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630-932-9100
Free Initial Consultation | Se habla español 630-932-9100
Mevorah Law Offices LLC
630-932-9100
DuPage County Attorneys

LOMBARD

900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100

BLOOMINGDALE

134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761

ST. CHARLES

333 N. Randall Road, Suite 104, St. Charles, IL 60175

Phone: 630-443-0600

JOLIET

58 N. Chicago Street, Suite 500, Joliet, IL 60432

Phone: 815-727-4500

CHICAGO

105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 630-932-9100

Immigration

Posted on in Immigration

IL immigration lawyerEspecially nowadays, many previously attainable ways to emigrate to the United States are either off limits or so locked down with restrictions that some people feel stuck. However, marriage to a U.S. citizen does allow a person to obtain permanent residency in most cases, as long as you can establish your bonafides as an actual couple. Before you marry, it is still a good idea to ensure that you understand what your rights are and the obligations you must fulfill before any status is granted.

K Visas

The most common ways for someone to bring over a foreign spouse is to petition for an immigrant visa if they are already married, or a K visa if they are engaged. A K visa is a nonimmigrant visa, not an immigrant visa, and all it does is allow the foreign spouse to enter the U.S. and get married. It does not permit them to stay beyond 90 days unless the wedding has taken place. While the foreign spouse is obtaining their K visa, the U.S. citizen spouse should be filing a Petition for Alien Relative, which then allows them to adjust their status from within the country, as opposed to having to go back to their homeland.

None of this process is possible, however, if the foreign national does not meet at least some of the requirements for an immigrant visa and bring all the appropriate documentation the consulate requires. If the person is inadmissible, they must first file for a waiver of unlawful presence (or whatever ground is making them inadmissible, such as having a criminal record), and then seek to use the K visa. Some grounds for inadmissibility do not have a waiver available, such as espionage, or being a member of the Nazi Party or any other group participating in a genocide.

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Posted on in Immigration

IL immigration lawyerIn this day and age, anyone who enters the United States, even with valid status, must be careful to ensure they obey all immigration laws. However, misinformation is always being circulated. One of the situations where this is very common is in applying for and using a visitor’s visa (B1/B2 classification). There are some enduring misconceptions on what that visa allows you to do and what it does not, and if you use it inappropriately, you may wind up with immigration consequences that are annoying at best, and permanent at worst.

B1/B2 Is a Nonimmigrant Visa

The standard U.S. visitor visa is a B1/B2 combination. A B1 visa is a business visa, while a B2 is a tourist visa. They are usually issued in combination because even those who enter the country on business will very often engage in some sightseeing and leisure time, and those who enter on tourist visas may wind up doing something in furtherance of their business or employer’s interests; it is simply easier to issue a combination visa than to police every tourist’s itinerary and time.

It is important to understand that the U.S. has both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas, and a B1/B2 is a nonimmigrant visa, meaning that it has temporary validity and requires that someone vacate the country by a certain date. This also means that you cannot adjust your status to that of an immigrant - nonimmigrant visa holders may, in some cases, change one nonimmigrant status for another, such as a tourist obtaining a visa to study in the country, but they cannot say, apply for a green card.

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Posted on in Immigration

IL immigration lawyerTemporary Protected Status (TPS) is a U.S. immigration status granted to nationals of certain countries whose conditions are such where it would be unsafe for them to return home, usually because of either armed conflict or natural disasters. The current federal administration has sought to end the benefit for many countries, but on October 4, 2018, the Northern District of California barred the administration from doing so for nationals of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. This changes matters for immigrants from those countries, at least for now.

What Is TPS?

TPS is an immigration benefit first instituted as part of the Immigration Act of 1990. In that piece of legislation, the Attorney General originally, and now the Secretary of Homeland Security, may designate a specific country whose nationals may remain in the U.S. for the term of the benefit since sending them home would be unsafe. Once granted TPS, a person may stay in the U.S. until the benefit is canceled. They can also seek employment authorization, and in some cases, travel authorization with permission to return.

It is important to keep in mind that TPS is a purely humanitarian benefit, and does not give anyone the right to any other type of immigration benefit - adjustment of status is not possible, meaning that if you, for example, want to marry a U.S. citizen, you cannot do so on TPS without also applying for the proper fiance visa. TPS is meant to be temporary, but at the same time, if country conditions have not improved, one should be able to point to this as a reason to remain in the U.S., and for many countries with TPS, conditions at home have simply not improved.

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IL immigration lawyerPeople who enter the United States without inspection (EWI, which stands for Entry Without Inspection; also called undocumented) generally exist in a precarious state while in the country. Without documents that show legal presence, a person generally cannot work except at menial tasks and is not entitled to any federal benefits. However, for some, it is possible to adjust their status while still within the United States - to do so, a person must obtain what is called a provisional unlawful presence waiver. It is still possible to do this nowadays, though the process is not easy.

Entering EWI Makes You Removable

Since entering the U.S. without inspection is a direct violation of the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA), a person who does this is immediately removable from the country if found by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). This is a simple process, often resulting in expedited removal if someone is found within 100 miles of the U.S. border, which means that they do not even get to see a judge. Even if someone does get to appear before an immigration judge, they will usually simply be informed of the penalties for entering without inspection unless the person can make an asylum claim, citing credible fear of being returned to their home country.

The penalties for EWI are quite stiff, though the INA only lists civil penalties and fines. The Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996 imposes a three-year bar (that is, a period of three years where someone cannot leave and lawfully re-enter the United States) on those who accrue more than 180 days but less than one year of unlawful presence in the country. If someone has more than one year of unlawful presence, they are barred from re-entry for 10 years.

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IL immigration lawyerThe Trump administration is debating whether or not to “ban entry of migrants” at the U.S.’s southern border, in a manner similar to the “travel ban” enacted in January 2017. This is in reaction to the so-called “migrant caravan” currently making its way through Mexico - similar groups have tried and succeeded to reach the U.S. border, with a more organized group making it to Tijuana in April 2018. What the administration does not appear to understand - or care about - is that asylum is an ancient right enshrined not only in U.S. law, but in international law, and to flout it may bring serious issues to their doorstep. For immigrants and asylees here, it may throw their futures into sharp uncertainty.

Seeking Asylum Is Not Illegal

Despite the fondest wishes of the current president, seeking asylum is not illegal; quite the contrary. The right to seek freedom from persecution is a right that dates back to the Biblical era, though it most commonly is brought up in discussing the policies of the medieval Catholic Church. Even murderers were permitted to seek sanctuary in certain church properties in the United Kingdom, though the system was eventually abolished in the country (along with the Catholic Church) in the 17th century.

In the modern era, the right to seek asylum was one of the centerpieces of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, as well as being explicitly enshrined in the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (which the U.S. did not sign, despite it being the seminal authority on refugee issues) and the 1967 Protocol on the same topic (which it did). Asylum is an internationally recognized right, even extending beyond the original definition to victims of domestic violence (before the current administration rescinded it), to sexual minorities and more people who need the help. To unilaterally shut down the right to seek political asylum would be in violation of international law.

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