Tag Archive California


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.


Working in the US Without Your Papers? This Legislative Bill May Help You

Led by Congressman Felipe Fuentes (D-Los Angeles), The California Opportunity and Prosperity Act (COPA) is a law that focuses on making California a stronger, wealthier nation with less illegal immigration issues.

COPA would do two things for illegal immigrants:

  1. 1. They would be allowed to work in California legally (even though they may not have their papers)
  2. They would not be given harsh punishment if they are caught by federal officers (some immigrants will be placed on the bottom of the “deportation list”, other immigrants could be forgiven and might avoid deportation altogether)

COPA is called a prosperity act because, if immigrants are allowed to legally work in the California, it is possible that the state will gain $325 millions of dollars per year.

Registering some immigrants that are currently working will mean that there are more tax dollars entering California’s budget. The money we would gain from these immigrants would help fund safety and educational programs in California.

Currently, immigrants are usually detained right away and forced to sign papers that guarantee their deportation. Under COPA, immigrants will be given time to get their papers together if they are ever caught by federal officials.

COPA would only apply to certain qualifying immigrants in California. In order to qualify, you must meet the following requirements:

  1.  You must be paying state taxes and have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  2. You must have NO felonies (NO convictions for felonies either)
  3. If you are a suspected terrorist, you do not qualify
  4. You must know English, or at least be learning it
  5. You must pay a fee and provide a photo of yourself
  6. You must have NO public charges against you
  7. You must have lived here since before Janurary 1, 2008

There is much heated debate about COPA. It was defeated 15 times in Washington D.C. because of political fights between Republicans and Democrats. That’s why it is now a Californian bill.

Some say that this Act should be passed because states have a right to determine their immigration policy. Others disagree and want to leave it up to the federal government.

There are also possible drawbacks of this bill. What if the 2013 California administration is more conservative than the one we have right now? If used the wrong way, this bill could be used as a tool to root out illegal immigrants and register their names in the system. It would become much easier to find and convict immigrants if they willingly sign themselves up as undocumented immigrants.

Of course, if the bill is used for purposes it was meant for, it could mean a sigh of relief for almost 1 million undocumented immigrants in California.

We will keep you updated about the progress of this bill. As on now, the bill needs more than 500,000 signatures to appear on the ballot.

To learn more about COPA, please visit the official website, here.


Where to Apply For a Visa if You Have Been Removed, Deported, or Living Undocumented: The I-212 Waiver For Ineligible Immigrants

The I-212 Waiver can be used to let you re-enter the U.S. if you are currently ineligible to do so. Immigration law says that previous removals from the U.S., including at a port of entry or unlawful living in the U.S. makes visa applicants ineligible to re-enter the U.S. and ineligible to re-apply for a new immigrant (permanent, resident) visa. The I-212 can be used to waive your ineligibility regardless of previous removal history or history of illegal presence in the U.S.

If you were turned away at a U.S. port of entry but were not under formal removal proceedings, you do not need to file this form in order to re-apply for your visa. Likewise, if you have been deported previously but have waited the necessary amount of years before re-applying, you do not need to file this form. Applicants seeking non-immigrant visas, border crossing cards, T or U visas, and applicants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) do not need to file this form unless they need special consent for readmission. You should file the I-212 if you are seeking an immigrant visa during a time of ineligibility or are currently ineligible for a non-immigrant visa.

The application for the ineligibility waiver is separate from your application for a visa and has some different procedures. Where you should file this form is different depending on your reason for ineligibility. There are 2 major groups of ineligibility covered by the I-212 waiver: previous removals and unlawful residence in the U.S. These 2 groups have different application procedures, so you should be clear on the grounds of your ineligibility before applying for readmission.

