Hope for Dreamers Update! H.R. 3440 / S 1615: Dream Act of 2017

Currently, DACA has been rescinded.  Procedurally, the executive order issued in 2012 by the prior Administration, had still not been resolved through Congress. President Trump has requested that Congress solve the current problem that over 800,000 children who are now young adults, crossed the border illegally and have no legal status in the United States.

 

Congress appears to have taken up this call to action as a top priority. The Republicans have proposed that status be granted to young people who have a future plan.  In other words, Dreamers who successfully demonstrate that that they will pursue education, military and be an asset to the U.S. economy and society will be granted status.  Democrats, on the other hand, propose that all Dreamers regardless of goals or plans should be legalized.

 

The above analysis of the proposed bill(s) is very general and broad. However, the take away point here is that Congress is moving forward, and there is hope. It is left to see which bill will be passed.

 

It is important to consult with an experienced U.S. Immigration Attorney who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA). ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm provides free initial screening consultations with our lawyers or you may request our standard consultation. Our contact information is conveniently available at www.vasselllaw.com.

 

Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) | Vassell & LeeRC Law Group

www.vasselllaw.com | info@vasselllaw.com

U.S. Immigration Lawyers Serving Families, Businesses & Individuals for Over 20 Years

Is Entering the US Illegally Better than Entering on a Visa Waiver?

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We hope the title caught your attention!  If you or anyone you know enters the United States on the ESTA Visa Waiver Program, it is important  to understand the hard consequences of overstaying a Waiver issued through ESTA. Countries who are eligible for an ESTA Visa Waiver to the United States include (but are not limited to): South Korea, United Kingdom, and France to name a few.

An ESTA visa waiver, while attractive, should be the last option for a visitor to the United States. From a legal perspective, the advantages are outweighed by the disadvantages. You may opt out of the visa waiver program and apply for a standard visa if you also find the below legal issues troubling:

  • You waive all rights to avail oneself of the Federal Immigration Courts (i.e. Defense in Deportation or Removal Proceedings)  if a planned or unplanned overstay occurs. The result: Immediate administrative removal from the United States. In comparison: a foreign national who enters the country illegally is given the privilege of the U.S. Federal courts to guard against removal.
  • Visa Waiver status does not provide options to extend your stay in the United States.  In Comparison: If you entered without inspection or documents, your “day in court” can ‘double serve’ as an extended status.
  • If you find a great job, spouse or all of the above, you may not apply for a change of status or adjust of status in the United States. [Note: There are limited exceptions with the guidance of experienced Immigration Legal counsel].

Since the main advantage of a Visa Waiver is the speed and ability to bypass the Visa process, plan well in advance of a trip to the United States. Apply for an actual non-immigrant visa as “status insurance” for you and your loved ones.  Visa Waivers are ideal in an emergency situation, but do not be so quick to give up your rights where you may one day wish you had only entered illegally to have more rights! [ Cynical but scarily true. :-/ ]

You may contact our lawyers for a free initial ‘in office or video/skype consultation by emailing your request to info@vasselllaw.com or by calling our attorney offices listed conveniently at www.vasselllaw.com. Our lawyers serve clients all over the world from our law firm locations in Washington D.C., Rockville, Maryland and Fairfax, Virginia.

Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)

Over 20 years of experience Representing Individuals, Families and Businesses in U.S. Immigration Legal Matters

www.vasselllaw.com | info@vasselllaw.com

It is important to consult with an experienced U.S. Immigration Attorney who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA).  

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Vassell & LeeRC Law Group provides free initial screening consultations with our lawyers or you may request our standard consultation. Our contact information is conveniently available at www.vasselllaw.com.

Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) | Vassell & LeeRC Law Group

www.vasselllaw.com | info@vasselllaw.com

U.S. Immigration Lawyers Serving Families, Businesses & Individuals for Over 20 Years

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Is An EB-5 Visa Worth it for Foreign National Business Professionals to Obtain Permanent Resident Status in the United States?

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For the past two decades our immigration lawyers have observed the excitement in our clients eyes when they first talk about the EB-5 Green Card visa.  However, by the time we provide legal advice regarding the requirements and logistics, we see serious concern set in, and business clients then seek alternative options.

The EB-5 permanent resident (green card) program presents the following points of concern:

  • For two years EB-5 investors must pay taxes to the U.S. Government on all their worldwide earnings and holdings.

  • The Permanent Resident Card is only conditional, and 90 days before the 2 year mark, another application must be filed to release conditions by the U.S. Government. Note: The Department of Homeland Security and possibly Department of Labor conduct detailed review of job creation standards meeting stringent guidelines.

  • All money must be ‘at risk’ and vested BEFORE the visa is approved by U.S. Immigration.

