This past Monday, Multinational company, TelexFree, filed for bankruptcy protection in a federal court in Nevada. The next day FBI and Homeland Security agents raided the company’s offices in Marlborough, Massachusetts.
On Thursday, the Securities and Exchange Commission disclosed it has filed charges against the Marlborough-based telecommunications and multi-level marketing firm TelexFREE.
The commission's pronouncement came two days after the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office filed its own complaint against the company , which is confronting charges of being a billion-dollar, international pyramid scheme, and federal investigators raided its Cedar Hill Street offices.
So far the SEC has identified roughly $39 million in assets in public records – just a minor piece of a large pie that estimates $300 million the company is alleged to have brought in since November 2012. During the agents’ search of the offices, a deputy sheriff stopped chief financial officer Joseph H. Craft as he sought to leave. He was carrying a bag and a computer. He told the deputy he was merely a consultant, helping TelexFree plan its bankruptcy case. When the Telex CEO was apprehended he had a bag with over $37,000,000 in cashiers checks. There must be more money to be located.
If the SEC's case against TelexFREE is fruitful in court, the commission could ultimately set up a method with which to repay investors who have lost money in the Ponzi scheme. But at this point, the commission has no procedure by which defrauded customers are able to file claims.
However, since TlexFREE filed for bankruptcy protection, the Bankruptcy Code does contain a specific manner for creditors of TelexFREE (the debtor) to file a claim for their share of the money located.
The Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Process
A Chapter 11 case begins with the filing of a petition in bankruptcy court. After filing the Debtor Continues running the Business Operations.
In most Chapter 11 cases, a trustee is not appointed. In its place, the debtor continues to manage its business in the ordinary course as the “debtor in possession” (or “DIP”). In some cases, the bankruptcy court will appoint a trustee to take over operations from the debtor if it discoveries sufficient cause. Sufficient cause for appointing a trustee includes fraud, dishonesty, incompetence, and gross mismanagement of the debtor’s affairs.
In the case of TelexFREE, there is little doubt that a Trustee will be appointed to run the day to day operation of the debtor, TelexFREE.
While some debtor ordinarily continues in business after it files Chapter 11, it loses control over major decisions. The bankruptcy court takes over. Including other things, the bankruptcy court must approve:
1. any sale of assets, such as property or real property (except for items such as inventory sold by a retail debtor in the ordinary course of business)
2. entering into or breaking a lease of real or personal property
3. mortgage or other secured financing arrangements that allow the debtor to borrow money after the case is filed
4. shutting down or expanding business operations
5. entering into or modifying union, vendor, licensing, and other contracts and agreements, and
6. the retention of, and payment of fees and expenses to, attorneys and other professionals.
Ordinarily, the debtor has the exclusive right for four months after it files Chapter 11 to propose a reorganization plan. Upon a showing of good cause, the court can extend the debtor’s “exclusivity period” to file a Chapter 11 plan to up 18 months after the petition date. The court also can shorten the exclusivity period depending on the circumstances.
A Chapter 11 plan allows a debtor to reorganize, or in other words, restructure, its financial affairs. A Chapter 11 plan is, in effect, a contract between the debtor and its creditors as to how it will operate and pay its obligations in the future.
Approval of a proposed plan is referred to as “confirmation.
File the Proof of Claim ASAP - also note, "Please file proof(s) of claim, if any, via US Mail or other hand delivery system. Facsimile and other electronic delivery methods are not acceptable. You must file an originally executed proof of claim. If you would like a copy of your claim returned to you as proof of receipt, please enclose an additional copy and a self-addressed postage-paid envelope."
United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Nevada
Foley Federal Building
300 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89101
T: (702) 527-7000
Case Numbers: 14-12524, 14-12525, 14-12524
Any questions about this case call the U.S. Trustee:
United States Trustee
300 Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89101
You can get a sample of a Proof of Claim by going to http://www.wiwb.uscourts.gov/fillable_forms/ProofofClaim_B10.pdf..
