Inline HTML

Immigration LawyerImmigration Lawyer

Contact Us

lead counsel rated attorney
Read more

ILLINOIS OFFICE (CHICAGO AREA): 847-786-2599
5250 OLD ORCHARD ROAD, SUITE 300, SKOKIE, ILLINOIS 60077

ARIZONA OFFICE (PHOENIX AREA): 602-759-7480
1 EAST WASHINGTON STREET, SUITE 500, PHOENIX, ARIZONA 85004

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

Immigration Blog

What happens when you receive an I-360 Denial?

What-happens-when-you-receive-an-I-360-Denial What happens when you receive an I-360 Denial? Uncategorized    In special situations, submitting an I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er) or Special Immigrant for a family member or employment based permanent resident status may not put applicant at risk of being put in removal proceedings if a denial is issued.

Certain circumstances that can land you in direct removal proceedings are:

  • If you have a criminal history
  • Submit an I-360 at the same time you file an I-485 Adjustment of Status that is somehow denied
  • You gave false information on any application form
  • You were previously deported

Criminal History

Having a criminal history can put applicant in serious harm of getting deported even if a Form I-360 was not filed simultaneously with a Form I-485.  This can be a shocker because the I-360 requests that you enter information about your immigration history but not about your criminal records.

Regardless, USCIS can easily view your criminal history anytime you provide any visa application, even if it was not the information solicited.  If your criminal history is very grave, USCIS can transfer your case to an immigration court by issuing you a Notice to Appear (NTA) which is the beginning of removal proceedings.

Only if your I-360 VAWA Application is denied, then USCIS will send you an NTA, because otherwise you might have the opportunity to fill out an I-485 Application for an Adjustment of Status which if found eligible you will then receive a U.S. green card.

The question that has been asked over the years is “What are the probabilities that an applicant will be sent to removal proceedings if USCIS denies his or her I-360 Application?”  According to a memorandum USCIS released in 2011, USCIS can choose whether or not to send immigrants to immigration courts for removal proceedings, even though VAWA-specific decisions were not addressed.  Always stay informed regarding the U.S. immigration law since USCIS updates its policies frequently.  To learn more about removal proceedings and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) speak with an immigration attorney.

USCIS representatives can focus their provisions on transferring cases to immigration courts as long as the applicants are a threat to the public and national security.

Any person having one or more criminal convictions who has no deportations on his or her record whose VAWA was denied might be served an NTA immediately or some other time.

Simultaneous Filing of Applications Can Lead to a Deportation

Submitting both I-360 and I-485 Forms can put foreigner at risk of getting deported.  If spouse for applicant is a U.S. citizen spouse, the VAWA applicant may be allowed to complete both forms.  First time applicants who are spouses of U.S. citizens may not have to wait for an approval and can go ahead and submit their I-485 applications, however, this might not be in one’s best interest because USCIS will have both your immigration and criminal history, if any.  While a denial of an I-360 can send you into removal proceedings there are other options in which you can fight your case.

Misinformation can Negatively Affect Your Application

Getting a denial because of ineligibility is not as impacting as getting denied because you lied.  If the USCIS determines that you lied on your VAWA, application or other one, the person reviewing your case can charge you with fraud and put you in removal proceedings. If you think there is a mistake on your application it is important that you ask for time to explain the mistake.

Previous Deportations

If you were previously deported and then you came back to the US without authorization or if you never left and your I-360 is denied then it is very likely that you will be deported.  This deportation could be immediate without even being issued an NTA.

If you have been denied an I-360 or you are thinking about applying for you I-360 it is advised that you speak to an immigration attorney. Call The Gambacorta Law Office today to assistance in your immigration matters.

What to Expect: Processing Time for I-601A Waivers

What-to-Expect-Processing-Time-for-I-601A-Waivers What to Expect: Processing Time for I-601A Waivers Form I-601A    Applicants for I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers, must realize that applications can take over six months for a review to be completed.  USCIS officers handling each case work hard to finalize the processing time for every case and then an updated notification is released upon completion of the process.

