Category: Library

USCIS to Renew Premium Processing for FY 2018 H1B Visas

 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Monday that it would resume premium processing for all H1B visa petitions covered by the Fiscal Year year (FY) 2018 cap. Congress limits the number of H1B visas each year to 65,000 for all U.S. employers, except for institutions of higher learning and affiliated research facilities.  USCIS will also now accept requests for premium processing for the 20,000 additional H1B visas available to individuals who have a masters’ or higher degree from an American college or university.

Premium processing currently costs $1,225.  Employers who use premium processing are promised to have a decision for the I-129 Petition for an Alien Worker within 15 working days.  If the 15- calendar day processing time is not met, the agency promises to refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with the “faster” processing of the application.

Earlier this year, USCIS suspended the use of the premium processing program immediately before most employers filed their H1Bs before the April 1, 2018 deadline.  This has led to long delays in the processing of this year’s cap-subject H1Bs.

H1B visas are limited to individuals who work in specialty occupations.  These visas are not available for every job in America, but only a limited category of specialty jobs such as accountant, software developer, physician, etc.

Because the federal fiscal year starts on October 1 each year, the start date of the approved H1B visas is typically October 1 and they last approximately three years.  Federal law allows employers to file six months early, i.e., April 1.

Since Congress has limited the number of available H1B visas every year to 65,000, plus the additional 20,000 for individuals with higher degrees, USCIS typically conducts a lottery each year.  Some applications are accepted, many are not.

Those applications which were not selected have already been returned.  USCIS continues to adjudicate many of the visa applications submitted back on April 1st.  Employers who have H1B applications that remain undecided will have to figure out if it makes sense for them to pay for premium processing at this late date.

One final note: H1B premium processing remains unavailable for extensions of the H1B visa, as well as “transfers” for H1B employees from one job to another.

When should I consider withdrawing my immigration case at USCIS?

Every now and then, people come to see us at the office, and they have a case that is completely messed up. These are usually cases that they have filed pro se, which means they filed them without an attorney, and their case has gotten a bit more complicated, and we have to start considering the option of withdrawing a case.

Now, you never really want to withdraw a case because obviously you’ve paid your filing fees, and when you withdraw the case, you do lose your filing fees. You also might have a lot of time invested in the processing of your case, and you might’ve done a lot of work to get it as far as you did, but in certain circumstances, it is a really good idea to go ahead and withdraw the case.

What are some examples of this? Well, one time somebody came to see us, and after he had filed his citizenship application, he had gotten arrested, and his criminal charges were pending. It looked like we were not going to be able to get the criminal case disposed of before the citizenship interview, so we went ahead and withdrew the case.

We had another situation where a young couple came to see us, and they had gotten their case so complicated, and there were so many bad facts in the case that we decided to withdraw that case as well, and the clients agreed.

What happened in that situation is that the couple had been fighting off and on over time, and there was a family member who was not happy about the marriage. That family member had gone down to immigration and reported them as having these marital problems, and we were worried that if we went ahead with the interview with everything just as it was, it’d really put us in a bad light, and the case would probably be denied because there are things worse than a denial because you can be caught with a fraud or a misrepresentation allegation, and that’s even worse than just having your case denied.
It’s relatively easy to withdraw a case. In most situations, USCIS is glad to close the file and move on to the next case. All you have to do is send a letter with your case numbers on there and reference the fact that you want to withdraw the case. They’re generally pretty willing to do that. They’ll do it all the way up until the interview. What you don’t want to do is make them do all this extra work and then try to withdraw it.

Now, USCIS is not required to allow you to withdraw the case. We have had a few situations where we tried to withdraw a case, and immigration service did not allow us to do that, so it’s a good idea if you’re thinking about withdrawing the case or if you think that there’s something wrong with your case that you want to make sure that you go talk to a competent immigration attorney. You want to see a good immigration lawyer and make sure that everything gets squared away properly and that you’re getting good advice as to whether or not you want to withdraw the case.

