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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New Policy Proposal by Trump Administration Targets Legal Immigrants

A new policy proposal is expected to be released shortly by the Trump Administration that would make the process of obtaining citizenship or green cards more difficult for applicants that have used public benefits like the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Several news sites are reporting that the new policy is designed to limit naturalization for immigrants living legally in the U.S. Significantly, the proposed policy shift does not require congressional approval, because it would most likely be implemented through a redefinition of “public charge.” Under current immigration policy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) considers the likelihood that someone might become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence when determining admissibility. An individual that is likely to become dependent on the government is identified as a public charge, and is inadmissible for entry, or unable to adjust their status to become a lawful permanent resident.  Where a public charge historically identified individuals that would primarily depend on the government for public cash assistance and income maintenance or long-term institutionalization, the expected revisions would expand to include individuals and families that have used Obamacare, CHIP or SNAP. Prior […]
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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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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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New USCIS Policy Allows Adjudicators to Issue Denials Without RFE or NOID

On July 13, 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted a guidance document restoring an adjudicator’s ability to exercise discretion and deny applications, petitions or requests without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) should they include (1) insufficient initial evidence, or (2) evidence for which there is no legal basis for the benefit or request sought (statutory denial).  Insufficient Evidence Under the new policy, an adjudicator may deny an application for insufficient initial evidence if it (a) includes little or no supporting evidence, or (b) no official document is submitted, where the regulation, statute or form requires a submission. For example, an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864), if required, was not submitted with an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485). Statutory Denial The new policy also restores an adjudicator’s ability to deny an application where (a) there is no legal basis for the benefit/request sought, or (b) a request for a benefit/relief is submitted under a terminated program. Note: This Statutory Denial does not affect the (Request for Evidence) RFE and (Notice of Intent to Deny) NOID policies that apply to any case under litigation or […]
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Department of Homeland Security Publishes Goals to Ensure Security at the Northern Border

On June 12, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a document titled the DHS Northern Border Strategy. This document published findings of the assessment DHS conducted in 2017 regarding security issues and concerns at the U.S. border with Canada.  While DHS concluded that the Northern Border faced more limited threats compared to the Southern Border, there nevertheless remain some concerns. This document presents DHS’s three main goals, along with additional objectives and instructions that will help accomplish these goals. DHS aims to implement this plan in fiscal year 2020 and reexamine it every five years for updates. The Northern Border Strategy aims to safeguard the Northern Border against terrorist and criminal threats, facilitate the flow of lawful cross-border trade and travel and strengthen cross-border resilience. These efforts will be coordinated between federal, state, local, tribal and Canadian entities. DHS notes that the main concern at the Canadian border is the bi-directional flow of drugs, although there are other issues present such as active transnational criminal organizations (TCOs). The first goal presented in this document is to enhance security operations at the Canadian border. DHS proposes to accomplish this goal in several ways. First. The U.S. and Canada must […]
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