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Texas Office : (281)-674-7658
10777 Westheimer Road, Suite 1100 Houston, Texas 77042

Vietnam Office:
Floor 8, Le Meridien Building 3C Ton Duc Thang Street District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

DACA Concerns for 2017

Thousands of foreigners are concerned that the DACA Program may be terminated by President Trump’s Administration.  At the time of President Trump’s Election campaign, he stated that he would aim to end the DACA program.  Since President Trump’s election, the DACA program is still to be discussed and the fear of many getting deported to their home country is overwhelming families of immigrant communities.

DACA Concerns for 2017

The United States and Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) publicly announced that USCIS will still be accepting DACA application forms regardless of the potential for the DACA program coming to an end.

Since the establishment of the DACA program, each applicant has to weigh out the advantages and disadvantages before they apply.  Submitting personal information to the U.S. immigration authorities can be risky.  However, becoming the recipient of a DACA provides you with several benefits that were emphasized in a recently published report called, New Study of DACA Beneficiaries Shows Positive Economic and Educational Outcomes.  More than 750,000 immigrants have applied and had a positive outcome in obtaining higher paying jobs, applying for their driver licenses and eventually enjoyed other U.S government benefits.

Before applying for a DACA consult with an immigration attorney to examine your options.  If this is the first time applying for a DACA, understand that every case is not the same.

If you do not have DACA and you are planning on applying for the very first time, it will benefit you to visit a local immigration attorney or an accredited representative from the Board of Immigration Appeals. Immigrant communities are fearful of the many unknowns regarding the DACA Program under the leadership of President Donald Trump.  First timers applying for a DACA are encouraged to not file their DACA application until they have gotten legal advice from a certified representative or immigration attorney.

Processing a DACA may take up to three or more months. This is concerning because in 3 months time the DACA program may no longer exist, no one is aware whether USCIS will no longer be accepting DACA submissions or what will USCIS do with the unfinished cases.  There is a high possibility that if you submit a DACA application it will not receive an approval and you may run the risk of losing your DACA application fee.

In contrary if the DACA program under President Trump is not is shut down before your DACA application is approved you may benefit and there is also the likelihood that:

  • President Trump may choose not to end the DACA program. This means that you may then have authorization to work and you will be offered protection while under the DACA program.
  • Individuals who already have their DACA will receive the same benefits until their expiration date.
  • First time DACA applicants might not be accepted but those who are already secured by the DACA program might be eligible for a renewal.
  • Another law known as the Bridge Act might be enacted which will allow those current DACA beneficiaries to legally work and not get deported.

Applicants can renew their DACA before its expiration date even if it will expire later in 2017.  When applying use the recently updated Form I-765 for this year.  Starting on February 21, 2017, United States Citizenship Immigration Services will not be accepting applications that are completed on an earlier version of the Form I-765.  Submitting an older version of the Form I-765 may only prolong the processing of your DACA submission.

Do Not Travel While your DACA Application is Processing 

If you decide to travel outside of the United States while your DACA application is in process, you take a risk.  It is suggested that you wait to travel until you have obtained your DACA approval, unless you have applied for Advance Parole and had it approved by USCIS.  With an Advance Parole in hand, you are granted authorization to travel and safely return to the United States.

During this time of U.S. presidential transition it is advised to not travel abroad as it is still uncertain as to what the Trump Administration will decide in reference to the DACA Program.  However, if you have been granted Advance Parole and you choose to travel; do not prolong your trip.  Upon returning make sure that the lawyer representing you is available at the time of your return entry into the U.S. so as to advise the immigration officer if you encounter any issues.

DACA Information is Confidential 

Presently, the principle of USCIS is that all information about DACA applicants or family members are not shared with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unless requested due to a national security problems or other criminal records.  This policy derives from a 2011 USCIS Memo which affirms that USCIS will allude to cases that pose a serious threat to the public.  If you are concerned that your personal information has the chance of being transferred from one immigration department to another, discuss with your attorney before applying for DACA benefits.

Consult with an Immigration Attorney

To avoid stress this year, talk with an immigration attorney before you begin the process of applying for a DACA.  With the advice of an attorney, you can determine whether or not you should go ahead and apply for the DACA program.

Contact the The Gambacorta Law Office at 847-786-2599 today for an appointment at any of our offices located in Illinois, Arizona, Hawaii, and Texas.

Trump Travel Ban and Dual Citizens

The executive order banning entrance into the country for foreign nationals from seven countries has made more than headlines. The State Department has tried to clarify the people who are actually being banned, and it seems that any naturalized citizen of the U.S. will not be affected.

