Month: June 2017

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Travel Ban, Allows Partial Implementation

On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would hear oral arguments on President Donald J. Trump’s travel ban, which would temporarily prohibit the issuance of visas to people from six predominantly-Muslim countries.

The US Supreme Court said it would hear arguments on the legality of the revised ban during its next term, which runs between October 2 and December 21.

In making the announcement, the Court also allowed certain parts of the ban to take effect immediately.

The Court seems to have allowed the ban for individuals with loose or zero ties to the U.S.  It is expected to affect refugees and non-immigrant visa seekers from Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iran and Yemen the most.

As for family members of U.S. citizens or those seeking employment in the U.S., the court said the ban could not be imposed on anyone who had “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.

The Court explained that “for individuals, a close familial relationship is required” and that “as for entities, the relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading” the order.

In a statement, the White House called the decision a “clear victory” for national security.  “As president, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm,” Mr. Trump wrote, calling his efforts to limit entry into the country a “suspension” instead of a ban. “I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive.”

Cecillia Wang, the deputy legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, told the New York Times that the ban would not apply to many people while the court case proceeds.

“Clearly, the White House press statement today is based on alternative facts,” Ms. Wang said.

Three of the court’s conservative justices – Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch – wrote that they would have allowed the travel ban to go into full effect.

“The hope is that this really only impacts a very small number of people,” Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project told USA Today.

Interestingly, the Court made no mention of campaign statements by candidate Donald Trump, nor did it reference the President’s many tweets.  “The 16 pages did not include any citations to President Trump’s campaign rhetoric,” CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said. “And the Supreme Court seems reluctant to get into the business of that, which is why I always thought the President had the best chance of winning at the Supreme Court.”
“This is about the executive order itself. It is not about the campaign or anything else,” Toobin added.

What Happens When an Asylum Seeker Marries a U.S. Citizen?

What happens if I get married while my asylum case is pending? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.

In our office, we’ve seen a couple of situations lately where asylum clients of ours, people who have raised their hand and asked for sanctuary in the United States through the asylum process, have gotten married or are planning on getting married to a US citizen. They wonder what happens in those situations. Well, the fact is, asylum cases take a really long time. Asylum will take sometimes two, three, or four years, sometimes even longer. It takes a long time to get your interview. It takes a long time for the asylum office to decide the case.

Sometimes while people are here in the United States with a pending asylum case, they fall in love and get married. If that happens, in most situations, the person can get a green card based on that marriage if it is a valid marriage. That’s, of course, the number one thing, the marriage has to be valid. It has to be legitimate. It has to be based on love and nothing else, not on getting any kind of immigration benefit.

I would say that these marriages are probably held to a higher standard that the immigration officers are gonna want to look at it more closely. But if the person was inspected before they applied for asylum … So, you know, people who applied for asylum just have to be physically present in the United States.

Those people can be divided into two groups, those who entered with inspection, and those who entered without inspection. So what I mean by entering without inspection, that means coming across the border. But if you came on a visa and overstayed, or you came on a visa and eventually the visa expired, and then you applied for asylum, then you will have been properly inspected and you’ll be eligible to adjust your status to that of lawful permanent resident.

Marrying a US citizen can be a big help. You would then go through the normal process. What we would do is we would keep the asylum case pending. We don’t want to undo the asylum case because you never know what’s gonna happen with the marriage. But assuming that the asylum case has not been decided, you can go ahead and file for an I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative, where the US citizen says, “I want to sponsor the asylum seeker and my spouse for a green card.” Then you file for adjustment. You go through the process normally.,

Now, one other thing besides making sure that there’s not fraud and that it is a valid marriage, I think there also is a good chance that they’re gonna go back and look at the asylum application. The immigration officer’s gonna make sure that it wasn’t a frivolous asylum application. That would probably involve sort of a bare bones analysis as to whether or not there was a valid claim for asylum. Short of that, you should be good to go. You should be able to adjust and get your green card.

If you have any questions about how this process works or how you can go from being an asylum applicant to a adjustment of status applicant, based on marriage to a US citizen, make sure to give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. We have a lot of asylum information on our website. We’d be happy to talk to you if you have questions. If you like this video, please make sure to click “like” below and to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you’re alerted whenever we shoot new videos. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

Why You Should Never Send A Letter to USCIS

Is it ever a good idea to send a letter to USCIS?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. We had a couple of situations lately where people came to us with screwed up immigration cases.

One of the main reasons their cases were screwed up, it was because they sent a letter to USCIS. Now, obviously, you can send USCIS general letters asking them questions about the status your case and things like that.

