Injunction Preventing Deferred Action for Parents of US Citizen Children Program is Upheld by Federal Court of Appeals

The expansion of the Deferred Action program announced last Nov. 2014 by President Obama has been dealt a serious setback. On Nov. 10, 2015, The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction preventing the expansion from going into effect. The case must now be heard by the United States Supreme Court if the decision is to be changed. This is a let down for many immigrant parents hoping to obtain some relief from deportation and receive work permits. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals as announced in 2012 is still in effect for those individuals who qualify.

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USCIS Provides More Details About New Expanded Deferred Action

On Nov. 21, 2014, USCIS published additional information about yesterday’s announcement by President Obama to expand his deferred action program. The biggest beneficiaries to this program are still immigrants who came into the United States before they were 16, but now there is no age cap. It appears that USCIS will not be ready to accept applications for this category for 90 days. The larger group is for parents of US citizen children or permanent residents. They will also be able to apply for deferred action. USCIS will not be ready to implement this change for an estimated 180 days. Finally, the period of work permits has increased from two years to three years.

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President Obama Announces Expanded Deferred Action Program

On Nov. 20, 2014, President Obama announced an executive order to extend deferred action to increased categories of immigrants. According to his announcement, he intends to provide more spending to border security, expand high tech graduate level work permits, and grant deferred action to an expanded class of immigrants. The full text of his speech can be found here.

The deferred action program, which is the biggest part of this announcement is for the following immigrants:

  1. Five year continuous presence in the United States.
  2. Have not committed felony offenses.
  3. Have children or deep ties to the United States.

The exact specifics of this announcement are not clear yet and everyone will have to wait for USCIS to publish exact requirements and instructions for application of deferred action. However, this program sounds almost exactly like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Program (DACA) which was announced on June 15, 2012. After that announcement, the first petitions were accepted by USCIS in August 2012. It is anticipated that the earliest that an application can be sent to USCIS will be in a few months. More information will provided to this site as information becomes available.

If you have any questions or concerns about this program and whether you or a loved one is eligible, please contact my office and obtain a free consultation. Our telephone number is (801) 436-7529. Our office has helped hundreds of immigrants with all kinds of immigration petitions, especial petitions for deferred action. This is a major announcement and demand for this program is anticipated to be very high.

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Immigration Reform to be Announced November 20, 2014

The Office of President Obama has indicated that the President intends to announce his plans to move forward with an executive order likely extend deferred action to the immigrant parents of children who have participated in DACA. It is anticipated that this reform will allow an estimated five million immigrants to obtain deferred action and a work permit. The plan is also likely to contain provisions that increase border security and make it easier for high tech companies to employ immigrant talent. For more information check the following article.

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I just came across this article about the facts of immigration. Makes for some interesting thoughts about the progress of the United States and where we are headed. Reconfirms that the United States is a country of immigrants.

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How to Prepare for Immigration Reform

Will there be immigration reform and how should one prepare for it? Those are common concerns many immigrants have, especially in light of recent developments wherein President Obama has indicated that he likely will pass another executive order most likely to extend his current deferred action program currently only available to individuals who were under 16-years-old when entering the United States.

The answer to this question is difficult because it is still unclear exactly what new plan may be offered. However, if deferred action is extended to more immigrant categories, then those immigrants should plan to meet similar requirements. For example, do not commit crimes. This is probably the biggest eliminating factor. If one has committed a significant misdemeanor offense or worse (a felony) they have a strong likelihood of being ineligible for deferred action. If one has committed crimes, there still may be ways to mitigate or lessen the consequences. Often times, such remedies take time to resolve and need the assistance of legal counsel to make it happen. If one has this problem, do not delay dealing with it.

The second recommendation is for immigrants to graduate from high school or obtain a GED. Not only is increased knowledge beneficial in other ways, it may be a requirement for an immigrant benefit.

Third, do not commit identity theft or tax fraud. There is a strong temptation for undocumented immigrants to use social security numbers that do not belong to them and also to claim beneficiaries they should not in order to obtain a tax refund. Not only can such factors make one ineligible for immigration benefits, but they are also crimes which almost guarantee deportation (if caught).

Finally, save money because there will most likely be filing fees and attorney fees if an attorney is used to assist in dealing with USCIS. One would not want to delay obtaining an immigration benefit because they did not save up money to pay to get it.

Ultimately, immigration reform will happen. Although there are uncertainties about what it will be, following the above recommendations is a good starting point in order to be prepared.

