Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’

2nd July 2013

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a statement regarding the implementation of policies regarding adjudication of immigration petitions for same-sex bi-national married couples. To quote directly from the official website of DHS:

“After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly.  To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.”

This statement is a significant moment in the long fight for equal immigration rights for same-sex couples. In order to provide further information regarding these developments the DHS has posted some frequently asked questions on the same page as the aforementioned quotation. These FAQ’s are quoted below:

Q1:  I am a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident in a same-sex marriage to a foreign national.  Can I now sponsor my spouse for a family-based immigrant visa?

A1: Yes, you can file the petition. You may file a Form I-130 (and any applicable accompanying application). Your eligibility to petition for your spouse, and your spouse’s admissibility as an immigrant at the immigration visa application or adjustment of status stage, will be determined according to applicable immigration law and will not be automatically denied as a result of the same-sex nature of your marriage.

Clearly, the United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident same sex spouse of a foreign national can now submit an I-130 petition for Lawful Permanent Residence (also known as “Green Card” status) for their husband or wife. In fact, it would appear that a same-sex couple in Florida was recently granted immigration benefits for the same-sex spouse. This would especially be true in a case where the couple not only was married in State recognizing same-sex marriage, but also resides in that same State or another of the 13 States which recognize such unions. An issue which is, as of yet, not so clearly delineated hinges upon a situation in which a same-sex married couple has married in a State which recognizes same-sex marriage (and performs them), but resides in a State which does not recognize such unions. To shed further light upon this issue it is necessary to quote again from the same DHS webpage, quoted above, regarding this issue:

Q2:  My spouse and I were married in a U.S. state that recognizes same-sex marriage, but we live in a state that does not.  Can I file an immigrant visa petition for my spouse?

A2: Yes, you can file the petition.  In evaluating the petition, as a general matter, USCIS looks to the law of the place where the marriage took place when determining whether it is valid for immigration law purposes. That general rule is subject to some limited exceptions under which federal immigration agencies historically have considered the law of the state of residence in addition to the law of the state of celebration of the marriage. Whether those exceptions apply may depend on individual, fact-specific circumstances. If necessary, we may provide further guidance on this question going forward.

For those wishing to visit the official website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to learn more please click HERE.

For those unfamiliar with the recent Supreme Court decision striking down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) it should be pointed out that the Supreme Court’s decision did not impact section 2 of DOMA which reads as follows:

No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.

Therefore, notwithstanding the fact that there are some who argue that section 2 of DOMA violates the provisions of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution, no Court ruling nor Act of Congress has repealed section 2 of DOMA and, in the words of the DHS website itself, in those “fact-specific” situations in which Section 2 of DOMA may be relevant the provisions of Section 2 could prove detrimental to a same-sex bi-national couple. That being said, according to the DHS website, a petition could still be filed and it would be adjudicated accordingly.

One final point to ponder on this issue is the K-1 visa. Under current United States Immigration law it is possible for an American Citizen to apply for a Fiance Visa, also known as the K-1 visa, for a foreign fiance residing abroad, so long as the couple intends to marry in the United States within 90 days of the foreign fiance’s arrival (other regulations apply to K-1 visa holders, but for the purposes of this analysis they are not necessarily relevant). If a same-sex couple, who are not yet legally married, wishes to obtain a K-1 visa based upon their intention to wed in the United States, then it could be inferred from the DHS Secretary’s statement that they might be adjudicated in the same manner as the same petition for a different-sex couple. However, this should not be viewed as a foregone conclusion because the statements quoted above only pertain specifically to couples who are already married. Neither the Court, nor the DHS, have specifically dealt with the question of those same-sex couples who wish to seek a K1 visa based upon an intention to marry in the USA. It could be inferred from the Court’s opinion in United States v. Windsor that those same-sex couples with the intention to marry in a jurisdiction where same-sex unions are recognized should be granted the same treatment as those different-sex couples in similar circumstances; but the issue has yet to be clearly adjudicated and therefore no completely clear answer arises.