It’s not something you’re going to do in every case, but it is an option, and sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. That’s an old expression, and what it means is that sometimes you want to be able to live and fight another day. You want to have another chance, and so in a lot of these cases that we’ve withdrawn, we’ve re-prepared them, we’ve gone over the facts and done things a little bit differently than the people did without an attorney, and we’ve been able to get those cases approved.

If you have any questions about your case or if you’re wondering, “Is there something wrong about my case that would make me want to withdraw it,” feel free to give us a call.

The other thing that this points out is the fact that you really want to have a good representation from the beginning because a lot of these mistakes were things that were done by the couple because they didn’t have an attorney, so this whole problem of having to potentially withdraw a case highlights the fact that it’s really important to have good immigration counsel right from the beginning.

If you have any questions, like I said, give us a call, 314-961-8200, or you can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com.

Thanks for watching the video. If you liked it, make sure that you like it on Facebook and YouTube. Be sure to share it with your friends and subscribe to our Facebook and YouTube channels so that you get updates whenever we shoot a new video.

Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

Politics Sends DACA Bill to the Back of the Line

Republican and Democratic members of Congress responded quickly to President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on March 5, 2018.

Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard Durbin held a press conference to announced their re-introduction of legislation intended to protect the so-called DREAMers, undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. without inspection as children and who have lived here ever since.

But a series of events has pushed immigration reform for DREAMers to the bottom of the legislative pile.

Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and now Irma has landed in Florida, causing massive damage and requiring significant federal resources.

Members of Congress are now scrambling to obtain needed federal benefits for their respective districts and disaster relief is first and foremost on legislators minds.

The President and members of the Republican leadership in the Capitol are looking for tax reform.

Finally, some member of the President’s own party are angry that he has joined Democrats on the complicated issue of the debt ceiling.

The result: little appetite for DREAMer legislation and a number of other topics calling for legislators’ attention.

According to a recent piece by the McClatchy wire service, immigration is low on the list of most legislators priority list:

Conservative Republicans are demanding that significant border security measures are included in any proposal that deals with Dreamers, and House Speaker Paul Ryan is well aware that angry conservatives conspired to oust his predecessor, John Boehner, over immigration.

In addition, there is the general problem that Democrats and Republicans do not agree on the best path forward for immigration.  Republicans want increased border security, Democrats want to still push for comprehensive immigration reform.  It is unclear as to whether the parties will reach consensus on the issue, especially in light of the six month window provided by the President.

What is Extreme Vetting

What is extreme vetting and how is it going to affect my immigration case?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.

With the election of President Donald Trump, he threw around the phrase “extreme vetting” in the immigration context. We’ve had a lot of clients ask us what does extreme vetting mean and how is it going to impact my case? We thought we’d shoot this short video to discuss it.

One thing you need to know about the immigration process, I think we can all agree it takes a very long time, that when you’re dealing with agencies like U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Department of State, Customs and Border Patrol, that there are a lot of steps for the process and no one would ever accuse the Federal Government of moving quickly on immigration cases. This is cases that take place within the United States, like adjustment of status or citizenship and also involves cases overseas where a U.S. citizen or an employer is trying to bring over a foreign national to come to the United States and have to go through the State Department and the Embassy. No one would ever say that these cases go by lickety-split, in fact, they take a very long time. The reason that they take a very is because the government is already doing an extreme amount of vetting.

Just in the last five years, we’ve seen forms balloon in size. For instance, the application to adjust status used to be six pages long. It is currently 20 pages long and growing. The same for citizenship, citizenship used to be just a few pages long, and now it is many, many pages. In the spouse visa context, we use an I-130. That form used to be two pages and now it is not two pages, but it’s much longer. It actually involves two different forms, one for the spouse, who is a U.S. citizen and one for the overseas spouse. The federal government knows how to make things grow and especially when it comes to forms and making things more complex.