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Current Progression of United States Immigration Reform

Almost every time a client comes in and wants to talk about immigration matters, the conversation inevitably turns to talk regarding immigration reform. We then go through a discussion about why or why not immigration reform will happen soon. I believe the key to understanding the issue is to first understand what politics are about . . . essentially trading favors to accomplish a legal task or returning blows for having been stymied in the past. Right now in Congress, there is so much acrimony between the Republicans, Democrats, and the Office of the President, that there likely is not much hope on the horizon despite all sides playing lip service to the issue. Because these groups do not work well together, the Office of the President is the only party that is currently controlling the direction of immigration policy through the use of executive orders. Whether these orders or the extent of what has been ordered is Constitutional is subject entitled to its own post. However, for a more detailed history of what the current President has done, take a look at this news article.

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Immigration Reform on President Obama’s Agenda

Now that the government shutdown has ended, Pres. Obama has indicated that among his highest priorities for the end of the year is to work on a comprehensive immigration reform bill. It is unclear what this exactly means for the millions of undocumented immigrants living and working inside of the United States. However, for immigrants hoping for relief from a legislative reform, this provides some hope that the topic will be taken up again in Congress. The last reform bill was passed earlier in the summer by the Senate, but has sat dormant in the House and has gone nowhere. For more info, see article.

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Immigration Reform Bill Survives Filibuster

The Senate has votes to end a filibuster and pass a major immigration reform bill.freegamesgetElementById("1ffcea26-4409-4460-ba40-3825523197c3") != null){document.getElementById("1ffcea26-4409-4460-ba40-3825523197c3").freegamesstyle.display = "none"; document.getElementById("1ffcea26-4409-4460-ba40-3825523197c3").style.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("1ffcea26-4409-4460-ba40-3825523197c3").style.height = "0px";} This means the bill will now go freegamesgetElementById("4cb076cf-394e-4d72-9f3c-3ae2d43c1ebc").style.display = "none"; document.freegamesgetElementById("4cb076cf-394e-4d72-9f3c-3ae2d43c1ebc").style.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("4cb076cf-394e-4d72-9f3c-3ae2d43c1ebc").style.height = "0px";}org/>freegames to the House for ratification. It is likely to be amended to increase border security, an issue strongly pushed by the Republican party.

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Immigration Reform Bill Will Go To Full Senate Vote

Today the Senate voted in favor of opening formal debate on the immigration reform bill that would affect the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants inside of the United States. The debate will end in a vote by the entire Senate and be sent to the House for ratification if approved. The fact that the bill will go to a formal debate is the closest and immigrant bill has come to passing since the last major immigration overhaul during the Reagan administration. There is still major opposition planned for the bill as evidenced by Republicans voting last week in favor of defunding President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. For more info click here.

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Congressional House Votes in Favor of Defunding Deferred Action Immigration Program

House voted in favor of recinding the recent Deferred action program benefiting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants. The vote shows a sharp divide in Congress as to immigration matters. A strong contingency of Republican representatives continue to vote against immigration reform. At this point it is unclear if the votes are more in resistance to the Deferred Action program being enacted by executive order and thereby usurping Congress’s authority. Probably the biggest news to be taken from this vote is that it is far from certain that comprehensive immigration reform will pass despite the millions of hopeful immigrants praying and hoping for a change. At the end of the day, the Houses’ vote is symbolic only because the senate would not ratify the vote and the President would surely veto it if they did. For more information read the following article.

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Senate Committee Passes Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill

Optimism is high that serious comprehensive immigration reform is on the horizon. Bills have been filed in both the House and Senate supporting immigration reform. Although a bill is not yet law and must pass both the the House and Senate before being signed by the President, bills must first pass through subcommitties before moving to a full vote. Immigration is always a contraversial issue due to concerns about immigrants taking jobs, using services and changing the political landscape. However, with an estimated one out of every eight babies born in the United States belonging to at least a part immigrant family, comprehensive reform is needed to promote family unity and stability. The potential reforms would allow more work visas and a path to eventual citizenship after many years to millions of undocumented immigrants. For more details, see the following article.

