VAWA Case Eligibility 

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents to self-petition for permanent resident status, without the abuser’s help or knowledge.
To self-petition for permanent residency under VAWA, an individual must:
Show that s/he lived with a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse;

Show that s/he was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty during the marriage;

Show that s/he entered the marriage in good faith;

Show s/he is otherwise qualified for admission; and

Show that s/he has good moral character.

For more information about these services, please schedule a consultation at 978-905- 9992.

DHS Statement on ICE Raids 

DHS Secretary Kelly has released a statement on the recent ICE enforcement operations. Kelly suggested that “these operations targeted public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges.”

ICE officers “arrested more than 680 individuals who pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of our nation’s immigration system. Of those arrested, approximately 75 percent were criminal aliens, convicted of crimes including, but not limited to, homicide, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual assault of a minor, lewd and lascivious acts with a child, indecent liberties with a minor, drug trafficking, battery, assault, DUI and weapons charges.”

Form I-9 Version Update 

Per USCIS: 

Beginning Jan. 22, 2017, employers must use the 11/14/2016 N version of Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification, to verify the identity and work eligibility of every new employee hired, or for the reverification of expiring employment authorization of current employees (if applicable). This date is found on the lower left hand corner of the form. Prior versions of the form will no longer be valid for use. Employers who fail to use Form I-9 (11/14/2016 N) on or after Jan. 22, 2017 may be subject to all applicable penalties under section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1324a, as enforced by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

USCIS Correct Form Reminder

On Dec. 23, 2016, new fees took effect and USCIS published updated versions of our forms. After Feb. 21, 2017, USCIS will no longer accept previous editions of these forms. See their complete list of the new fees at uscis.gov/forms/our-fees and make sure you are including the correct amount. You must include the new fee or USCIS will reject and return your filing.

The updated forms are currently available at uscis.gov/forms. Additionally, you can request paper copies through USCIS forms request line (800-870-3676) and forms by mail service.

ICE Raids

Undocumented immigrants were rounded up in the cities of Atlanta, Austin, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago over a five-day enforcement “surge” beginning Monday and concluding Friday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

Through an executive order, the President widened the pool of undocumented immigrants to be deported, including those convicted of crimes and those believed to have committed “acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.” This allows for people convicted of minor crimes, people charged but not convicted and others who officers believe threaten public safety to be prioritized for deportation. 

While the potential for being deported has been expanded, these raids are primarily targeting individuals with criminal histories.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said 160 foreigners were arrested in six Los Angeles-area counties this week, and said about 150 of them had criminal histories. Of the 10 others, five had been given final orders of removal or had previously been deported, ICE said.

If you are undocumented and encounter ICE, you do not need to speak with them or let them enter your premises (unless they have a signed warrant or order by a Judge), or sign any documentation. If possible, document and record the encounter. 

To learn more, contact ALO at 978-905-9992. 

Fed Ct Opinion on Travel Ban

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently ruled that President Trump’s travel ban suspension would remain in place and all individuals may apply for admission to the U.S. regardless of nationality or country of origin. This was a huge blow to the Trump administration, which has reiterated that they will either appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court or Trump will sign a new executive order that is constitutionally legal. 

To read the entire opinion, click here.

For more info, please contact ALO at 978-905-9992. 

DOS – EO Update on Visas

Per the U.S. Department of State:

“An order issued by a U.S. District court in the state of Washington on February 3 bars the U.S. government from enforcing certain provisions of Executive Order 13769, “Protecting the Nation from ForeignTerrorist Entry into the United States,” including those related to visas and travel.

The Department of State had, under the Executive Order, provisionally revoked all valid visas of nationals of those seven countries, with limited exceptions. That provisional revocation is now lifted, and those visas are now valid for travel to the United States, if the holder is otherwise eligible. Individuals whose visas are expired, or were physically cancelled, must apply for a new visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, absent a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) decision to grant parole or waive the visa requirement at the port of entry. We are looking further into this issue and will revise this site with any updates.

We are working closely with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security and we will provide further updates as soon as information is available.

On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13769 on Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States which directs us to review current screening procedures, while protecting national security – our top priority when issuing visas.

The U.S. government’s national security screening and vetting procedures for visitors are constantly reviewed and refined to improve security and more effectively identify individuals who could pose a threat to the United States. We welcome every opportunity to continue to review and improve our systems and procedures. In implementing this executive order, the Department of State had temporarily stopped scheduling appointments and halted processing of immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applications for individuals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, with limited exceptions. Processing of those applications has now resumed and appointments will be scheduled.”

Oral arguments 2/7/17

A U.S. federal appeals court will hear testimony tomorrow on whether to reinstate Trump’s temporary travel ban after a judge in Seattle on Friday suspended Trump’s order. 

Former national security officials, U.S. technology companies and law enforcement officials from more than a dozen states supported a legal effort against the ban, that temporarily bars entry to the United States of people from seven Muslim-majority countries and halting the U.S. refugee program.

Check back often for updates or contact us at 978-905-9992. 

DOS Update on POTUS Travel Ban

Per the U.S. Department of State:

“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would like to clarify the classes of aliens affected by the 90-day temporary pause on travel, with case-by-base exceptions and waivers, as outlined in the President’s Executive Order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”

To ensure that the U.S. government can conduct a thorough analysis of the national security risks faced by our immigration system, the Executive Order imposes a 90-day pause on the entry into the United States of nationals from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen. This pause does not apply to Lawful Permanent Residents, dual citizens with passports from a country other than the seven listed, or those traveling on diplomatic, NATO, or UN visas. Special Immigrant Visa holders who are nationals of these seven countries may board U.S.-bound planes, and apply for and receive a national interest exception to the pause upon arrival.

Importantly, these seven countries are the only countries to which the pause on entry applies. No other countries face such treatment. Nor have any other countries been identified as warranting future inclusion at this time, contrary to false reports.

As directed by the Executive Order, DHS is working with the Department of State and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to conduct a country-by-country review of the information provided by countries in order for their nationals to apply for myriad visas, immigration benefits, or otherwise seek admission into the United States. This review is needed to ensure that individuals seeking to enter the U.S. are who they claim to be and do not pose a security or public-safety threat.

The results of this review will be provided to the President within 30 days of the Executive Order’s signing. This review, conducted in consultation with our interagency partners, will determine which countries do not provide adequate information on their nationals seeking immigration benefits or admission into the United States. Principally, the goal is to ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward the United States and its founding principles.

Based on that report, the State Department will ask any foreign governments who were determined to not be supplying adequate information on their nationals to begin providing such information within 60 days.

In order to protect Americans, and to advance the national interest, the United States must ensure that we have adequate information about individuals seeking to enter this country to ensure that they do not bear malicious intent toward the United States and its people.”

USCIS Update on POTUS Travel Ban

Per United States Citizenship & Immigration Services:

“USCIS continues to adjudicate applications and petitions filed for or on behalf of individuals in the United States regardless of their country of origin, and applications and petitions of lawful permanent residents outside the U.S. USCIS also continues to adjudicate applications and petitions for individuals outside the U.S. whose approval does not directly confer travel authorization. Applications to adjust status also continue to be adjudicated, according to existing policies and procedures, for applicants who are nationals of countries designated in the Jan. 27, 2017, ‘Executive Order: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.'”