Musings on Immigration

Our Globally Recognized Team of Immigration Lawyers Sharing Knowledge and Providing Counsel on Immigration Issues that Affect You, Your Business and Your Family

Securing Immigration Bonds in Atlanta – Tips for Out-of-Town Attorneys

Lately, ICE has been moving many individuals picked up at the southern border to Ocilla, Georgia. This means that individuals with families in other states are now forced to request bond in Atlanta, Georgia.  These families often go to attorneys in their states who then file the bond request in Atlanta.  After watching several out-of-town attorney request bond for their recently arrived clients, I have come up with a list of tips:

1. Get Your Evidence Together

Judges in Atlanta want to see evidence that a client is not a danger to the community and evidence that he/she is not a flight risk.   You cannot file a Motion for Bond with no evidence and expect that a Judge will grant your Motion.  Relevant evidence is a must!


2. Do Not Assume Your Motion for Telephonic Hearing Will Be Granted

We are often called by out-of-town attorneys only one or two days before a bond hearing.  The attorneys are frantic because they have just discovered that their Motions for Telephonic Hearings have been denied.  Judges in Atlanta rarely grant Motions for Telephonic Hearings.   Do not assume your telephonic request will be granted.  Please either make arrangements to be in court the day of your hearing or consult with a local attorney before filing to ensure that someone will be available on your behalf the day of your hearing.


3. Do Not Neglect the Overall Case

According to many of the out-of-town attorneys that I speak with, Judges they practice before will routinely grant bond without any inquiry into the ultimate relief the client will be seeking.  That is not the case in Atlanta.  In considering flight risks, Judges will often look at your client’s ultimate eligibility for relief.  Obviously, you do not have to have your entire case in chief ready to go on the day of the bond, but you must have conducted some analysis of the case and should be prepared to handle a Judge’s questions regarding what your client plans to do to fight removal when and if she is released.

4. Passing a Credible Fear Interview Does Not Mean Your Client Will Get Bond

This is the biggest mistake that I see out-of-town attorneys make.  Judges consider individuals who have only recently arrived a heightened flight risk.  In fact, in my experience, the most difficult bonds to obtain in Atlanta are for individuals who have only recently arrived and just passed a creditable fear interview.   

Cinco Maneras para Prepararse para Enfrentar Ser Procesado Ante la Corte de Inmigración si eres Arrestado y eres Indocumentado - Uno Nunca Sabe Cuando le Pueda Suceder a Usted!



Nadie planea o imagina ser arrestado, asi que se necesita estar preparado si se está indocumentado y de pronto se encuentra bajo arresto por manejar sin licencia o por cualquier otra razón. Sabiendo que este es un riesgo grande al subirse a un automóvil, necesita saber que es lo que puede hacer para prepararse si esto llegara a sucederle.  Es muy poco lo que puede hacerse una vez estando detenido en la cárcel o al ser transladado a una prisión, asi que a continuación encontrará las cinco cosas que le sugeriría hacer ahora, que podrían ayudar a su caso ante la Corte de Inmigración en un futuro:

