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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.


Improvements to USCIS Procedures

Posted: January 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: National News | Tags: , , | No Comments »

(From USCIS Email)

As part of our ongoing commitment to improving customer service, USCIS has recently introduced new options for customers to obtain information and check on the status of their application electronically and has also expanded its call center hours.

We expanded the capabilities of two of our online tools, My Case Status and e-Request, to provide these more flexible options:

  • My Case Status now allows customers to view the current status of applications they submit, no matter which USCIS form they used. My Case Status now lets them track, through our Secure Mail Initiative (SMI), the mailing and delivery of USCIS-produced cards and documents. SMI permits customers to use our website to access the U.S. Postal Service tracking numbers of their documents.
  • e-Request now allows customers to inquire electronically about applications and petitions they submit to USCIS. They can use this tool to request a follow-up on their case status if they do not receive documents related to three of our most-used forms:
    •  Form I-485, Application to Adjust Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
    •  Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and
    •  Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

In addition, USCIS is expanding operating hours at our National Customer Service Center to include Saturdays. Beginning Jan. 12, customers nationwide can call our toll-free number (800-375-5283) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays to receive nationwide assistance for immigration services and benefits offered by USCIS. Our customer service representatives can answer routine questions on a wide variety of topics related to immigration services and benefits, including ordering forms, processing times, and information on local offices and civil surgeons. For individuals seeking answers to more complex issues regarding their case, we recommend calling the NCSC Monday through Friday for access to case adjudication officers.

EB-5 Adjudications May be Moving to Washington, DC

Posted: December 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: National News | Tags: , , | No Comments »

The latest EB-5 news reports that adjudication of EB-5 visa applications will be moving to Washington, DC.

On December 3, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas noted on a stakeholder conference call that within four to six months, EB-5 responsibilities will be moved to Washington, DC, under a new EB-5 Program Office. The chief of the new office will report to the USCIS Deputy Director. According to unofficial reports on the call, Director Mayorkas said a goal is to move toward a more dynamic, direct e-mail relationship between adjudicators and the public, and to move away from the current “request for evidence” model. The new EB-5 Program Office will handle adjudications, legislative affairs, and policy, in addition to having full-time staff devoted to identifying fraud.

In other news, USCIS released the latest DACA statistics on December 13.  As of that date there were 367,903 submitted applications of which 355,889 were accepted.  There have been a total of 336,464 biometrics scheduled and there are 157,151 cases under review.  Of the total applications that were submitted, only 102,965 have been approved. This means that only 27.9% of cases have been approved thus far.  To see the most updated graph, please see here.

Deferred Action Applicants Only Need to Enter Official Social Security Numbers

Posted: September 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Deferred Action | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The I-765 and Social Security Numbers

More good news.  Deferred Action applicants who are filling out question 9 on the I-765, Work Authorization Application, DO NOT need to list and Social Security numbers that were not officially issued to them.

We understand that many of those who entered the US without inspection attempt to use a false Social Security number in order to work.  We have received many questions regarding this issue and how to answer question 9 in the I-765.  Previously, it was difficult to say since we wanted applicants to be as forthright as possible.  But every Deferred Action applicant is declaring themselves as having entered the country without inspection.  Using a false Social Security number in addition could have been a disqualifying factor.  We were advising clients on a case-by-case basis.  For example, we examined whether they had a criminal record or any other potential problems before we advised them on listing or not listing their Social Security numbers.

This ruling takes the issue off the table and makes it simpler to fill out the I-765 and to advise on the rest of the application.  We are glad to see this new policy take effect and hope that it attracts more qualifying individuals to apply for Deferred Action.

First Deferred Action Cases Are Approved!

Posted: September 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Deferred Action | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

USCIS announced that they began accepting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals cases.  

Sarasota Immigration Attorney Victoria Jaensch Karins

Sarasota Immigration Attorney Victoria Jaensch Karins

USCIS announced that they have begun approving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals cases.

Sarasota Immigration Attorney Victoria Jaensch Karins says this is great news.  It means that USCIS is moving more quickly on these cases than anticipated.

Deferred Action could help hundreds of thousands of people who are currently living in constant fear of deportation.  Once granted, it can open the door to quite a few possibilities.  For one thing, those who are granted Deferred Action and employment authorization receive a valid Social Security number.  Secondly, they can apply for Advance Parole which may allow them to travel out of the country.  Lastly, being granted Deferred Action allows individuals to apply for a valid Driver License.

