Question and Answers

Month: May 2011 (Page 1 of 4)

Immigration Law : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Attorney Eugenia Ponce recently wrote a blog post here cautioning Lawful Permanent Residents to keep their trips abroad relatively short. Here is the text of that post: Lawful permanent residentsMore…

Lawful permanent residents (LPR) of the United States (green card holders) need to keep their trips abroad to a relatively short period of time. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)More…

At Kraft & Associates, we receive many questions from individuals and employers regarding immigration laws and procedures. Here are some of the most recent questions we’ve received, and our answers.More…

Bankruptcy And Immigration – Does Filing For Bankruptcy Influence Immigration Status? : Immigration Law Answers Blog

This guest post is courtesy of Oak View Law Group:

Debt issues are quite common nowadays. If you are slogging through a swamp of debts, Debt Settlement Company can help you out in this regard and can ease or eradicate your debt loads. You can file for bankruptcy as well but if you are a non-citizen of U.S and worrying how bankruptcy can affect your immigration issue, read the rest of the article, and find out whether filing for bankruptcy can jeopardize your immigration status or not.

There is no such specific law which states clearly anything about bankruptcy and immigration or any regulation which disqualifies anyone from the privileges of immigration in the US. However, bankruptcy might not have any direct influence on immigration status, it has some indirect ones for sure. The Bankruptcy Code pronounces clearly that “…only a person that resides or has a domicile, a place of business, or property in the United States, or a municipality, may be a debtor under this title” [11 U.S.C. Section 109(a)]. The term “person” incorporates individual, partnership, and corporation… [11 U.S.C. Section 101(a)(41)].The bottom line is there is no requirement of citizenship in the bankruptcy code.

How Bankruptcy Affects Immigration Status 

·      In general, filing for bankruptcy won’t affect the citizenship applications in any way. However, whenever there are criminal convictions like holding credit cards in other people’s names, writing “fraudulent” checks in more than one state, tax elusion, false transfers of assets, or filing an inaccurate bankruptcy petition, it would mandate the deportation crimes of “moral turpitude” and can adversely affect one’s immigration status.

·      To gain the lawful permanent citizenship of US, one must establish himself as of “good moral character” before US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Filing for bankruptcy might be deemed as a blemish on ones moral character and therefore won’t have a good impact on his or her immigration status.

·      Tax evasion is a serious matter of concern for people who are still immigrants or had applied for citizenship. People becoming a lawful permanent resident should not fail to file a required federal, state, or local tax return, or must not owe any federal, state, or local taxes that are overdue. However, someone filing for bankruptcy does not prove that the person has overdue taxes as well. If any immigrant works illegitimately and does not pay taxes on time or transfer money or property to another person in order to evade tax liabilities, and if these amounts exceed $10,000, he or she could be considered an “aggravated felon” and is conclusively estimated to be an outlaw and hence could be ostracized.

Bankruptcy and immigration around the world

While maximum countries have bankruptcy laws and procedures similar to those of the United States, some of the countries have different cultures and attitude towards the issue. In countries like China or Japan, most people are ignorant of bankruptcy and the suicide rate is quite high for people going through financial turbulence. However, in countries like Hong Kong no social stigma is attached to bankruptcy and it is accepted by almost everyone.

Final thought

Remember, the immigration officers no matter which country they belong to, always verify the immigrant’s financial status. Therefore, if you are an immigrant, stay honest while passing any information to the federal government and make sure that all your income is reported to the IRS on tax returns. If required, you can take help from immigration attorneys in this regard and determine whether bankruptcy can adversely affect your immigration status.

N-600 : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Every year, thousands of lawful permanent residents, or green card holders, in the United States apply for citizenship. The vast majority of cases are completed within one year. Each citizenship applicant, however, must undergo certain security clearances (fingerprints and name checks) before the applicant can obtain U.S. citizenship. The purpose of this clearance procedure is to demonstrate that the applicant does not have any criminal issue that would render the person ineligible for U.S. citizenship.

According to an April 25, 2006, USCIS memo, approximately 99% of all background and name checks are resolved within two months. The remaining 1% may take several months, or even years, before the background and name checks are completed.

There are remedies available to permanent residents who have been waiting months or years for the results of their background checks. Section 336(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act permits naturalization applicants to file a writ of mandamus in federal court to force a decision on a naturalization case if 120 days or more have elapsed following the naturalization interview and there is still no decision on a case.