Add to all this, President Trump claiming that he wanted to increase vetting to cause extreme vetting to occur when someone applies for an immigration benefit. We’ve already seen the results of this as these forms are slowly implemented. Things are slowing down at the Immigration Service. Things are slowing down at the State Department. We have cases that use to take four or five months that now take eight or nine months and they’re really being nitpicky and they’re coming up with ways to slow things down. We think that the Trump Administration has brought in experts in Immigration Law and they’ve come up in ways that are pretty devious and pretty creative to really make it harder for you to bring your loved one to the Untied States, to keep your loved one in the United States, to help them get lawful status, to help them get citizenship and we’re really seeing the consequences of this with the delays.

The other thing is that when you have an agency that’s own heightened alert like this and that wants to make things harder for everybody that we’re really seeing that denials are increasing, frustration is increasing. We’re getting a lot of people who come to see us having filed for themselves and they screwed up their case. We do what we can to help them, but this is a new era. The Trump Administration has brought a new sense of scrutiny to the Immigration Service with a harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric. The people that work at the Immigration Office seem to have slowed things down and we’re really seeing clients that are frustrated.

If you need help with this, if you’re wondering how is extreme vetting going to hurt my case or slow down my case? How could I do things to make things better, how can I increase the chances of success? How can I make sure that I do everything possible to speed my case along? You’re probably going to need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. You’re probably going to need help. It’s a new day. It’s a new time. There’s a new President and he has made immigration one of his focus issues. He has decided to have his Administration do what they can to slow things down, especially for people from particular countries, from the Middle East, from predominantly Muslim countries. These cases are going to take a lot longer, a lot harder.

We see this too in the asylum context, that it’s going to be a lot harder and a lot longer to get asylum. The Immigration Courts are backlogged, everything’s slowing down and that is by design. The Trump Administration wants to slow down immigration to the United States. They want to make it harder for people to come here and stay here. We’ll do what we can to fight for you to help you, to help smooth line the process, to help you not have to worry so much.

We hope you liked this video. Be sure to give us a call if you need some help. (314) 961-8200 or you can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. If you liked this video, be sure to click “Like” below to share it with your friends and to subscribe to our YouTube and Facebook channels, so that you get updated whenever we shoot a video like this.

Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

Lawsuit Nets Green Card for Chinese National after 2 Year Delay

The Hacking Law Practice, LLC, a national immigration law firm based in St. Louis, Missouri, recently filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C.  The lawsuit sought a judicial order compelling USCIS to decide a long-pending I-130 spouse petition and the accompanying I-485 adjustment of status application.

Our clients are a husband and wife from New York City.  The wife is a Chinese foreign national.

The couple applied for adjustment of status for the wife back in April of 2016.  The New York field office had been playing games with their case for months and months.

First, USCIS issued a request for evidence.  Then they delayed the adjustment of status interview for months and months.  The immigration agency then issued a second request for evidence.

The couple repeatedly and consistently contacted USCIS trying to get their case moving.  They could never get any answers at their InfoPass appointments.

In fact, USCIS tried to deny the case, but they never sent the denial notice and then tried to send a back-dated denial notice.  The agency really did a horrible job of processing the case and kept making mistake after mistake.

The couple went to the New York field office and requested that the case be reopened.  They pointed to the fact that the agency had never actually sent them the denial notice.

The case was reopened.  However, USCIS then quickly turned around and denied the case again.

The couple returned to the field office and highlighted all of the problems that the office had caused and met with a supervisor.  USCIS decided to reopen the case once again.

And then nothing happened.  Nothing.

The case dragged on for months and months.

The husband and wife found our law firm on the web.  They heard about how we like to sue USCIS and related agencies for delays in the processing of citizenship, adjustment, asylum and visa cases.

Firm attorney Jim Hacking met with the couple over Skype and they decided to hire us to sue USCIS.

