Los Angeles Immigration Seminar April 19, 2017

Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer

Immigration Seminar (MCLE) Presented By
Los Angeles Immigration Attorney Nikki Jacobson

The Los Angeles Paralegal Association is pleased to present an informative and timely Immigration Seminar (MCLE) :  President Trump’s Executive Orders: Immigration Analysis & Practice Pointers  by experienced and award winning Los Angeles Immigration Attorney Nikki Jacobson.  This program will be held at 6:30 p.m. on April 19, 2017 at Abraham Lincoln University, 3530 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1430, Los Angeles, California 90010.  Advanced registration is recommended.  For further information, Attorney Nikki Jacobson may be contacted at seminars@nikkijacobson.com.

Immigration Program by Los Angeles Immigration Attorney

Recent Executive Orders dealing with immigration law and procedures have caused confusion, protests, and litigation.  In this seminar, Immigration Attorney Nikki Jacobson will explain best practices for legal teams that assist those individuals who have been affected by the travel ban and other obstacles foreign nationals and U.S. Permanent Residents have, and will continue, to face. Ms. Jacobson will also discuss the status of the executive orders and court-related actions that can further change an immigration attorney or paralegals practices.

Immigration Topics to be Covered by Los Angeles Immigration Attorney

The following topics and many more will be covered by Immigration Attorney Nikki Jacobson:

  • Everyone Has Certain Basic Rights, No Matter Who Is President: Everyone living in the U.S. has certain basic rights under the U.S. Constitution—everyone, including people who are undocumented.
  • What to Do When Encountering Law Enforcement
  • Immigration Raids and How Immigration Attorneys Can Assist Clients
  • Know Your Rights at Home and at Work
  • Know Your Rights in California
  • What to Do if You Are Arrested or Detained by Immigration
  • What to Do When Encountering Law Enforcement at Airports and Other Ports of Entry into the U.S.
  • Immigration Detention and Removal
  • Immigrant Protests: What Every Immigrant Should Know When Participating in Demonstrations

Immigration Ban Chronology as of April 3, 2017

  • January 27 — President signs executive order. Trump issues the executive order banning entry for 90 days by citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The order also indefinitely halts refugees from Syria.
  • January 28 — Mass protests start at airports nationwide in opposition of the travel ban
  • January 28 — Judge in New York temporarily blocks part of order. US Judge Ann M. Donnelly held that the petitioners had a “strong likelihood of success” in establishing that their removal “violates their rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution.”
  • January 29 — Judge in Massachusetts also issues a temporary restraining order. A federal judge in Massachusetts blocked a part of the order in a case brought by lawyers for two lawful permanent residents who are college professors. That order went a step further ordering that the government could not “detain or remove” those who arrived legally from the seven countries subject to Trump’s order.
  • January 29 — President vigorously defends order: “This is not about religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe,” the President wrote in a statement.
  • January 30 — Former President Barack Obama criticizes order.
  • January 30 — Senate Republicans block attempt by Democrats to reverse order.
  • January 30 — President fires acting Attorney General Sally Yates.
  • January 31 –The New Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, defends immigration order:  I think we were in pretty good shape on how it was implemented by the workforce.”
  • February 2 — Trump administration eases travel ban restrictions for green card holders: US legal permanent residents from the seven countries would be again allowed to take part in the Global Entry program. The program allows for expedited border clearance for travelers deemed to be low-risk.
  • February 3 — Federal Judge in Boston declines to renew the temporary restraining order which was set to expire on February 5.
  • February 3 — Federal judge temporarily halts key provisions of order: US District Court Judge James Robart blocked the ban nationwide. He ruled that the states that filed the lawsuit “have met their burden of demonstrating that they face immediate and irreparable injury as a result of the signing and implementation of the executive order.”
  • February 5 — Government’s request to resume the ban is denied.
  • February 7 — Arguments presented in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • February 9 — Travel ban remains blocked: A three-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals ruled against reinstating the travel ban.  Immediately after the appeals court ruling, the Trump administration said it wouldn’t immediately appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
  • February 13 — Federal District Court Judge in Seattle denies the government’s request to delay travel ban lawsuit and thus the challenge to the ban by Washington and Minnesota could proceed in front of Judge Robart.
  • February 16 — President Trump promises new immigration order.
  • March 6 — New travel ban unveiled: The new travel ban  excluded Iraq from the list of Muslim-majority countries whose citizens were temporarily blocked. The ban, which was set to take effect on March 16, barred foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.
  • March 7 — Hawaii immediately files lawsuit: The lawsuit asked a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of the new executive order.
  • March 15 — Travel ban blocked again. US District Court Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii blocked the President’s new travel ban hours before it was set to begin. The temporary restraining order applied nationwide.
  • March 16 — US District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland specifically blocked the 90-day ban on immigration for citizens of the six Muslim majority countries. Chuang and Watson both cited Trump’s statements about Muslims during the presidential campaign as part of their rulings.
  • March 29 — Ruling extended. A federal judge in Hawaii grants the state’s request for a longer term halt of the revised travel ban executive order. US District Court Judge Derrick Watson blocked the core provisions of the revised executive order two weeks ago, concluding that the order likely violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution by disfavoring Muslims.