For several years, filing a writ of mandamus was a good option to those experiencing delays in their naturalization case. However, the use of the mandamus is now limited in practice. The April 25, 2006, memo also states that USCIS will not schedule an interview until background checks are completed. The writ of mandamus can only be filed if a decision has not been reached in a case within 120 days of the citizenship interview. Obviously, USCIS is trying to eliminate the one tool used by naturalization applicants who are stuck in the background check process by changing when the naturalization interview occurs.

Regardless of when your interview takes place, there are still several things that can be done to speed up a case that has stalled. Our office can file a writ of mandamus on your behalf if you have already attended a citizenship interview. If you have been waiting several months for an interview, you can contact your congressman to see if he or she will assist you. Our office can also conduct inquiries directly with USCIS, and we can contact immigration liaisons who work directly with immigration officials, to find out the reason for delay on a particular case.

If you are experiencing delays in your case, please contact us today. We can help you get the results you are looking for.

For more information about immigration news, immigration laws, immigration policies, proposed immigration laws, border enforcement, green cards, citizenship, employment visas, family visas, naturalization, and other immigration subjects, please visit Immigration Law Answers and DFW Immigration Law Blog.

I-485 : Immigration Law Answers Blog

The U.S Department of State (DOS) has advised that there are no more employment-based visa numbers available for fiscal year 2009, which concludes September 30, 2009. This affects all employment based categories, but particularly applicants in the employment-based non-ministerial fourth category (EB-4). The EB-4 non-ministerial category includes religious occupation, vocation and professional categories (but not the ministerial category).

The non-ministerial EB-4 category is set to expire September 30, 2009 and individuals in this category must have their adjustment of status applications approved or if they applied via consular processing, they must be admitted into the United States by midnight by September 30, 2009. Unless Congress extends the sunset provision, individuals in the EB-4 non-ministerial category are unable to file Form I-485 Adjustment of Status Applications or consular processing applications after September 30, 2009.

While the I-360 religious worker petitions (ministerial and non-ministerial categories) may still be filed before September 30, 2009, given the unavailability of visas in the EB-4 category the month of September, the Applications to Adjust Status (Form I-485) or applications for consular processing will not be accepted this month. Thus, adjustment of status applications that remained pending will not be approved unless a visa number had already been captured.  

Individuals in the EB-4 ministerial category are eligible to file Adjustment of Status applications until October 1, 2009, when visas in the EB-4 category become available. Please visit the visa bulletin available at the DOS’s Web site.

 

More Than 160 Arrested In Houston Immigration Raid : Immigration Law Answers Blog

More than 160 suspected illegal immigrants working in a hot, cluttered rag factory were detained Wednesday in one of the largest immigration raids in Houston in nearly two years.

The detainees are from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

About 60 may qualify for temporary release, if they have so-called humanitarian issues, such as health needs, or are sole caregivers to children.

About 70 percent of those detained were female – eight of whom were pregnant – and two minors were released to members of their family.

Quick Bits of Immigration Info : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Home > Immigration News > Quick Bits of Immigration Info

Posted on December 7, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

  • Foreign nationals in the United States with lost or stolen passports or I-94 cards may file for an Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document with the Immigration Service. Applicants may apply by submitting Form I-102 with the applicable filing fee of $320. The filing of Form I-102 will provide the applicant with a copy of the I-94 card. An I-94 card establishes that the foreign national was inspected and admitted into the United States. Filing Form I-102 will not provide the applicant with copies of their lost or stolen passport.
  • If a joint petition to remove conditions was filed but the living situation changed after filing the petition, the applicant must notify the Immigration Service of his/her current status. The applicant should request that the petition be converted to a waiver application. If a divorce has been filed but has not been finalized, the Immigration Service will provide the applicant 87 days to submit the final divorce decree.
  • As of November 28, 2009 the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) governs the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Foreign nationals who were abused by their U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or parent may file a self-petition on Form I-360. If eligible, an application to adjust status on Form (I-485) may be filed concurrently with Form I-360. To be eligible for a self-petition based on abuse by a spouse, the self-petitioner must satisfy certain requirements. One of the requirements is that the marriage was entered into into in good faith. Documents establishing a good faith marriage may include commingling of accounts, affidavits from family and friends, pictures, e-mails, and birth certificates of children (if any), to name a few.
  • Effective December 15, 2009, employers filing temporary labor certifications under the H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, H-2A, H-2B, H-1C, and D-1 programs must file the applications at the Chicago National Processing Center’s new location. The new address is 536 South Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60605-1509.

