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All posts by Paul Eisen

What is Illegal Immigration?

There is a lot of talk these days about illegal immigration.  Since it seems to be a hot button topic, it is important that you understand the facts.  So who or what exactly is an Illegal Immigrant?

Immigration LawAn illegal immigrant is any unauthorized resident that is born in a foreign country and that is not a resident or citizen of the country where they are residing.  The term illegal immigration refers to people that cross international borders in an illegal manner.

Four Common Types of Illegal Immigrants:

  1. Undocumented or Unauthorized Entries –

    These are people that have left one country and crossed over to another in secret or without being detected.

  2. Entry on Fraudulent Documents –

    These are people who left one country and entered another, they went through inspection but presented fraudulent documents.  Usually they present a false identity or false documentation in support of their admission.

  3. Visa Length Violations –

    These are those individual that enter another country with proper documentation but they knowingly reside in the country longer than they were allotted.  Overstaying the length of time on your Visa, makes you no longer a legal visitor.

  4. Terms and Conditions Violations –

    These individuals have entered one country from another with proper documents and inspection but have violated a term or condition of their visa.  One of the most common violations is accepting employment.

If you find yourself in one of these categories of illegal immigration and need assistance from a U.S. Immigration Attorney, contact The Gambacorta Law Office today 847 786 2599 and we will gladly assist you.  We have offices in Illinois, Arizona, Texas and Hawaii.

US Immigration Cases are on the Rise

Recently the Department of Justice released stats that told a sad story.  This story was that the U.S. Immigration Court has seen more cases in the first half of 2017 than they did during the entire 2016 year.

Take for example this outrageous case.  In 2014, a Guatemalan immigrant and his son crossed to the United States through Mexico.  They entered the United States under the asylum process, even though the father had been previously deported.  The father, was picked up by police for a misdemeanor crime unrelated to his immigration case, the misdemeanor charge has been dismissed.  However, due to his father’s deportation the son, who is only 15 years old is now a ward of the DHHS and the court is trying to determine where he should live.  Since his father’s deportation he has stayed with a friend of his father and his uncle.  It will be up to the court to decide where his long term placement will be.immigration case

Let’s look at the numbers, in the year 2016, there was 239,000 Notice to Appear documents filed with Immigration Court.  In the months of January to June 2017 there was 219,000 new Notice to Appear cases filed with the immigration court.

The aggressive arresting behavior of the ICE agents is sending more undocumented parents back to their home countries and leaving their children to fend for themselves in the foster care system.

With the increase in immigration arrests and deportation it is important that you know your options.  If you are in the United States Illegally and you have young children, find an immigration attorney and set up an appointment to discuss your options today.

Call the The Gambacorta Law Office at 281 674 7658 and we will always be ready to assist you. We have offices in Illinois, Arizona, Texas and Hawaii.

Seven Major Immigration Law Issues Affecting U.S. Businesses

Many businesses in the United States of America are very concerned about the immigration laws, policies and the changes that are affecting the business community.  Even though the competition has become more fierce for companies both nationally and abroad they have been inclined to hire key foreign workers.  On the other hand, The Immigration and Customs Enforcement have orchestrated government raids that have ended in criminal prosecutions against U.S. employers for employing undocumented immigrants which has caught the interest of the public eye.

Regardless of the problems affecting the workforce, businesses are now focusing on the difficulties the immigration law will bring about in the future.  Specifically, with the president who is pressing hard for a major reform of the country’s immigration laws in 2017 and onwards which likely will be on the forefront of the business arena.

Immigration Law

While there has been a higher demand for immigrant workers to enter the U.S. to work, businesses nationwide must be aware of certain immigration law issues.  If you face any conflict with the U.S. immigration law as an employer talk to your nearest immigration attorney for advice.

ISSUE #1 – The Invalid Form I-9 is Still in Effect

According to USCIS, employers can still continue using the expired Form I-9 until further notice to confirm the legal status of new foreign employees.  A stiff sanction of around $375 to $16,000 is given to business who hire undocumented immigrants to work illegally in the country.  Failure to provide a Form I-9 can end in $110 to $1,100 per violation.

ISSUE #2 – The Lawful Status of Immigrant Workers is Still Unknown 

In 2016, the Supreme Court authorized the Department of Homeland Security to postpone the deportation of undocumented workers for up to 3 years.  The unknown number of immigrants who were already working in the U.S. could remain working under certain stipulations.  Unfortunately, for employers who had initially hired any illegal workers will find that they are no longer able to work in the country and this will pose a problem, for both parties.