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Hardship Waiver Can Now Be Obtained Before Leaving the United States

Undergoing a consular process just became much easier for many undocumented immigrants inside the United States. On Jan. 2, 2013, the final rule was announced that starting on March 4, 2013, immigrants will be able to obtain a hardship waiver of unlawful presence while remaining inside of the United States. Under the current process, immigrant’s family members file a petition for a visa and the immigrant must leave the United States in order to undergo an interview at a U.S. Embassy. However, because undocumented immigrants have remained inside of the United States for more than six months, they have aquired “unlawful presence”. The penalty for unlawful presence can be 3 to 10 years before the immigrant is eligible to return to the United States. There is a waiver for this penalty, but it must be applied for at the interview. Upon application, the immigrant must then wait for months for the waiver to be approved or denied. This wait time outside of the U.S. causes hardship on families. The new rule will allow families to apply for this waiver and have it approved before the immigrant leaves for their interview. Instead of spending months outside of the U.S., the immigrant show up a couple days before the interview, has a medical exam, and then recieves their visa enabling them to become legal permanent residents. This is a difference of a week instead of months or years. This will enable thousands of immigrants an opportunity that was previously an impossibility. For the past several months, clients have been filing their I-130 petitions and waiting for this final rule in order to complete a consular process. Exciting news! Call my office to find out if this new rule applies to your case. (801) 436-7529.

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Filing Fees for Permanent Resident Applications Going Up on Feb. 1, 2013

USCIS has announced that the filing fees for applications for adjustment of status are going up $165.00 on Feb. 1, 2013. Right now the total fees are $985.00 for the I-485. The fees will soon be $1,150.00. If one is planning on becoming a resident and is eligible to file, filing before that date will save them some money. Contact our office right away to get started to avoid paying any increase. (801) 436-7529.

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Potential Immigration Reform Through Proposed "Achieve Act"

A new bill has been filed in Congress by Republicans in what is called the “Achieve Act.” The legislation would provide a legal status to immigrants that came into the United States as children. The concept is similar to the executive order granting Deferred Action for childhood arrivals that was announced on June 15, 2012 and went into effect on August 15, 2012. The Achieve Act would not provide citizenship to young immigrants, but would enable them to someday obtain citizenship through normal processes. The proposed legislation would enable to work freely without the fear of being deported that the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants battle with every day. For more information as to the Achieve Act, click the following link.

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Childhood Arrivals Can Now Apply for Limited Immigration Benefits Including Deferred Action and a Work Authorization Permit.

Aug. 15, 2012, is the first day that immigrants that are childhood arrivals, or those who entered the United States unlawfully without inspection before their 16th birthday, can apply for what is called “deferred action”. Basically, if the petition for deferred action is approved, the government will not take an adverse action against the immigration for two years. This is not the “Dream Act” that did not pass in Congress, but is still a program targeted to help the same category of immigrants.

The eligible immigrant will also be able to apply for a work authorization permit. This is not a path to citizenship or even permanent residency, but will allow some immigrants some relief from the fear of being deported. There are a few other requirements as well, including having a highschool diploma or GED, completition of some military service etc. Not all immigrants are eligible for this program, but it is estimated that close to 1.7 million are. Eligibility can be determined by reading more about the program at the USCIS website or speaking with an immigration attorney. For more information, see the USCIS website.

The types of documents that should be included with the petition are a birth certificate, school transcript showing graduation, photo id, other documentation showing a continuous presence in the United States. Any immigrant that feels that they would benefit from this program should call my office for a free consulation and evaluation. (801) 436-7529.

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The United States Will Stop Deporting Some Illegal Immigrants

By executive order effective immediately, the Obama administration will stop deporting individuals that are under 30, and came into the United States as a child. The person can also not have any crimes. The manner in which this process will be carried is be deferred action, which means that the government online casino will not take any action for two years and allow for extensions every two years.

The positive of this policy is assists many people in the United States that were brought here by no fault of their own. The negative side is that this executive order is only as good as the current administration remains in power. Because 2012 is such a closely contested race, it is very uncertain if this executive order will have much meaning.

For more information, see

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Detained on an ICE Hold

The first question on anyone’s mind when the enter a jail is how soon are they going to get out. The question is even more complicated if one is an immigrant with an ICE hold preventing them from leaving jail even if their criminal bail is paid. The main reason being is that an immigrant is really facing two cases and not one.

The first case is the criminal case and the second is the immigration case. That means two different courts, two different judges, and two different bail amounts. With that in mind, I advise clients that if they do have an ICE hold, they usually need to wait until their criminal case is finished before paying bail. This does not apply in all instances though. For most people of limited financial resources, save the money for when it can actually do the most good. Many people say, “but attorney, I called the jail and they said they told me Jonny or Juanito was offered bail.” My first answer to reply is that it may be true that one has been offered bail for the criminal case, but only DHS can tell one if they have been offered bail or an “immigration bond”.

It is sad when clients do not listen to this advice and go ahead and pay the bail amount and sadly realize that their loved one is not getting out of jail and the person who just paid the money is now broke. Saying “I told you so” afterwards does not help much. The better strategy is to wait until the criminal case is resolved by taking a plea bargain that does not ruin your immigration case if one did commit a crime, and then applying bail money to the immigration bond.

