Articles Posted in Naturalization/Citizenship

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This Friday and Saturday, October 16th & 17th, the Central Florida Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will host its 2015 Annual Immigration Law Conference in Orlando. This conference will feature leading immigration experts from across the United States and a sitting U.S. Congressman. The venue is the beautiful Omni Champions Gate Resort.

SLG has the honor of having two of its partners, Jeremy Lasnetski and John Gihon, selected to be panelists at the conference.

Jeremy was chosen to be the discussion leader on the U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization panel. This panel will cover topics including the acquisition of citizenship by birth abroad, derivation of citizenship through a naturalizing parent and the requirements and procedure for naturalization.

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Over the last few months I had the opportunity to work with some fantastic immigration attorneys across the Southeast United States on a collaborative project. Our goal was to find, review and summarize every immigration-related and useful District Court and Circuit Court Case from the Eleventh Circuit and put them together in a newsletter. This was an enjoyable and educational experience. We expect to send out this newsletter every quarter and it will contain published and unpublished District Court cases from Florida, Alabama and Georgia and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

This would not be possible without the hard work of our multi-state team composed of Marshall Cohen, Roberta Cooper, Bruce Buchanan and myself, John Gihon. Here is an excerpt of the 11th Circuit Cases. If anyone reading this newsletter has any suggestions, please contact me at John@slgattorneys.com or our editor, Bruce Buchanan at bbuchanan@visalaw.com

District Court Opinions

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Over the last few months I had the opportunity to work with some fantastic immigration attorneys across the Southeast United States on a collaborative project. Our goal was to find, review and summarize every immigration-related and useful District Court and Circuit Court Case from the Eleventh Circuit and put them together in a newsletter. This was an enjoyable and educational experience. We expect to send out this newsletter every quarter and it will contain published and unpublished District Court cases from Florida, Alabama and Georgia and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

This would not be possible without the hard work of our multi-state team composed of Marshall Cohen, Roberta Cooper, Bruce Buchanan and myself, John Gihon. Here is an excerpt of the 11th Circuit Cases. If anyone reading this newsletter has any suggestions, please contact me at John@slgattorneys.com or our editor, Bruce Buchanan at bbuchanan@visalaw.com

11th Circuit Decisions (September)

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Over the last few months I had the opportunity to work with some fantastic immigration attorneys across the Southeast United States on a collaborative project. Our goal was to find, review and summarize every immigration-related and useful District Court and Circuit Court Case from the Eleventh Circuit and put them together in a newsletter. This was an enjoyable and educational experience. We expect to send out this newsletter every quarter and it will contain published and unpublished District Court cases from Florida, Alabama and Georgia and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

This would not be possible without the hard work of our multi-state team composed of Marshall Cohen, Roberta Cooper, Bruce Buchanan and myself, John Gihon. Here is an excerpt of the 11th Circuit Cases. If anyone reading this newsletter has any suggestions, please contact me at John@slgattorneys.com or our editor, Bruce Buchanan at bbuchanan@visalaw.com

11th Circuit Decisions (June through August)

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Recently a concerned colleague sent a me a link to a bill that is under consideration in both the Florida House of Representatives and the Senate.

The crux of the bill is to make it illegal for immigrants to be in the State of Florida after they have a final order of deportation. For a copy of the bill follow these links:

https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2016/0118/BillText/__/PDF

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Matter of D-M-C-P-, 26 I&N Dec. 644 (BIA 2015); The Board decided that neither the Board, nor the Immigration Courts have jurisdiction to determine if a respondent was properly placed into Asylum-Only Proceedings pursuant to INA § 217. Once an immigration officer determined that an alien was subject to removal as a visa waiver violator, the only issue the Immigration Court or the Board could review is whether the alien qualified for asylum or withholding or deferral of removal. In addition, the Immigration Judge cannot dismiss properly-filed applications for relief from removal due to an alien’s failure to comply with the biometrics requirement pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 1003.47(c), (d), unless the respondent was advised of the biometrics requirement, provided a deadline for complying and advised of the consequences for failing to comply.

