Monday, December 26, 2016

Asylum or Refugee

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Is it easier to come to the U.S. and apply for asylum rather than applying for refugee status?


I am considering fleeing my home country, because I’m part of a persecuted group here, and I want to apply for refugee status to come to the United States. A friend told me, however, that the refugee application process is lengthy and difficult. He suggested I instead book a flight with a layover in the U.S. and then request asylum at the airport. Would this route be easier for me?


Neither route is easy. Refugee classification is a long process, but you will have access to plenty of support if you are eventually successful. Applying for asylum after you have arrived in the U.S. is somewhat easier, but you must have the financial means to come to the United States and you risk being sent back to your home country if you are denied.

To become an asylee or refugee, you must refuse to return to your country of origin due to a well-founded fear that you will be persecuted based on your race, religion, nationality, social group, or political opinion. In order to request refugee status, you must have left your home country (except in special circumstances such as a disaster or war); while to apply for asylum, you must be at the U.S. border or already present in the United States.

You cannot simply “apply” to become a refugee – you must first get a referral. A referral from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNCHR) is your best bet for getting into the U.S. Resettlement Program (USRAP), but even then only 1% of cases are referred for resettlement in a third country such as the United States. If you are referred to USRAP, it is still not guaranteed that you will be given refugee status.

Next is the refugee application process, which can also be difficult. The good news is that after you are classified as a refugee, you will be matched with agencies that can give you support. Once you have arrived in the U.S., they will line you up with low-cost housing, employment options, access to English language classes, and a cultural orientation. Asylees do not receive all these benefits.

If you do not want to go through this lengthy refugee referral process, see whether you can obtain a valid tourist visa to enter the United States. That will allow you to wait until after you have passed U.S. Customs and Border Protection and entered the U.S. to apply for asylum, which you will be able to do by mail. You should submit your application within one year of your arrival (or ideally, before your tourist visa expires). In such a case, you must foot the bill for your travel to the U.S. and find your own place to stay, and perhaps pay a lawyer to assist you in preparing a persuasive, complete application. You will not be able to legally work in the U.S. for a long time after submitting your application. If you are approved, you can stay in the U.S., but if you are denied you will be placed into removal proceedings where you will have to present a convincing case in Immigration Court. At this point, the process can be overwhelming and time-consuming and will likely require the assistance of an experienced attorney.

If you cannot get a U.S. visa and you request asylum at an entry port during a layover like your friend suggested, you may be placed into detention. Conditions there are similar to prisons. You will have to wait around a day or two until you are scheduled for a “credible fear” hearing with an asylum officer. If the officer denies your request, you will be sent home immediately. If the officer decides that you indeed fear persecution, you will have less than a week to convince an immigration judge that you are actually eligible for asylum.

If you have any questions regarding Asylum or Refugee Status or any other immigration topic,
Please contact LEGiTiGO, today

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sanctuary Cities

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A Sanctuary City is a city in the United States or Canada that has adopted a policy of protecting undocumented immigrants by not prosecuting them solely for violating federal immigration laws in the country in which they are now living illegally. ... The designation has no precise legal meaning.

When did sanctuary cities begin?
United States. Local governments in certain cities in the United States began designating themselves as sanctuary cities during the 1980s. The policy was first initiated in 1979 in Los Angeles, to prevent police from inquiring about the immigration status of arrestees.

What states have sanctuary cities?
•States. California, Connecticut, New Mexico, Colorado.
•Cities and Counties.
•Arizona. South Tucson.
•California (in addition to all counties) Alameda County. Berkley. ...
•Colorado (in addition to all counties) Arapahoe County. ...
•Connecticut (in addition to state LEAs) Bridgeport. ...
•Florida. Broward County. ...
•Georgia. Clayton County.

How many sanctuary cities are there in the United States?
Incredibly, there are over 200 sanctuary cities in the United States that ignore federal law when it comes to prosecuting illegal immigrants.

What are sanctuary cities in USA?
Sanctuary city is a name given to a city in the United States that follows certain procedures that shelters illegal immigrants. These procedures can be by law (de jure) or they can be by action (de facto).
If you have any questions regarding sanctuary cities or any other immigration topic,
Please contact LEGiTiGO, today


Monday, December 12, 2016


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As a TPS Beneficiary, How Long Is my Work Permit Good For?

Understanding the circumstances under which TPS status may be extended without the person immediately needing or receiving a new work permit.