We filed suit on June 27, 2017 in federal court.  We then served copies of the lawsuit on each of the defendants by certified mail.

Things then began to move quickly.  We first received an approval notice and then late this week, the couple received their long delayed green card in the mail.

The best part is that because the couple had been married so long before the green card was approved, they received a 10-year green card.

Happy to have been able to help this very nice couple.

President Trump is Ending DACA

Hey everybody, it’s Jim. I wanted to shoot this video to go over some of the thoughts that I have on the President’s decision to terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. I want to explore what the decision to end DACA means and how that’s going to affect people who are currently benefiting from Deferred Action. Molly, can you let me know, can you hear me, what I’m saying? I don’t know if my microphone’s working. I have a new microphone. So if someone could give me a thumbs up or let me know that the microphone’s working, I’d appreciate it.

We’re going to talk through what Deferred Action is and was and … Thanks, Nick. All right, hot mic. So we’re going to talk about what Deferred Action is, what it isn’t and sort of what’s happened. I’m going to be doing a little bit of reading, and I apologize for that, but I just want to be sure that I’m thorough in talking this through to everybody.

Back in 2011, 2012, the Democrats and the Republicans in the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill that would have provided a path to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented people in the United States who have been in the United States for a long time and who entered without inspection. This law was introduced by Senator Durbin and Lindsey Graham and some other people. It was a bipartisan bill that the Senate passed overwhelmingly, and they sent it to the House for approval or for a vote. There was every indication that the House had the votes to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

But some immigration hardliners like Steve King from Iowa refused to let it come to the floor for a vote, because they knew it was going to pass, and so no immigration reform happened under President Obama’s watch. What happened instead, frustrated with the Congress’s inability and refusal to process or to pass legislation bringing about comprehensive immigration reform, President Obama adopted a program called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This was put into place in the summer of 2012, and basically what happened is that immigrants, undocumented people who came to the United States as young people, who came as children, who’d been in the United States and who were either getting their GED or had finished high school and were studying and not gotten into any kind of criminal trouble, basically what happened was that those people had their deportation actions deferred. And that’s sort of where the “Deferred Action” comes from.

President Obama and the Attorney General, Eric Holder, and some other people, Janet Napolitano, people at the Department of Homeland Security, came to the conclusion that they weren’t going to be able to deport 12 million people. And so what they decided to do was to come up with priorities. They wanted to focus on people who had been arrested, people with criminal convictions, people who had entered the United States over and over and over, and so they did that. They adopted an Executive Order back in the summer of 2012 that said listen, we’re not going to deport these young people, we’re not going to put them at the top of our list unless they’ve committed some kind of crime. In fact, what we’re going to do is we’re going to give the ability to obtain work authorization and to have their deportations halted.

That sort of has been in place. It’s important to remember that this was not a piece of legislation. This was not something that was passed by Congress. This was just an Executive Order. And so with an Executive Order, that can always be undone by the next president. And that’s exactly what happened today. As a candidate, Donald Trump ran on a campaign to do away with Deferred Action. He and some other immigration hardliners viewed it as an unconstitutional abuse of power. Many legal scholars have refuted that, and most legal scholars have said that this was within the President’s ability to prioritize who he wanted to deport, and that President Obama’s actions were completely legal.

Lately, there have been rumblings from some states, some southern states and some other anti-immigrant attorney generals around the country, that they were going to file litigation to challenge the legality of Deferred Action. Enter stage left Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Jeff Sessions was one of the most anti-immigrant members of the Senate before he became President Trump’s Attorney General, and he has now allegedly concluded that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is unconstitutional, and he’s like, “Oh no, I can’t defend this Executive Action in court, so President Trump you have to do something.”

