Tag Archive Immigration Lawyer

ByPhillip Kim

Supreme Court Tie Blocks Obama Immigration Plan- DAPA & DACA expanded

Today, June 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked in a 4 to 4 split in the long-awaited case, United States v. Texas, effectively upholding the lower court’s injunction halting the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the creation of a new program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). The original DACA program remains in place.

The decision was just nine words long: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court.”

The case, United States v. Texas, No. 15-674, concerned a 2014 executive action by the president to allow as many as five million unauthorized immigrants who were the parents of citizens or of lawful permanent residents to apply for a program that would spare them from deportation and provide them with work permits. The program was called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA.

The court did not disclose how the justices had voted, but they were almost certainly split along ideological lines. Administration officials had hoped that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. would join the court’s four-member liberal wing to save the program.

The case hinged in part on whether Texas had suffered the sort of direct and concrete injury that gave it standing to sue. Texas said it had standing because it would be costly for the state to give driver’s licenses to immigrants affected by the federal policy.

Chief Justice Roberts is often skeptical of expansive standing arguments. But it seemed plain when the case was argued in April that he was satisfied that Texas had standing, paving the way for a deadlock.

White House officials had repeatedly argued that presidents in both parties had used similar executive authority in applying the nation’s immigration laws. And they said Congress had granted federal law enforcement wide discretion over how those laws should be carried out.

But the court’s ruling may mean that the next president will again need to seek a congressional compromise to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws. And it left immigration activists deeply disappointed.

In their Supreme Court briefs, the states acknowledged that the president had wide authority over immigration matters, telling the justices that “the executive does have enforcement discretion to forbear from removing aliens on an individual basis.” Their quarrel, they said, was with what they called a blanket grant of “lawful presence” to millions of immigrants, entitling them to various benefits.

In response, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. told the justices that this “lawful presence” was merely what had always followed from the executive branch’s decision not to deport someone for a given period of time.

Speaking at the White House, President Obama described the ruling as a deep disappointment for immigrants who would not be able to emerge from the threat of deportation for at least the balance of his term.

“Today’s decision is frustrating to those who seek to grow our economy and bring a rationality to our immigration system,” he said. “It is heartbreaking for the millions of immigrants who have made their lives here.”
(from nytimes)

ByStaff

Supreme Court Tie Blocks Obama Immigration Plan- DAPA & DACA expanded

On June 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked in a 4 to 4 split in the long-awaited case, United States v. Texas, effectively upholding the lower court’s injunction halting the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the creation of a new program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). The original DACA program remains in place.

The decision was just nine words long: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court.”

The case, United States v. Texas, No. 15-674, concerned a 2014 executive action by the president to allow as many as five million unauthorized immigrants who were the parents of citizens or of lawful permanent residents to apply for a program that would spare them from deportation and provide them with work permits. The program was called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA.

The court did not disclose how the justices had voted, but they were almost certainly split along ideological lines. Administration officials had hoped that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. would join the court’s four-member liberal wing to save the program.

The case hinged in part on whether Texas had suffered the sort of direct and concrete injury that gave it standing to sue. Texas said it had standing because it would be costly for the state to give driver’s licenses to immigrants affected by the federal policy.

Chief Justice Roberts is often skeptical of expansive standing arguments. But it seemed plain when the case was argued in April that he was satisfied that Texas had standing, paving the way for a deadlock.

White House officials had repeatedly argued that presidents in both parties had used similar executive authority in applying the nation’s immigration laws. And they said Congress had granted federal law enforcement wide discretion over how those laws should be carried out.

But the court’s ruling may mean that the next president will again need to seek a congressional compromise to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws. And it left immigration activists deeply disappointed.

In their Supreme Court briefs, the states acknowledged that the president had wide authority over immigration matters, telling the justices that “the executive does have enforcement discretion to forbear from removing aliens on an individual basis.” Their quarrel, they said, was with what they called a blanket grant of “lawful presence” to millions of immigrants, entitling them to various benefits.

In response, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. told the justices that this “lawful presence” was merely what had always followed from the executive branch’s decision not to deport someone for a given period of time.

Speaking at the White House, President Obama described the ruling as a deep disappointment for immigrants who would not be able to emerge from the threat of deportation for at least the balance of his term.

“Today’s decision is frustrating to those who seek to grow our economy and bring a rationality to our immigration system,” he said. “It is heartbreaking for the millions of immigrants who have made their lives here.”
(from nytimes)

— — —
Summary of Executive Action Obama Announced

Today, 11/20/2014, President Barack Obama announced broad executive action to offer temporary relief from deportation to millions of undocumented immigrants.

