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Statute of Limitations For Green Cards Rescission

July 25, 2016

Statute of Limitations For Green Cards Rescission

Author: Green Card Attorney Alena Shautsova

In law, there is a statue of limitations or period during which one can bring a legal action with regard to almost all rights, regulations, incidents, accidents or actions. For example, if you happened to be in a car accident, you have 3 years to sue. If you became a victim of fraud, you have 6 years to sue your offender.

Now, believe it or not, there is  a statue of limitations as to how long the government can wait before taking your green card from you if it was issued in error. The bad news is that there is only one Circuit Federal Court in the whole United States which follows this five-year statute.

This Court is the Court for the 3rd Circuit, and it covers New Jersey! Only this Circuit court held that  the government cannot take someone’s green card away if the government issued it in error after five years passed since the issuance under 8 U.S.C. § 1256(a):

 

If, at any time within five years after the status of a person has been otherwise adjusted under the provisions of section 1255 or 1259 of this title or any other provision of law to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, it shall appear to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that the person was not in fact eligible for such adjustment of status, the Attorney General shall rescind the action taken granting an adjustment of status to such person and cancelling removal in the case of such person if that occurred and the person shall thereupon be subject to all provisions of this chapter to the same extent as if the adjustment of status had not been made. Nothing in this subsection shall require the Attorney General to rescind the alien’s status prior to commencement of procedures to remove the alien under section 1229a of this title, and an order of removal issued by an immigration judge shall be sufficient to rescind the alien’s status.

Interestingly enough, there is no time limitation on when the government may start deportation or removal proceedings against a person, so in reality, if the government really wants to take the green card or lawful permanent status away, it may “find” a valid basis for removal, and very often such a basis is determined to be fraud.

Moreover, if a person became a U.S. citizen, and the government still has time to rescind its decision regarding the person’s permanent resident status, the person would lose the citizenship as well.  In reality, however, just like with the rescinding or removal of a person in  permanent resident status, the government is not bound by the five-year statute and often, naturalized citizens of many years, and decades may lose their citizenship if a mistake is uncovered.

To rescind one’s LPR status, the government would:

1. Would send a notice with intent to rescind

2. A LPR has 30 days to contest the notice and then there will be a hearing with the Immigration Judge. The result of the hearing is appealable.

If a LPR does not respond to the notice within 30 days, he will not be afforded a hearing with  an Immigration judge. Important: a request for more time is not a request for hearing! See Ali v. Reno, 22 F 3d 44 (2n Cir. 1994).

3. The government has to prove their case by clear, convincing and unequivocal evidence.

If you  receive a notice of intent to rescind your LPR status, call an attorney right away. You can reach us at 917-885-2261.

 

 

 

 

CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL: NTA, STOP TIME RULE

October 19, 2015

CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL: NTA, STOP TIME RULE

Author:   New York Deportation Attorney Alena Shautsova
Cancellation of Removal is an often overlooked form of relief from deportation. It also may be used by someone who has been in the U.S.  for a long time  without inspection or admission to receive a green card in the U.S.  In the last case scenario, a person first would have to ask the U.S. government to place him/her into removal proceedings and only then he/she will have a chance to apply for cancellation.

Cancellation of removal as a form of relief may be of several “kinds” : for permanent residents, for non-permanent residents; for VAWA beneficiaries; for  certain persons covered by  the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act of 1997. Each “kind” requires that certain qualifications be met.

One of the common “features” of this form of relief, is that an applicant has to accumulate  certain amount of time in the U.S. This time usually runs from the person’s entry into the US, and can be stopped not only due to a departure, but due to certain events that have legal consequences. For example: an arrest or commitment of a crime by the applicant or  service of removal/deportation documents.

Since cancellation of removal is a desirable and often the only form of relief an applicant can hope for, there started to develop a body of case law that challenges various limitations and restrictions that might be applied to the applicant. Specifically,  the advocates posed a question of whether a service of deficient on its face notice to appear in removal proceedings may serve as a “stop time” event. For example, quite often a person receives a notice to appear issued by ICE that has “TBD” in place of a date and time of the hearing in Immigration court.  Can such a document, that has been issued but not filed with the court have sufficient legal weight to eliminate one’s chance for cancellation? It is an interesting question, because in practice, such issued notices may rest on shelves for years before they are eventually filed with the court, and the person, subject of such a notice, naturally, would like to the “wait” time to be counted towards the accrual of the necessary period.  (Service of an NTA cuts off the accrual of continuous presence, under a provision known
as the “stop-time” rule. 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1)(A).)