What has happened today after much to-do, President Trump has finally come about and announced that he’s going to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. There is an estimated 800,000 people, more than 800,000 young men and women who are law abiding people, who have been in this country for a very long time, who know no other country in which they live, and the program is going to come to an end in six months unless Congress acts. So the President has dropped a little poison pill, I believe, on the Congress, on Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Don’t forget, he’s very frustrated with these people, and now he has taken a very, very hot political topic and dropped it in the lap of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, who he’s been fighting with for a long time.

Let’s get into the meat of it. Let’s talk about what the announcement today covers on September 5, 2017. This means that those young people are eventually going to have their temporary protected status and their work authorization go away. The first thing to keep in mind is that as of today, September 5, 2017, if you have not applied for Deferred Action and if you are eligible, it is now too late. Some really smart immigration attorneys have been filing these DACA applications over the last couple weeks for the people that waited to the last minute, but the program is now ended. So they will not be accepting any more Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival applications.

For those people who have already been granted Deferred Action, the question is then what happens to them? What happens to their work cards, what happens to their deportation cases, and there’s so many angles to this that we’re going to be shooting video all this week, and then we’re going to post it out to all our social media channels, because we want to get out the word as to what’s going to happen to these people. For the people who already have Deferred Action, if it expires before March 5, 2018 … in other words six months from today … if it expires by March 5, 2018, if you already have DACA and it’s going to expire, you can apply for a two-year renewal, but your application must be received one month from today. It must be received no later than October 5, 2017.

In our office, we’re going to be going over all of our Deferred Action applications, all of our beneficiaries, and we’re going to shoot those applications over for renewal for the people that are eligible. If you have Deferred Action and it expires after March 5, 2018, you’re not going to be eligible for that extension, and your DACA and your work authorization will expire on the date that’s shown on that red work authorization card that you have.

If you have a new DACA application that was filed before today, it is going to continue to be processed. They are not going to stop processing Deferred Action applications that were on file prior to September 5, 2017.

Now, one of the great things about the Deferred Action program, and one of the things that really has driven the hardliners crazy, is that with Deferred Action, not only could you get work authorization, and not only could you get your deportation halted, you also had the ability if you needed to get back to your home country to apply for something called “advance parole.” Advance parole is permission before you leave the United States to return to the United States, and it allows you to go out of the country. And if you have a qualifying relative, that is if you’re married to a US citizen, now that you’ve come back you can apply for a green card, for lawful permanent resident status through that advance parole and through that Deferred Action that you’ve been previously given. And it allows you to be properly inspected so that you can adjust your status.

We did this for a good number of clients, where we had people who had obtained Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival, they had a reason to go back home, some kind of family emergency. They’d go back to their home country, and when they return, they come through customs on that advance parole, and now they’ve been properly inspected and they’re allowed to adjust their status. In fact, we had one approved this very morning. We had a case that we’d been sweating. We weren’t sure what was going to happen with Deferred Action. We thought that it might be going away, and one of our long time clients who has had Deferred Action for quite some time and is married to a US citizen got the word today that he’s going to get his green card.

The question is are people who have Deferred Action and who have already obtained advance parole, are they going to be able to leave the United States or are they going to be able to come back to the United States and adjust their status. And the answer to that question is yes. If you’re outside of the United States and you’ve been granted advance parole, the good advice would be to come back as soon as you can, but you are going to be able to do that maneuver that we mentioned and, hopefully, obtain your lawful permanent resident status. That will still be considered a good entry for purposes of adjustment of status.

The USCIS as of today will no longer process those advance parole applications, so some of our clients do have pending advance parole applications. Those will not be granted. As far as people who have final orders of deportation and are in deportation proceedings, we’re going to cover that in tomorrow’s video, but as of now I think it’s safe to assume that those people are going to have their cases what are called “re-calendared”. They’re going to be sent back to Immigration Court, and they’re going to have to be responsive to the charges of deportation, and if they’ve already been ordered deported I suspect that eventually, and probably sooner rather than later, ICE is going to start effectuating those orders of removal. So we’ll see if that’s paused or not. I’m not sure exactly if that’s going to happen yet, but we’ll see.

