Category: Immigration

USCIS IS INCREASING ITS FEES

I have been warning my clients for the past several months that there is a rumor circulating that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is going to be raising its fees soon. It is no longer a rumor. USCIS has announced its new fee schedule effective December 23, 2016 The immigration service is increasing many of its fees, some of them are quite substantially. For example, where it is used to cost $1,490 for a spouse or immediate family member to adjust status and receive a green card while in the U.S., that fee will increase to $1,760. That is just for the government. The attorney fees will be on top of that. Similarly, to apply for citizenship is increasing from $595 to $640. The fiancé petition fee is increasing from $340 to $535, while fees to replace a lost or stolen green card are increasing from $365 to $455. Petition for non-immigrant workers (H-Visas) are increasing from $345 to...

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September 2015 Visa Bulletin

The September 2015 Visa Bulletin has been released.  The nice thing is that F2A immigrant visas, which is to say green cards for husbands, wives, spouses and unmarried children under 21 of Lawful Permanent Residents, is “only” backed up a year and a half.  Such people who will be getting their visas in September had immigration petitions filed for them in March of last year.  In August, they were interviewing people who filed in December 2013, so this is an encouraging sign. Source:
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Beware Of Fake Divorce Scams

A lawyer I know who also does a lot of immigration work came to visit me today.  He wanted to ask me if I knew of a forms preparer whose fraud and scams had gotten a client of his in trouble.  I stopped him in the middle of his story, because that same preparer had pulled the exact same scam on someone who is now a client of mine.  I will not blog about that case because it is currently at USCIS and is still too hot to write about. However he did share an interesting bit of information.  Apparently there is a person in Lowell who is not a lawyer, but claims to be getting people divorces without any one needing to go to court.  Of course, it is not possible for him to get some one divorced without anyone going to court.  This is a scam.  He is able to get the people certified divorce certificates though.  These certificates are forgeries.  Unfortunately for this lawyer, an immigration client of his, quite innocently, paid her money to get divorced; got a fake certificate,...

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President Obama’s Executive Order On Immigration

So far the President’s plan is very general, but I will share what is available. The big thing is that people who have been in the US for five (5) years or more and have US citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident children may quality for “deferred action”. Deferred Action is a promise not to deport them for “three years at a time” and the issuance of a work permit. This does not provide a Green Card, and it is up to Congress or the next president what happens in three years. Interestingly, this does not apply to the parents of “DACA children”, although there is an expansion of DACA. On these two issues the White House’s “Fact Sheet” says the following: “DHS is establishing a new deferred action program for parents of U.S. Citizens or LPRs who are not enforcement priorities and have been in the country for more than 5 years. Individuals will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work...

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A Post On When President Obama’s Executive Order On Immigration Will Be Implemented

Now that President Obama has issued his executive order, people want to know when it will take effect. The regulations and applications necessary to implement the order have not been written yet. USCIS has posted this notice explaining its plans for implementing the order. The article gives some insight into when USCIS expects to issue regulations and forms for various aspects of the program, but states generally that: “Over the coming months, USCIS will produce detailed explanations, instructions, regulations and forms as necessary. The brief summaries provided below offer basic information about each initiative. While USCIS is not accepting requests or applications at this time, if you believe you may be eligible for one of the initiatives listed above, you can prepare by gathering documents that establish factors such as your: Identity; Relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; and Continuous residence in the United States over the last five years or...

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Presidente Obama Ha Anunciado Que Hablará Hoy Por La Noche Sobre La Inmigración.

Presidente Obama ha anunciado que hablará hoy por la noche sobre la inmigración.  Se espera que anunciará que firmará una orden ejecutiva. Ha habido especulación considerable en las noticias sobre lo que puede ser en ese orden. Independientemente de la fuente de especulación, por el momento es sólo especulación. He estado recibiendo llamadas telefónicas hoy sobre esta orden ejecutiva potencial. He estado diciendo a todos que yo no doy consejos basados en la especulación, especialmente cuando de pronto lo sabré hechos reales.

Mañana por la noche el Presidente hablará y nos dirá en términos generales, qué va a hacer esta semana.  Tenga en cuenta que todavía es posible que esto es sólo un discurso para tratar de conseguir apoyo para la reforma integral de inmigración y no para anunciar una nueva orden ejecutiva.  Entonces, voy a ver al Presidente hablar en la televisión, aunque mi hija llega de su escuela para...

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Appeals Court Upholds Restrictions On Mandatory Detention

I recently reported on the District Court decision in Gordon v. Holder restricting mandatory detention to cases in which the person facing deportation is detained within a few days of release from state prison. This is an important decision because it is common for ICE to detain people years after they have served their time, and then essentially incarcerate them for months while they await a hearing in the Immigration Court. The District Court ruled that this was impermissible. These people are entitled to an individual bond determination. There is no presumption that a person is dangerous or a flight risk, when that person has been living as a productive member of society for a period of time. This case was appealed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals and affirmed! The court held that they must be picked up by ICE “within a reasonable time after their detention”. “Within a reasonable time” is not defined, but it clearly does not include years later. If ICE does...

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Facebook, Other Social Media And Immigration

One of the toughest areas of family based immigration is proving the bona fides of a relationship. In order to bring your husband, wife, or fiancé to the United States or to get them a green card, it is not enough simply to have a marriage certificate or to say that I intend to marry this person. It is not enough to say that I love this person and that I want to spend the rest of my life with this person. The burden is on both members of the couple to prove that this is a bona fide relationship. They must prove to the satisfaction of the adjudicating officer, whether it is the USCIS interviewer or the consular officer if the spouse or fiancé is living abroad, that these two people really love each other and that they intend to live together for the rest of their lives as husband and wife. The law presumes that all petitioners and beneficiaries are lying. The law presumes that every couple that petitions for such a visa is engaged in immigration fraud and that they do not love each...

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Facebook, Other Social Media And The Law

One of the interesting changes which has occurred in recent years in the practice of law is the widespread use of social media. There is probably no area of the law which is completely untouched by the advent of social media and the tendency of people on social media to broadcast many, and in some cases all, aspects of their private lives to the public. For a trial lawyer such as myself, this has opened up many opportunities and has created many problems. We all know from television that any time the police arrest somebody and give the Miranda Warnings, they will say “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law”. As a matter of constitutional law, the police must warn criminal suspects of this fact. However, it is not merely a fact in the criminal context, but in any context where you may find yourself in court. As such, no matter what kind of a case you may have, be it a car accident, an immigration matter, a bankruptcy case, a divorce,...

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