Agencies of Immigration Law

There are a lot of acronyms in immigration law especially when dealing with the various institutions.

USCIS stands for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. USCIS is part of the Department of Homeland Security. USCIS decides whether immigration petitions and benefits should be granted.Many of the applicants that USCIS processes are already located in the United States. For example, USCIS  decides whether to grant naturalization or a green card to an applicant.

NVC stands for National Visa Center. NVC is a part of the Department of State. After a petition has been approved from USCIS, if the beneficiary lives outside the United States, the NVC processes the documents and sends them along to the appropriate consulates and embassies.

ICE stands for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE is responsible for enforcing immigration laws within the United States such as investigating and make arrests. ICE also prosecutes immigrations cases in immigration court.

CBP stands for US Customs and Border Protection. The difference between ICE and CBP is that CBP protects the border of the U.S. and controls access into the U.S.

Each agency plays a different role in immigration law and often times it can be confusing what role each one plays. If you have any questions, please contact our office at 508-438-1198.

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

#ice #dhs #uscis #immigrationlaw #immigration

 

Temporary Protected Status

Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) grants temporary status to those in the United States from countries that are in some sort of disarray, such as being in a civil war or if there was a natural disaster. USCIS posts a list of countries and people from those countries who are in the United States, may apply for TPS. TPS allows people to live, work, and travel in and out of the United States without fear of being deported or overstaying a visa.

The thing about TPS is that a person who receives TPS only receives it for a certain amount of time. The provision states that TPS should be for “not less than 6 months and not more than 18 months” BUT the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), can extend the length of TPS for each country, depending on the state of the country.

In order to be eligible for TPS you must be in the U.S., legally or illegally, you cannot have a serious criminal record, and you must be from one of the designated countries. If you are eligible, you should make sure that you are not “inadmissible” under the INA or are subject to any of the mandatory bars for asylum.

If you are planning on filing for TPS, you should fill out forms I-821 and I-765. One thing to remember is that DHS reviews TPS for each country and if TPS is renewed for your country, you will also have to reapply for it.

If your TPS is denied, you can appeal the decision, but it may be expensive and take a long time.

Lastly, if you are from a TPS country, you may also have an asylum claim, if you are afraid to return home! Read more about asylum here.

If you would like help filing for Temporary Protected Status, please call our office at 508-438-1198.

 

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

 

#tps #temporaryprotectedstatus #asylum

What you need to know about Asylum

The first thing you may be wondering is, what is the difference between a refugee and a person seeking asylum? A refugee is a person who is located OUTSIDE of the United Status and is afraid to return to their native country and seeking refuge in the U.S. A person seeking asylum is already IN the U.S. and is afraid to return to their native country.

You’ll notice one thing that they both have in common which is that a person is afraid to return to their native country. In order to file for asylum you must have been persecuted or have a  well-founded fear of persecution on account of your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion and be unwilling to return to your country.The term “persecution” is not specifically defined and can come in many different ways. BUT if you are NOT afraid to return to your native country, you CANNOT file for asylum.

Along with having a well-founded fear of persecution, you must file your asylum application within ONE year of entering the United States. The exception to that is if there are “changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances directly related to your failure to file.”

If you plan to file for asylum, it is important that you speak with an attorney first. Filing for asylum should be taken very seriously. You can file whether you have status in the U.S. or not. And if you don’t have status and file, the U.S. government will know who you are. If your asylum is denied, you could be deported back to the country you fear. If your asylum is granted, you can eventually apply for a green card and after some time gain citizenship! So it is important to put together an application with evidence that can demonstrate the persecution or your fear of returning to your country.

Please call our office at 508-438-1198, if you plan to file for asylum!

 

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

#asylum #refugee #greencard #oneyear

 

Same-Sex Marriage/Engagement & Immigration

Congratulations, you are engaged or married! And you may be wondering if you can bring your same-sex spouse or fiancee to the United States. Well the answer to your question is yes! If you are in a same-sex relationship, the application process is the same as it is for any other couple.

If your spouse is already in the United States, you can file the I-130 and I-485 concurrently to obtain a green card for your significant other.