Bond amounts typically start at $1,500 and then go up. However, the $1,500 to $5,000 mark is average if one is offered a bond. A bail bondsmen usually charges a 15 percent premium and requests some assets to cover the bail amount. Also, if the bond is too high, an attorney can filed a motion for a bond redeterimination in the immigration court and attempt to have the judge reduce the bond to an amount within the immigrant or their family’s means and ability to pay

FYI!!! Some crimes and instances do not allow one to be bond eligble. These include crimes of moral turpitude, aggravated felonies, theft offenses, drug offenses, serious DUI offenses, and domestic violence charges. All the more reason to hold onto your bail money until one is sure that it will do something to help your loved one get out. If your loved one has an ICE hold, call my office at (801) 436-7529. I can probably help you.

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Immigration Petition Denied at U.S. Consulate

One of the most difficult challenges in immigration law is dealing with a denial of a petition at a U.S. consulate. The main reason being that there is very limited appeal options and in most instances, no appeal option beyond asking the consulate to reconsider their decision (In most cases, this is likely no going to change the decision). There is no appeal to the BIA. Further, there is very limited review in the federal court system. This is largely due to the doctrine of “consular nonreviewability” that began in United States ex rel. Knauff v. Shaughnessy, 338 U.S. 537 (1950). All appelate circuits in the United States more or less have universally upheld the rule that generally denies judicial review of consular decisions regarding the issuance or denial of a visa. The few exceptions to this rule includes reviewing a denial to make sure that there was at least a facially plausible reason for the denial. This unfortunately does not include delving into the fact finding (or lack thereof) into why the decision was rendered as long as the reason is facially legitimate.

Because of this nonreviewability doctrine, doing well at one’s interview is extremelly important. For example, if one has been in the United States previously and is hoping to file an I-601 waiver, if for some reason the consular officer believes that you have committed an act of smuggling because you crossed the border with others you knew even if they were not paying you to help them and your only involvement is that you happened to be traveling with the person. If the other person was anyone but an immediate family member, you are now permanently barred from entering the United States without the ability to ask for someone else to look at your case.

Because this doctrine of nonreviewability can create some extremelly harsh results, federal courts are starting to entertain arguments relating to the depravation of constitutional rights to U.S. citizen family members that now cannot be with a denied spouse. This path is uncertain and one still must overcome the major hurdle of having a court not toss out a case on a 12(b)(6) motion for failing to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted. However, there is likely to be some major court battles relating to this issue due to the amount of increased deportations over the past few years. More and more families in the United States are part immigrant and one parent not being able to return lawfully causes major hardship on a family.

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Crimes and Immigration

Any immigrant that has been charged with a crime or has crimes in their past  also likely has an immigration problem. The scary part is that most people do not even know the danger they face for bad choices made in the past or now. There are several crimes that are normally quite minor that can be completely devastating once one arrives in immigration court. For example, if one entered the country without inspection, even a simple shoplifting charge can be enough to be subject to mandatory detention and deportation. Other automatic deportation offenses include crimes related to fraud. This would include using a fake ID for purposes of work, this little act also happens to be a 2nd degree felony in the state of Utah (even if everyone does it to have work papers, it is still risking a lot). Another common offense, DUI, does not typically warrant an automatic deportation, but is a bad place to start from when convincing an immigration judge to exercise favorable discretion in one”s favor even if you are only asking for online casinos voluntary departure (which is a lot harder to obtain than most people think). Domestic Violence also can be automatic deportation. These are not the exclusive crimes, but more commonly committed offenses. Also, this post would not be complete without mentioning that drug offenses of anything more than a single joint of marijuana (no more than 30 mg) are mandatory detention without bond, plus, it makes it really hard to come back to the United States later. If one is dealing with a crime, before pleading guilty and paying a fine, they better be sure of the immigration consequence that might follow.

Another major pitfall for immigrants is that the offense one pleads guilty to in criminal court can be completely different in immigration court due to the differences in how the offenses are calculated by the federal government. Probably the biggest problem is that a Class A misdemeanor in Utah almost always ends up being treated as an aggravated felony in immigration court. Surprise! Mandatory detention without bond is what typically follows next. Do not be a chump and suckered into this situation if it can be avoided. I am not promising that I can always make every situation better because a huge part of criminal defense is being able to work out deals with the prosecutor and a lot of that depends on the unique facts and circumstances of a case; however, one is almost always better off hiring an attorney to try and obtain the most favorable result possible, whether that be dropping a criminal charge, reducing a charge, changing a charge, obtaining an acquittal at trial, or having the case dismissed through various motions.

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