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

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April is Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Awareness Month

Posted by on Apr 19, 2014 in Interesting Events and Cases

When someone is a victim of sexual assault or abuse, there are nearly no areas of that person’s life that are untouched. Daily routines are charged with memories, friends and family can turn into adversaries, love and affection are tainted with suspicion. Imagine how difficult life would be if you were a victim here in the United States, but you didn’t have any legal immigration status. In addition to all the emotional and physical scars, you constantly wonder if you’ll be torn from your life here and sent thousands of miles...

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Lobbying for Immigration Reform

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Reform

I’m writing to you from Washington, D.C. today. Every year, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) coordinates a National Day of Action – inviting immigration attorneys from around the country to come to Washington, D.C. to meet with their elected officials to discuss immigration. So, here I am with hundreds of other immigration attorneys in our nation’s capital. It’s absolutely wonderful. This year, the focus is on keeping immigration reform front and center. There is a lot of discussion on how reform is...

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USCIS Interview Waivers

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in U.S. Immigration News

When we talk about adjustment of status, we typically think about a newlywed couple where one spouse is a U.S. citizen and the other is not. Much of the information out there about adjustment of status focuses on the types of documents and questions that the couple should expect USCIS to want and ask. But couples aren’t the only ones who apply for adjustment of status. Adult children who are U.S. citizens who have non-U.S. citizen parents often apply for those parents. This is especially true as the parent becomes older and the child...

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General Fraud and Willful Misrepresentation

Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in Opinion

The past few weeks, I’ve written about the unwaivable types of fraud – marriage fraud, asylum fraud, and false claims to U.S. citizenship. But not every lie or misrepresentation is a permanent bar from immigration benefits. So today I am going to write about types of fraud that can be waived. Under section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, a person who commits fraud or willful misrepresentation is inadmissible to the United States. However, there is a waiver available under INA §212(i). Certainly one should not aspire to...

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Marriage Fraud
Not Welcomed Here

Posted by on Mar 22, 2014 in Opinion

Continuing on last week’s theme of fraud… Not all marriage fraud is obvious. The classic example is when the foreign national offers the U.S. citizen money in exchange for getting married and filing immigration paperwork. But if the foreign national and U.S. citizen are best friends and they just want to help each other out? Or what if the couple is elderly, never intending to consummate the relationship, but marry for companionship? What if the couple lives in different states and can only see each other a few times a year? The...

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When Fraud Cannot be Waived

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Opinion

There are three types of fraud that the Immigration and Nationality Act takes very seriously – so seriously that if you’re found to have committed one of these, your chances for any type of immigration benefit in the future are reduced to just about zero. In a future post, I’ll talk about the types of fraud that can be waived, but today, I’ll focus on the three “kisses of death.” It doesn’t matter if you marry one of President Obama’s daughters or cure cancer, the law will not (generally)...

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When You Know You’re Right

Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in Interesting Events and Cases

Thirteen months ago, I met Christina. Christina is a lively, colorful 70-year old woman from Mexico. She’s lived in the United States since the early 1950s and swore she was a lawful permanent resident. She had lost her green card sometime in the 1970s, and since she lived in California, the need for her to have immigration paperwork wasn’t a top priority due to different local legal requirements. That changed in 2012 when Christina moved to Georgia. When any government official learned she wasn’t a U.S. citizen, they needed...

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The Power of Advocacy

Posted by on Feb 28, 2014 in Opinion

For those of you in Georgia, you’ve probably heard about Senate Bill 404. What this bill proposed to do was to deny immigrants who had been granted “deferred action” from being able to obtain a Georgia driver’s license. There are similar bills and even laws across the United States, but I’d like to talk about SB 404 – its rise and fall. When people think of deferred action, they typically think of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). However, deferred action has been around for a long time and has...

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Let’s Make a Deal

Posted by on Feb 21, 2014 in Interesting Events and Cases

Picture yourself in this situation: You’re a man from Mexico who has lived in the United States for 12 years. Your wife is mentally disabled, but you’ve never had her professionally evaluated because you just didn’t have the money. She has temper tantrums, she refuses to shower, she forgets to eat and it’s clear to everyone who knows her that she needs you in order to survive. She’s also a lawful permanent resident of the United States. You can’t apply for adjustment of status because you’ve left and...

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ICE Isn’t Always the Enemy

Posted by on Feb 12, 2014 in Human Trafficking

There’s an ice storm in Atlanta today and I thought it was appropriate to write about ICE, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. I hope everyone here in the Southeast has stayed warm and safe as we’re dealt another cruel hand by Mother Nature. As part of my non-profit work with the Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network (GAIN), I have the great privilege of working with anti-human trafficking advocates across the region. In fact, I’ve presented with amazing representatives from Tapestri, Raksha, and ICE. Yes,...

