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

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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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CAM
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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No Georgia Driver’s Licenses for Deferred Action Recipients?

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

The Georgia Legislature is trying to take away driver’s licenses for people granted deferred action. Presumably, this is in response to the President’s Executive Action creating an Expanded DACA and a new DAPA program. Senate Bill (SB) 6, if passed, would make it impossible for immigrants with deferred action to obtain or renew a Georgia driver’s license. This is a horrible idea. What do the proponents of SB 6 have against childhood arrivals or parents of U.S. citizens? Even if the bill is targeted at these two populations,...

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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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Handling complex family and humanitarian immigration matters.