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

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Lili
A Long Battle Won

Posted by on Aug 28, 2014 in Interesting Events and Cases

My fifth client finally won her case. I’ll call her Lili. She’s from Vietnam. Nearly two years ago, Lili hired me just after my office opened in October 2012. Lili speaks no English, and no one in my office speaks Vietnamese, so working with her was a challenge. She brought friends and family in to translate, but it is always difficult when there is a major language barrier between client and attorney. Lili had already received a conditional green card, but her husband turned abusive. She needed to file to remove the conditions,...

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What is Due Process?

Posted by on Aug 20, 2014 in Opinion

There’s a lot of talk in the media about the crisis of immigrant children and how cases are being moved through too quickly. Immigration advocates constantly talk about how the immigrants at the border are being deprived of due process. So what is due process? And why is it a problem when due process is denied? Due process is so important that it’s in our Constitution twice! It’s how we – people – are protected in the legal system. When the government wants to take away or impede on our life, liberty, or property, it must follow...

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Deferred Action
Not for Childhood Arrivals Only

Posted by on Aug 12, 2014 in Strategy

By now, most everyone knows about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). It received a lot of press in 2012 when President Obama announced that he would allow certain young people to remain in the United States without the threat of deportation hanging over their head. Lately, DACA has received a bit more press again because some argue that it led to the influx of Central American children coming to the border to seek safety and refuge. Deferred Action, though, isn’t only for children. The program has been around for years and...

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The American Dream Is Still Alive

Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 in Opinion

Watching the news these days is depressing: Congress does little to nothing. Ugly hatred reveals itself as adults yell at YMCA camp kids, thinking they are undocumented minors. Our president admits that our country tortured detainees post 9/11. Corporations seem to be granted more rights and more tax breaks while families struggle to pay for the basics. Sometimes it’s hard to see the good or even believe that good is out there. Last week, at a celebration of new U.S. citizens, I was reminded what makes the United States so great. The event...

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When Abuse Forces a Change in Plans

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014 in Domestic Violence

Summer months are peak times for domestic violence. As temperatures rise, so do tempers. What happens when a family petition turns sour because of abuse in the relationship? Currently, it takes about five months from the time of filing a marriage-based I-130 and I-485 to the time of an interview. Unfortunately, a lot can change for a couple in five months. Recently, I’ve seen three cases where domestic abuse and extreme cruelty began during this pending period. The foreign national doesn’t know how to move forward because...

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Immigration Law
If It Makes Sense, You Don’t Understand It

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in Strategy

Earlier this week, Jon Stewart made fun of the crazy bureaucracy of our immigration laws. Below is the clip again for your enjoyment. (Jump to 0:55.)   Sure, Jon didn’t get all the details right (Form N-400 is for naturalization, not asylum), but he did a fine job showing how convoluted our immigration laws are. When I first started learning the ins and outs of immigration law, my mentor always said: “If it makes sense, you’re not understanding it.” Example 1: 245(i) 245(i) is a section of the Immigration and...

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What is Extreme Hardship?

Posted by on Jul 11, 2014 in Strategy

Extreme hardship is an idea that comes up in immigration law time and time again and is one of the underlying requirements for a successful Waiver case. But did you know that there is no clear definition of what it is? Extreme hardship is fluid, subject to interpretation, and it is different for everyone. These are the major factors as to why creating a winning waiver application is so difficult. Immigration recognizes that anytime a foreign national cannot stay in the United States, his or her family will suffer. Children will lose a parent,...

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Immigration Reform 2014
What Can President Obama Do?

Posted by on Jul 2, 2014 in Reform

On Monday, June 30th, President Obama held an impromptu press conference where he announced he was tired of waiting for Congress to take action on immigration reform, and that he was planning to move forward with changes on his own. President Obama hasn’t laid out any specifics at that press conference, but I have a few ideas what may be on his mind. But, first to clarify, only Congress has the ability to make law. The President, no matter how much he would like to, cannot create new law on his own. What he can do, though, is tell his...

