Author: Jim Hacking

Trump to Ban Refugees & Prohibit Visas for People from 7 Predominantly Muslim Countries

According to recent news reports, President Donald Trump is planning to sign an executive order on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, which would institute a “temporary” ban on most refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

 

These countries are predominantly Muslim countries.

The ban is expected to stop Syrian refugees from coming to the United States immediately.  In addition, news reports indicate that the State Department will be prohibited from issuing some types, or even all types, of visas for people from the countries listed above.

During the Presidential campaign, Mr. Trump called for an outright ban on Muslim immigration to the United States.  The executive orders seem to be an attempt by the Trump administration to make the Muslim ban more politically acceptable and, perhaps, more legally defensible.

Banning people based on their religion would be harder to defend from a legal perspective than a ban on people from a particular country.

Last night, the President tweeted that he had a “big day” planned on national security today.

Many wonder whether the President’s action is legal.  According to Professor Stephen Legomsky of Washington University and a former legal advisor to President Obama, Trump’s ban is most likely legal.

“From a legal standpoint, it would be exactly within his legal rights,” Legomsky explained.

The Constitution and federal law give the President wide-ranging authority in deciding who gets into the United States and who does not.

Muslim organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council are awaiting the exact wording of President Trump’s executive order.  They and other groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, are exploring legal challenges to the order.

Our office is currently handling many immigrant visa cases for relatives from the above-listed countries.  We will be following the executive order and any litigation over the ban on a daily basis.

For now, we will continue to process these cases and to keep doing the next possible step in each case.

This proposed ban is so offensive and such a blatant act of stereotyping and scapegoating that it can hardly be put into words.  There have been zero reports of any Syrian refugees getting into any kind of terroristic trouble and our office works with people from these countries on a daily basis.

They are some of the finest people that we know.

But for now, as a reminder once again that elections have consequences, we are left to wait, watch and to prepare to fight.

If we can litigate on behalf of any of our clients, we are ready, willing and able to do so.

 

What Happens After You File a Lawsuit Against USCIS

What happens after you file a law suit against the Immigration Service for delaying your case? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.

We get this question a lot. A lot of people are sometimes on the fence about whether or not to sue USCIS, and the FBI, and other agencies regarding delays in their immigration cases, and we wanted to shoot this video to explain to you what happens, what the process is like.

In our office, we have filed probably 60 or 70 of these cases at the present time, and we have a pretty good system for getting them out. What we do is we craft the complaint to set out the facts of your case to explain why your immigration case has been taking so long, and, most importantly, all the efforts that you’ve made to try to get the case decided without filing a law suit. We list those kinds of things that people do, like file info pass appointments, calling their Congress person or their Senator, calling the USCIS ombudsman, all the different things that you can do to try to make your case go faster. Usually those don’t work and they’re left with having to decide whether or not to file a law suit.

We draft the complaint, because you want the court to know that you’ve made good efforts to try to get your case decided. Some people wonder, “How long is a wait too long? When should I start thinking about filing a law suit,” and we generally recommend that you don’t file a Mandamas Action or a delay action under the Administrative Procedures Act until about a year has gone by. It usually takes us a couple days to put the law suit together, and then we file it in federal court.

The filing fee in federal court right now is $400. That’s always subject to change, but it’s $400 to get the law suit on file, and after we file the law suit, we file it electronically, and the good thing about federal law is that we can generally file it anywhere around the country, but lately we’ve been filing them in Washington, DC. The DC court has more experience in handling these cases. The US Attorneys up there are more easy to deal with, easier to deal with, and we generally have a good experience so far with the DC District Court.

After the law suit is on file, the court issues what are called summons, and a summons is a notice to a defendant that they’ve been sued. Typically in our cases, we sue the US Department of Homeland Security, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the heads of those agencies as well as the head of the FBI, and the FBI itself for delays in processing mostly citizenship cases, but, also, green card and VISA type cases.

