Abused Spouse can get Immigration Benefits

As March is Woman’s History Month, it is appropriate to celebrate the contributions made by women and bring awareness to programs that benefit women. One such program was created under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which grants victims of abuse legal status in the United States. VAWA benefits both women and men who are victims of abuse.

However, most of the cases processed under VAWA involve women and children who were victims of abuse. In general, if you are married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder), have no legal status in the U.S. and are a victim of abuse, then you can self-petition for lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. (more…)

Winning in Immigration Court

Appearing in any court is a scary experience. Well, it is scarier for an illegal immigrant to appear in immigration court with the fear of being arrested and place on an airplane back to his/her home country. The most important advice an immigration lawyer can give is that the immigrant or Respondent MUST appear in immigration court at the designated date and time noted in his/her “Notice of Hearing”. If the immigrant or Respondent fails to appear in immigration court, then the immigration judge will issue an “in-abstentia” removal order – ordering deportation for failure to appear. If you are unable to attend a court hearing, write a letter to the immigration court or advise your immigration lawyer to submit a motion for a continuance. Once any removal order is issued, it is very difficult to file a successful motion to reopen.


Immigration Raids target Central American Families

This past Christmas Eve, a nationwide immigration raids was announced and launched by Immigration and Custom Enforcement to remove Central American families and unaccompanied children with deportation orders from the United States. Today, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson released a statement on southwest border security, including information on this weekend’s ICE raids, during which 121 individuals—primarily from Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina—were taken into custody and are in the process of being removed. (more…)

Refugees in US is a Solution not a Problem

The U.S. has a proud history and tradition of admitting refugees in US who have fled from their home country due to persecution based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. The U.S. refugee resettlement program has welcomed over 3 million refugees in US from all over the world and the program should not be shut-down or limited due to terror attacks; instead, the program should be utilized more by the U.S. to demonstrate our compassion, generosity and leadership.

On November 13, 2015, President Obama addressed the G-20 summit in Turkey and stated the United States would continue to accept more refugees from Syria and elsewhere, though “only after subjecting them to rigorous screening and security checks.” “Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values,” he said. “Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own security. We can and must do both.”

How does the refugee resettlement program work? (more…)

New Security Changes to the Visa Waiver Program and ESTA

Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security announced it will take steps to modify its Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) applications to capture information from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travelers regarding any past travel to countries constituting a terrorist safe haven. In addition, steps have already been taken to strengthen the screening of those who are traveling to the United States, including security enhancements to the Visa Waiver Program and ESTA. (more…)

President Obama seeks U.S. Supreme Court review of Obama executive action

The U.S. Department of Justice formally asked the Supreme Court to review the Fifth Circuit’s decision in the Texas lawsuit that blocks implementation of President Obama’s 2014 deferred action initiatives. President Obama seeks U.S. Supreme Court review of Obama executive action granting deferred action.  The formal request, called a petition for certiorari, is the first step in the Supreme Court review process. The Supreme Court likely will decide early in 2016 whether it will hear the case this term. If the Court takes the case, it would likely rule on Obama executive action in June 2016.


Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld injunction on Obama Immigration Action

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the preliminary injunction that temporarily halted President’s Obama Immigration Action that provided deferred action initiatives such as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  Both initiatives that were part of Obama Immigration Action on November 2014  would have provided as many as 5 million immigrants with temporary relief from deportation. The decision today means that the initiatives remain suspended. (more…)

Detained Immigrant Must Receive Bond Hearing Within 6 Months

The United States Courts of Appeal, Second Circuit, held that an immigrant detained must be afforded a bail hearing before an immigration judge within six months of his or her detention. (Lora v. Shanahan, 10/28/15).  The court also held that the detained immigrant must receive bond hearing unless the government establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the immigrant poses a risk of flight or a risk of danger to the community. (more…)

Pay N-400 Fee with Credit Card

In an effort to help aspiring lawful permanent residents or “green card” holders to become U.S. citizens and also improving customer service, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that the filing fee for Form N-400 can be paid by credit card effective September 19, 2015.  Applicants filing Form N-400, can pay N-400 fee with credit card.

Acceptable Credit Cards

You may use Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. You may also use gift cards with Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover logos.  If you choose to pay N-400 fee with credit card or gift card, you must pay the entire fee using a single card. Please ensure the credit card or gift card has enough money to cover the fee. 

How to Pay N-400 Fee with Credit Card

  1. Complete form G-1450.
  2. Place it on top of your N-400 application.
  3. Mail your application package to the correct address 


Visa Bulletin Revisions Explained by Immigration Lawyer in Orlando

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in coordination with Department of State (DOS), has revised the procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for employment-based or family-sponsored preference adjustment of status. The revised process was effective with the October 2015 visa bulletin published on September 25, 2015. The new format of the visa bulletin will better align with procedures DOS uses for foreign nationals who seek to become U.S. permanent residents by applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad.

Also, the revised process will enhance DOS’s ability to more accurately predict overall immigrant visa demand and determine the cut-off dates for visa issuance published in the Visa Bulletin. This will help ensure that the maximum number of immigrant visas is issued annually as intended by Congress, and minimize month-to-month fluctuations in Visa Bulletin final action dates. The Visa Bulletin revisions implement the November 2014 executive actions on immigration announced by President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson.

With the revisions, there will be two separate charts (or priority dates) for people to follow or monitor: (more…)