All of these are good benefits.  The Driver License will help all those who cannot drive legally at the moment due to their status.  The Social Security number helps all those who are currently using a false number in order to work.  It is possible that Advance Paroles will allow Deferred Action grantees to travel.  It may be additionally helpful for those who are married to US-citizen spouses because it could allow them to submit their green card applications in the U.S. rather than going through the lengthy waiver process at a U.S. consulate abroad.

Despite this, we have noticed some hesitancy among potential applicants.  We understand that there are two major reasons for this hesitancy.  Some fear that applying for Deferred Action will increase the possibility of deportation since they will be declaring themselves to the government.  Others have voiced a more general concern; is it worth applying?  This is a good question because there is a possibility that this new policy will not be extended which would  deny applicants the ability to renew after 2 years.

We can assure applicants that the USCIS has stated that it will not share their information with the enforcement bureau, ICE, except in certain situations relating to criminal matters, fraud or national security.  In addition, we believe that the potential benefits of Deferred Action outweigh the costs.  The possibility of obtaining a Social Security number and a valid Driver License, not to mention the opportunity to apply for Advance Parole, are benefits that applicants may not be presented with again.

Regardless of the reason for applying, we once again urge all potential applicants to ask a legal professional to help them.  We have heard many questions regarding the application for Deferred Action.  “Should I include all my Social Security numbers?”  “How do I prove residency?” Etc.  Unfortunately, there are many “notarios” who are trying to defraud applicants the way they did back in 2001 with the extension of law 245(i).  Please seek the help of an experienced and ethical immigration attorney in order to avoid this situation.

Related Articles:

  1. Those granted Deferred Action can Apply for Advance Parole!
  2. How to deal with the Social Security number issue.
  3. Como debo responder si he usado un numero de Seguro Social falso?

Those Granted Deferred Action Can Apply for Advance Parole!

Posted: August 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Deferred Action | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Sarasota Immigration Attorney Victoria Jaensch Karins

Sarasota Immigration Attorney Victoria Jaensch Karins

The granting of Deferred Action does not lead to any status or path to permanent residence. However, the USCIS has stated that those who are granted Deferred Action will be able to apply for a travel document called “Advance Parole” if they can show a good reason for the need to travel (e.g. humanitarian, education or work related).

This is a potentially great benefit to those who entered without inspection (EWI) and are married to US citizens. EWI’s married to US citizens are not currently eligible to obtain their green cards in the U.S. They must apply from their home country. Usually the return to the home country triggers the 3 to 10 year bar.

But now, people who are “paroled” in the U.S. based on the advance parole documents ARE eligible to obtain their green cards in the U.S.

Therefore, a person granted deferred action who also receives an advance parole would be able to obtain their green card through their US citizen spouse in the U.S. within 3-4 months of filing and would not require a waiver application.

I do not advise anyone who is granted Deferred Action to leave the U.S. with a travel document before first confirming that they will be able to come back to the U.S. In the coming months, we will see how this issue plays out.

Observaciones iniciales despues de una semana de consultas sobre Accion Diferida

Posted: August 24th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Deferred Action | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Ha pasado una semana desde que se puso en efecto la nueva política de la acción diferida y queremos compartir algunas de nuestras observaciones despues de ver el proceso en efecto.

Para empezar, estamos impresionados con la cantidad de personas que quieren solicitar la acción diferida. Estos días hemos estado asesorando a solicitantes potenciales, estableciendo si son elegibles o no, y empezando a prepar solicitudes.

Acción Diferida y los números de Seguro Social:

Modern Social Security card.

Uno de los asuntos que encontramos es el uso de números multiples de Seguro Social. Dado que el formulario I-765 (solicitud de autorización de empleo) pide todos los numeros de Seguro Social que se ha usado, esto puede presentar problemas.

En este momento no hay ningunos casos de prueba que nos puedan demostrar como va a tratar el USCIS este asunto. No sabemos por completo las implicaciones de usar números multiples o falsos de Seguro Social. Si alguien lo ha hecho, les recomendamos que ejerzan prudencia en el proceso de solicitud. No podemos garantizar aprobación pero sabemos que el USCIS está revisando las solicitudes caso por caso.

After a Week of Deferred Action Consultations – Initial Observations

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Deferred Action | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

We’ve been conducting Deferred Action consultations for a week now. Time to share some of our insights after seeing the process in action.

To begin with, the response has been impressive. We are consulting with potential applicants, establishing eligibility and beginning to prepare applications.

Deferred Action and Social Security Numbers:

Modern Social Security card.