The defendants might change, depending on what kind of case we have, but the process after that is pretty much the same. After the court issues summons and have them signed by the clerk of court, we then attach that to the summons and a copy of the law suit, and we send it by certified mail to the defendants. It usually takes them about ten days or two weeks to get the law suits, and then, at that point, the defendants have 60 days to file their response. In most instances, the government does not respond much until towards the end of those 60 days.

If you serve them let’s say on March 1st, then you’re generally going to hear something from them about the end of April, and usually what they do is they tell you what their plan is, but that is what gets the ball rolling, because, at that point, there’s now an Assistant US Attorney or Department of Justice attorney who is going to have to defend that law suit, and typically what they do is they contact their people at USCIS and Homeland Security, and they figure out what’s going on with the case. They figure out if they want to fight or if they want to just proceed with the case. It usually involves them scheduling someone for an interview, and then the case is really underway.

That’s the process from start to finish, from the time that you hire us and we draft the complaint and we file the law suit, and then typically there’s then another interview or an original interview, and then the case is handled the same.

The law suits are really effective to getting movement on your cases. If you have a case that’s been delayed, if you want to know about how the process works and are thinking about getting started with suing Immigration Service yourself in federal court, make sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@HackingLawPractice.com.

We hope you like this video. If you did, make sure that you leave us a comment or review, and then make sure that you subscribe to our YouTube channel or join our Facebook group, so that we can keep you posted as to any new videos that we submit.

Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

HLP Attorney Andy Bloomberg Gets Client on Path to Status

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), President Obama’s use of executive orders to temporarily protect from deportation undocumented individuals who arrived in the United States as children, has helped many, many people. What it didn’t do was offer any route to a green card or citizenship.

And with President Trump taking office, the status of DACA and all those who benefited from it came into doubt the moment the oath was taken.

Over the last few years, however, one path for DACA recipients who are otherwise eligible for a green card as the spouse of a U.S. Citizen, but whose entry into the United States without inspection has barred them from adjusting status, has been carved out by clever attorneys and the Board of Immigration Appeals.

The BIA held that an individual who left the United States with the temporary travel authorization known as advance parole did not depart the United States in a way that would block future immigration benefits, but such an individual still enters the United States with inspection, allowing them to adjust status.

To receive advance parole, the individual must prove that their trip is necessary for some serious reason, such as illness to a close family member.

Two weeks after the election, Andrew Bloomberg of our firm was hired by an American citizen and her husband on DACA.

The timeline was even more constrained – the normal processing time for Advance Parole applications would put them well past President Trump’s inauguration. We had to get an application on file and then our clients had to go to a USCIS field office and ask that their application be approved on an emergency basis (which they USCIS has total discretion to approve or deny).

Our clients and our firm scrambled to collect and translate medical documents from the husband’s home country, and we got the application on file. As soon as the filing receipt came, they drove to their local field office and were told that that office simply doesn’t do emergency advance parole, a completely inappropriate blanket refusal.

The next day, they had to drive to another field office hours away. This time, they were met with a much more professional, reasonable response and the application was approved.

Within a couple of days they were on a plane, and they arrived back in the United States on Thursday, January 19, one day before the inauguration. We are now getting started on their green card application. It seems to have worked out this time, but situations like this are why we encourage our clients to apply for immigration benefits as soon as they are eligible for them.

Great job, Andrew!  We are happy for you and our clients.

Here’s What Happens When You File a Fake Green Card Case

 

Can I get away with immigration fraud if my spouse decides not to sponsor me anymore?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking immigration lawyer practicing all throughout the United States. Yeah, it’s a ridiculous title to this video.

I have to tell you that I had something happen for the first time in my many years of legal experience. That is that someone came into my office and they told me flat out that they had paid seven thousand dollars to a friend, a US citizen friend to sponsor them for a green card based on a fake marriage. I honestly have never had that happen before and I have to tell you I was quite surprised. I was surprised that someone was that honest. I was surprised that they had the nerve to tell me. I was surprised that they were even thinking about how to get back at their US citizen spouse for not going through with the promise to perpetuate this fraud. I believe what happened is that as the interview date got closer, the US citizen wised up to what they were doing was a crime under federal law and they didn’t want to go through with it. That’s a good thing.