Ineligible applicants who have undergone removal proceedings should file the I-212 at the same time or after they apply for change of status to get their visa. If you are ineligible to readmission to the U.S. because you have been previously removed, you should file the I-212 before you return to the U.S. If your removal is active but pending, you should file the form before leaving the U.S. If you are still in the U.S., you should file your I-212 at the same U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office you file for change of status. Otherwise, file your I-212 at the office where your application is pending. For example, if you applied for your visa at the USCIS office in Ciudad Juarez and are currently residing outside the U.S., you should submit your waiver to the Ciudad Juarez office as well.

If you are currently in removal proceedings, file your waiver with the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR). The immigration court processing your removal will tell you which office to submit your I-212 waiver to and give you further or unique instructions for filing. You can file the I-212 if you are currently undergoing active removal.

If you have previously lived in the U.S. unlawfully, you must depart the U.S. before filing for readmission. There will most likely be a 10 year waiting period before you are granted readmission under the I-212 waiver.

Where you should file the I-212 visa is different. For applicants needing consent for readmission but who are applying for a non-immigrant visa, you should file your waiver with an office of the U.S. consulate. Similarly, you should file with the U.S. consulate if you are applying for an immigrant visa and are required to file the I-601 waiver at the time of your visa application. If you are not required to get a visa before entering the U.S. as a non-immigrant, you can get your border crossing card and file your waiver at the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol office at the site of entry processing your admission.

For more information and help with filing for a visa, contact immigration attorney Phillip Kim.


Want to Come to the U.S. as a Specialized Employee? If Your Company Has a Relationship with a U.S. Office, You May Qualify for L-1B Status!

L-1B classification is for intracompany employees that are transferred to the U.S. for specialized knowledge of a company. L-1B status is used by specialized knowledge employees that are transferred from a company in a foreign country to an affiliated company in the U.S. If an office is not open in the U.S., employees who have specialized knowledge about the company can be transferred to the U.S. to set up an office.

Are you eligible? For starters, the U.S. employer must meet certain qualifications. The employer must have a relationship with the foreign company. This relationship can be one of the following: branch or parent companies (the foreign company created the U.S. office or vice versa), sister companies, or affiliated organizations. Two distinct companies that have nothing to do with each other will not qualify. But a company that spread internationally or is related to another company is qualified.

Also, the employer must be doing business in the U.S. and in at least 1 other country. This business can be direct or through the use of an affiliate business (sort of like a middle-man) while the employee stays in the U.S. “Doing business” means actively producing or supplying good and services. Just the presence of employees or offices abroad does not mean that they are “doing business”.

As an employee, you must meet certain requirements as well. Before coming to the U.S., it must be true that you worked for one whole year, nonstop, in the affiliate company abroad. Nonstop means that you did not take prolonged breaks during that year. For example, if you work at “Company 1” for 5 months, and then work for “Company 2” for a couple months and eventually come back to “Company 1” for the last 7 months does not mean you qualify. The job had to have lasted for one whole, complete year. Certain breaks like vacation might be acceptable. Speak with an attorney for more specific information about your case. Also, the year of employment must have been done within 3 years before coming to the U.S.

If you are the employee, you must also plan to come to the U.S. to provide services to the company or affiliate company. The services you can provide must depend on your specialized knowledge.

What is Specialized Knowledge? As the employee, your knowledge must consist of knowing information about the company you plan to work for. You must have extensive knowledge of the organization’s services or products provided, research or equipment that is used by the company, or the organization’s special techniques or management, AND how this company information is applied to the international market. Or you must have expertise in the company’s procedures or what actions the company takes to reach certain goals. Overall, specialized knowledge is not common in the industry you belong to. You have to be a notch above “skilled”. You need to know more than what the company’s interests are.

If you are sent to set up a new office, you must provide evidence of the area where the office will be located. The area must be sufficiently reserved by you or your company. The employer must be financially able to pay you and start a business.

If you come to set up a new office, you can stay for an initial period of 1 year. If you come as a professional employee, you can stay for 3 years. For both groups, the stay can be extended by 2 years until you reach the maximum of 5 years.