“If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes – you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation,”

The most controversial aspect of the president’s executive order allows as many as five million undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S., including the undocumented parents of children born here. Those parents will be able to request deportation relief and work permits for three years at a time, provided that they register, pass background checks, pay fees, and prove that their legal resident or citizen child was born before the date of the executive order.

The plan also protects more so-called “DREAMers” — young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children. Previously, individuals were eligible for deferred action if they were born after 1981 and entered the country before 2007. That date is expected to change to January 1, 2010, with no age limit.

Obama noted that the move would not grant undocumented immigrants citizenship or the right to remain in the country permanently. And he said that he will still push for a legislative solution

NBC News
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While relatives of U.S. citizens often find a path to legal status, relatives of green card holders can also apply for a green card. If you are related to a permanent resident or green card holder, you might be eligible to petition for a green card.

A green card holder may apply for his/her spouse and children (unmarried, any age) to come to the U.S. legally. As a relative of a permanent resident, you will be placed in a category known as “family second preference”. Because the number of visas given out to family preference applicants annually is limited, you will be placed on a wait list. When a visa number is available, it will be assigned to you.

If you are in the U.S., the process of applying for a visa will be the same as that of relatives to U.S. citizens. If you are already in the U.S., your relative must file Form I-130. When it is approved, you must wait until the priority date in the family preference category becomes current. The priority date is the date when the I-130 is properly sent. When it becomes current, you can file the I-485 which will allow you to adjust your status. Eventually, the adjustment process will result in your status as a permanent resident.

For the most part, the application process must be completed by the green card holder. First, he/she must file Form I-130 and provide USCIS with proof of his/her status as a legal permanent resident. Documents and evidence of the relationship between the green card holder and immigrant must also be included. Examples of evidence include birth and marriage certificates. If you and your family member do not share the last name, you must show proof of the legal name change. More specific details can be found on the forms that need to be filed.

If you are outside the U.S., you must undergo the process of consular processing. This type of processing occurs when USCIS works with the Department of State to issue a visa on an I-130 that has been approved. When the Department of State issues you the visa, you can travel abroad and will become a permanent resident when you enter the U.S.

Many families are under the impression that an approved I-130 means that an applicant has been granted a benefit or change in status. This is not true. If USCIS accepts and approves the visa petition, it means that you are now in line for a visa number. If you belong to a first preference category, you will be issued a visa right away. If not, there will be a longer wait.

If you have any questions about preference categories, the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, or how to obtain a visa, please contact Immigration Attorney Phillip Kim.

ByPhillip Kim

Obama Administration Files Brief in DACA/DAPA Case at Supreme Court.

The Obama Administration filed its brief with the Supreme Court in United States v. Texas, the case where Texas and 25 other states are challenging the President’s executive action on expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). The brief sets forth the arguments for why the Fifth Circuit was wrong to block expanded DACA and DAPA from being implemented.

The Obama Administration begins by saying simply that this case does not even belong in court. The states bringing suit are trying to force the Supreme Court into “complex debates over immigration policy that the Constitution reserves to the political Branches of the National Government.” And for this simple reason alone, the Fifth Circuit’s ruling should be reversed.

The government explains that none of the states in this suit have standing—legal capacity to bring the lawsuit. The states have previously argued that they have a legal stake in the case because of additional costs Texas might incur to issue drivers’ licenses to individuals granted deferred action. The Administration states in its brief that these claims “are nothing more than allegations of indirect or incidental effects from the [DAPA] Guidance, not invasions of any legally-protected interest under the Constitution.” In fact, “virtually any administration of federal law by a federal agency could have such effects.”

The Obama Administration also makes the important point that even the States do not dispute that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can set enforcement priorities—that DHS may choose how to use its limited resources and exercise prosecutorial discretion—and, that DHS’s prioritization is immune from court intervention. Yet, the States object here because they believe that the grant of work authorization to individuals who get deferred action makes deferred action different from prioritizing enforcement activities. As Roll Call notes, the Administration explains why the States are wrong on this point:

“’deferred action’” is one of the well-established ways that the department exercises enforcement discretion, the government brief states. And it points out several laws (PL 109-13, PL 103-322, PL 107-56) that Congress passed that refer to deferred actions in immigration, such as a 2005 law allowing states to issue driver’s licenses to immigrants with “approved deferred action status.”