Los Angeles Immigration Attorney

Adjustment of Status and TPS

Adjustment of Status and TPS

Adjustment of Status and TPS

Adjustment of Status and TPS

Adjustment of Status and TPS                Contact Us Now for a Consultation 

9th Circuit Court of Appeals:  TPS Adjustment of Status – TPS Recipient Is Eligible to Adjust to LPR Status

Adjustment of Status and TPS:   I have TPS.  Can I apply for Adjustment of Status (Lawful Permanent Residency) in the U.S.? IT DEPENDS

Adjustment of Status and TPS: The recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, Ramirez v. Brown, holds that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is lawful status, that the granting of TPS is an admission, and therefore a TPS grantee is eligible for adjustment of status if all other requirements are met.  What does that mean?  If you have TPS, and are otherwise eligible to get your green card (lawful permanent residence), you may apply for a green card in the U.S.  This is great news for many.  However, USCIS and DOJ may apply this decision in various ways.  You should always consult with an experienced immigration attorney.

The court held that under INA §244(f)(4), a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipient is deemed to be in lawful status as a nonimmigrant—and has thereby satisfied the requirements for becoming a nonimmigrant, including inspection and admission—for purposes of adjustment of status under INA §245(a). The court thus found that the plaintiff-appellee, a TPS beneficiary, was eligible to obtain lawful permanent residence. (Ramirez, et al. v. Brown, et al., 3/31/17)

Adjustment of Status and TPS: The Sixth Circuit has also reached this same conclusion regarding a TPS Adjustment of Status and that a TPS grant is an “admission.” See Flores v. U.S. Citizenship & lmmigration Services, 71 8 F. 3d 548 (6th Cir. 2013).

You should always consult with an experienced immigration attorney before filing any application and not rely on information on various websites.  This information does not constitute legal advice.

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Us Now for a Consultation 

Adjustment of Status and TPS
Los Angeles TPS Attorney – Los Angeles Adjustment of Status Attorney – Los Angeles Immigration Attorney

 

April 2017 Visa Bulletin

Los Angeles Visa Lawyer

Visa Bulletin For April 2017

Family Visa Bulletin

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If you have any questions about this month’s visa bulletin, please contact us to schedule a consultation.  Los Angeles Immigration Attorney Nikki Jacobson would be more than happy to assist you with all of your family and employment based immigration petitions and applications. 

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

This visa bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during April for: “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.

Unless otherwise indicated on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with USCIS in the Department of Homeland Security must use the “Final Action Dates” charts below for determining when they can file such applications. When USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state on its website that applicants may instead use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts in this Visa Bulletin.

1.  Procedures for determining dates. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; USCIS reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations in the charts below were made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by March 9th. If not all demand could be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed. The final action date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a final action date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new final action date announced in this visa bulletin. If at any time an annual limit were reached, it would be necessary to immediately make the preference category “unavailable”, and no further requests for numbers would be honored.

2.  Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620. The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.

3.  INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed. Section 203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal. The visa prorating provisions of Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit. These provisions apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas:  CHINA-mainland born, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.

4.  Section 203(a) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Family-sponsored immigrant visas as follows:

If you have any questions about this month’s visa bulletin, please contact us to schedule a consultation.  Los Angeles Immigration Attorney Nikki Jacobson would be more than happy to assist you with all of your family and employment based immigration petitions and applications. 

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:  114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents:  23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens:  65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

A.  VISA BULLETIN FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES

On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); “C” means current, i.e., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and “U” means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date listed below.)

Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
F1 15OCT10 15OCT10 15OCT10 22MAY95 15JAN06
F2A 08JUN15 08JUN15 08JUN15 22MAY15 08JUN15
F2B 15SEP10 15SEP10 15SEP10 22DEC95 15JUN06
F3 15MAY05 15MAY05 15MAY05 08JAN95 15SEP94
F4 08MAY04 08MAY04 15AUG03 15JUN97 08SEP93
22MAR05
22MAR05

*NOTE: For April, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 22MAY15. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 22MAY15 and earlier than 08JUN15. All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit.

B.  VISA BULLETIN DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA APPLICATIONS

The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart below may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa. If a category is designated “current,” all applicants in the relevant category may file applications, regardless of priority date.

The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date which is earlier than the listed date may file their application.

Visit www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo for information on whether USCIS has determined that this chart can be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 4.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS.

Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
F1 01JAN11 01JAN11 01JAN11 01JUN95 01MAY06
F2A 22NOV15 22NOV15 22NOV15 22NOV15 22NOV15
F2B 08FEB11 08FEB11 08FEB11 01JUN96 01FEB07
F3 22AUG05 22AUG05 22AUG05 01MAY95 01JAN95
F4 01JUL04 01JUL04 01MAY04 01DEC97 01APR94

5.  Section 203(b) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Employment-based immigrant visas as follows:

If you have any questions about this month’s visa bulletin, please contact us to schedule a consultation.  Los Angeles Immigration Attorney Nikki Jacobson would be more than happy to assist you with all of your family and employment based immigration petitions and applications. 

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

First:  Priority Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second:  Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

Third:  Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to “*Other Workers”.

Fourth:  Certain Special Immigrants:  7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth:  Employment Creation:  7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.

A. VISA BULLETIN FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES

On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); “C” means current, i.e., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and “U” means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date listed below.)

Employ-
ment
based
All Charge-
ability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C C
2nd C 15JAN13 C 22JUN08 C C
3rd 15FEB17 15AUG14 15FEB17 24MAR05 15FEB17 15SEP12
Other Workers 15FEB17 01MAR06 15FEB17 24MAR05 15FEB17 15SEP12
4th C C 15JUL15 C 15JUL15 C
Certain Religious Workers C C 15JUL15 C 15JUL15 C
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C 22MAY14 C C C C
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
C 22MAY14 C C C C

*Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year. This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program. Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.

B.  VISA BULLETIN DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS

The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa. If a category is designated “current,” all applicants in the relevant category may file, regardless of priority date.

The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date which is earlier than the listed date may file their application.

Visit www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo for information on whether USCIS has determined that this chart can be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 5.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS.

Employment-
based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO  PHILIPPINES 
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01MAR13 22APR09 C C
3rd C 01MAY14 01JUL05 C 01SEP13
Other Workers C 01AUG09 01JUL05 C 01SEP13
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C 15JUN14 C C C
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
C 15JUN14 C C C

6.  The Department of State has a recorded message with the cut-off date information for Final Application Action which can be heard at:  (202) 485-7699.  This recording is updated on or about the tenth of each month with information on final action dates for the following month.

If you have any questions about this month’s visa bulletin, please contact us to schedule a consultation.  Los Angeles Immigration Attorney Nikki Jacobson would be more than happy to assist you with all of your family and employment based immigration petitions and applications. 

B.  VISA BULLETIN DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL

Section 203(c) of the INA provides up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit additional immigration opportunities for persons from countries with low admissions during the previous five years. The NACARA stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program. This resulted in reduction of the DV-2017 annual limit to 50,000. DV visas are divided among six geographic regions.  No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.

For April, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2017 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately
AFRICA 34,900 Except:
Egypt:     21,800
Ethiopia:  24,500
ASIA 5,500 Except:
Iran:       5,300
Nepal:     4,575
EUROPE 22,100
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 10
OCEANIA 850
SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN
900

Entitlement to immigrant status in the DV category lasts only through the end of the fiscal (visa) year for which the applicant is selected in the lottery. The year of entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2017 program ends as of September 30, 2017. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2017 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2017 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2017. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2017 cannot be taken for granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

C.  VISA BULLETIN THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN MAY

For May, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2017 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately
AFRICA Current Except:
Egypt:    24,500
Ethiopia: 29,100
ASIA Current Except:
Iran:   6,300
Nepal: 5,300
EUROPE Current
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) Current
OCEANIA Current
SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN
Current

D.  RAPID MOVEMENT IN WORLDWIDE FAMILY FOURTH PREFERENCE CATEGORY

Despite the forward movement of the final action dates, the level of demand and resulting number use in several Family preferences has been below expectations.  This lower than expected demand has resulted in advancement of the April Worldwide Family Fourth Preference date at a pace that covers the period of several months projected in the March Visa Bulletin’s “Visa Availability in the Coming Months”.  This action will allow the overall desired allocation level of number use for and through April to be met.  There are signs that demand in the other categories will increase in the coming months, resulting in the higher monthly allocation totals required to allow number use to reach those desired levels.  The Fourth Preference date will then be held for a period of time while the anticipated monthly allocation levels in those other preferences increase, without drastically altering overall workload patterns.

