I-601A STATESIDE PROVISIONAL WAIVERS BEING PROCESSED
I-601A Waivers. In January, President Obama announced a change in the law that assists potentially thousands of individuals required to leave the US in order to obtain a green card due to illegal entry violations and unlawful presence. Individuals subject to the unlawful presence bar may submit an I-601A waiver in advance of departing the US to process for an immigrant visa and obtain a provisional waiver approval.
The provisional waiver has the effect of shaving off months of waiting outside the US for a decision on the waiver application. Under the new law, a decision will be issued prior to any intended departure. Applicants can then go to the required immigrant visa interview with the waiver approval in hand.
If you believe you or a loved one may be eligible for an I-601A waiver or may benefit from the new rule, contact our office. The Law Offices of Barbara-Ann Williams, PC has successfully filed hundreds of waiver applications as well as successfully appealed applications prepared by other law offices or notarios that were denied.
COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM HITS MAJOR SNAGS
A meeting scheduled with drafters of the Senate Immigration Reform bill and important business groups and lobbyists to rally support for immigration reform was unexpectedly cancelled after business owners and lobbyist expressed reservation with the plan to approach members of the House. Immigration reform faces strong resistance from House Republicans, especially for the pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants contained in the Senate bill.
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, Republican Senator John McCain and other members of the "Gang of Eight" that shepherded a sweeping immigration bill through the Senate want to enlist business, labor and religious groups to help persuade members of the House of Representatives to back reform. Reform would necessarily entail stronger immigration enforcement, creating more secure borders while also creating a path for legalization for the those illegally present. A bill that simply offers amnesty to the undocumented has slim chance of obtaining the necessary bipartisan support or the support of majority of Americans as demonstrated by the strong opposition to similar proposals.
GREEN CARDS NOW A REALITY FOR SAME SEX COUPLES
Married same sex couples can now apply for lawful permanent residency. With the death of the Defense of Marriage Act, the Board of Immigration Appeals in its recent decision Matter of Zeleniak, 26 I&N Dec. 158 (BIA 2013) held that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is no longer an impediment to the recognition of lawful same-sex marriages and spouses under the Immigration and Nationality Act if the marriage is valid under the laws of the State where it was celebrated.
This landmark decision now allows US citizens in same-sex marriages to petition and sponsor their lawfully wed spouses removing the fear of separation of many Americans from their loved ones. The marriage must be recognized in the state where the marriage takes place and beneficiaries must still establish their eligibility for Lawful Permanent Residency in order for the applications to be granted.
DEFERRED ACTION STILL AVAILABLE
Deferred action is still available for individuals who entered the US as children, are currently between the ages of 15 to 30 years old, have continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007 to the present, were present in the US on June 15, 2012 and are currently in school, graduated or received a GED or were honorably discharged from the US Armed Forces or US Coast Guard.
Certain aliens with significant misdemeanors (including a DUI) and other criminal history may not qualify. Persons currently in removal proceedings or who have a final order of removal may be eligible under the new law and have their removal order temporarily set aside. Deferred Action protects those in unauthorized status, here without status or papers for a minimum period of 2 years. DACA is not a permanent fix but a remedial measure instituted by the Obama administration. Applicants may also request a work permit. For more information or to apply for deferred action and a work permit, contact us toll free at 800-417-9250. Habla Espanol.
U VISAS FOR CRIME VICTIMS
Are you a victim of crime? Congress enacted the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 creating two new nonimmigrant visas for noncitizen victims of crimes, the T-visa and the U-visa. Both visas are designed to provide immigration status to noncitizens that are assisting or are willing to assist authorities investigating crimes. Thousands of immigrants formerly without legal status have taken advantage of this wide reaching law and are now hold U visas and have work permits with an aim to obtain lawful permanent residency. If you or someone you know was a victim of a crime while in the US, including domestic violence, contact our office today to see if we can help you obtain lawful immigration status. Your information is kept strictly confidential.