You shouldn’t file fake immigration cases. It’s one of the worst things you can do. It can prevent you from getting any kind of benefit whatsoever. In addition, it also makes it harder on all the good people who want to get a green card the right way who have a valid marriage. It’s bec of people that pay off other people to get them a green card that cases are harder for regular folks who are just trying to do the right thing. I was quite upset with this person. I held my anger and I told her that this is not a good thing that you did and you should be glad that you’re not going through with it anymore. My advice to her was that she should withdraw this fraud and the petition. Now that leaves her out of status and she’s been out of status for a really long time which is probably why she went ahead and paid for this. Here’s the thing folks, don’t assume that immigration lawyers are going to help you with your fraudulent fake marriage cases. That’s not our job. That’s not what we’re here for. Our job is to help the people who have legitimate claims for lawful permanent resident status for people that are married to real life citizens and have real life marriages.

We want to make sure that we’re not poisoning the well and making immigration think that we file for those claims. We don’t file for those claims. We don’t file fake claims and this person is exactly the kind of person that makes life difficult for the rest of the applicants. Obviously it should go without saying that you should never file a fraudulent marriage based case. Immigration will find out about it. We’ve had many cases in the office recently where immigration has found out about it and so if you are considering filing for a green card, it has to be legitimate. It has to be a real marriage based on what? Love. Nothing else. Not for an immigration benefit. Not because it’s convenient. Not because they want to be able to keep working. We get married for one reason and one reason alone and that reason is love. Don’t listen to anybody who tells you otherwise. Don’t engage in immigration fraud. This couple was headed to a denial. They were headed to a finding that the immigrant beneficiary had engaged in fraud, that the US citizen had engaged in fraud, they could be criminally prosecuted and they sure as heck weren’t going to get a green card.

That knowledge is an expensive lesson. I can’t believe that someone would pay that or would engage in such behavior. If you have such a case, don’t take it to this law office. We don’t have any interest in it. We’re not about filing fake immigration cases. Some people think that the only reason you need a lawyer is when you have a fake immigration case and that’s completely wrong. I’m sure that the vast majority of fraudulent immigration cases are filed by people who don’t have attorneys. Any reputable attorney would turn it down. We do sometimes hear about attorneys who don’t but I’ll tell you this right now.

Don’t ever come in here and try to pedal a fake immigration case past us. We’ll figure it out and immigration will figure it out and you’ll get deported if not, sent to jail first. That’s our lesson for today. Enough pontificating. We’re not here to berate you or to make you mad. Rather we want to educate you on the perils and the problems associated with filing a fake immigration case. Do you so at your peril. You will get caught, you will get punished, and you deserve it. All right. If you have any questions give us a call. 314-961-8200. We’d love to help you out with any legitimate spouse cases.

In the meantime, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel. That you like us on Facebook. We also have a Facebook group where we post news and immigration related issues on our Facebook group. It’s called Immigrant Home. So if you want to do a search for Immigrant Home you can find it on there. Otherwise, feel free to email us info@hackinglawpractice.com. Or you can call us at 3149618200. Thanks a lot. Peace.

 

How Immigration Interviews Are Like A Concert

 

