Archive for the 'Immigration Reforms' Category

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 245(i)

With the announcement of the new unlawful presence waiver this past March, we have seen many new clients asking questions to see if they qualify. Some of these individuals actually qualify for adjustment of status (the process under which you can obtain your green card, lawful permanent residency) under a law called Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 245(i).

Two of the main benefits of applying for your greencard under INA 245(i) instead of using the new unlawful presence waiver are:

  1. with INA 245(i) you can obtain your green card here in the U.S. without returning to your home country, with the unlawful presence waiver you can apply here but after approval you must return to your home country to process your immigrant visa;
  2. with INA 245(i), unlike with the unlawful presence waiver, you do not need to prove “extreme hardship” to a qualifying U.S. relative.

What is INA 245(i)?

INA 245(i) is a law allowing certain individuals who are present in the U.S. to obtain a greencard regardless of:

  • How you entered the United States (for example, entering via the border without inspection)
  • Working in the U.S. illegally (without authorization or permission)
  • Failing to continuously maintain lawful status since entry (being illegal in the U.S.)

INA 245(i) sounds amazing, how do I know if I qualify?

In order to qualify, you must:

  • Be the beneficiary of a qualified immigrant petition (Form I-130 or I-140) or application for labor certification (Form ETA-750) filed on or before April 30, 2001
  • Have been physically present in the U.S. on December 21, 2000
  • Be currently the beneficiary of a qualifying immigrant petition (either the original Form I-130 or I-140 through which you are grandfathered or through a subsequently filed immigrant petition)
  • Have a visa immediately available to you (immediate relatives do not have to wait for a visa number)
  • Be admissible to the U.S. (some criminal convictions will make you inadmissible, for example)

What if the petition or labor certification that was filed on my behalf before April 30, 2001 was withdrawn, denied, or revoked?

To meet the first requirement mentioned above the petition or labor certification must have been both properly filed and approvable when filed. At a minimum the filing must have been timely (filed by April 30, 2001) and meet all applicable substantive requirements (“approvable when filed”). Deficiencies such as a missing filing fee or missing signature will disqualify you.

Please contact our office to discuss the reason that your petition or labor certification was withdrawn, denied, or revoked. Whether you qualify for 245(i) will depend on whether the petition or labor certification was “approvable when filed.”

To remain eligible, the changed circumstances must relate to factors beyond your control rather than the merits at the time of filing. For example, you may still qualify for INA 245(i) if the petitioner dies, your spouse who filed the petition divorces you, your employer who filed the labor certification goes out of business, petitioner or the employer chooses to withdraw the petition or labor certification, or petitioner or employer is otherwise not able to maintain the petition or labor certification application.

What about my spouse or child?

Depending on the circumstances, a spouse or child may also be eligible to adjust status as a dependent. We can discuss this in depth during your consultation at one of our offices.

Can I work or travel while my application is pending?

Yes! Current processing times are about 90 days after filing for your employment authorization (work permit) and travel authorization.

If you think you may qualify for your greencard under INA 245(i) or if you would like to discuss other options contact us at one of our offices now. We look forward to serving you in your immigration needs.

Same Sex Couples Obtain Immigration Benefits

The Ranchod Law Group, Attorneys with a focus on Immigration, prepares to assist same sex couples in their efforts to obtain immigration releif


Now that the Supreme Court has ruled the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, Ranchod Law is overjoyed to help Sacramento and San Francisco gay and lesbian couples obtain immigration relief. Immigration relief can mean several things depending on the status of the foreign national partner.
In the case of an individual who last entered the country legally, the U.S. Citizen partner may file a petition on behalf of the foreign national partner. In addition to the basic requirements (certificates, photographs, proof of lawful entry, etc.), that petition should be accompanied with documentation to evidence that the couple is in a legitimate relationship and not one designed to circumvent the immigration laws.
In the case of an individual who last entered the country illegally, the U.S. Citizen partner may file a petition on behalf of the foreign national partner, as in the above scenario, but the foreign national partner will need to be the beneficiary of a hardship waiver or else face a three or ten year bar if the foreign partner leaves the country to try to obtain an immigrant visa abroad.
In both of the above scenarios the couple will be subjected to an interview with an immigration officer in which the couple must answer questions designed to detect fraudulent relationships. Also remember that in both of the above scenarios, the couple must get married in a state that recognizes same sex marriage. Simply living together is not sufficient.
In cases in which the foreign partner is abroad, the U.S. Citizen partner may file for a fiancé/fiancée visa or, if the couple is married, for an immigrant visa. Both of these cases require documentation to prove the legitimacy of the relationship in addition to the basic required documentation.
Finally, in cases in which the foreign partner is already in removal proceedings, relief might mean obtaining permission to marry from the immigration judge in bond proceedings, seeking adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident, or, having the U.S. Citizen spouse serve as a qualifying relative for purposes of cancellation of removal or a waiver.
Ranchod Law has been doing all of the aforementioned for over a decade and we are delighted to apply our expertise and dedication to the benefit of same sex couples. Please contact our office to discuss any of the aforementioned options.