Certain I-601A Cases can be Expedited

In certain circumstances a USCIS officer can expedite a case if for some instance a long wait may negatively impact the life of the applicant or any of his family members who are U.S. citizens. While this is a possibility, you should not expect that every case will be accelerated, talking to relatives or people you know who work for USCIS will not help your case move faster either.

Somethings to consider to make your case go faster:

  • Submit relevant supporting evidence that does articulate, clear, concise and concrete terms that prove extreme hardship exists.
  • Use correct information and do not exaggerate your life circumstances.
  • Complete every application form and make it readable for immigration agent to see.
  • Explain in persuasive language and in detail why the hardships exist.

In order to meet these requirements to the best of your ability, familiarize yourself with the U.S. immigration laws and ask an immigration attorney to help with your I-601A Waiver.

I-601A Application Stipulations

The stipulations for an I-601A remain the same regardless of which home country the applicant is from or the type of hardship that is being endured:

  • The person applying must be 17 years old or over.
  • You must have an approved I-130 Petition for Alien Relative or an approved Widow(er) or Special Immigrant (Form I-360).
  • Include the required supporting documentation for an I-601A Waiver.
  • All applicants need to be physical present present in the United States of America.
  • Additionally, applicants must meet all other requirements on Form I-601A and the instructions for the form; as well as all requirements outlined in 8 CFR 212.7(e).

To learn more about the I-601A Waiver seek legal advice.  An immigration lawyer will be able to assist with the following proper procedures.

Important Notice

Thousands of applicants who submit their I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver think they have “special considerations,” when in reality applicants who are applying for I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility are generally in terrible situations.

Foreigners applying for I-601 Application live outside of the U.S. away from those who need an approval the most, while they wait on their pending waiver.  In this situation the immediate family relatives who are Americans living in the U.S. may experience hardship because either their spouse or parents are not present in the country.

Expediting a Process is Rare

USCIS officers seldomly expedite an I-601 Application for applicants.  This means that applicants for I-601 applications should not have high expectations that their pending I-601 submissions will be expedited because of the character of the hardships.  That is not the case since the decision is in the hands of the agent handling the case and the supporting documents you provided.

What may help your case processing go a little faster is submitting a very informative packet that has all the accurate information needed for the immigration officer to review.  With all the requirements in place there will be no need for USCIS to send out a notification requesting more details.

An Immigration Lawyer Can Help You

It is not advisable to complete a waiver packet without the help of an immigration attorney, especially if you are in doubt about the I-601A procedure and your future.  Call The Gambacorta Law Office at 847-786-2599 for a consultation at any of our office locations in Arizona, Illinois, Hawaii and Texas.

Knowing My Rights at The U.S. Border (PART 2)

This blog is a continuation of the previous with answers to questions regardings your rights.

Knowing-My-Rights-at-The-U.S.-Border-PART-2 Knowing My Rights at The U.S. Border (PART 2) Document Lost Law Immigration Law Blog Travel Law

These questions are answered by three U.S. immigration and privacy law experts: Nathan Freed Wessler, a staff attorney from the ACLU, Danielle Rizzo and Leslie Holman of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Can My Belongings be Inspected?

Yes.  Everyone travelling into the United States of America must go through a luggage check as well as have their possessions inspected.  Prohibited items such as fruits and vegetables may be seized and destroyed.

Can Electronic Devices Be Searched?

There is no special preference when it comes to bag searching.  Regardless if you are U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident your phone, laptop computer and any other mobile devices can be checked.  For example a NASA engineer by the name of Sidd Bikkannavar was halted on January 31, 2017 by CBP officers and was asked for his phone and PIN to access his phone.

Note that border officers are allowed to browse through your phone and your laptop.  The government can also copy the data on your devices.  Presently, the courts are battling with this issue as it may seem like a violation of rights and privacy.  Wessler states that in 2013 a federal court ruled out that if border agents wanted to orchestrate a “forensic search” they have to suspect that you are a criminal.