YOU DO NOT NEED TO HIRE A LAWYER TO DO FILE YOUR CLAIM.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATION TO PROVE TELLEXFREE DEFRAUDED YOU.
Also I recommend everyone to file a Complaint for Fraud with the Bankruptcy Court:
Office of the United States Trustee
Special Investigations Unit
300 Las Vegas Blvd. South,
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
Upon receipt, your complaint will be reviewed promptly. If the information furnished establishes a reasonable belief that a criminal violation has occurred, the matter will be referred to the United States Attorney. If the United States Attorney deems the matter to hold prosecutorial merit, it will be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation. A clearly written statement containing copies of any available documentation will expedite this process.
Submit the following information:
A LAST WORD
Most investors in Bernie Madoff's classic Ponzi scheme originally expected they had lost it all. But a new distribution announced Tuesday by court-appointed trustee Irving Picard brings the complete amount already returned to investors to over $5 billion. In total, Picard and his team have recouped about $9.3 billion.
So , don’t just give up. File your Proof of Claim as soon as you can and write a complaint to the U.S> Trustee as I explained about. If you do these two things, I am sure everyone will receive some money back. Best of Luc!
The multinational company, TelexFREE, recently shut down in Brazil is being investigated by the Secretary of the State in Massachusetts, triggered by TelexFree’s filing for federal bankruptcy protection. Securities regulators in Massachusetts accused TelexFree of a $90 million fraud in Massachusetts, and $1 billion around the world.
According to Brazil's Ministry of Justice and the Federal Public Ministry, Telexfree’s Brazilian operations has been labeled as one of the largest financial frauds in the history of Brazil. The company is currently under investigation by Brazilian authorities, where the Court to froze the company's and its owners' assets and has suspended of its operations in Brazil.
Security regulators have now accused the company, which purports to sell Internet telephone services, of enticing investors from immigrant communities, who in some cases have invested their life savings, into the scheme.
Federal agents from the FBI and Homeland Security acting on a search warrant raided the TelexFree office on Tuesday.
It appears that the filing for federal bankruptcy protection that sparked federal authorities to action.
TelexFree filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy with the same goals as other companies that file for bankruptcy; to reorganizing its' business in order that it may generate sufficient money to pay its creditors, over a period of time, a reduced amount of debt. A Chapter 11 debtor generally remains in possession and control of his property throughout the bankruptcy. In the end the debtor expects to obtain a discharge from all debt in excess of an amount it can manage. This is normally obtained by the confirmation of a plan of reorganization that explains which creditors will get paid, how much they will get paid, and when payments will happen.
This goal will be a practical impossibility for TelexFREE to obtain, if the allegations of the Securities regulators in Massachusetts are established in a court of law. The reason is that no fraudulent debts can be discharged.
The Bankruptcy Code makes some debts “non-dischargeable” if the Category of claims arises from a debtor’s bad acts – namely a debtor’s liability for: (1) debts arising from fraud by the debtor as a fiduciary, embezzlement, or larceny; (2) debts obtained through false pretenses, false representations, or actual fraud; (3) consumer obligations – credit card debts and luxury goods – owed to a single creditor over a certain threshold; and (4) willful and malicious injury caused by debtor to another’s property.
In order for these debts to be declared “non-dischargeable” a creditor must file a complaint to obtain a bankruptcy judge’s determination that a particular debt is nondischargeable. This must be done within the first few months after the filing of the bankruptcy, otherwise, if the creditor fails to timely take action to protect its interests, a discharge awarded to the debtor will also discharge the potentially nondischargeable debt. The likeliness of such a happening in the TelexFREE case is highly unlikely as there has been enormous publicity throughout the world of the alleged misconduct of the debtor.
Over the next few months there will be much litigation on the issue of fraud and non-dischageability of any debt that falls into the categories mentioned above.
Last year, on June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security publicized that some individuals, who arrived in the United States as children and can qualify under specific rules, may apply for President Obama’s version of the “Dream Act” for a two-year period for work authorization and deferred action. Deferred action is a discretionary decision by the government to defer deportation action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. The granting of deferred action does not grant an individual with lawful status. The official name for this program is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Individuals who fail receive a renewal before the expiration of their original DACA period will be out of status and lose work authorization.