Unfortunately for the applicants, many Circuit Federal courts held that the Notice to appear served on the applicant does not have to have all the specifics in order to alert the applicant that the government is initiating removal proceedings against him/her, and even an incomplete notice will nevertheless stop the cancellation or removal clock.  See Guaman-Yuqui v. Lynch, 786 F.3d 235, 238–40 (2d Cir. 2015) (per curiam); Gonzalez- Garcia v. Holder, 770 F.3d 431, 433–35 (6th Cir. 2014); Yi Di Wang v. Holder, 759 F.3d 670, 673–75 (7th Cir. 2014); Urbina v. Holder, 745 F.3d 736, 739–40 (4th Cir. 2014).

However, there remain one “loophole” out of this catastrophe. If the government agrees to retract the notice, then the “time” can be saved. However, this requires government cooperation and discretion. The BIA held that a notice to appear (NTA) that was served but never resulted in removal proceedings does not have “stop-time” effect for purposes of establishing eligibility for cancellation of removal pursuant to section 240A(d)(1) of the INA. Matter of Ordaz, 26 I&N Dec. 637 (BIA 2015).

 

 

 

 

I-751 Petition, Questions and Answers

October 11, 2015

I-751 Petition, Questions and Answers

Author: Green Card Attorney Alena Shautsova

A conditional permanent resident has to file a petition to remove condition from the residency within 90 day period prior to the second anniversary of his/her status.

LATE FILING

The joint petition (when spouses are still living together) must be filed within the 90 days period, and if it is not, the couple has to present a very good excuse for missing the deadline, otherwise the petition will be rejected.

The petition that contains request for a waiver, on the other hand, can be filed at any time. For example A, conditional permanent resident (CPR), divorced from a USC (a U.S. citizen) just a year after A become a CPR. “A “ does not need to wait to file her petition. Another example, A is a battered spouse. She is still married to a USC who has been abusive. A missed her deadline and her conditional permanent resident card expired. “A” can still file the I 751 petition, even if the deadline is missed.

What is not a good excuse for late filing of the joint petition? Being abroad is not an excuse for late filing of the joint petition. The couple who are abroad must file the petition within the 90 day period prior to the second anniversary of the green card status.

DOES THE STATUS REALLY EXPIRE?

The warning notices say that if the a conditional permanent resident does not file the petition to remove condition timely, his/her status automatically expires. What really expires is the card itself. The status does not expire, despite the warning. In fact, the USCIS or an Immigration judge has to terminate the status in order for “A” to start the process again with a new USC-spouse. It also means that “A” technically will remain a permanent resident, but a conditional one and prior to undertaking any other Immigration steps, she would have to submit an I-751 petition, even if it will be filed late in order to get a finality for her situation. In this case, if the petition is denied, then the status will be terminated. (Does not apply to those seeking adjustment as refugees or asylees).

DO I INCLUDE CHILDREN IN MY I -751?

Yes, dependent children, those who receive their green card with their parents within 90 days of the parent’s conditional green card or, as often it happens, on the same day, must be included in the I -751 form. What do to if the child turns 21 by the time I-751 should be filed? The answer is : file the petition including that child. The statute that talks about removal of the condition for dependents refers children and sons and daughters, meaning, that under INA, I-751 properly included with the parents should receive their permanent resident status as well. See also Caprio v. Holder, 592 F.3d 1091 (10th Cir. 2010).

Finally, most common question: I was married to the U.S. citizen, and now we are divorced. Did I lose my status? The answer is NO, you did not lose your status. All you need to do is to file I -751 by yourself. It may be a little bit more challenging, as you need to show that you had a real marriage, but it is possible. If you are successful, you will receive a permanent green card.

FUN FACT: One can submit an unlimited number of I 751 petitions.

