A “removal” proceeding is the name for the proceeding at which a noncitizen’s inadmissibility or deportability is decided. §212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) describes grounds for inadmissibility of noncitizens and INA §237(a) describes grounds for deportability of noncitizens. Both grounds for removal have their own form of discretionary waivers. The crux in determining whether a person is subject to inadmissibility laws versus deportation laws is the status of their admittance to the U.S. Noncitizens who enter the United States without having been “admitted” or paroled are inadmissible rather than deportable and therefore subject to INA §212 rather than INA§237(a) at removal proceedings. A special category of noncitizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR’s), are presumed not to be applicants for admission.  When initiating removal proceedings, the government bears the burden of proving that an exception in INA § 101(a)(13)(C) applies to the LPR. The exceptions for LPR’s are as follows: (i) […]

Removal Proceedings: Inadmissibility v. Deportability

  You may have heard of the term “sanctuary cities.” It may conjure up notions of undocumented persons avoiding penalties under the law for their unlawful presence because the city utterly disagrees with U.S. immigration law completely and has thus decided not to cooperate with its enforcement on any level. What the term “sanctuary city” falsely symbolizes is that person’s who are unlawfully present in the United States will never be subject to criminal or civil penalties for their unlawful presence. That is a far cry from reality even in the most “immigrant friendly” states in the country, such as California. In most jurisdictions, local law enforcement will automatically notify ICE when a person will be released or will hold the person for violent or other serious crimes to be released to ICE. Computer systems have streamlined these actions. Immigrant’s and nonimmigrants alike should familiarize themselves with the implications of 287(g) […]

287(g) Agreements: What You Should Know

    Some categories of immigrants are subject to a quota. When an application falls within a quota category, a prediction of the time until one’s visa will become available can alleviate some of the anxiety in waiting. Supply and demand within a given visa category and per-country limits vary the wait time for individual applicants.  Once immigration to the United States is determined to be possible, wait time can be estimated by viewing the “Visa Bulletin.”  This bulletin is currently available on the State Department Website.   Understanding the bulletin   (1) First, determine the category of concern: the bulletin below examples the Family Sponsored Preference categories.     Family-Sponsored Preferences:   First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: the maximum amount of visas allotted are 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.   Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:  114,200, plus […]

Introduction to the Visa Bulletin

  YouTube Screenshot Executive Action Many people are concerned about the new immigration executive order issued by President Donald Trump on January 27, 2017. Below are some of the major points from the President’s directive. Called EXECUTIVE ORDER: PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES, the Order suspends entry into the United States of migrants from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days (excluding diplomats and certain personnel of international organizations). While allowances are made for the entry of certain individuals on a “case-by-case basis”, the impact on the millions of potential nationals from these countries is massive. I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I have determined… The order suspends the admission of ALL refugees into the U.S. from anywhere in […]

Should You Travel to Haiti During the Trump Refugee Ban?

With the recent elections, many lawful permanent residents are scurrying to “make it official” and become a naturalized citizen. The protection and benefits of naturalizing are certainly worth attempting to start the process. (Plus application fees for the N-400 are schedule to increase by December 23, 2016.) As a US citizen you are granted a permanent right to reside in the U.S. without the worry of losing it if, for instance, you engage in certain criminal activity. So who’s eligible to apply for Naturalization (N-400 Application for Naturalization)? Age Requirement The applicant must be least 18 years of age at the time of filing (except active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces). Permanent Residence  The applicant must have been lawfully admitted as a U.S. permanent resident. Five-Year / Three-Year Residence in the United States After becoming a lawful permanent resident and immediately before filing an application for naturalization, the […]

Naturalization Ready: Requirements to Become a US Citizen

Chances are, if you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) you either want to maintain that status or have intentions to eventually naturalize. Either way, understanding the impact that certain crimes and convictions can have on your immigration status is critical. LPRs convicted of “Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude” (CIMTs) can face deportation. CIMTs? Yes, Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude are generally defined by US courts as crimes that are “inherently base, vile, or depraved, and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed between persons or to society in general.” Matter of Silva-Trevino, 24 I&N Dec. 687 (AG 2008).  CIMTs include aggravated felonies and crimes that are punishable by a sentence of one year or more. In order for a CIMT to render a noncitizen deportable, one of the following scenarios must be true: A. You were convicted of two CIMTs since the date of your admission Or […]

Watch Your Status: What Getting Arrested Can Mean For Green ...

