Just When You Thought Your Old Conviction After a Jury Trial Would Leave You with a Permanent Inability to Seek Relief in Removal Proceedings, Think Again!
thought would forever prevent them from seeking relief before an Immigration Judge. See
Matter of Ezzat H. Abdelghany, 26 I&N Dec. 254 (BIA 2014). This BIA Decision held that "[a] lawful permanent resident who is otherwise eligible for relief under former section
212(c) of the Act may apply for such relief in removal or deportation proceedings
without regard to whether the relevant conviction resulted from a plea agreement or a
trial and without regard to whether he or she was removable or deportable under the
law in effect when the conviction was entered". Id.
Until this Decision was issued, those who were found guilty of a crime after a jury trial entered before April 24, 1996, were not eligible to apply for discretionary relief under former section 212(c) of the Act. Former 212(c) relief is a section of the law that has since been repealed, but remains available to those in removal proceedings with a conviction that pre-dates April 24, 1996. Now, even those who requested a jury trial and were then found guilty can apply for this relief in removal proceedings. This new case not only assists those who are currently in removal proceedings, but also those who currently have an order of removal.
If this applies to you, you need to speak with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options, whether you're currently in removal proceedings or you have already lost your green card as a result of an order of removal. Please contact me directly at 404.949.8151
to schedule an appointment.
The most common question that clients ask when they are considering filing an application for asylum is how long the process takes. The response to this question has changed over the years. Most recently, however, my response has been: I wish I knew. Two or three years ago my estimate of 9-12 months was fairly accurate and consistent. However the processing times of recently filed asylum applications have ranged widely, some taking as little as several months for a decision and others have taken years. Currently there is a documented backlog in affirmative asylum applications of around 40,000 cases and the numbers continue to increase. A majority of these backlogged cases were filed last year alone.
The main reason for the backlog is simply an issue of supply and demand. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2012, the number of credible fear and reasonable fear interviews, which take priority in scheduling over asylum interviews, began to increase exponentially. Meanwhile, affirmative asylum applications have increased as well. And while demand has increased, and theasylum offices are working to keep up with the supply by training new officers that can adjudicate cases, the demand still outweighs the supply.
Some tips if you are among those in the backlog:
It can be extremely frustrating and unsettling for an individual to make the difficult choice to flee their homes in pursuit of stability and security then have to wait for months and years to know whether they really are stable in the United States. I often try and comfort applicants with the knowledge that they wouldbe eligible to file applications for employment authorization cards that will permit them to work, get driver’s licenses. Also I have seen many clients have a change in life circumstances that open up different (read: faster) doors to immigrating to the U.S. If you have a long pending asylum application and are wondering if you’ll ever be interviewed, you can take comfort in the fact that, at the very least, you are not alone.
"SAVE" me. How USCIS Corrects Errors In Its Database to Permit Legal Foreign National to Obtain Driver's Licenses
The SAVE Program requires that the DMV (or other benefit granting agency) provide applicants who are not verified with SAVE, after the agencies have followed all three verification steps, with a records correction fact sheet and a SAVE verification number. The fact sheet advises applicants on how to correct their records with USCIS and specifies that they can schedule an appointment using InfoPass. When the applicant/customer comes in with an issue related to a SAVE Program verification, we ask for the SAVE verification number. If the customer does not have a SAVE verification number, we provide the customer with a SAVE letter and ask them to go back to the DMV (or other benefit granting agency) to get the number. Once the customer provides us with the verification number, we contact SAVE regarding the verification using an internal helpline. In cases where SAVE advises that the customer was verified, SAVE tells us to have the customer go back to the DMV (or other benefit granting agency) to complete his or her application process. In cases where the SAVE Program could not verify the customer’s current immigration status, we have to order the A-file to identify and resolve the issue. Usually, it is a name or date of birth issue, which we can normally fix locally. It is important to note that USCIS does not correct information in SAVE. Rather, USCIS corrects information in an individual’s USCIS immigration record that can then be accessed by SAVE.
- Loss of employment for inadequate performance;
- A loss of employment for violation of workplace rules;
- Voluntary departure or retirement;
- The expiration of an employment grant or contract.
The employer must notify the USCIS of the termination of foreign workers’ employment
- The employee can leave the United States immediately. Remember, there is no grace period currently in place for any non-immigrant work visa (H, L, E, O, TN) unless the employee has completed the fully authorized term of employment;
- The employee can file for a change of status to visitor visa status (B-2), with proof of intended departure date, verification of support pending departure, and a valid reason for remaining (e.g., packing household goods, etc.). This application for change of status to visitor should occur prior to the expiration of any time period of severance, and is best filed while the employee is still employed. This request to remain in the U.S. as a Visitor can be for up to six (6) months;
- The employee can file to change employers and remain in that visa status. This means, obviously, that the employee must already have an offer of employment from another employer. The same process is in place that obtained the current non-immigrant status for the employee. The employee must also file this change of employer petition while still in lawful status (e.g. during a severance period or while still employed); and
- The employee can enroll in or return to school as an F-1 Visa holder. This means the employee enrolls in a university to seek a degree, typically a higher degree, and seeks to change status to that of a student visa holder (F-1). Obviously, there are serious costs associated with this option, as the employee must pay tuition and related expenses, and typically will not be allowed to work, unless the employee enrolls in a degree program that allows Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Again, this change of status petition must be filed while the employee is still “in status,” as noted above.