The Last Chance Provided by Humanitarian Parole

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Today we are publishing an updated article on Humanitarian Parole on this site.  Many people are under the mis-impression that humanitarian parole only applies to medical emergencies. In fact, there are numerous situations that an application for humanitarian parole may be appropriate. For example, sometimes there are imperfections in US law which do not provide a legal solution for a situation which cries out for one.   Trying to fit a “square peg in a round hole” just will not work.  Well, sometimes, humanitarian parole can be the “round peg” that fits. For example, minor children who remain stuck in the home country after parents successfully adjusted status in the United States under the Diversity Lottery program. The law requires that the child receive a Diversity Visa by September 30. If he does not, then his parent would have to file an I-130 family immigration petition for him, which could take…

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FAQ on New Public Charge Rules – Part 2: Trouble ahead for Older Immigrants, Diversity Lottery Winners, and Immigrants without Job Offers, English Skills, or University Education

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On February 22, we published Part 1 of this FAQ. Since then, the Department of State, including all embassies and consular posts outside the United States, implemented the new rules. What practical changes have gone into effect? It is still too early to know exactly what each embassy and consulate will require from immigrant visa applicants.  However, in the few weeks since the rules went into effect, it appears that embassies and consulates processing immigrant visas are requiring 1) the completion and submission of the Form DS-5540 and 2) asset and income documents confirming the information in the Form.   The new Form DS-5540 asks about the immigrant visa applicant’s 1) age: 2) health; 3) household size; 4) assets; 5) current and future income; 6) liabilities; 7) past usage of public benefits in the US, if any; 8) education; and 9) trade/vocational skills. Documents confirming assets, such as real estate appraisals…

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FAQ on New Public Charge Rules – Part 1: Trouble ahead for Older Immigrants, Diversity Lottery Winners, and Immigrants without Job Offers, English Skills, or University Education

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What are the new Public Charge Rules? Section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act makes inadmissible immigrants who are “likely at any time to become a public charge”.  Practically speaking, in the past, if the sponsor in the United States had sufficient income (more than the poverty level) or assets, then the immigrant successfully received the visa or adjusted status. Now, the focus will be on the immigrant him or herself. The examiner will consider the personal circumstances of the immigrant: is it likely that he or she will become a public charge at any time in the future?  The circumstances to be reviewed include age, health, family size, financial resources, education and skills, and sponsor.  In short, this rule will adversely impact the elderly or soon-to-be-retired; those with medical conditions; the less educated; those with large families; those with few job prospects in the United States; those who…

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Rights of Visa Applicants

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You have rights.  Yes, if you have been denied a visa, you have rights. The Department of State’s Customer Statement lists only some of those rights, as follow: We promise to you, the visa applicant, that: We will treat you with dignity and respect, even if we are unable to grant you a visa. We will treat you as an individual and your case as unique. We will remember that, to you, a visa interview may be a new or intimidating experience and that you may be nervous. We will use the limited time available for the interview to get as full a picture as possible of your travel plans and intentions. We will use our available resources to fairly assist all applicants to get appointments to allow travel in time for business, study, and other important obligations. We will post detailed and accurate information on visa requirements and application…

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Alien Smuggling – Hope for the Accused

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Consular officers permanently bar more visa applicants every year for “alien smuggling” than any other provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act except misrepresentation. In 2012 alone, consular officers invoked the alien smuggling provision of the INA, Section 212(a)(6)(E), more than 6,000 times, an increase of more than 20% from the year before. What are the standards for a finding of alien smuggling, and what categories of people have been subject to this provision of the INA? A consular officer can make an alien smuggling finding if he or she decides that a visa applicant has, at any time, knowingly “encouraged, induced, assisted, abetted or aided…” another alien “to enter or try to enter the United States” in violation of law. The Immigration Act of 1990 abolished the “for gain” requirement, so a consular officer does not need to find that the applicant had a profit motive or received money…

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Stupid is as Stupid Does or When Will We Enact Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

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People do stupid things.   Sometimes, for no reason at all, sometimes, for reasons that are entirely understandable. That doesn’t mean you or I would do it, but… Yesterday a couple from the Ukraine contacted me about their situation.  About nine months after “Ivan” received his green card, he married “Lena”.  They love each other, grew up together, and had spent a lot of time together.  But now Ivan lives in the US as a permanent resident and has a good job; Lena lives in the Ukraine.  US law on family immigration subjects spouses and children of green card holders to quotas.  The current wait for spouses located overseas to be unified with their loved ones in the US is nearly four years.  Because of this long wait, Lena and Ivan started to explore other options to speed up their reunification. First, Lena tried to obtain a tourist visa from the…

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