The Klinke Immigration Blog
U.S. Immigration News & Analysis

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Bad Decision by USCIS on Survivor Petition

Posted by on Sep 27, 2015 in Opinion

Over the summer, I met a woman who had gone through something no parent should ever have to endure. Her son, who was only 30 years old, had just died unexpectedly. In the midst of dealing with his funeral, his estate, and the unimaginable grief of losing of her only son, she also had to think about U.S. immigration laws. The woman’s son had filed a petition for her to obtain her green card a few months prior to his death. When he died, the case was still pending. Trying to do the right thing, she wrote a letter to USCIS explaining the...

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Why a Man Would Apply for VAWA

Posted by on Sep 19, 2015 in Strategy

VAWA stands for Violence Against Women Act. But don’t let the name fool you. VAWA can be an option for men. I had a consultation recently for a man from West Africa. He and his wife had filed for him to get his green card several times and had always been denied. It looked like they were about to be denied yet again. He explained to me how they had been denied for avoidable reasons: something hadn’t been filed correctly, he didn’t respond to a Request for Evidence, or she didn’t show up for their interview at the...

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What Happens When You Don’t File an I-751

Posted by on Sep 8, 2015 in Strategy

Whenever someone obtains a green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen and the case was approved before the two-year wedding anniversary, USCIS will only grant a two-year green card. This is called conditional residency. Anyone with conditional residency has to go through a process called “removing the conditions” in order to obtain their full permanent lawful resident status. The form used to do this is an I-751. Removing the conditions on a conditional green card isn’t optional, though many people don’t do it. This...

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Parole in Place
Three Weeks and Three Wins

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Interesting Events and Cases

The past few weeks have been full of great news for military families at Klinke Immigration. We’ve had three Adjustment of Status applications granted for clients who were initially granted Parole in Place. Parole in Place, as you may recall, grants certain family members of current or former U.S. military members “forgiveness” for their illegal entry to the United States. Many times, the illegal entry is the only reason keeping them from being eligible to obtain a green card. Parole in Place removes the obstacle. I attended Adjustment of...

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A Great Injustice

Posted by on Aug 8, 2015 in Interesting Events and Cases

I will be haunted by her eyes. Dark, scared, full of tears that won’t come out. But she didn’t always look like that. There were moments of hope when she smiled, when she allowed herself to think about what a life in the United States would look like. Those smiles are gone now, thousands of miles away. Nearly two years ago, I met this young woman. She came from a country in the Middle East and entered the U.S. legally on a tourist visa. Within a few weeks of being here, she met a young man, fell in love, and was promised marriage....

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Green Card Eligibility through DACA
and Advance Parole Travel

Posted by on Jul 19, 2015 in Strategy

You’ve heard me say it over and over again. DACA, by itself, does not lead to anything permanent. It’s a temporary solution that allows people to stay in the United States without the threat of deportation. But, in certain circumstances, DACA can be an ingredient in the recipe for someone to obtain a green card. Let me explain. In order to apply for your green card through Adjustment of Status in the United States, one of the things you need is a legal entry into the United States. If you don’t have one, or if you don’t meet one of the small...

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Things I Learned in D.C.
Hot Immigration Topics in 2015

Posted by on Jul 19, 2015 in U.S. Immigration News

Every June, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) holds its Annual Conference. This year, 3,000 immigration attorneys and paralegals converged on Washington, D.C. for three days of learning about all things immigration. With over 140 sessions, I couldn’t attend each one, but the ones that I sat in on all provided excellent information on how to improve my practice and how to be an even better lawyer. The world of immigration law is constantly changing. Events like the AILA Annual Conference allow attorneys to share their...

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Winning an Impossible Trafficking Case

Posted by on Jun 23, 2015 in Interesting Events and Cases

Every case has its challenges, but some cases have more than their share of problems. About a year ago, I met Carol (not her real name). Carol is from South Korea and had come to the U.S. with the “help” of a “travel agent” in 2002. She thought she was coming to work in retail or to house clean – she owed the agent money from a loan and was told the fastest way to pay it back would be to come to the United States to work. Only, once she arrived, she quickly learned that the travel agent had another job for her in...

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Do You Need an Immigration Attorney?

Posted by on Jun 3, 2015 in Interesting Events and Cases

Yes – Here’s Why: Last week, I had a consultation that absolutely broke my heart. Why? Because a very nice 22 year old man – a husband and father of two – made a few innocent, but horrible decisions that destroyed his chances to gain lawful immigration status in the United States. And it could have all been avoided had he spoken with an immigration attorney. Let’s call him Jorge. Jorge entered the United States with a visa when he was 10 years old and stayed. In 2012, he married a U.S. citizen. He could have applied for Adjustment of Status...

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DACA & DAPA Reform Still Blocked – But Not Dead

Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Reform

This past Tuesday, May 26th, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision regarding the 2014 immigration programs of Expanded DACA and DAPA. It was not the news I was hoping for, though it is not a shock since the Fifth Circuit is known to be conservative. The Court said that Expanded DACA and DAPA cannot begin while there is an on-going court case. Remember, there is still a lawsuit that says that President Obama overstepped his authority when he created these immigration programs. There has been no decision on that case – there...