Primero – asegúrese de que usted y los miembros de su familia tengan la información de contacto de un Abogado de Inmigración reputable y de confianza que pueda ser localizado rápidamente –todos los días recibimos llamadas de emergencia y proveemos consultas urgentes porque familiares de una persona detenida deben actuar rápidamente cuando sus familiares son detenidos. No se puede dar el lujo de desperdiciar tiempo buscando a un Abogado en el cuál se pueda confiar. También es muy importante que las personas sean legalmente asesoradas correctamente desde el principio, en cuanto a como, cuando y cuando no pagar una fianza, ó cuando se debe contratar los servicios de un Abogado Criminal ó cuando se debe pagar la fianza inmediatamente. También, he visto demasiadas familias gastar demasiado dinero en diferentes abogados antes de que finalmente encuentren a un buen Abogado con reputacion y conocimientos para asistirles como debe ser.
Segundo – Si usted ha tenido arrestos, cargos o sentencias de cualquier tipo en el pasado, asegúrese de proporcionar toda esta información a su Abogado. El no proporcionar toda esta información a su Abogado, podría perjudicar su caso considerablemente. Si usted no le informa a su Abogado que fue arrestado en el pasado simplemente por que sucedió hace mucho tiempo, o porque usted piensa que no es importante, porque era un cargo menor o porque no tuvo que servir sentencia en la cárcel. Cualquier arresto por cualquier razon es importante. Por favor no tome usted mismo la decisión de no porporcionar esta información. Digale a su Abogado absolutamente todo, para entonces saber que es lo que el gobierno sabe de usted. Es la unica manera de ayudarle apropiadamente.
Tercero  - Mantenga un archivo en casa que contenga todos y cada uno de los documentos, aplicaciones, recibos o cualquier document relacionado con Inmigración. Si usted en algún momento ha enviado aplicaciones a Inmigración o un Abogado le asistió con esto, asegúrese de siempre tener copia de toda la documentación enviada/recibida y trate siempre de usar servicio de rastreo para siempre tener manera de comprobar que usted lo hizo en cualquier momento si fuera necesario. Guarde este archivo personal importante en un lugar seguro donde no pueda extraviarse y asegúrese de que sus familiares sepan de la existencia de este archivo para poder tener acceso a él cuando sea necesario si usted fuera detenido.
Cuarto – una gran mayoría de las aplicaciones ante la Corte de Inmigración, requieren que usted compruebe que usted ha estado físicamente presente en los Estados Unidos por lo menos en los últimos diez años. Para solicitar que le otorguen una fianza, la Corte de Inmigración frecuentemente requiere que se compruebe esto. En resumen, tómese el tiempo para revisar sus documentos y armar un archivo que contenga documentos que puedan probar que usted ha estado en los Estados Unidos  físicamente durante los últimos diez años o más si es posible. No incluya un sólo documento, idealmente usted querrá tener documentos que cubran por lo menos la mayor parte de cada año. Asegúrese de cubrir todos los meses si es posible para no tener periodos de tiempo en los cuales usted no pueda comprobar que estaba aquí y se pueda interpretar como que usted salió del pais aunque solo lo haya hecho brevemente. Estos documentos deberán contener su nombre completo y la fecha, tales como contratos de arrendamiento, pagos de utilidades, recibos de teléfono celular, reportes de impuestos con transcripciones del IRS, Formas W-2, estados de cuenta hipotecarios, estados de cuenta bancarios, pólizas de seguro de auto, de vida, médicos, etc. Podria ser imposible recabar esta información si usted ha tirado a la basura documentos importantes o no ha guardado esta información en un solo lugar a través del tiempo, o si los tiene pero sus familiares no saben donde los tiene guardados. También, asegúrese de siempre guardar documentos médicos de su familia, particularmente los de sus hijos,  ya que estos pueden ser extremadamente importante para su caso en la Corte también. Le reitero, estar preparado puede hacer una gran diferencia.
Finalmente, asegúrese de reportar sus impuestos año con año y que usted acude a un lugar competente y reputable para hacerlo. Referencias de otras personas son siempre una buena manera de encontrar a un buen Contador o preparador de impuestos –nosotros contamos con información de preparadores de impuestos que sabemos hacen su trabajo correctamente en el sentido de que información incluir y la manera apropriada de manejar su información, aunque usted perciba salario en efectivo y no con cheque, o si usted no recibe una Forma W-2, etc. Si usted no tiene un número valido de Seguro Social, por favor asegúrese de obtener un Tax ID Number para usarlo para reportar sus impuestos. Acuda con un experto en impuestos! Tener sus reportes de impuestos en orden de por lo menos los ultimos 10 años es frecuentemente un elemento vital para su caso ante la Corte de Inmigración, usted necesita tener el mejor record posible. Esto puede significar que usted debará enmendar sus impuestos ya hechos y reportar los que le hacen falta. Recuerde, esté preparado!
Estos son los consejos que puedo dar a todos aquellos que viven temerosos de ser arrestados. Usted querrá ponerse a si mismo y a su familia en la mejor posición posible, para usted tener la oportunidad de pelear su caso efectivamente desde el principio. Por favor llámeme al 404-949-8151 o envieme un correo electrónico a dconley@immigration.net para fijar una cita.

Did the definition of Orphan just change?



