Support Texas Immigrants

Support Texas Immigrants (fvaldezlaw.com)FValdezLaw PC is dedicated to informing you about issues that affect the immigrant community. Today we highlight the work of United We Dream – Houston and their fight against anti-immigrant bills that have been filed with the Texas Legislature.

We encourage you to sign United We Dream’s petition to keep In-State tuition for undocumented students: https://action.unitedwedream.org/petitions/tell-texas-legislators-keep-in-state-tuition

We’d also like you to reach out to local business owners to highlight the economic significance the undocumented community provides the state of Texas.

  1. Sign on to the Texas Association of Business’ Letter Opposing So-Called Sanctuary City Legislation: http://www.commonsenseimmigrationtx.org/stop-sb4/business-letter/.
  2. Sign on to the Texas Association of Business’ Letter to Protect the Texas DREAM Act!: http://www.commonsenseimmigrationtx.org/?homepage-item=texas-association-of-business-signs-on-to-trust-coalition-letter.

Want to learn more about what you can do to get involved? Sign up for FValdezLaw Buzz, our enewsletter. We include updates about immigration news, impact and calls to action.

“Houston is Home” featuring Fran Watson and Oscar Hernandez

Movement Talk with Frances Valdez” kicks off the year with a conversation with Fran Watson, President of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, and Oscar Hernandez, United We Dream Houston, about their expectations & hopes for 2017. The conversation highlights the importance of the LGBTQ and immigrant community working together to make sure that Houston and Texas remain safe and inclusive spaces for all.

For more information:

“Movement Talk with Frances Valdez” is a show about immigration and other social justice issues and is presented by FValdezLaw. For more information and contact info check out our website at: http://fvaldezlaw.com.

Stay in touch with us on Social Media:

Have a show suggestion? Leave us a comment or email us: marketing@fvaldezlaw.com.

MECA Houston December events in “Movement Talk with Frances Valdez”

In this short segment of “Movement Talk with Frances E. Valdez” we revisit MECA (Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts). Learn more about the events MECA hosts in Houston during the month of December, shared through the voices of former MECA students — Armando Silva (Professional Dancer & Assistant to the Director of MECA) and Gwendolyn Zepeda (MECA Board Member, Author and Houston’s First Poet Laureate). Upcoming programs and events include the “Fiesta Guadalupana” and “La Posada in the Old Sixth Ward.”

MECA is a community-based nonprofit organization committed to the healthy development of underserved youth and adults through arts and cultural programming, academic excellence, support services and community building.

“Movement Talk with Frances Valdez” is the show about immigration and other social justice issues, presented by FValdezLaw PC.

Show links:

Stay in touch with us on Social Media:

Have a show suggestion? Send it to: marketing@fvaldezlaw.com.

Check out our other videos and subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUrEkDM1oFUSMEUcTvAfbUg

Citizenship Month Houston 2016 with Claudia Ortega-Hogue

In this episode of “Movement Talk with Frances Valdez” we speak with Claudia Ortega-Hogue from Global Communities Houston, LLC about the importance of becoming a United States citizen if you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). We also discuss Citizenship Month and the events that will be held during this month for the city of Houston.

“Movement Talk with Frances Valdez” is the show about immigration and other social justice issues, presented by FValdezLaw PC.

Show links:

Stay in touch with us on Social Media:

Have a show suggestion? Let us know via social media or as a comment on this page.

USCIS will increase fees effective December 23, 2016

USCIS will increase fees effective December 23, 2016 (fvaldezlaw.com)The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is raising fees for immigration filings for the first time in six years. Fees are increasing by an average of 21%, with some increasing by hundreds of dollars. We have compiled a list of affected fees for you (listed below). You can find the full list of fees at https://www.uscis.gov/forms/our-fees.

The new fees are effective December 23, 2016. This means that applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016 must include these new fees or USCIS will reject your submission.

Please contact FValdezLaw directly to discuss how these changes may affect your case.

Immigration Benefit Request New Fee Old Fee
I–90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card $455 $365
I–129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) $535 $340
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative $535 $420
I-131/I-131A Application for Travel Document $575 $360
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal $930 $585
I–290B Notice of Appeal or Motion $675 $630
I–360 Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant $435 $405
I–485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status $1,140 $985
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (certain applicants under the age of 14 years) $750 $635
I–539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status $370 $290
I-601 Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability $930 $585
I–601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver $630 $585
I–751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence $595 $505
I–765 Application for Employment Authorization $410 $380
I–824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition $465 $405
I–929 Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U–1 Nonimmigrant $230 $215
N–400 Application for Naturalization2 $640 $595
N–600/N–600K Application for Certificate of Citizenship $1,170 $600/$550
Biometric Services Fee $85 $85

 

Civic Engagement with Mario Salinas and Bernardo Pena in “Movement Talk with Frances Valdez”

FValdezLaw presents “Movement Talk with Frances Valdez”

Welcome to “Movement Talk with Frances Valdez,” the show about immigration and other social justice issues. In this episode, you can learn more about New Majority Houston, a campaign that encourages Latino voters in Harris County, Texas to vote with the immigrant community in mind. Bernardo Pena and former Civic Engagement Coordinator Mario Salinas talk with Frances Valdez about how the campaign hopes to mobilize registered voters by educating them about a local policy called 287(g).