ISSUE #3 – H1-B Visa Caps Remain the Same 

According to U.S. Congress the limit of skilfull employees who can legally work in the U.S. with an H1-B visa has already been met.  USCIS has began H1-B petitions for 2018 fiscal year on April 1, 2017.  USCIS has accepted 20,000 applications via H-1B Master’s Exemption, however, there is a cap of 65,000 for the 2018 Fiscal Year.  Businesses who rely on immigrant workers must start filing their petitions for the following fiscal year.

ISSUE #4 – Thorough Immigration Reform Could Potentially Increase Wages

According to the unbiased Fiscal Policy Institute it is estimated that the undocumented who legally obtain a work status might receive an increase of 5% to 10% in salary.  U.S. Employers must plan ahead because these immigration reforms are unpreventable.

ISSUE #5 – The Competition will Become Fierce after Immigration Reform

The bipartisan group known as the New American Economy, strongly believes that foreigners are 50% able to establish a new businesses as opposed to U.S. born citizens.  On the bonus those businesses can aid in reproducing more income for the U.S., regenerating infrastructure and renovating cities.  In contrast U.S. businesses will need to better their own competitive advantages and create more win win situations.

ISSUE #6 – International Relations, U.S. Immigration and The Brain Drain Phenomenon 

When a country opens up its doors allowing foreign workers whether skilled and unskilled this may lead to a higher rate of the “brain drain phenomenon” in underdeveloped nations.  This means that a country loses its highly educated and creatively skilled workers to other countries when they migrate from their home country.  This movement creates a problem because the most competitive workers leave and cleave to other nations contributing their expertise to the economy of other countries.  The country they leave then suffers from economic hardships because those who stay in their home countries lack the mastery in how to accomplish greater things for their companies.  This obliges countries to execute their own immigration limitations.  Businesses that function overseas might see opportunities diminish if the brain drain phenomenon heavily emphasizes on trading on another company’s economy.

ISSUE #7 – Too Many Undocumented Immigrants 

Approximately sixty percent of illegal immigrants live in six different states such as: Texas, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Florida and California which have a large population.  This mass group makes immigration look like a territorial issue.  Businesses in these states will be raided by immigration law changes in which neither the employers nor employees will have no chance at voicing their opinions.  Those changes will benefit no one.

All businesses in the U.S. whether large or small cannot turn a blind eye to the immigration laws.  Being aware of what happens in the immigration system helps with effective planning and how well you will manage your business.  If your business has a situation with U.S. immigration visit an immigration lawyer immediately.

Visit Your Nearest Immigration Attorney 

Whether you as a business owner or your employees are facing a hard battle with the U.S. immigration or you want to hire immigrant workers, consult with an expert immigration attorney.  The Gambacorta Law Office will advise and formulate a plan that best suits your business.  Call us today at 281 674 7658 for an office appointment at our Arizona office or 847 786 2599 to visit us in Illinois.

What to Expect at a U.S. Port of Entry and Immigration Inspection

All visitors entering the United States of America must check in at a Port of Entry whether they are arriving via air, land or water.  Many have questions about what to expect when undergoing an immigration examination and its process.  If you as an entrant have doubts about travelling to the U.S. always contact an immigration attorney to educate you about the immigration inspection process.

Why Do Custom Border Agents Inspect People?

Custom border agents inspect people to find out their true purpose and duration of their visit.  When entering you must apply for authorization into the country during your intended stay and you will be granted permission.

Immigration Inspection Note that border agents have the authority to decide whether or not to let you in the country, make sure to follow rules when crossing any port of entry.  Answer all questions to the best of your ability.

How do CBP Officers Handle each Inspection? 

CBP officials check passports, visas and other documents for every person crossing the port of entries.  Every individual must stop at a key inspection station.  Questions will be asked to verify nationality and identity. All documents in hand must be provided and once the officer has them to his availability he will carefully examine each document and will then decide if you can enter the U.S.  Majority of foreigners and visitors fingerprints are taken along with a digital photograph.  Once you are approved, the CBP officer will determine under which status you will remain and how much time will be granted to stay in the U.S.