I had to abandon my car on the side of the road on Tuesday night due to the (2 inches of) snow “storm” so I’m stuck in my house with time on my hands. I’ve read a few blogs over the past couple of days (some from very reputable sources) which state that the definition of orphan has changed. Oh no it hasn’t! 

Everyone who is adopting from a Non-Hague country knows that it is very important that the child they seek to adopt falls under the definition of orphan i.e. that the child was abandoned, deserted, the parents disappeared or there is only one parent who cannot care for the child.  This has not changed.

What has changed is the requirement that both parents see the child prior to the adoption proceeding if they want that child to enter as a United States citizen as opposed to as a lawful permanent resident.  The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 has changed the requirement as follows:

“PREADOPTION VISITATION REQUIREMENT - 16 SEC. 7083. Section 101(b)(1)(F)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1)(F)(i)) is 18 amended by striking ‘‘at least twenty-five years of age, 19 who personally saw and observed the child prior to or during the adoption proceedings;’’ and inserting ‘‘who is at 21 least 25 years of age, at least 1 of whom personally saw and observed the child before or during the adoption proceedings;’’

This means that if only one parent travels overseas and meets the child prior to obtaining an adoption decree or during the adoption proceedings; then the child will receive a Certificate of Citizenship instead of just a green card when he or she comes to the United States.  Good news for adoptive parents who cannot both travel overseas due to work commitments, financial difficulties, (2 inches of) snow storms etc. 

Privacy at the Border – Do We Have Any?


Our right to privacy is under assault. One need only look at evening news casts to see the increased state intrusion of our personal lives. Everyone is aware of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping and massive meta data storage, but most people probably aren’t aware of what happens at our ports of entry each and every day. If you thought that Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is constrained by things like warrants, probable cause, or articulable suspicion you would be wrong. Even if you are aware that CBP has carte blanche to search and confiscate your property, you probably think that it doesn’t really apply to U.S. citizens. You would be wrong.

A recent court case in the Eastern District of New York is a perfect example of why we should be concerned about CBP’s broad power to invade your privacy. I’ll try and keep this as free of legal jargon as possible, but basically a photojournalist (with the help of an army of privacy advocating lawyers) sued the U.S. government over the confiscation of his electronic media at a port of entry. Short version is that he lost the case because the court said he lacked standing for failure to show he was harmed – fancy lawyer talk for “go away, it’s really not that big of a deal…don’t waste our time with this!”

More important than what happened to the photojournalist’s belongings are the CBP policies left undisturbed, policies that should at the very least cause concern for anybody visiting or returning to the United States. The exact text of the CBP directive states:

An Officer may detain electronic devices, or copies of information contained therein, for a brief, reasonable period of time to perform a thorough border search. The search may take place on-site or at an off-site location, and is to be completed as expeditiously as possible. Unless extenuating circumstances exist, the detention of devices ordinarily should not exceed five (5) days.

Put another way, CBP can take your stuff and send you on your way. Even more disturbing is the following directive:

Officers may seize and retain an electronic device, or copies of information from the device, when, based on a review of the electronic device encountered or on other facts and circumstances, they determine there is probable cause to believe that the device, or [a] copy of the contents thereof, contains evidence of or is the fruit of a crime that CBP is authorized to enforce.

Now they not only get to keep your stuff, they can make copies and look for stuff  for which you can be prosecuted. We’re way beyond looking for things that can actually cause harm, like explosives, and on to looking for evidence of thought crime! Yeah, they might be constrained by probable cause, but we all know how low that threshold is, not to mention they can establish that probable cause with what they find from the thorough border search mentioned in the first directive.

Why should we be concerned? Well, anything that CBP finds can be used against you later in a criminal proceeding. This applies to citizens and non-citizens. Even more troubling is the fact that what CBP finds can be used against the non-citizen in removal proceedings. Unlike criminal proceedings, which theoretically have some procedural safeguards for the accused, removal proceedings dispense with even the pretense of such protections. In removal proceedings, evidentiary standards are relaxed and the government’s burden is substantially less when it is trying to remove a non-citizen. How many of us could withstand a reason to believe accusation if the government got to review everything on your laptop, tablet, or phone. Not many!