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The New Naturalization Application Form N-400

Posted by on Feb 9, 2014 in U.S. Immigration News

On Tuesday this week, USCIS announced major revisions to the Application for Naturalization (N-400). From now until May 2, 2014, lawful permanent residents eligible for U.S. citizenship can decide whether to use the old form (PDF, opens in new window) or the new form. If you are eligible for U.S. citizenship, I strongly recommend that you file your N-400 before May 2nd to avoid using the new version. At first glance, you’ll see that the N-400 more than doubled in size – from ten pages to 21. While some of the changes are good, not all of them...

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Reason to Believe
New Guidance on I-601A Waivers

Posted by on Jan 29, 2014 in U.S. Immigration News

No, it’s not just a song by Rod Stewart. “Reason to Believe” is a standard created by USCIS when deciding whether or not a provisional waiver can be adjudicated. Let’s take a step back and talk about provisional waivers first. About 13 months ago, USCIS announced that certain people who entered the United States without inspection could proactively apply for a waiver for unlawful presence. The I-601A was created for a very specific type of case – one where the qualifying family member who would suffer extreme hardship was a U.S. citizen and...

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USCIS Delays

Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in Opinion

The immigration system can seem like it’s in a time warp. Three months’ processing is considered fast and waiting for three hours is normal. If I went to my job and made my boss wait three months for a small project or kept my team waiting for three hours while I worked on something else, I would be fired. Yet, in the world of USCIS, things keep moving along at this seemingly snail’s pace. To be fair, I understand that this is a government agency with limited resources. For example, interviewing officers are strongly discouraged from working...

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Why Don’t U.S. Citizen Children Count?

Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 in Opinion

Over the past few months, I’ve had consultations where just-turned-21-year-olds come in and want to start the immigration process for their undocumented parents. The families are excited and happy that the magic age of 21 has been reached. It breaks my heart when I tell them there isn’t anything that can be done. When these families come in, they want to know how the parents can get a green card. If there wasn’t a lawful entry, adjustment of status in the United States isn’t an option. The smiles fade, but they still have hope and ask about...

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A Tale of Two Borders

Posted by on Dec 30, 2013 in Opinion

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! One of the many advantages of being married to a German is that we often spend Christmastime in Germany. In addition to seeing my in-laws, who I only get to visit once a year, I get to experience a new culture and step outside my normal comfort zone. Now, to be fair, Germany and the United States are close cultural cousins. Both countries have Santa, both sing “O Tannenbaum,” and both have special church services on December 24th. But, there are still many differences. For example,...

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Christmas Hope

Posted by on Dec 23, 2013 in Opinion

I believe that the Christmas story is not only about Jesus, but also about hope. Hope for a better future, hope for peace, and hope for compassion and kindness. Hope is a big part of my philosophy as an immigration attorney. People come to the United States with grand hopes – exactly the same hopes that I associate with the Christmas holiday. My job is to take these hopes and help turn them into the American Dream for each of our clients. Although I’m not Catholic, Pope Francis did a great thing earlier this month that shows the tie between...

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U Visa Cap Reached

Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 in U.S. Immigration News

When Congress created the U visa, they made only 10,000 visas available per fiscal year. The fiscal year starts in October every year, so on October 1, 2013 we entered Fiscal Year 2014. On December 11, 2013, the Vermont Service Center announced that they had already reached the U visa cap for 2014. That means no new U visas will be approved until October 1, 2014. The Vermont Service Center will still look at U applications between now and October 2014. If the case is approvable, the application will be put in a pile and be first in line for a...

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Happy Holidays

Posted by on Dec 9, 2013 in Interesting Events and Cases

This holiday season, Klinke Immigration has partnered with Telemundo Atlanta to wish our clients and the entire community a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Please enjoy our short video, and read about our “stars” below. Watch video on About Teresa Teresa is a citizen of Mexico who came to the United States without authorization ten years ago. Like many others, she came to find work and to provide for her family. Teresa has applied for U status, as a victim of a violent crime who was helpful in the prosecution of the crime....

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Defining Success

Posted by on Dec 5, 2013 in Lawyer Information

When people come for a consultation, they want me to tell them how they or their loved one can stay in the United States – preferably with a green card and with the option for U.S. citizenship. This may be possible and it may even be relatively easy. But what if there’s absolutely no way to get to that ideal finish line? Is it failure if we can keep someone in the United States, but without documentation? Is it success if someone still has to return to home? One of the reasons I enjoy practicing immigration law is that I get to be creative....

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Things I’m Thankful For…

Posted by on Nov 24, 2013 in Interesting Events and Cases

There are so many things to be grateful for. In the past 12 months, Klinke Immigration helped over 100 families with their immigration matters, I’ve hired two wonderful employees, and our reputation for compassion and hard work continues to grow. I’d like to give thanks for a particularly amazing past few days. In just the last week: 1) We had our first same-sex marriage case approved. This couple is amazing – they may not have known each other for long, but within a matter of weeks, they knew they had something special....

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Handling complex family and humanitarian immigration matters.