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San Jose Immigration Law Blog

Getting a green card through investing in a commercial enterprise

International investors seeking to move permanently to the U.S. may be able to do so through the EB-5 visa program. This program, which was created in 1990 to help stimulate the U.S. economy, gives investors a conditional green card if they contribute between $500,000 and $1,000,000 toward a new commercial enterprise which creates or preserves 10 qualifying full-time jobs.

How does the program work?

DHS issues final rule on what aid counts as a 'public charge'

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a proposal that would have impacted many immigrants seeking admission to the U.S., wishing to extend a nonimmigrant stay or applying for green cards. Immigrants engaging in those immigration activities are required to prove that they won't be an economic burden on American society -- a "public charge," as the law terms it. The DHS proposal sought to clarify which public benefits could count against immigrants trying to prove they won't be a public charge.

The final version of the rule is not as strict as the proposal we discussed before on this blog. The proposal included certain health insurance subsidies and participation in CHIP (the Children's Health Insurance Program) as evidence that the immigrant is a public charge. Those were removed from the final rule.

Alison Yew selected to 2018 Northern California Super Lawyers list

Alison Yew
Rated by Super Lawyers

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San Jose immigration law attorney Alison Yew has been selected to the 2018 Northern California Super Lawyers list, indicating that she is among the Top 5 percent of immigration attorneys in Northern California. Each year, the Super Lawyers list is developed as a result of peer nominations and independent research.

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service that helps potential clients select attorneys in more than 70 legal practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are determined using a patented, multiphase selection process that includes a statewide survey of attorneys, an independent research evaluation of the candidates, and reviews by peers in each candidate's practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

Federal court: Grants can't be withheld from sanctuary cities

The Trump administration's plan to withhold criminal justice grants from sanctuary jurisdictions has now been permanently blocked. Federal judges in Chicago, Philadelphia and now San Francisco have ruled that the Justice Department cannot place immigration-related conditions on the grants. Moreover, they struck down as unconstitutional a longstanding immigration law, Section 1373 of Title * of the U.S. Code, that appeared to support the administration's position.

"In agreement with every court that has looked at these issues, I find that: the challenged conditions violate the separation of powers; Section 1373 is unconstitutional; the Attorney General exceeds the Spending Power in violation of the United States Constitution by imposing the challenged conditions," wrote the judge in San Francisco.

DHS: Accepting public benefits will now weigh against immigrants

If you're applying for a green card, you probably already know that you have to prove you won't be an economic burden -- a "public charge" on American society. Recently, however, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new proposal that could make it harder for some immigrants to prove that.

Under the proposal, accepting certain public benefits above a specific threshold -- or having accepted them in the past -- would be "a heavily weighted negative factor" to be considered in green card applications and other immigration petitions.

Stricter policies and vetting slow military's immigrant recruiting

For 10 years, the U.S. military recruited immigrants with critical language skills to serve in exchange for a chance to become U.S. citizens. In 2016, however, the Trump administration put that program on hold, concerned about inadequate vetting and security threats. The Pentagon increased the level of vetting and had been planning on relaunching the program this fall. Unfortunately, barriers remain.

Over 10,000 immigrants have been recruited through the program, which is called Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program, or MAVNI. For 2019, Congress set a maximum of 1,000 annual recruits.

USCIS working to remove work authorization from H-4 visa

In August, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spoke at a Center for Immigration Studies event. The controversial think tank advocates for far less immigration being allowed in the U.S. At the event, the director said that a plan to end work authorizations for H-4 visa holders is still being worked on. Previously, the Department of Homeland Security had estimated it would stop offering the work authorizations in June.

H-4 visas are available to dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders. The H-1B visa is an employer-sponsored, non-immigrant visa for workers in specialty occupations, along with distinguished fashion models and people involved in certain projects for the Department of Defense. It is most commonly known for the specialty occupations use.

New policy allows USCIS to deny visas and green cards for errors

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently announced a significant policy change. In the past, when an application for a visa or lawful permanent resident status contained errors, the USCIS adjudicator would issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) or a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). This would notify the applicant of a deficiency in their application and give them a chance to address the problem before the application was officially denied.

A new policy went into effect on Sept. 11. Adjudicators can now simply deny applications without issuing an RFE or an NOID. They still have the authority to issue the warning notices, but they are no longer required to.

Wait to process citizenship application grows to a year or more

It's an unfortunate reality that the wait to have a U.S. citizenship application processed can be long. In past years, applications were processed in about four to six months, according to one Bay Area citizenship class instructor. Since the Trump administration began, that wait has grown to between 10 months and a year -- and longer in other big cities with large immigrant populations.

The problem could be ineffective government. Some groups suspect it's an intentional effort to limit the number of immigrant citizens -- a "second wall," if you will. The administration says the reason for the growing backlog is that many more people are now applying for U.S. citizenship.

USCIS offers special services for those affected by the wildfires

If you have been affected by the California wildfires this year, you may need immigration help. You may have missed an appointment, lost documents or run into other problems that could affect your immigration status. Don't panic. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides some special immigration services for people affected by unforeseen circumstances, and the California wildfires have been added to the list of covered events.

If you need immigration help due to the wildfires, we recommend contacting an experienced immigration lawyer at Yew Immigration Law Group. The special consideration being offered by the USCIS are only available upon request and will be provided on a discretionary basis. Therefore, it is important to make sure your request is presented properly and convincingly.

Yew Immigration Law Group, a P.C. | 1155 North First Street Suite 210 |San Jose, CA 95112 | Phone: 408-389-4764 | Map & Directions