Five Ways to Prepare for Immigration Court if You’re Undocumented and You Get Arrested – You Never Know When It Might Happen to You!


No one ever plans to get arrested, so you need to be prepared if you are undocumented and find yourself arrested for Driving Without a License or for any other reason.  Knowing that it’s a potential risk every day that you get into your car, you need to know what you can do to prepare for the worst case scenario!  You can do very little once you’re inside a local jail cell or moved to a detention center, so here are the five things I would suggest doing now that will also help your court case in the long run:

First – make sure that you and your family members have the contact information for a reliable and knowledgeable immigration attorney that you can reach quickly – every single day we receive emergency phone calls and do emergency consultations because families must act fast when their loved ones are detained.  You can’t afford to waste time looking for an attorney you can trust.  It’s also important that clients are advised correctly from the beginning as to when/when not to post a local bond, when to hire a criminal attorney or when to pay the local bond right away.  Also, I see far too many families who throw away money in the wrong places before they finally get to a reputable attorney who can actually help them.

Second – If you have ever had any arrests, charges or convictions at any time EVER, please make sure that you give your attorney ALL of this information.  It can really hurt your case if you fail to tell your attorney your complete criminal history because an arrest happened a long time ago and you thought it didn’t matter or because it was a misdemeanor and you didn’t serve jail time.  They ALWAYS matter.  Please don’t make this decision yourself.  Tell your attorney everything, so we know what the government knows.  That is the only way we can truly help! 

Third – keep a folder at home of every single immigration document, application, receipt, or anything else you might have.  If you ever mail anything to immigration on your own before hiring an attorney, make sure that you keep a copy of what you submit, and try to send everything using a tracking number, so you can prove it if you are ever required.  This also means that this folder should be kept in a safe place where it won’t get lost, and you should make sure that your family members know the whereabouts of this folder, so they can get to it easily if you are detained.

Fourth – the vast majority of the applications in immigration court require you to show that you have been present in the United States for at least the last ten years.  Filing for a bond before the immigration court often times also has this requirement.  So, take some time to start going through all of the documents in your home and make a file that helps to prove your presence for at least the last ten years, if not longer.  I don’t mean just one document – ideally, you will want to have documents that cover at least every couple of months of each year.  You want to have as few gaps in time as possible, especially if you ever left the U.S. briefly and returned.  These documents should include anything that has your name and a date – lease agreements, utility bills, cell phone, tax returns with transcripts from the IRS, W-2s, mortgage statements, insurance policies, bank records, etc.  These documents can be impossible to obtain if you have thrown them away, or if you are detained and no one else knows their whereabouts.  Also, be sure to hold onto copies of all medical records for your family members, particularly your children, as those may become very important in court as well.  Again, being prepared can really make a difference!

Finally, make sure that you are filing your tax returns and that you have a reliable tax preparer to help you.  Referrals are often the best way to find a good tax preparer – we have contact information for tax preparers that we know will prepare them correctly in terms of your filing status, claiming appropriate income even if it was cash and you didn’t receive a W-2, etc.  If you do not have a valid Social Security Number, be sure to apply for a Tax ID Number so that you can still file taxes.  Speak with your tax expert about this!  Having tax returns for at least the last ten years is often times another vital element of your immigration court case, and you want to have the best record possible.  So, this may also mean going back and filing taxes for any years missed.  Remember – be prepared!

These are my tips for those who live in fear every day of being stopped and detained.  You need to put yourself and your families in the best position possible, so you can effectively fight your case from the beginning.  Please call me at 404.949.8151, or email me at DConley@immigration.net to schedule an appointment. 