According to Custom Border Patrols, electronic devices can be searched for various reasons.  If your name matches a person of interest, your devices could be checked for this simple reason, or it could be a casual search.

Can CBP Agents Request My Social Media Profiles?

Yes.  Legal Permanent Residents and Born Americans may be required to provide their social media information.  While this may feel like a violation of your rights you can always contact an immigration attorney for advice before migrating to the U.S.  “It’s a really tricky area to determine,” Rizzo comments.  Wessler agrees: “The state of the law is so unsettled because the government claims such broad power at the border.”

Back in December of 2016, the United States government started asking certain visitors access to social media profiles.  Though immigrants can willfully render their social media information, it is now included within a form that visiting immigrants from specific countries such as France, Spain, and the UK.

Can your Electronic Devices Be Held?

Your electronic devices such as your phone or laptop can be held for further inspection which may also mean your data may be copied.

Avoid being in a situation whereby your phone is confiscated.  Rizzo commented that “If you don’t want it searched, don’t carry it across the border.”  Wessler’s advice is similar: “The best advice may be to really be careful on how many devices and what kind of data you’re carrying with you.”  Regarding devices, the government cannot search what you do not have available.  It is better to leave your electronic devices at home.  Another, option is to store your data to a secure server, and clean out your information from your devices and then restore the data after passing through customs, commented Wessler.  However, this could raise suspicions at the border and put you in serious trouble.

Visiting the United States has not become any easier for foreigners since the change of U.S. presidency and the establishment of the new executive order.

Consult an Immigration Attorney

If you are concerned about travelling to the U.S. it is better to consult with an immigration attorney.  Contact The Gambacorta Law Office at 847-786-2599 for a consultation at any of the locations in Arizona, Illinois, Hawaii, and Texas.

Knowing My Rights at The U.S. Border (PART 1)

Since the new transition of U.S. Presidency and the executive travel ban that was signed by President Donald Trump, many Legal Permanent Residents, and U.S. citizens are in a panic and afraid that they may be searched by immigration custom officers when entering the U.S. border.  People everywhere are asking questions like: Can custom agents arrest you at border checkpoints or airports? Can the officers search through your electronic gadgets if you have any in your possession?  Will you be penalized if you refuse undergoing a thorough check of your phone and computers?

Knowing-My-Rights-at-The-U.S.-Border-PART-1 Knowing My Rights at The U.S. Border (PART 1) Immigration Law Blog Travel Law

Here are some of the answers to your questions as stated by three U.S. immigration and privacy law experts: Nathan Freed Wessler, a staff attorney from the ACLU, Danielle Rizzo and Leslie Holman of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Can I be detained or inspected at the U.S. Border?

Yes.  It does not matter, whether you are a Legal Permanent Resident or a U.S. citizen or in the U.S. with a temporary visa.  Customs and Border Protection agents are authorized to stop any foreigner entering the U.S.  This is randomly done in order to obtain more information about you so a decision can be made whether you are to be allowed into the country.  Immigration expert Holman stated that even if you enter the United States under any temporary visa, CBP officers will ultimately decide your admissibility into the U.S.

Are My Legal Rights The Same in Other Places?

No.  According to the Fourth Amendment designed to protect individuals from being interrogated and arrested without raising any suspicions about a crime that was committed.  This approach may not be applicable at the border, as commented by Rizzo.

Am I Entitled to an Immigration Attorney?

Getting the assistance of an immigration lawyer may be dependent on whether you are a U.S. citizen.  The ACLU advises that all U.S. citizens are allowed to have an attorney available when going through an interrogation.

Non-citizens of the United States of America are not granted the opportunity to have a lawyer present detained for further questioning unless if the immigration customs officer discovers that the traveling immigrant has a criminal record.

Once the asking of questions goes beyond the basics; then every foreigner deserves the right to have an attorney present.

Are CBP Agents Authorized to Confiscate My U.S. Green Card?

No, CBP officer can demand that you sign a form that will have you disown your U.S. Permanent Resident Status.  According to Rizzo, in most cases (except if you have a criminal record and you are under the deportation process) U.S. Green Card holders have the right to an attorney and a court hearing before an immigration judge.  This way you can return to the U.S. to wait for your hearing.