The following is the official Homeland Security Statement:*
To help prepare the public for the anticipated process to request a renewal of DACA from USCIS, we have created an outline found below. This outline is subject to change until USCIS announces the details of the final process in late May 2014.
Outline to request renewal of DACA from USCIS:
NOTE: If you received DACA from USCIS, do not file the current version (edition date 6/25/13) of Form I-821D to renew. USCIS will not accept renewal filings until the new version of the form is published in late May 2014. However, if you are among those few individuals who received deferred action for childhood arrivals from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) between June 15, 2012 and August 15, 2012, please read the ICE-Granted DACA Renewal Guidance.
The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), has made available an immigration courts’ 800 Phone Number, which allows anyone to obtain information about their case though its automated system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This system has bee named by EOIR as the Immigration Court Information System.
Step 1 – Find a document has your 8 or nine digit A# on it. It is the number that begins with the letter A, Such as A123 456 789.
Step 2 - Dial 1(800) 898-71080
Step 3 - Press 1 to hear the instructions in English; Press 2 to hear the instructions in Spanish;
Step 4 - The system will ask you to input you’re a#. The number should have 9 digits, but if it only contains 8 digits, just as a 0 to the beginning of the string;
Step 5 – You will be asked to press 1 if your a# was inputted correctly or 2 is you would like to input the number again;
Step 6 - Once you number is inputted correctly, the system will spell out your name;
Step 7 - You will be asked to press 1 to confirm or 2 to input you’re a# again.
Step 8 – Once your name has been confirmed, you will be given there choices (1) the next hearing date (2) Decision Information, (4) Case Appeal information (5) Filing information
A lawyer cannot rely just on this 800 system. We have had clients that come to our immigration office for a consultation, but are unsure if they had an immigration hearing. ((When we investigate further, it is revealed that the individual was stopped at the border and fingerprints taken by the CBC (Customs and Border Patrol))). In these cases we submit the individuals fingerprint to the FBI to discover if there is or is not a record. If there is an arrest record, then the correct A# is stated in the FBI report. At which point we are to obtain the full record though the Freedom of Information Act.
You can follow this link:
Find out More on How the Immigration Court Works.
While Congress languishes on agreement to comprehensive immigration reform, a pro-immigration movement is sweeping the individual states. According to NCSL report for 2013, 184 laws were enacted and 253 resolutions adopted, for a total of 437. This number is significant as it is a 64 percent increase from the resolutions enacted in 2012 and an 18% increase in laws ratified.
In 2013 there was expansion in in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants in Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey and Oregon. This brings a total of 15 states that now offer in-state tuition. California sanctioned the state Supreme Court to admit applicants who are not documented to the practice of law. As well permitting driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, and the prohibition for notaries public from the practice of law by calling themselves immigration consultants.
Driver’s licenses and IDs persistent as a principal issue for states, with a total of 35 laws passed in 21 states. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon and Vermont accorded driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.
Ann Morse, author of the NCSL report opined that “We seem to go through these waves of different kinds of legislation,” The emphasis on driver’s licenses “reflects the changing attitude in America about young immigrants who are here without making the choice to be here.”
In New York, politicians and community leaders are occupied in a concerted effort to ease the immigrants’ difficult condition by permitting the undocumented to legally apply for a driver’s license.
“A driver’s license will provide undocumented immigrants much more employment flexibility,” stated state Sen. José Peralta who, accompanied by Sen. Adriano Espaillat and with the backing of Make the Road New York and other community groups, introduced legislation last October to allow undocumented New Yorkers the right to driver’s licenses.
