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San Jose Immigration Law Blog

Trump, in apparent violation of court order, extends asylum ban

In November, President Trump issued a ban on asylum for people who cross the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization. Under U.S. law, however, people can seek asylum at any location in the United States regardless of the method of their entry.

Shortly after the ban was announced, a federal district court judge issued a nationwide injunction preventing it from going into effect. The Trump administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene, but in a 5-4 vote, it refused to do so. That leaves the injunction in place while it is appealed in the normal way.

How does a highly educated immigrant work or study in the US?

Are you a highly skilled or educated person who wants to study or work in the United States?

Although recent developments may indicate that America is less than welcoming toward immigrants, the truth is that the U.S. welcomes more immigrants overall than any other economically advanced country.

For years, ICE ran a fake university to sting foreign students

The University of Farmington seemed like any American university. Its website said it offered both online and traditional instruction with a focus on working students. It claimed to be nationally accredited. Happy students were shown studying and sharing coffee. There was nothing suspicious about it from afar.

It turned out to be very suspicious. It was set up in 2015 as an ICE undercover sting operation. The idea was to catch international students who were less interested in getting an education than in getting documents to prove they were enrolled in a full-time program. Many of the students who sought out Farmington wanted a chance at curricular practical training, or CPT, a program where students can work while pursuing their degrees.

A look at the frustrating, growing backlog in immigration courts

Currently, there are over 800,000 immigration cases waiting to be resolved by U.S. immigration courts. A majority involve people seeking a chance to stay in the U.S. rather than being deported. And, although the case backlog has been growing for at least a decade, it has jumped by almost 50 percent since 2017, when President Trump took office. Now, the average time to complete an immigration court hearing is 578 days.

What circumstances and policies contribute to this historic backlog? The New York Times recently investigated the question.

Supreme Court takes no action to end DACA this year

It's only January, but the U.S. Supreme Court has already tabled any hearings on the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program until at least this fall. Assuming the court sticks to its usual practices, that likely means no decision would become available until 2020.

Practically, the high court's inaction means that DACA recipients are probably safe from any enforcement actions for the rest of this year, if not longer.

How to bring you spouse to the US as a lawful permanent resident

If you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder), your spouse may be eligible to join you in the U.S. and become a lawful permanent resident right away. This applies to both new and longer-term spouses from abroad.

How to apply depends on whether you are a citizen or green card holder and whether your spouse is currently abroad or legally inside the U.S. Here is a brief set of instructions on how to apply, although you should discuss your plans with an immigration attorney to ensure there are no unusual circumstances that could affect your application.

International student suspected of a crime? Get knowledgeable help

If you’re visiting the United States on an F-1, M-1 or J-1 visa, merely being accused of a crime could have serious consequences. Some programs expel people who are charged with crimes. If you are expelled, your program is required to report it to SEVIS within 21 days. Since you are required to be enrolled full-time in school or sponsored by a program, expulsion could result in revocation of your visa even if you are ultimately cleared of the crime.

Being charged with a crime causes further difficulties. You may be prohibited from leaving the U.S. until your criminal charges are resolved, and that might take years. To reinstate your travel privileges, you may be tempted to plead guilty, especially if the offense is a misdemeanor. No matter how minor it seems, you should never plead guilty to any crime without first consulting with an immigration attorney.

Who can visit the United States on a J-1 exchange visitor visa?

The J-1 exchange visitor visa allows a wide variety of people to visit the U.S. on a temporary, non-immigrant basis, including:

  • Exchange and international students
  • Research assistants
  • Au pairs
  • Camp counselors
  • Trainees
  • Interns
  • Specialists
  • Teachers
  • Professors and scholars
  • Graduate-level medical students
  • Physicians

Take the election into account in your answers to the civics test

If you are preparing for the naturalization test, you should keep in mind that some of the answers changed after the last election. You will be asked to name certain officials and elected representatives. You don't want to make a mistake and name an official who is no longer in office.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has provided this useful list of questions where the answers may have changed. Here are the answers or where to find the answer in your specific case.

Trump administration changes age for special immigrant juveniles

Special immigrant juvenile status is granted to unmarried immigrants under the age of 21 who are already in the U.S. and have an American juvenile court order taking them into the custody of a state agency or department.

That juvenile court order must specify that the person cannot be returned to one or both parents due to abuse, abandonment or neglect or the equivalent under state law and also that it is not in their best interest to be returned to their homeland. Once immigrants are granted special immigrant juvenile status, they are eligible to apply for a green card.

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