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Can Immigration Officers check your social networks?

August 30, 2022

Can Immigration Officers check your social networks? If you’re currently applying for U.S. citizenship or residency, you may need to refrain from posting any controversial comments about the U.S. government or not uploading any pictures or tweets that may not show the best version of you. Since 2019, immigration authorities have been asking for the usernames and social media accounts of all applicants that desire to obtain their immigration visa, residency, or naturalization; as well as tourists that travel to the United States. Despite the fact that some organizations who fight for immigrant rights have argued that requesting applicants’ usernames and social media accounts is a violation of their privacy, and that checking this info could increase delays within the immigration system; the U.S. government has stated that this information is solely used to verify their identities while carrying out a background check to rule out possible security threats.   What is exactly this social media policy for immigrants? The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) usually requests applicants to give out a list of all their usernames on social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Additionally, they may also ask for other social media handles like Myspace, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, and TikTok accounts. When an applicant starts their immigration process, they need to provide the usernames of the social media accounts that they’ve been active in during the last five years. However, according to the DHS requirements, there is no need to share passwords. This requirement is only intended to find any “red flags”, and to go over personal information or posts that are easily accessible online. The application forms that the DHS asks for social media accounts are the I-485 (formerly known as the “Application for Adjustment of Status”), and the N-400 (known as the “Application for Naturalization”), as well as seven other official immigration documents.   How might your social media posts affect your immigration process? Essentially, the U.S. government assures that they request applicants’ social network accounts to see if there is any evidence of the applicant being a threat to national security, any close ties to known criminal organizations, or if they committed fraud with any personal information given on immigration forms. An example to make sure you’re not committing fraud is when you’re getting married to a U.S. citizen. You may ask yourself: do I want to prove I got married in good faith and not because I wanted to become a U.S. resident through a marital union? In this scenario, it is likely that immigration officials who review your application will take a closer look at you and your spouse’s social media accounts to confirm that your marriage is legitimate. Additionally, when you share your social media accounts with the U.S. government, you’re also granting them access to your photos, locations, dates of birth, or any relevant milestones published on your accounts, as well as other data that is normally shared on social media.   What can I do to protect the privacy of my social media accounts? Since the U.S. government has pledged that they only review any […]

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What is TPS, and how do these authorizations benefit migrants?

July 29, 2022

The U.S. government has announced an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelans. This action is a direct response to the petitions of various political and economic sectors that have asked the government to continue protecting those migrants that left Venezuela in 2014 due to the sociopolitical crisis they’re currently in. However, TPS does not only cover Venezuelans. Other migrants can also apply and benefit from this travel authorization document. But how? In our blog post, we will explain to you what exactly is TPS and how it helps those who benefit from this immigration process. What is Temporary Protected Status? Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, is an immigration program that the government provides to citizens in certain countries under particular circumstances that allow them to remain temporarily in the U.S. TPS was created by Congress as part of the Immigration Act of 1990 to protect citizens of certain countries that cannot return to their homeland because of: An ongoing armed conflict between their country and another nation or a civil war. Environmental disasters in their nation. Pandemics. Other temporary and extraordinary conditions. Which countries can apply for TPS? The Department of Homeland Security allows citizens of these countries to be potential beneficiaries of TPS:   Afghanistan Myanmar Cameroon El Salvador Haiti Honduras Nepal Nicaragua Somalia Sudan South Sudan Syria Ukraine Venezuela Yemen If you are a citizen or a stateless person that has resided in one of these countries, you are qualified to benefit from TPS. What are TPS’s benefits? Despite the fact that this immigration program does not grant permanent residency or any other immigration status, immigrants that are under TPS can benefit from a series of measures to help them incorporate their lives in the United States. Therefore, beneficiaries will be provided with: Protection from being deported. Remaining for a period of time in the United States designated by their TPS. An employment authorization document (EAD). An application for travel authorization. What criteria must I meet in order to be eligible for TPS? To become a TPS beneficiary, first, you must either be a citizen from one of the designated countries or a stateless person that has resided in these countries before immigrating to the U.S. In addition, you must have been residing or continually physically present (CPP) in the United States prior to the effective date of the most recent designation date for your country.  Although there are some exceptions in TBS that do not require you to be physically present in the U.S. at all times, the law allows beneficiaries to leave the U.S. for a brief period under innocent circumstances. However, all of these departures must be reported to the USCIS. Does TPS have to be renewed? Yes. Since this is a temporary permit, once you are granted TPS benefits, you must renew your status in each re-registration period to continue having your temporary protected status. This requirement applies to all TPS beneficiaries, including those who were initially granted TPS by immigration authorities, a judge, or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). If you’re a resident of these countries that is eligible for […]

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What is the Los Angeles Declaration and how does this affect migration?

