What does the immigration reform proposed by President Biden include?

 

President, Joe Biden, signed the following executive orders on day 1:

  • Added protections to DACA to prevent any future attacks against Dreamers,
  • Has called on Congress to enact legislation providing permanent status and a path to citizenship for immigrants,
  • Halted former President Trump’s efforts in excluding nonresidents/noncitizens from the census,
  • Overturned President Trump’s executive order that pushed aggressive efforts to find and deport unauthorized immigrants,
  • Blocked the deportation of Liberians who have been living in the United States,
  • Ended the Muslim Ban,
  • Ended the construction of Former President Trump’s border wall with Mexico.

What is President Biden planning to propose on his immigration reform?

Here are a few points that we know about the proposed law, “U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021”:

  • Immediate eligibility for legal permanent residence (green card) for those with DACA, TPS, and agricultural workers who meet certain requirements
  • Path to citizenship for the individuals without legal status. Eligibility for green card after 5 years. Applicants will have to complete a background check, provide proof that they pay taxes and proof of physical presence in the United States on or before January 1, 2021
  • Temporary status for anyone with an approved family petition
  • Citizenship after 3 years, instead of 5 years
  • Elimination of one-year rule for political asylum
  • Increase annual U Visas from 10,000 visas to 30,000 visas
  • Eliminate waiting lists for immigrant visas
  • Eliminate penalties of 3 and 10 years

**Please remember that the points above are points that the Biden administration is considering for their proposal. There will be negotiations and changes before Congress is able to vote. It is not yet a law and there are still many unknown questions and details.

Recommendations

If you have have been detained at the border, arrested by the police or submitted an application with immigration in the past, please see below:

In case there is an immigration reform that is passed in the future, here are some recommendations on how you can prepare:

  1. Consult with an experienced immigration attorney that specializes in immigration law.
  2. Request all of your records (criminal and immigration) to have them ready. Such as:
    • Border Detention Records (If you have been detained at the border or have a deportation order)
    • Criminal Record (if you have been arrested or cited by the police)
    • Immigration Record (If you have submitted an application with immigration in the past)

The records mentioned above need to be requested from several agencies which can take anywhere from 9 months to a year to receive. Which is why it is important to start requesting them now.

If the above does not apply to you, please see below:

If you have never been detained at the border, don’t have a deportation order, don’t have a criminal record or you have not submitted an application with immigration in the past. You can start gathering documents to prove: 

  1. Your physical presence in the United States and, 
  2. Good moral character letters or recognitions such as awards/certificates.

If you would like to consult with one of our attorneys, please contact our office at 213.200.1505 to schedule an appointment.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is Fully Restored!

Today, December 4, 2020, U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in Brooklyn announced that he is fully restoring DACA to when it was first implemented by the Obama administration.

 

This means that individuals can apply for DACA for this first time, renew their DACA for 2 years and apply for advance parole.

 

His decision comes after finding that the acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was given his position unlawfully, which vacates the memo he drafted in July.

 

Judge Garaufis has ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to announce publicly on Monday that they will be accepting first time applications and ensure that work permits are valid for 2 years.

 

The past couple of years have been dark for our immigrant community under the Trump administration and it is exciting to see that things are finally turning around.

 

Today we celebrate and tomorrow we continue the fight!

 

If you have questions about DACA, we are more than happy to help. We will be offering FREE consultations with an attorney from December 7- December 11, 2020. This is the time to take action. Call us at 213.200.1505 to schedule your appointment.

 

 

What are the requirements to apply for the U Visa?

The U Visa – A Pathway to Residency for Certain Crime Victims and Their Family Members

For many undocumented immigrants in the United States, living in the shadows involves fearing the police due to the possibility that a police officer may call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to report them. As a result, immigrants that are victims of crime are afraid to report the crimes against them. Consequently, criminals are not punished and the crime goes unpunished.

