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Curbelo and Grayson Introduce the Venezuelan Refugee Assistance Act

Posted: November 9th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Immigration Reform, National News, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »
Rep. Carlos Curbelo

Two Florida members of Congress introduced a bill that would allow Venezuelans who arrived in the U.S. prior to Jan 1, 2013, to adjust status to permanent resident. No word on how likely this is to move forward.

Washington, D.C.—In response to the continued instability in Venezuela, Reps. Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) and Alan Grayson (FL-09), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) have introduced the Venezuelan Refugee Assistance Act, H.R. 3744, to provide immigration relief to Venezuelans that have long-resided in the U.S., unable to return to their homeland:

“For the past decade, thousands of Venezuelans were forced to flee the brutal Chavez dictatorship. The situation has not improved under his hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro. In the last few months alone we have seen countless examples of the regime’s thuggish tactics, unethical behavior, and lethal force. They’ve arrested top opposition leaders like Leopoldo Lopez and the Mayor or Caracas, and banned others from running for public office, like Maria Machado. They’ve also arrested over 3,000 opposition protestors in a riot that left dozens dead. This bill will help those Venezuelan nationals who have made a new home in the United States to remain here if they choose to since it is dangerous to return home.

Specifically, this legislation would address the issue by adjusting the status of Venezuelans that arrived in the U.S. prior to Jan 1, 2013 as long as they do not have a criminal record and were never involved in the persecution of others. They have until January 1, 2019 to register for adjustment.

I applaud the Venezuelan-American community in the United States for their continued efforts on behalf of the people of Venezuela and I stand in unity for their noble cause of justice and freedom and thank Rep. Grayson for his leadership throughout the years to help the Venezuelan people. I would also like to thank Reps. Ros-Lehtinen and Wasserman Schultz for being original co-sponsors,” said Rep. Curbelo.

“I’m proud to join my Florida colleague Rep. Carlos Curbelo in introducing this important piece of bipartisan legislation. The political turmoil in Venezuela demands that the United States do everything in its power to protect those who have been able to escape to freedom in America. We cannot in good conscience force Venezuelans to return to a country where they face arrest, torture, and execution only because they oppose the government. Granting them permanent residence status is the best, most logical way to ensure their safety. I thank Rep. Curbelo for all he has done for the Venezuelan American community, and look forward to working with him to see this legislation out of committee and onto the floor for a vote,” said Rep. Grayson.

Rep. Curbelo will be holding a press conference regarding H.R. 3744 on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 in his Miami district office.


What the DOMA Ruling Means for Sarasota Immigrants

Posted: August 9th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: National News | Tags: , | No Comments »

*Originally posted 7/3/13*

Updated 8/9/13:

State Department Issues FAQs Regarding DOMA Ruling

FAQs for Post-Defense of Marriage ActQ: How does the Supreme Court’s Windsor v. United States decision impact immigration law?

A: The Supreme Court has found section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Effective immediately, U.S. embassies and consulates will adjudicate visa applications that are based on a same-sex marriage in the same way that we adjudicate applications for opposite gender spouses.   This means that the same sex spouse of a visa applicant coming to the U.S. for any purpose – including work, study, international exchange or as a legal immigrant – will be eligible for a derivative visa.  Likewise, stepchildren acquired through same sex marriages can also qualify as beneficiaries or for derivative status.

Q: Do we have to live or intend to live in a state in which same sex marriage is legal in order to qualify for an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa?

A: No. If your marriage is valid in the jurisdiction (U.S. state or foreign country) where it took place, it is valid for immigration purposes.  For more information, please review the following page on the United States

Citizenship and Immigration Service’s (USCIS) website.

Q: I am in a civil union or domestic partnership; will this be treated the same as a marriage?

A: At this time, only a relationship legally considered to be a marriage in the jurisdiction where it took place establishes eligibility as a spouse for  immigration purposes.

Q: I am a U.S. citizen who is engaged to be married to a foreign national of the same sex.  We cannot marry in my fiancé’s country. What are our options? Can we apply for a fiancé K visa?

A: You may file a Form I-129F and apply for a fiancé(e) (K) visa.  As long as all other immigration requirements are met, a same-sex engagement may allow your fiancé to enter the United States for the purpose of marriage.  For information on adjusting status, please review the following page on USCIS’s website:

Nonimmigrant Visas (NIVs)

Q: Can same sex couples now apply for visas in the same classification?

A: Yes. Starting immediately, same-sex spouses and their children are equally eligible for NIV derivative visas.  Same-sex spouses and their children (stepchildren of the primary applicant when the marriage takes place before the child turns 18) can qualify as derivatives where the law permits issuance of the visa to a spouse or stepchild.  In cases where additional documentation has always been required of a spouse applying with a principal applicant, such documentation will also be required in the case of a same-sex spouse (see below).

Q: Are there nonimmigrant visa classifications which will require approval of certain documentation before an interview can take place?