Meanwhile, one significant question remains: based upon the above information how will USCIS adjudicate K-1 visa applications for same-sex couples who wish to travel to the United States to marry in a State which recognizes same-sex marriage, but reside in a State which does not? Hopefully the answer to this question will come soon. Until then it would appear that although DHS clearly intends to adjudicate same-sex married couples’ petitions for immigration benefits in the same way as different-sex couples; it remains to be seen how same sex fiances will be treated in the eyes of U.S. Immigration law.

For information on immigrant visas please see: CR-1 Visa or  IR-1 Visa.

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17th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that a former officer at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has been sentenced in connection to charges stemming from apparent corruption. In order to provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (USICE, although sometimes colloquially referred to as ICE) website, ICE.gov:

LOS ANGELES — A former supervisor with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and his son were sentenced Thursday on federal corruption charges to 60 months and 48 months in prison, respectively, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General. Fernando Jacobs, 72, of Upland, Calif., and his son, Patrick Jacobs, 44, of Ontario, Calif., were sentenced by U.S. District Judge George H. King. Judge King also ordered Fernando Jacobs to pay a $30,000 fine. Fernando Jacobs was remanded into custody to begin serving his prison sentence immediately. Patrick Jacobs has been in custody since his arrest in December 2009. Fernando Jacobs, who was a supervisory immigration services officer with USCIS, and Patrick Jacobs were convicted by a jury of conspiracy, bribery and honest services wire fraud. Additionally, Fernando Jacobs was also convicted of visa fraud. The evidence presented during the two-week trial in U.S. District Court in April showed the elder Jacobs accepted bribes in exchange for helping aliens seeking status in the United States and that his son acted as a middleman brokering deals with those individuals. “The significance of public corruption cases like this cannot be overestimated,” said U.S. Attorney André Birotte, Jr. “The American public demands honest government service and the Department of Justice is committed to policing government and preserving the public trust.” The evidence showed the elder Jacobs and his son engaged in a scheme to defraud USCIS of Fernando Jacobs’ honest services, using his authority and official position to enrich themselves by receiving payments in return for various actions…

The administration of this web log encourages readers to click upon those relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn further details from this interesting article.

It has always been this blogger’s experience that officers of the USCIS are upright, hardworking, and forthright individuals; but notwithstanding this fact there are instances where corruption can exist in any organization. Therefore, it is a genuine relief to see prompt action to discourage this behavior while simultaneously seeing that those engaged in illegal activity are brought to justice. Hopefully further efforts will yield more efficient and effective government in the future as such factors could result in more efficient and faster processing times for adjudication of bona fide immigration petitions and applications.

In news pertaining to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), it recently came to this blogger’s attention that China considers engagement with ASEAN in the future as both important and strategic. To provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the online Asia Times website, ATimes.com:

Under its “good neighbors policy”, Beijing naturally considers improving relations with ASEAN an important strategic task. China has built up a strategic partnership with the 10-member ASEAN since 2003, and also with some of its members, one after another…

This article was also very noteworthy to this blogger because it highlighted some interesting issues arising in ASEAN and the future of the geopolitical situation in said region. The author, “an Assistant Professor of the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University,” Dr Jian Junbo, provides fascinating insights into the possible role of China in the Asia-Pacific region in the coming years:

China should help ensure regional public security with its growing military capability. Beijing should be broader-minded than its neighbors in regard to the use of its military to maintain regional stability by fighting piracy, terrorism and other international crimes in the Pacific Ocean. Instead of flexing its military muscle in territorial disputes, China should encourage political, economic and cultural integration in East and Southeast Asia. All in all, China should reshape its Asia strategy with an aim to functioning as a stabilizing force, while maintaining its strategy to keep a balance with the influence of the US in this region…

This blogger strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this incisive article in detail.

As economic and cultural integration increases in ASEAN, the so-called BRICS countries, the Asia-Pacific region, and the United States of America it stands to reason that further economic development will occur exponentially as a result of the current economic “cross-pollination” phenomenon which is happening at a rather rapid rate in the Pacific compared to roughly 10 years ago. As the economies of Greater Asia continue to prosper there are some who could argue that many financial and economic benefits will be accrued to the benefit of all concerned.

– Benjamin Walter Hart

For information about registering a company in America please see: US Company Registration.