USCIS Expands Worksite Inspection Program to L-1 Employers

The Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate created and implemented the Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program in July 2009 as part of its ongoing enhancement to the integrity of the immigration benefit process. Under the Verification Program, Inspectors conduct unannounced pre- and post-adjudication site visits to verify information contained in certain visa petitions. 
Recently, there has been increasing talk about USCIS Inspectors performing unannounced workplace visits to L-1 employer worksites. It is expected that unannounced workplace visits will increase in number and frequency this year.
Inspectors may perform any of the following tasks at worksite visits:
  • Verify the information submitted with the petition, including supporting documentation submitted by the petitioner, based on a checklist prepared by USCIS
  • Verify the existence of a petitioning entity
  • Take digital photographs
  • Review documents
  • Speak with organizational representatives to confirm the beneficiary's work location, employment workspace, hours, salary and duties
When an Inspector appears unannounced, the receptionist should notify the designated company representative and lead him to an unoccupied conference room. The designated company representative should request for identification and a business card. Before providing any information or answering any questions, the designated company representative should notify the Inspector that his/her credentials will be verified and that the company requests counsel to be present during the investigation. Once the Employer has verified the credentials, the Employer should immediately call its attorney. Often if an attorney cannot attend in person, he or she can attend over the phone, or ask the Inspector to reschedule the visit.
USCIS provides Employers and their representatives of record (if any) an opportunity to review and address the information before denying or revoking an approved petition based on information obtained during a site inspection. However, as is always the case when dealing with USCIS, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 
Employers should speak to their attorney to make sure that your L-1 worksite is in compliance before receiving a workplace visit. Employers that have not already done so should take the time to develop a response plan in the event of a U.S. government agency audit or investigation Additionally, Employers should contact their attorney as soon as they are notified that an inspector will be or is conducting a site visit.
Kuck Immigration Partners has assisted companies with prior onsite investigations, and can assist companies with planning for, and responding to, sudden inspections made under the Verification Program. For a list of things that you should consider as proactive measures, please contact Charles Kuck directly at ckuck@immigration.net.

7 Ways to Prepare for Your I-601A Provisional Waiver (While the I-130 is Still Pending)

One of the questions I'm most often asked by clients these days is, "What's going on with my I-130?" Up until about a month or two ago, I-130's (even those filed by US citizen spouses) were taking a year, or sometimes longer, for USCIS to process. Things are finally moving a little quicker now but we're still looking at 7-8 months processing time.

The next question I'm inevitably asked is usually, "What will happen after the I-130 is approved?" Most, but not all, of my I-130 clients will be filing a Form I-601A Provisional Waiver and then Consular Processing. 

It's important to know that USCIS focuses on certain types of hardship to the qualifying relative (US citizen spouse or parent) when considering whether a Form I-601A Provisional Waiver meets the extreme hardship requirement. The main types of hardship are financial, emotional, psychological, medical and physical. While the main focus is on direct hardship to the qualifying relative, we also discuss hardship to the qualifying relative as it relates to other family members such as parents or children.  

If you will be filing a Form I-601A Provisional Waiver after your I-130 is approved, there are a few things that you can do now to prepare for the waiver process.  
1. Make sure your taxes are filed correctly. Consult a qualified and informed tax professional. Married couples should not be filing as Single or Head of Household. Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separately are both fine.  
2. Start saving joint documents such as leases, utility bills, insurance policies, credit card bills and checking account statements. If you and your spouse do not have many joint documents, start adding one another to accounts now. 
3. Start saving money for the psychological hardship evaluation that the qualifying relative will need to have performed by a mental health professional. It is time consuming, and unfortunately not cheap, but is the psychological hardship evaluation is an invaluable part of the overall waiver. 
4. Gather medical records and doctor’s letters to document past and present medical conditions of you, the qualifying relative and your children. 
5. Make a list of friends and family members who you think might be willing to submit a hardship affidavit on your behalf.
6. If children are involved, start gathering school records such as progress reports, award certificates and report cards. 
7. Start writing your own hardship affidavit and ask the qualifying relative to start writing his or hers. Details are important. The affidavits should be heartfelt and emotional. Share special moments and memories that might allow the adjudicating officer to connect with you and your situation. Do not underestimate the power of honesty and humility! This is your opportunity to plead your case.

Remember that the quality of the waiver produced on your behalf depends largely on the quality of information you provide to your legal professional. Waiver preparation can be stressful and overwhelming but hopefully these few tips will help make the process a little easier for everyone involved. 


