Immigration Blog

Melsida Asatrian's picture

President Obama’s Expansion of Executive Action on Immigration

Many agree the United States immigration system is broken. It will likely be several years before meaningful immigration reform is even considered by the U.S. Congress let alone actually enacted into law. In the interim, President Obama has indicated his willingness to use executive action to alter U.S. immigration policy. Recent reports indicate President Obama may announce a ten-point plan to modify immigration policy using his executive authority as early as November 21, 2014.

Melsida Asatrian's picture

Same - Sex Marriage and Immigration Benefits

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court found section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. See Windsor v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013). Section 3 of DOMA had amended the federal definition of “marriage” and “spouse”; after the enactment of DOMA “marriage” was defined as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife”, 1 U.S.C. §7, and “spouse” referred “only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”

Melsida Asatrian's picture

BIA Reaffirms Use of "Circumstance-Specific" Inquiry When Determining Whether "Possession for Personal Use" Exception Applies

Criminal convictions can significantly impact whether an alien can remain in the United States regardless of the alien’s immigration status. Many aliens are under the mistaken impression that the designation of a crime as a felony or misdemeanor is what is most relevant in assessing the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction. The designation of crime as a misdemeanor or felony has little bearing on whether an alien is subject removal/deportation based upon a criminal conviction. Rather, the most relevant factor in assessing the potential immigration consequences is the actual criminal conduct for which the alien has been or will be convicted.

Melsida Asatrian's picture

BIA Recognizes Domestic Vioence as a Basis for Asylum

After more than fifteen years of consideration, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) finally issued a landmark precedential decision on August 26, 2014 recognizing domestic violence may be a basis for asylum. See Matter of A-R-C-G-, 26 I. & N. Dec. 388 (BIA 2014). This decision is a major victory immigrants as the BIA recognized that women who are subjected to domestic violence at the hands of their spouses/intimate partners may be able to establish asylum on account of membership in a particular social group.

Melsida Asatrian's picture

Particularly Serious Crime and Mental Illness/Disorder

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.

Melsida Asatrian's picture

New York State Enacts Legislation to Protect Immigrants

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.

Alexander J. Segal's picture

Immigrant Investor Program Office Processing Times as of May 31, 2016

On July 14, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released its updated processing time information for the Immigrant Investor Program Office. This article includes the processing time information as of May 31, 2016.

Ricardo Lopez's picture

An Expensive Public Education for Some Residents of South Carolina

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.

Ricardo Lopez's picture

For LGBT Russians, a New Hope Emerges in Canada

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.

Ricardo Lopez's picture

Russia and the War against Homosexuality

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.

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