Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Gang of 8" Senators and President Obama Offer Immigration Reform Plans

Yesterday, a bipartisan group of eight senators offered a framework for comprehensive immigration reform. Today, the President laid out his vision for immigration reform in Las Vegas, NV. There are also reports that a bipartisan group of Congressmen from the House are also hammering out their own version of immigration reform. What does all this mean? Well, for one, comprehensive immigration reform is around the corner and will include, what some consider controversial, a "path to Citizenship" for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Both proposals also include providing temporary legal status for the undocumented immigrants. Hopefully, whatever plan is hashed out, will also include stronger border security, more efficient and speedier visa processing, and a makeover of this Nation's complicated immigration laws.

Comprehensive immigration reform is a divisive topic - there are many out there that do not want to provide legal status, let alone Citizenship, to those who are technically in violation of US federal law. However, comprehensive immigration reform is not "amnesty", as the 1986 immigration law, signed by Ronal Reagan, is often considered to be. This time around, leading authorities believe it will different.

First, the wait times are expected to be lengthy. No, not 5 years, maybe not even 10. Both the President's and Senator's proposals envision a tough path to Citizenship, not a passport handout. Both plans call for undocumented immigrants "to go to the back of the line" of prospective immigrants. And as most immigration law practitioners know, the wait time for certain relatives from Mexico and the Philippines are long - 16 and 23 years respectively for brothers and sisters of these US Citizens. Second, both proposals call for applicants to learn and speak English. Third, expect extensive background checks with numerous disqualifying criteria. And last, applicants will be expected to know US civics, pay any back taxes owed, show current and past work history, among many other expected requirements.

So all in all, comprehensive immigration reform, as controversial as it is, will more than likely become a reality. But the reality is this: the "path to Citizenship" will be arduous, very long, and demand much of anyone seeking to stay here legally and permanently. One can only hope this is the last time immigration reform needs to be passed.

If and when comprehensive immigration reform becomes law, it is almost a necessity that applicants use the services of a qualified immigration attorney. When that time comes, I hope you consider using my services. Please visit my website at www.kpimmigrationlaw.com for more updates on comprehensive immigration reform or call 949-440-3240 to schedule a consultation on this, or any other immigration matter.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Amazing, Unbelievable Victory

Great news to report. A client of mine, with over 8 criminal convictions, ranging from multiple DUIs to battery to a controlled substance violation, won his Cancellation of Removal case in Salt Lake City, UT. This was a very time-consuming, laborious case with extremely difficult odds. But I am proud to say that the Honorable Immigration Judge sided with us and my client is now out of ICE custody and is a free man again.

Friday, January 11, 2013

USCIS approves I-601 Provisional Waiver

On January 2, 2013, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced the posting of the final rule regarding the I-601 Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver to the Federal Register. The new rule is set to take effect on March 4, 2013 (USCIS will not adjudicate these waivers before this date).

Under the current law, immediate relatives of US Citizens who have entered illegally or overstayed their visas, and who are seeking LPR (Lawful Permanent Resident) status must leave the United States and obtain an immigrant visa abroad (in addition to qualifying for the I-601 Waiver of Inadmissibility). This process can take many months and the resulting separation can be distressing. Further, in order to qualify under the current and future law, the applicant must demonstrate that there will be an extreme hardship to a qualifying US Citizen relative.

Commencing March 4, immediate relatives must still depart the US for the consular visa processing; however, they can obtain the waiver prior to departing the US and greatly speed up the process.

For more information on this long overdue program, visit:

http://tinyurl.com/aggdedh (USCIS)



When the new program is implemented, be sure to give our office a call at 949-440-3240 or visit www.kpimmigrationlaw.com to see how we can assist in your I-601 Waiver application.