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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

CHICAGO

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

Phone: 630-932-9100

NAPERVILLE

1730 Park Street, Suite 202, Naperville, IL 60563

Phone: 630-420-1000

Immigration

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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Posted on in Immigration

IL immigration lawyerIf you are an immigrant in the United States, even if you have legal status, you must be especially careful never to be associated with crime or even the smallest mistake may be enough to render you deportable. As such, if you find yourself in criminal court or charged with an offense, it is critical to find an attorney to represent you who understands both criminal law and immigration. If your attorney is not well versed in how the two interplay, you may find yourself plea-bargained into a sentence that will render you deportable even though that may be exactly what you seek to avoid.

Crimes of Moral Turpitude and Aggravated Felonies

U.S. immigration law distinguishes two types of criminal convictions as being relevant for immigration purposes. Crimes of moral turpitude (CIMTs) are offenses that are perceived to have an element of fraud or dishonesty, such as theft, but violent crimes like murder will also count because they are so far outside the realm of ‘acceptable’ moral conduct. It can be difficult to assess whether your offense is a CIMT, however, because the term is not explicitly defined. It has been clarified through past cases, but there is a healthy amount of debate over whether many crimes do in fact count as CIMTs.

Similar issues surround the other type of crime that can be problematic, known as an aggravated felony (AF) - though, paradoxically, a crime need not be ‘aggravated’ or even a felony under criminal law in order for it to count as an AF under immigration law. The classification was created in 1988 and at the time, only encompassed a few offenses, but with the passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), the category was expanded significantly. A violent crime is almost always guaranteed to be an AF, but if a person commits a crime that does not involve any violence, it can be hard to say.

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Posted on in Immigration

IL immigration lawyerMany people labor under the misapprehension that immigrants waiting to be admitted to the United States as citizens must all wait in one big line. In reality, there are as many types of “lines” as there are visa categories, and all of them are strictly regulated and portioned off. There are only certain amounts of people granted visas for each type of visa from each country per year, and those who are in that ‘line’ very often must wait years upon years before being granted what they asked for.

Everyone Must Wait

With rare exceptions for unusual visa categories, nearly everyone who submits an immigrant visa petition must wait for there to be available space in the quota. Grants of each visa are circumscribed by both total amount and country of origin - in other words, there might be visas left over during a specific year, but a country’s allotment may run out beforehand. Queues for employment-based visas can be long, but waits for family-based visas are by far the longest in most cases.

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