The federal government seems to be cruising towards a comprehensive immigration reform, sooner than late. Two women in what appears to be diametrically opposed political position are coming together to the rescue. Esther Olavarria, a Democrat, who as a child immigrated from Cuba, functioned as Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s principal immigration lawyer and now holds a position in the White House. Rebecca Tallent, a Republican from Arizona and was Senator John McCain’s chief of staff and worked on immigration reform in 2006, has recently taken the position as policy advisor to Speaker of the House, John A. Boehner..
Well it seems that we are in for a wild political ride as the battle over immigration reform as it takes center stage sometime in 2014.
Source: NCSL Report
Immigration reform has been the perennial Ping-Pong in Congressional politics. Democrats are constantly on the march for comprehensive immigration laws, while ((Republican fear the word comprehensive, which they believe is akin to amnesty)).
But recent news makes it appear as if both parties have seen Ebenezer Scrooge’s Ghost of Christmas Past.
House Republicans have held fast its notion that it will only approve an immigration reform, if and only if, the borders are secured first, have come to terms on to the reality of diminishing membership, due to attrition and its inability to garner Hispanic or other immigrant voters. Scrooge’s fear has found its way to Republican hearts.
In June the Senate passed a Comprehensive Immigration reform, but Republicans in the House have refused to even discuss the bill, notwithstanding the fact that the House would probably approve it, if it were allowed a vote on the floor. The main obstruction is antagonism from the GOP’s rank-and-file to a pathway to citizenship, even if the path would take over 13 or more years, because many conservatives consider it an amnesty.
But it’s all not as gloomy as it appears.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) recently announced a the hiring of Rebecca Tallent, the director of immigration policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, an analyst who has worked for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former congressman Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), both supporters of legislation establishing paths to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Former governor of Mississippi and co-chair of the BPC's immigration task force, Haley Barbour, a Republican said Boehner's choice to hire Tallent "is affirmation of his strong desire to move legislation in 2014."
The Democrat’s however, have steadfastly said that they will only approve a comprehensive immigration reform, which includes a path to citizenship for the eleven million undocumented immigrants.
And just few weeks ago, Barack Obama changed his view by saying that he would consent a piecemeal method to overhauling the immigration system, a move apparently aimed at stimulating a failing process that reflects the realities of today’s Congress.
Mr. Obama has always preferred the sweeping immigration bill that passed the Senate in June, but the House has repeatedly stated that they would never accept such sweeping reform, but would prefer a piecemeal approach..
President Obama has said, “If they want to chop that thing up into five pieces, as long as all five pieces get done, I don’t care what it looks like,” Mr. Obama said. “What we don’t want to do is simply carve out one piece of it…but leave behind some of the tougher stuff that still needs to get done.”
But let’s face it, a piecemeal approach to legislation may make it easier for Republicans to swallow, but whose kidding here, whether now or in the future, any final legislation will have to provide a pathway to citizenship or be rejected by the Senate and Obama.
Thousands of intending immigrants apply for U.S. residency every year. As part of the process, each applicant must have their fingerprint taken and processed through many agencies, such as the FBI, Interpol and the CIA.
The taking of the fingerprints is generally no problem for most immigration applicant, but for some, it is the end of the road, when it is discovered that they have been arrest, possibly convicted or previously deported. Most ot these people that immigration gets a "hit", go to a lawyer to try to find some way around the problem, but others decide to take the law into their own hands.
Such was the case of Dr. Danilo Montero-Ramirez, 61, of the Dominican Republic, and Teresa Araujo-Martinez, 40, also a Dominican citizen. Both were arrested in their attempt to surgically alter fingerprints of previously deported immigrants for a fee.
The arrests arose out of an investigation by the Boston, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations office.
Two agents, took the couple into custody at an apartment on Shore Drive Saturday morning, where they were allegedly setting up to perform surgeries on clients.
ICE explained that HSI special agents became aware Montero-Ramirez, a licensed medical doctor in the Dominican, was coming to the United States to meet with "previously deported aliens" to accomplish a surgery on their hands altering their fingerprints. Upon arrival, on Nov. 16 they planned to charge for $4,500 each. They were arrested before commencement f the surgeries.