Questions to Expect 

CBP officers will ask questions like, “What is your intended purpose in visiting the United States of America?” “How long are you planning on staying?” “Where and with who will you be staying?” You will also be asked about your specific qualifications and any other questions that support your claims as a visitor and your planned trip.

Important Notice 

Immigration Officers are trained experts in orchestrating immigration inspections and are able to recognize people who have secret agendas who intend to enter the U.S. under fake intentions.  They also have the power to search your luggage or electronic devices such as phones, laptops or computers for evidence that your trip is legitimate.

CBP Agents can Exercise Authority 

Coordinating immigration investigations is not an easy task for Customs and Border Protection agents.  Though they are there to serve you, they are given full jurisdiction to determine whether a visitor should enter the U.S.  An admission stamp will be provided only when you have successfully completed a thorough examination.  CBP officers can at any time demand a second review of all your information.  If you find yourself stuck at any of the U.S. port of entries, request the assistance of an immigration attorney.

Speak with an Immigration Attorney Today 

If it is your first time travelling to the U.S. or the second and you find yourself under heavy scrutiny by any border agent and you find that it was unnecessary, you can always ask for the assistance of an immigration attorney and one will be allotted to you.  If you are stuck at a port of entry in Arizona call The Gambacorta Law Office at 281 674 7658 and we will always be ready to assist you.

What to Do Next if My Work Visa is Denied?

One of the most common avenues that foreigners come to the United States is through temporary work visas.  These visa classifications are: H-1B, H-2 and L-1 among others.  Sometimes the visa application procedure may have no delays because the applicant’s U.S. citizen employer has filed an I-129 Petition for Alien Worker with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with the appropriate documentation. When this occurs the visas are usually approved and the foreigner can start working in the U.S.

However, an approval for a work visa is not always guaranteed.  A denial can be issued for several reasons.  For example, immigrants must have certain qualifications; if the applicant lacks the required qualifications then USCIS will deny a work visa.  Another basis on which a work visa can be denied is if the employer will not be monitoring the foreigner’s work or that evidence of a bona-fide job position is not found which claims that the foreigner will be taking on a new job position or that the immigrant will not work during his or her stay in the U.S.USCIS Services

If you have been denied a work visa, it is very important that the applicant, the petitioner, employer and the immigration lawyer you hire examine the reasons why USCIS issued a denial.  Being able to understand the explanations for the denial puts the applicant in a better stance to tackle the issues a second time around when the employer decides to submit another I-129 on his or her’s behalf regardless if he or she is inside or outside of the U.S.

My Work Visa was Denied, and I am outside the US.  What Other Alternatives are Available to me? 

There are two options available if USCIS denies your work visa while you are outside the U.S.  Your U.S. employer can file an I-129 Petition for Alien Worker, a second time around and address the flaws USCIS uncovered in the initial application.  For example, if your U.S. employer submitted an I-129 petitioning for an H-1B status on your behalf, one of the requirements for an H-1B status is that the foreign worker must possess at least a minimum of a bachelor’s degree accredited by a U.S. institution or the foreign equivalent of such a degree for the type of work that will be done.  Now in the absence of a degree, there is a probability to meet this requirement by providing supporting documentation of specialized training, experience or any other type of education.  If USCIS did not find the needed information the first time around be sure to include it in your new application.

H-1B visas have an annual cap on how many visa petitions are accepted every year.  Chances are your U.S. employer filed your I-129 Petition late and that is why your visa application was denied.  Your only option is to file the next year within the stipulated time.

If you still want to travel to the U.S. you can apply for a different visa category you are qualified for.  Before you start the application process to enter the U.S. it is in your benefit to seek legal assistance.

My Work Visa was Denied, and I am in the US.  What Other Alternatives are Available to me?

When a U.S. employer files an I-129 Petition on behalf of an applicant that is in the U.S., an employer simply does two things: request a new employment based status for his employee and asks USCIS for an expansion of his or her employee’s legal status to remain in the U.S.  Consider this example: a foreigner who is in the U.S. under an F-1 Student visa whose student program is coming to an end but then wants to stay and work in the U.S.  For the immigrant to work in the U.S. an employer needs to file an I-129 Petition for Alien Worker asking USCIS to change student’s status from an F-1 Student Visa to H-1B status and to also extend the length of stay in the U.S.  If the petition is denied, the U.S. employer can try again by providing USCIS with a new Form I-129 application along with more supporting documents to corroborate his/her claim in an attempt to prove that his or her employee deserves another chance at remaining in the U.S.

