The President’s executive reforms to the U.S. immigration system make a number of very positive changes that have the potential to help millions of people. Although we have written about various components of the reforms individually, we have summarized six major portions here in one place. Benach Collopy will be offering several free community meetings throughout December and will be offering reduced fee consultations for people who may benefit from these reforms.
Another positive development included in the President’s administrative reforms to U.S. immigration laws is the proposed expansion of the provisional waiver program, which the President initiated in 2013. The provisional waiver, as initially introduced allowed the spouses and children of U.S. citizens to seek a waiver of inadmissibility for the three and ten year bars due to unlawful presence to seek a waiver in the U.S.
Nearly two years since the announcement of the provisional waiver of inadmissibility, known as the I-601A extreme hardship waiver, we have learned quite a bit about the people that need this waiver and the way the government is processing them. Here are the top five things we have learned: The process has transformed lives. We have witnessed families emerge from desperation and hopelessness to seize the opportunity to take charge of their lives.
Sometimes we really struggle on picking a single client of the month, but this was an easy one. Our clients of the month for June 2014 are Antonio and Alexis Pereira, who just returned from Brazil where Antonio received his immigrant visa, after over a decade of living without status in the U.S. Antonio was the first BR client to receive an immigrant visa under the I-601A provisional waiver program, which allowed people to seek waivers of inadmissibility due to unlawful presence prior to departing for their home country.
First, let us state outright: the inclusion of this Motley Crue video was done only at the suggestion of the client. Benach Collopy is not, and never has been, a fan of Motley Crue. But, as dedicated counselors, we will tolerate hair metal for the needs of the client. We are happy to report that today we received our first visa at a U.S. Embassy abroad for an individual who required an I-601A provisional waiver.
Our Client of the Month for May 2014 is Francisco Nuñez Villegas. Francisco recently became a United States citizen after a seven-year emotional roller coaster ride, filled with both highs and lows and exciting and frightening moments. Francisco’s story is a story of love and family unity. It begins back in December of 2002, when he was still living in his native Mexico. That is when he met and fell in love with Melissa, an American student who was visiting Mexico during Christmas break.
A couple of months ago, I got to enjoy my fifteen minutes of fame when my client became the poster child for problems caused for immigrants in immigration court by the government shutdown. I wrote a blog piece, wrote another for the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association and, next thing I know, I am speaking to Robert Siegel of NPR’s All Things Considered and people I have not heard from in decades called me to say they heard me on the radio.
From across the pond comes word now that Nigella Lawson, she of the cookbook and lifestyle empire, has been denied admission to the United States, due to reports of her testimony regarding her use of cocaine and marijuana. Now, Nigella Lawson has never been convicted of illegal drug possession or distribution. So what gives? Well, what appears to have happened is that Ms. Lawson was determined to be inadmissible to the United States because she may have “admitt[ed] to having committed .
Today, the US Citizenship & Immigration Service announced a fix to one of the more serious problems with the provisional waiver process for unlawful presence. As you may know, the CIS instituted the I-601A provisional waiver process last year to allow immigrants who are immediate relatives of U.S. citizens but are also ineligible to seek residence in the U.S. due to unlawful entry to seek a provisional waiver of inadmissibility in anticipation of seeking a visa at the U.S.
We have written on this page before about the absurd over-inclusiveness of the ground of inadmissibility for “material support” for terrorism. This net barred Nelson Mandela from entering the U.S. without a waiver until 2008 and still bars 3000 refugees from the Iranian regime whose lives are at risk in Camp Liberty in Iraq from being resettled in the U.S. as promised by the U.S. government. Moreover, hundreds, if not thousands, of others have had their applications for asylum, adjustment of status, or refugee admission placed on hold for allegations that they provided material support for terrorism by engaging in minor activities, such as distributing political leaflets, cooking food or distributing water, which the government has deemed to constitute material support of terrorism.