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 9, 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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Green Card Marriage Interview: What Does the Government Ask?

By Greco Neyland | September 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

For international couples, the first test of their relationship might not be doing the dishes or taking out the trash. It is likely that the first hurdle to a happy future is actually permanent residency approval by the United States government for a spousal Green Card. A spousal or marriage Green Card is necessary for a foreign husband or wife to live in the United States indefinitely and could even be required if you just plan to visit from time-to-time. However, the United States government is tough on sham marriages that are arranged just for the foreign spouse to obtain permanent residency in the United States. The crackdown on fraudulent marriages makes it tougher on legitimate couples to go through this important immigration process. In particular, couples worry about the Green Card marriage interview that is mandatory before a foreign husband or wife is allowed to enter or remain in the United States as a permanent resident. Our team at Greco Neyland in L.A. covers several of the questions the U.S. government typically asks in this Green Card marriage interview. Questions on the Length of Your Relationship The United States government thinks that one sign of legitimacy of a relationship is time. The longer a couple has been dating or engaged, the less scrutiny over the intent and purpose of the relationship. Therefore, many of the questions in a Green Card interview will focus on how long you’ve known, dated, and wanted to marry your future spouse. Some of the specific questions asked during your marriage interview will include: How long have you known your future spouse? When and where did you meet? Did you start dating right away? How long have you had a romantic relationship? When did you decide to get married? How long have you been engaged? All of these questions help an immigration official establish a timeline of your relationship. It is also a way for the government to test the truthfulness of your answers at the onset. Lying about the length of your relationship will not improve your chances of approval for a Green Card.…

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Is It Becoming More Difficult to Obtain a U.S. Entertainment Visa?

By Greco Neyland | September 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

As the New York Times reported back in 2012, the U.S. system for obtaining an entertainment visa has long aggravated foreign performers. As the 2012 article indicated, the frustration with the requirements and approvals of an entertainment visa extends to all types of performers and foreign nationals. A flamenco dancer, orchestra, and rock theatre troupe were all named. The article also found that the number of applications for entertainment visas to the U.S. was steadily dropping. Entertainers in 2018 are facing many of the same complications and frustrations as six years ago, and possibly more. Performers and other artists are experiencing a higher rate of denial for the O and P visas, including artists that apply as ballet troupes, orchestras, and culturally unique performances. Under new policies and direction on approving any entertainment visa, it could be that 2018 is the toughest year yet to put on a show in the U.S. What Are the Requirements for an Entertainment Visa? At the onset, it is incredibly important to realize that approval for any O or P entertainment visa can take several months. Therefore, even if all qualifications and requirements seem in order, it is necessary to submit an application well before your intended date of travel. You can speak with a Los Angeles visa lawyer regarding the typical timeframe for visas from your country. Provided time isn’t going to bar your approval, there are several requirements any applicant for an entertainment visa must meet. An entertainment visa is only approved for a specific event, performance, or competition – in the case of athletes – and for a limited duration. The length of the visa is typically tied directly to the dates and times of the performance. Therefore, an applicant must have a detailed schedule of events and contracts for their time in the U.S. Often proving intent to remain in the U.S. on a temporary basis requires more than just an itinerary. For example, the eligibility requirements for a P visa to the U.S. are higher than any O visa. As evidence of a temporary visit to the U.S., P…

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Making the Switch from Student to Worker as a U.S. Visa Holder

By Greco Neyland | August 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

Many foreign students come to the U.S. just for the opportunity to study. A vast number of these students decide to return to their home country after graduation, where their education in the U.S. and command of the English language can add credence to their degree. Alternatively, some students want to remain in the U.S. on a temporary or permanent basis. Among the millions of students that come to the U.S. each year, several thousand make the decision to stay and work for a U.S. employer. These jobs are obtained through internships, co-ops, and a good deal of hard work. There are actually several legal paths a foreigner can take from student to worker, with some being more common and easily accessible than others. What Happens the Day You Complete Your Course of Study? On the day of graduation, you are unlikely to see visible signs of the change in your immigration status. There won’t be an immigration official knocking on your door or the threat of deportation looming in your near future. In fact, foreign students in the U.S. on the F-1 visa are granted up to 12 months of time to complete practical training in the U.S. following their graduation. However, if you don’t start preparing for your shift from student to a worker in the U.S., you could find the options limited as the actual day draws near. You must complete specific forms and gain appropriate approvals to remain in the U.S. legally, once you are no longer a student. Applying to do Optional Practical Training Most foreigners that come to the U.S. for college or university encounter the opportunity for Optional Practical Training or OPT long before graduation. Students on the F-1 visa are able to spend time working or engaged in training opportunities before graduation and often take advantage of the OPT visa to complete summer internships or co-ops. An L.A. immigration lawyer will assist students throughout the school year to obtain this particular right to work. However, the other option for practical training is acceptance into a training program after graduation. In total, an…

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