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

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You Had Your Interview at USCIS, But Didn’t Get a Decision
Now What?

Posted by on Jan 31, 2015 in Strategy

The big day has come and you’re at USCIS for your interview. You have a nice officer, they don’t ask as many questions as you thought they may, and everything seems to go well. However, the officer doesn’t say that your case is approved. Why not? How long do you have to wait for an answer? Why didn’t your attorney demand a decision? It’s frustrating, I know. There are a few reasons why officers may not make a decision at the conclusion of the interview: It could be a newer officer who wants to talk to a supervisor. Perhaps you have a...

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Government Discretion: Two Success Stories

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Strategy

Sometimes when you ask the government for mercy, you actually get it. In the first three weeks of January, we’ve had two seemingly hopeless cases turn into wonderful successes. The first case involved a mother from Africa. She has a very young son who was born in the United States. However, he has a medical condition that requires a blood transfusion every six months. The mother had been coming to the U.S. on a tourist visa, but the trips back and forth were getting expensive and were exhausting. Without family ties (her son has to be...

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A Near Nightmare in Colombia

Posted by on Jan 13, 2015 in Interesting Events and Cases

One of the first things I learned in practicing immigration law is that things rarely go as planned. No matter how simple or clean a case may seem, the government can find ways to keep it interesting. Last month, we received a frantic email and phone call from a client in Bogota. They had gone down to Colombia for his immigrant visa interview and something had gone terribly wrong. The couple had an approved I-130 and I-601A waiver. The last step in getting the husband legal status was for him to return to Colombia and apply for an immigrant...

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2014 In Review

Posted by on Jan 3, 2015 in Opinion

As most people do at the end of the year, I like to reflect on all of the things accomplished. 2014 brought a new member to the Klinke Immigration family; interesting, challenging cases; memorable trips; and changes to immigration policy. Alina Luna joined the firm in March 2014. She began as a part-time receptionist, but has quickly risen to become a full-time Administrative Assistant. Her friendly smile and warm personality greets each person who contacts our office. Rosa Medina remains our steadfast and amazing Senior Paralegal. Her...

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Immigration Reform: New Enforcement Priorities

Posted by on Dec 28, 2014 in Reform

One of the lines that President Obama used in his November 20th speech is that the country should be focused on “deporting felons, not families.” To help meet this goal, he directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to focus their enforcement efforts – detention and deportation – on three types of immigrants. Although this framework is helpful, remember that every case is different and DHS has broad discretion in determining who they determine is a priority. So, even if you don’t think you fit into a category below, it doesn’t mean...

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Immigration Reform: Deferred Action for Parents (DAPA)

Posted by on Dec 14, 2014 in Reform

When the President announced his changes to immigration policy, he included a program for undocumented parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents. This program is officially called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, or DAPA. It is modeled after DACA, so there are many similarities. A person who is granted DAPA will receive work authorization and permission to remain in the United States for three years. At the end of three years, should the program still exist, the applicant can reapply. However, DAPA does not allow...

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Immigration Reform: Expanded DACA

Posted by on Dec 8, 2014 in Reform

Over the next several weeks, I’d like to highlight the various components of President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration Policy and Reform. Let’s look at the Expanded DACA provisions today. Expanded DACA Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is one of two deferred action programs that President Obama discussed. DACA was originally announced in June 2012 and the President has expanded it to cover more immigrants. The foundations of DACA remain the same: applicants must have been in the U.S. prior to their 16th birthday,...

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Free Presentations on Immigration Reform

Posted by on Dec 1, 2014 in Reform

Register for free today! Learn about the sweeping changes to immigration policy that President Obama announced in November. Learn about eligibility requirements and the latest developments. When: Saturday, December 13th at 10:30am – Register now Monday, December 15th at 7:00pm – Register now Where: YWCA of Northwest Georgia, 48 Henderson Street, Marietta, GA 30064(Map & Directions) Please register and reserve your free seat here or call us at (678) 713-4255. I look forward to seeing you at one of the presentations. -...

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How to Prepare for Interviews at the Atlanta USCIS Office

Posted by on Nov 25, 2014 in Strategy

Despite the changes that President Obama announced last week, for many immigrants and their families, the immigration process continues unchanged and as planned. This includes going to interviews for citizenship and permanent residency at USCIS offices. The Atlanta USCIS Office is like a second office to me. Seriously – some of the officers have joked that they will start charging me rent because I am there so often. Today, I’d like to share a few tips and suggestions for people who have an interviewing coming up there. Security...

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Executive Action: It’s Here!

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in Reform

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced his plans for shifting policies and priorities in immigration law. We were fortunate to be on a call with the White House 90 minutes before the President’s announcement. As we listened, we all had goosebumps and were thrilled with what we were hearing. The changes are overall very good. While not everyone is protected, it is a solid start and I hope that Congress will look at comprehensive immigration reform in the upcoming year. Many of the details of the President’s actions have not been...