One thing to keep in mind with all this is you should not be relying on the advice of strangers, you should not be relying on the advice of notarios. You want to make sure that you are using an immigration attorney, preferably one who’s in the American Immigration Lawyers Association, lawyers who specialize in immigration. There are a lot of people in times of crisis like this who try to take advantage of people, and there are many, many, many good immigration attorneys around the country. I encourage you to talk to one of them.

We are going to continue to fight for our clients, and we’re going to continue to press Congress to take action. That will be the topic of another video later this week, but for now, if you have questions about the ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, if you have any questions about what your particular situation is, be sure to give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Make sure to like our Facebook channel, our YouTube channel so that you find out all of our future updates as to what’s been going on. We are sorry to say good night to you on this very sad evening.

You’ve gotta keep hope alive, as Reverend Jackson said. We’re going to keep fighting. We have friends in Congress, and there have been a lot of good signals that have come out of Congress that this might be changed legislatively, and that would take away a lot of the arguments that Trump, Sessions, and Kris Kobach have for doing away with Deferred Action, and we’re hopeful that even in this dark hour that things will turn around and that we’ll be able to find a good solution for a lot of the great quality people that we’ve met and we haven’t met who’ve all been benefiting from this Deferred Action program. There’s absolutely no reason these children, these young people, these quality individuals should be sent back to their home countries, and we pray and hope and will strive to make sure that that doesn’t happen.

Peace out.

What Immigration Changes Can Trump Do All By Himself

Can Donald Trump change the US immigration system all by himself?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. At the time we’re shooting this video in August of 2017 there’s been a lot of noise, and circumstance, and news reporting about all the changes that Donald Trump he himself might bring into the immigration landscape, and we thought we would shoot this short video to dispel some myths and walk you through what he can and can’t do.

One of the things that’s been really interesting since Trump took office is that we’ve all gotten a lot of good lessons in the way that our civic system works and our system of checks and balances and that is the three branches of government, of course. We have the three branches of government which are the judiciary, the legislature and the executive branch, which is headed by President Trump. There have already been things over the course of his short administration that have impacted each of those branches of government and demonstrate the kinds of points that I want to make today.

The first thing to keep in mind is that there are three branches of the government and that the executive can only do so much. Now, one of the things that I often say about elections is that when a person becomes president, they put in people in charge of their departments, their administrators, their secretaries in the cabinet, and these people are making small tweaks to the law that you don’t see on a regular basis. They’re updating regulations. They’re changing things that most people don’t pay attention to.

Now, when it comes to immigration, we pay pretty close attention to changes in the regulations and the rules and of course any changes in the law. But, the executive’s job is to enforce the law. The executive can’t make new law and the executive can only direct the people beneath him or her to follow the law and to the extent that the executive tries to overstep the law and to do things that aren’t legal, that is going to be stopped and I’ll tell you how in a minute.

We saw an example of this with the so-called Muslim ban, President Trump’s attempt to keep people from seven predominantly Muslim countries and then six Muslim countries out of the United States while they supposedly figure things out with the immigration system and whether those countries were helping the United States vet those people to see if we should allow them into the country. You might recall that he released that program on a late Friday afternoon. And, by early the next week, there were lawsuits already on file challenging it, and we saw the three branches of government lay bare. The judiciary stopped President Trump and that executive order banning Muslims from those countries, so it’s important to keep in mind. I understand the fear, the consternation and the worry about what Trump can and can’t do, but there are checks on him. The courts will make sure that he’s following the law and that he’s following the constitution. As any good immigration student knows, that the constitution is a supreme law of the land and that the president has to follow the constitution and laws written by congress have to follow the constitution.

One point I really want to drive home is that the president can only do so much. If he tries to impose an executive order that is contrary to laws on the books or the congress overrides with a specific law, then it’s really a check on his power. He is not a king. He is not a dictator. He’s simply the president of the United States and he has to follow the law just like everybody else.

