Tag Archive Uscis


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

Hope for Immigration Reform to Unite Families

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.

ByPhillip Kim

Reasons Why Immigration Reform Might Pass

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.


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.


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


Good Moral Character: Does it Apply to You?

If you have been researching immigration laws, you might have come across the terms “good moral character”. Many avenues of applying for citizenship require that the applicant be of good moral character. In fact, the naturalization process requires this of all applicants. The concept of good character is ambiguous and confusing for many people who are hoping to become U.S. citizens. At the Law Offices of Phillip Kim, we have had many clients approach us with questions about their moral character and whether it will prevent them from becoming citizens. We’ve written this article to clear the air on what it means to have good moral character.

First and foremost, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will look at your criminal record. Certain crimes will result in barring you from becoming a U.S. citizen. These crimes include murder and aggravated felonies. Other less serious offenses might result in a short-term ban. During this time, the applicant will not be eligible for citizenship. Form N-400 is the form used to apply for U.S. citizenship. The form asks many questions about your criminal background. We urge you to respond truthfully and do not omit any criminal charges that were filed against you, even if they are no longer on record or expunged. If USCIS finds out about an issue from your past, you can be denied. Even minor events should be reported.

If you fall into the category of those who have a criminal record, you will need to send a copy of all documents pertaining to your case. For most, these documents include arrest warrants, reports, and court documents. You may also want to consider sending statements or examples of evidence that show your side of the story.

Some clients worry about traffic violations. You do not need to send documents for a traffic incident unless alcohol or drugs were involved. If a traffic violation resulted in an arrest, you will not need to send documents if the penalty involved points on your driver’s license or you were only forced to pay a fine less than $500.

An important note to keep in mind is that some serious crimes come with equally serious consequences. You can be removed (deported) for those crimes. In these cases, USCIS suggests that you seek the assistance of an immigration attorney.

While your criminal record is the primary tool used to determine whether or not you have good moral character, another factor will also jeopardize your plan of becoming a U.S. citizen: lying during interviews. Even if you get away with lying during an interview, if USCIS finds out that you lied later on, your citizenship can be taken away.

In addition, certain specific acts may classify you as someone who does not have good moral character. These include but are not limited to:

  • Failure to pay child support
  • Illegal activities such as prostitution or polygamy
  • Crimes that involve fraud
  • Crimes against the government
  • Being in jail or another institution for 180 days or more during the past 5 years (3 years if you are applying through marriage with a U.S. citizen)

For more information about good moral character, contact Attorney Phillip Kim.

ByPhillip Kim

Change My Nonimmigrant Status by Immigration Attorney in Fresno

If you want to change the purpose of your visit while in the United States, you (or in some cases your employer) must file a request on the appropriate form before your authorized stay expires. For instance, if you arrived here as a tourist but want to become a student, you must submit an application to change your status. We recommend that you apply as soon as you determine that you need to change to a different nonimmigrant category.

Until you receive approval , do not assume the status has been approved, and do not change your activity in the United States. For example, if you are currently a nonimmigrant tourist, do not begin attending school as a student until you have received authorization to change your status. If you fail to maintain your nonimmigrant status, you may be barred from returning to and/or removed (deported) from the United States. Your authorized status and the date your status expires , Arrival-Departure Record.

In general, you may apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you were lawfully admitted to the United States with a nonimmigrant visa, your nonimmigrant status remains valid, you have not violated the conditions of your status, and you have not committed any crimes that would make you ineligible.

You do not need to apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you were admitted into the United States for business reasons (B-1 visa category ) and you wish to remain in the United States for pleasure before your authorized stay expires.

You do not need to apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you wish to attend school in the United States, and you are the spouse or child of someone who is currently in the United States in any of the following nonimmigrant visa categories:

Diplomatic and other government officials, and employees (A visa category)
International trade and investors (E visa )
Representatives to international organizations and their employees (G visa )
Temporary workers (H visa)
Representatives of foreign media (I visa)
Exchange visitors (J visa)
Intracompany transferees (L visa)
Academic (F visa) or vocational (M visa) students (you may attend elementary, middle or high school only: if you want to attend post-secondary school full-time you must apply for a change of status).
You may not apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you were admitted to the United States in the following categories:

Visa Waiver Program· Crew member (D nonimmigrant visa)
In transit through the United States (C nonimmigrant visa)
In transit through the United States without a visa (TWOV)
Fiancé of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiancé (K nonimmigrant visa)
Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S nonimmigrant visa)
If you are a vocational student (M-1), you may not apply to change your status to a(n):

Academic student (F-1)
Any H status (Temporary worker), if the training you received as a vocational student in the United States provided the qualifications for the temporary worker position you seek.
If you are an international exchange visitor (J-1), you may not change your nonimmigrant status if:

You were admitted to the United States to receive graduate medical training, unless you receive a special waiver.
You are an exchange visitor and are required to meet the foreign residence requirement, unless you receive a waiver.
If you do not receive a waiver, you may only apply to change to a diplomatic and other government officials (A visa) or representatives to international organizations (G visa)
For information on how to apply, Please Contact:
Fresno Immigration Attorney Phillip Kim
(559) 761-9742

ByPhillip Kim

USCIS’ Role in the Visa Process by Immigration Attorney in Fresno

Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the visa process, particularly USCIS

and Department of State (DOS) efforts to maximize visa issuance in accordance with

the law.

In recent years, over 1 million people became Lawful Permanent Residents of the

United States (LPRs). Under the law there are a variety of different categories and

means through which a person may become eligible for permanent residence. A

substantial number of these categories have numerical limitations – annual caps on

how many people can immigrate. There are other aspects to these caps as well,

such as limitations per country.

