New Law: Provisional Waiver – I-601A Waiver

Does the following apply to you?

1)       You entered without inspection or illegally

2)      You are married to a US Citizen

3)      You can show that your spouse or parent will suffer an extreme hardship if you cannot get a green card

If this applies to you, take advantage of this new law and contact our office.


Filing for an E2 Investor Visa in New York City

The past few weeks, I have received calls from individuals looking to get information about filing for an investor visa under the E2 Visa category in New York City. From the outset, I’m always impressed with immigrants who have such faith in our economy, that they would take their hard earned money and invest it into a business here in New York City. In fact, even our Mayor has made many statements about how beneficial immigration is to our economy. Anyway, let me get back to the issue I want to blog about. Many of our callers seem to think that to apply for an investor visa (E2 Visa) the investment amount must be an extraordinary amount. There is no such requirement. In fact, within the past month or so, we have received approvals of E2 Visa applications for individuals who have invested less than $50,000 into a business here in New York City. In fact, one investor had invested about $30,000 at the time of filing the application. What is important is not necessarily the amount that was invested, but whether the investment is an investment in a real enterprise and whether such funds have been put at risk. As far as the type of business that qualifies for an investor visa, almost any business will do so. We have even successfully filed investor visa for an individual that owns a kiosk in a mall (you know . . . one of those little booths in mall that perhaps sells pillow pets or cell phone accessories).

The point is Immigration recognizes the need for immigrant investors. Don’t presume your investment is to small to qualify . . . Our experiences of successfully filing countless numbers of E2 Investor Visa applications has taught us that as long as you have a real investment, you will qualify.


Criminal Convictions and Waivers in New York City

All too often, my office is confronted with someone from New York City (NYC) who has a criminal conviction and needs to apply for a waiver during a green card (permanent residency) application or while in Immigration Court in New York City. The fact that you may have been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense may not be the end of the world. Yes, certain convictions may bar you from being eligible for relief, however there may be waivers available. A waiver is basically a pardon, where immigration known as the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (under DHS – Department of Homeland Security) forgives the offense. It is usually based on proving certain factors, such as hardship to the alien and/or qualifying relatives. A balancing test is usually applied where the positive and negative are weighed.

In many cases, all is not lost simply because there is a conviction. You should also however be aware that certain crimes which may not appear to be serious are offenses for which Immigration can deny your green card, or worse, deport or remove you from the United States. As such, if you or a loved one,
has had issues with the criminal justice system, do not gamble. Consult with an attorney!!!!!!!!


NYC Criminal record causing Immigration Detention at the Essex County Jail in Newark

Does this sound familiar to you?

You may ask yourself why in the world someone from New York City (NYC) would now be held at the Essex County Jail in Newark. That would actually by a very valid question. Unfortunately, most immigration detainees from the New York City area are now held in New Jersey somewhere.

So, what can be done? Well . . . the first thing that needs to be done is to evaluate the case and try to figure out if there is a way to secure his release from custody. Time is of the essence and is certainly not on your side. It almost seems unfair that a person who has gotten past the criminal court process now needs to go through another process with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) and now face the possibility of deportation and removal out of the U.S.

You will be surprised to find out that unlike the criminal process, the immigration deportation and removal process in front of the Immigration Court will be a lot more stressful. It is by no means a leveled playing field. It will be your loved one vs. the federal government. Obviously, it is unfair and the available defenses and relief are limited.

As with anything else, the more prepared you are, the better your chances of prevailing and securing your loved one’s release. Make no mistake about it . . . the Essex County Jail is not a place that anyone wants to be, especially someone that has gotten through the criminal process already and now is faced with immigration issues as a result. So, be prepared . . . because this may be your loved one’s last chance to stay in the United States.


Applying for Deferred Action (DREAM ACT) with a Deportation Order, Removal Order or In Absentia Order

Today is August 15, 2012 and Immigration (USCIS also known as DHS) is accepting Deferred Action applications .

Is the application process for Deferred Action simple?

Well . . . for some people it may not be as simple as others. I’m often asked about how to apply for deferred action if you have a removal order (also known as a deportation order) or perhaps an in absentia order (which essentially means that you did not appear in Court and were ordered deported/removed without you being in Court by an Immigration Judge).

