April 1, 2014

African Immigrants Applying For US Citizenship

African Immigration to the United StatesWhat is driving this growing trend in immigration?

The reasons are not so different than those of immigrants coming from other countries

This contribution to the blog post comes to you from Phoenix, Arizona.  I’m traveling to assist a client with her claim for asylum. Since I’m currently out of state and because naturalization seems to be a hot topic at my office these days, I wanted to share with you a story from the Boston Globe.

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March 26, 2014

Overturning An Immigration Denial Due To A False Claim To US Citizenship

Immigration Application Denied or ApprovedWas your application denied because of a false claim to citizenship?

If the claim was made before 1996, it may not affect your application for naturalization.

One of the things that gives me immense pleasure as an immigration lawyer is taking a case that had previously been denied and turning it into an approval. It involves a close read of the government’s denial letter, a searching analysis of what errors were made (either by the government, the prior attorney, or the client), and then crafting a strategy towards a different, more favorable outcome.

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March 18, 2014

Immigration Marriage Interview: Hollywood Myths Dispelled

Immigration Marriage InterviewHow the USCIS really handles marriage interviews

The other night, I was watching the tele with my wife.  As regular readers of this blog know, that means I was watching one of my wife’s shows again.  On a recent episode of “Trophy Wife,” Kate (played by Malin Akerman) discovers that her marriage paperwork didn’t go through and she’s in danger of being deported . . . to Canada!  (If you haven’t watched it yet, be advised that spoilers are ahead.)  Now — I’d like to compare the Hollywood marriage interview experience to reality.

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March 11, 2014

Immigrant Winners at the 2014 Oscars

2014-oscar-winning-immigrants

Immigrants are among the 86th Annual Academy Awards’ winners.

I still can’t help but chuckle every time I read something about the Travolta-izing of Idina Menzel’s name at last week’s Oscars telecast.

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February 25, 2014

Protect Yourself When Seeking Immigration Counsel

BUYER BEWARE - Protect yourself when hiring legal counsel

When seeking to hire a good immigration attorney, “buyer beware” applies.

A few weeks ago, I raved about how I enjoy the “camaraderie and professionalism” of my fellow immigration practitioners. This is true . . . for the most part. Unfortunately, as with many things, there are a few bad apples.

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February 18, 2014

Form N-400 Doubles In Size On May 4, 2014

Form N-400 Doubles May, 2014

If you are planning to apply for citizenship, you may want to do so before May 4, 2014.

I have previously discussed the benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen in order to “save” one’s children. I still believe that if you want to become a U.S. citizen, you should pursue it as soon as you are eligible. However, I occasionally come across potential clients who have been lawful permanent residents for a long time . . . and want to renew their green cards before the expiration date.

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February 11, 2014

Best Wishes Judge Stephen Sholomson

Immigration Judge Stephen Sholomson RetiresLos Angeles Immigration Judge Stephen Sholomson retires after 43 years of service

One of the reasons that I enjoy immigration law (there are many, but I’ll save those for future blog posts) is the camaraderie and professionalism of its practitioners — on both sides.

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February 4, 2014

A Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

A Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform - Romben Aquino Blog

What do the current discussions on immigration reform mean for immigrants?

Last week, on Tuesday, the President gave his fifth SOTU address (State of the Union for hashtag challenged among us).

In each of his prior SOTUs, the President mentioned the need for comprehensive immigration reform. And so it was again last Tuesday.

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January 28, 2014

Motion to Reopen an Immigration Case

Motion to Reopen an Immigration Case - Romben Aquino Blog

Should you file a motion to reopen your case with the court or with ICE?

Last week, I discussed the use of prosecutorial discretion by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to allow certain individuals in removal proceedings to have their cases taken off the “active docket” of the immigration court. But what about individuals who want to be back in front of the judge?

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January 22, 2014

Prosecutorial Discretion and Immigration

You mean prosecutorial discretion can apply to immigration casesProsecutorial discretion: What it means and how it can affect immigration cases

The Los Angeles Times recently reported that immigration court case closures due to prosecutorial discretion appear to be on the rise. This means more cases are being temporarily closed due to the artful use of prosecutorial discretion.

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January 14, 2014

Immigration Law in 2014

Immigration Law in 2014What changes can we expect to see in immigration law in 2014?

New laws affecting immigrants have already gone into effect as of January 1, 2014.

Previously, under the “Secure Communities” program, many immigrants were placed on an “ICE hold” even for low-level offenses.  Under the California Trust Act, state and local jails will only hold immigrants for ICE if they have committed serious or violent crimes.  Hopefully, this will result in fewer immigrants being placed into removal proceedings.

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December 17, 2013

Same Sex Marriages and Immigration

alicia-maria-02-1

New laws benefitting same sex couples can assist in immigration cases.

Looking back on 2013, in my humble opinion, the biggest change in immigration law occurred on June 26, 2013. On that day, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Windsor v. United States that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. Although the case was about estate taxes, the Supreme Court’s decision opened the door for same sex couples to obtain the same immigration benefits as every other married couple.

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December 10, 2013

Immigration of Military Family Members

Immigration Parole in Place Military FamiliesWhat does the recent USCIS “Parole in Place” memo mean for family members of military service people?

I am a military brat.  My father served in the U.S. Navy for 22 years.  While he was in the service, I moved around a lot, I got to fly on some cool military cargo planes through the magic of “Space A”, and I always lived near an ocean.  (I used to wonder why I always seemed to feel a compelling need to move every few years and why I needed to live near water.  Now it all is starting to make sense.)

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November 26, 2013

Expressing Gratitude

Romben Aquino at the Filipino Migrant Center

Appreciation and Giving Back

Community service has always been an important part of my life. For me, as someone who has been blessed with many favorable opportunities, it is a way to give back to those who may not have been as fortunate. I can probably trace it back to my parents, who were always seemingly involved in some sort of organization, be it the PTA, the Freemasons, or the Association of Mangatarem Overseas Residents. The bayanihan spirit was something that was espoused by my fellow UCLA Samahangers.

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November 19, 2013

Will There Be Immigration Reform In 2013?

Immigration Reform in 2013

Will there be immigration reform in 2013?

Every now and then, when a judge is writing a decision, that judge will add a footnote about a question that is NOT being considered by the court. It’s a way of signaling that a particular legal issue remains an open question. Or maybe it’s a way of telling the lawyers “hey, you guys should litigate this issue next! I want to write a decision on it!” Anyway, I digress. Earlier this year, I asked the question: Will there be a new immigration law this year?

I noted that the answer would depend on the House of Representatives.

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