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Northern California Immigration Law Blog

Mistakes could derail adjustment of status process

Many immigrants come to California and other parts of the United States and find love. As a result, they may want to marry individuals who are already U.S. citizens. This action could change many aspects of their lives, including their immigration status. Of course, as with any type of adjustment of status, the correct steps need to be taken.

Individuals hoping to obtain a marriage-based green card have many mistakes they need to avoid. Even a seemingly minor error could result in serious issues and possibly the denial of an application. If an immigrant entered the United States legally, his or her spouse could apply for the green card on the person's behalf. If the individual did not come into the country through legal means, he or she will not qualify for this visa.

Policy changes re US immigration law cause concern for victims

When a California resident is a victim of a crime, the aftermath can cause much fear and turmoil. When the victim is an immigrant who did not enter the country legally, the situation can be even more frightening. These individuals may fear deportation and other negative consequences for reporting the crimes. Fortunately, U-visas can help immigrant crime victims if they meet certain stipulations, but unfortunately, policy changes relating to U.S. immigration law are putting those victims at risk.

It was recently reported that policy changes regarding the rules for continuances on cases have occurred in attempts to address the significant backlog of immigration cases. Immigration cases can take years to complete, including those for U-visas. On average, U-visa cases can take four years to close.

Does the new denaturalization focus jeopardize your status?

Perhaps you have been a naturalized citizen of the United States for several years and you are proud of your status as an American.

However, you worry about the increased interest the government is showing in the revocation of citizenship under certain conditions. What qualifies a person for possible denaturalization?

Seeking asylum is often a leap of faith

Many people believe that seeking protection in another country could help them escape the perils of their homelands. While this certainly can be the case in some situations, it is important to remember that seeking asylum in California and other parts of the United States involves meeting certain stipulations. Unfortunately, the process can be difficult.

One of the scarier parts of seeking asylum may be that it has to be done in person. This means that an immigrant must be within the borders of the United States or at an official port of entry, which could include an airport or land crossing. Parties cannot seek acceptance of asylum in advance, which means that they are taking a leap of faith in search of a better life.

Civics test required for citizenship failed by most Americans

Individuals who want to make the United States their home have many hoops to jump through. They need to ensure that they have the proper paperwork in order and pass interview and testing portions on their journeys toward citizenship. One phase of the process involves taking and passing a civics test related to U.S. history.

California readers may be interested to know that despite the requirement of passing the civics test in order to become a U.S. citizen, most Americans cannot pass this test. According to a recent report, a survey was conducted that involved American adults attempting the civics test. The results showed that in the state with the highest pass rate, only 53 percent of participants from that state passed the exam. In fact, on a national level, only four out of every 10 participants were able to pass.

Knowing filing dates is important for adjustment of status

It is common for immigrants to come to California and other parts of the United States and want to make the country their permanent home. Of course, making this decision does not automatically mean that individuals can remain in the country. In order to obtain permanent residency, parties often need to go through the necessary adjustment of status proceedings to reach their desired goals.

There are two common ways in which people can adjust their status, and those include family-sponsored adjustment and employment-based preference visas. With family-sponsored adjustment, an immediate relative would need to file the appropriate petition, in this case Form I-130, with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services. The person seeking the adjustment would also need to file Form I-485, which is the application to adjust status. With family immigration, the two forms can be filed on the same date.

Adjustment of status application processing time increases

When moving to the United States from another country or when trying to remain in this country, time is often of the essence. Unfortunately, coming into the country or working on an adjustment of status can take a considerable amount of time, and individuals and families are commonly at risk of negative outcomes. It seems that these times are only getting longer for many people.

California readers may be interested in a report indicating that processing times for many immigration-related applications are slowing down considerably. A backlog of applications waiting for review by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services already existed, but under the current presidential administration, the size of that backlog doubled in just one year's time. Since the last fiscal year of the previous presidential administration, the processing time for immigration applications has increased by 46 percent.

US immigration law may provide options for avoiding deportation

Deportation is a common fear among individuals who have come to California or other parts of the United States from different countries. Even if they believe they have all of their paperwork in order or have garnered the right immigration status, they could still feel this fear. Fortunately, some aspects of U.S. immigration law could allow them to fight against deportation proceedings.

One option that some parties may have is to apply for a stay of deportation. This action could give them the ability to appeal deportation rulings and put their deportation proceedings on hold. The appropriate form must be filed, in this case Form I-246, and the applicable fee paid. The applications must also include evidence that can support the reasons for wanting to obtain a stay of deportation.

How hard is it to get asylum in the United States?

If you escape a turbulent and dangerous country, you may seek asylum in the United States. In the current political climate, immigration has taken center stage as those trying to enter the country get detained, while those living here without proper documentation live in fear or getting expelled.

Looking for asylum in the United States does not guarantee a pathway to citizenship. How hard is getting a grant of asylum?

Marine accused of violating US immigration law

Serving in the military is an honorable act. Unfortunately, many of the men and women who serve often suffer from serious mental and physical scars due to their experiences. These problems may lead individuals to have difficulty navigating certain situations, and in some cases, they could even end up being accused of violating U.S. immigration law.

California readers may be interested in a U.S. citizen who was recently detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The man served in the Marines and spent time on tours of duty overseas. His family stated that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and sometimes would disappear without remembering where he had gone. During one such incident, the man had reportedly set a small fire and pulled the fire alarm at a hospital. As a result, he was taken into police custody.

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