Immigration Blog

Melsida Asatrian's picture

Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) Gives Birth Abroad

Giving birth is a momentous occasion, but the joy can quickly turn into concern and confusion if an alien is in the process of immigrating to the United States or is a lawful permanent resident (LPR or green card holder) outside the United States at the time of the birth. Our office is frequently contacted by immigrant visa holders and LPRs who have given birth to a child abroad to learn how they can bring their child to the United States.

Eliza Grinberg's picture

Attorney Role at the Adjustment Interview Is Expanded

When called for a USCIS interview, an applicant should make sure to bring a duly qualified Attorney.  Such legal representative will ensure that the interview will be conducted in a professional and business-like manner, and that the rights of the client are protected. According to the Policy Memorandum, published on December 21, 2011, by the Office of the Director of the USCIS, the applicants are entitled to the right to have legal representation before the Service, at no expense to the Government, as defined in 8 CFR 292.1(a). This Policy Memorandum provides certain conduct guidelines for the USCIS officers. It also delineates the appropriate role of the Attorneys.

Alexander J. Segal's picture

Obama Administration’s Immigration Policy Changes

Yesterday, November 20, 2014, President Obama announced in his prime time televised address to the nation that he would sign an executive order today, November 21, 2014, which would make some changes to the U.S. immigration policy and provide some temporary relief to estimated five million undocumented immigrants now in the USA. While the action is not a permanent, it is expected to help changing immediate life conditions of many people. It will change immigration policy in several ways. First, it will remove the heavy burden of living under continuous threat of deportation from some individuals with substantial times to the USA. While the policy still fell short of providing any such protection to parents of DACA eligible children, it does offered it to individuals who, on the date of the new policy announcement — November 20, 2014 – had either USC or LPR children in the USA. In the spirit of the same, the new policy also expended the reach of DACA by removing the upper age restrictions on those, otherwise eligible, as well as demanded some liberalization of the legal definitions applicable to many immigration cases which, if implemented, would clarify and expend the reach of the Provisional Waiver program; expend the reach of the National Interest Waiver and improve the utilization of the immigrant visas, allocated annually by the Congress. It will also eliminate the “save communities” initiative, which rendered many people in the limbo of awaiting for ICE detention after serving their time in state custody for relatively minor criminal infractions. Below is the overview of some of the changes.

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.