I am in Madrid for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Rome District Chapter spring conference. Over the course of two intense days, presenters have discussed such timely topics as the travel ban and waivers, interviews for employment-based adjustment cases, increased incidences of administrative processing, general issues regarding "extreme vetting," as well as always relevant topics such as “must-haves” for a successful E-1 and E-2 application. Earlier today we even got a tour of the US Embassy in Madrid. (Sadly, they didn't let us take pictures.) Attending these conferences is an excellent way for immigration practitioners such as myself to hear the latest tips and strategies and stay up-to-date on developments in the immigration law world. Now let's have some jamon ibérico!
Anyone watching the US political debates or the news over the last year probably heard much discussion about NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, which when enacted into law in 1993 created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada, and Mexico. But not many people realize that NATFA created a special nonimmigrant visa category for Canadians and Mexicans to come to the US to work in professional-level jobs. That nonimmigrant visa is called the TN. The “T” and “N” of TN stands for Trade NAFTA. The TN permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens with a job offer from a US employer to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in professional business activities.Read More
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced last week that the agency will now be accepting credit card payments for forms filed and processed at USCIS Lockbox facilities. This new payment option is available for forty-one fee based forms, including most forms for both marriage-based green cards and employment-based green cards, as well as citizenship applications. Examples of these forms include Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-131 Application for Travel Document, Form I-140 Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, Form I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, and Form N-400 Application for Naturalization.Read More
It's the Lunar New Year! Today marks the first day of the Lunar New Year celebrations for millions across the world and ushers in the Year of the Dog. Those born in the Year of the Dog, the eleventh of all zodiac animals, are known for being "independent, sincere, communicative and loyal." Revelers have many chances to celebrate the Lunar New Year in New York City, from firecrackers tonight in Lower Manhattan to fireside stories at Prospect Park to the annual parade on February 25, where floats, lion dancers, and drummers march through Chinatown as confetti streams everywhere. Happy Lunar New Year to all!
Growing up in the Moscow region of Russia in the late 1980s and the 1990s, I don’t quite remember the Soviet times—but I do remember perestroika (“rebuilding”) and the aftermath of the Soviet Union collapsing. I remember standing in long lines to buy bread and bringing a milk can to be filled from a truck that came to my town on certain days of the week from a nearby farm.Read More
President Trump signed a national security presidential memorandum last week that will establish a “National Vetting Center” to “identify potential threats to national security, border security, homeland security, and public safety.” The National Vetting Center will be run by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), together with the Justice Department, the State Department, and other intelligence agencies. These agencies must establish the center in six months, with no additional funding.Read More
In honor of Black History Month, Identity features works in fiber by nine artists that explore imagery of people of the African Diaspora. The exhibit, curated by Michelle Bishop of Harlem Needle Arts and presented with the NYC Parks Ebony Society, which has helped organize the annual Black History Month exhibition at the Arsenal Gallery since 1991, presents pieces in a variety of media including embroidery, soft sculpture, quilt, and mixed media. I especially loved the inventive embroidery pieces by Krystle Collins. Located at the Arsenal building at 5th Avenue and 64th Street, the pieces have "elements of swag, spirituality, icons, music, and social justice" and "the works illustrate self-awareness, identify, motivation, and varying backgrounds and traditions that govern the artists’ lives." The exhibit is on display through February 23, 2018.
It’s a common scene in any episode of Law & Order: the detective puts the suspect’s wrists in handcuffs while reciting: “You have the right to remain silent, anything you do or say can be used against you in a court of law; you have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you.” (Emphasis mine.) The recognizable “DUN DUN” then gongs as the show goes to a commercial break. It’d be natural to assume, then, that people in all kinds of legal proceedings should have an attorney provided to them, regardless of their ability to pay. In immigration court, however, this is not always the case, as a recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made clear.Read More