In addition, the Administration’s brief discusses the “take care” clause. When the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, it directed both sides to address whether the President’s actions violated the “Take Care” Clause of the Constitution, which states that the President must “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” The government notes that previously the Supreme Court has stated that the President’s duty to faithfully execute the laws is “purely executive and political and not subject to judicial direction” and regardless the Secretary of Homeland Security is faithfully executing the “immigration laws, fully utilizing DHS’s appropriations for enforcement and removing hundreds of thousands of aliens each year.”

Now that the government has filed its brief, those who wish to file an amicus brief (a friend of the court brief) in support of the Obama Administration’s position have until March 8 to file. Texas and the other states have until March 28 to file their brief in the case.

Oral arguments in the case will likely be scheduled for April 2016, and the Court will likely issue a decision before its current term ends at the end of June 2016. For the sake of the immigrant families whose lives are riding on this decision, let’s hope that the Court makes clear that President Obama, like every President before him dating back to Eisenhower, has the authority to take executive action on immigration. from immigrationimpact.

ByPhillip Kim

Deportation Terminated under New Case Law of 9th Circuit Court

Immigration Law has been changing- sometimes with a huge media coverage but more often, without much coverage because of the new changes’ limited application.

For example, when DACA and DAPA were announced, almost every single media channel has reported on those new laws. There have been, however, many more changes in immigration law mostly made by courts’ rulings. Those new laws apply to the cases that meet the specific situations required by those courts.

The 9th Circuit Court recently made a ruling in Lopez-Valencia v. Lynch, No. 12-73210 (9th Cir. Aug. 17, 2015).

One of Attorney Phillip Kim’s clients was waiting for her first court hearing in September 2015. The DHS was trying to deport her under the previous laws, which made her deportable.

One month before her Court Hearing, the 9th Circuit released a new case law. Attorney Phillip Kim filed a Motion To Terminate citing the new 9th Circuit case law among others such as Fregozo v. Holder, Descamps (by US Supreme Court), Lopez-Valencia (by US Supreme Court).

A few days before her first Court Hearing, the Judge from Immigration Court terminated her Deportation Proceedings.

Moreover, Attorney Phillip Kim contacted DHS ICE Chief Counsel’s office. The ICE Prosecuting Attorney agreed to return the Client’s Green Card because the Judge terminated proceedings.

Very fortunately and dramatically right before the first Court Hearing, the Client was able to receive her Green Card. She did not even have to appear in court.

Many of you have been waiting for an opportunity to get your case approved. Be hopeful and patient because Immigration Laws are changing in favor of immigrants.

ByPhillip Kim

F-1 & J-1 Students: Be Careful – Scams on SEVIS

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Recently, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security
Investigations (HSI) has seen an increase in the number of scams targeting
unsuspecting international students. Cultural and language barriers often make
it difficult for international students to discern genuine offers for assistance from
scams, making them particularly vulnerable to deceitful solicitations.

For example, scams may take the form of all-inclusive student visa service packages or great deals on travel. Often students realize too late that the fees they paid to a company to organize their trip to the United States are lost forever or they have not been properly registered as promised by the scammer.

Scam companies will often produce websites or addresses that are similar in name to legitimate student organizations or government agencies. To avoid falling prey to these solicitations, students should carefully scrutinize websites and thoroughly
research companies before submitting any payments or personal information.
School officials should work with their international students to ensure they are aware of how to avoid scams.

International students are required to adhere to many rules and regulations to maintain their student status, so it is especially alarming when they receive an email or telephone call advising them that their immigration status is in jeopardy unless they provide immediate payment for services, fees or fines.

With these scams, students are typically contacted by email or telephone, and often the sender or caller will know specific information about the student. The scammer will usually request immediate payment either by credit card or electronic
transfer, and may even claim to be from a U.S. government agency or known student organization.

Students should be aware that a government agency would never contact them by telephone to demand immediate payment and would never request that the student wire money for immediate payment. Students should always consult with their designated school official (DSO) about their immigration status. Additionally, students should pay careful attention to the email address of any contact, as government emails and websites will always end in “.gov” and never “.com.”

HSI recommends that school officials communicate to their students that if they receive a scam telephone call or email, they should:
–Not give out any personal information.
–Not send money.
–Obtain as much information from the caller or email as possible without
alerting the scammer so they can report it to police, HSI or the Student and
Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), and their DSO.

