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

 

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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

 

Taking the English Test

When you apply for naturalization you must pass an English and Civics Test. But for certain people there are exemptions.

The first one is called the 50/20 exemption. If you are 50 or older at the time you file for naturalization and have lived as a green card holder in the United States for 20 years, you are exempt from the English test.

The second exemption is the 55/15. If you are 55 or older at the time you file for naturalization and have lived as a green card holder in the United States for 20 years, you are also exempt from the English test.

If you qualify for either exemption, you must still take the civics test. But if you qualify for these exemptions, then you can take the civics test in your native language!

If you have any questions about naturalization or the English or Civics test, 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.

 

#naturalization #englishtest #civicstest #greencard #uscitizen

 

Immigration Law + Criminal Law = ?

If you are NOT a US citizen, there is ALWAYS a chance that you can be deported! Being a legal permanent resident for 20 years or more does not protect you from deportation, IF you commit a crime!

Criminal law and immigration law are two distinct fields of law, but the problem is that committing certain crimes can lead to triggers in immigration law. The other problem is committing a crime in criminal law has a different name and different definition in immigration law. For instance, in immigration law you can be deported for committing an “aggravated felony” or committing two or more “crimes involving moral turpitude.” But if you look at the criminal statutes in Massachusetts there are no aggravated felonies or crimes involving moral turpitude.

What does “aggravated felony” and a “crime involving moral turpitude” (CIMT) mean? The answer is tricky. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the term aggravated felony includes acts of murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, drug trafficking, trafficking firearms or other destructive devices, theft or burglary where term of imprisonment is at least one year, child pornography, treason, and more. As you can see the list is pretty serious and extensive.

The term “crime involving moral turpitude” is even trickier. The Board of Immigration Appeals defined it as “conduct that shocks the public conscience as being inherently base, vile, or depraved, contrary to the rules of morality and the duties owed between man and man, either one’s fellow man or society in general.” Well what does that mean you ask? The immigration courts have determined that it generally includes: spousal abuse, child abuse, robbery, aggravated assault, animal fighting, theft, fraud, driving under the influence, and more. Crimes involving moral turpitude are much broader and can have serious consequences!

Those who are not US citizens should definitely hire an attorney if they are charged with ANY crime to ensure that it does NOT affect their immigration status!

Also if you are legal permanent resident and it is possible for you to naturalize, DO IT! You never know what can happen in the future and if for whatever reason you are charged with a crime, at least you will be assured that you cannot be deported if you are a citizen!

 

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

Naturalization

Naturalization is the process of a person becoming a United States Citizen. There are certain requirements that need to be met in order to naturalize:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENCY:  You will need to be a legal permanent resident or green card holder for at least five years. If you gained your legal permanent residency through marriage, there is an exception and it allows you to be a legal permanent resident for at least three years before applying to naturalize. If your spouse naturalized also then he/she must be a citizen for at least three years in order to use the 3-year exception. Also if you divorce or separate then you cannot use the 3-year exception. The date for the 3 or 5 years begins on the date on the green card.
    • During your legal permanent residency you must not have taken trips outside the United States for six months or longer.
  • GOOD MORAL CHARACTER: This part can be a little tricky. If you have any kind of criminal record, whether the charge was dismissed or it was only an arrest, it is important that you speak with an attorney before you file the application for naturalization. There are also certain crimes that if you were convicted will bar you from applying for naturalization.

After sending in your application, you will be asked to do biometric fingerprinting. Then there will be an interview. Next you will have to pass a basic English skills test and a basic civics exam. If you pass both exams, then you will become a citizen and take the oath at a ceremony!

There are many benefits in becoming a citizen, such as the right to vote or bring immediate relatives into the United States. You can apply for federal jobs and become an elected official. The application process can be rather lengthy, but definitely worth it!

If you have any questions or concerns about your naturalization application, feel free to contact us!

This post was written by Attorney Jamie Cosme. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is NOT legal advice.