Jim Hacking: How is an immigration interview like a high school musical concert? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, Immigration Lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States. Today I was meeting with my clients, getting them ready to file their spouse visa application. They’re excited about getting it on file, but they did have some concerns about the interview itself, and so we talked about how the interview goes. About what happens, how you get sworn in, and put under oath, and how they ask for all your identifying documents. How they ask for all your other supporting documents for the application, and this principle that I’m going to talk about today really applies to all kinds of immigration cases. It doesn’t just apply to spouse cases, but in any event, I was trying to explain to them what it’s like for the officer to be receiving all of the evidence, and so obviously, I’ve never been an immigration officer, but I have been in hundreds of interviews.
I’ve had the chance to observe officers, and see their reactions, and how they respond to various answers, and to various evidence that is presented to them, and so I thought I would make this video to explain it to you the way I explain it to my clients. The way I sort of set it out is that in a lot of ways, an immigration interview is like a musical concert, and I have been spending a lot of time at my son’s various year end holiday concerts, and so the metaphor seemed apt, and so in these situations, you always have one of the high school kids. The music is sounding great, and then every now and then, you hear a wrong note, and if there’s a collection of wrong notes, then you’re sort of scratching your head and saying, “What is it about this song? What is it about this band? What’s going on? Who’s making that noise?”
It’s not what the person receiving the information or the music is expecting, so an immigration interview is a lot like that, so when you go in for your interview, you want to hit every note perfectly, and if your notes are off, if you have a combination of notes, if you strike one bad note after another, it’s going to end up with a very bad, messy interview. What do I mean by that? Well, the example we were talking about today in our meeting was driver’s licenses, so sometimes people will go to their interview and the couple may have just recently moved in together, and one or both of them may not have gotten around to updating their address on their driver’s license, so when the officer starts off the interview by reviewing their identifying documents, they look at the driver’s licenses and here you have two people, who say that they’re married, who are asking for an immigration benefit, yet they have two different addresses.

Now there might be logistical or legal reasons for this, but this is a bad note. Another bad note is when you come without all your documents. If you don’t have your original birth certificate with you or if you don’t have the original marriage certificate. These are all notes that cause the officer to pause, and we don’t want our immigration officers pausing. We want them to be going along quickly and as smoothly as possible, because when they pause, they think. When they think, they think of more questions to ask. Our job, as immigration attorneys, is to be the conductor. We want to orchestrate a interview that sounds perfect, that sounds great. Obviously, we’re always telling our clients to tell the truth, but there are really tons of reasons why the way you present yourself, the way you sound with your answers, the answers that you give, the evidence that you bring, all these things contribute to a good concert, a good interview, so make sure that you don’t sing the wrong note. That you don’t hit the wrong note.

Don’t bring in bad evidence. Don’t make it easy for them to deny your case. You want to do everything you can to have your case tracked the way that they’re used to receiving their cases, so you’re going to want to have all of your evidence lined up. You want to know all your dates. You’re not going to have any fumbling around, looking through documents, all that stuff. You really want to put on a show for the officer.

Obviously, you’re always telling the truth, and being truthful, and honest, and thorough as you can, but at the same time, there is a little bit of professionalism and good work that you bring when you go to an interview properly, so if you have any questions about this, if you want to know how we can help you sound a better tune at your immigration interview, be sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200 or you can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com.

If you liked this video, be sure to hit the like button below and subscribe to our YouTube Channel. We’re heading towards 900 subscribers and we’re really excited about that. We want to get as many subscriptions on, so that you guys can find out whenever we update the YouTube Channel. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

 

Female Afghan Pilot Seeks Asylum U.S.

The Afghan Air Force’s first female fixed-wing pilot, Capt. Niloofar Rahmani, filed a petition seeking asylum in the United States this past summer. In 2015, the State Department honored her with its annual Women of Courage award, recognizing the bravery displayed throughout her career in flying despite threats from the Taliban and “even members of her own extended family,” added first lady Michelle Obama.

Despite leaving the Afghan Air Force, Captain Rahmani still wants to be a military pilot, and for this reason she hopes to eventually join the United States Air Force. In interviews, she explained her reasons for the decision. She explained that throughout her childhood and teenage years, she was inspired by America’s goal of emancipating Afghan women, shown through the Bush administration’s pursuit of women’s rights in a country where they were scarce.

Captain Rahmani always dreamed of being a pilot and finally joined the Air Force with the support of her parents. The American government hailed her as an example of a bright spot in the effort to rebuild the Afghan Air Force, which costed the American taxpayers over $3 billion. Things went south for Captain Rahmani when photos of her in combat gear were published in the press and her relatives began receiving death threats. She began to feel unsafe at work because of the male colleagues that held her in contempt.