June 29, 2022

On June 10, 2022, over 20 American and Caribbean countries gathered at the Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles to commit to working together in creating safe conditions and reinforcing frameworks to protect migrants.  These commitments are the basis for the creation of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, which also builds upon other international immigration instruments such as the 1984 Cartagena Declaration and the 2018 Quito Process. Although the agreement is not binding, the Los Angeles Declaration is a step forward in properly managing the migration waves that occur in the Americas. Events such as the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, and the diaspora of Venezuelans due to their country’s economic situation, add to the flows of Central American immigrants that are fleeing their homelands to move to North American countries. What exactly does the Declaration of the Americas consist of? The 20 countries that signed the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection were: Argentina Barbados Belize Brazil Canada Chile Colombia Costa Rica Ecuador El Salvador United States Guatemala Haiti Honduras Jamaica Mexico Panama Paraguay Peru Uruguay The White House has stated that the countries “are committed to protecting the safety and dignity of all migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons, regardless of their migratory status, and respecting their human rights and fundamental freedoms”. This declaration has established to work on promoting four major issues: Stability and assistance for communities of destination, origin, transit, and return. Legal pathways for migration and international protection. Humane migration management. Coordinated emergency response. With this shared approach, the signatory countries commit to investing and supporting countries that have received large numbers of migrants and refugees such as: Belize, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago. But what exactly did the U.S. government commit to? How does the Los Angeles Declaration impact migration to the United States? Due to their high number of deportation cases, the United States was the country that proposed the Los Angeles Declaration. One of the talking points of the Los Angeles Declaration was the U.S. government announcing three commitments that aim to help migrants. The U.S. government announced the aid of 65 million dollars to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help American agricultural companies that hire temporary workers from Northern Central America under the H2-A visa program. Additionally, the U.S. government also announced that they will provide an additional 11,500 H-2B visas for temporary non-agricultural workers for Haitian and Northern Central American citizens. According to the White House, this new number of visas “represents a three-fold increase from this year”.   Reunification of Haitian and Cuban Families The U.S. government has also pledged to increase the number of referrals to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for Haitians. Additionally, the United States will resume and increase its participation in the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program, in which certain eligible U.S. citizens and permanent residents can sponsor family members for parole, which is to enter the country and temporarily stay with an immigrant or non-immigrant visa. The White House also announced that the Department of State will intensify its efforts to […]

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ICE to stop detaining immigrants at two county jails under federal investigation

May 25, 2021

The Biden administration has decided to stop detaining immigrants in a pair of county jails facing federal probes in Georgia and Massachusetts, calling the decision an “important first step” in a broader review of the nation’s sprawling network of immigration jails. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Thursday ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to immediately terminate its contract with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office in Massachusetts and to transfer the few remaining detainees elsewhere. He also directed ICE to rescind an agreement with the sheriff’s office that trained deputies to screen inmates arrested for crimes to see if they are also eligible for deportation. Mayorkas also directed ICE to “as soon as possible” sever its contracts with the Irwin County Detention Center in rural Georgia, a more complicated endeavor because the facility is county-owned but run by a private contractor. Federal officials chose the two facilities mainly because their detention rosters have shrunk and they are “no longer operationally necessary,” said a Department of Homeland Security official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the administration’s deliberations. Bristol is holding seven detainees out of nearly 200 beds; Irwin has 114 detainees out of almost 1,000 beds. [Immigration arrests fell in April to lowest monthly level on record] Both county jails are also under federal investigation for complaints of abuses against immigrants — allegations that remain open and unresolved — and those factored into Mayorkas’s decision, the official said. In a memo to ICE directing the changes, Mayorkas said his “foundational principle” is that “we will not tolerate the mistreatment of individuals in civil immigration detention or substandard conditions of detention.” Read More

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What are some options to adjust your immigration status in Atlanta?

April 21, 2020

An adjustment of status in the United States is one of the ways in which an immigrant can obtain a green card. Through this process, an eligible person can obtain a number of benefits, such as permission to stay in the country, even if your nonimmigrant visa expires. Therefore, through an adjustment of status we a person can get a step closer to applying for legal permanent residence in the United States. This immigration process can be an option for foreigners who reside within the country and comply with a series of documents and requirements that we will explain in this new Blog. Three important requirements for adjusting your status Many people do not know if they are eligible for an adjustment of their status. This is understandable given the numerous changes that the administration of the United States government continually makes. Not all immigrants in the country are eligible to make an adjustment to their status. To begin with, an applicant for adjustment of status must meet the requirements for permanent residency. If a person does not meet these requirements they may be denied and subsequently deported. For this reason, it is very important to seek help from an immigration lawyer who knows how to handle adjustment of status and permanent residence cases. Here are the requirements you must meet to make an adjustment of status in the United States: Physical presence in the United States. If the situation is that you do not reside in the country at the time of the adjustment of status, you cannot carry out any procedure related to this goal. First of all, it is necessary to apply for an immigrant visa at the consulate or embassy of your country of origin. Legal admission in the United States. As we previously mentioned, in order for you to make the adjustment of status, you must have a physical presence in the United States. However, when entering the country you must pass through an entry post, where an officer allows you to enter and will legally admit you into the country. Do not become a public charge. In the past month, the Trump administration approved the new Public Charge standard, which specifies and adds the specific elements for which a person is considered a public charge in the United States and cannot apply for adjustment of status. According to the USCIS, a person is considered a public charge if he or she is likely to depend on the government to survive in the country. Therefore, foreigners who wish to adjust their status must present the necessary evidence to prove that they can support themselves and are not likely to need help supporting themselves. For instance having a job, a place to live, owning a home can help.  Adjustment of status through your family or work As you may know, adjustment of status is a process that allows an immigrant to apply for lawful permanent residence status without having to leave the United States. One of the simplest ways that the Zambrano & Ruiz immigration law firm advises clients to pursue is to make the adjustment […]

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What should I do to be a beneficiary of an O Visa?