After that attempt, if nothing is resolved the alien can apply to extend his F-1 Student visa to further his studies at a master’s program that may accept his credentials.  The advantage to having a student visa is that a grace period of 60 days is granted from the end date of the degree program and during this time you can finish up and exit the country.  Contact an immigration attorney to help you with the application process.

Talk to an Immigration Lawyer 

Going back and forth between collecting evidence for your application and talking to your U.S. employer can be time consuming.  Call an immigration attorney to help you discuss what’s best for you.  The Gambacorta Law Office team will help narrow down your options and stay with you until your case has been completed.  Contact us today at 281 674 7658 to visit us at our Arizona office or at 847 786 2599 for a consultation in Illinois

What Happens if I Get Divorced?

If you obtained your U.S. green card (Legal Permanent Resident Status) or some type of immigration status while married to a United States citizen, you may wonder: What would happen if I get a divorce prior to becoming the beneficiary of a lawful status?

Marriage Scam a Concern

As is with every case each divorce is different.  If you got divorced because you were suffering emotional or physical abuse while in the marriage then you might have a chance at proving to the immigration officers that you deserve another opportunity to stay in the U.S.  However, if you intentionally marry an American citizen simply to evade the U.S. immigration laws then you should be concerned.  This is known as a marriage sham.  The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services maintains that a major number of foreigners commit marriage shams in which immigrants purposefully marry a U.S. citizen simply to obtain legal immigration status.Divorced

There are many stipulations and conditions by which foreigners must abide by and only if their marriage is sincere they are eligible and able to receive U.S. immigration benefits.  Evidently for those immigrants who through fraudulent marriages attempt to obtain their legal permanent status are not able to keep their marriage relationship real for long enough during the immigration process and wind up with marital problems which result in divorce.

Even couples in genuine marriages have problems and get divorced, yet USCIS is able to recognize this fact.  A divorce may be disastrous while an immigration process is pending but it may not be as devastating.  Each divorce case entangled in an immigration situation will be handled accordingly by the USCIS immigration officer handling the case, however you must do your best in convincing USCIS that your marriage was real and that you deserve a chance at living in the U.S.

A Few Steps in The Immigration Procedure

Consider these steps and how they can impact your rights as an individual:

  • Receiving an Approval Notice for an I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative does not secure you a U.S. green card. An approval notice for an I-130 petition does not guarantee any immigration rights or benefits.  If a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen files a lawful permanent visa petition on your behalf and several months into your marriage you start having marital problems and you divorce, further steps within the process cannot be taken.
  • A divorce can complicate your life when it is time to adjust status. For example: A conditional resident card only allows you to live in the U.S. for two years.  Before the two years is up you must file your I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.  A divorce will delay and complicate the immigration process because you will need to submit petition individually, along with surmounting supporting evidence to prove that your previous marriage was indeed real and then you must request a waiver of the joint filing requirement.  These complexities will leave you discombobulated.  Your only solution then is to hire an immigration attorney to advise you at this phase of the procedure and to help you fight your legal battle.
  • After Approval for a Legal Permanent Resident Status do your research before applying for U.S. citizenship. Upon receiving approval for legal permanent residency, do your homework before attempting on applying for U.S. naturalization certificate.
  • Applying for U.S. Citizenship also known as Naturalization. When the time comes for you to apply for naturalization or U.S. citizenship, USCIS will again review your immigration history.  If there are any signs that you married an American citizen simply to obtain legal immigration status, you may have committed fraud.  Depending on your supporting documents a divorce may or may not be in your favor; your marriage will be examined carefully.  USCIS will require documents to corroborate that marriage was bona fide.  If the immigrant is not able to provide documentation to support his/her claims USCIS will immediately deny U.S. citizenship and have the applicant be put on removal proceedings to be forcibly removed from the United States of America.

Seek Legal Advice

If you or your U.S. citizen spouse currently have a pending immigration case with USCIS and are going through a divorce, call an immigration attorney to assist you.  An immigration lawyer can help you analyze your situation and look for possible options on how to move forward with your case.

Contact The Gambacorta Law office today at 847-786-2599 for a consultation at any of our office locations in Illinois, Arizona, Hawaii and Texas.