How Does a Government Shutdown Impact Immigration Services?

By Greco Neyland | December 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

Congress is preparing to break for the holidays, and it is apparent that the standoff over President Trump’s wall will result in a partial government shutdown. Unlike a full government shutdown, the current funding lapse only impacts certain aspects of the government. As of midnight on November 21st, funding expired for all non-essential employees in the federal government. This will impact nine different federal agencies and a vast number of governmental employees. The partial government shutdown will also have an effect on individuals across the United States, including migrants, immigrants, and those seeking naturalization in California. Clients of immigration lawyers across the country are wondering, how will the government shutdown impact immigration services and cases? At Greco Neyland, we have the answer. What Led to the Partial Government Shutdown? At the center of the disagreement between Congressional Democrats, Republicans in the House of Representatives, and President Trump is interestingly immigration. While there aren’t any issues of immigration reform or immigration policy holding up funding approval in Congress, President Trump’s “wall” is the sticking point. President Trump has stated that he would veto any spending bill that didn’t directly allocate $5 billion for the wall on the United States and Mexico border. The issue was hotly debated throughout the month of December. President Trump refused to back down, but It became apparent that President Trump didn’t have enough Democratic support in the Senate to pass a bill with the wall funding. As the December 23rd deadline to fund the government approached, the Senate did pass a spending bill sans funding for the wall. It was expected that this bill would be passed in the House and signed by President Trump. It wasn’t. Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to bring any bill to the floor for a vote that didn’t include wall funding and President Trump remained committed to refusing any spending bill without wall funding. What Is Impacted by a Partial Government Shutdown? Currently, the lack of government funding only impacts nine federal agencies, but this could change as other spending measures expire. There are closures or spending freezes…

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What to Do if Stopped by Immigration and Customs Enforcement

By Greco Neyland | December 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

At our California law office, Greco Neyland handles a number of immigration issues and cases. Our clients have questions about student visas and naturalization, but one of the more important issues we deal with every day is detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also referred to as ICE. Investigation and detention by ICE have substantial consequences, even when detention of an individual occurs on accident or by mistake. It can take months to unravel the documentation and legal repercussions of immigration detention, which makes it incredibly important to handle any interaction with ICE appropriately and effectively. Here are five pieces of advice if an officer or agent from ICE ever stops you. #1: Remain Calm and Don’t Rush a Reaction Whether you are in the United States legally or illegally, an encounter with an ICE agent is nerve-wracking and stressful. Amongst the rush of emotions that can accompany initial questions or a search by an ICE agent, the initial reaction can be to run, move quickly, or act rashly. While these responses are all valid, it is crucial to remain calm and not rush a reaction to being approached by an ICE officer. When you stay calm, your reaction is far more likely to be measured, thoughtful, and in your best interest. #2: Know Your Rights During a Stop Everyone is guaranteed specific rights under the United States Constitution. These rights do not just apply to United States citizens or permanent residents but are universal to all people in the country. These rights apply to your encounters with ICE agents and other law enforcement. Knowing your rights is essential. While there are several rights to know and understand, our team at Greco Neyland wants to draw attention to two of them. First, you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer any questions posed by an ICE agent. Second, if you are arrested for an immigration crime, you have the right to a lawyer. You can request a lawyer immediately. #3: You Do Not Have to Reveal Your Immigration Status Understanding your rights during an encounter…

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District Court Judge Blocks New Measures on Asylum

By Greco Neyland | November 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