Your family can come to the U.S. too! Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are eligible for L-2 status. If approved, they can stay for as long as you do. Is your family already here? They can apply for L-2 status with Form I-765 with a fee. Your spouse can apply for and get work authorization while they stay here.

***Don’t meet the criteria of affiliated company? You might still be eligible: If you will be working at an unaffiliated company, your employer has to show…
That you will not be supervised by the unaffiliated organization employer AND
That you will not be considered “labor for hire” for the U.S. company or organization

This is not a full article on L-1B classification. There are a lot of other facts to consider and sometimes exceptions can be made to individual cases. For more information about L-1B status and whether or not you are eligible, contact specialized Immigration Lawyer Phillip Kim today!


Interested in J-1 agency? Learn More Here

J-1 visas are designed to increase social interactions between people of different countries. These visas enhance cultural values and education throughout the world. Specifically, J-1 visas allow foreigners to come to the U.S. with non-immigrant status as foreign exchange students, interns, trainees, or workers.

Every month, more than 150,000 people participate in the J-1 program. These Student Visas are amongst the most popular non-immigrant visas.

There are a variety of programs available to those seeking J-1 non-immigrant status. Agriculture, hospitality, business, communication, and engineering are just some of the programs that are available to people world-wide.

Some programs come with a salary and others don’t. It depends on the company or organization and what their specialty is. Time periods also vary from one organization to the next. While some companies sponsor students for up to 18 months, others keep workers or students for just the summer of a 6 month program.

J-1 exchange visitors need sponsorship from such organizations. There are a few different ways to secure sponsorship:

• Contact the company directly and they will assist you with what you need to do in order to get a position in their firm

• Contact a third part recruiting agency in your home country who will take your resume or qualifications and match you with a job or education opening in the U.S.

• Find a company that will hire you on your own and contact a sponsorship organization that will offer you a sponsorship if your suggested employer or university clears their required standards.

Companies often offer some advice about how to get a visa but this is not always the case. Furthermore, they do not go through the process step-by-step with you, leaving room for error in your application.

Specialized Immigration Attorneys will assist you in finding the right company and sponsor. They will also file your visa paperwork for you, so you can be sure that your request won’t be denied if you are eligible. Plus, Immigration Lawyers will work with you if you want or need to reapply for a visa or extend your status.

Immigration Attorney Phillip Kim has handles a variety of immigration cases. If you have any questions about J-1 Agency or how to apply for a J-1 visa, contact Attorney Phillip Kim right away!


H-1B Visa: Annual Cap and Forms

While you may qualify for an H-1B visa, it is not guaranteed that you will be granted a visa. Other factors must be taken into consideration like the H-1B cap. Every fiscal year, 65,000 H-IB visas are granted to workers. If you have an advanced degree, higher than a Bachelor’s, then you may be exempt from the cap. Also, extra visas are set aside every year for workers from Chile and Singapore. Otherwise, your application may be rejected due to the limit per year. Contact an immigration attorney for more information about the fiscal year cap and whether or not you qualify for an H-1B visa.

When filing your petition, you need to ensure that all parts of your application are completed and submitted properly. Form I-129 must be completed and sent along with a check or money order for the filing fee. Along with the petition, make sure you send in all evidence and necessary documents. If not, confusion will result in a late response from USCIS or your petition might even be rejected. If you fail to complete the form entirely, you will be denied a visa. Other documents must also be submitted like the Labor Condition Application and evidence of your educational background like a final transcript or letter from the Registrar. If you’re applying on the basis of sufficient experience, you will need evidence of this as well.

Several forms must be filed in addition to the I-129. An H Classification Supplement to the form must be submitted and an H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement. You must also organize the paperwork including a Table of Contents.

In terms of filing fees, it is the employer’s responsibility to pay for the forms that will be filed with USCIS. In some cases, arrangements are made between the worker and employer to determine who will pay for the I-120 petition and additional fees that are associated with it. Speak with your employer for more information and to reach an agreement on who will pay the final fees.

