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Recent Blog Posts

Applying for DACA and you think you don't have any evidence? Think again!

 Posted on July 22, 2020 in Immigration

DACA is a wonderful benefit! At Lawit Law, we have seen how this form of temporary immigration relief has changed the lives of many of our clients. The issue many faced, however, is that they struggled to find the much needed evidence to apply. So we are sharing not only the list of requirements for DACA, but also the ways in which we have seen clients show their eligibility.

To be eligible for DACA, you must:

  • Have come to the United States before your 16th birthday
  • Have lived continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 and until the time you apply for DACA
  • Have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
  • Not have a lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012
  • Have been born on or after June 15, 1981
  • Be at least 15 years old at the time you apply for DACA (but you can apply at any age if you are in removal proceedings)
  • Have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. armed forces, or “be in school” on the date you submit your DACA application.

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How can I get a Social Security Number after migrating to the United States?

 Posted on July 10, 2020 in Immigration

The Social Security Administration is in charge of assigning Social Security Numbers to individuals. This document is crucial and its granted for purposes of identification and retirement benefits. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), hospitas, businesses, banks, schools, and other institutions use this number for identification purposes. An individual’s Social Security Number is also linked to the person’s credit history and payment of taxes.

Only United States citizens and those immigrants allowed to reside in the United States (such as those with a green card or work permit) are allowed to have a Social Security Number. In order to request a Social Security Number, individuals must do the following:

  • Complete an application with the Social Security Administration
  • Show evidence of their immigration status
  • Show evidence of their identity

If you are lawfully residing in the United States and have yet to receive your Social Security Number, you can approach your nearest SSA office .. If you have ever been assigned a lawful Social Security Number in the past, this number should not change.

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Can I clean my criminal record for immigration purposes?

 Posted on July 10, 2020 in Immigration

Several criminal acts and convictions could put an immigrant in danger of being deportable. Many chose to go through a process called “expungement,” which would allow them to clean their record, essentially deleting their history of criminal convictions. If a court agrees to seal or expunge a person’s criminal record, they are considered to never have committed a crime at all. However, this is a complicated process and many times does not have the desired effect for immigration purposes.

Even if an individual’s criminal records are expunged or sealed, prior criminal convictions could still cause issues on an immigration case. Expungements and sealment of records do not prevent the government from being aware of the record for immigration purposes. The record will always exist. However, you may still want to consider going through this process for other purposes, such as finding employment.

Each case is unique and should be closely evaluated, but individuals may request to have their arrests, court supervisions, and some probation sentences deleted from their record. Each state has its own rules, but generally the petition should be filed with the court having jurisdiction and after a certain number of years have passed since the conviction.

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With many schools transitioning to online classes, some F1 and M1 students may be forced to leave the US

 Posted on July 09, 2020 in Immigration

This is another effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many schools have found it necessary to prevent the spread of the virus. At least for the upcoming fall semester, many colleges are saying goodbye to in-person classes and shifting to virtual classrooms. This seems like a convenient way to keep students on track for graduation and avoid the temporary shut down of classes, but the new setting does not seem to be favored by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

On July 6, 2020, ICE announced that those students holding F1 and M1 visas and who are scheduled to only take online classes would not be able to keep their status. These students are welcomed to take online classes for the upcoming fall 2020 semester, but they will not be granted a visa to the United States nor allowed into the country for these purposes. In addition, according to the new directive, those F1 and M1 students presently in the United States should leave if their classes are going to be fully online.

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Fasten your Seat Belt and Become a U.S. Citizen! USCIS is having Drive-through Naturalizations

 Posted on July 09, 2020 in Immigration

Who would have thought that you could become a U.S. citizen from the comfort of your car? With thousands of Naturalization Oath Ceremonies cancelled throughout the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS had to adapt and started scheduling drive-through ceremonies to swear in immigrants as American citizens.

With the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling in-person services at USCIS for months, those who had already passed their Naturalization interviews saw their ceremonies cancelled. For many immigrants, this was more than a mere inconvenience. For most, their naturalization ceremony is a symbol of the much awaited end of a long and difficult journey, but it is also a requirement to vote in U.S. elections, request a U.S. passport, serve in a jury, and petition certain family members. So most were surely thrilled when some USCIS offices finally started to reschedule oath ceremonies and modified their set up to prevent the spread of the virus. Immigrants pull into the assigned parking lot at the scheduled day and time, provide their identification to a USCIS officer wearing personal protective equipment, and get sworn in through their car window.