E.  SCHEDULED EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORIES

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

Pursuant to the continuing resolution signed on December 10, 2016, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on April 28, 2017.  No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight April 27, 2017. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of April 27, 2017, and all individuals seeking admission as a non-minister special immigrant must be admitted (repeat, admitted) into the U.S. no later than midnight April 27, 2017.

The final action date for this category has been listed as “Current” for April for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, which are subject to a July 15, 2015 final action date for April.  If there is no legislative action extending this category for FY-2017, the final action date would immediately become “Unavailable” for April for all countries effective April 28, 2017.

Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):

The continuing resolution signed on December 10, 2016 extended this immigrant investor pilot program until April 28, 2017. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on April 28, 2017, and may be issued for the full validity period. No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after April 28, 2017.

The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Current” for April for all countries except China-mainland born, which is subject to a May 22, 2014 final action date.  If there is no legislative action extending them for FY-2017, the final action dates would immediately become “Unavailable” for April for all countries effective April 29, 2017.

F.   SPECIAL IMMIGRANT VISA AVAILABILITY

The Department expects to exhaust the Special Immigrant Visas allocated by Congress under the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009, as amended, not later than June 1, 2017.  As a result, the Final Action Date for the SQ category for certain Afghan nationals employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Afghanistan will become “Unavailable” effective June 2017.  No further interviews for Afghan principal applicants in the SQ category will be scheduled after March 1, 2017, and further issuances will not be possible after May 30, 2017.

The SQ category for certain Iraqi nationals employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq is not affected and remains current, though the application deadline was September 30, 2014.

The FY-2017 annual limit of 50 Special Immigrant Visas in the SI category was reached in December 2016 and the Final Action Date remains “Unavailable.”  As included in the January 2017 Visa Bulletin, further issuances in the SI category will not be possible until October 2017, under the FY-2018 annual limit.

If you have any questions about this month’s visa bulletin, please contact us to schedule a consultation.  Los Angeles Immigration Attorney Nikki Jacobson would be more than happy to assist you with all of your family and employment based immigration petitions and applications. 

 

U Visa & Injured Workers

Workplace Violence - U Visa - Victim of a Crime - Immigration

Have you been injured at work because of your employer? U Visa

Have you been injured at work because of a fellow employee?

Have you been injured at work because of a violent act?

Have you been injured at work because of any criminal activity?

If you answered YES, to any of the above, you may be eligible for immigration status, a work permit and may be allowed to become a lawful permanent resident in the U.S.  

Los Angeles Visa Lawyers – Call Now for A Consultation

Introduction:  The U Visa and How It Can Protect Immigrant Injured Workers

How am I eligible for a U Visa if I was injured at work?  In the workplace, employees can often be victims of:

  • employer exploitation;
  • violations of wage and hour laws;
  • violations of equal employment protections;
  • harassment
  • physical, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse; and
  • many other fact based problematic issues.

In certain circumstance, any of the above instances may rise to the level of criminal activity.  In those situations, depending on the crime and other factors, workers may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa which may also lead to lawful permanent residence (green card) in the United States.

Employees who resist to report criminal activity to law enforcement because of the fear employer retaliation, being targeted for lack of a current lawful status or being terminated.   However, employees can be empowered to improve their workplace circumstances and conditions with the possibility of U visa protections and relief if they are willing to assist law enforcement.

A U visa may be particularly useful for situations where an employer uses workers’ immigration status to deny them what they legally should be earning, to deny them a workplace that complies with legal safety requirements, or to use their position of power to commit sexual or violent crimes against workers.

Los Angeles Visa Attorneys 

What Is the U Visa’s Purpose?

Congress created the U nonimmigrant visa in 2000 when it passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act.  Its purpose was to encourage immigrants to report crimes to law enforcement and also to afford protection for those willing to cooperate.  Congress intended that the law would protect victims of domestic and other violent crimes, but it also explicitly expressed its intent that the visa protect against qualifying workplace-related crimes.

 

What Are the Benefits of the U Visa?

