Monday, August 27, 2018
Who can get a family green card?
•Spouses of a US citizen
•Parents of US citizens, if the sponsoring citizen is age 21 or older
•Children of a US citizen
•Siblings of US citizen, if the sponsoring citizen is age 21 or older
•Spouses of a permanent resident
•Unmarried children of a permanent resident
Overview of the steps
1. Get sponsored. To obtain a green card through family, a relative who is a permanent resident or citizen must sponsor their immigrant relative by filing a visa petition on their behalf. This is always the first step towards receiving a family green card, regardless of the immigrant’s current status.
2. Wait for a visa. Once the relative visa petition is approved, the immigrant must wait for an immigrant visa to become available. The waiting period could take a few months or decades depending on how many other applicants are in the US visa backlog. This is true for applicants both in or outside of the United States.
3. Apply for a green card. After an immigrant visa becomes available, the immigrant must complete a medical exam, file for adjustment of status or consular processing, and potentially attend an interview. If approved, the immigrant will officially be a permanent resident.
How long will it take?
Processing time for immigrant visa petition: 6 months or longer
Waiting time for immigrant visa to become available: 1 year or longer*
Processing time for adjustment of status/consular processing: 6 months or longer
*This depends on your preference category, Immediate relatives of a US citizen do not need to wait for a visa to become available.
Tip: You can find out how far USCIS is into processing their backlog of applications by checking the visa bulletin. LEGiTiGO updates the bulletin on a monthly basis.
Monday, August 20, 2018
White House Residents Directly Benefit from America’s Generous Immigration System
America’s generosity is reflected in our immigration system. Throughout our nation’s history (with some shameful exceptions), we have allowed individuals to come to the United States to reunite with family members and offered safety and protection to those who need it most.
Yet the Trump White House publicly opposes these fundamental American traditions and values. Trump administration rhetoric that demands an end to family-based immigration and seeks to shut our doors to asylum seekers is particularly searing, considering many who dwell in the White House today have directly benefited from policies put in place by previous administrations.
The most recent example is First Lady Melania Trump, whose parents became U.S. citizens just last week thanks to her sponsorship. How glad she must be to know her parents are nearby rather than thousands of miles away in Slovenia.
President Trump himself is a by-product of family reunification. Both his paternal grandfather and his mother migrated to the United States to be with siblings. Imagine the comfort they experienced from being reunited with family from across the pond.
The president’s senior advisor and lead on anti-immigration policy, Stephen Miller, can thank America’s generous immigration system for his family’s survival and prosperity. His uncle recently shared the story of their family’s immigration history, noting his maternal grandfather—Izzy Glosser, a Jew from Belarus—arrived at Ellis Island in January 1903 with $8 and no knowledge of English.
Monday, August 13, 2018
What is a U Visa?
Immigrants who are worried about being deported may be too afraid to report a crime to the police, even if they are the victim. The U visa can protect victims of certain crimes by making it safer to report the crime or help law enforcement. A person who is the victim of domestic violence or trafficking, but who doesn't qualify for VAWA or a T visa, can sometimes qualify for a U visa.
Which crimes qualify for a U Visa?
Many crimes and attempted crimes qualify for the U visa. This includes crimes that happen at work. Because different states use different names for those crimes, it's a good idea to talk to an immigration lawyer to find out if you qualify for a U visa.
You may qualify for a crime such as:
•Assault (hitting, beating), abusive sexual contact, blackmail, domestic violence, genital cutting of a girl or woman
•Paying someone too little for their work, keeping them prisoner, tricking them into working, threatening to make them lie to an investigator, and others
How do I prove that I qualify?
You must show that:
•The crime hurt you, physically and/or mentally.
•You were helpful or will be helpful to law enforcement (police or investigators). This means reporting the crime or answering questions. Even if the crime happened a while ago, it might not be too late to report it or be helpful.
How long does it take to get the visa?
There is a waiting list for the U visa. How long it takes depends on how many people have applied and your place in line. But you can apply for a work permit while you wait for your U visa.
If I get a U Visa, can I help my family members stay in the U.S.?
If you qualify, you can get a work permit and permission to stay in the U.S., and help other family members get a U visa, too. If you are 21 or over, you can apply for your spouse and children, too. If you are under 21, you can also apply for your parents and unmarried brothers and sisters who are under 18.
Monday, August 6, 2018
Employer: How to Prepare for an I-9 Audit
During this fiscal year, ICE has served more than 5,000 Notices of I-9 Inspections on employers across the country. They have also made almost 1,000 administrative worksite-related arrests. Employers need to be prepared for I-9 audits.
Conduct Periodic Internal Self-Audits
Since I-9s became required for new hires in 1986, we have always advised employers to conduct internal self-audits as a way to eliminate, or at least minimize, their liability for I-9 violations.
Employers need to make sure that employees complete Section 1 of form I-9 no later than their 1st day of employment. They are required to print their name, address, e-mail address and phone number.
They must attest whether they are either a (1) US citizen; (2) a non-citizen national; (3) a lawful permanent resident; or (4) are authorized to work in the US until a particular date. A lawful permanent resident must provide his/her alien number. A person with a temporary work permit must choose between completing information from 1 of 3 documents.
The employer must then sign and date the I-9 attesting, under penalty of perjury, that the information is true and correct.
Helpful I-9 Resources for Employers
Over the past 30+ years, walking the fine line between I-9 compliance and refraining from violating federal anti-discrimination laws has become increasingly difficult for employers. Fortunately, the USCIS now provides the online resources to help employers comply with the complex rules governing these subjects:
How to Avoid Common I-9 Mistakes
The USCIS website contains a page on I-9s entitled Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Also, when our law firm has conducted audits of I-9 forms for employers, I have often observed that far too many of the employees submit Drivers Licenses and Social Security Cards. Often, this results from HR telling the employees which forms to submit. Instead, HR should simply show each employee the list of List A, B and C documents and inform them that they need to submit a List A document, or a List B and a List C document. Be aware that employees cannot be compelled to list their Social Security numbers on form I-9 unless the employer is enrolled in the E-Verify program. If an employee is a lawful permanent resident, their employer should never reverify their I-9 form simply because their green card expires. Finally, there are numerous types of EAD work permits that automatically are extended for 180 days if the employee submits a timely application for extension.