Immigration Blog

President Obama has passed new immigration laws!

Today, President Obama made several notable changes to immigration law which could affect as many as 5 million persons in the United States. The most notable change is that parents of U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident children will be allowed to receive work authorization and deferred status for 3 years! Also, there will be changes to deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) which will change certain requirements to allow more persons to be eligible.

Picking the Right Immigration Lawyer for You

Will this lawyer fight for me in deportation court if I hire him? Is he telling me things I want to hear so I will hire him? Will the attorney do my immigration paperwork properly and timely? Does he just want my money? These are all questions that you have probably asked yourself at some point and for good reason.

The more I meet with clients from other countries, I realized that many clients make wrong decisions for financial reasons or bad judgment. I am writing this post so hopefully people make better choice in the attorneys they choose to represent them. This applies to those seeking immigration attorneys or other lawyer in different fields of law. Recently, I had a consult with a prospective client who had hired an attorney without much immigration experience. Her reason for picking the attorney was because "he was the only one I could afford." The lawyer's action resulted in her being unable to see her husband and daughter for over a year. Unfortunately, the inexperience immigration lawyer could have kept the whole family together in the United States had she been familiar with the immigration laws.

Same sex partners are granted the same immigration rights as heterosexual couples

Our law firm is proud to announce that our Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) whereby affording gay and lesbian partners to receive the same federal health, social security, tax, immigration, and other benefits that heterosexual couples receive.

In the upcoming days or weeks, U.S. citizen same sex partners will be allowed to apply for gay or lesbian partner to receive permanent resident cards (green cards).

Padilla v. Kentucky is NOT retroactive

Recently, in Chaidez v. United States, our Supreme Court has ruled that Padilla may NOT be applied retroactively. In 2010, the Supreme Court in Padilla found that an ineffective assistance of counsel claim under the Sixth Amendment could be based on failure to inform a criminal defendant of the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction prior to entering into a plea agreement. This landmark case allowed many immigrants to overturn plea agreements they agreed to yet were unaware of the immigration consequences in agreeing to the plea terms. For a couple of years, many states were divided on whether Padilla could be applied retroactively (for plea agreements prior to 2010). Regrettably, the Supreme Court concluded that Padilla should not be applied retroactively.

Click here to read more about the Chaidez decision and its effect on Padilla cases.

First stateside I-601 extreme hardship waiver has been approved!

Think Immigration is proud to announce that our first stateside I-601 waiver has been approved. On March 4, 2013, new immigration laws passed that allowed many immigrants to file I-601 extreme hardship waivers within the United States. This allowed many individuals to apply for extreme hardship waivers (I-601) with less fear of being stuck at a consulate outside the United States. Please note that this stateside waiver only applies to persons who accrued unlawful presence in the United States without authorization. It specifically does not include waivers for any criminal convictions.

For more information on I-601A stateside processing, please visit this previous waiver blog post.

Violence against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization

President Obama has signed the reauthorization of the VAWA Act allowing women who have been abused, beaten or subject to sexual assault to obtain immigration status. Among the requirements, VAWA victims are required to prove that he or she is the spouse or child of an abusive U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident. The first VAWA Act was enacted in 1994. The reauthorization of the VAWA Act now covers gay couples and Native American women. As Obama remarked, "all women deserve the right to live free from fear." We agree.

Click here to read more about the Violence against Women Act (VAWA) Act.

Obama's Proposal for New Immigration Law Changes!

As you may already be aware, we are expecting comprehensive immigration reform law this year. President Obama has repeatedly stressed the need for immigration reform and several senators are working to pass an immigration reform bill. These immigration reforms may lead to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of immigrants in obtaining legal status by paying a fine and paying back taxes and an eventual pathway to citizenship. Further, persons eligible under the Dream Act may also be able to obtain Permanent Resident status. Although the bill is in preliminary stages, we are hopeful an immigration reform bill will be passed this year.

Click here to read more about the anticipated changes under the new immigration reform laws.

Stateside Processing of I-601A Waivers (Extreme Hardship)

Beginning on March 4, 2013, certain relatives of U.S. Citizens who entered illegally in the United States will be allowed to file a provisional waiver before leaving the United States. Under current law, immigrants who entered the country illegally must complete his or her immigration process abroad at a U.S. consulate. This applies to immigrants who married U.S. Citizen spouses and those who are sponsored by his or her U.S. child among other family categories. Unfortunately, upon leaving the United States, many immigrants trigger an automatic bar from entering the for up to ten (10) years for their unlawful presence.

Click here to read more about the I-601A stateside waiver (extreme hardship).

THINK Immigration's First Deferred Action case is Approved!

Our Client, a recent high school graduate, has been approved for Deferred Action with Employment Authorization. We hope this is the first of many Deferred Action Approvals!

A Win for THINK Immigration!

Recently, our Client, a permanent resident from Mexico, was placed in deportation proceedings for possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and multiple DUIs. After a hearing in front of an Immigration Judge, our Client was granted relief in the form of Cancellation of Removal and allowed to maintain his permanent resident status. The Immigration Judge found that our Client had significant family ties to the United States through his family members and rehabilitation for his prior actions.

Deferred Action (childhood arrivals) is Here!

As an immigration attorney and an advocate for immigrants, I am happy to announce that many immigrants will be eligible for Obama's administration Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. We have created a page dedicated to Deferred, so please visit our Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) page