On March 9, 2017, Attorney Ahmad Yakzan was honored by appearing on the Consumer Quarterback Show. He discussed several immigration related subjects ranging from President Trump’s Executive Order, to the new enforcement priorities, and investment visas. He also spoke about immigration reform and the need for the United States to attract the best and brightest. To see the show, click below.
I have been practicing immigration law exclusively since before I passed the Florida Bar (under the supervision of a licensed attorney). I have seen this scenario more times than I care to admit.
A client comes into my office for a consultation. I find out that the client had already filed a petition on his/her own without consulting an attorney. The client now comes in because something has gone VERY wrong. The client’s petition has already been denied, or worse they have landed in removal proceedings because they should not have filed because of something in their past. Or the potential client had filed a petition for permanent residence and the government did not believe that the marriage is real and charged the immigrant with marriage fraud and referred them to immigration court.
Unfortunately, in some cases, it had been too late or it had become much more expensive to deal with the issues because of the Service’s determination. The first reason I give to hire an attorney is the fact that an attorney will always be an advocate on your behalf. Even when I ended up in court on personal matters I always hired an attorney. I believe that the attorney will take the emotions out of the matter and will be able to represent your interests in a more subdued way than you would have. This level of dedication could mean the difference between winning and losing the case.
The second reason I give is that simply you will have one additional witness, especially in cases when you know you will end up in an interview with the Service. Most of the time, the Service, represented by an immigration officer conducting the interview, will be the only other person in the room. Unfortunately, this means that the record will be written by them. Administrative immigration proceedings are not recorded, like a court proceeding, and unfortunately, in some instances, the record will be written against you. In some instances, I have heard that the officer asked questions that should not have been asked. If you were the only person in the room, it would be your word against the officer’s, and it will be very hard to prove that the officer asked these inappropriate questions. So why not have another person in the room, who will be able to prove otherwise?
Lastly, and this is the most important reason, you should hire an attorney because you are not one, or even if you are, you should still hire one as discussed above. Just like a doctor, and I hope that you are not self-medicating, the attorney will be able to diagnose the legal problem, and prescribe the best legal avenue to deal with the problem. Immigration law is very complicated, and the outcome could differ literally on one simple fact, like the date you came into the United States, your country of citizenship, or whether you were previously inspected by an immigration officer. An attorney will be able to diagnose these simple problems, because he/she knows how to do that, and you do not.
Call us before you print out that form from www.uscis.gov. We will always be your advocate and serving you would be our mission.
Senator Hatch introduced the ‘‘Immigration Innovation Act of 2015’’ or the ‘‘I-Squared Act of 2015’’ on the Senate today. The Act aims to get more skilled immigrants into the United States. It has three components:
1. It raises the amount of H1B visas available for skilled immigrants. The Act raises the number of visas depending on the time-frame during which the current numbers are exhausted. The Act also codifies giving H1B dependents Employment Authorization Documents (EAD). Dependents are not currently allowed to work.
2. The Act also aims to move the backlog on immigrant visa by increasing the available number of visas available for immigrant visa petitions by changing the per capita numbers for countries.
3. The Act allows immigrants to move employer more easily by allowing them to stay in status for 60 days after their employment is terminated.
The Act deals with some other things, including raising funding for STEM programs.
Visit this link to read the Act.
The I-Squared Act of 2015 tries to fix many of the persistent problems that have led to the departure of many American educated students from the United States.
In recent post I discussed the Board’s decision to allow Guatemalan women to apply for asylum based on a history of domestic violence in their country. As I discussed in that post, the Board left the door open to asylum claims to victims from any country that fails to protect victims of domestic violence because of state inability to protect or inaction. The history of domestic violence in Guatemala in staggering, with the United Nations reporting that 2 women are killed every day because of domestic violence in the country.
Although these numbers are mind-numbing, the numbers in the Middle East are more staggering. These numbers how that, for example, in Lebanon 88% of women were subject to some form of abuse. The question will be whether, on a case by case basis, the abuse will rise to the level of persecution under asylum law. These high numbers of domestic violence cases and the lack of protections for victims opens the door to asylum cases from the Middle East. I know that these cases will come up through the system and I hope that USCIS will grant them because I know that these women deserve protections.
The Board of Immigration Appeals ruled today that a conditional permanent resident admitted as such at a port of entry is ineligible for cancellation of removal since he was an aggravated felon. The Respondent in the case was a citizen of North Korea who was convicted of two crimes involving moral turpitude and an aggravated felony. He was admitted as a conditional resident in 1991 and was placed in removal proceedings in 2013. He conceded removability at his hearing but applied for adjustment of status along with a 212(h) waiver. The immigration judge ruled that he was ineligible for adjustment and the waiver since he was admitted to the United States and convicted of an aggravated felony. In upholding the immigration judge’s decision the Board ruled that conditional residents admitted at a port of entry is an alien admitted for permanent residence. The Board ruled that since the conviction was within 7 years of his admission, he was ineligible for cancellation of removal. Click here to read the decision.
In a decision dated last month, the Seventh Circuit ruled that the Board of Immigration Appeals erred in relying on uncorroborated police reports to deny 212(c) relief. The Petitioner in the case was convicted in 1990 of a domestic abuse charge. He was subsequently arrested several times but was never convicted of anything else. The immigration judge ruled that he was credible but denied his request for relief since he did not show that he was rehabilitated. The BIA affirmed the immigration judge’s decision reasoning that even though the case was a “close call”, the Respondent did not show that he was rehabilitated. The court, in reversing the BIA’s decision, reasoned that the Board did not follow its own binding decision in Arreguin, 21 I&N Dec. 38 (BIA 1995) and thus the case was denied improperly. The court ruled that since the police reports were uncorroborated, they should not have been used as a basis to deny relief in the case. The case is Avila-Ramirez v. Holder.
The Eleventh Circuit ruled today that a Respondent can not file a stand alone 212(h) waiver without an accompanying application for adjustment of status application. Rivas applied for a waiver of inadmissibility nunc pro tunc after being placed in removal proceedings. He had applied for naturalization, but his application was denied since he had two larceny convictions in Florida. The immigration judge granted the waiver application and the Service appealed. The Board reversed the immigration judge’s decision reasoning that statutory revisions such is IIRIRA precluded nunc pro tunc waiver applications. The Eleventh Circuit upheld the Board’s decision on the same reasoning. The court also ruled that Congress had several rational basis to disallow nunc pro tunc waivers. To read the decision click here.