At least for the immediate future, the Trump Administration’s latest measures on asylum will go unenforced. As of last week, a district court judge in California has ruled that the new measures, which we covered in a blog post two weeks ago, were invalid and outside the scope of executive power. While this is a victory for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which led the legal challenge against the asylum restrictions, the reversal showcases the continued uncertainty in American immigration policy, particularly when it comes to immigration and asylum claims from Central America and Mexico. In this week’s post, our team at Greco Neyland discusses the recent ruling from California and its implications for the weeks and months ahead. Events Leading to New Restrictions on Asylum In the past few weeks, a caravan of migrants from Central America has captured the attention of the media and U.S. population. These migrants come from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. As the caravan has made its way north, the Trump Administration and other executive agencies have taken steps to prepare for their arrival at the U.S. border. The most immediate focus on the Administration, how to stop their entry into the United States. The Trump Administration has lamented the number of Central American migrants arriving in the United States for the full two years of his presidency. The government has pointed to gang members and illnesses as a reason to limit the entry of these individuals into the United States. Yet, the occurrence of both is down substantially from the 1990s and 2000s. Rather today’s population of arrivals is far more likely to be families, including young children and new mothers. Still, the caravan has sparked new fears of illegal immigration and overwhelming asylum claims. There is a fear, perpetuated by the Administration’s rhetoric, that upon arrival at the U.S./Mexican border, this caravan will create substantial security and safety concerns. The executive branch also argued that processing these asylum claims after the migrants have entered the United States would be inefficient and uncontrolled. Thus, to prevent the alleged negative impact of the…

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What Is the Impact of the Government’s Asylum Proclamation?

By Greco Neyland | November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

Late last week on November 9th, the White House released an official proclamation from the President of the United States. The proclamation addresses the issue of “mass migration” to the southern border of the United States. It begins, “The United States expects the arrival at the border between the United States and Mexico (southern border) of a substantial number of aliens primarily from Central America who appear to have no lawful basis for admission into our country.” Given the likely arrival of these potential asylum seekers to the United States, the President determined that action was necessary. The action taken in the Presidential asylum proclamation is the suspension of asylum claims except those made at ports of entry and the suspension of certain aliens, entirely, for claims of asylum. This asylum proclamation went into immediate effect, and the backlash was similarly immediate. What Circumstances Led to the Asylum Proclamation? In late October the media, the American people, and many politicians turned their attention to a caravan of people traveling from Central and South American countries through Mexico. According to members of the caravan, the intended destination, the dream destination is the United States. There were strong opinions over the migrant caravan from the start. The timing of the caravan close the mid-term elections made it an ideal topic of political jostling, and for the last week of many conservative campaigns, immigration became a leading topic. It would take weeks for the caravan to reach the United States, but from the President and other politicians, there was already rhetoric of fear around the caravan’s arrival at the southern border. Then, on October 29th the Administration ordered 5,600 U.S. troops to the southern border to stop the caravan from entering illegally or taking violent action to enter the United States at ports of entry. Instructive from the first caravan of migrants and refugees to arrive at the United States several months ago is the fact that most people will present themselves legally at the southern border and many others will ultimately remain in Mexico. How Is Asylum Changed Under the Asylum Proclamation?…

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4 Pieces of Information You Need for a Student Visa

By Greco Neyland | November 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

Despite a drop in student visa applications in 2017 and 2018, the United States remains the most popular and desired destination for foreign students. Even in a year where the number of student visas was down 17% (2017), there were still over 393,000 F-1 visas issued. For comparison, this means the record high, in 2016, saw more than 471,000 international students coming to the United States. Given the sheer popularity of university and other academic studies in the United States, there is a lot of competition to secure a student visa approval. Any international student must be fully prepared to complete the F-1 visa application in a timely manner. What information do you need before pressing send on this immigration application? Our team at Greco Neyland identifies five crucial pieces of information. #1: Your Acceptance to a SEVP Approved School There are several student visas for the United States. International students and trainees can come to California for a work abroad program under the J-1 visa or complete vocational studies under the M-1 visa. However, the F-1 visa is the appropriate visa scheme for anyone wanting to complete academic study in the United States. To receive an F-1 visa, you first need admittance to an approved college. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is an important part of the National Security Investigations Division of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). SEVP is responsible for relaying information between foreign students and U.S. academic institutions and for issuing certifications to colleges and universities for participation in the F-1 visa program. Your school of choice in California must be certified by SEVP or your application for the F-1 visa will be denied. #2: Transcripts or Diplomas from Previous Schools The F-1 visa scheme is appropriate for academic study at the high school, university, or graduate level. However, you can’t merely claim to be a doctorate student on your visa application without proof of your qualifications and previous study. When you apply for a student visa to the United States, you will need documentation of your diploma from any previous institution or…

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Can Donald Trump Stop Birthright Citizenship?

