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Recent Blog Posts

Protection for Immigrant Crime Victims: U Visas and T Visas

 Posted on May 25, 2022 in Immigration

Illinois immigration lawyerThere are multiple situations where immigrants may be the victims of crime. Unfortunately, this often puts people in a difficult position, since they may be concerned that if they report these crimes or attempt to leave a situation where they or their family members are in danger, they could be detained by immigration officials and deported. However, the laws in the United States provide some protection for immigrants who are the victims of crimes, and depending on a person’s situation, different options for obtaining a visa or Green Card may be available.

U Visas for Crime Victims

Immigrants in the United States who have been the victims of certain types of crimes may apply for a U visa that will protect them from deportation. A person will need to show that they have been the victim of qualifying criminal activity and that these crimes have caused them to suffer significant abuse of a physical or mental nature. Qualifying crimes include murder, manslaughter, domestic violence, stalking, felony assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment, sexual assault, prostitution, and incest, and these crimes must have taken place in the United States or violated U.S. laws. An applicant must cooperate with law enforcement officials during a criminal investigation or the prosecution of a crime.

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What Is the Process Followed When Applying for a Fiancé Visa?

 Posted on April 05, 2022 in Immigration

Itasca family immigration attorneySome of the most common avenues for immigration involve sponsorship by a person who is already living in the United States. Family-based immigration allows U.S. citizens or permanent residents with valid Green Cards to sponsor family members for immigrant visas. However, certain types of visas are also available that will allow U.S. citizens to establish family relationships and provide others with immigration benefits. Fiancé visas are one common way of doing so, and this type of visa will provide a foreign-born person with the right to enter the United States for the purpose of getting married to a U.S citizen. Couples who are planning to get married will need to understand the procedures that will be followed as they work to complete the immigration process.

Steps Followed When Bringing a Foreign Fiancé to the U.S.

K-1 visas provide a person with the authorization to enter the United States and get married to a U.S. citizen. These are technically non-immigrant visas, and they do not authorize a person to stay in the U.S. permanently. Instead, they provide temporary authorization to come to the U.S., and after a couple gets married, the foreign-born spouse can then apply for adjustment of status based on their legal relationship to their U.S. citizen spouse.

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Immigration Options for People Affected by the War in Ukraine

 Posted on March 29, 2022 in Immigration

DuPage County immigration lawyerRussia’s invasion of Ukraine has been devastating for people in the country, as well as Ukrainian citizens around the world. The U.N. is estimating that around 6.5 million people have been displaced from their homes inside Ukraine, and another 3.2 million have fled from the country. Because of the dangerous conditions in Ukraine, refugees who have fled the country are looking to ensure that they will be protected from harm, and Ukrainian citizens will likely want to avoid being forced to return to the country while the war is ongoing. Those who are looking to enter the United States or who are currently in the country will need to understand their immigration options and the protections that may be available.

Refugee and Asylum Protections for Ukrainians

Immigrants who have fled their home countries because they fear for their safety or believe that they will be subject to persecution based on factors such as race, religion, or membership in certain groups may seek to enter the United States as refugees. While the U.S. has only accepted a limited number of Ukrainian refugees so far, the Biden administration is looking to put plans in place to ensure that people who have fled the country will be able to resettle in the United States. Immigrants who have already entered the U.S. may be able to apply for asylum to ensure that they will be able to remain in the country.

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How Can Accusations of Marriage Fraud Affect the Immigration Process?

 Posted on February 21, 2022 in Immigration

DuPage County immigration lawyerImmigrants who are looking to come to the United States or those who are already in the country and are seeking permanent resident status will need to meet many different requirements. The process of applying for a visa or Green Card can be complicated, and there are a variety of factors that may affect a person’s ability to enter or remain in the country. Claims that a person has committed marriage fraud can play a significant role in immigration cases, and immigrants and their family members will need to understand when these issues may arise and how they may be overcome.

What Is Marriage Fraud?

Family-based immigration is one of the most common avenues that may provide a person with authorization to enter the United States and take steps to become a lawful permanent resident. A U.S. citizen may sponsor a foreign spouse for an immigrant visa, or they may apply for a fiancé visa on behalf of a foreign citizen, allowing the person to come to the United States, get married, and receive a conditional Green Card. However, a couple’s marriage must be bona fide, and a person cannot enter into a marriage for the purpose of bypassing immigration laws.

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When Can Deportation Be Prevented Through Cancellation of Removal?

 Posted on January 21, 2022 in Immigration

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1754916179.jpgFor immigrants living in the United States, the threat of deportation is a significant concern. After a person has established a life for themselves and their family members in the U.S., being forced to leave the country is likely to cause significant hardship. Fortunately, those who are facing deportation may have options, and in some cases, a person may be able to apply for cancellation of removal. If a person meets certain requirements, deportation proceedings may be ended, and they will be allowed to remain in the United States.

Eligibility for Cancellation of Removal

The requirements for qualifying for cancellation of removal will differ depending on whether a person is a lawful permanent resident with a valid green card. A person may qualify for cancellation of removal if they have had lawful permanent resident status for at least five years, and they have accrued at least seven years of continuous residence in the United States. Lawful permanent residents may be disqualified from cancellation of removal if they have been convicted of an aggravated felony such as murder, sexual assault, drug trafficking, fraud involving at least $10,000, burglary, or bribery.