As a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiary, you have the opportunity to receive an employment authorization document, often referred to as a work permit or EAD. The work permit has a set expiration date that is tied to your TPS status.

The expiration date on the EAD card itself can, however, be misleading. In certain circumstances, your TPS status may be extended without you immediately receiving (or needing) a new work permit. This article will explain why, and guide you in understanding how this will impact your ongoing TPS status and right to work.

The Work Permit Is Tied to Your TPS Status

When certain emergencies arise in another country, such as a war, earthquake, or civil disturbance, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can designate that country’s citizens, if they are already present in the United States, as eligible for TPS. TPS is a temporary designation that allows its beneficiaries to live and work in the U.S. for the duration of the emergency without fear of being placed into removal proceedings for overstaying a visa. With each designation, however, the U.S. government sets an expiration date, based on how much time it thinks will pass before conditions in the country have improved enough to allow its citizens a safe return.
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Depending on whether or not conditions in your native country have improved since the original TPS designation, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security can, as the expiration date approaches, either remove the TPS designation or extend it.

If conditions remain unsafe in the country, then as a beneficiary of TPS, you may receive an extension of six, 12, or 18 months. Most of the current TPS-designated countries have been extended numerous times.

TPS Status and Your Work Permit May Be Automatically Extended

Notice of an extension of TPS designation for your country is provided in the Federal Register, which is basically a daily newspaper of the U.S. government. When the Register announces an extension of your TPS-designated country, it will also explain all the details required to renew TPS, and how it will impact your right to continue working.

You can expect such an announcement within the few months before your EAD expires. To access the register, go to and enter the search terms “TPS” and the name of your country. You can also check the Temporary Protected Status page of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for any updated deadlines and dates of a possible re-extension.

It is important to keep track of when your TPS status expires, and to check the Register and the USCIS website to make sure you will have an opportunity to renew it and find out when the renewal period will open. Often, the renewal window for TPS is short, and will require you to act quickly to ensure that you can maintain your TPS status and continue legally working.

If TPS Is Automatically Extended, Work Permit Continues to Be Valid

If you have any questions regarding TPS or any other immigration topic,
Please contact LEGiTiGO, today

Monday, December 5, 2016

Provisional Waivers

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I am excited about the provisional waiver process, because I have been waiting for years to apply for a green card through my U.S. citizen husband. I am pregnant, however, and worried that my visa interview will be scheduled when I’m due to deliver or caring for a newborn. Is there any way to hurry the interview up? I am willing to pay extra.


There's no premium processing option, but you may be able to request an expedited decision.

Everyone applying to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a provisional or stateside waiver on Form I-601A is naturally eager for a quick decision so that the National Visa Center can schedule the visa interview at the consulate abroad. Although USCIS (as of February 2015) has never released its standard processing times for this application, the goal of the USCIS National Benefits Center is to make a decision within 90 days.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will receive a decision on your waiver application within 90 days, and it is not uncommon for USCIS to take longer than that to make its decision. Moreover, there is no guaranteed way to bring about quicker action by USCIS. Unlike with some immigration applications, no arrangement exists by which you can pay a “premium processing” fee to guarantee speedy handling of your I-601A stateside waiver application.

Your only hope is to make a request to have your waiver request “expedited.” Such requests are not granted very often. They require a very good reason for making the request, such as a medical, humanitarian, or similar emergency, or the possibility of severe financial loss to a business or a person. Pregnancy, particularly if it involves possible complications, is among the issues which U.S. immigration authorities have considered in other expedite cases – but again, nothing is guaranteed. This is a “discretionary” decision, meaning USCIS is free to make its own judgment about who deserves what.

To ask for an expedite, you can either submit a cover letter with your waiver application requesting the expedite, or send it later, via the USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283.

With your expedite request, you will need to provide documentary proof of any facts that you are claiming. In your situation, for instance, you would need to provide a letter or records from your doctor verifying the pregnancy and detailing any expected complications that could make it difficult for you to travel later. Be aware that if the wait is already long enough, USCIS may figure that your child will be plenty old enough to travel by the time you are scheduled for a visa interview.
And in the meantime, the fact that you are in the U.S. and presumably with your U.S. spouse makes your case less likely to gain approval than that of someone who is separated from close family.

If you have any questions regarding Provisional Waivers or any other immigration topic,
Please contact LEGiTiGO, today