August 2017 Edition
Here is our latest edition of our Monthly Newsletter “Know your Rights”. You can find all prior editions by visiting our blog here. In this edition we will inform you of the latest trends in immigration and bankruptcy as well as updates from our practice.
USCIS has made several important announcements: the first one is the launch of an online tool to replace your Permanent Resident Card (which currently is done through an I-90). The tool will allow you to submit an application, upload supporting documents (even from your cellphone) and check the status of the case. Please, do not confuse this tool with an Application to Remove Conditions (Form I-751). These are two distinct forms and cannot be used interchangeably. You can find the online I-90 tool here.
The second USCIS announcement was the publication of the updated form I-485 or Application to Adjust Status. This application is used when a person with a tourist visa wants to change his/her status to a permanent resident (usually through marriage), just to cite an example. The new form was extended to allow USCIS to collect more information from you as well as for USCIS to determine if your past prohibits you from receiving a permanent residence.
The Trump administration has published statistics of their tough stance on immigration and the results are troubling for undocumented immigrants: from February through July 2017 there was a 28% increase in the number of orders of removals issued by Immigration Judges nationwide. Voluntary departures also increased by 30% compared to the same period during 2016.
Finally, the United States Supreme Court issued two important decisions:
- A mere false statement may not disqualify a person’s citizenship application. The reasoning behind this ruling is that if a false statement does not play a rule in a USCIS officer decision-making process of the application, then it should not affect the outcome.
In simple words: a white lie probably won’t affect your citizenship application. But do not push it!
- USCIS can no longer treat unmarried mothers better than unmarried fathers when the individual is trying to establish a child born abroad should be a U.S. citizen. Before this decision, unmarried fathers faced an uphill battle from the very beginning in proving not only that they are the genetically proven father but also their continuous presence in the United States for 5 years prior to making the petition.
Bankruptcy and Debt:
If you owe private student loans and are having a hard time making payments, you may get a sweet relief soon. Many private student loan servicers are struggling to provide proof of ownership of the loans which is causing federal courts to wipe out the debt completely (these cases remind me of the mortgage crisis of 2008). But don’t stop making your payments just yet. Talk to a qualified bankruptcy attorney and find out the status of your student loan servicer first.
We have dedicated an entire week this month to create awareness on how to avoid a bankruptcy, but also how to take advantage of one if your financial situation requires it. If you are not doing so already, you can follow us on any of our social media platforms(Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Youtube) to check out our awareness posts.
- The firm held successful consultations in the Dominican Republic at the end of July 2017. We are very thankful to the clients that we met during this trip and hope we can make a difference in their cases. Special thanks to the Law Office Frias Checo, Leonardo Vicente and Angela Vicente for help in putting this event together. You can check out a video compilation of this event here.
- In the past two months, the firm was able to successfully obtain final judgments in divorce proceedings where our clients not only walked away with their ultimate goal, a divorce, but also with favorable settlement agreements. All of this while saving money and being able to move on with their lives.
- On June 8th, 2017 Mr. Veras attended a Brown Bag Lunch organized by AILA South Florida to discuss the Child Status Protection Act.
- On July 13th and August 10th 2017 Mr. Veras participated as a committee member in the AILA South Florida Asylum Committee monthly meeting.
- On July 18th, 2017 Mr. Veras participated in the AILA South Florida Pro Bono Committee monthly meeting as a committee member.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND ME:
- I will be attending the NSU Law Center Plus: Transactional Real Estate Law: From Contract to Closing seminar on September 8th, 2017 at Nova Southeastern University.
- I will be participating as a guest in the CLE event “Representing Unaccompanied Minors Facing Removal Proceedings” on September 8th, 2017 at University of Miami organized by Americans for Immigrant Justice, AILA South Florida and Catholic Legal Services of Miami.
- Exhibitor at Gravity Gimnastics Open House on September 9th, 2017.
Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter. If you have any comments or want us to cover a certain topic please let us know.
Christian Veras, Esq.
DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is for educational use only. The information contained in it does not constitute legal advice and an attorney-client relationship is not created by reading this post.