TEXAS POLICE SAY “SHOW ME YOUR PAPERS” LAW IS DAMAGING PUBLIC SAFETY — BEFORE EVEN TAKING EFFECT

SB4 will be implemented starting September 1, 2017. Many law enforcement officers have said that they do not support SB4. SB4 will reduce trust between law enforcement and the community. SB4 relies on the inequity and racial profiling that already exists in our criminal justice system. Only true criminal justice reform will alleviate the underlying issues in the system.

Read the following article for more information.

Is It Time To File An I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residency?

What is the I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residency?

The I-751 petition is used by a conditional resident who obtained status through marriage, to request that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) remove the conditions on his or her residence.

What is conditional residency?

For marriage-based beneficiaries, the length of initial Legal Permanent Residency (LPR) is usually determined by the length of the marriage.  LPRs who have been married for more than 2 years at the time of their initial filing normally receive 10-year cards.  Those who have been married for less than 2 years at the time of filing receive conditional residency.  These conditions require an additional filing to normalize to longer-term Legal Permanent Resident status.  The I-751 is the vehicle for this petition.

How and when do I apply for the I-751 petition?

FValdezLaw has compiled this Prezi with general information about how a Legal Permanent Resident may file a Petition to Remove Conditions on Residency, I-751.

Connect with us:

DISCLAIMER: The content of this document is not intended to substitute a consultation with an attorney or legal advice which is relevant to all the facts and circumstances of your case. FValdezLaw recommends you seek a detailed legal consultation for that purpose.

Categories and Questions for Extreme Hardship

Categories and Questions for Extreme Hardship

Applicants wanting to become lawful permanent residents who need to request a provisional waiver of the unlawful presence grounds of inadmissibility may be able to use form I-601A, the Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver. FValdezLaw has compiled this deck to provide guidance for writing a declaration as part of the I-601A application.

This deck includes a breakdown of topics upon which immigrants and qualifying relatives should touch when scripting a proclamation for the I-601A. The questions included in the deck help clients think about extreme hardship and other positive equities relevant to establish extreme hardship.

Do you have a question about your immigration situation? You may contact us online, via email at fvaldez@fvaldezlaw.com or call us at (713) 861-2725 to receive a consultation with FValdezLaw PC via phone, email or Skype.

This document is not intended to substitute specific advice which is relevant to all the facts and circumstances of your unique case. FValdezLaw recommends you seek a detailed legal consultation for that purpose.

USCIS reaches cap for 2018 H-1B Visas

USCIS reaches cap for 2018 H-1B Visas

On April 7, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that they reached the congressionally mandated 65,000 cap for H-1B Visas for the fiscal year 2018. In addition, USCIS has received “a sufficient number of H-1B petitions” to meet the 20,000 Visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap.

H-1B is an annual visa lottery for high-skilled immigrant workers. Only 65,000 visas are available for immigrants with undergraduate degrees. There are another 20,000 visas available for those with graduate degrees from U.S. colleges and universities. As reported by news media, this represents just “0.0004 percent of the 160 million Americans who make up the nation’s workforce.”

What does this mean and how might it affect you?

USCIS will not be accepting additional H-1B petitions for the fiscal year 2018 except for cap-exempt petitions. Exemption from the cap limitations include H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education (or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities), a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization are not subject to this numerical cap. For all others, the new petition filing period will open on April 1 of next year.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration revealed that it also would pause premium processing for H-1B Visas this season (which normally begins in April). This has left foreign employees and those that employ them in a legal purgatory – waiting. In prior years, premium processing for an extra fee to USCIS would be completed within 15 days. Now legal immigrants and their U.S. employers must wait months to know whether they can start their jobs on October 1, 2017.

Do you have a question about your immigration situation? You may contact us online, via email at fvaldez@fvaldezlaw.com or call us at (713) 861-2725 to receive a consultation with FValdezLaw PC via phone, email or Skype.

SB-4: What Texas Senate Bill 4 Means for Immigrants

SB-4: What Texas Senate Bill 4 Means for Immigrants (fvaldezlaw.com)SB-4: What Texas Senate Bill 4 Means for Immigrants

Although a federal judge recently blocked President Trump’s Executive Order to defund “sanctuary cities,” the State of Texas has passed its own version of the Order. SB-4 passed the Texas Senate in early February 2017 and the Texas House two months later amidst community concerns and protests. It was signed into law by Texas Greg Governor Abbott in early May 2017.

The high-priority, controversial bill makes it legal for law enforcement officers to request the immigration status of anyone they detain or arrest. The bill also penalizes law enforcement and elected officials who don’t cooperate with requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Penalties include up to a year in jail and fines from $1,000 to $25,500 a day.

Senate Bill 4 doesn’t go into effect until September 1, 2017, but community members and immigrant advocates across the country have expressed a concern over its passing. Advocates fear that rogue officers will work closely with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) which will lead to more deportations and family separation. All people of color could become more vulnerable to racial profiling and requests from law enforcement to prove their immigration status.