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Severe Penalties for Sham Marriages to Gain Citizenship : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Posted on July 28, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

On July 24, 2009, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested an Ohio immigration attorney and a businessman on charges of marriage fraud. The Ohio-based immigration attorney and the businessman were alleged to have entered into separate sham marriages with two U.S. citizens in order to obtain citizenship. A marriage entered into for the purpose of gaining citizenship carries severe penalties of up to a $250,000 and/or five years imprisonment.   To convict a person of marriage fraud, the government must prove the following:   1)      the person knowingly entered into a marriage; 2)      the marriage was entered into for the purpose of evading immigration laws; and 3)      the person knew or had reason to know of the immigration laws.  

The above illustrates that anyone trying to evade the immigration laws by entering into sham marriages might not obtain citizenship, but rather might enjoy the harsh penalties that could be imposed.The article about this case is available at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Web site.

 

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Phoenix Police Will Ask Arrestees About Immigration Status : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Home > Immigration News > Phoenix Police Will Ask Arrestees About Immigration Status

Posted on February 16, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

Phoenix is the latest city to try to do what the federal government refuses to do — resolve the nation’s perceived illegal immigration problems. Phoenix police will now start asking all people arrested in that city whether they are in the U.S. legally. Here are excerpts from an article in the New York Times:

The police in this city at the center of the immigration debate will soon ask all people arrested whether they are in the United States legally and will in certain cases report the information to the federal authorities, Mayor Phil Gordon announced on Friday. People stopped for civil traffic violations like speeding will not be questioned, nor will crime victims or witnesses. All those arrested on criminal charges like drunken driving and murder will be asked by officers whether they are in the United States legally. The police may decide to recommend checking by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The change includes having the police notify the immigration agency about people who are detained but not arrested who officers have “reasonable basis” to believe are illegal immigrants. A conservative legal group said the policy did not go far enough. Civil rights advocates suggested that people who appeared to be Latino or spoke with accents would be more likely to be checked than others. Hispanics make up 34 percent of Phoenix, the nation’s fifth-largest city, with 1.5 million residents. The program departs from a policy that is more than 10 years old that bars officers from asking people about their legal status in most cases. It also sets Phoenix apart from most other big cities with large immigrant populations, including New York and Los Angeles. The police in those cities generally avoid such questions over fears that they would lead to racial profiling and discourage immigrants from cooperating with the police.

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Immigration Officials Curb Sedation Of Deportees : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Federal immigration officials, over the past year, have dramatically curtailed the controversial practice of sedating deportees with powerful anti-psychotic medication.

The move followed court challenges and a public outcry over the practice, which often involved the use of Haldol, a drug used to treat schizophrenia.

Over the past six years, through October, federal immigration personnel sedated 384 deportees, an average of 64 a year, the government disclosed. Of those cases, 356 involved the use of Haldol.

Critics said there had been no effective oversight of the process, and some continue to say that the policy violates medical ethics. They praised the use of the court order and sedation restrictions.

Though the agency has dramatically reduced its use of Haldol to sedate deportees, the practice remains controversial.

Haldol is used to treat schizophrenia and such psychotic symptoms as hallucinations, delusions and hostility.

Medical authorities say the use of Haldol carries potential complications. The drug can trigger such adverse reactions as muscular spasms and a condition known as neuroleptic malignant syndrome that can result in a coma and even death if left untreated.

DHS Establishes Interim Relief for Widows of U.S. Citizens : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Posted on June 14, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

On June 9, 2009, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano granted deferred action for two years to widows and widowers of U.S. citizens (and their unmarried children under 18 years old) who reside in the United States, and who were married for less than two years before their spouse’s death. Deferred action is a short-term act of prosecutorial discretion that suspends removal proceedings against an individual or group of individuals for a specific timeframe. The action is temporary and it will not resolve an individual’s underlying immigration status.   In addition to the deferred action, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will suspend all adjudications of visa petitions and adjustment applications filed by widow(er)s where the only reason for reassessment of immigration status was the death of a U.S. citizen spouse before the second anniversary of the marriage. Further, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will now defer initiating or continuing removal proceedings, or executing final orders of removal against qualified widow(er)s and their eligible children.   Secretary Napolitano states that the deferred action is a “common-sense and practical” solution that will grant “these individuals and their children an opportunity to stay in the country that has become their home while their legal status is resolved.”  

Additional information may be found at: www.dhs.gov.

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