Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Extended for Nationals of El Salvador

Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, is a type of immigration benefit that can be awarded to eligible citizens of certain countries that are currently living in the United States. If the U.S. government decides that it is too dangerous for immigrants to return to their country of citizenship, whether it be for reasons of civil war, natural disaster, or other types of violence, those immigrants may be eligible to stay in the U.S. through TPS until their home country has better control over the situation. There are several benefits that go along with TPS. Immigrants with TPS cannot be deported and may apply for an employment authorization document and a travel permit.

Recently, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, extended TPS for certain citizens of El Salvador who have previously had TPS. This extension is for an additional 18 months. Now, TPS for Salvadorians expires on March 9, 2018. In order to take advantage of this extension, eligible citizens of El Salvador with TPS must re-register during the 60-day period between July 8, 2016 and September 6, 2016. TPS beneficiaries can also apply for new work permits, which will expire with the TPS status on March 9, 2018.

If you think you may be eligible for TPS, or if you need to re-register, please contact our office. We may be able to help.

El Estatus de Protección Temporaria (TPS) es extendido para ciudadanos de El Salvador

El Estatus de Protección Temporaria, o TPS, es un tipo de beneficio de inmigración que puede estar asignado a ciudadanos de algunos países quienes están viviendo en los Estados Unidos actualmente. Si el gobierno de los E.E.U.U. decide que es bastante peligroso para inmigrantes regresar a su país de ciudadanía, por razones como guerra civil, desastre natural, u otro tipo de violencia, estos inmigrantes podrían estar elegibles quedarse aquí en los Estados Unidos por TPS hasta que su país nativo tiene más control sobre la situación. Hay algunos beneficios que vienen con el TPS. Los inmigrantes con TPS no su pueden deportar, y pueden aplicar para un permiso de trabajo y un permiso de viajar.

Recientemente, el Secretario de la Seguridad de la Patria, Jeh Johnson, extendió a TPS para algunos ciudadanos de El Salvador, quienes habían obtenido el estatus TPS en el pasado. Esta extensión es para 18 meses adicionales de estatus de TPS. Entonces, el TPS para los Salvadoreños expira en el 9 de marzo de 2018. Para aprovecharse de esta extensión, los elegibles ciudadanos de El Salvador con TPS tienen que re-registrar durante el período de 60 días
que empezó el 8 de julio de 2016, y continúe hasta el 6 de septiembre de 2016. Los beneficiarios también se pueden aplicar para un nuevo permiso de trabajar, que expirará con el TPS el 9 de marzo de 2018.

Si piensas que pudiera ser elegible para el TPS, o si necesita re-registrar, favor de contactar a nuestra oficina. Es posible que podamos ayudar.

This is an update on President Obama’s new deferred action immigration programs proposed last November. These new deferred action programs would benefit certain parents of U.S. citizen or permanent resident children, and would expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program already in place. These new immigration programs have been on hold because of a federal court case that started shortly after the programs were proposed in November 2014. Recently, the Fifth Circuit Court agreed that these new programs must remain on hold until the judge reviewing the case makes a decision.

What’s Happening with this Litigation?

These new deferred action immigration programs have been blocked since states brought a court case against the government to stop these programs. This case was brought in December 2014 in the Southern District of Texas Federal Court. On February 16, 2015, Federal District Judge Andrew Hanen entered a preliminary injunction to stop President Obama’s proposed executive action programs during the case’s proceedings. A preliminary injunction means that the Judge has told the government that they are not allowed to start these new immigration programs until the Judge reaches a decision.

The government appealed the Judge’s injunction to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, a higher court with the power to overturn the Judge’s order. The government did this to see if this higher court would allow the government to move forward with the new immigration programs. On May 26, 2015 the Fifth Circuit Court reviewed the lower court’s injunction that is stopping the new immigration programs. The Fifth Circuit Court decided that the injunction is allowed and that it will remain in place until the lower court has decided the case.

What does this mean for those Waiting for the New Deferred Action Programs?

This decision means that the government cannot offer these new deferred action immigration programs now. Instead, the government must wait at least until Judge Hanen has made a decision on the case. For those waiting for these new immigration programs, it means that they must continue to wait.  The government is not permitted to offer these programs because of the Court’s order.

Court litigation can often take a long time, and this new development means that it could take many more months before a decision is reached. I remain optimistic that this case will ultimately be successful.

President Obama announced his new Executive Action immigration programs a few weeks ago. Here are some of the highlights for the new programs. The government has not announced the details for each new immigration program. As of today’s date, these programs are not open for applications. Below please find a summary for some of the new immigration programs:

  • Expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): To qualify you must have entered the United States before turning 16 years old and lived in the United States from January 1, 2010 until present. If you qualify for this program, Immigration may give you deferred action and a work permit. This new program will start in approximately 3 months.
  • Deferred Action for Parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA): To qualify you must have lived in the United States since January 1, 2010 and be the parent of a green card holder or U.S. citizen. If you qualify for this program, Immigration may give you deferred action and a work permit. This new program will start in approximately 6 months.
  • Expanded I-601A Provisional Waivers: This new program allows undocumented individuals who are the spouse, son, or daughter of US citizens or LPRs to apply for the provisional waiver process in the United States. No start date announced for this program.
  • Other Programs: There are other immigration programs that are being announced in the coming months. As more details are announced on these programs we will update our website. No start date announced for these programs.