New Fingerprinting Procedure for Immigration Court

August 8, 2014

New Fingerprinting Procedure for Immigration Court

Author: New York Immigration Lawyer

All respondents in Immigration court have to make sure that the results of the   fingerprinting procedure are valid on the date of their Immigration court hearing. Expired results cause delays and adjournments and bring frustration to all participants of the process.

Currently, the Immigration court places the burden of notifying respondents about updating of the biometrics results on their attorneys. Until recently, the procedure required, that respondent submits the Applicant Information Worksheet (AIW)  to ICE OCC-NYC at the 11th floor window at 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY.  ICE OCC-NYC would then forward the AIWs to USCIS, and USCIS would determine if an Applicant’s fingerprint checks were expired, and if expired, reschedule the Applicant for an appointment to be physically re-printed.

Effective August 11, 2014, the AIW has to be sent directly to USCIS to

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Attention: AIW

26 Federal Plaza – Room 3-120

New York, NY 10278.

USCIS requests the following on all AIW submissions:

 

1 – Respondent/attorney clearly indicate the next court date at the top of the AIW and, if possible, attach a copy of the EOIR notice indicating the next court date.

 

2 – Submit the AIWs to USCIS at least 60 days but no more than 120 days before the next merits court date.  USCIS will not entertain any AIWs for reprints if the next court date is more than 120 days out.

 

3 – USCIS will not entertain any AIWs for reprints if, according to their records, the fingerprints will still be valid at the time of the next court date.

Unlawful Presence Bar Can Be Served In the US

July 23, 2014

Unlawful Presence Bar Can Be Served In the US

Author: New York Immigration Lawyer Alena Shautsova

Under the Immigration laws, if a person overstayed his/her visa or period of authorized stay, he or she would be inadmissible into the US for a period of 3 or 10 years depending  on the period of overstay if such a person leaves the US. The bar to entry triggers only when the person leaves the US, however for a long time the question was: does the person have to be outside the US to subsequently receive immigration benefits, or does the bar starts to run when the person leaves the US and continues to run even if the person somehow re-enters the US.

The question was answered in unpublished BIA decision Matter of Cruz, 4/9/14.  The BIA stated that “..if section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Act created inadmissibility for an alien who seeks or has sought admission to the United States (similar to section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) of the Act’s provision for the inadmissibility of an alien who “seeks” or “has sought” to procure admission or another immigration benefit by fraud or willful misrepresentation of a material fact), we might construe the statute as creating permanent rather than temporary inadmissibility. However, the statute simply states that an alien is inadmissible if he “seeks” admission within the pertinent period,  which is ambiguous language.”

It means that the bar of unlawful presence is a temporary bar which triggers when the person leaves the country and continues to run if the person re-enters the US without inspection and/or using misrepresentation.  This is an important decision because it illuminates need for an extreme hardship waiver if the time of the bar has passed.

RECEIVED NOTICE TO APPEAR: WHAT IS NEXT?

July 1, 2014

Notice to Appear: What is Next?

Author: New York Immigration Attorney Alena Shautsova

Notice to appear (the “NTA”) is a charging document in Immigration. It outlines the main charges or allegations the government is presenting to deport or remove a person from the United States. Under INA § 239(a)(1) (2012), an NTA should include: the nature of the proceedings, the legal authority under which the proceedings are conducted, the acts or conduct alleged to be in violation of the law, the charges against the noncitizen and the statutory provisions alleged to have been violated. An NTA can be served personally or via regular, first class mail. It does not have to be served via certified mail. It is also may be served on an attorney of record.

A person may be charged with either inadmissibility under INA 212 or deportability under INA 237. A person will be charged with inadmissibility if he or she was not admitted into the US or paroled. A lawful permanent resident with a certain criminal convictions coming back form a trip abroad may also be charged as an arriving alien under inadmissibility ground(s). It is very important to check if the grounds of the removal are stated correctly: it will determine the burden of proof on the alien, and possible defenses.

Another important element of the NTA is time and place of the proceedings. Often, the time and places are outlines as TBD (to be determined); it means that the NTA was just issued and an Immigration Court has not yet docketed the case for its calendar. The government shall provide at least 10 days from the service of the notice and before the start of the removal proceedings so that the person can find an attorney.