By Amy Forrest, Senior Waiver Paralegal

MUST READ for Those Processing a Provisional Wavier Application - USCIS Issues Memorandum on Guidance for Provisional Waivers



On March 4, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services implemented a new Provisional Waiver process for those individuals who are married to a United States citizen, or who have a USC parent or child, but the applicant is not legally eligible to file for a green card in the U.S. because they entered the country without inspection.  This new process allows applicants to file the waiver application in the United States and await a decision before having to depart the U.S. for a consular interview. 
Until now, if there was a reason to believe an individual that an applicant may be subject to grounds of inadmissibility related to any criminal issues at the time of their interview, the officer would determine they are automatically ineligible for the provisional unlawful presence waiver.  Today, USCIS issued a Memorandum providing field guidance that is mandatory for all USCIS officials.  The Field Guidance states the following key points that MUST be followed:
1.     USCIS officers should review all evidence in the record, including that which is submitted by the applicant or attorney of record.
2.     If the evidence shows the applicant falls within the “petty offense” or “youthful offender” exception to inadmissibility, or is not a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT), the officer shall NOT find the applicant inadmissible at the interview solely on the basis of the criminal offense.
3.     The officer MUST continue processing the application to determine whether the other requirements are met for the provisional waiver, including a favorable exercise of discretion.
This new mandatory policy is extremely important and can be very helpful for those processing provisional waivers with a criminal history.  It is imperative that you speak with an experienced immigration attorney before starting or continuing this process, so that you can be sure any criminal issues are properly addressed with USCIS when submitting the provisional waiver.  
Please contact me at 404.949.8151, or Dconley@immigration.net with any questions.   
-        Danielle M. Conley
###

BYE BYE BIEBER?

According to recent reports, Justin Bieber faces charges of DUI, drag-racing, and resisting arrest stemming from an encounter with police in Miami, Florida last night that resulted in his arrest.  The arrest reportedly took place after a day of partying that included Bieber’s admitted consumption of alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs.   Just last week, Bieber was involved in an alleged egging incident that resulted in police executing a warrant on Bieber’s home that uncovered evidence of widespread drug use.  Charges have not yet been brought in that case.
While people realize that recent events could affect Bieber’s physical freedom if he is convicted of a crime, and his overall popularity, many people (including possibly Bieber himself) overlook the affect these events could have on Bieber’s ability to live in or travel to the United States.
Though I have no personal knowledge of Bieber’s immigration status, I understand from reports that he is in the United States on an “O” visa.  The “O” is a visa designated for people who have extraordinary ability in arts, science, athletics, or business which can be demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.  Presumably Bieber is in the United States based on his extraordinary ability in the arts.  In a nutshell this means is that Bieber is not a lawful permanent resident or citizen of the United States.  Instead he is here on a visa that allows him to work and live in this country for a set time, essentially as a guest.  As with any guest, Bieber is not “entitled” to live and work in the United States but does so at the discretion of the government.
Given Bieber’s guest status in the United States, he potentially faces several immigration problems that could result in his being forced to depart from and never return to the United States:
1)      The government has wide discretion to revoke or deny Bieber’s visa, regardless of whether he is ultimately convicted of any crimes.  In this case, a government official could take one look at Bieber’s documented drug use, recent arrest record and reports and simply determine that as a matter of discretion, they are not going to allow him entry into the U.S.  This could happen any time he tries to reenter the U.S. after a trip, or when he applies to renew his visa.
2)     Bieber could conceivably be removed from the U.S. as a person who is a drug addict or abuser if the government chooses to bring a case against him.  Drug abuse or addiction is a ground of deportation for a person in the U.S. with a visa or other type of status.  I have no personal knowledge of Bieber’s drug use, but according to reports, his use of drugs has been documented.   This particular issue could get very interesting if he enters rehab as his friends are purportedly trying to get him to do, as this might be seen as a sign of concession that he in fact is a drug addict.
3)     If Bieber is ultimately convicted of a crime in the egging incident, that may open the door to an entire other ground of deportation.
Bieber better beware (try saying that three times fast) because his O visa status in the U.S. has him on unsettled ground and at risk of removal.  The next few months should be very interesting.  Given Bieber’s apparent downward spiral, I’m going to hedge my bets and start working on the lyrics to a son titled “Bye Bye Bieber.”  I think Selena Gomez might be interested in purchasing the rights. 

Help! I got a Notice of Intent to Deny my orphan visa. Now what?

