In The News
Department of Homeland Security Issues Final Regulation on Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers of Inadmissibility for Certain Immediate Relatives
On January 2, 2013, Secretary Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a final rule on provisional unlawful presence waivers of inadmissibility. The final rule came after several months of review by DHS of public comments on the proposed version. The waiver is for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who (1) have approved immigrant visa petitions (Form I-130 or I-360); (2) are physically present in the United States; (3) have been illegally present in the United States for more than 180 days; (4) must travel to a consulate outside the United States to obtain an immigrant visa; and (5) would face a 3-year or 10-year bar to re-entry due to their illegal presence if they leave the country for consular processing.
Approval of the waiver is discretionary. For the waiver request to be approved, accrued unlawful presence must be the only ground of inadmissibility. For administrative reasons relating to volume control, a person is not eligible if the date the Department of State acted to schedule his/her immigrant visa interview came before the date of publication of the final rule, which is January 3, 2013. Individuals with final removal orders are ineligible. However, those whose removal proceedings are administratively closed, terminated, or dismissed are eligible. An applicant for the waiver must show that the qualifying relative (U.S. citizen spouse or parent) would suffer extreme hardship. An individual may reapply if the waiver request is denied or withdrawn.
The waiver will greatly reduce the time that immediate relatives are separated from their families when they return to their native countries for processing at an American consulate. Unlike traditional waivers, they will be able to apply for this waiver and have it adjudicated prior to departing from the United States to complete consular processing. This reduces the risk and anxiety associated with being illegally present in the United States and having to attend an immigrant visa interview outside the country.
However, the filing or approval of a provisional unlawful presence waiver will not (1) give you any legal status; (2) protect you from accruing additional unlawful presence; (3) authorize you to enter the United States without a visa or other appropriate entry documents; (4) qualify you for any interim benefits such as employment authorization, advance parole, or eligibility to be paroled; or (5) prevent you from being placed in removal proceedings or removed from the United States.
The application for this waiver is Form I-601A. The filing fee is $585. You should note that USCIS will not accept applications for this waiver until March 4, 2013. Bretz & Coven will soon provide more detailed information on eligibility criteria, procedures, and related issues on its website. If you have questions about the provisional unlawful presence waivers of inadmissibility, please contact us for a consultation.
Bretz & Coven Persuades BIA to Remand Case Back to Immigration Court Before a New Judge Because of Prior Judge’s Misconduct and Bias.
Bretz & Coven appealed an Immigration Judge’s decision dated June 9, 2011. The Judge had arbitrarily denied our client’s application for a waiver of inadmissibility under former section 212 (c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Judge had acted improperly toward our client, his adult daughter, and the Bretz & Coven associate representing him. Also, there were important issues relating to our client’s mental capacity that Bretz & Coven was not allowed to fully address in immigration court. In light of these problems, the Board of Immigration Appeals decided on October 12, 2012, to remand the case back to immigration court before a new judge for a hearing on the merits of the application for relief. Bretz & Coven represented this lawful resident pro bono. For more details, go to the Pro Bono web page.
Obama Administration Will Offer Deferred Action to DREAMers
On June 15, 2012, the Obama Administration announced it is ending removal proceedings for potential beneficiaries of the Dream Act. It will offer them renewable 2-year periods of deferred action with work authorization. To be eligible, they must satisfy the following criteria:
- 1 They came to the United States under the age of 16;
- 2 They are not above the age of 30;
- 3 They have continuously lived in the United States for at least 5 years before June 15, 2012, and were present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
- 4 They are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate (G.E.D.), or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- 5 They have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offences, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Within 60 days after the June 15 announcement, application forms and procedures will be developed by the Department of Homeland Security. As these forms and procedures are announced, Bretz & Coven will publicize this information on its website. If you have questions about deferred action for DREAMers, please contact us for a consultation.
Deported client can now return to the United States after Bretz & Coven, LLP's victory at the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Last year, Bretz & Coven, LLP, succeeded at getting the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Accardo vs United States Atty General, to rule that the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") was wrong to conclude that our client's conviction for extortionate extension of credit was absolutely a crime of violence, and therefore an aggravated felony. The case was remanded back to the BIA. This year on March 15, the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed the appeal of DHS, vacated the removal order, and terminated the proceedings. Because of Bretz & Coven, LLP's deportation defense, this deportee will reunite with his family in the United States.
Kerry Bretz Appears on
Justice with Judge Jeanine
on the Fox News Channel
In an October 1, 2011 panel discussion on the cable television show, Justice with Judge Jeanine, Kerry Bretz made several important points challenging ICE's Secure Communities Program.
Bretz & Coven, LLP, wins four federal cases—two of them precedent—setting—in three different United States Courts of Appeals.
The scope of our services in challenging unfair immigration decisions in Federal Court was well demonstrated this year when we won four cases with different issues in three separate United States Courts of Appeals. On January 26, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held, in Galluzzo vs. Holder, that our client's due process rights were violated as a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) entrant when he was ordered deported without a hearing in the absence of a waiver of his right to a hearing. On March 10, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held, in Accardo vs United States Atty General, that the Board of Immigration Appeals was wrong to conclude that our clients conviction for extortionate extension of credit was absolutely a crime of violence, and therefore an aggravated felony. On April 15, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Andrews v. Atty General of the United States, vacated the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals and remanded the case, after finding that our client had diligently pursued her claims and that her former attorneys representation was deficient. On September 27, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals, held in Gonzales Bordonave v. Holder that the Board of Immigration Appeals erred in reversing the Immigration Judge's grant of adjustment of status because it failed to consider hardship to Mr. Gonzales's family if Mr. Gonzales were deported, a factor that the Immigration Judge had considered and which the Board has in extensive case law required be considered in adjustment of status cases. For more details on these four federal cases, see our Blogs, Press Releases and Federal Court Decisions web pages.
On a Pro Bono basis, Bretz & Coven, LLP, helps a family with a gravely ill child to be granted deferred action by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
A husband, Rawi Audi, and wife, Dania Tafran, faced deportation due to the Board of Immigration Appeals' dismissal on November 24, 2010, of their appeal from an immigration judge's removal order. However, the couple desperately needed to remain in the United States because their son, Omar, then nine years old, suffers from hereditary angiodema. It is a rare, life-threatening medical condition for which medication is available in the United States, but not in the family's home country of Lebanon. Fortunately, on January 25, 2011, ICE granted deferred action to the parents for two years. On May 17, 2011, their son, Omar, was officially granted deferred action for the same period of time given to his parents. For more details, see our Blogs, Press Releases and Federal Court Decisions web pages.