U.S. Plans to Pay Mexico to Deport Undocumented Immigrants

The Trump administration recently sent a notice to Congress stating that it intends to use $20 million from foreign assistance funds to help Mexico pay for the deportation of as many as 17,000 undocumented immigrants. Under this program, Mexican authorities would detain undocumented immigrants present in Mexico, provide judicial process and potentially deport them, in compliance with Mexican and international law. U.S. funds would only pay for commercial airline tickets or charter flights and ground transportation.  According to the administration, this would take strain off the U.S. immigration system. This program would increase deportations of Central Americans traveling through Mexico on route to the U.S. Other unauthorized immigrants or known or suspected terrorists in Mexico would also be deported. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), this plan is intended to relieve immigration flows at the U.S. border with Mexico. The aim is to reduce the number of immigrants crossing the southwestern border by assisting the Mexican government in addressing and deterring illegal immigration. The hope is that substantial numbers of immigrants would be stopped in Mexico before they are able to reach the U.S. DHS cites a 38% percent increase in family apprehension at the Southern border as […]
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President Trump to Terminate NAFTA

The United States and Mexico have reached a preliminary trade agreement that is set to replace NAFTA. President Trump announced on Monday that he will be terminating the existing trade deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada and enter into a new deal with Mexico. According to Trump, it could end up being “one of the largest trade deals ever made.” The agreement includes new rules set to incentivize manufacturers to source goods and materials in North America. Amongst a number of new regulations, it will require 75 percent of auto content to be made in the United States and Mexico, an increase of about 13 percent from the current NAFTA regulations.  What about Canada? At the moment, the new trade deal is only between the U.S. and Mexico. Canada has been reluctant to join a new trilateral trade pact, but it has shown a continued interest in negotiating with the U.S. With that being said, the pressure is now on Canada to quickly resolve key differences that have ensnared negotiations between the two countries for months. Whether or not Canada joins the agreement has yet to be determined, but even if our neighbors to the north choose to opt […]
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Crucial Changes to Unlawful Presence Regulations

The Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) and the Foreign Affairs Handbooks (FAHs) are the comprehensive and authoritative sources for the U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) organization structures, policies and procedures. These resources convey codified information to DOS staff and contractors, so they can carry out their duties in accordance with statutory, executive and Department mandates. Recently the section of FAM discussing unlawful presence was revised. These revisions highlight the recent changes to F, J and M nonimmigrant visas and unlawful presence.  According to these updates, a foreign national would generally begin to accrue unlawful presence upon the first occurrence of any of the events described: when the foreign national entered the United States without inspection; the day after the expiration date marked on Form I-94 plus any extension or period of re-parole for aliens admitted until a specified date; the day after a foreign national’s period of authorized stay expires for an alien admitted in J, F or M status; the day after DHS denied a request for an immigration benefit for the applicant, if DHS made a formal finding that the alien violated his or her nonimmigrant status while adjudicating the request for an immigration benefit; or the day after […]
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Featured Client of the Month: Jim Armstrong

Berardi Immigration Law recently helped Jim Armstrong successfully apply for and obtain TN work authorization in order to work for a company in the United States. Jim reached out to Berardi Immigration Law following an offer of employment from Best Approach Publications, located in Arizona.  Before reaching out to Berardi Immigration Law, Jim contacted several other attorneys regarding his immigration matter. After his consult call, Jim immediately knew he wanted to work with the attorneys here at Berardi. He says, “Berardi was a breath of fresh air and as soon as I got off the phone following my initial consultation I knew I would be hiring them.” The structure and organization the entire staff provided made the entire process run efficiently, smoothly and without any surprises along the way.  After determining that TN work authorization was the best option for Jim based on his citizenship and previous work experience, his attorney took care of the entire process. Jim was more than thrilled with the assistance he received. “It became clear right away that this was a dedicated and highly efficient team that was prepared to listen to my needs, understand my case and provide the service required to assist me.” […]
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Delving Into Derivative Citizenship

Derivative citizenship is the term used to describe citizenship that is obtained by someone who is under the age of 18 whose parents naturalize. Obtaining citizenship in this manner is automatic. The requirements can vary depending on which year naturalization occurred.  Derivative citizenship is distinguishable from acquisition of citizenship. Acquisition of citizenship occurs when the child of a U.S. citizen born abroad gains citizenship, whereas derivative citizenship occurs when a parent of a foreign national minor naturalizes.  The regulations regarding derivative citizenship have altered significantly over the years. For example, the requirements in 1934 were significantly different from those in 1978. Determination of whether someone is eligible for derivative citizenship is based on the date of the last act. Currently, the Child Citizenship Act (CCA), which is included in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), governs law on the derivation of citizenship.  The CCA went into effect on February 27, 2001. This law is in effect for children born or adopted today or at any time since February 28, 1983. The current law allows foreign-born, biological and adopted children of U.S. citizens to obtain U.S. citizenship when they enter the U.S. as lawful permanent residents. In order for a child […]
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Thousands of Americans May Face Passport Denial for Unpaid Tax Debts

Americans born in the U.S. and naturalized Americans alike should take note that citizens who have significant overdue tax debt can be denied passports under a law passed by Congress in 2015. Under this law, the IRS and State Department are required to deny passports to Americans who owe more than $51,000 in overdue tax debt. As many as 362,000 Americans fall into this category, according to an IRS spokesperson. In February, the IRS began sending tens of thousands of relevant names to the State Department; the agency that reviews passport applications.  According to the State Department, violators who have not paid their debts prior to applying for a passport will have their application delayed or denied. The State Department has already denied passports under this enforcement. However, officials have stated that only applications for new or renewed passports are being denied. Although the State Department has the ability to, the passports of Americans with outstanding debt are not being revoked, as of yet. This enforcement could cause significant problems for Americans living abroad. According to a report issued by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), IRS systems often do not accommodate international addresses, which results in some […]
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AILA Policy Brief Summary on USCIS Notice to Appear Guidance Released

On July 17, 2018, AILA released “AILA Policy Brief: New USCIS Notice to Appear Guidance.” This document provides an overview of recent policy shifts regarding USCIS, as well as how this policy shift will impact immigrants in the U.S. On June 28, 2018, USCIS announced a new policy regarding the issuance of Notices to Appear (NTA). According to this new policy, NTAs will be issued if an applicant or beneficiary is not lawfully present at the time an application or petition is denied. NTAs are the charging documents that initiate removal proceedings. Various DHS personnel, including USCIS, ICE and CBP officers, have the authority to issue these documents and initiate removal proceedings. USCIS released a memorandum on July 5, 2018 that significantly altered DHS policy as to when USCIS, as opposed to ICE, will issue NTAs and expanded the categories of people who will be issued NTAs. Essentially, this mandates USCIS issuance of an NTA when an application or petition for immigration benefits is denied and the applicant or beneficiary is deemed removable. Most significantly, NTAs will now be issued in cases where the applicant, beneficiary or requestor is “not lawfully present” in the U.S. at the time of application, […]
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