Show links:

Stay in touch with us on Social Media:

Check out our other videos and Subscribe to our YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUrEkDM1oFUSMEUcTvAfbUg

Meet the New Majority Houston in “Movement Talk with Frances Valdez”

Welcome to “Movement Talk with Frances Valdez,” the show about immigration and other social justice issues. In this episode, Frances Valdez speaks to community members in the East End with a campaign called “New Majority Houston,” a campaign that encourages Latino voters in Harris County, TX to vote with the immigrant community in mind. The campaign objective is to mobilize registered voters by educating them about a local policy called 287(g).

Show links:

Stay in touch with us on Social Media:

Have a show suggestion? Let us know via social media or a comment on this page.

Questions & Answers about the expansion of the Provisional Waiver Program

Questions & Answers about the expansion of the Provisional Waiver Program (fvaldezlaw.com)

As we explained in our latest blog post, on July 29th, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a great opportunity for immigrants who need an unlawful presence waiver and also have a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holders). The change expands the provisional waiver program, making it available to more family members and benefitting by reducing family separation for at least half a million immigrants over the next 10 years.

Before the new rule took effect, immigrants needing an unlawful presence waiver were able to participate in the provisional stateside waiver only if they were immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. With the expansion of the provisional waiver, immigrants that are eligible for green cards through employment based petitions, diversity visas, and an applicant with approved I-360s now can apply for a provisional waiver if they have a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident parent or spouse and they can demonstrate that the parent or spouse will suffer extreme hardship if the applicant is unable to remain in the U.S. In addition, they can stay in the U.S. while the waiver is processed.

What does this mean for you and your family? We decided to explain further what this new immigration rule means to help clarify the expansion of the program and eligibility and how it may affect you.

What is the importance of the provisional waiver?

The expansion of the provisional waiver is important because before the rule changed most individuals who needed an unlawful presence waiver (because they were present in the U.S. without status for more than 180 days but less than a year or one year or more) had to return to their home country to ask for a waiver of unlawful presence when they applied to become lawful permanent residents. It was very difficult for applicants because they had to travel to and apply for the waiver from their home country. Applicants would be stuck in their country, for weeks or months or even years, waiting for an answer. If the waiver was denied, those individuals would have to wait 10 years in their home country before they could return to their families in the U.S. This caused many people to make the decision to not take the risk.

The expansion of the waiver allows applicants for lawful permanent residence who require a waiver to apply for the waiver from within the U.S. if they can show extreme hardship to a qualifying relative, a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse or parent. This is expected to give many more individuals the courage to apply for the waiver.

Why is it called provisional waiver?

It is called a provisional waiver because this waiver can be approved while the beneficiaries remain in the U.S. They must still conclude the process with an interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country, but they will be able to stay in the U.S. while they await an answer on their waiver application.

  • First, the applicant is informed that their waiver is approved.
  • Next they are given an appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. They will have to take a medical exam and be asked questions about their immigration history, criminal history as well as other questions that determine if they are eligible to become Lawful Permanent Residents.
  • In most cases if there are no surprises, the applicant will be abroad for only a few days or longer before returning to the U.S. with their residency.

This is an improvement over the previous process, which required that the applicants leave for their home country before applying for the waiver and remain there while they await an answer on their waiver application.

What are the changes of the provisional waiver program?

Previously, only immediate relatives of U.S. citizens were able to apply for the provisional waiver program (spouses, parents, children). With this expansion, people who are also beneficiaries of petitions filed by Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders) and anyone with a qualifying relative can now can apply for the provisional waiver and complete their application process. Moreover, employment-based applications, diversity visas and approved I-360s, can potentially for a provisional waiver.

What are the requirements for filing the provisional waiver?

The applicant is physically present in the U.S.  The applicant must also show that the refusal of the waiver would cause “extreme hardship” to their U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident spouse or parent.  The applicant must also show that they warrant the favorable exercise of discretion.

Can I apply for the provisional waiver if I have another reason of inadmissibility?