Modern Social Security card. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the issues we came across is the use of multiple or false Social Security numbers. This could be a potential problem as the I-765 (application for employment authorization) asks for all Social Security numbers ever used. At this point there are no test cases to show how this issue will be treated so we do not know what the full implications of using a false Social Security number. We advise anyone who might have used multiple or false Social Security numbers to exercise caution when applying for Deferred Action. As usual we cannot guarantee approval but USCIS is looking at each applicant on a case-by-case basis.

Recien Anunciados Requisitos para la Accion Diferida

Posted: August 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Deferred Action | Tags: , , , | No Comments »
Victoria Jaensch Karins, abogada de inmigracion, ofrece nuevos consejos con respecto a la Accion Diferida.
El viernes, 3 de agosto, el USCIS proporciono información adicional acerca de la acción diferida. Los aspectos más destacados son los siguientes:
  1. El USCIS comenzará a aceptar solicitudes para la acción diferida el 15 de agosto del 2012. Habrá una nueva forma que tendrá a su disposición a partir de esa fecha.
  2. El gobierno va a cobrar una tasa por procesamiento de $465.
  3. El gobierno va a aceptar las solicitudes de autorización de trabajo con la aplicación de la acción diferida, pero hay que demostrar una necesidad económica para ello.
  4. Si la acción diferida es aprobada, usted será elegible para solicitar un documento de viaje que le permitirá viajar fuera de los EE.UU.
  5. El anuncio se define lo que son delitos y que son faltas importantes que prohiban a los solicitantes. Lo más importante es que DUIs serán considerados delitos importantes, pero algun delito menor de tráfico, como conducir sin una licencia no va a ser considerado asi.
  6. El solicitante tiene que estar matriculado en la escuela secundaria, tener un diploma de escuela secundaria o un GED en el momento de la presentación de la solicitud.
  7. Creemos que lo mejor es presentar tan pronto como sea posible para evitar los retrasos que se esperan debido a la cantidad de solicitantes
  8. No hay opción de un procesamiento más rápido. No pague a nadie para manejar la aplicación que se compromete a obtener más rápido el proceso de su acción diferida para una tasa más elevada
  9. No habrá apelaciones o solicitudes de reconsideración de las solicitudes denegadas.
  10. El Gobierno describe los documentos que tendrán que ser proporcionados para cumplir los requisitos de la accion diferida. Los requisitos son los siguientes:
    1. Tener menos de 31 años a partir del 15 de junio 2012.
    2. Haber venido a los EE.UU. antes de alcanzar la edad de 16 años.
    3. Estar físicamente en los EE.UU. el 15 de junio de 2012 y en el momento de presentar la solicitud.
    4. Haber residido continuamente en los EE.UU. desde el 15 de junio de 2007 a la actualidad.
    5. Estar en la escuela secundaria, haberse graduado, haber obtenido un GED o haber sido dado de alta honorablemente de las fuerzas armadas de EE.UU.
    6. No haber sido condenado por un delito grave, delito menor significativo, ni tres o más ofensas, y de ningun modo presentar una amenaza para la seguridad nacional o seguridad pública.
Esta información se puede encontrar en
La información sobre las estafas de inmigración y como evitar los “notarios” se puede encontrar en www.uscis/gov/avoidscams.
Si desea nuestra ayuda en la preparación y presentación de su solicitud de la acción diferida, nuestra cuota legal es de $1.500. Nosotros aceptamos planes de pago. Por favor, háganos saber si usted está interesado en nuestra ayuda y nosotros podemos comenzar el proceso de preparación de su aplicación para la accion diferida.

Deferred Action Requirements

Posted: August 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Deferred Action | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Sarasota Immigration Attorney Victoria Jaensch Karins

Immigration Attorney Victoria Jaensch Karins offers answers to questions concerning the new Deferred Action policy.

As the date of implementation of the new deferred action policy draws near more details about requirements for the application are being released. I recently returned from a meeting concerning the requirements for  Deferred Action and wanted to share information from that meeting. There are still some questions and as we learn more we will add it to the blog. In the meantime, readers can go to to find out more.

 Q: When will USCIS begin accepting applications for Deferred Action?

  • August 15, 2012.

Q: What will a Deferred Action applicant need to demonstrate?

  1. Applicant under age 31 as of 6/15/2012.
  2. Came to US before age 16.
  3. Continuous residence as of 6/15/2007 for 5 years and physical presence at time of filing.
  4. Entered without inspection or status expired prior to 6/15/ 2012.
  5. Currently enrolled in school, high school diploma, GED, or honorable discharge from military.
  6. Enrollment in school or GED can be after 6/15/2012 so long as it is as of date of filing
  7. Not convicted of felony, significant misdemeanor or 3 or more misdemeanors.

