Category Archive Green Card Attorney Fresno Immigration Lawyer

ByPhillip Kim

Trump’s Travel Ban Upheld In Part By Supreme Court; Travel Ban Will Go Into Effect

Earlier this year, President Trump issued a travel ban on travelers from Muslim countries. However, Judges from several states blocked the travel ban from going into effect. Now, Trump’s travel ban is back into effect.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday allowed a scaled-back version of President Trump’s travel ban to go into effect. The travel ban would affect people from six Muslim countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) from entering the United States for 90 days and would go into effect in as little as 72 hours. The U.S. Supreme Court states that the travel ban would not be enforced against someone who has a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States as provided in the following excerpt from the U.S. Supreme Court decision below:

“In practical terms, this means that §2(c) may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. All other foreign nationals are subject to the provisions of EO–2.”

The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court has however been met with criticism. Opponents of the travel ban are concerned with what constitutes as a “bona fide relationship”. Would it require a blood relation? A lack of a clearly defined relationship would bar from entry people from the six countries and refugees with no such ties and cause chaos at the airports.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stated that it will discuss the court’s action with the Justice and State departments and said it would implement the ban “professionally, with clear and sufficient public notice, particularly to potentially affected travelers, and in coordination with partners in the travel industry.”

ByPhillip Kim

DHS to Publish Final Rule That Expands I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver Eligibility

On July 29, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) will publish in the Federal Register a final rule that will expand eligibility for I-601A provisional unlawful presence waivers.

Prior to the expansion, DHS allows only certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are residing in the United States to request an I-601A provisional unlawful presence waiver before departing for consular processing for their immigrant visas. The waiver would be available to applicants where the sole ground of inadmissibility would be unlawful presence under section 212(a)(9)(B)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. In order to get the waiver approved, applicants must show they are statutorily eligible for the unlawful presence waiver and establish extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent.

Under the expanded provisional waiver, applicants can now also show extreme hardship to his or her lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or parent. The expanded provisional waiver is expected to open the door to more eligible applicants and will be effective starting August 29, 2016.


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)

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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

One of every 15 children in USA has an undocumented parent

Something happened while the immigration system in the United States got broken, something that should change the way we talk about fixing it. Years went by, and nature took its course. More than 11 million unauthorized immigrants settled into our communities; many formed families and had children. Now at least one of every 15 children living in the United States has an unauthorized parent, and nearly all of those children are native-born United States citizens.

Think of that statistic, one in 15, the next time you drive by a school or a playground. Think of those children living with the knowledge that the federal government can take their parents away. Common sense tells you that the threat of a parent’s deportation will exact a terrible price.

Now it’s possible to get some measure of how big the cost is. In a recent report, we assessed more than 50 research studies of the children of unauthorized immigrants conducted by scholars in a variety of fields. This growing body of work shows that fear and uncertainty breed difficulties that manifest themselves in delayed cognitive development, lower educational performance and clinical levels of anxiety.

By one estimate, more than six million children are paying the price of having an unauthorized immigrant parent, and more than five million of them were born here. A study that followed 380 New York City newborns for three years found evidence of lower cognitive skills as early as 24 months among the children of the undocumented and concluded that parents’ psychological distress played a major role. A 2004-8 Los Angeles survey of more than 5,000 immigrants found that having an unauthorized immigrant mother means children will end their education with one and a half years less schooling than those growing up under identical circumstances, with a mother who is in the country legally.

The research not only diagnoses the costs of policy failure but also points the way to a solution. The same Los Angeles study found that 43 percent of children with a father legalized in the 1986 immigration reform act received some college education, compared with 14 percent of similar children whose father remained an unauthorized immigrant. Legalization can place these young people on a life trajectory equal to that of their peers.

Once you take this evidence into consideration, the challenges change. The nation has an interest in regulating immigration, yet it also has a stake in its children. Current policies do not succeed in regulating immigration, but they do force these children into life-stifling insecurity.

Though now blocked by a legal challenge, the executive actions issued by President Obama in November offered an immediate if short-term fix. One of the proposed programs would grant permission to parents of American citizens and legal residents to remain in the United States for three years and to work legally, as long as they meet a number of conditions. An amicus brief signed by an array of educational organizations and children’s advocacy groups cited our report as evidence of the harm current policies inflict on children who are United States citizens, and the federal government made the same argument during an appellate court hearing this month.

These young citizens are at risk of being less than full members of society. Removing the threat of deportation from their families gives them a chance to prosper. That serves the public interest more effectively than maintaining an enforcement system widely decried as ineffective and unjust.