January 14, 2020

Is there a difference between a Green Card and an O Visa? Are there different types of O Visas? How do I apply for an O Visa? All of these questions and more will be answered in this blog. If you have additional questions, we’re experienced immigration lawyers that will be happy to talk to you. What is an O Visa? First, an O Visa is a nonimmigrant visa granted by the USCIS for a person who possesses extraordinary skills in the areas of science, arts, education, business, and sports. That is, they have managed to be recognized in their professions nationally or worldwide for achievements in their fields. This sounds like a broad category for visas, but the beneficiary of the visa, or the person who is hoping to come work in the U.S, must meet at least three of the eight O Visa requirements to be considered. There are three different types of O Visas depending on the field of expertise, work assistance, and family members.  O-1 Visa (a): visa granted to all those people with an extraordinary ability in science, education, business or sports. O-1 Visa (b): visa granted to all those people with an extraordinary ability in the field of the arts, as well as in movies and on television. O-2 Visa: this visa is granted to those people who will accompany the person holding the O-1 Visa. These people are an integral or essential part of the work and must have a high critical capacity and experience to help the worker perform in the United States. O-3 Visa: visa granted to people who are spouses or children of the person who is requesting an O-1 Visa or an O-2 Visa. What is “extraordinary ability”? Success is measured differently all around the world. So what does it mean to have an extraordinary ability that qualifies someone for an O-1 Visa (a or b) instead of a Green Card or another type of visa? The USCIS has a list of requirements that the person must meet in order to be considered for an O Visa. These requirements serve as proof that they have achieved success in their professional career and, therefore, have enough documents to support and enforce the claim.     Unless the person possesses a major internationally recognized award such as a Nobel Prize, they must meet three of the following eight requirements: Recipient of one or several national or international awards in their field for excellent work. Membership in a nationally or internationally recognized organization focused on excellence and outstanding achievements in their field of expertise. Published material in a professional or major trade publications or other types of major media. These do not necessarily have to be written by the person, but they must highlight the significance of them and their work. Contributed original scientific, scholarly/academic, and/or business related work that is of major significance in their field of expertise Author of scholarly articles in their field published either in professional journals or other major media that require classification to be published in. Be paid a high salary or other form of compensation […]

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Five things to know about the new Public Charge Rule

July 28, 2016

Foreigners who request a visa to enter the United States must now more than ever demonstrate that they have full capacity to finance their trip and their stay in the country. Even Though this requirement is not new to the immigration system, the new Public Charge reform will put a stronger emphasis on immigrants’ financial capability to minimize the chances of allowing immigrants who might need financial support enter the country. As of February 24, 2020, the Trump administration will put into effect a new regulation for the new Public Charge rule in which they intend to investigate and requiere foreigners who enter or ask for a Green Card to provide very specific details and records about their health, education, income, and family history. Back in August 2019, the Citizenship and Immigration Services explained, “Self-reliance has long been a basic principle of United States immigration law. Since the nineteenth century, Congress has established a statute in which people who arrive to the country are inadmissible if they cannot sustain themselves without becoming a public charge. ” The new Public Charge regulation includes 20 new chapters that would make it easier for immigration agents to refuse green card petitions or even refuse foreigners to enter the country through any point of entry based on their financial capability. Due to these changes, it is very important to ask an experienced immigration attorney to represent you and help you complete and submit corresponding documents to prove that you will not become a ‘public charge’. In this new blog Zambrano & Ruiz Immigration Attorneys talk about 5 important things you should know about the public charge rule. 1. What is public charge? The Citizenship and Immigration Services states that “For purposes of determining inadmissibility, “public charge” means an individual who is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense”. 2. Age A key factor in determining whether an immigrant might become public charge to the United States is the age at the time of application. Immigrants that are between 18 and 61 years are considered at low risk of becoming a public charge. However, age is only a small factor to overcome, and applicants that fall under or over this age-frame might still be able to apply for immigration benefits.   3. Health Immigration officials who review new applications will consider applicants’ health as one of factors to deny or approve immigration benefits. Those applicants with conditions that require constant medical attention will be considered at a higher risk of becoming a public charge to the state. For this reason, the new Public Charge Rule would prevent immigrants from obtaining benefits to get medical attention in the United States. 4. Family When reviewing applications, immigration agents will also take into consideration family history to determine if applicants are at risk of becoming a public charge to the country. This consideration is given if the foreigner has a home to support, will be supported by others, or if there is any chance that […]

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