Immigration Lawyers Fight for DACA at 9th Circuit

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously kept a preliminary injunction in place against Trump’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Our immigration attorneys have helped hundreds of DACA recipients file for and renew their DACA applications or find other means to remain lawfully in the U.S. through I-601A waivers or pardons, military parole in place, adjustment of status through their spouses, etc.

Lawsuits by California and other states challenging the administration’s decision will continue in federal court while the injunction remains in place.

The U.S. Supreme Court could eventually decide the fate of DACA, which has protected some 700,000 people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families that overstayed visas.

Our immigration lawyers want to remind you to make sure you renew DACA within 5 months of your expiration date as this case will be appealed to the US Supreme Court.

John Carrico
Lead Immigration Attorney
Family Visa and Immigration Services

For a free consultation, contact our immigration lawyers in Las Vegas at (702) 836-9003 or in Reno, Carson City and Northern Nevada at (775) 826-2099. You may also contact our lead immigration attorney via email by clicking here. 

Immigration Lawyers See Increased Processing Times for Naturalization

During the Obama Administration, N400 Applications for Naturalization were taking approximately 4 to 6 months for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process. During 2017 and early 2018, processing times increased to 6 to 8 months. Currently, it appears N400 wait times could extend well past one year. Some Immigration Attorneys are wondering if these delays are due to the current administrations animosity towards immigrants in general and wanting to stall naturalization petitions until after the 2020 election.

According to the Associated Press, over 700,000 Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) are waiting on applications to become U.S. citizens, a process that once typically took about six months but has stretched to more than two years in some places under the administration of President Donald Trump.The long wait times have prompted some immigrations advocates to ask whether the delays are aimed at keeping anti-Trump voters from casting ballots in elections. The number of immigrants aspiring to become U.S. citizens surged during 2016, jumping 27 percent from a year earlier as Trump made cracking down on immigration a central theme of his presidential campaign.

Backlogs are nothing new in the U.S. immigration system but our immigration lawyers have seen every type of case take longer since Trump was elected. It often takes years to receive asylum, conclude an immigration court case or to be deported. But naturalization — the final step to become an American citizen, obtain a U.S. passport and receive voting rights — had not been subject to such delays in recent years. Currently, the average wait time for USCIS to decide a Naturalization applications is more than 10 months. It takes up to 22 months in Atlanta and as long as 26 months in parts of Texas, according to official estimates.

For a free consultation, contact our immigration lawyers in Las Vegas at (702) 836-9003 or in Reno, Carson City and Northern Nevada at (775) 826-2099. You may also contact our lead immigration attorney via email by clicking here. 

John Carrico
Lead Immigration Attorney
Family Visa and immigration Services

Immigration Lawyers Warn J1 and F1 Students of New Policies

USCIS has just published new rules on accruing unlawful presence and the 3 and 10 year bars to reentry into the U.S. For many years, J1 and F1 student visa holders could remain in status as long as they maintained full attendance at school and the visa could extended during their studies. However, now USCIS has announced that a student who remains int he U.S. beyond their authorized stay for 180 days or more will face a 3-year ban from re-entering the U.S. as well as a 10 year ban from re-entry if they accrue unlawful presence or remain beyond their authorized stay for more than 1 year and depart. Our Immigration attorneys keep our clients up to date on current changes in immigration law and policy.

In addition, USCIS is now denying adjustment of status applications for permanent residence (otherwise knows as Green Cards) in the US if one has accrued unlawful presence, thus requiring the foreign born applicant (usually a spouse) to depart the U.S. and apply for an I-601 Waiver (or pardon) of Inadmissibility to return to the US prior to the 10 year bar to re-entry.

For more information on these changes contact
John Carrico
Lead Immigration Attorney
Family Visa and Immigration Services

For a free consultation, contact our immigration lawyers in Las Vegas at (702) 836-9003 or in Reno, Carson City and Northern Nevada at (775) 826-2099. You may also contact our lead immigration attorney via email by clicking here. 

Immigration Lawyers Protest ICE arrests at Marriage Interviews

A U.S. citizen spouse has a right to sponsor his or her spouse and minor children for lawful permanent residence in the U.S. That right is being threatened by ICE agents who in some cases interrupt the adjustment of status interviews at a USCIS office, detain the non citizen and place them into deportation proceedings. Our immigration attorneys have heard of ICE agents showing up at Reno and Las Vegas USCIS offices and detaining I-485 applicants.

