Want to know the big secret to winning I-601 waiver cases?
I learned it early in my career at a seminar for new attorneys. A judge, running the course, gave me a piece of advice that guides me to this day. It’s proven crucial in countless trials and appeals with immigration courts and agencies.
The advice, though simple, was profound.
Good lawyers, said the judge, prepare in advance. They know their evidence before their hearings start. They maximize their clients’ chances of success.
Can a middle ground be found for immigration reform?
On the surface, the art of diplomacy seems permanently lost in Congress. Compromise appears impossible.
Far too many immigration opponents have adopted a rigid law and order stance against undocumented immigrants. They refuse to negotiate on any issues remotely related to comprehensive immigration reform. In their view, the southwest borders must be locked down in order to stop the hijacking of America.
Immigrant advocates, on the other hand, assert that piecemeal solutions are measures too distasteful for rational consideration. Immigrants arriving at the border, regardless of the strength or weakness of their asylum claims, must be granted full access to immigration courts and constitutional protections.
To prosecute, or not to prosecute – that is the question.
Soon after the Department of Homeland Security announced a new memorandum on prosecutorial discretion, the telephone calls started.
“Is it true,” the caller wanted to know, “the government is no longer going to try to deport immigrants without documents and I’ll be able to get a work permit?”
He heard this information from an immigration “expert” talking on the radio. He wanted to confirm the details.
As happens so, so often with immigration, potential applicants for benefits do not grasp the full details of “new” programs and policies.
This leaves them vulnerable not only to unsympathetic government officers they may encounter, but also to deceptive immigrant advocates hoping to take advantage of their naiveté.
More often than not, love happens unexpectedly.
For immigrants who have entered the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program, love can lead to deportation – and a ten year to permanent separation from their spouse and children.
Despite years of battling this issue as a green card attorney, I’m still saddened every time government agents fail to grasp love and marriage deserve a second look before family ties are destroyed and immigrants are blindly sent back to their country of origin.
Policy makers, it seems, should grasp that love can happen, instantly, and innocently, even for tourists.
In a long overdue policy shift designed to help victims of certain types of crimes, the Biden Administration has announced a new process, known as Bona Fide Determinations (BFD) for U Visa applicants.
These procedures will enable the government to speed up the issuance of temporary work permit applications and grants of deferred action for immigrants who seek protection from perpetuators of domestic abuse.
The program was created by Congress to strengthen the law enforcement community’s ability to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes, while also offering protection to victims.
Defeat in law, especially immigration law, should be taken with a grain of salt. It is not uncommon for policies and principles to change over time.
“When one door closes”, Alexander Graham Bell once noted, “another often opens.”
He could have been talking about the Temporary Protected Status program.
On June 7, 2021, the Supreme Court denied the eligibility of TPS beneficiaries to seek adjustment of their status to permanent residence without leaving the United States.
Is their hope of becoming a lawful permanent resident now gone forever?
He never went home.
He left his native county at the age of 20 to find work. Born in an impoverished area of a poor country, he left home to earn money which he could send back to his mother and eight siblings.
He ventured through, and stayed briefly at, a few countries, eventually reaching the United States.
For the next 25 years, he crisscrossed California, Arizona, and Utah, moving from crop to crop before settling in San Diego where he worked as a dishwasher at one of the city’s most prestigious restaurants.
On Dec. 5, 2022, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced the extension of Haiti for TPS for 18 months, from Feb. 4, 2023, through Aug. 3, 2024. This will enable Haitians who were had TPS status earlier to continue living and working legally in the United States for the duration of the designated period.
By virtue of the re-designation, Haitian immigrants who have been continuously residing in the United States since November 6, 2022 will be allowed to apply for TPS benefits for the first time during the new registration period.
The program has been on its death bed since the Trump Administration announced its plan to terminate Haiti’s TPS status in January 2018. Various lawsuits managed to keep the alive, pending the outcome of those cases.
After an exhausting up-and-down legal battle, the extension provides Haitians with the chance to once again breathe a temporary sign of relief.
The Supreme Court has spoken.
Immigration officers can no longer place someone in immigration court hearings to face removal charges without telling them where and when to appear.
A few weeks ago, President Biden signed an executive order mandating a comprehensive review of the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) programs for Afghan and Iraqi translators.
The announcement was overdue.
After risking their lives to help the United States, many loyal interpreters have been left stranded in an visa processing limbo and remain stuck in increasingly vulnerable living situations.