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Study about low-skilled immigration and the US economy

There is always a lot of discussion about the negative impact on the US job market by the increasing number of low-skilled immigrants. I found an interesting study, that analyses the problem in detail.

A recent study by Professor Harry J. Holzer from Georgetown University, indicates that low-skilled immigration has little impact on the wages of US citizens.

The question is raised as to why the impact of the large influx of less-educated workers on the labor market of US workers is so small.

Professor Holzer suggests three possible answers for this:

1.     Immigrants are not only producers, but consumers as well. They generate additional product demand and therefore labor demand.

2.     Immigrants are not perfect substitutes for native-born workers and mostly compete with other immigrants within the same industry.

3.     Most low-skilled jobs would likely be replaces by capital and technology if the work force was not available, instead of being filled by low-skilled native born workers.

Professor Holzer goes into further detail and analyses the costs and benefits of low-skilled immigrants for US employers, consumers and the economy at large.

He emphasizes the many positive impacts that the immigrant work force makes on the US economy.

Professor Holzer then analyses various immigration reform policies and raises the question, what his study means for them. He offers modifications to the provisions included in the mentioned bills that would raise the net benefits they provide to both native-born Americans and immigrants.

The study is very interesting and throws light on many immigration issues. I invite you to reed it here: Does Low-Skilled Immigration Hurt the US Economy

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Immigration Lawyer Considers the Issue that Won’t Go Away

Arizona Reveals Need for US Immigration Law Reform to this San Francisco Attorney

This year, many US Senators and Congressmen have been pushing for immigration
reform. The president has been lobbied, rallies have been held, debates are ongoing
but immigration reform is still a concept and not a reality. The recent incidents in
Arizona have caused a lot of discussion and activity in the San Francisco Bay area
and Sacramento, where I consul clients on immigration. Continue reading “Immigration Lawyer Considers the Issue that Won’t Go Away” »

Immigration Reform in Arizona

A Sacramento Immigration Attorney’s Take on the New Arizona Immigration Law

In my Sacramento office where I practice as an immigration lawyer, I’m constantly surrounded by news regarding the growing debate around the reform of our immigration policies. This is an issue that affects millions of Americans directly and all Americans indirectly. Arizona has a new state law regarding immigration and it is raising a lot of eyebrows. Continue reading “Immigration Reform in Arizona” »

An Immigration Attorney Considers Reform Issues

Santa Clara Immigration Attorney Discusses Various Aspects of Immigration Reform

What are the real issues surrounding immigration reform? As an immigration attorney, any type of reform is bound to have an effect on my Santa Clara office from which I work with people and organizations from all over the country. The phrase “immigration reform” means many different things to many different people. Continue reading “An Immigration Attorney Considers Reform Issues” »

An Immigration Lawyers Looks at E-Verify

Sacramento Immigration Lawyer Considers the Real Effects of E-Verify

I’ve seen over and over in my role as an immigration lawyer that whenever the government institutes a new immigration policy or process there’s confusion, resistance and continued debate. E-Verify, the electronically based method whereby the USCIS determines if a worker is in the country legally, is one such new process that we’ve discussed in my Sacramento law office. Continue reading “An Immigration Lawyers Looks at E-Verify” »

USCIS Proposes Raising Fees

San Francisco Immigration Lawyer Considers Hikes in Fees

The USCIS is proposing a fee hike on the average of 10% for immigration benefit petitions and applications. They would not raise the fee for the application for naturalization, but other charges would go up. This is, of course, a big topic of discussion in my San Francisco office and amongst immigration lawyers. Continue reading “USCIS Proposes Raising Fees” »

March for Immigration Reform: An Immigration Lawyer’s Observations

In my San Francisco and Northern California based immigration law practice, I am in daily contact with those who are affected by immigration reform legislation. As a lawyer, I am constantly sifting through ways in which the changing political tides will affect my clients and the manner in which I can help them.

This past week, there have been many developments that indicate that the move for immigration reform is being taken very seriously by proponents and that they are unhappy with what they perceive to be a lack of support from President Obama. Continue reading “March for Immigration Reform: An Immigration Lawyer’s Observations” »

Observations by an Immigration Lawyer on Representative Gutierrez’s Threat

As an immigration lawyer in San Francisco, one area I have focused on in this blog is on the likelihood of immigration reform actually happening and the push by Democrats to get Congress to seriously consider such reforms. Just the other day, President Obama met with Senators Graham and Schumer on this issue.

President Obama was, overall, vaguely supportive and that type of support may now hurt him when it comes to healthcare legislation. It’s been reported by the Chicago Sun Times that Representative Luis Gutierrez (D- Ill.), who is from the President’s home state, has said that he will vote “no” on the Obama health reform proposal. Continue reading “Observations by an Immigration Lawyer on Representative Gutierrez’s Threat” »