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Breaking News:
Immigration Executive Action
Announcement Expected Friday

Posted by on Nov 19, 2014 in Reform

Update: The announcement is now scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 8 PM EST. We understand that President Obama will travel to Las Vegas on Friday and announce his plans for immigration reform. Remember, it will still take time for the policies and plans to be implemented. You will not be able to file for any special relief immediately. Please continue to be wary of notarios and other scammers who will want to take advantage of the immigrant population. For more tips on how to avoid scams and prepare for immigration...

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Rumors of Immigration Reform

Posted by on Nov 16, 2014 in Reform

Late last week, various media outlets began reporting about President Obama’s ten point plan on immigration reform. Within hours, the White House responded by saying that nothing was final, no decisions had been made, and that the points listed in the articles were mere speculation. Some of the points listed made sense. For example, extending DACA to people who have been here since January 2010 instead of June 2007 would certainly allow more young immigrants to gain deferred action. Other points seem less likely to happen, such as reducing...

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The USCIS Ombudsman’s Office

Posted by on Nov 9, 2014 in Interesting Events and Cases

An Ombudsman is a wonderful thing and it’s a too-little used resource in the immigration world. The USCIS Office of the Ombudsman is responsible for working with USCIS to resolve problems that applicants have with their cases. While this office is always the last resort, sometimes no amount of “lawyering” or liaison work can get USCIS to move forward on a case. The Ombudsman’s Office can often spur USCIS into action when no one else can. The Ombudsman’s Office’s work goes beyond solving individual problems,...

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Our First U Visa Denial

Posted by on Oct 30, 2014 in Interesting Events and Cases

I’ve been very lucky. In over five years of practice, I have never had a U visa denied. But, when U visas make up one-third of your practice, a denial is bound to happen at some point. We filed an application for Juana (name changed) in the summer of 2013. Her niece had been kidnapped and assaulted by an ex-boyfriend. The ex-boyfriend dropped the niece off at her uncle’s home just as the entire family had congregated at the house because they were worried they hadn’t heard about the niece in over a day. The ex-boyfriend not...

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Problems with the National Visa Center (NVC)

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in U.S. Immigration News

The National Visa Center (NVC) plays a key part in helping bring family members together. It’s an office within the U.S. Department of State and serves to collect documents and information needed for an immigrant visa interview that will be held at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside the Unites States. A file arrives at the NVC after USCIS has approved the underlying petition – like an I-130 for a family member. The NVC then tells the applicant what kinds of documents and information is needed for the visa interview abroad. Once...

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No More U Visas for 2015

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in U.S. Immigration News

Late last fall, I wrote about how U visas were gone for 2014. Now again, USCIS has run out of U visas. The government fiscal year begins on October 1st. That means that fiscal year 2015 is from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015. When Congress created the U visa, they made it so only 10,000 visas were available per fiscal year. We call this a “cap.” Each year, USCIS runs out of U visas faster and faster. For fiscal year 2014, the cap was reached on December 13, 2013. For fiscal year 2015, which just began this past October...

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Reflecting on Two Years

Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 in Lawyer Information

My lease for the Klinke Immigration office space began on October 1, 2012, so I consider that our official opening day. Here we are, two years later, and I’m so proud of what we’ve done. We’ve come a long way since then. I remember first meeting clients at Panera Bread or Starbucks because I didn’t even have an office. Now we have a beautiful office where clients are comfortable and safe. I remember asking Spanish-only speakers to call me back with an interpreter because I didn’t have anyone who could talk to...

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Posted by on Sep 24, 2014 in Interesting Events and Cases

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded about the good in the world when we’re constantly surrounded by disappointment and despair. I had one of those weeks last week and with my disgust with no immigration reform, it was nice to switch from being cynical to being hopeful for the future. Klinke Immigration is a co-sponsor for Telemundo’s First Annual Todos Somos Héroes Atlanta (We Are All Heroes) campaign. At a celebratory luncheon last week, the heroes were announced and their stories were told. The recipients were all amazing. Beyond the work...

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When Should You Hire an Immigration Attorney?

Posted by on Sep 18, 2014 in Strategy

Every immigration situation presents its own special timelines. Is it ever too late to hire an attorney? Is it ever too soon? When should you hire a licensed attorney to assist with your immigration matter? To use my favorite lawyer’s answer: It depends. Scenario: My girlfriend lives in Italy and we want to get married. Answer: The answer depends on what your long-term goals are. If you know for certain you want to live in the United States, schedule a consultation whenever you are engaged. You’ll need to talk about the difference between a...

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USCIS Processing Times

Posted by on Sep 15, 2014 in Strategy

One of the most common questions I receive is “How long will it take USCIS to decide my case?” This is a great question, but it’s not always an easy one to answer. USCIS is a massive organization. They have local offices, service centers, and a national benefits center. They are scattered across the country and your case may end up at any of them – it depends on the case type and where you live. The best way to figure out how long your case will take is to visit the USCIS Processing Time Information website (opens in new window)....

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Handling complex family and humanitarian immigration matters.