Furthermore, after she began training programs in the United States, the Afghan Air Force stopped paying her salary. This asylum petitions is one of Captain Rahmani’s only options and she feels nervous with it pending as President-elect Donald Trump takes office. She fears his vows to bar Muslims from entering the United States but has hope because she has always seen the country as a place where women can aspire to accomplish great things.

 

Can a conviction for soliciting a prostitute keep me from getting my citizenship?

Prostitution is considered a “conditional bar” to establishing good moral character. INA § 101(f) and 8 CFR 316.10.

The USCIS website’s help center says, “[a]ny person coming to the United States to engage in prostitution, or any person who has engaged in prostitution within ten years of his or her application for a visa, adjustment of status, or entry into the United States, is inadmissible. This section also applies to those who have made a profit from prostitution.”

However, the Policy Manual, volume 12, chapter 5, part F, says that engaging in prostitution once, doesn’t fall within their definition of engaging in prostitution. Part F states:

“An applicant may not establish GMC if he or she has engaged in prostitution, procured or attempted to procure or to import prostitutes or persons for the purpose of prostitution, or received proceeds from prostitution during the statutory period. The BIA has held that to “engage in” prostitution, one must have engaged in a regular pattern of behavior or conduct. The BIA has also determined that a single act of soliciting prostitution on one’s own behalf is not the same as procurement.”

From that language, it seems that a client won’t be barred per se for participating once in prostitution. However, an applicant still needs to demonstrate five years of good moral standing to qualify for naturalization, as found in chapter 9 of the Policy Manual. So hopefully a client’s act of prostitution, when taken into account with their other acts, is not enough for them to fail their good moral standing test.

Former USCIS officer sentenced to federal prison for bribery

With great power comes great responsibility, and it is difficult to deny that officers of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have a great deal of power. It is these officers that have the authority to approve applications and ultimately grant citizenship. For these reasons, USCIS officers are responsible for preserving the impartiality and just nature of the government. One former officer out of the Los Angeles USCIS location, repeatedly fell short of the ethical standard set for the job and it was recently brought to light. Daniel Espejo Amos was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for taking tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from aspiring immigrants.

Mr. Amos pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of accepting cash bribes after it was discovered in an investigation by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Through this investigation, it became apparent that he had accepted more than $53,000 in bribes from immigration consultants on behalf of foreign nationals who typically would not be eligible for United States citizenship. It is estimated that Amos helped at least 60 aliens obtain citizenship in exchange for a bribe. The ways in which he assisted them was by falsely certifying the immigrants had met requirements, including the English competency test, the civics test, and the naturalization interview.

Daniel Amos not only sought after personal wealth gain at the expense of the American people, but also “undermined our naturalization system and damaged the public’s faith in the government,” as United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker puts it. He had an oath to uphold that he violated on multiple occasions, warranting the sentence imposed by the court.

It is a shame that there are government officials whose actions threaten the integrity of of our nation’s legal immigration system, but this is why investigative arms exist in the Department of Homeland Security. Immigration is a process that many good people take the time to go through legally so it would be unjust to allow such bribes to continue.

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2016 American Nobel Prize Winners are Immigrants

At a time when immigration is in the spotlight and under attack by many critics, it is ironic that all but one of the 2016 American Nobel Prize laureates are immigrants. Laureate is the title given to those who have been honored for creative or intellectual achievements, and this is exactly what the Nobel Prize is awarded for.

The intellectual value that immigrants bring to American academics goes relatively unnoticed by critics like Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who throughout his campaign has proposed a crackdown on immigration.

Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, an honoree in chemistry from Scotland, says the United States is what it is today because of open borders. Moreover, he accredits American openness with the bringing of top scientists to the country and says that the scientific establishment in America can only remain strong “as long as we don’t enter an era where we turn our back on immigration.”

Trump has centered his campaign around two things that appeal to a particular segment of the American population: stricter immigration policies and the revocation of free trade deals, both of which would apparently rescind the negative effects globalization has had on the job market.

