delays, by filing for Naturalization sooner, rather than later.
Here’s a brief overview of the process to Naturalize and the common steps to take once you become a U.S. Citizen:
Understanding Selective Service Registration Requirements
Under current law, all men in the U.S. between the ages of 18 through 25 are required to register for military “Selective Service”, which is also often referred to as the "draft." The draft is a procedural measure which could be used by the U.S. government to gather military forces in times of war. The only time in the history of the U.S. that the draft was actually used was during the Viet Nam conflict. However, the requirement for registration under Selective Service remains.
Department of Homeland Security Set to Denaturalize U.S. Citizens Who Lie On Citizenship Applications
The Department of Homeland Security has created a new office focused solely upon identifying naturalized Americans who are found to have lied on their immigration applications and then begin the process to strip them of their U.S. Citizenship and U.S. Residency (green cards). To that end, the USCIS has hired dozens of attorneys and immigration officers to review cases and identify fraud. Minor discrepancies in applications, such as work and address histories, omitting children, or leaving out a surname would not be serious enough to lead to further investigation.
Only major discrepancies like lying about past immigration status or deportations, changing identities, or failing to accurately report an individual’s criminal history could lead to further scrutiny. USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna told the Associated Press “We finally have a process in place to get to the bottom of all these bad cases and start denaturalizing people who should not have been naturalized in the first place,”.
Given the anti-immigrant rhetoric and near disgust this administration has for immigrants, it’s no wonder that the average processing time for such a vital immigration document can now take from four to six months, nearly double the normal processing time!
So for now, in the age of Trump, couples planning on getting married and filing for the immigrant spouse’s work permit need to factor these excessive processing times in when determining whether to wait and have big wedding or quickly get married at the courthouse and file the immigration case just to get in the queue for the long wait for Work permit issuance. Residency applicants whose Work or Travel permits are within 6 months of expiring are well advised to file for renewal immediately.
According to the Associated Press, in late 2016 a DHS report found that some 315,000 old fingerprint records for immigrants who had criminal convictions or had been deported had not been uploaded into the agency’s identity check database. It also found that some 800 immigrants who had been ordered deported under one identity had fingerprints which matched a new identity who was a U.S. citizen.
Most naturalized U.S. Citizens should not give another thought to whether or not they listed every trip abroad or every address they lived in the five year period before filing, or worry about whether every single date listed on the application was correct. But those who have failed to report a serious criminal conviction, deportation or other vital information which could affect eligibility for naturalization, beware, the new taskforce may be contacting you.
Amid an uproar of criticism from both the left and the right against the administration’s family separation policy, Trump decided to end the charade in his usual style of doubling down on his lie. To recap, until recently, migrants caught entering the U.S. illegally were never prosecuted for the misdemeanor crime of illegal entry into the U.S., they were simply detained for deportation or released on bond pending a hearing. Parents with children were released on bond and rarely, if ever held in custody.
The problem started several months ago when the administration had the not so bright idea of applying a “zero tolerance” policy to those who enter the U.S. illegally. Under the new policy since April, every migrant apprehended was arrested and charged with illegally entering the U.S. and detained for prosecution.
Trump Issues Executive Order To End Imaginary Problem He Created!
The problem came when parents with children were arrested. In such cases, federal law does not allow children to be “incarcerated”, so in these cases, children, even infants, were taken from their parents and placed in a separate facility. Crying babies and children were literally ripped from their parent’s arms and taken away without their consent or even knowledge of where their children were being placed. Attorney General Sessions justified the reprehensible measure by quoting bible verses and Trump blamed the Democrats and called it a “get tough” policy to save America from the evil immigrants and M13 gangs. The government argument had no coherence and began to quickly fall apart under the spotlight.
It’s horrible to even imagine, much less see pictures and hear the voices of innocent children screaming in fear for their parents and once the news media began to reveal the cruel results of the new policy and focus attention on what was really happening, public opinion started going against the administration. Trump soon realized his plan had backfired, and decided that he would pretend that has benevolently “fixing” the problem (which of course he had created by arresting parents). So last week he signed an Executive Order, which basically said nothing, but gave him cover to quietly stop separating families. Families are still being detained, but together. The inevitable result in the coming months will be overflowing tent cities full of immigrant families and a new set of crises caused by the administration’s callous regard for human rights and dignity. Stay tuned…
On June 21, 2018, the USCIS announced that it would begin recalling some 800 Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) that were issued to Asylees during April and May 2018. A production error apparently caused the first and last names of individuals to be transposed on the cards. Those who’s cards will be recalled will receive a letter with instructions and a prepaid envelope for return of the defective cards.
The USCIS says it will send out replacements within 15 days of receiving the defective card.
USCIS Announces Recall of 800 Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) Issued To Asylees
Question: My husband is a US citizen born here. We got married in July 2015. I heard that a resident is eligible to apply for citizenship after 3 years of marriage to a US citizen. My two years green card will be expired in September 2018. Instead of filing to extend it, can my husband and I just file directly for my American citizenship?