Our office will post further updates as new announcements are made on each program. If you have questions on how a program might apply to your situation, you should contact an immigration attorney to learn more.

Starzyk Law is thrilled to share the news that President Obama is announcing new executive action programs to assist immigrants! This is a step in the right direction and will help many people.

Tomorrow, the President will talk about his new programs in more detail. These programs will include changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (known as DACA) program to include those who entered before January 1, 2010; a Deferred Action program for individuals who have lived in the United States for five years and are the parents of United States citizen children; and additional changes to program already in place. These changes are executive actions and not laws. This means that there is still a need for Congress to pass Immigration Reform and change the immigration laws currently in place.

These new programs by the President are a great first step towards changing the immigration system. Many individuals who apply and qualify for these executive action programs will be able to get work authorization, and assurance that Immigration will not deport them.

Those folks taking advantage of these new programs should understand that over time these programs might change or go away. This is because President can change or Congress could pass new laws that would get rid of these programs.

These executive action programs are recently announced, and there will be more details to come as the President and his administration roll them out. Based on what we have seen so far, these programs promise to help a lot of people.

Stay tuned for more information and continue to encourage your representatives in Congress to pass new and comprehensive immigration laws.

President Obama will be announcing the steps he will be taking to fix the immigration system this evening at 8 pm (ET). It is expected he will announce additional executive actions and continue to push Congress to reform the current immigration laws. We’ll post more on what President Obama’s changes mean for you after his announcement tonight!

Check out the White House’s notice on this upcoming announcement:

White House Announcement

 

The H-1B visa is a temporary nonimmigrant visa that allows U.S. employers to sponsor professional foreign national employees to work in the United States for their company.  April 1, 2014 is an important deadline to keep in mind if your company is considering sponsoring a foreign national worker for an H-1B visa.

By law, the number of H-1B visas is “capped,” meaning that each year, the Immigration Service can only issue a certain number of visas. Annually, H-1B visas are capped at 65,000 visas, with an additional 20,000 available for foreign nationals who hold U.S. Master’s degrees. The nation’s demand for these H-1B visas far exceeds the number of visas available.

April 1, 2014 is the first day that U.S. employers can submit their H-1B visa petitions to Immigration. Employers should submit an H-1B petition for their anticipated foreign worker on April 1st, 2014 in order to competitively apply. The available H-1B visas numbers are very low, and typically the capped number of visas runs out almost as soon as the petition window of April 1st opens up. For example, last year all H-1B visa numbers were used up within the first week of April. If the H-1B visa numbers are not used within the first week, these visas are only available until the visa cap number is reached. Below are some tips for U.S employers and foreign national candidates who are considering the H-1B visa as a visa option.

What are the two most important basic steps to take if you are a U.S. employer wishing to sponsor a foreign national for an H-1B Visa?

1. Talk to the foreign national: Now is the time to solidify your company’s future plans and goals with your foreign national employee or job candidate. Extend employment offers and establish where each foreign national is in their immigration process.

2. Talk to an immigration attorney as soon as possible: The H-1B visa process is complicated, and there are many moving pieces. H-1B visa petitions take time to prepare. Employers will need to file paperwork with the Department of Labor, which takes up to seven working days to process, and then file the petition U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. An immigration attorney has the experience and knowledge to coordinate these pieces for you and efficiently meet the April 1st deadline.

What are the two most important basic steps to take if you are a foreign national with a U.S. employer and you need sponsorship?

1. Talk to your employer: Reach out to your boss or Human Resources to discuss your employment goals and your employer’s plans for your professional development in their company. Some employers may not be aware of the April 1st deadline for new H-1B petitions, or may need reminding about your immigration situation.

2. Talk to an immigration attorney as soon as possible: The H-1B visa is a great option, and for some foreign nationals, this may be your only option.  However the H-1B is limited to those who have a U.S. employer sponsor who is offering a specialty occupation position.  Some foreign nationals may have alternate immigration visa options besides the H-1B visa. If you are unsure of your visa options or need to plan for the future, consulting with an immigration attorney may provide you with a professional assessment of your visa options.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is not intended to serve as legal advice. The information you obtain from this site is general information, and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Contacting or posting here does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to Starzyk Law PLLC until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

Last week the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) issued a policy memorandum formally outlining their approach to assist U.S. Armed Forces members in helping their spouses, children and parents who lack immigration status. This policy allows for USCIS to “parole in place” certain family members of individuals serving with the U.S. Armed Forces if the family members meet certain criteria and apply for parole. “Parole in Place” essentially means the government is granting permission for this person to be temporarily allowed into the United States for humanitarian reasons or a public benefit.