Applying for an H-1B visa can be complicated process. To avoid making any mistakes on your application, contact a specialized immigration lawyer who will make your case his top priority.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the H-1B visa, contact Specialized Immigration Attorney Phillip Kim.


Employment in the U.S.: Do You Qualify for an H-1B Visa?

H-1B visas apply to people who want to come to the U.S. to perform special services or work on the basis of exceptional merit. You can live in the U.S. for 3 years and this time can be extended up to 6 years.
If you would like to be considered for an H-1B visa for specialty occupations, one of the following must be true about your job.


  • The job requires someone who has a Bachelor’s degree or higher. In some countries, the Bachelor’s degree is known by another name – that is fine as long as it is equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree.


  • Secondly, it must be true that the employer normally needs someone with a degree to work. It also has to be normal for the industry to require a degree from workers. For example, it is a common rule that doctors, teachers, or engineers to have some form of degree in order to work. Restaurant or gas station jobs do not require special degrees from its workers.


  • The job can also be so complicated that it cannot be done by a worker who does not have a degree or Bachelor’s degree.

If your job meets just one of the conditions listed above, the first check has been completed. You are now ready to determine if you meet the criteria to apply for an H-1B visa. In order to be eligible, you must meet one of the following conditions.


  • You must hold a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent that is required by your employer at an accredited university or college.


  • Or, you must have a license that indicates that you are authorized to work in the state where you are employed. If you are planning on working in California, your license should state that you are permitted to practice your employment in this state.

If you don’t fall into the categories listed, you still have a chance at being accepted for an H-1B:

  • Have you worked or trained in a job enough that you now have the education and expertise of someone who has a degree? Then you might qualify. It is necessary that your knowledge of the field is recognized through advanced employment positions that indicate your level of training in the field.

If your job satisfies one of the criteria above and you educational or employment history indicates that you meet one of the criteria as well, then you may have a chance at receiving an H-1B visa. Other factors must be taken into consideration like the H-1B cap. Every fiscal year, 65,000 H-IB visas are granted to workers. If you have an advanced degree, higher than a Bachelor’s, then you may be exempt from the cap. Also, extra visas are set aside every year for workers from Chile and Singapore. Otherwise, your application may be rejected due to the limit per year. Contact an immigration attorney for more information about the fiscal year cap and whether or not you qualify for an H-1B visa.

Because determining your eligibility is a complicated task, it is recommended that you seek the assistance of an attorney. If you have any questions about the H-1B visa, please contact Immigration Attorney Phillip Kim.


Getting a Green Card: Do You Qualify For the LIFE Act?

The Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act allows some people to change their status to permanent resident even if they would not be otherwise eligible. Protection under the LIFE Act is called Section 245 adjustment of status and it might be able to help you get a green card.

To get a green card under the LIFE act, someone needs to have petitioned for you as an alien worker or relative or have a labor certification filed before April 30, 2001. If you have one of these petitions in your name, you may qualify for a green card through the LIFE act. Section 245 needs you to have a visa readily available to you, so file your form when one becomes available. For more information on being granted a visa before changing your status to resident, see our other posts or see U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services . If you have a visa available and the proper certification (listed above) the LIFE Act can provide permanent residence regardless of unlawful presence in the U.S., working illegally in the U.S., or leaving the U.S. during your stay, which disrupts your continuous stay. This means you can file for Section 245 residence under the LIFE Act if you are currently present in the U.S. unlawfully or have been working without a permanent work visa.

In order to receive a green card under section 245, you must be admissible to the U.S. This means you should be careful not to trigger inadmissibility. For example, you should not depart the country after unlawful stay in the U.S. because you will be barred from re-entry. Look into INA law for instructions on avoiding inadmissibility.

Children and spouses of section 245 green card holders may also be offered protection from removal if they have been living in the U.S. and can be granted employment lawfully under your LIFE Act residence card.

