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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!

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.



January 27, 2014


Author: New York Immigration attorney Alena Shautsova

According to the laws of the US, when an employer is hiring an employee, the employee must fill out I-9 form: this form helps an employer to determine if the potential employee has a proper employment authorization and may accept employment in the US. The form consists of simple questions and check boxes and one of those check boxes asks the filler to answer if he/she is a US citizen or US national. Of course, answering YES or checking off this box will mean that the person who is filling out the form has the proper documentation to work in the US.

Many immigrants without employment authorization are tempted to check off that little square “Citizen or National of the US.” However, many of them ignore the drastic consequences.

This happened in the case of  Nyabwari. She entered the US on a visa, overstayed it, and later married a US citizen. She though she would have no problem receiving her green card. Indeed, many with the same situations can got citizenship.

However, the government learned that at some point in time, while in the US, Mrs. Nyabwari was working illegally, and to make the situation worse, the government discovered that Mrs. Nyabwari submitted form I-9 to her employer stating she was a US citizen or US national.

Mrs. Nyabwari’s explanation that she did not understand who the national was, did not help her. Both,  Immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals said that checking  off that one box caused Mrs. Nyabwari to be PERMANENTLY inadmissible into the US, as this was a violation of the US laws for which there is no waiver.

The end of Mrs. Nyabwari’s immigration saga is very sad: she will likely to have to leave the country permanently or to stay in the US illegally forever. This serves as a great lesson: if you in doubt, you must consult an attorney to avoid “deporting” yourself before your time.



When ICE Agents’ Actions Can Cause Dismissal Of Immigration Charges?

October 22, 2013

When ICE Agents’ Actions Can Cause Dismissal Of Immigration Charges?

Author: Deportation attorney Alena Shautsova

How many of you think that ICE agents (Immigration and Custom Enforcement Agency) have power to do whatever they want? How many of you have heard stories that they come to a home at 5 am and search the premises and “pick up” illegal immigrants? How many of you think it is legal?

Well, the ICE officers can come to non-citizen’s home, but they still have to confirm their actions to the Constitutional norms and do not have a carte blanche to do whatever they want even if the non-citizen is an undocumented worker. This principal was one more time confirmed by the recent BIA decision in Matter of Ixpec-Chitay, 9/16/13.
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DHS Burden In Removal Proceeding

October 2, 2013

Possession of Controlled Substance: DHS Burden In Removal Proceeding

Author: Immigration Attorney Alena Shautsova

Removal proceeding is a government initiated procedure to “send” somebody who is not a citizen to their home country or the country designated by the government. The other name for these proceedings is exclusion or deportation proceedings (the name actually depends on the time when the proceedings were initiated, as the name has changed as the laws changed).

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Claiming US Citizenship

August 20, 2013

Claiming Us Citizenship: Consequences

Author: New York Deportation Attorney Alena Shautsova

Claiming US citizenship is one of the Immigration law offences which will make a non -citizen permanently inadmissible and on top of that may also cause criminal charges be filed against the person.

Immigration law waivers may waive a variety of immigration law violations, including waiving consequences of certain criminal offences. However, there is a provision in Immigration and Nationality Act, that makes a claim of US citizenship to be a permanent and inexcusable immigration law offense which caused inadmissibility and/or deportation.

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Voluntary Departure

July 2, 2013

Voluntary Departure: To Take or Not to Take?

Author: New York Immigration lawyer Alena Shautsova

Voluntary departure is a relief from removal during which allows its beneficiary to depart the United States without an order of removal being entered against him/her. Many undocumented immigrants, especially those who happened to be in immigration proceedings for the first time, agree to sign the “VD” order without really understanding the drastic remedies that stood behind for failure to depart.
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