Another thing to keep in mind is that he does have a lot of flexibility though in how the law is interpreted. A lot of people criticize President Obama because he decided to halt deportations for young people who were brought here as minors, and he viewed the immigration deportation system as overly harsh on these young people, and so he directed the Department of Homeland Security to come up with enforcement priorities and to focus on deporting people who had either committed crimes or had been repeatedly entered in the United States illegally. That was all done by executive order. President Trump has not done away with that program yet. He could at any time. Congress has not acted and pass legislation to make that protection for those young people part of the law. The president could undo any executive order done by President Obama or any other prior president. Executive orders are not law. They have to follow the law, but they can definitely impact the lives of Americans as we can tell with the many people who have benefited from President Obama’s Deferred Action program.

The flexibility and the power that Trump has is, one, the fact that he can change executive orders and the other is his role as a mouthpiece and an advocate for change. Now, President Trump hasn’t been particularly successful in this realm. A lot of people are tuning him out. His popularity numbers are way low and so people in congress and around the country are not as afraid as they were as to the impact that he has.

Recently he and some Republican Congresspeople came forward and put forward legislation that would really roll back immigration, especially family based immigration. He really put a lot of fear in people. That’s the genesis of where this video is coming from is that we wanted to make sure that right now everybody knows that this only a proposed legislation. It hasn’t been put into law, that we’ll continue to monitor it. But, basically, that if he wants to roll back the way that immigration visas are given out and cut in half those numbers of immigrant visas, then he’s going to have to do it through congress. Pay attention to what’s going on. If you’re a US citizen, contact your senators or congress people and make sure that your voice is heard because this is really important. Again, the congress acting or not acting is another check on President Trump.

Overall, I want you to be confident. I want you to be educated. I want you to be paying attention to what’s going on. Understand that he’s not king and he can’t just snap his hands and make the changes to the immigration laws. That there’s a process and a procedure and that he has to follow the law. If he doesn’t follow the law, then people will take him to court. People like me and our firm and people like the ACLU and other great organizations will take him to court, hold his feet to the fire and make sure that he’s following the law. Don’t be afraid. Do not be afraid. There are people out here who will protect you, people who will help you.

If you have any questions about this, about the changes that Trump may or may not be able to put into place, be sure to give us a call at (314) 961-8200 or you can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. If you like this video, be sure to give it a like down below, share it with your friends and family and make sure to subscribe to us on all the social media channels, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook so that you get updated whenever we shoot videos like this one. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

When Do I Appeal a Bad Decision from the Immigration Judge?

To appeal a decision made by the immigration judge (“IJ”), you must affirmatively reserve that right when asked by the IJ if you plan to appeal. It’s safest to reserve your right to appeal, even if you aren’t sure whether you want to appeal. It doesn’t mean you have to appeal, but it leaves the option open for you to do so.

If you choose to appeal, the appeal must be received by the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) within 30 days of the IJ’s decision or else it’s automatically denied. The board does not observe the “mailbox” rule.

In other words, it’s not sufficient to have proof of postage that you sent the appeal before the 30-day deadline, if it doesn’t actually arrive by that 30-day deadline. Timeliness is ultimately based on the time stamp placed on the document upon its arrival at BIA.

When filing an appeal, make sure you have the correct filing deadline. The 30-day rule counts the day of the IJ’s decision as day 0. The day following the IJ’s decision is day 1 and so forth. Make sure to calculate your deadline correctly. You don’t want to miss your deadline because you miscounted!

The 30-day deadline also applies to DHS appeals. If you win a cancellation of removal or other type of defensive application, the government must appeal its decision within the 30-day window. Otherwise, its appeal is also automatically denied.

Finally, It’s best not to wait until the last minute to file. There can be unexpected delays, unfavorable weather conditions, etc. Such delays are not tolerated by the BIA (although if the cause of the delay was unavoidable because of a natural or man-made disaster, you can file a motion asking the BIA to make an exception).

