Criminal convictions can significantly impact whether an alien can remain in the United States. A criminal conviction that is found to be a particularly serious crime can bar an otherwise eligible alien from receiving asylum and/or withholding of removal under INA §241(b)(3)(B). An alien becomes ineligible for a grant of if he/she has been convicted of an aggravated felony. This alien may still be eligible for a grant of withholding of removal under INA §241(b)(3)(B) despite being convicted of an a crime that constitutes an aggravated felony if he/she is sentenced to a term of imprisonment of less than five years. Regardless of the sentence imposed by the criminal court and whether the crime constitutes an aggravated felony the Attorney General may determine the alien has been convicted of a particularly serious crime. The immigration judge will examine “factors as the nature of the conviction, the circumstances and underlying facts of the conviction, the type of sentence imposed, and, most importantly, whether the type and circumstances of the crime indicate that the alien will be a danger to the community”, Matter of Frentescu, 18 I. & N. Dec. 244, 246 (BIA 1982), to determine whether a criminal conviction is for a particularly serious crime. The BIA was recently tasked with determining whether an alien’s mental illness/disorder was a factor to be be considered when determining if his/her criminal conviction was for a “particularly serious crime.” Matter of G-G-S-, 26 I. & N. Dec. 339, 339 (BIA 2014).
At a time when many states have chosen to enact legislation to drive away immigrants, the State of New York is taking significant steps to create a welcoming environment for immigrants. Governor Cuomo signed new legislation on August 6, 2014 designed to enhance the provision of immigration-related assistance in the State of New York. This legislation targets non-attorneys who provide immigration-related assistance by enacting stricter assistance-provider requirements including ensuring only attorney and non-attorney representatives authorized by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) can provide legal services, enhancing translation requirements, increasing civil penalties for violations, and prohibiting the use of titles designed to mislead the immigrant into believing the provider is an attorney or specialized professional. The goal is to ensure that immigrants do not fall prey to con artists who often engage in conduct that jeopardizes an immigrant’s future ability to qualify for immigration benefits and places the immigrant at risk of deportation from the United States while at the same time extracting significant sums of money from hardworking individuals. This legislation also provides for a new criminal offense called “immigration assistance fraud”, which can be either a misdemeanor or felony depending upon the amount of money involved. Another key component of this legislation is the designation of the New York State Office for New Americans, which provides support to New York's immigrant population, as a permanent executive office.
Students who depend on undocumented parents are facing certain obstacles when matriculating at public universities.Often the greatest deciding factor for students in choosing where they will earn their degree is affordability. In an effort to make higher education more affordable for working class families—often comprised of minorities such as Latinos—States have established public universities with significantly reduced tuition rates for residents. Allowing more residents to gain specialized training or certification has significant economic advantages for the state. With higher education, better employment opportunities usually follow and therefore, generate better salaries for residents.
With recent changes in Russian legislation, LGBT Russians are desperately seeking freedom from persecution. These refugees now have a favorable chance at being granted asylum in Canada.
According to Canada’s immigration minister, Chris Alexander, homosexuals who intend to flee persecution in Russia will have their asylum claims viewed favorably—such as those persecuted because of religious or ethnic reasons in Canada. This is certainly a step towards progress in what seems to be lack of action from international convention.
Despite the attention that Vladimir Putin is receiving over his recent anti-gay policies, there is still, very much, a massive problem for homosexuals living in Russia. The severity of the issue has gone from alarming to outrageous. It is crucial to incite a major change in Russia’s policies. These laws and bills are seedlings which will inevitably expand as long as they are allowed to.
While many people are aware of the anti-gay sentiment, I strongly believe very few people are aware of the degree of persecution that homosexuals in Russia are subject to by both police officers and citizens alike. While going over collections of photographs collected during recent gay pride parades and marches in Russia, I immediately grasped the scope of the horror they live in.
National Interest Waiver is a program which allows eligible foreigners to petition for Permanent Residency in the United States without having to undergo the Labor Certification process or having an employer who otherwise would have needed to petition for him or her. In an attempt to boost employment opportunities and economic recovery, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services have extended the availability of the National Interest Waiver to eligible foreign entrepreneurs.
The U.S. Department of State recently released the August Visa Bulletin. You can find a copy of this Visa Bulletin at United State government web site: visa bulletin. Immigrant visas will be current for the F2A category, which includes spouses and children of lawful permanent residents (i.e. LPR's or Green Card Holders) regardless of the beneficiary's native country. It is important to keep in mind that the term child is specifically defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as unmarried son or daughter under the age of 21. If your son or daughter has turned 21 while the immigrant visa petition has been pending, it is important you contact an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible to determine if he or she still qualify for an immigrant visa under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).
In rather rapid development a week after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor, overturning Article 3 of DOMA, President Obama has instructed USCIS to start immediately reviewing immigrant petitions filed by same sex spouses. “President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly.” Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano wrote on the DHS website.
I thought I needed to write about the subject of the “new immigration law” as, in my opinion, it is rather important to make this point. As the Senate voted yesterday in favor of the Immigration Reform bill proposed in April by the bipartisan group of eight senators, I see substantial increase in questions about the “new immigration law” and rules. These questions inundate blogs like AVVO and LawQA. They also appear often here on My Attorney USA. Finally, I get numerous emails with the same questions expressing optimism and talking about the Bill as if it was already the law of the land. It is not.
Two days ago the Senate overwhelmingly (68-32) passed the Immigration Reform Bill knows as S 744. The 1198 pages document attempts to overhaul U.S. current immigration system by modernizing it and re-tuning its priorities. The Bill would increases H1B visa CAP from 65,000 visas annually currently to 155,000 visas per year, setting 25,000 additional visas for people with advanced degrees in technology, science, engineering, and mathematics, provided they have graduated from U.S. based colleges and universities. The Bills leaves open the door for further increase in the H1B program with the CAP of up to 180,000 visas annually, if the demand warrants such increase.