Trump Travel Ban

There was a concern about the ban on anyone who has dual citizenship. An example cited on at the time explained that a person with dual citizenship in the U.K. and Iran would not be allowed into the U.S. for a period of ninety days – even if traveling under their British passport . That would give the State Department time to vet them before allowing them to visit.

The wording of the provision barring those with dual citizenship was alarming to those in our country who have dual citizenship in the U.S. and one of the banned countries. The State Department has since clarified that if the person was traveling under their U.S. passport, there would be no ban to their entry.

The Gray Area of Dual Citizenship

Dual citizenship cited in the ban was only dual citizenship in two foreign countries. The whole idea of dual citizenship in two countries has always been an ambiguous one in the United States. This was brought to new heights by the travel ban but there are other longer standing gray areas that have been clarified over the years by the Supreme Court.

A person who becomes a naturalized citizen in this country but wants to maintain citizenship in their native country does have the right to do so. When a citizen of the U.S. accepts citizenship in another country due to a marriage or taking employment in that country, the State Department will not expatriate that person unless they commit certain acts – such as, unless the person enters military service in a country at war with the U.S. or they take an oath renouncing U.S. citizenship, or they take other actions that reveal intent to expatriate themselves from U.S. citizenship.

The person who wants to retain their citizenship in their homeland but also become a naturalized citizen in the U.S. may have reservations about taking the loyalty oath. The oath includes the statement “I hereby declare that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen.” That would seem to rule out the idea of retaining the ancestral country’s citizenship, but rulings from the Supreme Court have allowed people to maintain dual citizenship and the State Department seems to only mildly discourage the practice.

In light of the travel ban and other laws that may pass in the future, dual citizenship may have some new problem areas no one can anticipate right now. At present the stance of the State Department, though seemingly murky, is actually pretty clear. You can pledge allegiance to two countries and maintain dual citizenship.

Know Where You Stand

Even with defined laws and regulations, knowing exactly where you stand when it comes to your immigration status can be very confusing. The immigration law team at Gambacorta Law Office has extensive experience in these matters and we can work with you to ensure the best possible resolution to your specific legal situation. Whether applying for dual citizenship, or being interviewed by the INS or Homeland Security, we can help you protect your rights and help you properly answer any questions the government may have about your current status.

Explanation of Terms Relating to Immigration

Terms Relating to ImmigrationImmigration laws can be very complex, even for those who deal with them every day. And with new legislation and the advent of the executive order involving travel to and from the United States, things are getting even more complicated. Those who have come to the United States seeking all that the country has to offer may not really know what their exact status is according to our laws. Here are some terms from the National Conference of State Legislatures that everyone should know.

Immigrant – In actual legal terms, an immigrant is someone who is here legally. Another term for immigrant may be a legal alien. This term doesn’t include temporary visitors or students.

Qualified Alien – This term describes lawful permanent residents, refugees, Cuban, Haitian, and asylees (people granted asylum). A qualified alien may have been paroled into the United States for a period lasting a year, they could be aliens granted conditional entry into the U.S., or granted withholding of deportation from the U.S., or a battered spouse with their children. These aliens are eligible for federal public funds if they had attained qualified status before August 22, 1996.

Not Qualified Alien – This designation simply can mean a person not included in the term defined above. The not qualified alien is ineligible for any public funds due to the welfare reform act of 1996. Not qualified aliens are those who are undocumented immigrants and non-immigrants.

Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) – The lawfully permanent resident has been given the right to permanently reside in the U.S. In essence they are green card holders. They are granted this right due to family relations or a particular job skill. People seeking asylum and refugees must move into this category after residing here for a year, and after five years they may apply for naturalization.

Naturalization – This process is how a person can attain permanent citizenship of the U.S. They must be at least 18 years old and have lived in the U.S. for five years, or three years if they are married to a U.S. citizen. There is a testing procedure to see if they have a familiarization with English, with American government, and with U.S. history.

These terms have been getting thrown around for a long time by many with no clear understanding, which may have immigrants in our country confused as to what their status is under the law, both federal and state. The uproar over the travel ban certainly led to confusion for nearly everyone involved.  During this time many travelers were incorrectly being referred to as immigrants, when most were temporary visitors.

Those who have arrived in our country and those who reside here face many challenges, including knowing what their current legal status is and what steps need to be taken to ensure they are not in violation of any laws. Even if they aren’t here illegally, difficulty with the English language and the law may lead to them failing to represent themselves correctly when confronted by an INS or Homeland Security official.

The attorneys at the Gambacorta Law Team have ample experience with immigration law.  Our attorneys have the expertise to deal with any government entity (state, local, or federal) when it comes to the rights of those not originally from the U.S. If you are unsure of your legal status or if you have a problem involving proving your legal rights to stay in this country, contact our offices in your state to find out how we can help.