If any of the above points are of concern to you or someone you know seeking EB-5 status, business visa alternatives are available to manage your business investment in the United States. Other options include, but are not limited to the following:

First, obtain a non-immigrant business visa such as an Intracompany transfer visa L-1A, Extraordinary visa O visa, or Investor visa E-2.  Ensure part of your business plan includes job creation for U.S. Citizens as well!

Next, Once the business is established and business goals are being met, file for an EB-1 Permanent Resident Status for you and your family in the United States. Lawyers here at Vassell & LeeRC Law Group are experienced in EB-5 visas, and the alternative business immigration options explained briefly above.

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It is important to consult with an experienced U.S. Immigration Attorney who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA).

ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm provides free initial screening consultations with our lawyers or you may request our standard consultation. Our contact information is conveniently available at www.vasselllaw.com.

Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) | ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm www.vasselllaw.com | info@vasselllaw.com

U.S. Immigration Lawyers Serving Families, Businesses & Individuals for Over 20 Years

 

ILLEGAL OR OUT OF STATUS IF YOU ARE A CRIME VICTIM–U VISA STATUS OPTIONS

If you know someone who is out of status here in the United States and has been the victim of a crime, he or she may be eligible for a U Visa. U visas are available to foreign nationals or aliens who are in the United States and entered without inspection (“EWI”) or have overstayed an original visa grant.

U visas have even been considered and granted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) based on the following scenarios.

  • A foreign national who was in a common law marriage, and has two U.S. children with her common law husband. Her husband is later killed. She is eligible for a U visa.
  • Likewise, a client while working for an employer is involved in a robbery and assists in finding the escaped criminal is yet another example of someone who qualifies.

Qualifying Criminal Activity for U visas are listed in 8 C.F.R. Sec. 214.14. U visas petitions require the filing of form I-918 and a certification by the respective police department, amongst other requirements. A U visa also entitles the individual to a workers’ permit, and the possibility of adjusting to a U.S. permanent resident. If an individual or alien is in removal proceedings they may obtain temporary or permanent relief through the grant of a U visa. U visas are complex and require representation by an experienced U.S. Immigration lawyer.

It is important to consult with an experienced U.S. Immigration Attorney who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA).

ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm provides free initial screening consultations with our lawyers or you may request our standard consultation. Our contact information is conveniently available at www.vasselllaw.com.

Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) | ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm

www.vasselllaw.com | info@vasselllaw.com

U.S. Immigration Lawyers Serving Families, Businesses & Individuals for Over 20 Years

Being Strategic with Marriage After Abuse When You’re Not Legalized in the U.S.

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When violence erupts in the home and you are without status in the United States, a foreign national is eligible to adjust status through VAWA or a U visa. (VAWA explained below). However, finding new love and remarrying soon after terminating the problematic marriage may throw a serious monkey wrench into your ability to adjust status. One should pause and first ensure none of the below issues apply to his or her situation:

  • Did you enter the U.S. without inspection (i.e. illegal entry)
  • Do you have a criminal history such as a DUI, use of illegal drugs, shoplifting or even receipt of stolen property?
  • Have you ever used a false name or made any misrepresentation even if accidental, unintentional or for your very safety?
  • Any other red flags regarding your status which are ‘of concern’?

If you answered yes or ‘maybe’ to any of the above, consult an immigration lawyer before marrying. For instance, a VAWA I-360 petition has built into it several waiver options which can allow you to overcome serious obstacles to immigration. The government of the United States takes a strong stand against domestic violence and encourages foreign nationals to leave an abusive marriage, as their is help.

Options include powerful Waivers of Inadmissibility through the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”). The result is the ability to legalize and/or adjust status to a U.S. Permanent Resident. A VAWA I-360 application may confer paroled status into the United States especially for those who entered the United States illegally, thereby curing unlawful presence issues in the United States.

If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence in the home, and is a foreign national without status; do not hesitate to get the legal support and advice needed to ensure your safety and ability to apply for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) [note: U visa’s are discussed in another ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm article and blog posts].

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It is important to consult with an experienced U.S. Immigration Attorney who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA).

ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm provides free initial screening consultations with our lawyers or you may request our standard consultation. Our contact information is conveniently available at www.vasselllaw.com.

Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) | VScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm

www.vasselllaw.com | info@vasselllaw.com

U.S. Immigration Lawyers Serving Families, Businesses & Individuals for Over 20 Years

Canadians Cannot Apply for Asylum in the United States. True or False?

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And the answer is (drumroll please…)FALSE!

Our team of U.S. Immigration lawyers realize that Canadians and foreign nationals from developed countries believe this myth. U.S. Asylum is available to all foreign nationals worldwide. One’s country of origin never determines the eligibility to apply for asylum once in the United States.