No, you can’t. The expansion of the provisional waiver is given to applicants whose only ground of inadmissibility is unlawful presence. Immigrants with other grounds of inadmissibility, including fraud, criminal conduct, among others, are not eligible for the stateside waiver program.  You might be able to apply for residency in conjunction with other waivers.  Speak to an attorney if you have any criminal or immigration issues beyond unlawful presence.

When does this new rule come into effect?

The expansion of the provisional waiver program came into effect on August 29th, 2016.

How much does the waiver cost?

The waiver will cost $585 plus a biometrics fee of $85 for individual under 79.

I think I qualify for this new rule, what should I do next?

The best way to find out if you or your family member is eligible is to contact an experienced immigration attorney. You can contact us online, via email at fvaldez@fvaldezlaw.com or call us at (713) 861-2725 to receive a free consultation with FValdezLaw PC via phone, email or Skype.

Houston Citizenship Day 2016

Houston Citizenship Day 2016 (FValdezLaw.com)On September 17, 2016 members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will celebrate AILA’s 10th annual Citizenship Day by assisting lawful permanent residents seeking to become naturalized citizens.  Houston AILA attorneys will partner with Neighborhood Centers Inc., National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, and the City of Houston’s Department of Neighborhoods Office of International Communities on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at the Baker Ripley Neighborhood Center, 6500 Rookin St., Houston, Texas 77074.

Every year, AILA attorneys around Texas partner with non-profit legal service providers to offer free naturalization assistance.   AILA attorneys will screen potential applicants for eligibility, review their applications and consult on the naturalization process.

To qualify, green card holders must generally meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age;
  • Be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder);
  • Have resided in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years (three years if married to a US citizen) and living in marital union, or under certain other circumstances.;
  • Have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months (18 months for one married to a US citizen);
  • Be a person of good moral character;
  • Be able to speak, read, write and understand the English language;
  • Have knowledge of U.S. government and history; and
  • Be willing and able to take the Oath of Allegiance.

I have proudly served as the AILA Texas Chapter Citizenship Day Coordinator since 2012 because I believe that becoming a U.S. citizen provides tangible and long-lasting benefits for the naturalized citizen as well as for our country.  Although there are approximately 9 million lawful permanent residents (green card holders) living and working in the U.S. who qualify for naturalization, there are many barriers to them taking this final step in the immigration process.  One of the major barriers is the inability to hire an attorney, a barrier which the Citizenship Day events help to bridge.

By collaborating with our non-profit partners, AILA attorneys provide an invaluable service that allows naturalized citizens to gain the right to vote, to travel with a U.S. passport, to file petitions for an expanded group of family members, to be eligible for more government benefits, and to no longer have to fear deportation or loss of residency status.

In addition to the AILA Citizenship Day events occurring on September 17th in Houston, AILA volunteers will also hold events in Austin, Texas and Dallas, Texas.  The Dallas workshop will occur on September 24, 2016 at the Consulate General of Mexico at 1210 River Bend Dr. Dallas, TX 75247.  The AILA coordinator for that event is Sonali Patnaik.  The Austin workshop will occur on October 29, 2016 at Allan Elementary School at 4900 Gonzales Dr.  Austin, TX 78702.  The AILA coordinator for the event is Thomas Esparza, Jr.

Can’t make it to the September 17th event? Contact us online, via email at fvaldez@fvaldezlaw.com or call us at (713) 861-2725 to receive a free call, email or skype consultation with FValdezLaw PC.

Meet Carlo S. Torres, our “new” Associate Attorney

Meet Carlos S. Torres, our “new” Associate Attorney (fvaldezlaw.com)FValdezLaw PC is proud to announce that Carlo S. Torres has joined our firm as a full-time permanent member of our team as an Associate Attorney.

“We advocate for the immigrant community and provide quality service to all our clients and Carlo shares those values. He is fluent in Spanish and has a strong desire do his best for our clients.  This made him the perfect fit for our firm!” said Frances Valdez, founder of FValdezLaw. “His addition to the firm will help to serve our clients in the most efficient and effective manner possible. His dedication and commitment are an asset to our current and future clients.”

Some clients at the firm already may recognize Carlo. He interned with FValdezLaw in the summer of 2014.  He returned to the firm on a contract basis in January of 2015, where he continued until this recent appointment.

Carlo Torres became an attorney because he believes that every person deserves to have an advocate who will protect both their legal rights and human rights. He has focused his studies and practice on criminal law and immigration law. Carlo has also been very active in his community through several civil rights organizations.

Want to make an appointment with Carlo? Contact us online, via email at fvaldez@fvaldezlaw.com or call us at (713) 861-2725 to receive a free call, email or Skype consultation.