In the universe of manufactured disadvantage, we cannot think of many instances in which sitting judges, with the stroke of a pen, can bring immediate and measurable relief to millions of children. Here, they can. The remedy begins by understanding that the adults can no longer be seen simply as people who slipped the border to find work. We must begin to see them as parents, as the people raising our nation’s children. Some will reject that view and fault the adults for being in this country without proper immigration status.

But the American sense of fairness and system of justice have long embraced the notion that the “sins of the father” should not be visited on the children. Reasonable minds can debate whether there is blame to attach to the parents. There is no reasonable case to be made for punishing their children, who are citizens of the United States. Yet they are punished every day.

(Source: The New York Times)

ByPhillip Kim

Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) Status For Undocumented Children

The rise in the number of undocumented children from Central America has raised significant concerns recently. Many young children are crossing through the Mexico-Texas border and being apprehended by United States border patrol from the Department of Homeland Security. Over 60,000 unaccompanied minors have been apprehended since last October while attempting to enter the United States illegally. These unaccompanied minors have fled their home country in Central America, particularly from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, in order to escape the crime and gang violence there.

When an unaccompanied minor is apprehended, the Department of Homeland Security has 48 hours to ascertain the child’s identity and citizenship. The child must then be transferred to a shelter managed by the US Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours of apprehension. While waiting for their immigration court hearings, efforts will be made to reunite those children with their family.

Many are not aware, but some of these children who are unable to be reunited with their parents or family may qualify under the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJ) which will allow them to legally stay in the United States. In order to qualify, the child will have to be unmarried and under 21 years old. The child must prove they have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. A state court must also declare the child as a dependent of the court.

ByPhillip Kim

Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants

The Department of Homeland Security’s latest proposal would allow certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B principal nonimmigrants to obtain employment authorization from USCIS. The Department of Homeland Security states that if this proposal is passed, it would benefit H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B principal nonimmigrants who are in the process of obtaining a green card through employment.

H-1B principal nonimmigrants who are considered to be “in the process of obtaining a green card through employment” are those who have an approved I-140 petition, or have been granted an extension of their stay in the United States under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21).

The purpose of this proposal is to relieve the financial burden of H-1B principal nonimmigrants while they are awaiting for their green cards through employment since under current law H-4 dependent spouses are not allowed to work in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security believes such proposal would further their goal of attracting and retaining highly skilled foreign workers in the United States.

ByPhillip Kim

How to Get a Green Card through a Job Offer

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.

ByPhillip Kim

How to Get a Green Card with the Diversity Visa

Each year, the U.S. State Department makes 50,000 visas available to visa applicants from countries with low rates of immigration to foster diversity in the U.S. The Diversity Immigrant Visa recipients are chosen using a lottery system, which you can enter each year through the U.S. Department of State. If you receive a visa, you are also eligible to apply for a change of status to permanent resident with the USCIS. While the USCIS does not process applicants to the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, you must file the correct USCIS forms to get a green card.

To be eligible to be a Diversity Visa recipient, you must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. If you do not have a high school education, you should have at least 2 years of work experience in a field that requires at least 2 years of training. If you are eligible to apply for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, you can enter yourself in the lottery online during the allotted entry time. If the window for applying has closed, you must wait until the following year to apply for a DV visa.

Once you enter the Diversity Immigrant visa Program and your entrance has been confirmed, you should follow usual procedure for getting a visa. This will mean filing the necessary forms, paying correct filing fees, undergoing a medical examination and submitting the documents with the results, and undergoing an interview at the U.S. Consulate or USCIS office near you. You must also submit passport-style photographs of you, your spouse, and unmarried children 21 years old or younger.

If you have a DV visa, you can file for a change of status to permanent resident with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. As long as there are not holds on your eligibility to be a permanent resident and you are admissible to the U.S., you can file your change of status as normal with the USCIS. You will need to provide proof of your acceptance to the DV program when changing your status.

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.

ByPhillip Kim

Same Sex Couples May Receive Immigration Benefits


Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano addresses that the Supreme Court will ensure implementation of the ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which grants same-sex couples equality of legal benefits. President Obama has taken measures to eliminate discrimination so that same-sex couples receive the same consideration as opposite-sex couples when filing for a visa petition. This change is effective immediately for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to follow. Couples are eligible to apply even if they currently live in a state that does not allow same-sex marriages, in which case, USCIS will consider the law of the state of residence in addition to the law of the state of celebration of the marriage.