ICE agents confiscated surgical cutting equipment, bandages, gauze, syringes and prescription medication. a large quantity of oxycodone and other pain medications were also discovered.
According to authorities, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and three years of supervised release if convicted on the drug distribution charge. They also face up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release if convicted of conspiracy to harbor aliens.
USCIS requires photographs and fingerprints for certain applications. The information below tells you which applications require photographs and fingerprints and how they are provided to USCIS.
USCIS requires applicants and petitioners for certain immigration benefits to be fingerprinted for the purpose of conducting FBI criminal background checks. To better ensure both the quality and integrity of the process, USCIS processes fingerprint cards for immigration benefits only if an authorized fingerprint site prepares them. Authorized fingerprint sites include USCIS offices, Application Support Centers (ASCs), and U.S. consular offices and military installations abroad. In general, USCIS schedules people to be fingerprinted at an authorized fingerprint site after an application or petition is filed. USCIS charges a set fee per person (for most applicants) at the time of filing for this fingerprinting service. Please check the instructions on your Immigration application or petition form to find out if you must be fingerprinted.
The following three points apply for all immigration benefits applications (see exceptions below) requiring an FD-258 fingerprint check filed with USCIS after March 29, 1998:
If you are e-Filing Form I-90, you do NOT need to submit paper photographs and you do NOT need to self-schedule an appointment at an Application Support Center for the electronic capture of your biometrics. You will receive a notice in the mail from the USCIS that will provide you with your USCIS-scheduled appointment for capturing biometrics and photographs at an Application Support Center.
You MUST bring the following materials to your biometrics appointment, or processing of your Form I-90 will NOT be completed at your scheduled time:
If you are e-Filing Form I-131, you will need to submit two identical color paper photographs with your Supporting Documents. See Paper Photograph Requirements for more information.
You do not need to submit fingerprints for this form.
If you are e-Filing Form I-765, you do NOT need to submit paper photographs and you do NOT need to self-schedule an appointment at an Application Support Center for the electronic capture of your biometrics. You will receive a notice in the mail from the USCIS that will provide you with your USCIS-scheduled appointment for capturing biometrics and photographs at an Application Support Center.
You MUST bring the following materials to your biometrics appointment, or processing of your Form I-765 will NOT be completed at your scheduled time:
All conditional permanent residents to appear at a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) after filing Form I-751 in order to have their biometrics electronically captured. AnASC appointment notice will automatically be sent by mail to the applicant with the specific date, time and location for biometric processing. Biometric processing includes the electronic capture of an applicant's photograph, signature, index fingerprint and ten-print fingerprints. The photograph, signature and index fingerprint are used to generate the lawful permanent resident card, if the Form I-751 is approved.
The ten-print fingerprints are captured for the purpose of conducting a criminal background check and are processed for applicants between the ages of 14 and 79. Applicants (except for "overseas applicants" described below) will no longer be required to submit passport- style photographs, since photographs will be captured at an ASC. USCIS requires all conditional permanent residents, including those residing overseas pursuant to military or government orders, to submit the standard base petition fee of $205 and a biometric services fee of $70. Following the submission of all applicable fees, a scheduled appearance at an ASC and the approval of Form I-751, applicants will be issued a permanent resident card by mail. The process for "applicants overseas due to military or government orders" is different and is described below. It is important to note that each conditional resident dependent eligible to be included on the principal applicant's Form I-751 and listed under Part 5 of Form I-751, must submit an additional biometric services fee of $70. This includes dependents residing overseas pursuant to military or government orders, regardless of age.
Attaining equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has been a pressing civil rights issue created by our malfunctioning immigration system. The problem is heightened by the thousands of undocumented LGBT people living at the cross fire of the civil rights battle making them about of the most vulnerable individuals in our country. A recent study by the Williams Institute, acknowledged that there are close to 1 million LGBT adult immigrants, out of these, some two-thirds are documented and one-third are undocumented. Comprehensive immigration reform is an acute issue for the LGBT community.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has long been in the forefront of legislation to protect LGBT persons affected by the current immigration system.
