Congress created the U non-immigrant in 2000 to protect non-citizen victims of crime, regardless of their immigration status. The requirements for granting a U visa encourages them to cooperate with law enforcement officials. Regrettably, there is a limit of 10,000 U visas available per fiscal year.
USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, recently published statistics on it U Visa programs. These statistic crystalizes the enormous delays in resolving these cases and the increasing back log.
These statistics show that in the year 2009, the USCIS received a total of 10,937 petitions and approved 8,663, Statistically 79% was approved. In the year 2017, they received 61,686 and approved 17, 726. A 28.7 % approval rate. Along with this decrease in approval rates, there are currently 208, 813 pending cases as of the end of the 2nd Quarter of 2018. Extrapolating from the most recent yearly approval numbers (2017) of 17,726, it appears that it would take some 11 to 12 years for the USCIS to catch up on its work load. It’s no wonder that its taking years for U visa applicants to obtain their first work permit
QUALIFYING CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES
Abusive Sexual Contact
Female Genital Mutilation
Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
Obstruction of Justice
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 and other related crimes.
While an applicant is approved for a U visa and is in line for a visa, s/he is eligible to apply for a work permit. Under the new guidance, USCIS advises that applicants submit two Applications for Employment Authorization (I-765) with any U visa petition. The first application would give the U visa petitioner work authorization for two years under the deferred action status. The second application would give work authorization to the U visa petitioner for the duration of the U visa, once a U visa becomes available.
A work permit application based on an application for U-Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-918) cannot be approved until the application has been reviewed and the individual has been granted deferred action. This has been taking roughly 3.5 years recently.
According to the USCIS, from the date of receipt of the U visa application, it can take about 46 months to process the case.
It’s important to appreciate that this type of application is different from other work permit applications. This is so, because of the U Visa cap of 10,000 per fiscal year, has created a large back log as noted above. But even if there is not a visa available for a case to be approved, USCIS can grant that person “deferred action” which is similar to permission to remain in the United States. It also makes that person eligible for a work permit. It is at this juncture, that a work permit application will be approved. A work permit application should be submitted simultaneously with the original I-918 application.
The U visa category is truly a life save for undocumented aliens that were victims of a crime and cooperated with the authorities to imprison the perpetrator(s), albeit the process takes a long time.
A most important part of the U visa program is that those granted the U visa may be eligible to apply for a Green Card (adjustment of status/permanent residence) if you meet certain requirements, including:
You have been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least three years while in U nonimmigrant status, and
You have not unreasonably refused to provide assistance to law enforcement since you received your U visa.
NOTE CAREFULLY: Any qualifying family member who does not have a derivative U visa when the principal U non-immigrant receives a Green Card is no longer eligible for a derivative U visa, but may still be eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence.
Source: APSAN LAW OFFICES
Juan Rodriguez (name changed for privacy) entered the U.S. in 2013 from Guatemala. He applied for protection though Political Asylum. After more than 3 years of fighting in Immigration Court, the Judge denied his application and ordered him deported to Guatemala. But as life would have it, by the end of his case he was engaged and soon married an American citizen. Shortly after he became the father of twin boys,
Believing that since he married a U.S. citizen, he went to a lawyer and discovered, to his dismay, that since he entered illegally and was actually ordered deported , he cannot be granted legal residency in the U.S. unless he leaves and remains out of the country for 10 years. A nightmare of a thought. At that time there was no solution for this family.
Everything changed in 2016, when President Obama expanded the 601A waiver law.
Now undocumented immigratns in removal(deportation) proceedings are allowed to participate in this new provisional unlawful presence waiver process if their removal proceedings are administratively closed and have not been re-calendared at the time of filing the Form I-601A. Aliens whose removal proceedings are terminated or dismissed are covered in the general population of aliens who are eligible to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver. Note that if you failed to appear and received an in absentia order of removal, then you will need to make a motion to reopen your case, before you can apply for the 601A waiver.
However, undocumented immigrants, who have already been ordered deported or removed. May also qualify. However in these cases the immigrant needs to apply for 2 different waivers, one for being ordered deported (I-212) and the other for having remained in the U.S. illegally. (I-601A)
Under the final expansion of the I-601A Waiver executive order, those subject to final orders of removal, deportation, or exclusion may now apply for the provisional waiver (601A) , provided, of course, that certain eligibility requirements are met..
What is a I-212 Waiver?
The I-212 is the application that requests permission to reapply for admission into the US after Deportation or Removal. If the person is in the U,S, he is applying for a conditional approval of the application. The person still must the depart the US in order for the approved I-212 to take effect. This waiver is specifically used to permit a person to return to the U.S. after a deportation or removal.
Understand that when you are deported the following punishment applies :
10 years from the date of departure or removal, if only removed once
20 years from the date of departure or removal, if removed two or more times
Forever, if convicted of an aggravated felony.
So, once a person departs the US, the deportation or removal order goes into effect. If a person leaves the U.S. without an approved I-212 waiver, he or she will not be allowed to return to the U.S. for the specified time.
How does the I-601A waiver interact with the 212 waiver?