NTA basically starts the removal proceedings; after it is filed it is possible to ask the Immigration court to change venue or terminate the proceeding. However, before the NTA is filed, the court lacks jurisdiction to make decisions on any motions.

The charges in NTA have to be examined closely and the charged person should seek representation as soon as he or she was served with the NTA. Sometimes, a person may know that the Notice would be issued. In such a case, he or she shall contact an attorney ASAP to discuss possible defense options and strategy.

A person whose case is filed with the court, will have to appear before an Immigration Judge. Failure to appear will result in a removal order issued against the person and possible 5 year bar to apply for any immigration benefits.  The first hearing in Immigration court is called a Master hearing; it is usually very short and during it  the court and attorneys decide how they will be proceeding with the case: what defenses and application an alien will file; what documents the government would like to see;  what is the time frame of filings, etc.

Contact an Immigration attorney if you have questions regarding Notice to Appear: 917-885-2261.

 

 

 

 

 

TPS: Children Have to Qualify Independently From Parents

June 23, 2014

TPS: Children Have to Qualify Independently From Parents

Author: New York Immigration Lawyer Alena Shautsova

TPS or Temporary Protected Status allows its beneficiary to stay and work in the US for the period of time designated by the US government.  Currently, TPS was announced for the following countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria.

Those who would like to receive TPS have to satisfy certain requirements, including being physically present in the US on a special date, designated by the government.  For each of the countries, the date is designated separately. It does not matter if the potential beneficiary entered the US illegally, all what matters: the person must physically be in the US and must remain in the US for a certain period of time.

The question arose in the Matter of DUARTE-LUNA and LUNA, 26 I&N Dec. 325 (BIA 2014) if parent’s physical presence can be imputed to the unemancipated (dependent on parents) children. The argument was not baseless, because for some time the courts held that in fact, parents’ physical presence in the US may be imputed (or counted in)towards physical presence of children, even if in fact, children were not  in the US. However, this argument was in essence “closed” by the U.S. Supreme Court in Holder v. Martinez Gutierrez , 132 S. Ct. 2011 (2012).

As such, the BIA answered the question in negative, and two daughter of the TPS holder were denied TPS and put in the removal proceedings.

The consequences of this decision cannot be underestimated. Under the TPS regulations, there is no dependent status, meaning that if parents receive TPS, their children cannot do so with them. Now, it also became clear, that children must independently qualify for the TPS, and this, of course, will negatively reflect on family unity.  Please note, that at the same time, children may qualify for SIJS if a Family court issues an order appointing a guardian or custodian who can be even undocumented parent!

 

How to Overcome Denial under the Adam Walsh Act

May 28, 2014

How to overcome Adam Walsh denial

Author: New York Immigration lawyer Alena Shautsova

Adam Walsh Act enacted on July 27, 2006 [PL 109-248, Title IV] prohibits United States citizens and Lawful permanent residents who have been convicted of certain sexual offenses against a minor from petitioning family members, unless in the “unreviewable discretion” of the Secretary of DHS, the USC or LPR poses no risk to the beneficiary. The same provision applies when a USC would like to petition his/her fiance.

Examples of offenses include: offenses involving the use of minors in prostitution; offenses against minors involving sexual contact; offenses involving the use of a minor in a sexual performance; and offenses involving the production or distribution of child pornography. The Immigration laws very broadly define “Sexual abuse of a minor.” Please note  sexual abuse of a minor is also an aggravated felony under the Immigration laws.  Examples of aggravated felonies under NYPL are: use of a child in a sexual performance in violation of 263.05; sexual misconduct under 130.20).

Examples of crimes that are not aggravated felonies: knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual conduct with person under 18; parents consenting to child’s sexual performance.

A felony conviction is not necessary, as a misdemeanor sexual abuse conviction is sufficient for finding of an aggravated felony under the Immigration law (for example: NYPL 130.60(2) conviction is an aggravated felony).