It’s every adoptive parent’s nightmare.  They have obtained legal custody of a much longed for baby; filed the immigration work and are eagerly awaiting their little one’s arrival only to receive a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) on their I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.

Here are some things you should consider if you have received a NOID.

  1. USCIS uses boiler plate NOIDs. Even if the NOID you received is pages long, chances are, it has been copied and pasted by the adjudicating officer from another NOID that the officer previously issued. Most NOIDs comprise of legal jargon that has nothing to do with your case. Even if the NOID seems insurmountable, there is a good chance that you can overcome the NOID and still have your child’s visa approved.
  2. Read the NOID carefully and determine what exactly it is that USCIS is looking for. In my experience, USCIS almost always wants proof that the child is really an orphan.
  3.  Do not respond to the NOID by re-submitting the documents that were filed with your I-600. If they didn’t work the first time, they won’t work when responding to a NOID either. You’ll need new evidence to support your case   
  4. If you cannot supply USCIS with the evidence it is requiring by the deadline established by the NOID, consider withdrawing the I-600 and re-filing when you have more evidence.
  5. HIRE A LAWYER!! A lawyer who routinely handles orphan cases from the country you wish to adopt from will know exactly what to do.  He or she will review the original petition to see if it is approvable and recommend a course of action to obtain a visa for your child.  You should contact a lawyer as soon as you receive the NOID so he or she has time to help you respond to USCIS. If the lawyer doesn’t know what to do at the time of the initial consultation- find another lawyer!
  6. If you responded to the NOID and your orphan visa was denied, all is not lost. Contact a lawyer to see what can be done.  I have seen lots of children ultimately come to the United States on orphan visas after their initial orphan visa was denied.
  7. Remember that receiving a NOID (or even a denial) is a problem BUT it is rarely a problem that cannot be solved. I find that most cases are resolved favorably if handled correctly. 








FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IMMIGRATION BONDS

Our office routinely deals with clients who are detained by immigration and hire us to help obtain a bond so they can be released from immigration custody.  Most clients are hyper-focused on actually getting a bond set, but our job as experienced attorneys is to make sure that clients understand five important facts about immigration bonds so that they can be fully prepared for the process.
1.     The immigration bond is separate and apart from any criminal bond paid in relation to an arrest by the police.  Do not confuse a bond paid at a jail prior to a person being passed to immigration custody.  In most cases, a person is first arrested by the police for an offense such as no license.  Many times an immigration hold is placed on that person.  This means that once the criminal bond is paid, immigration often comes and takes the person from police custody to immigration custody where another bond amount will hopefully be set.  One of the main differences between a criminal and immigration bond is that an immigration bond must be paid in full, whereas generally ten percent of a criminal bond must be posted.  The criminal bond is not put towards the immigration bond.
2.     The immigration bond must be posted by a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).  If an undocumented family member is paying a bond, they must do so through a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.  This should be a person that you deeply trust and are in constant contact with because the bond will only be returned to the person who posts the bond.  If you give the person posting the bond the money to post the bond, the only way you will get the money back will be through the individual who actually posts the bond.
3.     The immigration bond must be paid with a cashier’s check or money order, not cash or check.  Do not arrive at the immigration office with cash thinking that immigration will accept it.  They will send you out to buy a money order or get a cashier’s check.  Save time and effort by going to the bond office prepared.
4.     Plan on spending several hours at immigration while posting the bond.  The office that accepts immigration bonds is notoriously slow.  Bring a good book when you go to post the bond and try to remain patient.  However, if you are waiting more than a few hours, ask to speak to a supervisor, especially if an officer tells you that you must return the next day.  A supervisor may be able to help you resolve any issues.
5.     Bond money will not be returned until several months after a case is completed in immigration court.  Keep in mind that a case can be stuck in court for several years.  Do not plan on having access to the bond money while your case is pending.  If your case is completed and more than four months have passed, contact your attorney to investigate why the bond money has not been returned.
Obtaining an immigration bond is a difficult process that requires the assistance of an experienced attorney.  Do not trust just any attorney to handle your bond matter, it is important that you hire an attorney dedicated to immigration law who knows the details of the laws and processes and can help you understand a prepare for the process.