HRC has highlighted areas that will go a long way in providing LGBT couple equality with traditional couple by suggesting the following principles:
Keep LGBT Families Together, and Improve the U.S. Asylum System for LGBT Applicants.
On June, 6 2013 DOMA, The Defense of Marriage Act, the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states, was ruled unconstitutional, by the Supreme Court with a 5-4 vote.
In this article we will revisit parts of the HRC roadmap that aids in assuring LGBT families a similar footing in society as traditional marriages and understand the effect that the repeal of DOMA has had on the LGBT community.
1. Allow U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex spouses or partners for family-based immigration.
Problem: Prior to the fall of DOMA U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents were unable to sponsor their spouse or immediate family member for immigration purposes. A projected 32,300 same-sex, bi-national couples live in the U.S., raising over 11,000 children.
Now with the current law, an LGBT couple can marry in those states that permit such marriages and then can go to any state and apply under federal immigration laws for legal residency of their spouse.
2. Stop removal of the same-sex spouse or partner of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident when it can be established that removal would cause extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, thereby allowing for the application of "Cancellation of Removal" as a defense.
Problem: Prior to Doma’s demise Bi-national couples could not apply for Cancellation of Removal and elude separation by showing that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident will suffer “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” if his or her spouse is deported. But same-sex couples were not considered qualifying relatives under the statute. However, now, the playing ground has been leveled, both traditional marriages and LGBT marriages has the right to file for Cancellation of Removal, and if successful will obtain lawful permanent residency for their spouse.
3. Allow Step relatives to have the same immigration rights as non LGBT individuals.
Problem: More than 4 million people are currently waiting for a family visa. Yet in the past stepchildren of same sex marriages where the petitioner is the stepparent could not file for the child as an immediate relative, nor as a family preference member. However under the new law, all children of LGBT families will be able to apply for lawful residency in the U.S.
4. Allow same-sex spouses or partners of individuals who are refugees or granted asylee status to receive derivative refugee or asylee status.
Problem: Approved Refugees or asylees in the U.S. are able to avoid splitting-up from the person they love by seeking derivative status for their spouse. But same-sex spouses or partners of refugees or asylees were not considered “spouses” for purposes of derivative asylum. Therefore, LGBT individuals were frequently required to endure long separation from the individual they love in order to escape persecution.
The repeal of Doma has reversed this ruling ands now LGBT Asylum applicants may include their spouses for the purpose of derivative asylum.
((The demise of DOMA has ushered in a new age of enlightenment, liberty and tolerance)). Let's hope that Congress in it's current confused state can see through the politics, the importance of approving a comprehensive immigration reform, to solve the life dilemma of all of the 11 million undocumented immigrants, whose U.S. families have been suffering with, for a very long time.
The Supreme Court’s decision to annul Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) now directs U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), to acknowledge that a same-sex marriage between a citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident and a noncitizen legal in the state where it was commemorated is good enough to grant immigration benefits. Under DOMA, federal agencies such as USCIS were required to accept immigration petitions only for marriages between one man and one woman, preventing same-sex couples from obtaining federal programs and other benefits accessible to opposite-sex couples.
The DOMA decision guarantees that married same-sex couples will have the same rights as conventional married couples in such areas as income tax, estate tax, health privacy and other federally regulated areas and, some may say, most importantly immigration benefits.
Under the current immigration law, family unity has been the cornerstone of U.S. immigration policy. Two-thirds of all legal immigration applications filed are family-sponsored, and about two-thirds of these cases are applications for marriage-based permanent residence. And while U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been sponsoring foreign-born spouses for green cards for decades, immigration benefits have been denied to same-sex couples for just as long.
The Court’s ruling will benefit lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents, or LPRs, in acquiring immigration visas for their spouses and thereby prevent destruction of their families. While sponsorship for a spouse’s immigration visas is an significant benefit and is crucial for protecting family unity, it is not the only federal benefit to which LGBT binational families will enjoy, other core immigration benefits will now become available to LGBT binational couples including sponsorship of a spouse’s children and prevention of domestic violence survivors from deportation, and the granting of green card for the abused spouse.
