10/08/2015, CA Governor Brown signed A.B. 1352, which allows those who have completed court ordered drug diversion since 1997 to file with the court to convert their plea to a “not guilty.”
But, Brown vetoed A.B. 1351, which would have allowed people charged with simple possession or other related drug offenses to successfully complete a treatment program before pleading guilty – thus avoiding the disproportionate federal punishments, including deportation for immigrants. This patches a hole in the current system, enabling people to be participating and productive members of the community. For immigrants, that means a focus on rehabilitation, not deportation. ILRC
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.
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.
The fiancé(e) visa, also known as the K-1 nonimmigrant visa) allows your fiancé(e) to enter the U.S. for 90 days to get married. Once your marriage takes place, your spouse may apply for permanent residence and stay in the U.S. while USCIS processes the application.
To be eligible, you (the petitioner) must be a U.S. citizen, you must marry your fiancé(e) within 90 days of entry, any previous marriages must have been legally terminated, and you must have met your spouse at least once within 2 years of filing your petition (with exceptions).
If your fiancé(e) has a child under 21 and unmarried, a K-2 nonimmigrant visa may also be available. After admission of your fiancé(e), he or she may immediately apply for permission to work by filing an application for employment.
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.
Families separated by the U.S. and Mexican border hope that immigration reform will bring them back together. To read more about immigration reform, read Juan Carlos Llorca’s article below:
Married Couples Split By Border Hope Immigration Reform Brings Relief
Falcon, like others who married or are closely related to people who have a lifetime ban from the United States, hopes legislation to be introduced by Texas freshman U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke will provide relief from their situation.
The bill is aimed at providing discretionary authority to judges and Department of Homeland Security officials when the person who is in deportation, ineligibility or inadmissibility proceedings is an immediate family member of a U.S. citizen.
O’Rourke, a Democrat, said he will introduce it once Congress returns Sept. 9.
The bill also would remove the requirement that U.S. citizens have to demonstrate “extreme hardship” in order to apply for a waiver for their relative or spouse. Therefore, if they can demonstrate the removal or inadmissibility would create a hardship for the U.S. citizen, the judge or DHS official would have to rule in favor of the family.
And the bill would let people who have been deemed inadmissible for life, like Valtierra, to ask for a waiver.
Click here to continue reading the article.
Immigration reform advocates are hopeful and many predict the odds are in their favor for the passage of the immigration reform bill. To read more about immigration reform, read Robert Creamer’s article below:
Top Five Reasons why Immigration Reform Is Likely to Pass This Year
In fact, there are many good reasons to predict that the odds are very good the GOP House Leadership will ultimately allow a vote on an immigration reform bill containing a pathway to citizenship this year. If such a bill is called, the odds are close to one hundred percent that it will pass.
That is because, right now, there are more than enough votes on the floor of the House to pass immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship if it is given an up or down vote. The only question now is whether the House Leadership decides that it is in their political interest to call the bill.
The GOP leadership understands that if an immigration reform bill passes, the Democrats will get the credit with key immigrant constituencies and many suburban swing voters. But they are also coming to realize that if they do not call the bill, they will get the blame with those same constituencies – and that could lead to both short-term and-long term disaster for the Republican Party.
Click here to continue reading the article.
If your petition was previously denied based on DOMA section 3, USCIS will now reopen those applications for review. Please note, you will need to notify USCIS by March 31, 2014, if your I-130 was denied before February 23, 2011. Requesting to consider reopening your petition will be done at no charge, but fees to file an application will still apply.
Same-sex marriages will receive the same immigration benefits as those of opposite sex. The five year residence period for naturalization may be reduced to three years if you have been living in marital union with a U.S. citizen spouse the same way that applies for opposite sex spouses.
There are several steps to apply for a green card, also known as permanent residency, if you believe you qualify through a job opportunity in the United States, and if you are an employer, you may help sponsor an employee for permanent residency.
If you live outside the U.S., you must go through a consular processing where you will be issued a visa, if available, when your petition gets approved. If you reside in the United States, you can obtain a green card by adjusting your status.
There will be several documents required when filing for your petition. Supporting documents include evidence of inspection during entry into the United States, copy of approval notice by the USCIS, proof of employment offer, two colored passport photos, biographic information, medical examination, affidavits, and other forms pertaining to your eligibility.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a provision to allow those who meet the specific USCIS guidelines to be deferred from removal and possibly be eligible for employment authorization.
You may be considered for DACA if:
– you came to the United States before age 16
– you’ve resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2012
– you were under age 31 on June 15, 2012
– you entered the U.S. without inspection before June 15 or your lawful immigration status expired by June 15, 2012
– you attend school, have graduated from high school, or are an honorably discharged veteran
– you have not committed a crime
– you were physically present on June 15, 2012 at the time of requesting for DACA.
Upon obtaining evidence for these requirements, file your application for DACA, submit biometrics/fingerprinting, and continue checking the status of your application.