U visa status benefits include the following:

  • Lawful status for up to four years;
  • Work authorization;
  • Derivative benefits for qualifying family members; and
  • Eligibility to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident after three years.

Los Angeles Visa Lawyers – Call Now for A Consultation

When Is a Worker Eligible for a U Visa?

To be eligible for a U visa, a worker must meet the following criteria:

  1. The worker has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity;
  2. The worker has information about the criminal activity;
  3. The worker has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime; and
  4. The criminal activity violated local, state, or federal law, or occurred in the U.S.

 

What Is the U Visa Petition Process?

To apply for a U visa, the worker or someone on the worker’s behalf must complete the following:

  • Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status.This form requests biographical information about the worker, the worker’s family members, and additional questions to determine the worker’s eligibility. The form is available at USCIS.gov.
  • Form I-918, Supplement A, Evidence to Establish Derivative U Nonimmigrant Status. This supplement is optional for petitioners who wish to petition for qualifying family members.  A separate Supplement A must be completed for each qualifying family member the worker wishes to file for.  If the worker is under age 21, qualifying family members include siblings under 18, the worker’s spouse, parents, and any children.  Workers above age 21 cannot petition for their parents or siblings, but may petition for their spouse and children.
  • Form I-918, Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification. This supplement is a mandatory certification form that must be completed by a government entity with authority to certify U visas.  That entity must certify that the petitioner is a victim of one of the categories of qualifying criminal activities; has knowledge of the activity; and has helped, is currently helping, or is likely to help in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
  • Supplemental Evidence. The worker must include a personal statement that provides a narrative of the crimes of which the worker is a victim and information about any resulting injuries.  The worker also should submit evidence, including affidavits, doctors’ reports, psychiatric evaluations, therapy session notes, court documents, police reports, or anything else that supports the worker’s claim.

Los Angeles Visa Attorneys 

Which Government Entities Have Certifying Authority?

A number of government entities have the authority to certify U visas, including federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, judges, or other authorities with responsibility for the investigation or prosecution of qualifying criminal activities.  Also included in that list are federal, state and local agencies that enforce employment and labor laws, such as the U.S. Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the National Labor Relations Board.

Since the U visa is a relatively new visa, there is considerable confusion among government agencies regarding certifying authority and the identification of qualifying criminal activity.  It is important to note, when working with an agency, that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations permit U visa certification on the basis of a crime that is detected, even if the certifying agency has no authority to enforce that crime.  This was partly to further Congress’s “[intent] for individuals to be eligible for U nonimmigrant status at the very early stages of an investigation.”

  

What Constitutes Qualifying Criminal Activity?

The following is a list of criminal behaviors that were recognized as ones that are often directed against immigrants and that therefore constitute qualifying criminal activity for purposes of U visa eligibility.  The list includes categories of federal, state, or local criminal violations, and it attempts to paint the picture of the variety of activities that may qualify.

There are a few important points to note before reviewing this list:

  1. The list names different categories of crime but is not exhaustive.  Other crimes substantially similar to the listed crimes may also qualify.
  2. “Investigation or prosecution” of a crime includes the detection or investigation of a qualifying crime or criminal activity, as well as prosecution, conviction, or sentencing of the perpetrator of such crime or criminal activity.  USCIS intended this term to be interpreted broadly. Similarly, labor enforcement agencies are permitted to certify U visas on the basis of qualifying criminal activity they detect, even if they lack the authority to prosecute it.

 

LIST OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIORS

  • Abduction
  • Abusive Sexual Contact
  • Blackmail
  • Domestic Violence
  • Extortion
  • False Imprisonment
  • Felonious Assault
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Felonious Assault
  • Being Held Hostage
  • Incest
  • Involuntary Servitude
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Obstruction of Justice
  • Peonage
  • Perjury
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Slave Trade
  • Torture
  • Trafficking
  • Witness Tampering
  • Unlawful Criminal Restraint
  • Other Related Crimes

Includes any similar activity where the elements of the crime are substantially similar.

Also includes attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above, and other related, crimes.

