Apr
9

Justice Scalia's Death: What It Means for United States v. Texas

The Supreme Court of the United States is set to decide United States v. Texas, the case regarding the constitutionality of President Obama's new immigration policies, in June 2016. When Antonin Scalia---one of the nine Justices on the Supreme Court---passed away, the outcome of this monumental case became more uncertain.

President Obama proposed a new immigration policy in November 2014. The name of these programs is expanded DACA (expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Residents). These programs would allow...

Apr
8

The Latest Immigration Rumors - Truth v. Fiction

The past few months have been a busy time in the world of immigration law.  We know many people are struggling to filter truth from rumor.  In a climate like this, it can be hard to know what to believe and how to plan for the days ahead.  Here is what we know today, and possibly expect tomorrow under the current administration.   

The Travel Ban(s)

The Executive Orders addressing refugees and issuing visas has understandably caused a lot of confusion. The situation with this order is changing as litigation continues around the country to stop the travel ban(s) and at the moment the...

Sep
6

Sessions Rescinds DACA - what next?

On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “wind-down” of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Naturally, many people are questioning what that means, and so we have prepared a brief summary of the DACA rescission information, based on what is currently known.

The DACA program is scheduled to officially end on March 5, 2018. Beginning September 6, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will no longer accept initial DACA requests. This means that if someone has never applied for DACA in the past, they will not be able to apply now....

Sep
12

Immigration Consequences of a Fifth Degree Possession of a Controlled Substance Charge

A controlled substance charge in and of itself likely means that your noncitizen client has the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), and that ICE will monitor the proceedings.  ICE may detain your client during the pendency of the criminal case, and the charge alone can cause your client to lose the ability to remain in the United States.  A controlled substance offense subjects a person to mandatory ICE detention with no chance of bond, depending on the facts, and even a favorable criminal outcome may still trigger immigration consequences.

Deportation

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Nov
23

Social Security Benefits and Unauthorized Work - Clearing the Shrouds of Mystery

It is an urban myth that those who work without authorization in the United States will still receive social security benefits.  In fact, individuals who worked previously in the United States may need to act to ensure they receive proper credit for the work they performed after they become authorized to work.

The root of this dynamic is the Social Security Protection Act of 2004.  President Bush, in an effort to placate his party, pushed for legislation that changed who is eligible for retirement benefits for work performed in the United States.  The Protection Act bars payment to...

Jan
29

The Mystery of the U Visa Wait Time Solved

The U.S. Congress created U non-immigrant status (the U visa) in October 2000 to help victims of certain crimes who have experienced extreme mental or physical abuse and were helpful to law enforcement of government in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.  The U visa bestows clear benefits, when granted: The applicant—and any qualifying family members included as the applicant’s derivatives—can work and reside in the United States lawfully for four years; but after having U visa status for three years, the Applicant can apply to become a lawful permanent resident...

Jan
29

Deportation by Speculation - the Rise of the Reason to Believe Charge

ICE has shown lately that it is becoming more willling to use any tool at its disposal to impact a removal proceeding.   One such trend has been the  notable increase in charging under section 212(a)(2)(C)(i) of Immigration & Nationalty Act.  This charge of removal or deportation is known by its standard, a “reason to believe” that an individual is knowingly involved somehow in drug trafficking.  This legal charge gives the government a powerful tool to try to keep a person in custody and bar him or her from staying in the United States.

In the bond and detention context, it is an...

Oct
4

Why Is My Case Moving so Slowly - Understanding the USCIS Tortoise

Why Hasn’t Your Case Been Decided Yet? Nationwide, you and millions of families, businesses, and individuals applying for immigration benefits are waiting longer for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process and approve applications and petitions.  It has been a difficult time for many and created undue stress.  Many people have had issues with their employers, and the constant shifting of standards has only created confusion.

Based on previously available USCIS data, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, an average case took about five months to process. In FY2020, an average...

Jun
28

Lessons Learned from the Department of State Hardware Failure

In the past two weeks, hardware computer problems halted the issuance of thousands of visas and passports at US consulates and embassies throughout the world.  As of yesterday, two thirds of consular posts are up and running again, sending visas and passports to anxious applicants.  For some, this presented a small inconvenience or had no effect at all.  Other families faced hardship, missing births of children and experiencing financial hardship with extended hotel stays. Thankfully, the Department of State was able to proceed with humanitarian or emergency requests on a case-by-case...

Sep
21

STEM and Extended OPT - forcing regulations for the future

D.C. Court Vacates STEM Rule, but Allows DHS to Remedy Problem - WLG Expects STEM Program to Remain Unchanged

In a decision last week, on August 12, 2015, a district court in Washington D.C. decided to vacate a 2008 rule by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that allowed an additional 17 months of work authorization to eligible Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students in F-1 status.  A main issue in the lawsuit was whether DHS exceeded its authority by issuing the 2008 rule without notice and comment to the public.  DHS argued that it had good cause to...

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