Deportation is very difficult to contest when one has been present in the US for less than 10 years and has U.S. citizen family members here. And if there is even a minor criminal conviction as in a DUI, Immigration Judges often will not allow an applicant for lawful permanent residence to be released on bond. However, undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for over ten years, who are persons of good moral character and have U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouses or children, may contest their deportation if they can prove exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to those relatives. Similarly, lawful permanent residents who have been in the US for over 7 years and have been a resident for over 5 years, can also fight their deportation through cancellation of removal. Our immigration attorneys have handled hundreds of these types of cases during our 30+ years of combined experience in immigration law.

For these reasons it is crucial to contact a qualified immigration attorney to file petitions, prepare the couple for the USCIS interview and represent them at the interview.

John Carrico
Lead Immigration Lawyer
Family Visa and Immigration Services

For a free consultation, contact our immigration lawyers in Las Vegas at (702) 836-9003 or in Reno, Carson City and Northern Nevada at (775) 826-2099. You may also contact our lead immigration attorney via email by clicking here. 

DACA Lawsuit to Advance to Supreme Court

Now that President Trump has filled the 9th seat on the Supreme Court, the U.S. Justice Dept through its Attorney General, Jeff Sessions is requesting the Supreme Court rule on Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (DACA) even if the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has not ruled on whether President Trump’s Order ending DACA is within his executive powers to do. Apparently, the 9th Circuit has until October 31, 2018 in order to make a decision before the case may be taken up by the Supreme Court. Given that the future of DACA is uncertain our Immigration Attorneys have met with current and prospective clients in order to find other options including adjustment of status through a U.S. citizen spouse, asylum, I-601A waivers, and other options.

Apparently, Attorney General Sessions believes the Supreme Court, arguably more conservative than the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which is probably the more liberal court will either overturn the 9th Circuit if it rules against the President.

We recommend refiling for DACA benefits at least 120 days prior to the expiration of DACA. However, in some cases, we have heard of DACA applicants successfully filing for DACA renewals before the 120 day period.
John Carrico
Lead Immigration Lawyer
Family Visa and Immigration Services

For a free consultation, contact our immigration lawyers in Las Vegas at (702) 836-9003 or in Reno, Carson City and Northern Nevada at (775) 826-2099. You may also contact our lead immigration attorney via email by clicking here. 

Immigration Lawyers Protecting TPS Holders for 2019

As the Trump Administration is preparing to issue Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Immigration Court for Temporary Protective Status (TPS) holders who fail to leave after their TPS expires next year, our experienced Immigration Attorneys are seeking ways to protect their status into the future and perhaps discover ways to adjust their status to permanent residence so they can become Lawful Permanent Residents with a path to U.S. citizenship.

Meanwhile the Trump Administration will issue regulations shortly to make it more difficult for TPS holders to file for Asylum, which may be the only relief from Deportation these former TPS holders will have at the end of next year.

John Carrico
Family Visa and Immigration Services

This is an excerpt from a recent publication by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), a great organization of which our Immigration attorneys are members: “Over the past ten months, the immigration outlook for the vast majority of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders has radically shifted. During that time, DHS announced that it will terminate the TPS designations of six countries—El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan—whose nationals together make up 98% of the TPS population.2 While the first of these terminations—Sudan’s—is set to occur on November 2, 2018, litigation ensues on this issue. On October 3, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California enjoined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from implementing and enforcing the decisions to terminate TPS for Sudan, Haiti, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.3 Not only will many clients need your help renewing their TPS and Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for the time remaining; some may be eligible for immigration relief other than TPS. Given the impending terminations, it has never been more important to screen TPS clients for all possible forms of relief, both affirmative and defensive. This practice pointer serves as a checklist to help AILA members flag some potential avenues of relief that may be available to clients who currently hold TPS or, in certain cases, held and lost it.

In general, be sure to discuss with your client all prior entries to the U.S., including dates of entries, departures, and manner of entries. Ask about prior encounters with immigration officials, as well as any prior encounters with law enforcement. A client’s immigration history, as well as his or her criminal history, may substantially impact his or her immigration options. Confirm that all the information on the TPS application from years past is accurate.”