The purpose of this article is to educate and dispel the belief that developed countries, such as Canada, cannot present a strong case for asylum in United States.

Asylum is granted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and/or defensively by the Department of Justice to individuals who meet the following test:

  1. Ongoing Persecution in their home country;
  2. The persecution is linked to race, religion, social group or political opinion;
  3. The government is persecuting its people or is unwilling/unable to protect against such persecution; and
  4. There is evidence of past persecution or well-founded fear of future persecution. INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421, 423 (1987).

Here is a story to illustrate…

Recently in Ontario, Canada a bill was passed that allows the Provincial Government Officials to forcibly take away children from families who follow the tenets of their Christian Faith. In effect, Christians who teach their children or encourage them that homosexuality or gender identity is spiritual and not a choice, face having their children removed from the home. http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&BillID=4479; https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-ontario-passes-totalitarian-bill-allowing-govt-to-take-kids-from. The scenarios which will lead up to a child being taken away are left to be seen in Canada. However, if a child were to tell their parents that he or she wants to be the opposite sex, and the parents respond by teaching the Christian Bible view on sexuality this would be deemed grounds for Child Welfare services to step in and take away the parent’s child. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-ontario-passes-totalitarian-bill-allowing-govt-to-take-kids-from-c. The child would then only be placed in an LGBT believing home instead and preferred over the biological parents. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-ontario-passes-totalitarian-bill-allowing-govt-to-take-kids-from-c.

Based on the above possible scenario, how would a Canadian’s application for U.S. Asylum play out?

  1. First, persecution arises when one’s child is taken by the government based on the family’s values and belief system.
  2. Second, the nexus is apparent where well established Christian based principles cause parents to be denied rights and punished.
  3. It would also follow that the government is the cause of persecution here, and government would be unwilling to protect against this religious persecution.
  4. Finally, the forcible taking of parents’ children where the Christian home teaches their faith & bible view would meet the definition of persecution. Actual past persecution and a strong possibility of future persecution are both sound grounds considered in asylum cases.

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While U.S. asylum laws have clear elements to meet for those who seek asylum, it is a complex area which requires experienced U.S. Immigration Counsel who are members of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association.

ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm provides free initial screening consultations with our lawyers or you may request our standard consultation. Our contact information is conveniently available at www.vasselllaw.com.

Oh Boy! Problems in Immigration Court & Problems at Home

When it rains, it pours (‘as the saying goes’). This is life unfortunately. If you or someone you know is in U.S. Immigration removal/deportation proceedings and the legal relief is based on a U.S. Citizen Spouse (“USC”), it is vital to keep the relationship with your USC spouse healthy. However, if the relationship becomes unbearable and separation and divorce becomes inevitable, it is important to take steps to guard against immediate removal and deportation from the United States. An I-130/I-485 Adjustment of Status based on USC spouse is based on a bona fide marriage, not whether the couple has marital problems. It is important to understand the difference when sitting down with legal counsel.

Important steps to take when a marriage is in jeopardy is as follows:

  • File for a continuance if a court date is soon upcoming through your U.S. Immigration counsel who will consider new legal relief options.
  • Keep good records of all remedial and rehabilitative action taken towards your spouse.
  • In the case of abuse, file police reports and keep medical records. (Essential for alternative forms of relief.

 

Despite how overwhelming a break down with your USC spouse is during deportation removal proceedings, use this ‘tragedy’ to improve yourself number one, as you have no control over another person (here your USC spouse). If your spouse declines counseling, a U.S. immigration judge will find it compelling that you take steps to improve yourself through counseling and therapy, a big plus towards one’s character.

If you have questions you may contact ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm for a free initial consultation. We are members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”). Our managing attorney has over 20 years experience  in U.S. Immigration law matters.  We also invite you to chat with us by emailing info@vasselllaw.com.

 

Note: You may also inquire about divorce representation, criminal representation and business law if you are a non-U.S. Citizen residing in the United States and encounter these state law matters. We are happy to provide and answer questions regarding: Asylum, VAWA, U visas, Permanent Resident Status, NACARA, 245i, PERM Labor Certification, I-751 Removal of Conditions, Fairfax VA Immigration Attorneys, Rockville MD Lawyers, Baltimore MD Immigration Lawyers, Laurel MD Immigration Attorneys, Washington D.C. Lawyers in our offices.

 

Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)

ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm

Attorneys serving Individuals, Businesses & Families since 1997

info@vasselllaw.com | http://www.vasselllaw.com | 703.261.6881▪202.973.0156▪301.251.4003

Stacking U.S. Legalization Options While Awaiting Asylum Relief in the United States

Currently, wait times in the United States for an asylum interview or court date may be ‘years away’ based on the volume of applications filed each year by foreign nationals. During the lengthy wait time, however, life goes on. For instance, asylum applicants may meet someone and marry, or find employment which allows for sponsorship by a U.S. employer.