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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10th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Department of Homeland Security‘s United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is apparently compelling an Australian man, who is currently a partner in a same sex marriage with an American Citizen, to depart the USA. In order to provide further clarity on this situation it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of the San Fransisco Chronicle, SFGate.com:

Citing the Defense of Marriage Act, the Obama administration denied immigration benefits to a married gay couple from San Francisco and ordered the expulsion of a man who is the primary caregiver to his AIDS-afflicted spouse. Bradford Wells, a U.S. citizen, and Anthony John Makk, a citizen of Australia, were married seven years ago in Massachusetts. They have lived together 19 years, mostly in an apartment in the Castro district. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denied Makk’s application to be considered for permanent residency as a spouse of an American citizen, citing the 1996 law that denies all federal benefits to same-sex couples. The decision was issued July 26. Immigration Equality, a gay-rights group that is working with the couple, received the notice Friday and made it public Monday. Makk was ordered to depart the United States by Aug. 25. Makk is the sole caregiver for Wells, who has severe health problems…

The administration of this web log encourages interested readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn further details from this interesting story.

Frequent readers of this web log may recall that the provisions of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) preclude the federal government from recognizing a same sex marriage for purposes of distributing federal benefits. Therefore, same sex bi-national couples cannot acquire the same travel documents and visa benefits (such as the K-1 visa, CR-1 visa, or an IR-1 visa) as a different-sex couple notwithstanding the fact that the couple may be legally married in one of the State jurisdictions which legalize and/or solemnize such unions. It should be noted that legislation such as Representative Jerrold Nadler‘s Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) or the Respect for Marriage Act would rectify this situation to one degree or another. As of the time of this writing it remains to be seen whether this legislation will ultimately see enactment.

Meanwhile, in news of further interest to those who follow immigration matters; it recently came to this blogger’s attention that DHS has issued an announcement regarding a nationwide program to be administered by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (USICE, sometimes colloquially referred to as ICE). To provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of the Washington Times, WashingtonTimes.com:

The District could be forced to participate in an immigration-enforcement program now that the federal government has issued a letter to states that voided their participation agreements and emphasized the program’s mandatory nature. The Department of Homeland Security sent the letter last week to governors of 39 states, including Maryland and Virginia, after three states expressed interest in opting out of their contracts with the federal Secure Communities program. The program allows U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to access fingerprints collected by state and local law enforcement and shared with the FBI. It was started in 2008 and has helped ICE identify and deport more than 86,000 convicted criminal aliens. “This is to avoid any further confusion,” ICE spokeswoman Nicole Navas said Monday. “We’ve made it clear. There’s no opting out.” DHS voided the agreements to clarify that they essentially served no purpose, and that states are required to remain in the program. Federal officials no longer will seek agreement with newly enrolled states and jurisdictions, and will simply notify them when they plan to implement the program…

This blogger asks readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

Matters pertaining to immigration can be difficult to understand especially in the context of the United States Constitution since many of the immigration-related powers of the American Legislature and Executive are plenary in nature. How such powers interact with States’ Rights can be difficult to ascertain as the legal principles involved can be quite subtle. In any case, the ultimate resolution of this issue remains to be seen. Hopefully, a solution will present itself which will prove amenable for all concerned.

For information related to United States immigration from Thailand please see: Legal.

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3rd August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is taking steps to encourage entrepreneurial immigration to the United States of America. In order to provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of the DHS, DHS.gov:

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas today outlined a series of policy, operational, and outreach efforts to fuel the nation’s economy and stimulate investment by attracting foreign entrepreneurial talent of exceptional ability or who otherwise can create jobs, form startup companies, and invest capital in areas of high unemployment. “The United States must continue to attract the best and brightest from around the world to invest their talents, skills, and ideas to grow our economy and create American jobs,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Today’s announcements will help our nation fully realize the potential of existing immigration laws.” “Current immigration laws support foreign talent who will invest their capital, create new jobs for American workers, and dedicate their exceptional talent to the growth of our nation’s economy,” said Director Mayorkas. “USCIS is dedicated to ensuring that the potential of our immigration laws is fully realized, and the initiatives we announce today are an important step forward.” These actions mark the six-month anniversary of Startup America, a White House-led initiative to reduce barriers and accelerate growth for America’s job-creating entrepreneurs…

The administration of this web log asks readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks above in order to read this article in detail.