There is good news . . . well somewhat good news. Even a person with a deportation or removal order may apply for deferred action. However, it is not as simple as applying for deferred action without a deportation or removal order. It will require a two step process which will involve both applying for deferred action with Immigration (USCIS or DHS) and filing what is known as a motion to reopen with the Office of the Chief Counsel which are the lawyers that represent DHS (essentially you can think of them as prosecutors) and the Immigration Court. Obviously, don’t assume that the Office of the Chief Counsel will automatically agree to reopen the deportation/removal case, or that the Immigration
Court will do so. It will certainly be somewhat challenging , but certainly doable. We have been very successful in getting the Office of the Chief Counsel and the Immigration Court to reopen cases even before the Deferred Action program, so I’m hoping our success rate will continue.

In any event . . . I wish everyone good luck and hope that finally all your DREAMs come true.


DREAM ACT & DEFERRED ACTION IN NYC: HOW TO APPLY?

DHS (Immigration) just made an announcement that the application process will finally begin August 15, 2012. Finally, many innocent children and young adults will be able to obtain deferred action and apply for work authorization. Our office has been flooded with potential applicants who wish to finally be able to work legally in the United States and apply for work authorization and a social security number.

What is also important is that DHS (Immigration) will not use information provided in this application process to enforce immigration laws (meaning the information will not be used for deportation proceedings) unless of course there are major issues. This means all information will be kept confidential.

This has been long awaited. So, for all those that wish to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity, let me once again summarize what are the qualification criteria.

You may qualify if you:

  1. Came to the U.S. before your 16th Birthday; and
  2. Were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012; and
  3. Have been a continuous resident in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 (Short brief absences are okay); and
  4. Were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time of submitting your application; and
  5. Were out of status before June 15, 2012 (meaning illegal/overstayed/violated your status) or entered without inspection (illegally crossed into the U.S.); and
  6. Are currently in school, or graduated high school, or have obtained a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the armed services or the coast guard; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, or a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not pose a threat to the national security or public safety.

The very important aspect of this application is that you will not have the right to appeal a denial.Not everyone that meets the above  criteria will automatically qualify. So, it is very important that when you file, it is done the proper way. You will not get a second chance. So, do not mess up this opportunity. If you need professional assistance, contact a licensed experienced attorney, not one of
those immigration offices that are not lawyers.

Another important aspect is that even individuals that are currently in immigration court deportation/removal or were previously in deportation/removal court, or have deportation/removal orders against them can still apply.

Let me summarize, if you qualify . . . don’t be stupid!@!!#%!!!!!!! Get it right the first time!

Best of luck to all of you.


NOT JUST A DREAM ANYMORE: DREAM ACT & DEFERRED ACTION – HOW TO APPLY IN NYC?

The Obama Administration announced last Friday that it would agree to grant deferred action to undocumented individuals who were brought in to the United States as children.  Although deferred action is not permanent legal status, it will allow individuals to remain in the United States and completed their education and obtain work authorization.  This is great news for individuals in New York and New Jersey where I have law offices. It appears that the following people would qualify under this new policy: –

  • Must be between 15 and 30 years old
  • Must have entered the United States before the age of 16
  • Have resided in the U.S. for a continuous period of 5 years
  • Are currently in school or have graduated from high school, or have obtained a general equivalency degree, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Services
  •  Have not been convicted of one serious crime or multiple minor crimes Applications will need to be submitted to U.S.C.I.S.  Even individuals in proceedings may be eligible.

Applications will be decided on a case-by-case basis.    If the deferred action is granted to an individual, it will be granted for a period of two years and can be renewed. Along with deferred action, an individual will receive work authorization if an individual is able to demonstrate a financial need for employment.


How can I stop my deportation case pending in the New York City Immigration Court?

Many people are surprised to hear that if you have a deportation or removal case at the New York City Immigration Court located at 26 Federal Plaza, New York, New York, you might be able to request closing the deportation case.
The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and the Office of the Chief Counsel (which is the lawyer for the DHS) are more likely to close a deportation case pending in NYC than in any other jurisdiction . . . at least in my opinion and experience. In fact, the DHS is very generous and agrees to close an overwhelming number of cases.
I even had success in a case with a client that was in detention and had been convicted of various drug related charges. Despite the client being in custody and bond having been denied, the DHS agreed to close the deportation case, which allowed my client to walk out of detention join his family once again. Naturally, there were equities that were favorable to him which were able to show to the DHS.
Now, there may be times when you may not want to close a deportation case, such as when you want to present a particular case in front of the immigration judge. However, many clients also do not want to risk deportation and would rather close out their deportation case and try to legalize through other methods.
One must carefully evaluate each case and make a decision based on a careful balance of the positives and negatives with respect to being in front of the Immigration Court.