Our attorneys have been successful in filing petitions for employment and family based sponsorship while asylum applications are still in ‘cue’. Asylum applicants are not prohibited from applying for additional or alternative visa options to adjust status to a U.S. permanent resident where the opportunity arises. However, the withdrawal of an asylum application is very sensitive and should not be undertaken by asylum applicants unless they work with experienced immigration legal counsel to avoid fraud allegations.

You may contact our lawyers for a free initial consultation by emailing your request to info@vasselllaw.com or by calling our law offices listed conveniently on our web page at www.vasselllaw.com.

 

Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)

Over 20 years of experience Representing Individuals, Families and Businesses in U.S. Immigration Legal Matters

www.vasselllaw.com | info@vasselllaw.com

Q&A: What is the Status of a Foreign National Who Enters the U.S. Illegally and Receives “Paroled” Status by a US Customs Border & Patrol Officer to Remain in the United States?

With the recent border surge of undocumented individuals seeking asylum or alternative relief in the United States, our attorneys have seen much confusion regarding the status of those who are in ‘paroled’ status. The purpose of this short Q&A is not to explain parole status. Rather, assuming parole status we have answered the following questions below:

  • What is the status of someone who crosses the border illegally and is caught by US Border Patrol, and then released under ‘parole’ status into the United States?

Under current U.S. Immigration laws, foreign nationals who enter the US without inspection (EWI); and are paroled into the United States by an Immigration CBP officer are still considered to have legally entered.

  • If an individual is paroled into the United States, can he or she adjust status to a U.S. Permanent Resident through an immediate relative such as a U.S. Citizen child?

Yes, only if there are no additional inadmissibility issues under U.S. Immigration laws.

It is important to consult with an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer about the complexity of status when a foreign national enters the United States EWI. Our law firm offers limited in office, phone or video consults. You may contact our office at the contact information conveniently listed at www.vasselllaw.com . We are Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) and attorneys have over 20 years with U.S. Immigration legal matters.

Ideas for questions you may want to ask us about include: Travel Ban, Dulles Airport or Baltimore Airport, Deferred Inspections, Arlington Immigration Court, Baltimore Immigration Court, Fairfax, Virginia Immigration Lawyers, Rockville Maryland Immigration Lawyers, Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa, U visa, VAWA – Violence Against Women, Entry without Inspection, Detention or Detained Foreign National, Washington D.C. Immigration Attorneys, I-290B, Motions to Reopen, Motion to Reconsider, U.S. Consulate, N-400, U.S. Citizenship, TPS, Temporary Protection Status, Asylum or Credible Fear Interviews.

 

ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm

www.vasselllaw.com

Members of AILA

Work Visas for Nurses and Other Professionals When DOL says ‘Not a Specialty Occupation’ – H-1B Visa Alternatives for Canadian & Mexican Nationals

Nurses often have a unique issue in qualifying for H-1B speciality work visa status since the Department of Labor  (“DOL”) determined Nurses only require a 2 year diploma. In contrast, an H-1B work visa is only available to professions that require a 4 year degree minimum such as an accountant.  The TN work visa, available under NAFTA, is an alternative available for Canadian and Mexican Nationals.

The TN work visa is very different from an H-1B and the intent requirement alone can be missed by applicant resulting in a denied visa. Therefore, if you are considering this option please first consult with an experienced U.S. Immigration Lawyer in Consulate visa processing.

Below are a few tips for Canadian or Mexican nurse professionals to keep in mind for discussion with your lawyer when considering TN visa processing:

 

  • Where to Apply. Visas may be processed at the U.S. Consulate or at designated U.S. Borders by Customs Border & Patrol.
  • Credentials. Relevant Diploma/Degree that shows education match to position is required.
  • Employer Letter. Request a letter from Employer for TN Applicants should include the following:

 

 Name of employer

 Position

 List of the nature of the job description itemizing duties

  Length of stay in the United States

 Compensation paid

 Evidence of education

 Use Company letterhead with original signatures only

Certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) ( i.e.    VisaScreen)

 

We invite you to inquire about: Our attorneys in Washington DC,  Fairfax Virginia and Rockville Maryland who can answer questions about the following: Nurses, Physical therapists, Speech therapists, Occupational therapists and options such as: H-1B visa, O visa, L visa, E visa, investor visa, worker’s permit and other work visas and/or work permits for all professions including medical professionals.

Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA “)

ScottVassell & LeeCC Law Firm 

Representing Businesses, Families & Individual U.S. Immigration needs since 1997
www.vasselllaw.com | info@vasselllaw.com  | Offices in Washington D.C. • Rockville, Maryland • Fairfax,Virginia