Consult an Immigration Attorney

If you are concerned about traveling to the U.S. it is better to consult with an immigration attorney.  Contact The Gambacorta Law Office at 847-786-2599 for a consultation at any of our locations in Arizona, Illinois, Hawaii, and Texas.

Replacing a U.S. Green Card that has been Lost in the Mail

After completing your interview and receiving approval, you are given a document stating that your green card will be mailed to you after making the U.S. Green Card payment.  After waiting three months you observe that you have still have not received your U.S. Green Card.  What should you do?

Replacing-a-U.S.-Green-Card-that-has-been-Lost-in-the-Mail Replacing a U.S. Green Card that has been Lost in the Mail DACA Concerns Document Lost Law Travel Law

By this time you should consider your U.S. green card lost.  If this occurs you can still get your Green Card but you need to be prepared to apply for a replacement card and pay the filing fee again.  According to the USCIS if you did not receive your U.S. green card in the mail at the address you gave USCIS, then you must pay the entire application fee again.

Contact an immigration attorney to help you follow through with the right procedure.  Follow the steps below if your U.S. green card was lost in the mail.

Step One: Submit a Police Report

 Before starting the replacement procedure, it is required that you file your green card as lost.  This will safeguard your identity so that if anyone finds your green card they cannot use it.  You might prefer just to call the police over the phone, but it is better to visit the nearest police department in person to file a report, so you can provide them with the necessary documents.  Failure to give the police the needed information will only hinder you in proceeding with the application process.

Step Two: Gather Every Piece of Supporting Documentation

Collect supporting documents for the replacement application. Gather this documentation early on in the process so as to avoid any setback.  Some documents to collect are listed below:

  • A detailed account describing how your U.S. green card was lost in the mail.
  • Copies of your birth certificate, passport, and driver’s license.
  • Two passports sized photos
  • A copy of the document showing your approval of U.S. green card.
  • Copies of other authorized documentation.

The faster you are able to get these copies the sooner you are able to process your application form.

Step Three: Contact U.S. Consulate and the USCIS.

Not only is it important to contact the police but you also will need to contact the U.S. Consulate and the USCIS about your missing green card.  You will be asked to provide them with information specific to your application process, approval location and your Form I-90.

If you happen to be traveling and your green card is lost, it is vitally important to reach out to the nearest embassy, USCIS office or consulate.

Step Four: Filing an Application to Replace your Permanent Resident Card.

After you have submitted your police report, gathered all of your documents and notified the correct immigration office you are then ready to apply for a new green card.  You will need to file a Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.  A lawful permanent resident must complete to parts of the Form I-90 each various sections.

Part One: Personal Information about the applicant.  Information about you such as address, name, gender, date and place of birth, alien registration number and information about both parents will be required.

Part Two: Category of application.  You must choose and stated why you are submitting application.  For example you can say your U.S. green card was stolen, misplaced, destroyed, issued but it got lost in the mail, etc.

As frustrating as it may be having to apply to replace a U.S. Green Card that was lost in the mail, do not apply alone. To avoid another mishap, speak with a U.S. immigration attorney so you can receive the appropriate advice and guidance.

Speak with an Immigration Attorney

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

Steps Needed to Ensure a Smooth International Adoption

Thousands of children in foreign countries are adopted each year by United States citizens. The process to make this happen can be daunting to the couples who are investigating this method of making a family.

Steps-Needed-to-Ensure-a-Smooth-International-Adoption Steps Needed to Ensure a Smooth International Adoption adoption law Immigration Law Blog

The safety of the child is of primary concern to the countries involved, but there are also laws in place to protect both the adopting parents and the birth parents. Once an international or intercountry adoption is decided upon, there are steps that need to be taken – some of which can be set in motion even before the child is chosen.