In previous postings on this blog it has been noted that travel documents such as the EB-5 visa can be a satisfactory tool for those wishing to travel to the United States for the purposes of investing and residence. It should be noted that there are other employment based visa categories such as the EB-2 visa, the EB-3 visa, the EB-1 visa, and the EB-4 visa which may be used by individuals who find themselves in differing factual circumstances. Meanwhile, visas such as the L-1 visa and the E-2 visa are often used by non-immigrants who wish to travel to the United States of America for the purpose of either undertaking specialized employment or investing in a small business therein. That stated, those seeking immigration benefits are well advised to contact an American immigration lawyer since issues associated with American immigration can be legally complex and the process can sometimes prove cumbersome for those unaccustomed to dealing with matters pending before various agencies within the American federal bureaucracy.

In news pertaining to the continuing struggle for LGBT Equality, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that an attorney for the United States government has filed a response in a case involving a New York woman suing the government to have her same sex marriage recognized. To quote directly from a posting by Mark Hamblett for the New York Law Journal on the website Law.com:

Congress has fired back in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act’s definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. In a motion to dismiss in the Southern District, former solicitor general Paul D. Clement and his legal team argue that the act, 1 U.S.C. §7, is entitled to a presumption of constitutionality, and that U.S. Supreme Court precedent holds that an exclusively heterosexual definition of marriage does not offend the equal protection clause. The motion came in Windsor v. United States, 10-cv-8435, which was brought by Edith Schlain Windsor…In his papers yesterday, Mr. Clement said that rational basis review, not heightened scrutiny, is the appropriate standard in judging the constitutionality of the statute and §3 “easily” passes that less exacting standard. In support of that view, he argues that DOMA does not infringe on the fundamental right to marriage, that “same-sex marriage is not a fundamental right” and that “DOMA implicates federal benefits, not the right of same-sex couples to marry.” Under the rational basis test, Mr. Clement said, Congress could have acted rationally “in the face of the unknown consequences of a proposed novel redefinition of the foundational social institution,” and it could have acted rationally to “protect the public fisc” in the balance it strikes in allocating federal burdens and benefits, and providing “consistency in eligibility for federal benefits based on marital status.” Congress also could have acted rationally “to avoid creating a social understanding that begetting and rearing children is not inextricably bound up with marriage” and to “foster marriages that provide children with parents of both sexes.”

This blogger recommends that readers click upon the hyperlinks above to read this article in detail as it is very enlightening about this case and the issues associated therewith.

The case noted above is interesting insofar as the underlying same sex marriage appears to have been legalized in Canada as opposed to another United States jurisdiction. How this fact will color a final adjudication remains to be seen, but it could have an adverse impact upon the outcome of the case as Full Faith and Credit issues pursuant to the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution may not be relevant under the circumstances. Frequent readers may recall that in an immigration context the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” precludes immigration benefits such as the K-1 visa, the CR-1 visa, or the IR-1 visa from same sex bi-national couples even if they have been married in an American jurisdiction which legalizes and/or solemnizes same sex marriages. Legislation such as Representative Jerrold Nadler‘s Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) and the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) would ameliorate this discrimination, but such legislation has yet to see enactment.

For information related to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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31st July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that there are increasing instances of Western commentators discussing the Pan Asia Gold Exchange (PAGE). As these discussions can have implications for the wider business community it may be prudent to quote directly from an article written by Ned Naylor Leyland and posted on the website 24hgold.com:

Today was the inauguration ceremony replete with myriad ministers and mandarins from central and regional government. This initiative is supported at the highest levels in China with SOEs as shareholders, the support of the Beijing Gold Exchange and SAFE (State Administration of Foreign Exchange). PAGE are buying into the concept that leverage has its limits and that leasing must also be carefully monitored…The biggest bombshell however, is the offer of Rmb contracts for international investors, agreed by SAFE. The international part of the Exchange’s business is expected to be available by Q4…

This blogger strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks noted above to read this insightful article in detail.