We ask DSOs to immediately alert their student body when they learn of any scams
targeted toward international students so others are not harmed and to also contact
their local HSI office or SEVP to notify them of any identified scams. DSOs may
also contact the HSI Tip Line at 866-DHS-2-ICE (866-347-2423) if calling from the
United States.
(from SEVP)

ByPhillip Kim

White House Still Pressing for Immigration Reform

Advocates for immigration reform in the White House claim that their focus has not changed and that they are still pushing for immigration reform. To read more about immigration reform, read Laura Matthews’s article below:

2013 Immigration Reform: ‘Focus Hasn’t Changed,’ Says White House

The focus on the part of the White House to pass a 2013 immigration reform bill has not changed, said Press Secretary Jay Carney in a press briefing on Monday.

“Our absolute focus on getting immigration reform passed by both houses and signed into law has not changed at all,” Carney said in response to a question about President Barack Obama’s message to those concerned the issue has been low priority for the White House.

Earlier this year, there was increased momentum for a comprehensive immigration reform bill passing Congress before the end of the year. With the failure of gun control in April, delivering a huge blow to Obama’s second-term agenda, overhauling the status quo on immigration looked at one point as if it was the only one of Obama’s agenda items that would see legislative success.

The Senate passed its comprehensive immigration reform bill in June, providing a 13-year path to citizenship for immigrants in the U.S. illegally and boosting spending for border security and more fencing along the Mexico border.

Click here to continue reading the article.

ByPhillip Kim

Applying for Refugee and Asylum Status

A refugee is someone persecuted in his or her home country due to race, religion, war, nationality, or political affiliation. Obtaining refugee status in the United States is a form of protection for refugees who are not allowed or unwilling to return to their home country because of fear or social harm. In order to qualify for the refugee status, the applicant must be from outside the U.S.

To qualify for an asylum status, the applicant must meet the definition of a refugee, be present in the U.S., and seek admission at a port of entry, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
One can apply for asylum regardless of the background of your country and immigration status.

ByPhillip Kim

House Will Consider Immigration Reform

The House has recently added the issue of immigration reform on their agenda for this month and next month. To read more about the updates of immigration reform, read Laura Matthew’s article below:

2013 Immigration Reform Makes Cantor’s Legislative Agenda, But Uncertainty Remains Over Undocumented

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., indicated in a recent memo to Republicans that a vote on 2013 immigration reform bills may come this fall, as the topic was added to the legislative agenda for this month and the next.

Cantor noted that the House “may begin considering” this fall the five bills passed in various committees. No one in the majority leader’s office was available for a comment Wednesday evening on when exactly the bills will be brought to the floor. “Before we consider any other reforms, it is important that we pass legislation securing our borders and providing enforcement mechanisms to our law enforcement officials,” the memo read.

This should be a good sign for immigration reform advocates: Unlike in previous memos from Cantor, this one did not mention immigration reform as an afterthought — even though thorny issues like appropriations, debt limit, Syria, nutrition (food stamps) and Obamacare all came before it on the agenda, in that particular order.

Click here to continue reading the article.

ByPhillip Kim

USCIS Approves 10,000 U Visas

For the year of 2013, USCIS has approved the maximum of 10,000 U visa petitions. U visas are for victims of crime who has suffered abuse emotionally and mentally. Victims agree to help law enforcements prosecute such crimes. The program for U visas started in 2008 and has helped more than 76,000 victims and their families. USCIS will be accepting U visa applications again on October 1, 2013.

ByPhillip Kim

How to Get a Green Card as a Relative of a U.S. Citizen

There are multiple ways to get a green card as a relative of a U.S. citizen. As the spouse, unmarried child, or parent of an adult citizen (over 21 years old) you qualify as an immediate relative. Green cards for immediate relatives are unlimited, so there is no waiting for a visa as an immediate family member. Receiving a green card will allow you to live and work in the U.S. as a permanent resident.

If you are already in the United States, to receive a green card, you will file need to file for permanent residence. Second, you will petition for your status as an immediate relative of a citizen. For immediate relatives of U.S., these two steps can be done at the same time or you can submit your petition and then file for residence.

If you are not yet living in the U.S., you must submit your petition for residence as a family member of a citizen first. After your petition is submitted, there is a waiting period for a visa to allow you to travel to the U.S. This process is the same for immediate and non-immediate family members of citizens.

Remember to keep in mind that your status as a child will most likely be counted from the date of your petition, and that to keep the status of child you must be 21 years old or younger. Also, children under 21 must be unmarried through the green card process in order to count as immediate relatives. If you are the married child of a U.S. citizen you do not count as an immediate relative, but can still petition for residence as a family member of a U.S. citizen.