How to Begin

The first step in the process should be for the prospective parents to familiarize themselves with the laws governing international adoption. There are three sets of laws that must be considered:

  • US Federal Adoption laws
  • Laws of the country the prospective child lives in
  • The laws governing adoption in the state or territory the parent lives in

When the parent investigates these laws, they will encounter a multitude of potential challenges. There may be some requirement of the foreign country that might somehow preclude the adoption from taking place. That is why investigating all the laws is necessary, and why retaining a lawyer experienced with this process is a wise first step.

The Hague Convention

Many adoptions of this type are overseen by two entities: The Hague convention and The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Department. The Hague Adoption Convention has been agreed to by 75 countries, and choosing to go with this group of countries may make for a smoother adoption process.

The adoptee must be under 16 years of age when the adopting petition form is filed out and must reside in a country that is part of the Hague convention. The child must be determined by the country of origin to be eligible for adoption and must have all the necessary consents from that country. There is a list of qualifications that the prospective parent must also fulfill in the Hague adoption process.

It is still possible to adopt outside the Hague’s auspices. This is called a non-Hague or orphan adoption. In this case, the child must either have lost both parents or have one parent that feels they can no longer provide for their child’s well-being, along with other qualifications.

Choose an Adoption Agency

The prospective parent should choose an adoption agency that is authorized to conduct services for a Hague adoption if they choose this route. Even with an authorized agency, it is still important to enlist the help a lawyer for this process. An experienced lawyer will be able to represent you in any matter before the USCIS department concerning the adoption; the agency chosen cannot.

Once the agency is chosen, they will arrange for a home study. This process will be used to determine the suitability of the adopting person or persons. After interviews and background checks, a home study document will be provided and needs to be submitted to the USCIS as part of the list of requirements and forms that need to be completed before an adoption is possible.

The long journey isn’t over even once the adoption becomes official. An adopted child will not immediately gain U.S. citizenship upon adoption – a visa is issued first and citizenship comes later. The transition from visa holder to U.S. citizen is yet another reason for hiring an experienced immigration attorney.

A successful adoption will undoubtedly be a dream come true for both parent(s) and child, but the process can pose a serious challenge for those who don’t have intimate knowledge of the laws and processes.  The Gambacorta Law Firm has successfully represented many adoptive parents in the field of international adoption and can be there for others with the same dream. Contact us today to find out how we can help you in your quest to build a family through adoption.   

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 DACA Concerns for 2017 DACA Concerns Immigration Law Blog

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 Trump Travel Ban and Dual Citizens Immigration Law Blog Travel Law

There was a concern about the ban on anyone who has dual citizenship. An example cited on Quartz.com 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

Explanation-of-Terms-Relating-to-Immigration Explanation of Terms Relating to Immigration Immigration Law Blog    Immigration 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.

President Trump’s Executive Order on U.S. Immigration

Law-concept-copy President Trump’s Executive Order on U.S. Immigration Immigration Law Blog    On Friday January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that limits U.S. Immigration from admitting foreigners from seven countries that are supposedly Muslim inhabited. All refugee entrants are suspended for 120 days and Syrian refugees are barred for an unspecified time.

During his election campaign, President Donald Trump’s had placed National Security a focus.  At one point, he called for “A total and complete ban” on all Muslims seeking to enter the United States.  However, the executive order does not target Muslims seeking to immigrate to the U.S.  According to the White House Spokesman, Sean Spicer observed that the seven countries were already the seven countries listed by the Obama Administration.

The United States of America allows the citizens of more than 30 countries to visit the U.S. temporarily without a visa under this program. That visa waiver program does not apply if a citizen of an eligible country has visited—with some exceptions—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011—under measures put in place by the Obama administration.  Those foreigners must apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate. These seven countries listed are under section 217(a) (12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a) (12) of the U.S. code, and it is under this code that Trump’s executive order cited while banning citizens of those nations.

