At Goldstein & Scopellite, PC, our experienced attorneys take pride in maintaining a knowledge base of the changes that occur in the United States regarding our country’s immigration policy, the implementation of policies and guidelines, changes to case law, and changes to the law or administration of the law as these things affect our clients. In order to properly advise our clients, we must be on top of the immigration reform process so that we can offer our clients proper guidance and help them achieve the most successful result possible to their immigration process by recommending proper courses of action. Please contact one of the experienced Goldstein & Scopellite, PC Tucson, Arizona, immigration lawyers for answers as to how our country’s recent immigration reform may affect you or benefit you and your family.
Recently, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which includes U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has changed their approach in policy and in the enforcement of regulations by allowing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), illegal presence waivers in the U.S., limiting removal and immigration proceedings against individuals and in processing and approving family or work related petition cases.
And these policy changes can be important to your case for as recently as June 2015, the current administration advised that there will be no changes to the immigration law this year and before any election.
The current federal law governing our immigration process in the United States is the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Over the past few years, the House of Representatives and the Senate have introduced immigration bills intending to replace the current INA. However, these bills have not been introduced as law, and as stated above, it will take the efforts from the next administration in order to affect any change.
Due to the increasing concerns of our country over the immigration movement and issues, both the Democrat and the Republican parties are beginning to recognize and acknowledge the importance of immigration reform, which includes addressing immigration issues in order to avoid losing votes. And although no new law may be passed, upcoming elections are likely to reflect the growing trend of immigration consciousness.
By and large, the Obama administration is showing now, in contradiction to its earlier actions, an attitude that prefers keeping illegal immigrants in the United States rather than removing or deporting them. This change in attitude toward immigration has provided a variety of options for immigrants seeking deferred action, administrative closure or termination of removal proceedings, and visa benefits in the removal process.
In the past, DHS, USCIS and ICE pursued immigration consequences for conviction of any crime, including fraud, theft and other non-violent crimes such as domestic violence. The recent change in the immigration policy consists of refusing to prosecute these types of cases, or terminating ongoing cases, unless the crime is one involving a serious or an aggravated felony. These governmental agencies are now allowing individuals who have up to three misdemeanors to remain in the United States, without facing immigration consequences so long as those crimes are not considered serious. Many citizen and law abiding legal residents and non-immigrants have a problem with this, including family members who have had loved ones previously removed for less.
DHS, USCIS and ICE is also allowing work authorization and the right to remain in the United States for over a half million individuals through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process, rather than pursuing deportation against these individuals who remain in the U.S. illegally and with no legal status due to an illegal entry or overstay.
Non-U.S. citizen spouses, parents, siblings and unmarried minor children of U.S. citizens who are (or were) members of the military, and who have previously entered the United States illegally, are now allowed to adjust their immigration status and seek an immigrant visa or green card without leaving the United States through the Parole in Place program. The family member can also be paroled into the United States and then legalized.
This program allows people to avoid the tension and anxiety that accompanied the previous process in which non-U.S. citizens would be required to leave the United States in order to apply for their green card, by now allowing them to remain in the United States during this process.
In addition to this, for non-military members, the illegal presence I-601 waivers based on extreme hardship can now be processed in the United States rather than requiring the person to return to his or her home country for up to 10 years for processing.
While there is a growing trend to legitimize illegal immigrants and avoid deportation from the United States, there is also an increased diligence in protecting our national borders.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is now using monitors, cameras, detectors, and a large fleet of drones to police the movement of illegal immigrants into the United States.
If you have questions about immigration reform, please contact the immigration lawyers at Goldstein & Scopellite, PC our Tucson, Arizona office at 520-365-3185. You may also contact us by email.