Issues related to business and capital movement in the jurisdictions which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) have been of increasing interest to those who monitor international trade and geopolitics. Meanwhile, many in the business community would appear to be anticipating how the ramifications of further business in China will impact Greater Asia and the global economy. Hopefully, these developments will be beneficial for all concerned.

In news pertaining to American immigration, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is apparently trying to encourage further use of the T visa. To quote directly from the Daily Journal website, DailyJournal.net:

PHILADELPHIA — Federal immigration officials are working with authorities in Philadelphia and other cities around the U.S. to try to increase the use of a special visa to help victims of human trafficking, a visa that has been underutilized since its creation nearly a decade ago. At issue is the nonimmigrant “T visa,” which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials say is an underutilized tool that can be used to help victims of human trafficking who have been brought into the country — using deception in many cases — and then used as sex slaves or forced into other types of involuntary servitude. There is a 5,000 yearly cap on the visa, which allows eligible victims and family members to stay in the country up to four years. But fewer than 5,000 have been approved in total since it was instated in 2002…

The administration of this web log asks that readers click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to read this article in detail.

Unfortunately, the scourge of human trafficking has yet to be fully eradicated in either an international or national context. Hopefully, USCIS can effect some change to this situation through astute use of the T visa noted above. Meanwhile, as noted previously on this blog, there are other agencies of the United States government taking proactive measures to decrease incidents of human trafficking. Hopefully these efforts results in tangible benefits for all people since the issue of human trafficking is something which effects everyone.

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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30th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has implemented a new policy regarding the I-130 petition for visas such as the CR-1 visa and the IR-1 visa. To provide further insight it may be prudent to quote directly from the official website of the USCIS, USCIS.gov:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that effective Aug. 15, 2011, petitioners residing in countries without USCIS offices will be able to file a Petition for an Alien Relative (Form I-130), with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox facility. This will increase the efficiency of the relative petition filing process and give USCIS more flexibility in managing its workload. Previous regulations permitted these petitioners, who comprise about 5 percent of all I-130 petitioners, to file with USCIS or the U.S. Department of State at their local U.S. embassy or consulate. Under the new regulation, published today in the Federal Register, petitioners residing in countries without USCIS offices may file a Petition for an Alien Relative based on the addresses provided in the revised form instructions…

Clearly, this new policy could have significant ramifications for those seeking a United States visa on behalf of a foreign loved one. Concurrently, those familiar with the American visa process may note that this new policy effectively ends the Direct Consular Filing option for petitioners in certain Consular jurisdictions. In the past, it may have been possible for petitioners to file their visa petition directly with a US Embassy or US Consulate if the petitioner resided in the Consular District. These recent regulatory changes would appear to bring this era of Consular Processing to an end.

Meanwhile, in news related to Southeast Asia and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) community, it appears that Malaysia is poised to engage in a Free Trade Agreement with India. To provide further insight into these developments it may be best to quote directly from the website MoneyControl.com:

The free trade agreement (FTA) between India and Malaysia will come into force from July 1, giving Indian professionals like accountants, engineers and doctors access to the key South-East Asian nation. In addition, exports of items of considerable interest to India, like basmati rice, mangoes, eggs, trucks, motorcycles and cotton garments, will attract lower or no duty in Malaysia with the implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), according to a statement of the Commerce Ministry issued today…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn more on this developing story.

As nations in ASEAN, such as Malaysia, continue to become more integrated into broader markets it stands to reason that new trade arrangements will be forged. The ASEAN community (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) has been the topic of a great deal of recent discussion regarding future free trade agreements as many nations around the world try to make headway into this important and increasingly lucrative regional market.

For information related to legal services in ASEAN, please see: Legal.

