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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
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Posted on in Immigration

IL immigration lawyerWith the unsettled state of U.S. immigration law in recent years, many immigrants who apply for U.S. citizenship are also retaining citizenship in their former country of origin. This status is referred to as dual citizenship, and contrary to many people’s beliefs, it is possible for a person to hold more than one nationality at once, at least according to U.S. law. If you are looking to naturalize, it may actually be to your advantage to retain your old citizenship in addition to applying for U.S. citizenship status.

Why Keep Both?

In theory, one naturalizes to a new country because something in their old one is insufficient. However, given the potentially precarious state of the U.S. immigration system, as well as its ever-increasing wait times for naturalizations and green cards, it simply seems safer to many to refuse to give up their original nationality, if possible. Under U.S. law, it is not necessary for a new citizen to formally renounce their old country of citizenship; thus, many simply do not. The primary reason given by many, in addition to wanting a backup plan of sorts if the U.S. immigration system changes, is ease in traveling back and forth to maintain business relationships and see family.

There are both pros and cons to the dual nationality scenario, however. U.S. law does, for example, require that while you are in the U.S. as a dual national, you are to be treated as a U.S. citizen, which means that you may not try to claim diplomatic protection from your other home country. The other side of this is also generally true, in that if you are in your second home country, you may find it difficult or impossible to seek U.S. diplomatic help if you get into trouble. Dual nationality may also render you subject to taxation by two different governments.

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IL immigration lawyerIn today’s highly volatile political environment, it can be easy to encounter misinformation about immigrants and immigration law, but this can yield negative consequences, especially if you are an immigrant yourself. One of the most commonly confused issues nowadays is in discussing the difference between improper entry and unlawful presence in the country. One is a crime, while one is not, and misunderstandings on this score might imperil your ability to obtain immigration benefits in the future.

Unlawful Presence Is Not a Crime

In many situations, when the average person is complaining about “illegal immigrants,” they mean those who are present in the United States but are not authorized to be in the country. This is referred to as having or accumulating unlawful presence. It is important to understand that these people, and there are a significant amount of them, may possibly have committed crimes (for example, identity theft may occur when an undocumented person uses another person’s Social Security number so they can work) - but their simply being present in the U.S. is not one of them.

The U.S. Supreme Court in Arizona v. United States (2012) held explicitly that “as a general rule, it is not a crime for a removable alien to remain present in the United States.” The key wording, however, is “remain” present - the act of staying in the United States after entry, regardless of whether you knew you were deportable or not, is not a crime even though it may be unlawful (obviously, not every unlawful action is a crime). This means, however, that Arizona does not deal with the issue of improper or unlawful entry.

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Posted on in Immigration

IL immigration lawyerRightly or wrongly, the current administration has chosen to detain the majority of asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants, as well as the occasional immigrant with status or U.S. citizen. If you or a loved one has been detained by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), it can be terrifying and confusing, as options to affect your release can seem nonexistent. However, there are things that you can do to improve your situation or to at least stabilize things.

Do Not Say or Sign Anything: Especially under this administration, the push to have immigrants sign away their legal status or admit to potentially damaging conduct is strong and persistent. You are not required to speak or sign anything, and any threat to you as a result of refusal is unlawful. You can ask for an attorney - the government is not required to provide one for you, but they must allow you to engage one yourself - and it is generally a good idea not to speak to ICE without an attorney present.

If Possible, Seek Bond: While grants of immigration bond have decreased since the advent of this administration, it is still possible in some cases to be granted bond and released from detention, especially if you have some claim to legal status. The minimum will usually be $1,500, though exact amounts will vary from case to case. If you are undocumented, it will be unlikely that you will be granted bond under this administration - historically, only flight risks were denied bond, but despite the incentives for undocumented people to attend their immigration hearings, the administration prefers to not risk matters.

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IL immigration lawyerA federal case out of California has interesting ramifications for the family and loved ones of immigrants - and quite possibly their attorneys! On December 4, 2018, the 9th Circuit overturned the convictions of one woman who was convicted of violating provisions of the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA) that made knowingly ‘encouraging’ or ‘inducing’ someone to enter the U.S. or remain in the U.S. without documentation a felony. The court held that the provision affected a range of free speech issues and was likely overbroad.

Relevant Provision Too Broad

The relevant section of the law states that it is unlawful to “encourage or induce” an alien to enter or reside in the U.S. without documentation if one is aware that their arrival/entry/residence in the country will be against the law. It was passed in 1985, during a revamping of the INA, and its initial intent was to punish alien smugglers and others who might try to suborn people into unlawful entry and residence, and any other malevolent actor who might try to convince aliens out of status to remain in the country when they ought to have departed.

The woman was working as an immigration consultant, and in that capacity, she had several clients for whom she helped obtain labor certifications. However, she did so under the impression that getting a labor certification was the first step toward seeking lawful permanent residency when, in reality, the program which allowed such an adjustment had expired in 2001. Thus, her work was held to “encourage or induce” undocumented aliens to come to or remain in the U.S., because they believed they could obtain permanent residency.

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IL immigration lawyerAs 2018 draws to a close, one can look back at the U.S. immigration system as it once existed and see very little remaining. While the system has never been perfect, many different changes have been instituted in 2018 which have failed to make the United States any safer, despite their stated aims. Inefficiency has persisted, and suffering has mushroomed. The people who have cases pending in the system have been put through far more than anyone should expect to endure. However, that perseverance does sometimes pay off - and for the sake of a better life, many continue to try.

“Zero Tolerance”

Despite the "sturm und drang" coming from immigration hardliners, anyone caught in the act of crossing the U.S. border without inspection is generally deported as quickly as possible, thanks to a policy called expedited removal which permits deportation without being allowed to see an immigration judge if someone is arrested within 100 miles of the U.S. border and has been in the U.S. for less than two weeks. Under the previous administration, Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) had a strict system of priorities when seeking to enforce detentions and removal orders - generally, those with convictions for aggravated felonies and crimes of moral turpitude were the migrants actively targeted by federal enforcement. Many undocumented people were allowed to remain if they had established ties to the country, paid their taxes, and had no criminal records, with federal might being used on those deemed a greater danger to U.S. national security.

The current administration has effectively curtailed, if not outright eliminated, the prosecutorial discretion that granted many of those “low risk” people, such as unaccompanied children and people with family ties, a reprieve from deportation. Anyone who crosses the border without documentation is seen as an interloper or invader, and is, according to its guidelines, entitled to no mercy. In recent weeks, the administration has even attempted to apply this ideology to refugees and asylum seekers with credible claims of future persecution, despite it being flagrantly against international law to deport someone back to a country where they have a credible chance of being persecuted or mistreated.

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