By Greco Neyland | October 31, 2018 | 0 Comments

The immigration news in the United States was dominated by a single topic this week: President Trump’s announcement that he intends to end birthright citizenship. He made the claim to the news outlet, Axios, in an interview released in part last Tuesday and fully on Sunday. His exact statement regarding the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship to individuals born in the United States was, “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end. In the same interview, President Trump claimed that the United States is, “the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years.” This statement was quickly fact-checked and proven false, as there are 30 other countries that grant birthright citizenship, including the rest of North America. Later, President Trump would claim that he was considering an executive order to end birthright citizenship. A claim that set off a strong response from journalists and immigration lawyers all over the United States. With the broad, unflinching, and sometimes factually deficient statements coming from the President on birthright citizenship and other immigration issues, we take a look at the legal ramifications and capabilities for ending birthright citizenship and discuss what the President’s statement actually mean for citizens in California. What Is Birthright Citizenship? Following the Civil War, the United States passed three crucial amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The 13th Amendment made slavery, otherwise called involuntary servitude, illegal, and the 15th Amendment made racial discrimination for voting rights illegal. It was the 14th Amendment that granted citizenship to anyone born in the United States, including individuals born to former slaves. Birthright citizenship was a necessary step in making millions of African Americans citizens of the United States and remains very important today. The promise of the 14th Amendment is that a person is a citizen of the United States simply by being born in the country. The wording of the Amendment is, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the…

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What Steps Take You From Application to Work Visa Approval?

By Greco Neyland | October 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

Our team at Greco Neyland walks you through the five steps you must complete to obtain a work visa in the United States. Each of these steps is applicable to non-immigration visas needed by foreign workers, but we don’t cover the specific eligibility requirements for the different types of work visas. You can contact our office in Los Angeles to find out more about the specific work visa you need and what requirements are applicable to each employment visa scheme. #1: Prepare for Your Application Before you even start the online application for a U.S. work visa, you need to complete certain preparation. This involves the collection of information, copying documents, and verifying your future employer has undertaken its own steps towards your work visa. First, you need verification of citizenship in your home country. You certainly want to copy your passport, but you can also provide copies of a valid driver’s license, military identification, and other government IDs to prove where you claim citizenship. You also need to collect information on your future position in the United States. The vast majority of U.S. work visas, including a work permit under the J-1 visa, require an applicant to obtain a job and have an offer letter in hand before submitting a work visa application. Some of the information you need includes job title, job description, employer’s sponsor number, and salary or wages. Finally, you want to have passport photos taken. You will need two 2×2 inch photos for your work visa application. It is important to confirm that the photos submitted with your application are recent and the size specified by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). #2: Confirm the Work Visa Scheme You Need There are several types of work visa for the United States. Each scheme is designed to serve a specific purpose and has a different set of eligibility requirements. Submit an application for the wrong work visa scheme and you will be denied by the USCIS. A denied application could lead to substantial delays in your ability to work in the United States or even…

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Federal Judge Blocks the Government’s Termination of Temporary Protected Status

By Greco Neyland | October 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

The debate over ending Temporary Protected Status or TPS for roughly half a million people living in the United States began in January 2018. Back in the spring, the current administration announced an end to TPS for immigrants from Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Sudan. Given the number of people impacted by the termination of TPS and the current political and safety conditions in these countries, the backlash to this announcement was immediate. The announcement worried immigration lawyers in California and from around the country. Several chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed lawsuits in federal court to block the termination of TPS for immigrants from all four countries and on October 4th a federal judge in the Northern District of California ruled in favor of the ACLU. This extends some hope to 300,000 or more people that would have lost their legal status as soon as November 2, 2018. With a temporary injunction in place by the federal district court, you are probably wondering: what happens next? Back Up: What’s Temporary Protected Status? Temporary Protected Status is a form of temporary immigration status extended to foreign nationals from countries seriously impacted by natural disaster or armed conflict. TPS became part of U.S. law under the Immigration Act of 1990. This Congressional law implemented a procedure and process for the Attorney General of the United States to grant TPS in the limited events listed above or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. The Attorney General is also responsible for removing countries from the list approved for TPS. Approval of TPS is a two-step process. The individual must be from a country granted TPS by the Attorney General and have an application approved by immigration officials. Initially, the individual’s country must be on the list of designated TPS nations, which currently numbers 10. Foreign nationals from Haiti, El Salvador, Syria, Nepal, Nicaragua, Honduras, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan can apply for Temporary Protected Status. The administration announcement to end TPS for four of these 10 countries would impact the vast majority of individuals in the United States under Temporary…