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8th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has issued memorandum regarding the process of expediting the adjudication of I-601 waivers. To provide further insight it may be best to quote directly from the official website of USCIS, USCIS.gov:

Purpose
This Policy Memorandum (PM) provides guidelines on how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes requests to expedite the adjudication of Forms I-601 filed by individuals outside the United States. These guidelines will be included in the AFM Chapter 41.7 and in the revised version of International Operations Division Field Guidance for Form I-601 adjudications.
Scope
Unless specifically exempted herein, this memorandum applies to and is binding on all USCIS employees adjudicating Forms I-601 filed by individuals outside the United States.
Authority
8 CFR 212.7 governs USCIS adjudication of Form I-601.
Background
It has been USCIS’s longstanding policy to accept requests to expedite processing of petitions or applications where the applicant or the petitioner demonstrates reasons that merit expedited processing of a petition or application. Consistent with this policy, an applicant may request that the adjudication of a Form I-601 be expedited. Requests to expedite in the Form I-601 adjudication context present unique challenges. Almost all Form I-601 applicants outside the United States have an interest in expeditious processing given that most are required to establish extreme hardship to a qualifying family member in order for USCIS to consider whether to exercise its discretion to waive the bar to an applicant’s entry into the United States. However, some applicants may be experiencing extraordinary circumstances that present the kind of compelling and urgent, time-sensitive reasons that merit expedited processing of a Form I-601. This memorandum provides guidelines on responding to requests to expedite Forms I-601 filed by applicants overseas. Policy Subject to case management requirements and resource constraints, USCIS managers overseas may, in extraordinary circumstances, exercise discretion on a case-by-case basis to approve a request to expedite adjudication of a Form I-601.1 The strong desire to immigrate to the United States as soon as possible is not by itself “extraordinary.” The types of extraordinary circumstances that may, generally, merit expedited processing are those in which there are time-sensitive and compelling situations that necessitate the applicant’s presence in the United States sooner than would be possible if the application were processed under normal processing times…

For those who are unfamiliar with matters pertaining to United States Immigration it should be noted that the I-601 waiver is often utilized as a remedy for those who have been found inadmissible to the United States or ineligible to receive a US visa (such as a K-1 visa [fiance visa], CR-1 visa, or IR-1 visa) during Consular Processing at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad.

The I-601 waiver is sometimes confused with the I-212 waiver (also referred to as an application for advance permission to reenter the United States). However, the I-601 waiver and the I-212 waiver are two different application categories which are somewhat similar, but not exactly alike.

For related information please see: Legal.

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6th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Department of Justice, in association with the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is taking measures to combat scams involving immigration services for those wishing to travel to the USA . To quote directly from a recent announcement posted upon the official website of the Department of Justice, Justice.gov:

Federal Agencies Combat Immigration Services Scams
DHS, DOJ and FTC Collaborate with State and Local Partners in Unprecedented Effort

WASHINGTON—The U.S. government will unveil a national initiative to combat immigration services scams on June 9 at 1 p.m. The Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are leading this historic effort.
DHS’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the lead agency responsible for administering the U.S. legal immigration system, will announce the initiative while hosting events in seven cities around the country as well as the national launch in Washington, D.C.

The unauthorized practice of immigration law is an exploitative practice that endangers the integrity of our immigration system and victimizes members of the immigrant community. Understanding the gravity of this deceptive practice, federal, state and local partners have come together to combat immigration services scams on all fronts. The initiative is set upon three pillars: enforcement, education, and continued collaboration. Each agency plays a critical role to ensure the success of this national effort. This initiative exemplifies how government and community can work together to effectively address a serious problem…

The administration of this web log encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn more about the Justice Department’s recently announced initiative.

Unfortunately, there are many less-than-reputable organizations in jurisdictions such as those which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other locales around the world falsely purporting to have the necessary qualifications to provide advice, counsel, and assistance pertaining to United States visas and immigration.

Processing a United States visa can be a cumbersome and overwhelming process for those unfamiliar with relevant immigration law and procedure. Those thinking about retaining an American lawyer to assist in the acquisition of visas such as the CR-1 visa, IR-1 visa, K-1 visa, EB-5 visa, or L-1 visa (to name just a few visa categories) are encouraged to ascertain the credentials of those claiming knowledge of such matters. This is encouraged because only properly licensed attorneys are permitted to accept fees to engage in the practice of U.S. immigration law pursuant to 8 CFR 292.1.

In general, before a visa applicant can undergo Consular Processing at US Mission abroad (US Embassy, US Consulate, American Institute, etc) they must first receive an approved petition from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

For related information please see: US Visa Thailand or Legal.

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