Answer: That is a common misunderstanding. Immigration regulations allow permanent resident spouses married to a U.S. Citizen to apply for Naturalization 90 days before their three year residency anniversary (of being a resident, which includes conditional residency), not marriage anniversary. Eligibility is based upon being a resident for three years, not being married for same period. Qualification is based upon the 3/3/3 rule: You have been a resident for nearly 3 years (2 years and 9 months), you have been married to a U.S. Citizens spouse for at least 3 years and your spouse has been a U.S. Citizen for at least 3 years.
Spouses of U.S. Citizens with 2 year green cards must file the I-751 application to remove conditions on residency in order to obtain a permanent green card within the 90 day period before residency expires. Theoretically, a conditional resident spouse can file for Naturalization once they meet the 3/3/3 criteria, even while the I-751 removal of conditions application is still pending. In past years, filing for Naturalization while a removal application was pending could result in the I-751 being adjudicated quicker. However presently, under the current administration, it could simply result in confusion at the Naturalization interview, the with resident spouse being advised that the officer will wait until the I-751 is approved before making a decision on Naturalization.
In your case, you cannot file for your Naturalization now, you must file to remove the conditions on your 2 year residency. Once the I-751 application is approved and you have your permanent residency, since your husband has been a U.S. Citizen for at least 3 years and you and your husband are living together as a real married couple, you can apply for Early Naturalization in June of 2019.
Question: I filed for my citizenship and never received my receipt. I got my biometrics appointment notice to do my fingerprints but that was all. Is that all I will get or am I entitled to the actual receipt for my case? What should I do now?
Answer: Yes, occasionally that happens that an applicant fails to receive a receipt once the application is filed. This can be very inconvenient and irritating! The Biometrics appointment notice has your case number on it, starting with NBC*, so you can use that when you do any inquiries on your case. Then you can go to the USCIS website and do an request, chose the option that you never received a receipt or notice. You will need your full name, Alien registration number, case number, address and date of birth for the request to have a duplicate receipt sent out to you. You should receive the receipt within about 60 days. Good luck!
1. Complete and file your Naturalization application (called form N-400) using Express or Priority Mail; 2. Receive a Receipt from the USCIS within about 10 days and go online and sign up for case updates on the USCIS website using the case number on your receipt;
3. Receive your Biometrics appointment notice within about 30 days from the USICS for you to go and have your fingerprints taken at the local USCIS office;
4. Receive your Naturalization Interview notice in about 10-12 months, attend your interview, pass the test and get approved;
5. Receive your Naturalization Ceremony notice Once your Application for Naturalization is approved, the USCIS will schedule for your Naturalization Ceremony within about 30 days.
6. Attend your Naturalization Ceremony, surrender your Green Card, take your Oath of Allegiance to complete the process of becoming a U.S. citizen and receive your Naturalization Certificate the same day.
7. Apply for Your U.S. Passport Once you receive your Certificate of Naturalization, you can immediately apply for a U.S. passport. You will receive an application for a U.S. passport at your naturalization ceremony, called the “U.S. Citizenship Welcome Packet” or you can go online to the U.S. Passport office 8. Register to Vote! Once you are a U.S. Citizen, it is your right and privilege to vote. You can register to vote at certain locations in your community, which may include post offices, motor vehicle offices, county boards of election, and offices of your state Secretary of State. You can read more about registering to vote by reading the government publication: “A Voter’s Guide to Federal Elections." 9. Update your Social Security Record After you become a U.S. Citizen, you will need to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) to update your Social Security record. You can find your local Social Security office by calling 1-800-772-1213 or by visiting: www.socialsecurity.gov. You can go to your local SSA office about ten days after your ceremony to give time for the SSA to be able to access your new status in the USCIS records. Be sure to take your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport with you. Good luck!
This requirement applies to Immigrants as well, including U.S. Residents (Green Card holders), Refugees, Asylees, Special Agricultural workers, and under recent policy changes in the past few years, even to undocumented foreign nationals who are in the U.S. in one of these categories between the ages of 18 and 25. The Selective Service registration requirement does not apply to nonimmigrants in a temporary status in the U.S. such as, diplomats, tourists, H1B workers, J-1 visitors, students, etc.
Failure to register for Selective Service has serious consequences for U.S. Citizens and immigrants as well. U.S. Citizens can be denied certain federal benefits including federal employment, while immigrant have an additional penalty which can result in denial of U.S. Citizenship. During the Naturalization process to become a U.S. citizen, U.S. Resident men who immigrated to the U.S. or were in one of the above categories during the ages of 18 to 25 must prove that they registered for Selective Service. Failure to register can result in denial of U.S. Citizenship if the U.S. Resident makes the Naturalization application within five years of the failure (age 30), although there are exceptions applied for those who can show that they did not “knowingly and willingly” fail to register. Naturalization applications after age 30 can be denied failure to register, however applicants are given an opportunity to submit documentation to explain why they failed to register and should be prepared to give a reasonable explanation.