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Adjustment of Status Archives

How Much Does it Cost to Become an American Citizen?

Becoming an American citizen is something that many immigrants, whether they’re living in the United States on a visa, with a green card or simply considering applying from their home country dream about. There are few countries in the world that can give immigrants the opportunities afforded to them that the United States can.

When Can I Apply for Citizenship After a Green Card?

Getting a green card is the first step toward becoming a naturalized United States citizen – a goal that many immigrants coming to the United States share. While it is certainly possible to become a United States citizen, there are some rules and regulations that you’ll have to follow and meet in order to obtain your citizenship.

Immigration Status

The dictionary defines the word “orphan” as “a child whose father and mother are both dead.” Now there is a new kind of orphan.Orphan KidThese “orphans” are children whose parents—both father and mother—are very much alive, but have been deported from the United States because of their illegal status.You would think that illegal immigrants already have enough to worry about: Right from the moment he or she decides to try to enter the U. S. up to all the concerns and fears they have if they do succeed in getting and staying here.Mexicans, of course, have the treacherous challenge of crossing the southern American border with all its high tech surveillance devices and aggressive border agents. But just think of the Central Americans—Guatemalans, El Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, etc.—who face the additional challenge of crossing Mexico’s southern border, a passage that can be equally as dangerous, even if the border guards there can be more irregular and inconstant in enforcing Mexico’s regulations against illegals.Once here the perils of life in the U.S. as an illegal immigrant can be almost too numerous to mention, and can be the subject of later pieces.For now the problem of what to do about the new ‘orphans’ (children of deportees) needs to be addressed. From newborns to teens these ‘orphans’ are presenting governments, social services, and non-profits with a whole set of new problems. Foster care, health services, orphanages, child protective services and educators are all feeling the impact of their new class of “orphans.”Exact numbers are hard to come by. However, Homeland Security estimates there are about 11.5 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. today. Of these the number in the age range from 0-18 years could be about 12% or 1.3 million.Just imagine the situation of a six-month old child whose parents are put in detention or are actually deported. What the chances of this family being reunited? You can bet that they are pretty slim. Who is going to feed and clothe and watch out for the healthy development of such a child?Foster care or orphanages are the only alternatives that are likely. Once source reports that the U.S. spends $22 billion annually on children in foster care, averaging about $40,000 per child. Child protective services by law cannot even place children whose parents are undocumented.Not only the helpless infant, but also the school age orphan is at a tremendous disadvantage in his or her educational development.California, Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois face the brunt of these problems with over half of the immigrant population.More on these matters later.

Uscis Green Card Lottery

USCIS

The idea of the American dream may have changed since historian James Truslow Adams popularized the term in his 1931 book “Epic of America.” However, for many people, the American dream has, and always will, involve owning and running their own business.

Immigration Marriage

Obama Administration moves one step closer to greater freedom for immigrant partners in Same Sex relationship. There are immigrants, there are Same Sex couples, and then there are same sex couples in which one partner is an immigrant. While all of these groups suffer in terms of liberties, it not surprising that the latter group sees the least amount of liberties.Same Sex PartnersUntil recently, for example, in a deportation case of an immigrant who is in a Same Sex relationship, his or her partner would not be considered a family member. Last Friday, however, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced that the Obama Administration has directed ICE to include long-term Same Sex Couples in its interpretation of “family member.”

Same Sex Couples Interpretation

While Pelosi appreciates Janet Napolitano’s directive to recognize Same Sex couples, she believes that more must be done for immigrant Same Sex couples, and all Same Sex couples in general. Under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal government is restricted from extending federal benefits to married Same Sex couples. This barring of federal benefits, such as Social Security, is not only detrimental to couples, but it has been declared unconstitutional by Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama.Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide whether or not it will review certain cases that question the constitutionality of DOMA. In the meanwhile, there are hundreds of Same Sex couples that are suffering as a result of DOMA and scores of Same Sex couples with an immigrant partner that are undergoing additional hardships.Same Sex CouplesOne such case is that of the married couple Brian Willingham and Alfonso Garcia; they are continuously struggling to be considered one another’s family member with immigration authorities. After a traffic stop, Garcia, who entered the country at the age of 14 from Mexico, was given a deportation order. Until the Obama administration issued the directive to consider long-term, Same Sex couples family members, Garcia and Willingham struggled to prove their relation.