In this article we detail these newfound protections and benefits.
K -1 visas for fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens and their children to enter quickly and K-3 for spouses of U.S. citizens and their children.
An important benefit that same-sex couples can now is the K visa, which allows fiancé(e)s and their unmarried minor children of U.S. citizens and spouses of U.S. citizens to enter the U.S. quickly in order to complete their application for permanent residency.
K visas were created to help eliminate the prolonged separation of engaged and married couples and in essence to promote family unification. Now that Section 3 of DOMA has been retracted, LGBT binational couples can be together even before their wedding and if already married can bring their spouse into the U.S. to complete the process; saving many months of separation.
Two groups of qualify to receive K visas:
U.S. citizens' fiancés who are outside the U.S. may be issued K-1 visas. Accompany minor children of these fiancés who will them to the U.S. are eligible to receive a K-2 visas.
U.S. citizens' spouses who are outside the U.S. may be issued K-3 visas. The minor children of these spouses who will accompany them to the U.S. are eligible to receive a "K-4" visa.
The objective of the K-1 visa is to permit the alien fiancé who resides outside the U.S. to travel into the U.S. to marry the citizen fiancé.
The objective of the K-3 visa is to serve as a transitory remedy for the extended delay family based immigration petition process. The K-3 visa allows the alien spouse to enter the U.S. while waiting for the result of the immigration petition. During the wait, the spouse may obtain work authorization.
U.S. Citizens and LPRs are eligible to bring their unmarried children of their spouse who are under 21 years of age to the United States following certain rules.
Before the Supreme Court’s elimination of Section 3 of DOMA, the definition of family for immigration purposes presumed all families were composed of married heterosexual couples raising biological or adopted children. But LGBT families are fashioned in numerous ways. In many cases the children may have been adopted or may be the biological children of only one spouse.
Under DOMA, the U.S. citizen or LPR spouse who was not biologically related to the child or on the adoption forms was not able to have his or her relationship to the child recognized under immigration law because his or her marriage was not recognized by the federal government.
Now that the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages, LGBT binational families have access to the same family-reunification immigration benefits as other families. With the demise of Section 3 of DOMA, U.S. citizens and LPRs who file an application for lawful permanent residence for a spouse can also do so for the spouse’s children as their own stepchildren by following certain strict guidelines.
Safe-guarding domestic violence survivors from deportation
The Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, allows abused immigrant spouses and their children and parent to self-petition for permanent residency and receive public benefits. VAWA acknowledges the fact that an undocumented immigrant may be hesitant to leave his or her abuser due to fear of deportation. VAWA provides survivors with a of escaping violence and establishing safe, secure and self-sufficient lives.
The 2013 reauthorization of VAWA acknowledges that LGBT couples are not immune to domestic violence and included expanded services for LGBT survivors of domestic violence. It did not, however, expand the immigration protections available to abused spouses in same-sex relationships because of the DOMA definition of the term “spouse” which was restricted to opposite-sex couples by Section 3 of DOMA.
With the removal of Section 3, VAWA’s definition of spouse expands to LGBT couples. LGBT abused spouses and children of U.S. citizens and LPRs are therefore now eligible to remain in the United States even after separation from their abusers.
Enabling undocumented spouses to apply for a hardship waiver
Following Obama's victory in November, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acted quickly to publish a final Rule for the much-awaited application for a Provisional Waiver for undocumented immigrants. This Provisional Waiver is a God sent to the Spouse or child of a US citizen that are unable to adjust their status to a legal resident while in the U.S. because they either entered illegally. The rule covers the process of filing the Provisional Waiver on new form I-601A . Filing commenced on March 4, 2013.
The 1997 changes in the immigration laws, created a problem for many immigrants unlawfully in the United States. The law does not permit someone who entered the U.S. illegally to file their papers and then receive their Green Card without first leaving the U.S. and applying at a U.S. consulate. The law requires that if they leave the country they may not return for up to 10 years.
