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Obama Immigration Legacy

January 19, 2017

Obama Immigration Legacy

Author: New York Immigration attorney Alena Shautsova

 

While everyone is talking about President-elect possible Immigration policy, I would like to recap on what President Obama did. Even though he was not successful on his promise of comprehensive Immigration reform, his administration did promulgate several executive and administrative actions that liberalized Immigration regulations of 1996, and  helped thousands to achieve their dream of living in America.

  1. DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

 

Implemented in 2012. It was created to help young undocumented residents to stay in the US and work legally. Many could receive an advance parole document that allowed them to travel and get back to the US to cure the entrance without inspection. Currently, still in effect. In 2014, DACA was to be expanded, but the opposition forces sued the government and the new plan together with proposed DAPA are still frozen.

 

  1. I 601A waiver and its expansion

 

I -601A Provisional waiver was implemented in 2013 and allowed those who entered the US without inspection or, let’s say using C1/D or K visas, to receive immigrant visas overseas and return back. The waiver “waived” the unlawful presence bar, and the best part about it: it is possible to file for it and wait for the result of the filing in the United States.

 

  1. New Rules about Work Visas

 

Under the President Obama administration, holders of the work visas and future holders, received good news: automatic extensions of employment authorization in case of re-filing; H4 employment authorizations under certain conditions; 2-year EAD cards for asylum seekers, improved portability rules for employment based immigrants.

 

  1. Parole program for entrepreneurs

 

A very new change: just came into effect parole for business people who will improve and contribute into the US economy. The program designed for start-ups and covers spouses and children of the qualified entrepreneurs.

 

  1. Clarification and expansion of military parole in place program

Parole in place policy was explained and expanded: immediate relatives of military and ex-military members received an opportunity to be “paroled” or allowed to “enter” the US legally without actually leaving the US.

 

  1. And of course, we cannot forget expansion of Federal Immigration benefits for the same-sex couples: one of the biggest and most fought for benefit.
  2. Parole for children of from certain South American countries whose parents are in the US legally; Parole for members of the families of Pilipino World War II veterans.

 

It is quite regretful that during its last days, the Obama administration decided to abolish Cuban parole (wet foot/dry foot) policy. Nevertheless, if to focus on positives, one should admit that in addition to new liberalized regulations, the function of the DHS became more transparent within the past 8 years. I hope that the incoming President will focus on finding reasonable solutions, rather than unreasonable conclusions.

Students Must Have Education Regardless of Status

May 9, 2014

Students Must Have Education Regardless of Status

Author: New York Immigration Lawyer

“The Justice and Education Departments jointly issued an update of guidelines they published three years ago, reminding districts that they “may be in violation of federal law” if they turn students away because the children or their parents do not have immigration papers. The guidelines clarify what documents  schools can and cannot require to prove that students live in their districts” New York Times.

Sadly, too many schools violate this policy. According to Attorney General Holder, reports the New York Times, the policy guidelines were based primarily on a 1982 Supreme Court decision, Plyler V. Doe, which found that schools cannot deny access to public education through the 12th grade on the basis of a student’s immigration status. That mandate and civil rights laws also require schools to make sure students are not rejected because of their parents’ legal status.

They Give it: They Can Take it Back: How DHS Can Take Your Passport Away

March 14, 2014

They Give it: They Can Take it Back: How DHS Can Take Your Passport Away

Author: Immigration attorney Alena Shautsova

There are two main ways a person may obtain US citizenship: by being born in the US or its territory and via naturalization. Naturalization is a process of conveying US citizenship on an individual who originally held a different citizenship or was a person with no citizenship at all.

It has been said that there is no distinction between US born citizens and those who received citizenship via naturalization. However, one major distinction between the two kinds of citizenship does exist:  the second kind can be taken away from an individual even if he or she has been in citizenship status for decades.

This happened to Hzim who originally received his citizenship in 1989. Even though for decades he held the title of US citizenship and traveled overseas, in 2011, the US Department of Homeland Security decided to “take back” his citizenship, saying that they made a mistake in 1989…

The mistake was that somebody in INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services (USCIS used to be called this way)) did not check all the requirements for Hazim’s naturalization and mistakenly believed Hazim’s father conveyed his citizenship to Hazim…. Even though there was no Hazim’s fault in it all, and even though he did not lie to the US government in any way, the Federal Court, 2nd District said it cannot stop Immigration authorities from taking Hazim’s citizenship away over twenty years later…

Of course, despite the fact that they are taking his citizenship away, Immigration promised Hazim that there are Other means of correcting the situation, but it seems that Hazim should not be the one paying for someone’s lack of qualification and expertise…

That is why it is strongly advisable that everybody who is applying for citizenship, consult with an Immigration attorney to make sure Hazim’s story would not repeat itself.

 

Asylum Clock Settlement

May 14, 2013

Author: US Asylum attorney Alena Shautsova

Asylum clock issues have been preventing many applicants for asylum from receiving EAD and being able to support themselves while their cases being considered by Asylum Officer or Immigration Court. Sometimes, the wait time for EAD can be as long as several years. Imagine, during all this time the person is not able to legally work and have to accept jobs below minimum pay, hide from authorities and being stressed out every time the judge asks about his/her job situation.
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What Do Statistics Say About U.S. Asylum and Refugee Immigration?

February 15, 2013

Author: Asylum Lawyer Alena Shautsova

Every year the Office of Immigration Statistics issues an Annual Flow Report that offers information about U.S. refugee and asylum statistics. The most recent statistics available are for 2011 and the annual flow report indicates that 56,384 persons gained admission to the United States as refugees during 2011. Burma, Bhutan and Iraq were the leading countries for the flow of immigrants and there were 24,988 individuals granted asylum by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ).

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Obama’s Immigration Reform

January 30, 2013

Obama’s Immigration Reform

It seems that the White House is serious this time about a comprehensive Immigration reform, that would not just “patch” a torn tuxedo, but will give it a million dollar “face- lift.”

Here you can find a transcript of Obama’s today’s speech on Immigration Reform.