But the one time that you don’t want to send a letter to the USCIS is when they’ve asked you for more information or you’ve already had your interview. Generally speaking, if you’re in a situation where you’re having to write a letter to the USCIS to explain something, that tells me, it tells us, that the case is so complicated that you definitely need to have an attorney involved. If you are finding yourself thinking about, even just thinking about sending a letter to USCIS, you really, really, really should go first and talk to an experienced immigration attorney.

Let me tell you what happens. In this situation, a man had filed for an I-130 based on his marriage to a U.S. citizen. He had had an arrest for domestic violence. Although the charges were ultimately dropped because his wife decided to not press charges, USCIS found out about it and asked him about during his interview.

He was so distraught and upset after his interview that he thought it would be a good idea to write a letter trying to explain to USCIS why his case wasn’t that serious, why it wasn’t really abuse. When you read the letter, it just … Every paragraph got worse and worse. His English wasn’t fantastic, but more importantly, the substance of the letter was just terrible. He basically tried to justify why it was okay for him to have hit his wife in this one situation.

Now, obviously, if he’d gone to see an attorney, no attorney would ever let him send a letter like that. There’s absolutely no way that he could ever justify hitting a woman, specifically his wife, and there was no way that USCIS was going to say, “Oh! Thanks for the letter. Now we know that we should just go ahead and approve this case.” Now the guy’s in serious trouble, mostly because he went to his interview without an attorney, but more importantly, because he wrote this letter.

If you ever receive a request for evidence or a continuance of your immigration case and you’re being asked to provide additional documentation, that is generally a really good sign that you need help. You’re not going to be able to get this approved on your own. In fact, you’re probably just going to make matters worse.

You know, we’re plenty busy here. If you don’t hire us, that’s just fine. We’re making this video as a service to you to make sure that you reach out to somebody who knows what they’re doing, to somebody who deals with the immigration service every day, knows how to respond to request for evidence, knows how to write a letter that is persuasive and does not damage the case, and basically knows what they’re doing.

You might have gotten your case this far, but you’re now in a different league. You’re really going to have to make sure that you get help, because you can’t do it on your own. It’s a real good sign that things are in trouble when you’re at a point where you feel like you need to send them a letter.

If you have any questions about this, if you’re thinking about sending a letter to USCIS about your case, if you think that you’ve got it all figured out and then you’re going to go ahead and send this letter, we really encourage you not to do that. Instead, give us a call at 314-961-8200. Or you can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com.

If you liked this video, please click Like below and make sure that you share it with your friends. Be sure to subscribe to all of our social media channels: YouTube, Facebook. We also have an immigration group on Facebook called Immigrant Home. We’d love to have you there. If you have any questions, give us a call.

Thanks a lot and have a good day.

 

The Amazing Mr. and Mrs. Box

Back in 2012, attorney Jim Hacking had a consult with a young woman named Jeni and her boyfriend Jake.

What was interesting about this consult was that Jeni brought her friend Jennifer to the meeting.

Jennifer was an attorney and Jeni brought Jennifer for backup.

She wanted to make sure that the information that Jim gave her about a possible marriage based green card for Jake was legit.

So began an excellent adventure that culminated this week with Mr. Jake becoming a U.S. citizen.

Jake is from England. He grew up in Ipswich.  He fell in love with American football and played for many years.  Eventually, he began coaching defense to Europeans who also loved the sport.

Later, Jake brought his coaching talents to the U.S. That is when he met Jeni, the love of his life.

Jake and Jeni filed for adjustment of status to allow Jake to remain in the U.S.  Jake gave up coaching football after seeing how hard the life was for coaches in having to change jobs and move families all around the country.

Jake and Jeni were kind enough to invite us to their wedding.

Jake’s green card was approved.  Two years later, we filed to have the conditions removed on Jake’s green card without a problem.

The cool thing about Jeni and Jake was that they were always very appreciative of the American immigration system and considered themselves lucky that their cases went smoothly.  They empathized with those who struggled through the bureaucracy.

Last Friday, Jake became a U.S. citizen.

Jake’s parents attended the ceremony as did Jeni and their two sons, Everett and Kellen.

As immigration attorneys, there is something very special about being along the journey with people as they build a beautiful life together.  It makes being a lawyer very fulfilling.

As Jake and Jeni are wont to do, they held a party to celebrate Jake’s naturalization and were kind enough to include the Hackings as guests.  We felt very honored to be included.

And this picture below just about sums up how special and amazing Mr. and Mrs. Box are.  We love them.