Same Sex Couples Directive

This directive is a just another step forward as it will serve as written guidance for immigration officials. It will work to help those families who are on the verge of being torn apart by deportation. This federal recognition of Same Sex couples as family members seems to place new hope for not only for immigration, but also for the LGBTQ community. We hope, now, that this step is one of many to help immigrant partners in Same Sex relationships. If you would like to speak with one of our experiences Attorneys regarding a same sex relationship matter, call us 212-944-9071 or contact us to schedule a consultation.

Green Card By Marriage

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has been negatively affecting individuals since it was enacted in 1996. Under this U.S. federal law, the definition of marriage is limited to mean a legal union between one man and one woman. §3 of DOMA specifically codifies the non-recognition of same-sex marriage for all federal purposes including but not limited to insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors’ benefits, and immigration. As immigration law is federal, the government agencies apply DOMA’s definition of marriage for these cases; those gay and lesbian couples legally married in one of the six states that perform and recognize same-sex marriage, in addition to Washington, D.C., still are not considered married for immigration purposes.As of 2010, there are upwards of 650,000 same-sex couples in the country. Of these couples, 79,200 include at least one partner who is not a U.S. citizen or naturalized as a citizen. Under U.S. immigration policy, citizens are able to obtain permanent residence for a different-sex spouse but this option is not available to same-sex partners under DOMA.DOMA Defense of Marriage ActThe implications of these limitations are multifold: gay and lesbian U.S. citizens are unable to successfully petition for their spouses, the non-citizen partner is unable to accompany their citizen spouse in receiving family or employment-based visa, and non-citizen partners are unable to obtain waivers or relief from removal despite their marriage. DOMA, then, restricts same-sex couples from receiving benefits that they would were they in different-sex marriages.This week, a lesbian couple filed a federal lawsuit - seeking class-action status - in California in an attempt to resolve this discrepancy. Jane DeLeon, a Philippines citizen, has been married to Irma Rodriguez for three years. Ms. DeLeon was sponsored for a green card by her employer; however, she is unable to obtain residency due to DOMA. The suit is filed by the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law on behalf of Ms. DeLeon and her twenty-six year old son; Mr. Peter Schey, the President of the Los Angeles-based organization, hopes to not only solve Ms. DeLeon and Ms. Rodriguezs’ immigration woes, but to also stop the deportation of individuals in same-sex marriages due solely to their marriages being unrecognized due to DOMA.Ms. DeLeon, according to the lawsuit, is eligible for a green card but needs to obtain a waiver because she entered the country as though she were married when she was actually in a common law relationship with the father of her son. The waiver would be approved if the foreign national’s absence from the country would cause extreme hardship to a spouse or parent of an American citizen. Ms. Rodriguez suffers from a serious medical condition which would possibly cause extreme hardship were Ms. DeLeon to be deported to the Philippines. Despite this circumstance, federal immigration authorities denied Ms. DeLeon’s waiver application due to the fact that her marriage is not legally recognized by DOMA.Similar lawsuits have been filed by immigration advocates on behalf of numerous same-sex couples. The over-arching allegation is the refusal by DOMA to legally acknowledge same-sex marriages is a violation of their constitutional rights. Jane DeLeon and Irma Rodriguez are extending this allegation as DOMA is preventing them from partaking in the same immigration benefits as a different-sex couple would be able to enjoy under the same circumstances.The Obama administration has already determined §3 to be unconstitutional, however, until the repeal of the law or a final judicial decision is passed on the law, the Department of Justice will still enforce DOMA. Therefore, while we wait on the courts and the legislative process to proceed – a matter that is painstakingly slow – future steps become obscured in a mist of uncertainty and patience is tried to the utmost. While same-sex bi-national families are being torn apart, though, is patience really a virtue?

The Naturalization Process by New Your City Immigration Lawyer

When you make the decision to go through the naturalization process for your means of gaining U.S. citizenship, you need to understand that it is a lengthy process. There are many requirements and criteria to follow and meet before you can acquire U.S. citizenship by naturalization. A New York City immigration lawyer can help you through this process.

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