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Diversity Lottery Is Open: Questions on the Diversity Visa

By Greco Neyland | October 3, 2018 | 0 Comments

Today is an important date for many individuals hoping to immigrate to the United States. October 3rd marks the first day that applicants can register for the 2020 Diversity Lottery. Despite being the source of some debate, and vast criticism by the current administration, the Diversity Lottery, officially called the Diversity Lottery Visa Program, will begin accepting applications for Green Cards in 2020. Registration continues through November 6, 2018, and 50,000 Green Cards available for foreign nationals with the right eligibility requirements and a bit of luck. However, it is possible that this will be the last enrollment period for the Diversity Lottery, as the President has promised to only sign an immigration bill that eliminates this important path to legal residency in the United States. In this post, our team at Greco Neyland will answer several questions about the Diversity Lottery and the future of the program. #1: What Is the Diversity Lottery? The Diversity Lottery Program was created under the Immigration Act of 1990. The program’s goal is to offer an immigration path to individuals from countries with a historically low number of immigrants to the United States. Individuals selected in the lottery are given an immigration visa called a Diversity Visa. As the Diversity Visa is a permanent visa, it amounts to a Green Card in the United States. The Department of State is responsible for administering the Diversity Lottery, which is truly a lottery program. Registrants submit their information to the lottery system and applicants are chosen at random for approval and receipt of a Diversity Visa. #2: How Many People Register for the Diversity Lottery? Historically, the Diversity Lottery Program has been incredibly popular across several countries. There are estimates that anywhere between 10 million and 20 million people register each year. That makes the process extremely competitive, and it is imperative that an individual submit a complete registration packet with the assistance of an immigration lawyer. Of the roughly 10 million registrants expected for 2020, only 100,000 are randomly selected in a lottery format. Then upon review of these 100,000 registrants, 50,000 are awarded Green…

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How Recent Court Decisions Are Restricting Deportation Hearings

By Greco Neyland | September 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

If you are detained in the United States as a suspected illegal or unlawful immigrant, your right to access the United States legal system and due process is incredibly important. Through a series of hearings and the right to legal counsel, an undocumented or illegal immigrant has an opportunity to show a claim for asylum or other reason to remain in the United States. However, the United States courts have made a series of recent decisions that are incrementally restricting the ability of judges to have independence in deportation hearings. These decisions are backed by statements from the United States Attorney General, and together reflect a consistent and serious shift in restricting deportation hearings across the United States. In today’s post, we are taking a look at two decisions in the past 30 days alone that could impact the deportation hearings of your family, friends, and loved ones right here in California. Changing the Standard for Postponing Cases All judges have some latitude to postpone a case, hearing, or appearance. The ability to reschedule a case isn’t tied to deportation hearings, and judges of all types and courts can decide deferment is required or fair. For example, in a criminal case, a judge may issue a continuance because new evidence was uncovered or a surprise witness was brought to the prosecutor’s attention. This postponement is legally called “issuing a continuance.” A recent ruling substantially reduces the discretion of immigration judges to issue a continuance in deportation hearings and other immigration cases. Instead, immigration judges are asked to employ a multifactor-balancing test that can consider only specific factors and grant relief only when the test is met. This removes a great deal of judicial independence, in particular when the circumstances of the case don’t meet the strict definition of good cause under this new case. So, how does this ruling impact people appearing for deportation hearings and other immigration cases? It could limit your options on hearing dates, reasons for continuation, and the ability of your immigration lawyer to make a creative argument for postponement. It also means your immigration judge…

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