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News and articles - ACS Law Offices, Inc.

Yes, it is possible for your Green Card to expire before your request to become a naturalized U.S. citizen has received final approval. That’s not what you may want to hear, but it an unfortunate situation that has become more and more common.

It just doesn’t seem right. But, neither does the increasing number of people who accidentally drop their cell phones in a toilet.

Surprisingly the two problems share enough similarities that they are worthy of at least a cursory comparison.

  • Both situations happen accidentally.
  • Both situations create a lot of anxiety.
  • Neither situation is “the end of the world,” although they may feel like it.
  • Only one of the situations can be completely avoided. (Don’t take your cell phone into a bathroom!)

USCIS instructions for Green Card holders

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) instructions direct Green Card holders who wish to apply for U.S. Citizenship to do so “90 calendar days before you complete your permanent residence requirement.”

The problem isn’t you. It is the system. Ninety days may no longer be an adequate length of time to process your application for citizenship – even if you have been careful to follow instructions completely.

U.S. citizenship application backlog

For whatever reasons, the system has been unable to keep pace with the number of applications received.

  • In fiscal year 2010, some 710,544 applications for citizenship were received.
  • In fiscal year 2017, that number rose to 986,790. That’s an increase of 38.8%
  • In fiscal year 2010, some 676,054 applications were processed, leaving a backlog of 291,833 yet to be completed
  • In fiscal year 2017, that number rose to 799,483 an increase, but an increase of only 18.3% less than half the increase in applications.
  • As a result, there have been increasing backlogs at the end of every fiscal year since 2010 with the exception of 2013 and 2015.
  • The backlog alone at the end of Q2 2018 now stands at 753,325, 258% more than the backlog of 291,833 in fiscal 2010.

The bottom line is that, even though the USCIS has expanded several of its offices to help improve the process flow, the department currently cannot keep pace.

We cannot predict what the future will hold. However, if you are concerned that your Green Card may expire before your application for citizenship is approved, we may be able to help to eliminate your anxiety and even help move your application along more expeditiously.

Our ACS Immigration Attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience and expertise. We are available to review your personal situation, advise you on the best and right way to resolve your status, and guide you throughout the entire process to make your future in America secure.

Published in Immigration

The American Dream is still alive, and we still welcome visitors and immigrants from other countries. People from all over the world want to come to the U.S. as students, skilled and unskilled workers, professionals, and entrepreneurs. Many come on temporary visas. Others hoping to obtain permanent residency.

Naturalization statistics

This is confirmed by the fact that more than 14,000 people from other countries became U.S. citizens in nearly 175 naturalization ceremonies across the nation between June 28th and July 10th in 2018. The ceremonies took place in USCIS field offices and several iconic venues including Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello, George Washington’s home at Mt. Vernon, the New York City Public Library, and onboard the USS Midway in San Diego Harbor.

America still welcomes immigrants

Forgive us if the news makes us look like we do not want immigrants. That is simply not true. What was once a “melting pot” where immigrants fled to blend into the American experience, has now become more like a stew of liberal, socialistic, and conservative views that cover the entire spectrum of ideology from misguided compassion to imprudent application of rules.

The problem is not the conflicting ideologies. The American spirit has always embraced the best of opposing ideas blended together in the special seasoning of the U.S. Constitution. Every great idea in America has come through compromises that promote the welfare, safety, and security of those living between sea to shining sea.

The emergence of the internet and social media now allows everyone who cares to speak out to do so at the same time when, previously, the platform and lectern accommodated only one at a time. As more noise fills the room, less attention can be paid to actual facts and reason.

U.S. visa statistics

So, in addition to the fact that we gladly gained 14,000 new citizens between June 28th and July 10th, here are a few more facts from fiscal year 2016 that give credence to the truth that we welcome immigrants.

  • The U.S. issued 10,381,491 non-immigrant visas covering 20 different categories including 482,033 student visas and 180,057 visas for highly-skilled professionals.
  • The U.S. issued 529,986 visas to relatives and family members of persons currently living here.
  • The U.S. issued more than 25,000 employment-based visas.

In 2017, the U.S. issued 559,536 immigrant visas and 9,681,913 non-immigrant visas.

From 2013 through 2017, the U.S. has issued a more than 2.6 million immigrant visas and approximately 50 million non-immigrant visas.

Does this sound like a country that is opposed to immigration? Of course not.

Illegal immigration

The emotional issue that is clouding the facts is illegal immigration – how to deal with it and how to prevent it. Every country has laws that govern immigration. The variety of laws are widely divergent but the major issue in every country is the same: the degree of enforcement of those laws.

That is the issue right here in the United States. The current administration has become more diligent about enforcing the laws that have been previously largely unenforced. This has been due largely to the issue of supply and demand to the extent that the number of people wanting to immigrate has outweighed the USCIS and Homeland Security employees necessary to process visas in a timely and convenient manner.

If you or someone you know wants to immigrate to the U.S., be sure to secure the services of a professional, licensed Immigration Attorney who is familiar with the laws and the immigration process.

Our Immigration Attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience and expertise. We are available to review your situation and advise you on the best and right way to resolve your tenuous status.

Published in Immigration
Thursday, 14 June 2018 09:35

Immigrating? Tell the Truth

The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on June 8, 2018, that it is expanding its efforts to find, denaturalize, and deport “a few thousand cases” of immigrants who fraudulently obtained their Green Cards and, in some cases, applied for and became naturalized.

Immigrating? Tell the Truth

As the federal government continues its crackdown on illegal immigration, L. Francis Cissna, the Director of the USCIS, explained that the department would be adding several dozen attorneys and officers who will be focused on one particular group of illegal immigrants of which the general public is largely unaware.

Those people are a select group Green Card holders and naturalized citizens who used a specific, fraudulent act to outwit the government. It is the same technique that some continue to use to gain employment fraudulently.

This group is comprised of people who, having been ordered for deportation, reapplied successfully by using fake identities. Poultry processors in the Midwest have experienced this same tactic for job applicants who have been turned away. They return days or weeks later with a new identity. If they are discovered, they are not hired. Or, if hired then discovered, they are terminated. When it comes to those who have used this practice to immigrate, they can expect to be charged with felony fraud and imprisoned prior to deportation.

The USCIS has been aware of this activity for years, but this will be the first time they will have an entire department focused on finding the miscreants. It will take about six months to get the Los Angeles office up and running. Nonetheless, the agency already has a process in place “to get to the bottom of all these bad cases and start denaturalizing people who should not have been naturalized in the first place.”

Why are we sharing this information?

  1. Immigrants who have legally obtained their Green Cards or have become naturalized should not be concerned. The government has a relatively good idea who the perpetrators are. Director Cissna said, “The people who are going to be targeted by this - they know full well who they are because they were ordered removal under a different identity and they intentionally lied about it when they applied for citizenship later on.”
  2. Some undocumented immigrants in the U.S. may be tempted to secure legal immigration using fraudulent activities. We urge these people to contact us to help gain immigrant status legally. We may be able to assist you with gaining asylum so that you can obtain legal status and peace of mind.

Our Immigration Attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience and expertise. We are available to review your situation and advise you on the best and right way to resolve your tenuous status.

Published in Immigration
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