You should check the dates that section 245 requires you or your family to have been in the U.S. because they are often changing. Always be careful to file the most current forms with the most current information to avoid delays in your application process.

For more information and help with getting a green card, contact immigration attorney Phillip Kim


The Fiancé(e) visa

The fiancé(e) visa was designed to allow couples a window of time to unite in the U.S. for the purpose of getting married. The K-1 non-immigrant visa, or fiancé(e) visa, is for soon-to-be spouses of U.S. citizens who want to travel to the U.S. to join their partner. Because this visa is only intended to give you enough time to travel legally to the U.S. to marry, the fiancé(e) visa is for short-term, non-immigrant purposes. Fiancé(e)s do not qualify as relatives who are eligible for green cards as the family member of a citizen or resident. In order to change your status to permanent U.S. resident, you and your partner must get married.
If you are the fiancé(e) of a current U.S. citizen, the fiancé(e) visa can give you up to 90 days to perform your marriage ceremony in the U.S. After this 90 day period, fiancé(e) visas expire.

Failure to marry or depart the U.S. within this 90 day period may put you in violation of immigration law and could initiate removal proceedings, which could negatively affect your residence applications in the future. To avoid any penalties, you should plan to marry your spouse within 90 days of your petition being approved.
In order for you or your fiancé(e) to qualify for the K-1 visa, the petitioning party must be a U.S. citizen. You and your fiancé(e) must also both be unmarried at the time of petition and must have met at least once in person within the last 2 years.

You can be granted a waiver on the meeting requirement if meeting would have caused either party extreme hardship or if your meeting would violate personal social, religious, or cultural customs. You must submit documentation of your relationship with your visa application and should also submit some sort of documentation if you think you are eligible to be excused from this requirement. If you met your spouse through an international marriage broker, you must include that information in your application and provide documentation of that fact.


Traditional religious or cultural matchmaking is not included in the term “marriage broker” and you do not need to disclose that information otherwise.

Children of fiancées who will be marrying a U.S. citizen may also be granted visa under K-2 non-immigrant status. You should include the names of any children you wish to travel with on your immigration forms. After your marriage, your children will be able to apply for permanent status in relation to you or your citizen spouse.
Your fiancé(e) visa can also allow you to be eligible to work. If you plan to work when you enter the U.S., file for employment authorization once you are present in the country.

If you and your fiancé(e) are eligible to be granted the K-1 non-immigrant visa, you can file with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. After your petition is approved, you may legally travel to the U.S. for your marriage ceremony. When making wedding plans, keep in mind that the application will take some time to process and that further information may be necessary. You can find up-to-date information about the length of the review process with the USCIS.

For more information on immigration and help with getting a visa, contact immigration attorney Phillip Kim in Fresno, CA.


USCIS Redesigns Employment Authorization Document and Certificate of Citizenship

One of the most recent changes made to immigration and naturalization took place on October 25, 2011. In an effort to increase security and combat fraud, USCIS redesigned two official documents, making it harder for criminals to tamper or counterfeit the documents. Also, authenticating the documents is now easier and more accurate.

The two documents affected are the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and the Certificate of Citizenship (form N-560).

The EAD has been changed so that the card number is now located on the front of the card, as is the case number. The immigrant’s fingerprint and picture are laser engraved, making it harder to illegally reproduce the card. The unique background design and holographic imaging also makes the EAD difficult to tamper with.

The Certificate of Citizenship has been redesigned to include a digital approval signature and watermark that is engraved directly in the paper. The printing process has been changed to make the certificates more fraud resistant. And updated physical security features make it harder to tamper with the official documents.

USCIS anticipates that over 1 million people will receive the new documents in 2012.


At the Law Offices of Phillip Kim, Inc. we seek to keep you up to date on the latest changes in immigration and citizenship programs. For more information, contact Attorney Phillip Kim