Senate Bill 4 already has perpetuated fear of law enforcement in the Hispanic community. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo recently reported that the number of Hispanics reporting rape has reduced 42.8% and the number of those reporting other violent crime has reduced 13% since last year. When immigrants and people of color do not feel comfortable reporting crime, everyone becomes less safe.

Many questions remain surrounding Senate Bill 4 and legal challenges from El Cenizo, Maverick County were filed and lawsuits from El Paso County and Austin are expected. Although law enforcement officers have the right to ask for immigration status, it is unclear what they will then do with that information. Another concern is that some officers might call ICE directly and detain individuals until they arrive. This will lead to unlawful detention and open law enforcement agencies to potential litigation. The city and county legal challenges hopefully will stop Senate Bill 4 before its implementation on September 1st.

Local elected officials also can implement policies that will help to diminish the effects of Senate Bill 4. This includes but is not limited to a policy that would instruct law enforcement not to arrest individuals who only have a violation for driving without a license, allowing non-profits to provide know your rights presentations for immigrants held in county and city jails, and robust systems that monitor racial profiling. For example, the Mayor of Houston was presented with a number of recommendations for improving relationships with the immigrant community in a document presented to him by the Welcoming Houston Taskforce. The document provides several recommendations, however, recommendations 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12 would be the best place to start to better shield the community before September 1, 2017.

Learn more about organizing and advocacy efforts to resist Senate Bill 4 by watching the video below.

U.S. Citizen Petitioning for a Parent and the I-601A Waiver

“I’m a U.S. Citizen and I want to get papers for my parent.  Will my parent need a waiver?” FValdezLaw has compiled this deck to provide general information about how a U.S. Citizen can file a petition for their parent.  It also provides basic information about the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver (I-601A).

U.S. Citizen Petitioning for their Parent and The Potential Need for a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver (I-601A) from Frances Valdez

We are always available to answer your questions on this and any other immigration law topics. You may contact us online, via email at fvaldez@fvaldezlaw.com or call us at (713) 861-2725 to receive a consultation with FValdezLaw PC via phone, email or Skype.

Do you have a suggestion for additional immigration law topics? Let us know!

Connect with us:

DISCLAIMER: The content of this PowerPoint is not intended to substitute a consultation with an attorney or legal advice which is relevant to all the facts and circumstances of your case. FValdezLaw recommends you seek a detailed legal consultation for that purpose. 

Ending 287(g) for a safer immigrant community

Ending 287(g) for a safer immigrant community (fvaldezlaw.com)In 2008, Adrian Garcia became the first Hispanic sheriff in the history of Harris County, Texas.  As sheriff, Garcia proceeded to preside over one of the largest 287(g) programs in the United States.  In June 2016, former Sheriff Ron Hickman renewed Harris County’s participation in 287(g).  After more than a year of organizing, having direct actions, doing electoral work, and building multi-racial coalitions, newly-elected Sheriff Ed Gonzalez took the first step towards fulfilling his campaign promise to end Harris County’s collaborations with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by signing an agreement to terminate the county’s 287(g) program!

Rooted in the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, 287(g) is a voluntary agreement between Harris County and ICE where Harris County tax dollars paid for approximately 8 Sheriff Deputies to work as ICE agents in the jail. Varying estimates put the cost of the program at more than $500,000/year funded by the taxpayers of Harris County.

In addition to the economic impact, the Sheriff’s decision to end 287(g) is a good first step in a long process of criminal justice reform. This decision will help to strengthen trust between law enforcement and communities of color, especially as Houston’s many immigrants face daily threats to their continued presence in the U.S. This is an amazing victory for Harris County, United We Dream and many other organizations and allies who helped uplift the problems with 287(g).

On March 25, 2017, 18 Texas sheriffs in Galveston, Brazoria, Tarrant, Waller and other counties have expressed interest in entering a similar contract. As part of the 287(g) contract, each county would have to cover the funding to send staff to ICE training, for staff salaries and to provide office space, as Harris County did.  Frances Valdez is looking to support any residents of the counties expressing interest in 287(g) and is open to speak with them about how they can advocate against this issue.

New Travel Ban Halted by Federal Judges

New Travel Ban Halted by Federal Judges (fvaldezlaw.com)On March 6, 2017, President Trump’s administration issued a new executive order to replace the travel ban that went into effect on January 27, 2017 (and was halted by judicial decision).  The new order was set to into effect on March 16, 2017. This second order contained many of the elements of the first and it included all but one of the same countries included in the first ban. And the second order also was halted by judicial decision on March 15, 2017.

Although enforcement of the travel ban has been halted, if you are a Legal Permanent Resident, Visa holder, dual national, or immigrant of any status from one of the targeted countries, you may want to consult with an immigration lawyer before traveling outside the United States. These countries include: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Though Iraq was removed from the second travel ban, it was included in the first and immigrants from that country were subject to the effects of the first ban when it was enacted.

Do you have a question about your immigration situation? You may contact us online, via email at fvaldez@fvaldezlaw.com or call us at (713) 861-2725 to receive a consultation with FValdezLaw PC via phone, email or Skype.