For a free consultation, contact our immigration lawyers in Las Vegas at (702) 836-9003 or in Reno, Carson City and Northern Nevada at (775) 826-2099. You may also contact our lead immigration attorney via email by clicking here. 

USCIS Clarifies Rules on Marriage and Naturalization

In the last two years our immigration attorneys have filed N400 Applications for Naturalization for numerous clients who have either been a Lawful Permanent Resident for 5 years or more, as well as those who have been a resident for more than years. Under the 3-year-option, one can file for U.S. citizenship if they are currently married to and living with a U.S. citizen spouse, who has been a citizen for those three years. Our immigration lawyers extensively prepare our naturalization applicants for each interview, test them on English reading and writing, as well as the American history and government exam, and attend the interview with them to make sure their rights are abided by and the process goes smoothly.

A Lawful Permanent Resident, or “green card” holder, must be a resident for at least 5 years (or 3 years if married to and living with a U.S. citizen spouse) and demonstrate good moral character and pass the civics and English test to become a US citizen. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently clarified these regulations by emphasizing that one must be married and living with spouse at the time of filing an N-400 petition and remain married until one is sworn in as a US citizen.

Our Immigration Attorneys also make sure to properly evaluate each naturalization case to make sure there are no “good moral character” issues or complications with how each applicant received their residency, since the Trump Administration has recently prioritized going after citizens or naturalization applications who received their residency or citizenship through fraud or mistake, even if those mistakes were made by U.S.C.I.S.

For a free consultation, contact our immigration lawyers in Las Vegas at (702) 836-9003 or in Reno, Carson City and Northern Nevada at (775) 826-2099. You may also contact our lead immigration attorney via email by clicking here. 

Immigration Lawyers Advising Clients on Public Benefits

In its continuing efforts to block undocumented immigrants from obtaining lawful permanent residence in the U.S. the Trump Administration is proposing new rules regarding family members obtaining government benefits such as food stamps, medical benefits etc.

John Carrico
Lead Immigration Attorney
Family Visa and Immigration Services

On October 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finally posted a revised “public charge” rule in the Federal Register. The rule would force immigrant families to choose between vital services, such as medical care, and legal permanent residency, by drastically altering the process and criteria for determining whether a person is “likely to become a public charge.” Under the new guidelines, anyone who uses more than 15 percent of the poverty line in specified public benefits based on their household size could be deemed a public charge. This comes out to $2.50 per person, daily, per family of four.

By calculating “public charge” this way, even immigrants who are 95 percent self-sufficient could be found ineligible for permanent residence. In addition, DHS plans to measure an immigrant’s likelihood to use federal, state, or local safety net programs “depend[ing] on the particular facts and circumstances of each case.” Some factors it will consider are: one’s age, marriage, income, and being uninsured with a medical condition requiring extensive treatment. However, what is missing from the proposed rule are practical guidelines as to how USCIS adjudicators will weigh these factors.

If finalized as drafted, this vague new rule will only continue to bring pain and fear to immigrant families, while harming public health and failing to benefit the U.S. economy. Americans and immigrants alike should tell the administration why this rule is bad for our country. Public comments will be accepted until December 10, 2018.

For a free consultation, contact our immigration lawyers in Las Vegas at (702) 836-9003 or in Reno, Carson City and Northern Nevada at (775) 826-2099. You may also contact our lead immigration attorney via email by clicking here. 

Immigration Lawyer’s Predict Rise in Deportation Hearings

This blog expands on yesterday’s on a change in policy by the Trump Administration to add new categories of those who DHS and ICE will place in Deportation Proceedings. Now the list will include those applications, petitions or immigration benefits that were denied. In prior administrations, particularly the Obama Administration, denials of applications for immigration benefits, where no serious criminal violations or fraud and/or misrepresentation were alleged, rarely resulted in Deportation Proceedings. That is changing now.