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name at USCIS

Posted by on May 15, 2015 in U.S. Immigration News

Growing up, one of my favorite shows was Cheers – and they had a beautiful theme song. The chorus was “sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.” And that’s true when you go to your favorite bar or restaurant. But when you go for your green card or naturalization interview, you may not want everyone to know your name. What if you’ve fled an abusive spouse and you’re attempting to gain status through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)? Or what if you’re a child who has been declared...

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New Perspective on I-601A Waivers

Posted by on Apr 29, 2015 in Strategy

Recently, I was in Washington DC and had the privilege of meeting with, and listening to, USCIS officials. A hot topic of discussion was the I-601A waiver adjudication process. Many immigration attorneys feel as though it is more difficult to have an I‑601A waiver approved than it is to have a traditional I-601 approved, and we wanted to know why. The standard for both is the same – both must show “extreme hardship” to a qualifying relative, yet it seems that extreme hardship has been harder to demonstrate for an...

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When Something as Simple as Your Last Name Isn’t So Simple

Posted by on Apr 18, 2015 in Strategy

You may think that your last name (sometimes called your “family name”) is very straightforward. However, like nearly everything else in immigration law, nothing is as simple as it may first seem. One of the most common questions I get regarding last names come from newlywed women – and now also from some men in same-sex relationships – who want to know whether or not they should take their husband’s last name. They think that it may make their marriage-based case look weak if they opt to keep their maiden name....

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Being an Ethical Immigration Attorney

Posted by on Apr 8, 2015 in Lawyer Information

Recently, I’ve had a few uncomfortable consultations where prospective clients clearly thought I could twist facts, make up stories, or do other things to help them win their cases. I’ve had to explain that my responsibility as an attorney is to help them navigate the immigration system and to use the true facts of their story to build their case – not to craft a story for them. I understand that in other countries, or even in other areas of law in this country, the role of an attorney can be very different. At the end of...

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To File an I-601 Waiver or Not?

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in Strategy

Sometimes USCIS asks for an I-601 waiver of inadmissibility in a Request for Evidence letter after an Adjustment of Status interview. This generally happens when USCIS classifies a conviction a certain way or finds something in the applicant’s file that causes concern. The issue may not have even been discussed at the interview, but suddenly USCIS is worried about it. My problem with this is that it happens after an interview when the attorney doesn’t have a chance to argue another viewpoint. The request for a waiver comes in the mail...

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The Waiver for U Visas

Posted by on Mar 16, 2015 in Strategy

This past week, I’ve had two interesting cases – the kind that require what I call “mental gymnastics” – involving the I-192 waiver for U visas. These cases will require a significant amount of work to have the waiver and the U visa approved. I have faith, though, that it can be done. The U visa has the most generous waiver available under immigration law. It can forgive nearly everything; with the exception of murder and involvement in genocide. Getting a waiver isn’t automatic, though. When USCIS looks at...

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1, 2, 300…
Our Latest Immigration Numbers

Posted by on Mar 6, 2015 in Lawyer Information

It’s been a week of numbers at Klinke Immigration. Our Administrative Assistant, Alina, celebrated her one-year anniversary with us. Our Senior Paralegal, Rosa, celebrated her second year. And we opened our 300th case. To celebrate these milestones we went down to Marietta Square and ate fabulous cupcakes from Miss Mamie’s and talked about some of our more memorable moments. We talked about our legal victories: The client who went from undocumented to U.S. citizen in less than a year; the Canadian Native American who was a...

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Humanitarian Immigration
The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in Interesting Events and Cases

For those of you who know me, you know I like to read. Charles Dickens is one of my favorite authors, and one of his most famous lines is “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” (from A Tale of Two Cities). It’s amazing how a sentence written in England in 1859 applied so perfectly to my professional life in Atlanta, Georgia in February 2015. On a recent morning, I appeared in the Atlanta Immigration Court for an asylum trial. Asylum trials are never easy. I have to ask people about horrific experiences and the...

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New Program for Central American Children

Posted by on Feb 21, 2015 in U.S. Immigration News

Last summer, thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America came to the United States. Some were fleeing gang violence and some wanted to join a parent who had already come to the United States – many came for both. To try and discourage children from making the dangerous journey from Central America to the United States, USCIS created the Central American Minor (CAM) program. It allows children of certain Central Americans to apply to legally come to the United States. The program is open to unmarried children who are under...

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Breaking News
Immigration Reform: Executive Action Delayed

Posted by on Feb 17, 2015 in Reform

A federal judge in Texas just issued an injunction against President Obama’s Executive Action on immigration. What this means in the real world is that no one can apply for Expanded DACA or DAPA until further notice. DAPA isn’t due to be ready until May, but the timing is particularly hurtful for those who wanted to apply for Expanded DACA starting tomorrow. The judge has not said that the actions are unconstitutional. He’s said that the problem with the Executive Action is a technicality on how the public was informed. The...

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Handling complex family and humanitarian immigration matters.