Articles Posted in Family-Based Immigration

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office-614273_640-300x199Tens of thousands of foreign nationals from countries under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a temporary immigration status, can continue seeking employment authorization until January 2, 2020. This status extension specifically applies to nationals from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. It does not, however, not include countries not covered in the Ramos v. Nielsen suit, namely Honduras and Nepal.

Temporary Protected Status is provided by the Department of Homeland Security to nationals from foreign countries (or parts thereof) that have extraordinary conditions threatening the safety and lives of its people. These conditions include civil unrest, a natural calamity, an epidemic, or other temporary conditions. Nationals from these countries may be allowed to stay, work in, and travel from and to the United States for humanitarian reasons, until the conditions in their home countries have passed, at which point they should ideally return.

This was the rationale behind the Trump administration’s move to terminate the TPS designation for the five aforementioned countries announced in 2017, an order that took effect last year.

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bloom-1836315_640-300x196U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is cracking down on unconsenting child brides, announcing on Friday that it will be following a new set of rules in assessing petitions from individuals seeking to bring their migrant spouses into the U.S.. The announcement comes after thousands of such requests involving minors were found to have been approved last year.

This effort, however, will not be an indiscriminate crackdown. USCIS elaborated that it had updated its guiding policies to adjudicators, emphasizing that marriages involving underage spouses required further scrutiny. To ensure this, the marriage in question must be found to have been lawful where it was celebrated and will remain so in the state where the incoming child spouse plans to reside, freely consented to by the minor involved, and duly certified by adjudicators as bona fide.

The Associated Press reported last month that among the numerous petitions from individuals in adult-minor relationships, at least 5,000 were of adults petitioning on behalf of minors and 3,000 were of minors attempting to petition their older spouses into the States.

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hands-1150073_640-300x200The Trump administration has reportedly been rejecting lawful residence status applications to a startling number of immigrant youth, many of whom have left their home countries to flee abusive environments, because the government believes they are too old.

Young immigrants escaping abuse, abandonment, or neglect by a parent are legally allowed to seek a court-appointed guardian and green card to stay in the U.S., as provided by an immigration program that has been in effect since 1990. While the program clearly states that applicants must file paperwork before they reach the age of 21, the Trump administration insists that applicants beyond 18 are too old to qualify. As such, the government saw it fit to send out denial notices throughout the past year to applicants in California, New York, Texas, and New Jersey.

Immigrant rights advocates have since filed lawsuits against the government in courts in New York and California, arguing about the impact such a policy implementation would have on disenfranchised immigrant youth.

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gavel-3577254_640-300x165The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has denied the federal government’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit against threatening the Trump administration’s policy of keeping thousands of undocumented immigrant children in extended periods of detention despite having family in the country.

Over the last few months, the Trump administration has been detaining immigrant children caught illegally crossing the border, separating them from their guardians and using them as traps for family members who are unlawfully present in the U.S. who attempt to pick them up. This policy has already led to the arrest of several individuals who had only come forward to retrieve undocumented migrant children whom they were related to.

Becky Wolozin from the Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) claims that this is the government’s way of carrying out a “backdoor family separation agenda,” keeping immigrant children apart from their families and using they as “bait” to lure their family members who have been living in the country for years, albeit without proper documentation.

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trump-1822121_640-300x213President Trump has disclosed his plans to revoke birthright citizenship to babies born on U.S. soil through an executive order—the latest in a string of moves to crack down on both lawful and unlawful immigration to the United States.

Children born in the United States, including those whose parents are foreign nationals, become U.S. citizens by default as provided by the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

President Trump, however, wants to rescind the 14th amendment through an executive order, a move that could trigger a constitutional crisis. In an interview with Axios, he argued that “It is ridiculous [how] we’re the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits.”

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border-control-2474151_640-300x188On Monday, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), along with nine other immigrant rights advocacy groups, filed a lawsuit against US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) over a massive backlog of citizenship applications.

As of this writing, USCIS faces a tremendous backlog of over 730,000 pending naturalization applications, which, according to California State Representative Judy Chu, represents an 87 percent increase since 2015.

And according to a letter signed by more than 50 Congressional members delivered to USCIS Director Lee Francis Cissna, processing times for citizenship applications have also increased, running for an average of 11 months compared to the previous six months.

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tic-tac-toe-1777859_640-300x200On September 22, 2018, the Trump administration, through the Department of Homeland Security, announced a proposed rule that would change how the government classifies an immigrant entering the country or applying for a green card as a public charge. If approved, the rule would also take into account an individual’s use of public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and prohibit him or her from entering the US or applying for a green card.

Under longstanding immigration policy, the government requires immigrants applying for legal permanent resident status through a family member to prove that they will be self-sufficient once they become a permanent resident in the US. To meet this requirement, applicants usually showed proof of income that meets the threshold of 125% of the poverty guidelines, which is around $25,975 for a family of three. Immigrants who are unable to meet this threshold can combine the income of a joint sponsor with their own.

The Trump administration, however, is considering doing away with the joint sponsor solution and is proposing to allow agencies to do deeper background checks on green card applicants, taking into account factors such as age, education, health, credit score, and even the previous use of public benefits, which could be grounds for denial.

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laptop-2838921_640-300x178A federal judge ruled against the Trump administration’s plans to end the temporary protected status (TPS) designation for the over 300,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua.

Late last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intention to remove the TPS designation of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan, claiming that the conditions that initially allowed for these countries to receive TPS designation, such as political unrest, extreme natural disasters, and gang-related violence, are no longer as prominent as they once were. And so, the federal government found it reasonable to require citizens from these countries in the United States to pack their bags and head home.

US District Judge Edward M. Chen of San Francisco, however, found that the government’s decision to end the legal status for these countries was problematic on several fronts.

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login-570317_640-300x196In an unexpected move after President Trump announced last year that he would eliminate the program, the US Department of State published instructions for the entry process to the Diversity Visa 2020 (DV-2020) immigration program.

A section in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for the issuance of a limited number of visas every fiscal year to a certain class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants”—foreign nationals from countries with usually low rates of immigration to the United States. The Diversity Visa program makes use of a lottery system in issuing 50,000 of such visas, all of which lead to lawful permanent resident status.

While registration to the program is free, those looking to apply have strict eligibility requirements to meet.

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letter-of-application-3685417_640-300x199US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that I-485 applications for adjustment of status will be open as soon as October 2018 in both the family-based and the employment-based categories according to the cutoff dates outlined in the “Dates for Filing” Chart of the State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin.

Form I-485, or the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, offers lawful permanent residence to immigrants who entered the country legally and can prove their eligibility. An applicant must meet all the requirements in certain categories like family relationship or employment.

According to current immigration policy, employment-based I-485 applicants can only file their applications once they reach their priority date as dictated in the Visa Bulletin’s Final Action Chart. As such, the recent announcement that USCIS will be receiving applications before the priority date came as a pleasant surprise.