A: Yes. Same-sex spouses and stepchildren (F-2 and M-2) of student (F-1 and M-1) visa applicants will need to obtain an I-20A prior to application.  Spouses (J-2s) of exchange visitors (J-1) visa holders will need an approved DS-2019.  Finally, same-sex spouses of victims of criminal activity (U-2s) and human trafficking victims (T-2s) will require completed Supplement A to Form I-918 or I-914, respectively, before an officer approves any derivative cases.  This additional documentation is also required for opposite gender spouses.

Immigrant Visas

Q: My foreign national spouse has children. Can they also be included with my spouse’s case?

A: Yes, the children of foreign national spouses can be considered “step-children” of the U.S. citizens and can therefore benefit from a petition filed on their behalf in the IR2 category.    In other categories, stepchildren acquired through same sex marriage can qualify as beneficiaries (F2A) or for derivative status (F3, F4, E1-E4, or DV).  You and your spouse must have married before the child turned 18.

Updated 7/17/13:

DOMA Ruling Could Enable Same-Sex Immigrant Couples in Sarasota to Apply for Immigration Benefits

Statement from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano:

“After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly.  To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.”

Click the link to read more.

We urge those who may be thinking of applying for their same-sex partner to contact a qualified professional to find out whether they qualify.

In the wake of the DOMA ruling Jaensch Immigration Law Firm has reached out to LGBT groups in the Sarasota area to offer them our assistance and to present them as resources to our clients as well.

  • Sarasota Pride is organizing the Sarasota Pride Fest for October 19, 2013.  For more information email

Immigrant Athlete Resource: Impact Basketball/Elevation Academy

Posted: July 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Athlete & Artist Visas, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Here at Jaensch Immigration Law Firm we are constantly searching for new resources for our clients.  We post information for immigrant investors looking for economic opportunities, for DREAMers and DACA applicants, and for immigrant athletes.  Lately we caught up with friend of the firm, Cary Cohenour, who told us about a new partnership with Impact Basketball/Elevation Academy.  We did our research and realized we had just found another great immigrant athlete resource in the Sarasota area.

Few areas match Sarasota-Bradenton for the quality of its athletic facilities.  The presence of world-renowned IMG Academy creates a strong gravitational pull that brings the best and brightest of the sports world to our warm shores.  Many coaches who may begin their career at IMG decide to start their own academy, focused on their area of passion, in the Sarasota-Bradenton area.  IMPACT Basketball/Elevation Academy is an example of such a place..

IMPACT Basketball Logo

IMPACT Basketball was founded by Joe Abunassar and Tom Carollo to train amateur and professional basketball athletes from all over the world.  All athletes receive the same training – intense but very effective.  A three-pronged approach of drills/skills, endurance and nutrition gives the training an incredible synergy.  You can check out what IMPACT does here:

2013 Elevation Logo

Elevation Preparatory Academy is an internationally accredited high school and post graduate college prep school.  The academy prepares students for college with rigorous academic engagement.  At the same time, the academy’s flexible schedule can accommodate the students’ extra-curricular area of focus.  They are a SEVIS-designated school, certified to issue I-20’s, which helps them attract international athletes.   IMPACT Basketball Academy, Celsius Tennis Academy, and Missing Links Golf Academy, all send their athletes to learn at Elevation Preparatory Academy.  You can look at Elevation’s website here:

Elevation provides apartment-style dormitory housing, meals and transportation.  All students are supervised 24/7 with a live-in coach in each unit, so parents can feel comfortable that their child is living in a safe environment.

One of the biggest issues for young immigrant athletes is qualifying for a visa to live and train for extended periods of time in the United States.  A student visa is one option for such athletes.  In order to qualify, the student must be attending a bona fide school.  IMPACT Basketball/Elevation Academy solve this issue by providing a place to learn that is tailored to the demanding schedules of young immigrant athletes in the Sarasota area.

Please find more information on Elevation Academy and Impact Basketball in the PDFs below:

New Fingerprinting Service Begins

Posted: June 24th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Immigration Reform, Jaensch Immigration Law Firm | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Jaensch Immigration Law Firm Adds Fingerprinting Service to Increase Client Convenience

In our ongoing effort to better serve our clients Jaensch Immigration Law Firm recently acquired Fingerprint Equipment.  This will allow clients to have their fingerprints taken conveniently and privately without having to travel to another location.

Clients may need to have fingerprints taken for any number of reasons.  For those who may have criminal records, getting fingerprints is recommended in order to obtain their law enforcement record.  Those who may have entered without inspection should also get their fingerprints taken so that the details of their immigration history are known to them, and so that an immigration attorney can review their history with them, to help determine eligibility for potential benefits.

Getting fingerprints is most important for those who wish to begin preparing a case for the potential path to legalization.  Anyone who wishes to apply for legalization should know their full record with law enforcement, including from outside Sarasota County, before they apply.

We will be taking fingerprints in our annex, conveniently located across the parking lot.  We will submit the fingerprints to the FBI.  Clients do not have to use their personal address, we can use ours.  It takes 4-5 months to get the report back.

We hope that this new equipment becomes a useful and convenient way for any client who needs their fingerprints taken to do so quickly and privately.