A hardship waiver, however, is available to shorten the time they must remain out of the U.S, before getting a green card.
Before President Obama introduced the 601A waiver, the applicant would have to wait abroad, sometimes years before they were allowed to return. Obama changed this and since March 4, 2010, the illegal spouse may wait in the United States for results of the waiver application. Once granted they travel back to their consulate but only remain abroad a few weeks before they return home to the U.S.
This is all fine for heterosexual families, but, before DOMA was gutted, undocumented LGBT immigrants married to U.S. citizens were ineligible for a waiver to shorten the time before they were eligible to reunite with their families in the United States. In fact they could not even apply for residency for their spouse. Now that marriage between LGBT undocumented immigrants and U.S. citizens or LPRs is recognized, these couples are entitled to request a hardship waiver.
Follow-to-join benefits for Children of LGBT
Some LGBT Lawful Permanent Residents who were previously married or had children before becoming LPRs and whose spouses or children did not accompany them to the United States are now entitled for follow-to-join benefits. Follow-to-join benefits that the spouse or children did not physically accompany the LPR to the United States do not have to for a visa number to become available. Instead, the LPR simply notifies that his/her family will be joining him/her and instead of waiting years to process, the family will be able to enter the U.S. in a few months. . With the annulment of Section 3 of DOMA, the marriages of same-sex couples are recognized by USCIS, and LGBT families can now be quickly reunited.
What to do if you live in a State that Bans Same-Sex Marriage?
The repeal of Section 3 of DOMA will be heralded as a milestone in LGBT litigation for equal rights, but look at the numbers.
Only 12 states allow same-sex marriages-- The number of U.S. states that permit same-sex marriage, along with the District of Columbia: Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
36 States outlaw same-sex marriages -- The number of U.S. states that prohibit same-sex marriage, either through legislation or constitutional provisions.
Only 6 states allow civil unions between same-sex couples, but not marriage: Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island. This number will go down to four this summer after Delaware's new marriage laws take effect in July and the Rhode Island laws do on August 1. (Some states that allow civil unions also ban same-sex marriage.)
You will have to get married in a state that allows same sex marriage and then you can return to your own state to file the immigration petition, which the USCIS must accept following the repeal of Section 3 of DOMA.
After weeks of contentious debate all 52 Democrats, as well as 14 Conservatives and two independents were responsible for the passage of the Senate Bill S.744, a landmark immigration legislation, which could transform border security, while simultaneously, enabling 11 million undocumented immigrants begin their journey tobecoming a U.S. citizen.
1. PATH TO CITIZENSHIP
The 11+ million people living in the U.S. unlawfully could receive "registered provisional immigrant status" six months after enactment of the bill as long as:
(1) The Homeland Security Department has formulated border security and fencing plans, as specified in the bill.
(2) Applicants would have to establish that they arrived in the U.S. on or before December 31, 2011 and maintained continuous physical presence since then.
a. Family members to be included - was physically present in the United States on or before December 31, 2012
(3) A felony conviction or three or more misdemeanors disqualifies the applicant.
(4) A $500 fine will be imposed on top of the immigration fees.
(5) PAYMENT OF TAXES- the applicant has satisfied any applicable Federal tax liability.
Once Provisional Status is granted:
The applicant could work and travel in the U.S. but would be ineligible for most federal benefits, including welfare and health care
Provisional legal status lasts six years and is renewable for another six years for $500.
a. INITIAL PERIOD- A 1-year period beginning on the date on which the final rule is published.
b. EXTENSION- may be extended the period for an additional 18 months.
After 10 years in provisional status, immigrants will qualify for a green card (lawful permanent resident status) if:
1. They are current on their taxes and pay a $1,000 fine,
2. They have maintained continuous physical presence in the U.S.,
3. The meet work requirements (worked minimum 10 months each year) and learn English;
4. All people on line in wait to immigrate legally as of the date of enactment of the legislation must have been processed; and
5. The border security requirements have to be satisfied