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Cleveland Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

Avoiding conviction of CIMT

In order to avoid the possibility of removal, Ohio immigrants must avoid being convicted of a deportable offense. The following rules apply to refugees, F-1 students, permanent residents and other individuals who are not citizens who have lawful status. If any individuals in these categories are facing conviction, the criminal defense should factor in potential immigration consequences related to the conviction.

A noncitizen can be deported for a conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude if he or she has been convicted of two or more such crimes since he or she was admitted to the United States or adjusted status. Another ground for removal under crimes involving moral turpitude is the conviction of one such crime within five years of admission that carries a maximum sentence of a year or more.

Seeking a fiancé visa before a marriage

Ohio residents who are planning their weddings often experience a great deal of stress along with their excitement, particularly when their future spouses are citizens of other countries. Many people have questions about what visas they may be eligible to apply for to ensure their spouses can enter and live in the United States legally.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services regulations state that U.S. citizens who are planning to marry foreign nationals can apply for fiancé visas. These visas allow people from other nations to stay in the U.S. as long as they plan to marry their fiancé within 90 days of entering the country. U.S. citizens applying for fiancé visas must be able to prove that they and their fiancé will be married within this time period and that both people are legally eligible to get married. If either or both parties were previously married, their marriages must have ended in divorce, annulment or the deaths of their former spouses.

Immigration matters in Ohio

Those who deal with immigration issues may find that the laws and forms involved in their situations can be confusing. This may be attributed to language challenges or to a lack of familiarity with the legal system. In either case, legal representation may be helpful to those from nations such as Thailand and Laos as they navigate the U.S. immigration system.

Those seeking permission to enter the U.S. legally may desire to do so for employment purposes. In such cases, there may be a need to coordinate efforts with both the employer and employee in question. The nature of employment may impact the forms required and background information to be submitted. Those seeking asylum due to persecution are faced with different requirements as they endeavor to demonstrate the type and level of persecution in question. If you are attempting to coordinate a transition from Thailand or Laos due to your hope to accept a job or your desire to join your loved ones who already reside in the U.S., it is helpful to have experience and guidance in the application process and throughout your transition.

Ohio green card renewal process

People who have green cards will occasionally need to apply to have them renewed. Renewal is necessary for permanent residents whose 10-year cards have expired or will do so within six months. In order to apply for a renewal card, people must submit a Form I-90 either online or via postal mail.

While people may think renewal is automatic, it is not. An application to renew a green card can be denied, and occasionally, one will be. If a person's renewal application is denied, he or she is unable to appeal the decision. Instead, they may then file either a motion to reconsider or a motion to reopen with the office that first issued the denial. The person must submit additional documents outlining new facts that would be presented if the case were to be reopened.

Applying for a replacement green card

Foreign-born individuals who are living in Ohio as legal permanent residents will need to replace their green cards before they expire. A conditional green card will expire after two years, and a green card without conditions will expire after 10 years. To apply for a replacement green card, a person must submit Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, by mail or online.

There are some situations when a green card will need to be replaced for reasons other than an upcoming expiration date. A person may require a replacement green card because the original was lost, stolen or damaged. If a green card that was previously issued contains false information, or if the information that is listed on a green card has changed, a new green card will need to be issued.

Obtaining a 601 waiver to avoid deportation

Foreigners living in Ohio who have been targeted for deportation might be able to remain in the country by applying for a 601 waiver. Also referred to as an extreme hardship waiver, the 601 waiver allows undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation if they can prove that their removal from the U.S. would cause an extreme hardship to a qualifying member of their family.

A 601 waiver may be used to defer a pending deportation or allow a person who has already been deported to reenter the U.S. Normally, a person who has been deported from the U.S. is unable to return for 10 years. Although a 601 waiver can waive a person's reentry ban while they are caring for a qualifying relative, the waiver does not guarantee that an individual will be granted legal permanent residency later on.

Marriage fraud and immigration in Ohio

Because the immigration process can be long, complex and highly frustrating, some people decide to attempt a shortcut by entering into a fraudulent marriage in order to obtain a green card. If you have either done so or have been accused of entering into a fraudulent marriage, it is important that you start working to protect yourself against the allegations as soon as possible.

People who are charged with fraudulently attempting to obtain a green card through a marriage may face criminal charges in addition to possible deportation and removal proceedings. Your first indication that your marriage is being questioned may be when you receive a request for proof that the marriage was a bona fide one. Such proof may involve documentation of joint accounts, correspondence between you and your spouse. joint health insurance information and even copies of your wedding invitations.

Changes coming wth immigration reform

Ohio residents may be interested in the potential changes that could transpire due to the immigration reform proposed by President Obama in November 2014. On Feb. 24, the President presented a rule revision for visas that will allow highly skilled spouses to begin working in the U.S. this year. Some of these foreign-born spouses have been ineligible to work in this country because of existing immigrant laws.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director believes that the new changes may encourage more highly skilled employees to enter the country and work on H-1B visas or apply for a green card and remain in the U.S. He believes that accepting more of these highly skilled foreign workers into the U.S. may help bolster the economy. He also noted that many of these families experience financial struggles due to the employment constraints created by current laws. According to ABC News, there are approximately 85,000 of these visas issued every year.

Eligibility for temporary protected status

Foreign nationals in Ohio may be eligible for temporary protected status if they hail from a country that is currently involved in an armed conflict. When conditions in a particular country make it difficult for the country's nationals to return safely, the Secretary of Homeland Security may designate the country or a part of the country for TPS. In addition to armed conflict, an environmental disaster or an epidemic are potential reasons for a TPS designation.

When a country is designated for temporary protected status, nationals of that country may apply for TPS during a certain time period. If an application for TPS is approved, the person will not be removable from the United States regardless of his or her current immigration status. The individual will also be eligible for an employment authorization document and can be given authorization to travel.

Stays of removal in immigration cases

An immigrant in Ohio who is facing the possibility of being removed from the United States may be granted a temporary stay of removal. This type of action postpones what would have otherwise been done by the Department of Homeland Security so that an appeal of the immigration decision can be heard.

A stay of removal may be granted automatically or on a discretionary basis. An automatic stay of removal is only issued if an immigrant who was targeted for removal files an appeal within the proper time period. The Board of Immigration Appeals will hear the appeal of an immigration decision, and the automatic stay of removal will end once the BIA makes a final ruling on the case.

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