In 2000, Congress decided to create and pass the U Visa to motivate immigrants to report crimes to the police without fear of being reported to ICE in order to reduce crime in their communities. An immigrant who is granted the U Visa as a principal applicant or as derivative will be granted legal status and a work permit for a period of four years. After three years of continuous physical presence in the US with the U Visa, the immigrant will be eligible to apply for legal residency.

How can you qualify?

To qualify for the U Visa, the immigrant must first prove the following:

  1. That you have been the victim of one of the eligible crimes.
  2. That you have suffered physical or mental abuse as a victim of the crime.
  3. The immigrant must have information about the crime (police report).
  4. Cooperate with the investigation.
  5. The crime must have occurred in the US, or it must have violated US laws.

The most common eligible U Visa crimes are domestic violence, assault with a weapon, and sexual assault. However, there are 28 crimes eligible for the U Visa.

What crimes qualify for the U Visa?

  • Abduction
  • Abusive Sexual Contact
  • Blackmail
  • Domestic Violence
  • Extortion
  • False Imprisonment
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Felonious Assault
  • Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
  • Hostage
  • Incest
  • Involuntary Servitude
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Obstruction of Justice
  • Peonage
  • Perjury
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Slave Trade
  • Stalking
  • Torture
  • Trafficking
  • Witness Tampering
  • Unlawful Criminal Restraint
  • Other Related Crimes*†

*Includes any similar activity where the elements of the crime are substantially similar.

†Also includes attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above.

What is the first step to start the U Visa application?  

  1. The first thing is to get the police report.
  2. Next, you must request the signature from the police department that took the police report for the U Certification. The police department checks to see if the crime is under the list of crimes that qualify for the U Visa and if you cooperated with the investigation.
  3. Upon obtaining the signature for the U Certification, you have 6 months to submit your application for the U Visa. It is very important to gather all the necessary documents to submit your application on time. We recommend that you speak with an immigration attorney.

If you would like to know if you qualify, don’t hesitate and call Franco Law Group. Our attorneys have experience submitting strong U Visa applications. With that said, for the month of November and December we are offering 25% off if you retain our office to request the U Certification if you have the police report. Call us today at 213.200.1505 to schedule your appointment.

What happens to my immigration case during the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Last Updated: Friday, August 14, 2020 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

On April 24, 2020, USCIS announced that they were extending their temporary closure date until June 3, 2020. As of  June 4, 2020, USCIS is open to continue with interviews and to allow visits to their immigration offices.

USCIS is the immigration office that reviews applications of those seeking their U.S legal permanent residence card (also known as a “green card”) via a family petition, U-Visa, VAWA, Asylum or U.S citizenship. Typically, they hold in person interviews and exams with the applicant in order to determine if they will obtain their U.S legal permanent residence card or U.S citizenship.

Due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, USCIS announced on March 18, 2020 that they cancelled all interviews and visits to the USCIS immigration offices to protect everyone’s health and safety. Previously, they had announced that they would temporarily close until April 1, 2020 but then they extended their date to June 3, 2020. As of June 4, 2020, USCIS immigration offices have opened for interviews and office visits.

You may ask yourself, “well what does that mean for my immigration case?” “Is it on pause or on hold during the pandemic of the Coronavirus?” To answer this question, no, your case is not put on hold during the pandemic of the Coronavirus. Immigration officers are still working and continue to review your application. Therefore, you may still continue working with your attorney to submit your application and if you don’t have an attorney and would like to begin an immigration case, please don’t hesitate and contact one of our Franco Law Group attorneys at 213.200.1505.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

How long does it take to apply for a U.S Residency application (green card)?

The processing time once submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services Department (USCIS) depends on the field office or service center that receives your residency application.

To check current processing times for residency (green card) applications please visit https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.

You will need the following:

  1. Case Type (Ex., I-485, I-130, I-90, etc.)
  2. Field Office or Service Center (located on your receipt from immigration)
 How long does it take to receive a decision for my U-Visa?

Currently it takes about 5 years to receive a decision. As of today, August 14, 2020, USCIS service centers in Nebraska and Vermont are reviewing U-Visa applications submitted on December 10, 2015.

To check current processing times for your U-Visa application please visit https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.