President-elect Donald Trump’s one percentage point win over Hillary Clinton has a lot to do with which voters were motivated to turn out and which voters were pessimistic and stayed home.  One day a study of Trump’s slim 120,000 vote win over Clinton may reveal some very interesting turn out data. My 2002 college senior thesis centered on the question of African American versus Haitian American political socialization. I argued then that while time and cultural assimilation may amalgamate the two groups, they are distinct politically and Haitians have the tendency to rebel and do their own thing. Perhaps it will be seen that President-elect Trump’s seemingly insignificant move to speak and court Haitian Americans in Miami’s Little Haiti on Friday, September 16, 2016 was a factor that helped him get over the top. The Huffington Post recently discussed whether Little Haiti helped Trump win Florida: Did Trump’s Visit to Little […]


No. But first, what is DACA (properly known as Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)? Announced June 15, 2012, DACA is an executive order that allows young people who entered the U.S. as children and are out of status to apply for “deferred action” to not be deported from the United States. Approved individuals also become eligible for work authorization. Currently, DACA recipients are protected from removal for 2 years at a time. Recipients can renew their status as long as DACA is available When it was announced, to qualify for DACA, one must basically: have entered the U.S. before turning 16 years old; have resided in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007; be under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012; have been out of status on or before June 15, 2012 be in school or at least have graduated high school or be honorably discharged […]

Can DACA Help You Get Your Green Card?

Effective December 23, 2016, USCIS will increase for the first time in 6 fees paid by applicants and petitioners. In it’s October 24,2016 press release, USCIS affirms it is almost entirely funded by application fees. In reaction to fiscal concerns brought up in its recent by-annual funding review, the agency is bumping up fees to cover the increased costs associated with its administration of the nation’s immigration laws. Some popular forms going up are the I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, increasing from $420 to $535 at the end of the year. The N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, is going from the current $600 to a wooping $1,170. The complete list of increased fees can be found here. The list of fees pasted below. Credit to USCIS. Notes on their website. Immigration Benefit Request New Fee ($) Old Fee ($) G–1041 Genealogy Index Search Request 65 20 G–1041A Genealogy Records […]

Immigration Applications to Get More Expensive December 2016

Petitioning for your fiancé(e) to be allowed to enter the United States and marry you is not as straightforward as you might think.  A petition filed using Form i-129F is only intended to “classify” your fiancé(e) for marriage, and his/her children, to enter the U.S. and get a green card. Your petition may be approved when you properly show your intention to marry your fiance within 90 days of their admission into the U.S., and you show you had personally met your fiancé(e) in person within the last 2 years. However, despite your petition being approved, your fiancé(e) may still be denied their K-1 visa admitting them into the United States. Reasons your fiancé(e) may not obtain a K-1 visa. A main reason is your fiancé(e) may bomb their interview. For starters, an immigration officer must be satisfied that a legitimate marriage will occur between you and your fiancé(e). The […]

Difficulties in Bringing in Your Fiancé(e) under a K-1 Visa

Immediate Relatives If you are a U.S. citizen who wants to help your relatives immigrate into the U.S. and receive a green card, you must first sponsor them by petitioning for their immigrant visa. Immediate Relative (IR) immigrant visas are available for certain close relatives of a U.S. citizen, including their spouse, unmarried children under 21, and parents. This means that these close relatives do not need to wait for a visa number to become available; their visa number becomes available immediately. There are 5 categories of IR immigrant visas that a U.S. citizen can use to help bring their loved ones into the U.S. They include: IR-1: U.S. citizen’s spouse; IR-2: U.S. citizen’s unmarried child under 21; IR-3: U.S. citizen’s child adopted abroad; IR-4: U.S. citizen’s child adopted in the US; and IR-5: U.S. citizen’s parent over 21. Non-Immediate Relatives To help immigrate more distant relatives that do not classify […]

Understanding the Family Immigration Categories