Q: How old can I be to apply?

  • Applicants must be over 15 to file unless in removal.

Q: Does significant misdemeanor include a DUI?

  • Yes.

Q: If I apply and am denied, will I be in danger of deportation?

  • No. Information on the application (including information on family members) will not be disclosed to ICE or CBP for removal purposes – in other words, applicants and their family members will not be placed in removal just because they apply and are denied for some reason. However, they will exercise prosecutorial discretion where there are issues of national security, criminal offenses, etc.

Q: What will the cost of applying be?

  • Total fee will be $465

Q: Can the fee be waived?

  • No fee waivers but there are fee exemptions for certain situations. Fee exemption must be requested prior to applying for Deferred Action (but not prior to 8/15)

Q: Will I need to get my fingerprints taken?

  • Yes, applicants will have to get biometrics.

Q: Will there be an interview?

  • There will be no interview, except in some cases were fraud may be indicated or for quality control purposes.

Q: If I apply and am denied can I appeal?

  • There will be no review or appeal of denials.

Q: Can I apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) at the same time?

  • EADs can be applied for at the same time as Deferred Action and will be granted also for two years. Must show economic need

Q: Can I renew my Deferred Action status?

  • Renewals of Deferred Action and Employment Authorization Documents will be available in two year increments

See these other articles for more information:

  1. “USCIS Aceptará Solicitudes Para Acción Diferida el 15 de Agosto”
  2. “Deferred Action Applicants Should Collect Student Records Now
  3. “Sarasota Immigration Attorneys Welcome Deferred Action Announcement”

USCIS Will Begin Accepting Deferred Action Applications on August 15th

Posted: August 3rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Deferred Action | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »


DHS Outlines Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process

USCIS to begin accepting requests for consideration of deferred action on August 15, 2012

released Aug. 3, 2012

English: Seal of the United States Department ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security today provided additional information on the deferred action for childhood arrivals process during a national media call in preparation for the August 15 implementation date.

On June 15, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that certain young people who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines may be eligible, on a case-by-case basis, to receive deferred action.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is finalizing a process by which potentially eligible individuals may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals.

English: The logo of U.S. Citizenship and Immi...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

USCIS expects to make all forms, instructions, and additional information relevant to the deferred action for childhood arrivals process available on August 15, 2012. USCIS will then immediately begin accepting requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals.

Information shared during today’s call includes the following highlights:

  • Requestors – those in removal proceedings, those with final orders, and those who have never been in removal proceedings – will be able to affirmatively request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals with USCIS.
  • Requestors will use a form developed for this specific purpose.
  • Requestors will mail their deferred action request together with an application for an employment authorization document and all applicable fees to the USCIS lockbox.
  • All requestors must provide biometrics and undergo background checks.
  • Fee waivers cannot be requested for the application for employment authorization and biometric collection. However, fee exemptions will be available in limited circumstances.
  • The four USCIS Service Centers will review requests.

Additional information regarding the Secretary’s June 15 announcement will be made available here on August 15, 2012. It is important to note that this process is not yet in effect and individuals who believe they meet the guidelines of this new process should not request consideration of deferred action before August 15, 2012. Requests submitted before August 15, 2012 will be rejected. Individuals who believe they are eligible should be aware of immigration scams. Unauthorized practitioners of immigration law may try to take advantage of you by charging a fee to submit forms to USCIS on your behalf.

EB5 App Is Here!

Posted: May 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Investor Visas | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

ILW.COM is pleased to announce the launch of the EB-5 iPhone App in Apple’s iTunes store. The EB-5 App is a convenient way of remaining on the top of EB-5 news all the time, for immigration law professionals, regional centers and immigrants interested in EB-5 issues. The App brings you the latest news from USCIS, scholarly articles by distinguished practitioners, latest news headlines from Google, a list of regional centers, EB-5 events and books, and even Chinese language headlines on EB-5 issues. We encourage all those interested in the EB-5 field to download this free App on their iPhones. If you have ideas on how to improve the App or wish to place your ad on the new EB5 App please write to

USCIS Changes Look and Feel of Notice of Action Forms (Form I-797C)

Posted: April 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: National News | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services  is changing the look of its receipt and approval notices (form I-797C).  These forms do not carry any immigration benefit or status.  As such, they will now be printed on plain bond paper to reduce the perception that they signify a change in immigration status.  In addition, by changing to bond paper, USCIS has estimated that it will save $1.1 million per year.

The change went into effect on Monday April 2, 2012.

New Look of USCIS Form I-797C

Click here to read more about the change in the look of Form I-797C on the USCIS website.