If after family petition was filed, USCIS found that Adam Walsh Act is applicable, the only way for the petitioner is to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the USCIS that he/she does not posses threat to the beneficiary or that he/she was not convicted of the qualified crime. The burden lies on the petitioner to show that the crime is not the one covered by the Adam Walsh Act. It means that almost in every case a very detailed and difficult analysis of the conviction is necessary. See Matter of INTROCASO, 26 I&N Dec. 304 (BIA 2014).  It is important to know that under the recent BIA decision, Adam Walsh Act has retroactive effect: it applies for convictions that took place before the statute’s enactment as well as to those occurred after its enactment .

To demonstrate that the petitioner posses no risk to the beneficiary, the petitioner must present a very strong record of rehabilitation: probation report; reports by a treating doctor; evidence of community service… Under the recent BIA decision, Matter of ACEIJAS-QUIROZ, 26 I&N Dec. 294 (BIA 2014), the BIA lacks jurisdiction to review the “no risk” finding. It means that the application has to be impeccable.

A petitioner who has criminal convictions should consult with an Immigration lawyer prior to starting “immigration case” for his/her relatives. A mistake and lack of knowledge may cause deportation/removal of the family members and their permanent inadmissibility. If  you have questions regarding Adam Walsh Act, please call New York Immigration attorney Alena Shautsova at 917-885-2261.

 

Expedited Removal and Asylum

May 15, 2014

Expedited Removal and Asylum

Author: New York Asylum Attorney Alena Shautsova

Expedited removal is a form of removal proceedings during which a person who is coming to the US is being deported by DHS without  seeing a judge. Such person is also called an arriving alien: a term of art in Immigration law that has its consequences.

Expedited removal from the U.S., a procedure established by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, allows immigration officers to issue expedited removal orders against non-U.S. citizens, resulting in removals that, except in very limited circumstances, are carried out with no hearing or review by an immigration judge.  Under the statute, the procedure may be used against noncitizens, except those from Cuba, who have not been admitted or paroled into the U.S., have been in the U.S. for less than two years, and are determined to be inadmissible for either (1) having used fraud or misrepresentation to procure an immigration benefit or (2) lacking a valid visa or other entry document (two of the grounds of inadmissibility).

Most often, expedited removal is being used at the airports against people who are coming to the US on a non-immigrant visa but a CBP officer determines that this person is an intending immigrant who does not have an immigrant visa. Arriving aliens as they are called by the DHS are subject to mandatory detention. So, if a CBP officer determines that a B1/B2 holder is really intending to stay in the US indefinitely, this person will be detained.

Another common way when the DHS will use the expedited removal process is when a person is apprehended by the DHS officers within 100 miles from the border within the 14 days of the arrival into the US.  Of course, such a person is subject to the removal only if entered the country without inspection.

Subjects of the expedited removal cannot see a judge. They would be removed immediately, unless they express  fear of returning back to their home country or a fear of torture. At this point they would be referred to the Asylum Officer who should conduct a credible fear or a reasonable fear (in case a person has already been removed form the US on  a prior occasion) interview.  See 8 C.F.R. § 208.31(b) and 8 C.F.R. § 241.8(e).If the asylum officer determines that the subject possess the fear, then the person can be paroled into the US and freed from detention. If not, the person will be removed unless the judge overrules the officer’s determination. Id. § 208.31(g).

If the person passes the interview, a Notice to Appear will be issued and the bond will be established. Upon information, the current guidelines for the DHS states that the bond for those who are apprehended at the border should be $7,500. This determination can also be appealed to the judge.

Aliens who have been expeditiously removed are
barred from returning to the United States for five years. They cannot return to the US earlier than 5 years without granted application for permission to re-apply for admission.

 

Troubles with Immigration 800 number

April 23, 2014

Author: New York Immigration Attorney  Alena Shautsova

Have you tried to access your Immigration  case information via 800- number (1-800-898-7180)  recently and got conflicting information or did not get through at all?

Do not worry: you are not the only one. EOIR alert that it is currently experiencing a systems outage involving several computer applications including eRegistration and the telephonic case information system (the 1-800 phone number). EOIR hopes to have the situation resolved in the near future!

How can you get your information in the meantime? Try calling local Immigration court, go there or contact your attorney!