So, file ahead of time and don’t miss your deadline!

Couple awaits word on whether they will be deported to Mexico

Oakland nurse and mother of four, Maria Mendoza-Sanchez, and her husband have lived in the United States for over two decades, but they do not have legal status.  Under a federal deportation order, the couple and their youngest child, Jesus, 12, will be flying to Mexico City on Wednesday, August 16.

Mendoza-Sanchez received a call on Tuesday afternoon from Senator Dianne Feinstein.  Praying that Sen. Feinstein’s call would bring good news in the 11th hour, Mendoza-Sanchez answered the phone with hopes that her family could remain intact.

Unfortunately, Sen. Feinstein apologetically told Mendoza-Sanchez that immigration authorities had denied the request for a stay and there was nothing more she could do.  Mendoza-Sanchez, her husband, and Jesus, a United States citizen by birth, will have to leave the United States and make a new home in Mexico.

Their three daughters, ages 16, 21, and 23, will stay behind in the United States.  The two older daughters will raise their younger sister, ensuring she completes her final two years of high school.  The two younger daughters are U.S. citizens and the oldest daughter is protected by DACA status.

Immigration attorney, Carl Shusterman, represents the family.  He termed Tuesday’s denial of the stay request a “tragedy.”  ICE officials refused to make an exception for Mendoza-Sanchez and her family because, “if they did, they would have to make an exception for other people, too.”  

Maria Mendoza-Sanchez is a nurse at Highland hospital in the oncology and cardiology wing.  Her husband, Eusebio Sanchez, is a truck driver.  Neither Mendoza-Sanchez nor her husband have a criminal record.

According to an immigration expert, the denial of the stay reflects a shift in the government’s deportation approach.  When cases received high levels of media attention and local political involvement in the past, ICE would shy away from the negative publicity and alter their response.  Santa Clara University School of Law professor, Pratheepan Gulasekaram, says that ICE “is sending a message with this removal…Everybody is potentially a target.”

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DACA’s Fifth Year Anniversary, But Will the Program Survive?

This week marked the five year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Under DACA, young people brought to the United States as minors have been able to halt their deportation temporarily and to obtain work authorization cards.

These work cards have allowed them to obtain drivers’ licenses and social security numbers.  It has also allowed them to work or to attend college.

President Barack Obama implemented DACA without an actual law being passed by Congress.  The basis of DACA was Obama’s belief that federal immigration officials had limited resources and could only deport so many people.

So Obama wanted the Department of Homeland Security to focus on criminals and people who had repeatedly entered the U.S. without authorization.  Although many immigration advocates criticized Obama for his agency’s definition of what constituted a “criminal” and felt that the definition was applied too broadly, thousands of young people benefited from the DACA program.

Recent estimates indicate that some 800,000 young people from around the world have benefitted from the deferred action program.

But because DACA was based on an executive order and not on legislation passed by Congress, it has always depended upon the willingness of the executive to maintain the program.

Enter Donald J. Trump.  Trump campaigned on a harsh anti-immigrant platform, promising to terminate the DACA program.

But so far, he has not.

Those who follow immigration policy point to his appointment of immigration hard-liner Jeff Sessions as Attorney General and Trump’s meetings with Kris Kobach, a noted xenophobe and anti-immigrant politician, as signs that DACA may be through.

By leaving DACA alone, Trump has angered his base, many of whom supported him based on his anti-immigrant stance and his promise to deport as many people as possible.

The Texas Attorney General is trying to challenge the DACA program’s legality in federal court and Trump can always cancel the program unilaterally.

Last month, Republicans and Democrats in Congressed reintroduced the Dream Act, a bill to give undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children a path to citizenship, but the White House immediately shot it down. There are also bipartisan bills in the House and Senate that would provide temporary protections, but it’s unclear whether those could pass or if they would be signed into law.