One additional benefit to this parole is that it may provide an avenue for these paroled family members to obtain legal immigration status here in the United States. These types of cases depend a lot on each family member’s personal situation, immigration history, and criminal history.  A past history with immigration or ANY encounters with police could bar you from benefiting. If you believe you or a loved one may benefit from this policy, it is extremely important that you consult with or talk to an immigration attorney before proceeding or relying on this USCIS memo.

5 Tips to Prepare for Immigration Reform:

  1. Pay taxes: Many of the bills proposed require that people pay their U.S. taxes, including any back taxes. This is something that you should discuss with an accountant or C.P.A. before acting on your own.
  2. Keep records: Many past forms of immigration relief ask for individuals to prove that they were living and residing in the U.S. at certain times. A new immigration bill may have similar requirements which ask that you prove you lived in the United States on a certain date. The best way to prove this is through keeping copies of your utility bills, rent receipts, leases, medical records, school records etc. So resist that urge to “clean house” and try to keep your important records in a safe place in case you need them in the future.
  3. Stay out of Trouble: Many of the immigration bills proposed discuss criminal records and bar people with certain types of crimes from receiving immigration benefits. Some bills even limit the number of criminal convictions a person can have on their record. So keep out of trouble and follow laws.
  4. Be a Good Neighbor: Contribute, volunteer, and be active in your community. Be a positive force towards community improvement and say hello to those around you. Many opponents of immigration reform do not understand the benefits and changes that immigration reform can bring.  Active engagement and friendliness can help others to understand the struggles of people affected by today’s broken immigration laws. It can also bring about more understanding and support for new immigration laws.
  5. Be careful with your identity and money. There is no new law yet! There are a number of immigration type scams where people offer to help you “get in line” for immigration reform in exchange for money. These types of scams can hurt you!  The truth is, we don’t know if/when immigration reform will happen, or what the new law will require. No one can predict these things yet. People asking for payments now are not looking out for your best interests, and may be taking advantage of you or filing false paperwork for you.  The best thing you can do now is meet with an immigration attorney to see if you have other options. Stay involved and watch the news! If a new law does pass, it will be on the news, and  the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service should publish information about it on their website http://www.uscis.gov. Once the law has passed you should meet with an attorney to discuss your situation and to see if you qualify.

So where is immigration reform? When will it happen?

As of today (November 6, 2013), there is no new law in place for immigration reform. The President and some members of Congress are continuing to push for immigration reform. With the current political climate, it is hard to say if and when immigration reform will go through. It is also hard to predict what form such a law would take if it was successful. Some lawmakers talk of comprehensive immigration reform- one big law – that will cover all of immigration with fixes and modifications. The Senate proposed a bill like this, S.B. 744, which passed the Senate on June 27, 2013. However, the House of Representatives has refused to put this Senate bill to a vote. (Civics Recap: Remember, both the Senate and the House must pass a bill, and it must be signed by the President before a bill can become a law!) Since June, the House of Representatives has discussed a number of bills that would only fix a few immigration issues at a time. These bills are not law yet either. With all that has happened in the U.S. government since June, such as the government shutdown, it could be a tough road for immigration reform.   All of that being said, immigration reform is necessary and we remain optimistic that the lawmakers and American people will recognize this need and work to fix our immigration system.

I love my job and what I do. As an immigration attorney, I spend my days meeting people from around the world and learning about their lives, businesses and dreams.  Some days are tough, and I hear heartbreaking stories of where people came from and the things they went through to end up sitting at my desk. Other days are inspiring and exciting as I learn about a client’s new invention or business endeavor. My clients constantly inspire and impress me with their dedication to their goals.

I have been fortunate to work/intern in private practice, nonprofit and the government on immigration cases and policies. Seeing immigration law from each of these perspectives led me to start my own practice in April of 2013. (Here it is! http://www.starzyklawpllc.com)  Seven months in I am blessed to be successfully working with a number of wonderful clients. In the last week I’ve seen a green card approval and a U visa approval- both tough cases with very deserving clients.

My goal for this blog is to share insights that I have gained through representing clients within the immigration system and also provide general guidance on common issues that I come across in practice. In my blogs I am speaking generally, and what I say should not be construed as legal advice. I encourage you to call an immigration attorney if you find yourself searching the internet looking for answers to your immigration problems. Immigration attorneys are constantly working to gain knowledge and expertise in the U.S. immigration system. They follow updates to government policies, laws and memos, and are professionals who spend their days working on cases and developing legal strategies to help their clients. Some of the most difficult cases I have handled stem from people waiting to ask for help and thinking they can just figure out their way through the immigration system. Make it easier on yourself- An hour long consultation at the beginning could in the end save you thousands of dollars and years of struggling with immigration agencies.

Disclaimer: This is an advertisement. The information you obtain from this website is general information, and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We welcome your calls, letters and e-mails. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to Starzyk Law PLLC until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.