How long does it take to apply for U.S Citizenship?

The processing time once submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services Department (USCIS) depends on the field office that receives your naturalization/citizenship application.

For example, as of today, August 14, 2020, the processing time for the Los Angeles field office ranges from 12.5 to 18.5 months. The Los Angeles County field office ranges from 13 to 16 months.

To check current processing times for naturalization/citizenship applications please visit https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.

 

USCIS Resources

Using the following links you are able to:

Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) aka “Immigration Court”

On March 13, 2020 the Executive Office for Immigration Review in Los Angeles (also known as the “Immigration Court”) announced that they would be postponing all Master hearings as a result of the breakout of the Coronavirus. A master hearing is a preliminary hearing where you present your immigration case before an immigration judge.

Later on March 18, 2020 the Executive Office for Immigration Review also postponed all non-detained hearings. Therefore, the only hearings that are still scheduled are for those that are detained and are presenting a case before an immigration judge in order to fight for the right to stay in the United States.

Now, if you have a case that you are fighting before the Immigration Court you may wonder if your case is put on hold due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the answer is no. Your case is still active and still being reviewed. Therefore, you should continue working with your attorney to meet any deadlines you may have to submit documents and continue working to move your case forward. If you don’t have an attorney we have an experienced team of attorneys that can help. You may contact us by commenting below or calling our office at 213.200.1505.

As of now, the Executive Office for Immigration Review is not set to open until August 24, 2020. Therefore, any hearings after August 21, 2020 are still scheduled until further notice.

Any filings due during a court closure should be filed. Filing deadlines after March 30, 2020 remain in effect subject to the discretion of the immigration judge. There is no requirement that documents be filed in person. For all courts, parties are encouraged to file by mail or by ECAS where available (EOIR).

Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)

If you are an asylum seeker in Mexico and you have a case pending under the MPP program, please know that currently all hearings presently scheduled through April 22 will be rescheduled. Any individual with an MPP hearing date through April 22 should present themselves at their designated port of entry on their previously scheduled date to receive a tear sheet and hearing notice containing their new hearing dates. The Board of Immigration Appeals are still reviewing immigration cases.

 

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    Franco Law Group Locations: East Los Angeles Office 5601 E. Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90022

    New Immigration Court in Van Nuys

    Update

    As of September 11, 2020 the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in Van Nuys also knows as the Immigration Court announced that all non-detained hearings designated as a “Master” will remain suspended until further notice.

    However, EOIR in Van Nuys will be moving forward with non-detained hearings designated as a “Merits.”

    Please make sure to communicate with your attorney to continue moving your case forward. If you don’t have legal representation you may contact us at 213.200.1505 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to further discuss your case and receive quality legal advice.


    On Monday, December 9, 2019, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) also knows as the Immigration Court opened another location in the city of Van Nuys. According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), “the Van Nuys immigration court will serve cases from Kern, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties, and parts of the Los Angeles County.” It is very important to check the location of your next immigration court hearing to find out if your hearing has been moved to Van Nuys. We do not want anyone to be affected by missing their immigration court hearing due to this change. To check the location of your next immigration court hearing please call the Automated EOIR System at 1-800-898-7180.

    Yesterday, December 12, 2019 we had the opportunity to visit the immigration courthouse. As of now, there are 6 courtrooms at the new Van Nuys immigration court. The following courtrooms are assigned to the following judges: courtroom #3 is assigned to The Honorable Tara Naselow-Nahas, courtroom #5 is assigned to The Honorable David Burke and courtroom #6 is assigned to The Honorable Carlos Maury.

    Please find below the information for the Van Nuys Immigration Court:

    LOCATION: 6230 Van Nuys Blvd. 3rd Floor, Suite 300
    Van Nuys, CA 91401
    HOURS OF OPERATION: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
    TELEPHONE: 818-904-5200

    If you have an immigration hearing coming up in Van Nuys please seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney now!

    To read AILA’s official notice please visit: https://www.aila.org/infonet/eoir-to-open-new-immigration-court-in-los-angeles