After the I-212 waiver is approved, the individual still needs to get an I-601A waiver approved to avoid the 10 year punishment for his overstay.
Once the immigrant can establish extreme hardship to a USC/LPR spouse or parent, an approved I-601A waiver would remove the 3 or 10-year unlawful presence bar. This conditional approval removes a major part of the pressure in returning to the home country for the immigration interview.
Simply stated, the I-212 speak to the removal (deportation) order and the I-601A speaks to the unlawful presence bar. These two waivers remove major impediments that would normally prevent a person from immigrating for at least 10 years.
It is important to remember that even if you were ordered deported and never left you have a way to resolve the problem.
In Absentia Deportation/ Removal Orders
If the person failed to show up at an immigration court hearing, then there is another significant problem. Under the current law, anyone who fails to appear for any court date is deported in absentia. What this means is that , the person must remain outside the U..S. for a period of 5 years BEFORE he can make use of the 601A waiver. This problem requires additional legal work.
FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: 601WaiverLawyers.com
Sanctuary city is a name given to a city in the United States that follows certain police procedures that shelters illegal immigrants. These procedures can be by law (de jure) or they can be by action (de facto). The term most commonly is used for cities that do not permit municipal funds or resources to be applied in furtherance of enforcement of federal immigration laws. These cities normally do not permit police or municipal employees to inquire about one's immigration status. The designation of Sanctuary City” has no legal meaning.
However, anti-immigrant groups are constantly rallying around Sanctuary Cities, claiming that they breed a host of problems caused by undocumented immigrants. Donald Trump, spearheads this anti-immigrant sentiments and Attorney General Jeff Sessions supports it. Donald Trump signed the executive order that proclaimed that cities and states would only be eligible for certain grants from the Department of Justice if they obeyed federal immigration laws.
On Wednesday, August8, 2017, the 9th Circuit ruled against a provision of the executive order that limited funding to jurisdictions that don’t collaborate with federal immigration enforcement. This executive order was aimed directly at sanctuary cities.
The Court ruled that President Donald Trump’s executive order curbing federal funding to “sanctuary cities” was unconstitutional.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that federal funding could be suppressed through congressional authorization. The appeals court also noticed that the U.S. District Court went too far by obstructing the policy nationwide, and sent back the case for “reconsideration and further findings.”
“We conclude that, under the principle of Separation of Powers and in consideration of the Spending Clause, which vests exclusive power to Congress to impose conditions on federal grants, the Executive Branch may not refuse to disperse the federal grants in question without congressional authorization,” a three-member panel of the 9th Circuit held in its 2-to-1 ruling.
A current list of Sanctuary Cities obtained from The Center for Immigration Studies dated July 27, 2017 follows:
Sanctuary Cities List
California Colorado Illinois Massachusetts New Mexico Oregon Vermont
Cities and Counties
Alameda County Berkley Contra Costa County Los Angeles County Los Angeles Monterey County Napa County Oakland Riverside County Sacramento County San Bernardino County San Diego County
San Francisco San Francisco County San Mateo County Santa Ana Santa Clara County Santa Cruz County Sonoma County Watsonville
Arapahoe County Aurora Boulder County Denver Denver County Garfield County Grand County Jefferson County Larimer County Mesa County Pitkin County Pueblo County Routt County San Miguel County Weld County
East Haven Hartford
Alachua County Clay County
Clayton County DeKalb County
Benton County Cass County Franklin County Fremont County Greene County Ida County Iowa City Iowa City, Johnson County Jefferson County Marion County Monona County Montgomery County Pottawattamie County Sioux County
Chicago Cook County
Butler County Harvey County
Amherst Boston Cambridge Concord Lawrence Newton Northhampton Somerville
Baltimore Montgomery County Prince George's County
Hall County Sarpy County
Middlesex County Newark Ocean County Union County
Bernalillo County New Mexico County Jails San Miguel
Albany Franklin County Ithaca Nassau County New York City Omondaga County St. Lawrence County Wayne County
Baker County Clackamas County Clatsop County Coos County Crook County Curry County Deschutes County Douglas County Gilliam County Grant County Hood River County Jackson County Jefferson County Josephine County Lane Countyn Lincoln County Linn County Malheur County Marion County Marlon County Multnomah County Polk County Sherman County Springfield Tillamok County Umatilla County Union County Wallowa County Wasco County Washington County Wheeler County Yamhill County
Bradford County Bucks County Butler County Chester County Clarion County Delaware County Eerie County Franklin County Lebanon County Lehigh County Lycoming County Montgomery County Montour County Perry County Philadelphia Pike County Westmoreland County
Providence, Rhode Island Rhode Island Department of Corrections
Arlington County Chesterfield County Fairfax County
Burlington Montpelier Winooski
Chelan County Clallam County Clark County Cowlitz County Franklin County Jefferson County King County Kitsap County Pierce County San Juan County Skagit County Snohomish County Spokane County Seattle Thurston County Walla Walla County Wallowa County Whatcom County Yakima County
It came as a surprise to Joseph Monetti (name changed for privacy) when he found out that his wife of 10 years and mother of three of his children, would not be granted legal status in the United States because she is being punished for a 20 year period. How is that possible?
