I limit my legal practice to immigration and visa law. My experiences with the U. S. Immigration System began just after 1990. I observed as my U. S. Citizen father in law struggled to reunite with his daughter, who was a physician in Manila. As a result, I eventually joined the American Immigration Lawyers Association in 1993.
It took her twelve years to wait in line for a family based visa due to the significant reduction in lawful immigration visas ordered by Congress in 1990. One year after she was lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, her U. S. Citizen stepmother passed away.
Yet, there were more challenges for our family. As each question was asked, I became more disappointed with the answers. Newer laws made many previously lawful applicants both frustrated and ineligible to immigrate. These newer laws often create emotional disasters for their U.S. Citizen spouses and children.
Not everyone who marries a U. S. Citizen can qualify to lawfully stay in the U.S. In fact, all foreigners must have their American family member file a petition to seek permanent resident status. Many do not realize that they are not U. S. Citizens simply by marrying an U. S. Citizen.
Congress has created a legal inferno that causes U. S. Citizens to crash, burn out, and too often break the law to keep families together. Some Citizens simply choose divorce after trying to emigrate or later learning that marrying a U. S. Citizen will not always lead to a green card. Many don’t qualify.
The frustration, heartbreak, and disappointment with U. S. immigration laws is legendary to the immigration legal community. Yet few publicly complain out of fear, since many remain in the U. S. Instead, the wait for some sort of legalization, which has yet to come for more than 20 years.
Many want to know, How much should an attorney charge for an appointment? Should it be for free? How much time should an attorney spend to explain whether they should take action? Well, the public, among others, has been known to accidentally file for unqualified applicants; this can get them deported. The current term is “removed” from the United States.
In addition, the U.S. Immigration and Naturlization Service now known as U.S.C.I.S. has misplaced files, delayed processing, and makes questionable decisions with or without an applicant’s knowledge. Some applicants don’t know what is going on and the Information Officers are not always in a position to tell them based upon my experience.
There are quite a few unknown factors that most potential frugal clients fail to appreciate. Many need to know why they ‘should not’ file an application or allow and attorney to spend less time figuring it out. This may need to be done, even if they have to pay an attorney for their experienced effort and time.
Some U.S. Citizens may want to consider living abroad with their foreign spouses. Many foreigners can be deported or found ineligible for what seem like minor crimes. Those who misrepresent or violate civil immigration laws can also have challenges.
Many want to know how long it will take? The U. S. Citizenship posts processing times. However, these dates are based upon the number of pending applications prior to the current date. The complexity of the current backlog can create undetermined delay as well as the number of examiners available at the District Office. The processing times do not consider unresolved ‘name checks’ or ‘discretionary delays’ due to unresolved concerns. There are also bars to immigration that require additional applications and processing delays.
An underfunded U. S.C.IS. has taken years to reasonably process more challenging applications based upon understaffing. If a F.B.I. name check cannot be completed to the satisfaction of the Bureau, and too often they do, then the application remains pending. Perhaps, the examiner hopes for a divorce or some other incident to disqualify what appears on the surface to be an unconventional marriage.
Many applicants may file inquiries or may take extreme action in Federal Court to get the Government to do its job on the infamous ‘pending name check.’
This blog supplements our website and provides news on pending issues that are important to our clients. Many of our clients are before immigration court, family based immigration, or citizenship issues. We also file lawsuits against the Government, when the U.S.C.I.S. unreasonably delays a decision.