The Department of State administers the provisions of the Immigration and

Nationality Act (INA) that relate to the numerical limits on immigrant visa issuance.

However, DOS and USCIS must work closely in this respect because visas issued by

DOS and adjustment of status granted by USCIS draw down from the same pool of

limited numbers. Close and careful coordination ensures that annual limitations are

not exceeded, and also helps us jointly strive to use all available visa numbers when

there is sufficient demand.

In concert with DOS, USCIS has made significant changes in recent years to

maximize the use of the limited number of visas available annually. These changes

include increased staffing, enhanced analytical capacity, more detailed and strategic

management of monthly production, and close partnership with DOS to share greater

information. This enhanced information exchange assists DOS in better managing visa

allocations through the monthly visa bulletin and improves USCIS’ ability to target

production for maximum result.For More Information, Please Contact:
Fresno Immigration Attorney Phillip Kim
(559) 761-9742

ByPhillip Kim

Green Card Process and Permanent Resident Card Application Procedure

Immigrants in most categories will need an immigrant petition, Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, or another petition) filed on their behalf.

A petition establishes the underlying basis for your ability to immigrate and determines your immigrant classification or category. Some categories of immigrants may be able to self-petition. Most people immigrating based on humanitarian programs are exempt from the petition requirement.

Some immigrant petitions can be filed at the same time as the adjustment application (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), known as “concurrent filing” while other categories of immigrants will be required to wait until they have an approved petition before being allowed to apply for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa. For more information about concurrent filing, Click HERE.

Visa Availability

A visa is always available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. If you are in a family or employment based preference category, visa availability is determined by:
Your priority date
The preference category you are immigrating under
The country the visa will be charged to (usually your country of citizenship)

The Department of State is the government agency that controls visa numbers. The annual limits for visa numbers are established by Congress and can be referenced in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

First, a priority date will be assigned to you based on your immigrant petition filing date (the date that the petition is properly filed with the Gov.) or, in certain employment-based cases, the date the application for a labor certification was accepted by the Department of Labor. Your priority date holds your place in line for an immigrant visa.

This date, along with your country of nationality and preference category, determines if or how long a person will have to wait for a visa to be immediately available. When the officials are ready to approve an applicant for permanent residency in a visa category that has limited numbers, we must first request a visa number from the Department of State.

When a visa is available, you may file Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (if you are in the United States) or apply for an immigrant visa abroad (consular processing). If you are consular processing, the Gov. will forward your approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center who will contact you when your priority date is about to become current as to what your next steps are and when you may apply for an immigrant visa abroad.

For more information on determining visa availability or filing abroad, see the “Visa Availability & Priority Dates” and “Consular Processing” links to the left.

Admissibility to the United States

All persons applying for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status must prove to the satisfaction of immigration or consular officials that they are admissible (eligible for admission) to the United States.

There are many grounds of inadmissibility that could potentially cause someone to be ineligible to become a permanent resident. For instance, there are health-related, criminal, security-related, and other grounds the office must consider.

In some cases and in certain situations, if you are found inadmissible to the United States you may be eligible to file a waiver on Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility, (the form required for most immigrants) or Application By Refugee For Waiver of Grounds of Excludability (the form required for refugees and asylees) to excuse your inadmissibility.

The grounds of inadmissibility that are determined by the particular category under which you are immigrating. If you are ultimately found inadmissible to the United States, your adjustment of status application or immigrant visa application will be denied. Congress has set the grounds of inadmissibility and they may be referenced in Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

After all paperwork has been received, interviews conducted (if necessary), security checks completed, and other eligibility requirements reviewed, your case will be ready for a decision by the Government.

For more information, CALL (559) 761-9742 or Click HERE.

ByPhillip Kim

5 Fast Ways to Get a Green Card in Fresno California Attorney Greencard Lawyer

Here are the 5 FAST Ways to Get a Green Card in Fresno California

1. Through Family Members
2. Through Employment
3. Through Asylum
4. Through Registry
5. Through Cancellation of Removal

First, the most common way of getting a green card is through a family member.
Your spouse, parents, children, and siblings can sponsor you.
Depending on which family member sponsors you, the whole process could take between close to one year and over five years. The status of the sponsoring family member is also a factor- either a US citizen or a permanent resident.

Second, employment is also a common way of getting a green card.
The most difficult part of this particular process could be finding an employer who is willing to sponsor you. Many employers are reluctant to sponsor a foreign worker due to the legal and application costs in combination with the employer’s legal obligation. Thus, as a beneficiary, you need to ensure that your potential employer understands the legal process for sponsorship. There could be also a huge difference in legal fees among attorneys. So, you need to make sure to hire an attorney with reasonable legal fees.

Third, the goverment reports that there have still been a large number of asylum applicants each year. The unique aspect of the asylum process is that the asylum case is heavily based upon the applicant’s personal statement. Supplemental documents of articles and affidavits from witnesses could strengthen the case. The applicant also needs to well prepare for the interview. The attendance of an attorney of the interview is highly recommended.

Fourth, if you can prove that you have been in the United States since 1972 with a few requirements satisfied, you have a very good chance of getting a green card by registry. Your tax and social security would certainly help your case.

Last, cancellation of removal could also be used as a way of getting a green card. Please note that this method should be used as a last resort because deportation proceedings are highly likely to follow if the asylum application is denied.

If you need more information on getting a green card, please contact here.

Attorney Phillip Kim represents his clients from the Central Valley, Southern California, and Northern California including Fresno County, Kings County, Kern County, Stanislaus County, Tulare County, Merced County, San Joaquin Valley County, Los Angeles County, and the San Francisco Bay area with cities such as Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, Merced, Tulare, Visalia, Modesto, Stockton, Hanford, Lemoore, San Jose, San Francisco, and San Diego.