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Help! My spouse refuses to go to our marriage interview for my green card! What can I do?

 Posted on July 08, 2020 in Immigration

Days are usually hectic at our office, but we rarely get a case that makes us stop in our tracks and refocus our work as much as one of these. It usually starts with a phone call from the beneficiary. They often sound nervous and scared, but the facts are usually similar. They met who they thought it was a loving and supporting partner (who happened to be a U.S. citizen), they married this person, and they filed the petition and adjustment application based on the marriage. However, now things have changed and the spouse refuses to go to the marriage interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Both the beneficiary and petitioner are required to attend the marriage-based interview with an immigration officer. If your spouse refuses to go, this could be a problem and put your whole process at risk. Now, sometimes the beneficiary qualifies for another kind of petition, such as a VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) self-petition. At times the refusal to attend the interview is part of a pattern of abuse and control by the petitioner. For instance, if the petitioner has ever been abusive against the applicant, either physically harming, insulting, belittling, manipulating, threatening, or taking advantage financially of the beneficiary, among other situations, VAWA could be an option.

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I got my green card through my spouse. Can I keep it if I get divorced?

 Posted on July 07, 2020 in Immigration

Divorces are difficult. If you add to that the stress of going through an immigration process, this can be quite taxing. Generally, if your green card has been granted for 10 years, a divorce should not affect your immigration status. However, if you were married for less than 2 years at the time of your green card approval and you received the benefit for being the spouse of a green card holder or U.S. citizen, you green card would be considered “conditional” and only issued for 2 years.

In order to remove the conditions of your green card and receive your permanent status, you will need to submit an application to USCIS. Typically, these applications are submitted within 90 days of your conditional green card expiration date. Couples who are still together need to submit a joint application, evidence of the bona fides of their marriage, and likely attend an additional interview before USCIS issues a decision. Now, the process varies greatly if you are no longer with your spouse, but it’s still viable for most applicants through a waiver. Here are potential options:

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USCIS Grants Additional Time to Respond to Requests for Evidence and Submit Notices of Appeal

 Posted on July 01, 2020 in Immigration

USCIS is extending the flexibilities to give more time to applicants to respond to requests for evidence and submit appeals, among other measures. The new flexibility applies to notifications issued between between March 1 and Sept. 11, 2020, inclusive. Applicants who have received one of the following notifications will have an additional 60 days to respond after the due date indicated in the notification.

  • Requests for Evidence;
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
  • Notices of Intent to Deny;
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke;
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers;
  • Filing date requirements for Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA); or
  • Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.

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USCIS' Plan to Furlough Employees can Severely Impact Immigration

 Posted on July 01, 2020 in Immigration

Back in May, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had announced the potential furlough of up to 70% of its workforce in August if they do not receive the necessary funding required to keep the agency open. With a lower number of immigrants applying for immigration benefits and the federal government not agreeing to provide the $1.2 billion loan the agency required, furloughs seem imminent. USCIS has recently issued furlough notices to some employees, signaling potential drawbacks for applicants.

USCIS receives a significant portion of its funding from filing fees paid by applicants, but these have dropped to half since the COVID-19 pandemic started. If Congress does not allocate additional resources to USCIS, immigrants could expect longer wait times to see their applications adjudicated. If you are concerned about how these issues may potentially impact your case, contact our office for a initial consultation.

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New Proposed rule Attacks Asylum Seekers

 Posted on June 28, 2020 in Immigration

Within immigration law, asylum seekers are one of the most vulnerable populations. In order to qualify for asylum, applicants must demonstrate a “credible fear of persecution or torture.” A new proposed rule would make the asylum process significantly more difficult, allowing denials to be issued without a right to have immigration case heard in court. It would also change the standard for “credible fear of persecution or torture,” making an approval almost impossible for those immigrants seeking protection based on being victims of domestic violence, gender-based discrimination, or gang-related violence. The changes also make the process more challenging, allowing the government to put more weight on discretionary factors. These measures would end the possibility of asylum for thousands of immigrants escaping unspeakable harm and violence in their home countries.

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