Los Angeles Visa Lawyers – Call Now for A Consultation

Qualifying Criminal Activities Commonly Seen in the Workplace

Any of the criminal activity listed in the VTVPA could qualify a worker for a U visa, but the qualifying criminal activities that would be most likely to be found in the workplace are these:

  • Blackmail:An example would be an employer threatening to report a worker’s immigration status to induce the worker to give up money or something of value.
  • Trafficking:This includes recruiting, enticing, harboring, or transporting another person for labor purposes.
  • False imprisonment:Examples include chaining or locking doors and fences to keep workers inside.
  • Involuntary servitude:Defined in 22 U.S.C. § 7102(5) as a condition of servitude induced by means of: (A) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that, if the person did not enter into or continue in such condition, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint; or (B) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process. Examples include threatening harm to the worker if he or she does not continue to work, confiscating passports or other identity documents, using locks or fences to keep workers from leaving the premises, and keeping workers in locations that restrict food, housing, medical care, clothing, and other basic necessities.
  • Obstruction of justice:Examples include destroying, altering, or falsifying wage or work hours records or birth certificates (e.g. to fake a minor’s age).
  • Peonage:Telling a worker that he owes $10,000 for tools and supplies, deducting most or all of a worker’s wages to pay for the debt, and compelling the worker to continue working until the debt is paid off, for example, would constitute peonage.
  • Witness tampering:Threatening or intimidating a witness.
  • Fraud in foreign labor contracting:This is when someone “Knowingly and with intent to defraud, recruits, solicits, or hires a person outside the United States…For purposes of employment in the United States by means of materially false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises regarding that employment…” (8 U.S.C. § 1351.)

Notice that some commonly seen workplaces abuses, such as wage theft, employment discrimination, and collective bargaining violations, are not listed.  Making a good argument that the crime committed against you is similar to one of the listed U visa crimes is crucial, and it is where an experienced attorney can come in very handy. A collective bargaining violation may turn into an obstruction of justice or witness tampering case if the employer threatens to call immigration, or fire an employee, if the employee continues to participate in strikes and protests over the poor working conditions.

Los Angeles Visa Lawyers – Call Now for A Consultation

 

Los Angeles Immigration Lawyers Notify Clients About Work Permits Being Extended for El Salvador TPS Beneficiaries

Los Angeles Immigration Lawyers Notify Clients About Work Permits Being Extended for El Salvador TPS Beneficiaries

Work Permits (Employment Authorization Document / EAD) Validity Extended for TPS El Salvador Beneficiaries

USCIS is automatically extending the validity of certain EADs issued under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador for an additional 6 months. On July 8, 2016, DHS announced the extension of the designation of El Salvador for TPS for a period of 18 months. With that extension, DHS also automatically extended the validity of EADs issued under TPS El Salvador for 6 months, through March 9, 2017. To avoid gaps in work authorization, USCIS is now automatically extending the validity of those EADs for an additional 6 months, through September 9, 2017.

If you currently have an EAD that was issued under the TPS designation for El Salvador and has a September 9, 2016 expiration date printed on the front of the card, your EAD will now expire on September 9, 2017. To prove that you are authorized to continue working legally, you may show the following documentation to your employer and government agencies:

  • Your TPS-related EAD; and
  • A copy of today’s Federal Register notice announcing this automatic extension.

 

 

Los Angeles Immigration Lawyers

Los Angeles Immigration Attorneys

Immigrants Injured At Work – California Labor Law

REPRESENTING IMMIGRANT WORKERS
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES

Thursday, March 9, 2017
6:00 pm
Luminarias Restaurant
3500 Ramona Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91754

For More Information Contact: Isabel Pires at (916) 267-1129

Join me next week as we discuss crossover legal issues in immigration and workers’ compensation law as related to immigrants injured at work.  We will also discuss how to properly navigate concerns that arise when a client’s immigration status affects the workers’ compensation case and vice versa.  Topics will include:

  • Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
  • The Federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA)
  • Form I-9 Employment & Immigration Issues
  • California Labor Code §3351: Employee means every person in the service of an employer under any appointment or contract of hire or apprenticeship, express or implied, oral or written, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed, and includes:  (a) Aliens and minors…
  • Labor Code 1171.5 provides, in pertinent part, as follows: all protections, rights, and remedies available under state law, except any reinstatement remedy prohibited by federal law, are available to all individuals regardless of immigration status who have applied for employment, or who are or who have been employed, in this state. Further, Labor Code section 1171.5 provides that for purposes of enforcing state labor and employment laws, a person’s immigration status is irrelevant to the issue of liability, and in proceedings or discovery undertaken to enforce those state laws no inquiry shall be permitted into a person’s immigration status.
  • Labor Code sections 3733 and 4756 to ensure that regardless of their citizenship or immigration status, an injured employee is not precluded from receiving benefits under the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund or the Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund.
  • False Claim to U.S. Citizenship
  • Problems with valid SSN
  • Issues at Depositions

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Free Personal Injury Consultation
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