Matter of M-A-F- et al., 26 I&N Dec. 651 (BIA 2015); The Board held that where a respondent has filed a second or substantially amended asylum application, it will be considered a new application, and the filing date of the later application is operative for determining if the provisions of the REAL ID Act of 2005 apply and if an asylum applicant has met the one-year filing deadline. The Court will conduct a case-by-case factual analysis to make this determination, however a second or amended asylum application that raises a new basis for asylum or amends a prior fraudulent application will be considered a new application rather than an amendment of the old one.

Matter of R-K-K-, 26 I&N Dec. 658 (BIA 2015); The Board held that an Immigration Judge may rely on documents and statements from another asylum case while making an adverse credibility determination. The Department may provide applications and evidence from another case in order to impeach the credibility of an applicant. The Immigration Judge may then rely on the similarities between the evidence in the two different cases to make an adverse credibility finding, so long as the Court: 1) gives the applicant meaningful notice of the similarities that are considered to be significant; 2) gives the applicant a reasonable opportunity to explain the similarities; and 3) considers the totality of the circumstances when making the credibility finding.

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When you are not a U.S. citizen and you are in criminal court facing criminal prosecution, why you should never wait to see what happens in your criminal case and then hire an immigration attorney.

I have spoken to many non-citizen clients who are facing criminal prosecution. When I let them know that they need to be concerned about the immigration consequences of their criminal prosecution before their case is over, many ignore my advice. Often times they are so worried about going to jail, that their immigration status is not at the top of the list on their concerns. I always tell them, “you need to be concerned about how this criminal case is going to affect your immigration status now, before the case is over, do not wait until it is too late.”

Many clients ignore my advice and they use a criminal defense attorney who doesn’t know about immigration, or they do not hire our firm or another experienced immigration attorney to help before the criminal case is over. Those same clients often are detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as soon as they are released from criminal custody, or they are arrested by ICE while reporting to probation after their criminal case is over.

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Recently, the media and politicians have used the term “sanctuary city” as both a sword and a shield, both as a standard to strive for and as a pejorative. But much like the term “amnesty” that has been used very similarly of late, “sanctuary city” has no fixed and agreed upon definition. What is commonly accepted is that a “sanctuary city” refers to a state or local government that has policies that in one way or another refuse to fully cooperate with the efforts and requests of federal immigration officials. Some of these cities will refuse to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in any form or fashion (San Francisco) and others simply ban their employees from inquiring about a resident’s immigration status.

The philosophy behind sanctuary city policies are both fiscal and ideological, emotional and detached. Should local law enforcement care about enforcing federal immigration laws over which they have no jurisdiction? Should local governments care about the immigration status of a child enrolling in school when they will accept the child regardless of their status? These are all issues ripe for debate, but one thing is clear, these policies come about in localities where there is a distrust of and poor communication between federal immigration officers and local officials.

State and local budgets are tight enough without having locals take on the additional responsibilities and costs associated with enforcing immigration laws and proactively assisting federal immigration officers. Undocumented and even legal residents are apprehensive about interacting with local law enforcement when the locals start asking questions about immigration status.

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Below is my summary of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on Immigration. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments about the cases, my interpretations thereof or if you need my legal assistance.

Recent Published U.S. Supreme Court Cases on Immigration:

Mellouli v. Lynch, 575 U.S. _____ (2015);

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Below is my summary of the recent Board of Immigration Appeals decisions. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments about the cases, my interpretations thereof or if you need my legal assistance.

Matter of Agour, 26 I&N Dec. 566 (BIA 2015); In a potentially huge decision, the Board held that an immigrant who adjusted their status while in the United States can qualify for an INA § 237(a)(1)(H) fraud waiver. The Board had previously held that only those immigrants who were admitted from abroad (consular processed) and met the other statutory requirements were eligible for this rare and oft-overlooked waiver. This decision appears to pave the way for otherwise-admissible immigrants who committed fraud or a material misrepresentation during adjustment (i.e. marriage fraud) to obtain this waiver to maintain status and avoid removal.

Matter of Z-Z-O-, 26 I&N Dec. 586 (BIA 2015); The Board held that an Immigration Judge’s determination of future events in the context of an asylum case, is a finding of fact and subject to a clearly erroneous standard of review. The Board also held that whether an applicant has a objectively reasonable fear of future persecution is a legal determination and subject to a de novo standard of review.