As it turns out, his wife "Sandra Monetti", entered the U.S. when she was 19 years old by crossing the Rio Grande in Mexico. This was in the year 2004. She entered without much problem. Soon found a job and began working and sending money to her family living in Ecuador. Two years later she receive an urgent telegram from he father, telling her that her mother was seriously ill. As most children would do, she hurried back to Ecuador, to be with her mother. For several months, her mother suffered; her daughter and family by her side. As expected she passed on. Sandra decided to return to the U.S., and managed to cross the border a second time without incident. Years later she met Mr. Monetti at a local church. They fell in love, married and over the course of many years had three children. But one thing bothered Mr. Monetti very much. His wife was illegal in the United States and all over the news he heard that illegal aliens were getting deported. Although worried, he was sure that since he is a U.S. citizen, there should be a way to fix his wife’s immigration problem. Well, this turned out not to be the case. After meeting with three different immigration lawyers, each told him the same thing. That his wife was permanently barred form reentering the U.S. because she entered illegally two times, the second after living here for more than one year.
Our reporter heard of Mr. Monetti’s plight and decided to conduct our own research. We contacted Moses Apsan, an immigration attorney known as an expert on immigration waivers. More specifically he has obtained hundreds of I-601A waivers for people who crossed the border illegally and married a U.S. citizen. We posed Mr. Monetti’s facts to Mr. Apsan. To our great disappointment, we found out that what Mr. Monetti was told by his immigration lawyers was completely true.
Mr. Apsan explained that certain individuals cannot acquire an I-601A waiver, that would normally allow a person who entered illegally to return to their country and obtain legal residency, because of information in their immigration records which prevent a waiver from being applied to their case. A person isn't always eligible for a waiver under the certain situations. In Sandra’s case it was because she was illegally present within the US for more than one year after April 1, 1997 accompanied by a departure from the U.S. and a return without a proper inspection.
Mr. Apsan also explained that the Permanent Bar is not really permanent, but it does require that the intending immigrant remain outside of the United States for at least 10 years before she can apply for a waiver for her illegal acts.
Not an easy lesson to be learned. Mr. Apsan said that the only hope for this couple is if ICE decides to try and deport Sandra. If this happens Sandra could apply for what is called Cancellation of Removal. She would qualify for this defense in deportation, if she has been here more that 10 years, has been a person of good moral character and if it can be established in court, that her U.S. citizens husband and children would suffer extremely if Sandra were deported and could not return for 10 years. Mr. Apsan went further and said that should this happened, Sandra has an excellent chance at success, and if she wins her case, she will be granted lawful permanent status (a Green Card).
This investigation showed us how difficult the immigration laws have become and how difficult it is for many good hard working American families to resolve their immigration problems. Perhaps someday in the future Congress will see its way to approving comprehensive immigration reform, that would take 11 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and allow them to become a law abiding members of our American society.
Helena Santos entered the U.S. though the Mexican border in 2005. Years later she married an American citizen. They now have three children together. Helena’s husband took her to an immigration lawyer in order make her legal in the United States. To his surprise, he was told that because she entered the U.S. without a proper inspection, she could not receive her legal status in the U.S. She would have to go home to her country of birth, Brazil for the interview. As further complication, the lawyer informed the husband that his wife would not be able to return to the U.S. unless she remained out for 10 years. Devastated, the couple continued their search for an immigration attorney that could help them. They finally found one such attorney who explained to them that there is a special waiver called a 601A waiver, that would allow the wife to leave the U.S. for an interview and return a few weeks later with legal papers.
According to Moses Apsan, Esq., past president for the Federal Bar Association for the New Jersey chapter, practicing in the field of U.S. immigration laws for the past 35 years, “there is a waiver called a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver (601A) that has helped thousands of families since it was created in March 4, 2013.” As Attorney Apsan explains, “You can get legal status if you entered Illegally and married a U.S. Citizen or a Green Card Holder or you are the son or daughter of a lawful permanent resident, even, in some cases, if you were ordered deported.”
Since 1997, the immigration laws became very strict, requiring spouses and children of U.S. citizens and legal residents who entered the U.S. illegaly, to journey abroad and have an interview at the U.S. consulate, before they are permitted to return to the U.S. Prior to returning, they would request from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) a 601 waiver of inadmissibility. Without a grant of of this waiver, the applicant would not be allowed return to the U.S. for a period of no less than three years. In most cases they are barred for 10 years. Even though they were entitled to apply for the waiver, they had to wait out of the U.S. until the waiver was granted, separating families for months and at times, years.
In March of 2013, a new provisional illegal presence waiver (I-601A) was approved by executive order. The primary difference between the old 601 waiver and the new 601A waiver is that the application can be made while the undocumented immigrant remains in the U.S.
The waiver procedure now permits eligible people to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver while they remain in the U.S. and before they travel for immigrant visa interview overseas.
According to Moses Apsan, “once the waiver is approved and an interview is scheduled, you can be on your way back to the U.S. in as little as 3 weeks. Approximately 30 days later they arrive, the Green Card (legal residency status document), is received in the mail. The nightmare of being separated, is no longer a threat.”