While Trump wants to strengthen immigration laws and has proposed “extreme vetting” of potential immigrants from countries with a history of terrorism, others have said that the current immigration process is already too strenuous. Duncan Haldane, an English Princeton University research who won the prize in physics, called the process a “bureaucratic nightmare for many people.”

The fact that so many top American scholars are immigrants defies the common consensus that the immigration process only feeds the low-skilled job market. Critics of immigration accuse immigrants of taking low skilled in-demand jobs from Americans, but overlook the fact that they contribute greatly to American research and education.

As the presidential election approaches rapidly and immigration continues to be viewed under a microscope, it is important to acknowledge the plethora of benefits immigrants bring to American society. Hopefully, the large number of immigrant laureates is a gentle reminder to voters of this fact.

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What if I Flunk my Immigration Drug Test?

What happens if my fiance or spouse fails their drug test at the embassy appointed doctor?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the united States. Every now and then we have a client who has a problem with marijuana and they want to know what happens. Are they going to be able to come to the United States?

Here’s how it comes up. After you file a fiance petition or after you file an I130 spouse petition and the case gets processed by the national visa center, eventually at some point the foreign national, whether it’s a fiance or a spouse is going to have to go to a doctor appointed by the local embassy and that doctor is going to ask the applicant questions about their history of using marijuana. They’re also going to test their blood.

The question comes up what happens if a client fails that drug test or admits to using marijuana at the interview with the doctor? Here’s what we know. Generally, it’s a bad deal. You really, obviously, don’t want to be doing drugs. I don’t even need to go into that. From an immigration standpoint, it presents specific hurdles. What happens is, is if you fail your drug test or if you admit to marijuana drug use then you’re probably going to be kept out of the United States for a while. It’s certainly going to be a red flag for the embassy officials.

The way it works is you go see the doctor shortly before your embassy interview. In our case, our client had to go see the doctor about 3 weeks before his actual embassy interview. The doctor asked him, “Have you ever smoked marijuana.” And he said, “Yes.” And he said, “How recently?” And he said, “About 2 weeks ago.” So it’s going to show up in his blood when they get the lab results back.

First of all, let me say that I’m really glad our client was honest. You can often get in a lot more trouble for lying to embassy officials or embassy doctors or immigration officials. You never want to lie. It is good that our client told the truth, but, it does present a problem. Here’s what’s going to happen. The doctor will complete his medical report. He’ll reflect that the applicant indicated that he’d used marijuana. It’ll probably come back on his drug test and the counselor official is going to have to decide whether or not that renders our client inadmissible.

What we’re going to have to do, which probably going to happen is our overseas client is going to have to go to drug testing and drug classes for about a year. He’s probably not going to be able to come for another year. We’ll see what happens when he goes to the interview. The official may let him pass and may send him to the United States. We think that’s doubtful. What’s much more likely is that our client is going to be in communication with that doctors office over the course of the next 12 months and have to be tested up to 4 times over the course of the year and he’s going to have to attend drug classes and treatment to make sure that he’s clean and sober.

Obviously, our US citizen here, in the United States who’s spouse or fiance is very upset and we understand that. There’s really no way around it. There’s no way to try to reschedule the appointment or to do anything sneaky. You never want to come across as being dishonest or untruthful. It’s good that our client told the truth but it’s going to be a real hurdle for him. He’s probably going to be outside the United States for another 12 months. He’s going to have to spend money on drug testing and he’s going to have to spend money on treatment. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe in the long run, for his own health, that’s a good thing. From an immigration standpoint, it’s obviously a negative. It’s going to slow down our client and her fiance from being together and so we’re sad about that.

If you have any questions about the medical exams that go along with embassy interviews or the interview itself, remember always to tell the truth, but if you have specific questions and are wondering how to handle a situation make sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200 or you can always email us info@hackinglawpractice.com. We hope you like this video. If you did, make sure to click like and also subscribe to our channel so that you can get new updates whenever we shoot a new video. Thanks a lot, have a great day, and stay off that marijuana. See ya.