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Immigrants to America
Lessons from a Trip to Boston

Posted by on Jun 24, 2014 in U.S. Immigration News

Last week, I was up in the Northeast. I spent the weekend in Groton, Connecticut with my brother and his family and then, on Tuesday, I headed north towards Boston for our American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Annual Conference. En route from Groton to Boston, I stopped in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Or as they like to call it “America’s Hometown.” I loved the perfect combination of being an immigration lawyer in what’s considered to be the landing place of our country’s first immigrants. The city is...

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The Puzzle of Acquiring U.S. Citizenship

Posted by on Jun 16, 2014 in Strategy

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitutions tells us who is a U.S. citizen: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” This looks and sounds straightforward, but like nearly all things immigration-related, there is a lot of room for interpretation. Becoming a U.S. citizen can happen through a variety of ways such as birth in the United States, the process of naturalizing, deriving citizenship when you are...

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Successful U Visa RFEs

Posted by on Jun 10, 2014 in Strategy

USCIS has been issuing more and more RFEs on U visas. Don’t be scared or give up hope if you receive one. With the right response, your approval should come within in just a few months – I certainly speak from experience. RFE stands for Request for Evidence. RFEs are issued by USCIS to ask for additional information in a case that has already been filed. Most of the time, U visa RFEs require an applicant to argue against the government’s interpretation of the law and legal standards on U visa adjudications. I tend to think that U visa...

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A Good Week

Posted by on Jun 4, 2014 in Interesting Events and Cases

There are some weeks where nothing seems to go right. Thankfully, I haven’t had one of those in a while (and I hope I’m not jinxing myself now). We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of good news, and I want to share some of the stories with you. Two VAWA Adjustment of Status cases were approved. Anytime someone takes that step from being undocumented to having a green card is fantastic. However, when it’s someone who has been abused and controlled by a U.S. citizen spouse who likely said “I can have you deported if...

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Certified Dispositions

Posted by on May 21, 2014 in Strategy

Not every client I work with has a spotless record. My clients have been arrested for driving without a license, shoplifting, indecent exposure, DUIs, and many other things. An arrest or conviction for a crime is a serious matter, but it doesn’t always stop an immigrant from getting a green card or becoming naturalized. However, not having the right paperwork may be a roadblock. Whenever someone has a run-in with the law, USCIS wants to know that the issue has been resolved. Although a background check is run on every applicant, the results...

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Reflections on DACA and Status Renewals

Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Reform

My youngest siblings are graduating from high school this week. I’ve been thinking about their futures – where they’ll go to college and the adventures they’ll have as they transition into adulthood. They have so many options, and I am excited to see where their paths lead. Two years ago, not all high school graduates had open opportunities. If they were undocumented, they may not have been allowed to attend college, and if they were, they were going to pay the much higher out-of-state tuition rates. In some states, obtaining a driver’s...

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Asylum in Atlanta
Affirmative vs. Defensive Applications

Posted by on Apr 30, 2014 in U.S. Immigration News

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice released numbers that show the approval and denial rates from Immigration Courts and individual Immigration Judges around the U.S. Nationally, the average asylum grant rate in immigration courts is 53% which, effectively, brings the national denial rate to 47%. In contrast, Stewart Detention Center in south Georgia denied 98% of all asylum claims put before the judges. The Atlanta Immigration Court was not far behind with a denial rate of 89%. With numbers like that, why would anyone apply...

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Immigration Presentations

Posted by on Apr 29, 2014 in Lawyer Information

One of my favorite things to do is to educate the community about immigration options and immigrant rights – even if they are in the United States without authorization. I’ve always been a big believer that education can move you forward. Education and knowledge are power. By sharing what I know about immigration and answering questions, I help people to understand their own personal situation and why relief may or may not be available. Sometimes knowing that you’re not eligible for an immigration benefit is just as valuable as knowing you...

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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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Handling complex family and humanitarian immigration matters.