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Financial Obligations for Sponsors in Family-Based Immigration Cases

 Posted on December 22, 2021 in Immigration

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1242234112.jpgThere are many situations where people living in the United States may want to sponsor their loved ones for family-based immigration. A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident with a valid Green Card may provide sponsorship for multiple different family members, including a spouse, children, parents, or siblings. However, when doing so, a person will need to meet certain requirements, including making a commitment to provide financial support for those who will be coming to the U.S. By understanding their obligations when sponsoring one or more family members for immigration, a person can avoid potential issues and ensure that they and their loved ones will be able to maintain financial success in the United States.

Filing an Affidavit of Support

When a person sponsors a family member for immigration, they will submit an application for the appropriate type of immigrant visa. Along with the visa application, the sponsor will usually be required to submit an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864). This affidavit functions as a legally enforceable contract stating that they have the necessary financial resources to provide for the immigrant’s needs and that they accept responsibility for supporting their family member once they enter the United States.

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When Are Waivers of Inadmissibility Available to Immigrants?

 Posted on November 16, 2021 in Immigration

IL immigration attorneyImmigrants who are hoping to live in the United States and those who are already present in the country may encounter a variety of issues that will affect their legal status and their ability to obtain the necessary visas or Green Cards. One issue that may arise during the immigration process involves inadmissibility, in which immigration officials determine that a person is not eligible to enter the U.S. Fortunately, this will not necessarily prevent a person from immigrating to the United States, and waivers of inadmissibility may be available in certain situations.

Applying for Waivers of Inadmissibility

While there are multiple reasons why a person may be inadmissible, waivers may be available if a person meets certain requirements. These requirements include:

  • Inadmissibility for health-related reasons - If a person is inadmissible because they have been diagnosed with an infectious disease such as gonorrhea, syphilis, or leprosy, they may qualify for a waiver if they are the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder or if they are applying for a visa under the Violence Against Women Act. A person who is inadmissible because they have not received required vaccinations may receive a waiver if they can provide evidence they are opposed to vaccinations because of sincerely-held religious beliefs. Those who are inadmissible due to physical or mental health disorders that are associated with harmful behavior may be able to receive a waiver if they can provide a complete medical history that includes findings about their current condition and details treatment that is available in the United States that is expected to reduce the likelihood of future harmful behavior.

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When Can a Criminal Conviction Lead to Deportation?

 Posted on October 26, 2021 in Immigration

IL immigration lawyerThere are many different types of issues that can affect a person’s legal status as an immigrant to the United States. People who have entered the U.S. on an immigrant or non-immigrant visa or who have received a Green Card through adjustment of status may face deportation based on a number of factors, including certain types of criminal convictions. An experienced immigration attorney can help immigrants understand the types of convictions that may cause a person to be deported and the options for addressing these issues.

What Types of Crimes Make a Person Deportable?

Immigration laws are meant to protect the health and safety of those who live in the United States, and immigrants who commit offenses that may cause harm to other people may be subject to deportation. Some offenses will automatically lead to deportation, while others may lead immigration officials to detain a person and initiate removal proceedings because they believe that a person presents a risk of harm to others.

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Federal Judge’s Ruling Again Leaves Dreamers with Uncertain Future

 Posted on August 09, 2021 in Immigration

DuPage County immigration attorneyA recent decision by a Texas federal judge has dealt a blow to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the United States, which currently provides protection for hundreds of thousands of immigrants. With the judge’s ruling that the program is illegal, the program will no longer be accepting new applicants, and the status of those who are currently in the program could also come into question.

The DACA Program

In 2012, then-President Obama created the DACA program in order to provide a reprieve from deportation for undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children. Many of these Dreamers–a term frequently used to refer to those protected by DACA–are now adults. Since the program was created, more than 800,000 Dreamers have been accepted.

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump tried shutting down the program, but was barred from doing so by a number of legal actions. In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court finally ruled that the Trump administration could not dissolve the program since it had failed to provide a sufficient justification to end the program.

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How Would the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 Affect Immigration Laws?

 Posted on June 04, 2021 in Immigration

Itasca IL immigration lawyerIn January, the Biden administration announced plans for the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 with the goal of implementing significant immigration reform. The bill was formally introduced in both the House and the Senate in February and is currently working its way through the legislative process in both chambers. The bill contains hundreds of pages of legalese, as most congressional bills do. The goal of the bill is much more direct: “To provide an earned path to citizenship, to address the root causes of migration and responsibly manage the southern border, and to reform the immigrant visa system, and for other purposes.”

Breakdown of the Bill

If it passes, the new law would create the largest immigration legalization program in United States history. Some of the key highlights of the bill include the following:

  • Many undocumented immigrants would be eligible for lawful prospective immigrant (LPI) status if they were physically here in the U.S. on or before January 1, 2021. LPI status would allow them to stay in the country lawfully, be eligible for social security cards and work authorizations, and travel outside the U.S. and be readmitted as long as the time away does not exceed 180 days. They would also be able to renew their LPI status every six years; however, if the individual passes a national security and criminal background check and pays taxes, they would be eligible for lawful permanent residence (LPR) status in five years. It is estimated that this new rule would apply to about 11 million undocumented immigrants. Other immigrants who would also be eligible for LPI status are those who worked during the COVID-19 pandemic at jobs that are deemed “essential critical labor or services,” temporary protected status (TPR) recipients, and temporary agricultural workers classified as H-2A.

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