If your spouse is NOT in the United States, you will have to go through consular processing. First you have to file the I-130 and once that is approved, you will schedule an appointment with the closest U.S. consulate office. Go to your interview, be granted your visa, come to the U.S. and THEN receive your green card in the mail.

The most important thing to remember in this scenario is, if you were NOT married in the United States, you MUST have been married in a country that LEGALLY recognizes same-sex marriage or your marriage will not be considered valid when you apply for your spouse.

If you are a fiancee, you will file for the K-1 visa and you can find the requirements for a K-1 visa in my previous blog post here.

If you are in a same-sex relationship and have any questions about bringing your significant other over, please call our office at 508-438-1198.

 

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

 

#samesexmarriage #greencard #k1visa #immigration

Immigration Fees Raised!

On December 23, 2016, USCIS raised the fees to file for naturalization, a green card, and more. Please find some of the new fees below:

I-130 Petition for a relative: $535

I–485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status: $1,140

I–601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver: $630

I–690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility: $715

I–751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence: $595

I–765 Application for Employment Authorization: $410

N–400 Application for Naturalization: $640

For more information about the new fees you can visit the USCIS website.

 

If you have an immigration issues or question, please call our office at 508-438-1198.

 

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

#immigration #newfees #naturaliation #greencard

 

 

What the election means for Immigration Law

Since election day there was been buzz about what this means for immigration law. Donald Trump has made known what he plans to do with immigration law and for those who are not citizens or undocumented, the future may be unclear.

For anyone who has a green card and is eligible to naturalize and become a US citizen, apply for naturalization NOW! Please remember if you are NOT a US citizen, you can potentially be deported! People who have lived in the US their entire lives and have valid green cards can still be deported for certain criminal actions. Please be aware that if you are not a citizen and receive an OUI/DUI/DWI this could threaten your legal status in the US. Please contact an attorney if you would like to naturalize but have a criminal background!

If you have DACA please be aware that once Donald Trump is sworn in as president, in January, the DACA program may be terminated and many could face deportation as a result. Please do not forget that DACA does not give anyone legal status, it only provides an avenue for work authorization and to defer removal action. If you are eligible for a green card or another visa through another avenue other than DACA, please apply as soon as possible.

Also if you are planning to travel, after Donald Trump is sworn in, it may be more difficult to obtain travel visas to certain countries, such as China and India. Please continue to check the State Department’s travel website for any potential issues if you are going abroad.

Immigration law has always been complex, but with a new administration coming in January it is important to know what your rights are and what you can do now. Please contact our office at 508-438-1198, if you have any questions about your immigration status.

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

#immigrationlaw #donaldtrump #daca #naturalization

 

Padilla v. Kentucky: It’s impact on Criminal & Immigration Law

In 2010, the court held in Padilla v. Kentucky that counsel’s failure to advise a criminal defendant of the deportation consequences of a guilty plea constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel. Therefore if your defense attorney did not advise you of the immigration consequences of your plea, the disposition could be vacated. The problem is that the Supreme Court held that the new rule in Padilla should not apply retroactively to criminal convictions before March 2010.

The good news is that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court didn’t like that, so in Commonwealth v. Clarke, the court held that Padilla v. Kentucky applies retroactively to guilty pleas entered after April 1, 1997. If Padilla applies to you, you still have to prove ineffective assistance of counsel.

There is a two prong test to whether there was an ineffective assistance of counsel. The first prong is found in Commonwealth v. Saferian and states “whether there has been serious incompetency, inefficiency, or inattention of counsel — behavior of counsel falling measurably below that which might be expected from an ordinary fallible lawyer.”

The second prong is that the consequence of counsel’s serious incompetency must be prejudicial. In Clarke they define prejudice as “a ‘reasonable probability’ that ‘but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.”

Therefore in order to prove ineffective assistance of counsel you have to prove that your lawyer didn’t act or advise you as a normal lawyer should AND that your criminal proceeding results would have been different if you had received proper advice.

Padilla was significant, because now non-citizens must be advised of immigration consequences if they are in criminal proceedings, but in order to get your case vacated it may still be a long road ahead!

If you have any questions about whether Padilla applies to your current situation, please call our office at 508-438-1198.

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

#criminallaw #immigration #padilla #retroactive #clarke