John Lee Carrico, Esq.
Lead Immigration Attorney
Family Visa and immigration Services

According to USCIS, the January 25, 2017 Executive Order, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” provides support to USCIS authority to initiate removal proceedings against any individual who is removable.
The new NTA guidance mandates USCIS to issue an NTA upon denial of an application, petition, or immigration benefit request where the applicant, beneficiary, or requestor is removable except in very limited circumstances.
The new guidance mandates USCIS to issue an NTA to every person who is “not lawfully present” in the United States at the time an application, petition, or request for an immigration benefit is denied. This is particularly significant because USCIS is simultaneously attempting to re-define “lawful presence” more narrowly via policy memo that will take effect on August 9. The NTA memo and the “lawful presence” have to be read together
New policy will draw agency resources away from threats to national security and public safety by requiring USCIS to issue an NTA in cases when it may not be necessary. Past policy required USCIS to refer most cases to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to make that determination.
Prosecutorial Discretion, a cornerstone of America’s judicial system for centuries, allowing for the efficient and effective prioritization of cases, has been relegated to the dust bin; it is a thing of the past.
The memos do not change policy regarding issuance of NTAs in cases where it is required by statute or regulation, in cases involving national security concerns, in cases involving criminal conduct that renders a person removable, and in cases involving fraud or misrepresentation. In those cases DHS will continue to issue NTAs.
In addition to issuing an NTA when fraud or misrepresentation is part of the record (which USCIS has long had the authority to do), USCIS will now issue an NTA when there is “evidence of abuse of public benefit programs.” This change must be read in conjunction with the administration’s impeding changes to the public charge rule.
A separate DACA-specific memo appears to keep the same general policies for DACA requestors that were in place before the issuance of the 2018 NTA memo, directing USCIS to consult the 2011 NTA memo to determine whether to issue an NTA in a DACA case or refer a DACA case to ICE.
The guidance also instructs USCIS officers to defer to ICE and CBP regarding the timing of NTA issuance to former TPS beneficiaries after the country’s TPS designation ends.

For a free consultation, contact our immigration lawyers in Las Vegas at (702) 836-9003 or in Reno, Carson City and Northern Nevada at (775) 826-2099. You may also contact our lead immigration attorney via email by clicking here. 

Immigration Lawyers See Deportations Increasing

Under prior Presidential administrations, Notices to Appear (NTA’s) in Immigration Court were issues to undocumented immigrants convicted of certain crimes as well as legal residents. And under the Obama Administration an NTA could be dismissed if one had U.S. citizen, or Legal Resident family here and the criminal conviction was a not a felony or serious misdemeanor. This was done by way of Prosecutorial Discretion. Our immigration attorneys represent individuals who are placed into removal proceedings and also represent people filing for relief from removal or filing applications to adjust status to permanent residence or those

Under the Trump Administration, Prosecutorial Discretion has essentially ended and the Immigration Court System is experiencing long backlogs with an increase in Notices to Appear. Below is a description of a new policy just announced by USCIS, DHS and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement):

On July 5, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published new guidance, dated June 28, 2018 regarding the issuance of Notices to Appear (NTA). USCIS will take an incremental approach to implement the June 28, 2018, policy memo:
· Starting October 1, 2018, USCIS may issue NTAs on denied status-impacting applications, including but not limited to, Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
· An NTA is a charging document that is issued to foreign nationals who are deemed “removable” from the United States.
· People who receive NTAs must appear before an immigration judge to determine whether they should be removed from the United States (which carries significant penalties), or whether they are entitled to some type of relief from removal, allowing them to remain in the United States legally.
· The new USCIS NTA policy is a dramatic change from more than a decade of consistent practice, that will divert scarce USCIS resources and needlessly force a massive number of individuals into our already overburdened immigration court system.
· In 2003, when DHS was created, Congress purposefully separated the enforcement functions and the service functions of the legacy INS into three components: CBP (border enforcement and inspections); ICE (interior enforcement) and USCIS (adjudication of immigration benefits).
· Prior agency guidance appropriately shifted NTA issuance to the interior enforcement arm of DHS. With ICE largely responsible for issuing NTAs, USCIS could focus primarily on benefits adjudications, its primary responsibility.
· The new guidance turns USCIS into a third enforcement component of DHS. An NTA will be issued and the person will be forced into the court system, preventing them from departing the U.S. even if they want to
· The new policy could also sweep foreign students into court. USCIS recently changed its requirements for students, who already face confusing regulations, that will render many of them out of status, even though they were following longstanding policy.
For a free consultation, contact our immigration lawyers in Las Vegas at (702) 836-9003 or in Reno, Carson City and Northern Nevada at (775) 826-2099. You may also contact our lead immigration attorney via email by clicking here.