Not a Muslim Ban

While the executive order may include seven major Muslim countries it does not target Muslims.  Muslims from Pakistan, Egypt and Arabia and other nations can still enter the United States for short visits.  The President of the United States is simply ensuring the protection of U.S. Citizens so that those visiting do not engage in hostile activities towards the country’s fundamental truths.  The United States of America cannot and should not, allow entrance to those who do not support the Constitution, or to those who would place violent ideologies over the American laws.  The United States of America should not admit persons who attempt to participate in acts of bigotry or hate crimes (which include, “Honor Killings” or other forms of violence against women, or persecute those who practice religions different from their own) or those seeking to oppress Americans of any sexual orientation, gender, or race.

The Impact on Legal Permanent Residents

Per the statistics released by the Department of Homeland Security, the number of U.S. legal permanent residents from these seven countries is relatively small.  For example: 1,016,518 U.S. Green Cards were distributed in 2014.  Of this given number, 19,153 were provided to the Iraqis and 11,615 to the Iranians.  According to ProPublica, these two countries have many U.S. permanent residents from the seven nations, in which altogether have 500,000 U.S. lawful permanent residents in the U.S.  The seven countries have record of 40% of U.S. refugee intake.

Who is Restricted?

People and countries under the restriction of the executive order.  Any refugee who is out of country and has a pending immigration case on any visa classification in the United States is barred for 120 days from entering the U.S.  Countries on the list that will be denied temporary entry in the U.S. are:

  • Iraq
  • Iran
  • Syria
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Libya
  • Yemen

President Donald Trump stated that more countries could still to be added to the list.

Dual Citizenship and Green Card Holders Affected

One vital question for the thousands affected by the new executive order is: “How will the order affect U.S. Green Card holders and people with dual citizenships?”

  • While there is, some uncertainty regarding dual citizenship holders, immigrants from the 7 countries who have a nationality or dual nationality will be barred for 90 days from entering the U.S., or will not be issued an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa. Visa holders of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas will not be allowed entry into the United States throughout this timeframe.  This guidance means that if an Iranian national holds a Canadian citizenship, he or she will not be allowed to enter the United States.
  • If you have a U.S. legal permanent resident status you should not have a problem. In recent news from the White House, the topic of U.S. legal permanent residents has gone back and forth.  First it was stated that U.S. green card holders would be affected by the order.  Then it was stated that each situation will be considered on a case by case basis.  Currently, U.S. legal permanent residents and U.S. Green Card Holders will not be affected, moving forward.

Other Issues Concerning the Executive Order

  • Emergency Situations: In any situation that requires travel out of country, it is best to consult with a U.S. immigration attorney before travelling abroad. However, if you are already overseas and you are a citizen of any of the seven countries under the executive order, you might have an issue returning to U.S. territory.  Seek legal counsel before boarding a flight, it is in your best interest to know your options.
  • Naturalized Citizens: Foreigners from the seven countries listed who are naturalized U.S. citizens should not have a problem. However, if you are travelling frequently during this time, you might be interrogated.
  • Can My Relatives Tag Along: If I am a U.S. citizen and my relative wants to tag along and he or she is not from one of the countries under the order they may not face difficulties at any of the port of entries in the U.S.
  • Family or Friends Who are Refugees: Family or friends who have a Refugee application awaiting an approval must know that the refugee program is currently paused for a minimum of 120 days. This order is not only applicable to the seven countries listed.
  • The Resettlement Process: Regarding the Syrian country, the resettlement process has been halted for an unspecified time.

The United States Policy

Ultimately, it is the United States policy to protect Americans from foreigners who seek to commit terrorist attacks in the United States of America.  The U.S. will prevent admission of immigrants who seek to exploit the U.S. Immigration Laws for hostile purposes.

Consult a Professional Immigration Attorney

If you or a family member is caught up in an emergency and you need to exit or enter the country, visit your nearest immigration attorney to help you.  Contact The Gambacorta Law Office today, 847-786-2599 for an office consultation. Our offices are in Illinois, Arizona, Hawaii and Texas.  Our team is ready to diligently represent you.

Additional Articles of Interest:

TRUMP’S EXECUTIVE ACTION CAUSES FEAR FOR IMMIGRANTS IN AND HOPING TO ENTER THE U.S.

APPLYING FOR NONIMMIGRANT VISA OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOME COUNTRY