What's one thing my foreign born family member can do to make their visa case stronger?
Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. We've been shooting video after video over this new public charge rule that President Trump and Stephen Miller are trying to put into effect to make it harder for immigrants to come to the United States and it occurred to me the other day that these cases are taking a really long time, and these cases are taking, say, 12 or 14 months.
And so these are spouse cases, these are family member cases, these are situations where a U.S. Citizen or a lawful permanent resident has sponsored their loved one to come to the United States. And I was thinking, what if the foreign national use this time to make their case stronger?
Specifically, what if they use this time to get over that public benefit charge? And of course the public charge rule has a lot of different caveats to it and different things that they analyze in determining whether or not someone's going to become a public charge.
One of those is employability and another one is their ability to speak English.
Now, I think it's absolutely ridiculous that we have gotten to the level where these anti-immigrant folks inside USA and inside the state department are wanting to push even harder and to require immigrants to speak English.
It just feeds into the nativist tone that we've been seeing more and more out of the president and his minions. But that is the fact and so it occurred to me, and I've heard situations at the embassy where they ask, "Do you want to do your interview in English or in Arabic?" Or whatever other language it might be in the home country.
And then if the person says, "English..." If the person says, "The home country language," then they go all over and yell at the person and give them a hard time saying, "Well how are you ever going to make it in America if you don't speak English?"
So that was happening even before the new public charge rule. But part of the public charge analysis is whether or not your foreign national speaks English.
So my suggestion is that once you know you're going to apply for that immigrant, whether it's a mother or a father, or a spouse or even children, or siblings to come to the United States and their English isn't that strong, you want to make sure that you have them studying English from the get go.
You want to make sure that you have them studying it non-stop. If they use the 14 months, you'd be amazed at how much better at English they can get. I'm trying to be very careful and not using poor English on this video about learning English. But you should have them improve their employability and that involves learning a trade or finding something that will transfer to a job here in the United States.
And also, you want to make sure that they're studying English non-stop so that they are as comfortable as possible at the interview.
And don't tell me that 14 months can't make a difference.
I've seen people make huge strides when it comes to learning English in just a year's time. So make sure that if your foreign national, if they're a little bit shakey or nervous about English, you should use this time.
I don't care if you test them or if you get them a course or if you find them a tutor back in their home country. You want to make sure that they're studying English, not a couple of times a week, every single day so that when they go to the interview, that's one thing for us to take away.
Remember, an immigration lawyer's job is always to take away reasons for them to say, "No." If their English is strong, that's going to help your case. So it might even tip the balance in favor of your spouse or family member coming to the United States.
If you have questions about this or about the public charge or any of the shenanigans that the state department's trying to pull, the embassies, give us a call. 314-961-8200.
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