Articles Posted in Application for Naturalization

Today, we are going to talk about a new comedy on NBC called “Sunnyside”!  It stars Kal Penn (the tall guy from the Harold and Kumar movies) as Garrett Modi, a down-on-his-luck former city council member who is booted out of office.  Somehow, he is hired by a motley crew of immigrants to be their “citizenship test tutor.”

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Before we go any further, I know that some of you might be wondering about my qualifications to critique a show about immigrants in Sunnyside, Queens.  Well, I have watched “Coming to America” at least twenty times and 90% of that movie happens in Queens.  (Fun factoid:  Not only is Queens the largest of the five boroughs, it is also the most ethnically diverse.)  Also, when I first moved to New York City, I lived in Woodside, which is two stops away on the illustrious 7 line from Sunnyside.  (I lived near the 61st Street stop, which is an express station.  When I first moved in, I thought “This is great!  I will be in Manhattan in ten minutes!”  Then, during my first week of work, I learned that the express train was very full by the time it reached Woodside.  Which then forced me to discover the benefits of the local.  Like how my commute to work would take an extra 30 minutes.) 

ABOUT THAT CITIZENSHIP TEST

baby-archie-300x200It’s a boy!  HRH Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, the newborn son of Prince Harry Duke of Sussex and US-citizen HRH Lady Meghan Markle Duchess of Sussex, was born in the early morning of 6 May 2019.  (No, Master Archie is not (yet) a Prince; that style must be conferred on him by The Queen.)

In case anyone was wondering, the young Prince is a dual US-UK citizen.  He has UK citizenship from his UK father.  By §301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, US citizenship is transmitted to him automatically because he is the child, born in wedlock, between a US citizen (Lady Meghan) and a foreigner (Prince Harry).  The Lady Meghan may or may not be a UK citizen at this time, but that does not matter.  For purposes of transmission of citizenship, at the time of Master Archie’s birth, all that counts is that she is a native-born US citizenship who has lived most of her life in the USA.

Master Archie will have a US passport — issued by the US Embassy in London.  He will not need a green card or a visa to enter the USA.

kumar-and-weed-300x166I was having lunch with a former client who had flown in and out of LAX the other day.  We were celebrating that after a long journey involving his moving from California to Washington, the government had granted his application for lawful permanent residence.  Knowing that California had legalized the recreational use of marijuana, he mentioned that he was surprised that he didn’t see any “amnesty boxes” at the airport.

As of November 2018, 10 states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and 33 states allow the use of medical marijuana.  However, federal immigration law has not changed:  marijuana is still a “controlled substance.”  And the consequences can be severe.

Canadians who have admitted to taking a puff in the past or who are involved in the cannabis industry can be turned away at the border and possibly banned from future travel into the United States.  CBP officers have stated:  “Anytime somebody plans on entering the United States to involve themselves in the distribution, proliferation, possession of any form of marijuana, that could lead to them being found inadmissible.”  

Just recently, at the immigration panel sponsored by the Philippine American Bar Association and the Southwest19983783_10156399026806040_2359524460906285725_o-300x300ern Law School Asian Pacific American Law Student Association.

YOU:  Audience member listening with rapt attention to the four excellent speakers gathered for the event.

ME:  The speaker who had the unfortunate task of informing everyone that under President Trump’s new enforcement directives, just about every non-US-citizen inside the United States faces the risk of being deemed a “risk to public safety or national security” at the sole discretion of an immigration enforcement officer.

This week, the United States Supreme Court issued decisions in not one, but two (!!) immigration cases for the immigration lawyers at Fong & Aquino LLP claire-anderson-60670-300x200to chat about.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Maslenjak case.  During oral arguments, the justices seemed extremely skeptical regarding the government’s position that ANY misrepresentation could lead to an individual being stripped of citizenship.  The justices — in a 9-0 smackdown — decided that the lie “must have somehow contributed to the obtaining of citizenship.”  The justices acknowledged that sometimes folks tell minor falsehoods out of “embarrassment, fear, or a desire for privacy.”  The Supreme Court left it to the lower courts to craft rules regarding the effects of lies in the naturalization process, but opined that adopting the government’s rule would give “prosecutors nearly limitless leverage — and afford newly naturalized Americans precious little security.”

In Lee v. United States, the Supreme Court overturned a conviction for an individual facing deportation.  Jae Lee, who immigrated to the United States as a teenager, was told by his criminal defense attorney that accepting a plea deal would not jeopardize his lawful permanent resident status.  Lee discovered that his attorney was “dead wrong” when the government immediately began removal proceedings.  This does not mean that Lee is in the clear: he will need to either negotiate a new plea deal, or go to trial.

The immigration lawyers at Fong & Aquino LLP have handled many applications for naturalization for our clients in the Los Angeles area as well as the Coachella Valley area.

I have always chuckled about Question # 22:  “Have you EVER committed, assisted in committing, or attempted to commit, a crime or offense for which you were not NOT arrested?”  Chewing gum in court?  Jaywalking in New York City?  As it turns out, this is not a trivial matter.

Just how far the government would be willing to go to take away someone’s citizenship if it later discovered that an individual had fibbed is a question that went all the way up to the United States Supreme Court.   During recent oral arguments in Maslenjak v. United States, this exchange occurred between the government’s lawyer and the Chief Justice:

Nobel PRize 2

The US political dialog is ugly and divisive this year.  It is also full of misinformation.  One  political party would want you to believe that immigrants are bad for our nation, that they make no contribution to our nation.  Whether they come to the US on a  B-visa, C-visa, extraordinary worker visa, or EWI, immigrants make our nation vibrant, diverse, and accomplished!

Don’t believe me?  Note that this year, six Americans won Nobel prizes for their work in the sciences.  All of these Nobel prize winners are American immigrants! 

Take that, Donald Trump!  –jcf

 

Immigrant Medical Exam

The medical exam for immigration is a bit outdated

Toward the end of a recent immigration interview, the officer told my client that his doctor had forgotten to fill out certain sections of the medical examination form. As a result, my client would have to go back to the doctor and have the form redone. I mentioned to the officer that the medical exam was rather pointless.

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MAVNI program expanded to include DACA

MAVNI program extended to individuals granted DACA immigration status

Living amongst us in the United States are hundreds of thousands of children who grew up as Americans but lack immigration status because of the way that they entered the United States. Many of these DREAMers have been given a chance to avoid deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) program. And now, the Department of Defense has announced that the MAVNI program has been expanded to those individuals.
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Naturalization of permanent residents

Cities for Citizenship launches in major metro cities

Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago

Occasionally, USCIS will hold group naturalization ceremonies specifically for children. One such ceremony occurred recently at the Los Angeles Public Library. These are really cool events and they are much more exciting than sitting in the waiting room at the federal building for an immigration officer to call your name and bring you the completed certificate.
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