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Citizenship and Immigration Law: An Overview

Citizenship and Immigration Law: An Overview

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Citizenship and Immigration Law: An Overview

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  1. Citizenship and Immigration Law:An Overview A Training for CUNY/Daily News Citizenship NOW! Call-In Volunteers April 16, 2014 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST Use social media to send us your questions during the training. Use #CitizenshipNOW to join the conversation citizenshipnow @CUNYCitizenship

  2. CALL-IN Tips and PROCEDURES Presented by: Allan Wernick Esq., Director, CUNY Citizenship Now!

  3. Logistics for the Call-In Same location as last year!Guttman Community College across from Bryant Park Monday, April 28, 2014 to Friday, May 2, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  If you haven’t submitted your bio tonight is the deadline!

  4. About the Call-In Free information and referrals on range of immigration issues Connect callers with reliable, authorized immigration service providers NY state law prohibits non-lawyers from providing immigration advice. Remember to help us comply with the law by only providing information to callers Confidential and anonymous High quality - put the caller on hold and consult with one of the six supervisors assigned to be sure information provided is accurate Make a difference in the lives of immigrants!

  5. Call-In Do’s and Don’ts

  6. Citizenship NOW! Volunteer Guidelines KeyCUNY Citizenship NOW! Volunteer Guidelines: • No private referrals: zero tolerance policy • Do not take the names of callers • Do not give the name of volunteers One supervising attorney/BIA accredited representative for each 4 to 6 call answerers. Supervisors will have a BLUE or RED sash on, ask them for help with challenging issues you may have!


  8. Read the Disclaimer Located in “Getting Started” handout in English and Spanish Protects you Informs caller Read for every call How Can I Help You?

  9. Sample Information Gathering Questions for some callers: Immigration benefit you are interested in? Date of first entry into United States? How did you enter the United States? • Examples: With green card? Temporary Visa (tourist, student, business)? Crossed border without inspection? Refugee? What is your current immigration status? • Examples: Green card? Temporary Visa (tourist, student, business)? Undocumented? Asylee or Refugee? TPS? Jot down for discussion with the Supervisor

  10. Questions for Callers Interested in Naturalization? 50% of the Questions received are on Citizenship. Be prepared! See Section 1 of Training Manual for Naturalization eligibility requirements and Red Flags See Section 2 of Training Manual to see if the caller may already be a citizen

  11. Questions for Callers – CONT’D Have you ever been ordered deported/removed? Have you ever been arrested? Do any of your family members have immigration status? • Spouse? Parents? Children?

  12. Providing Information to Callers Consult with the Supervisor about the information to be provided to the caller Use your Call-In Training Manual to explain the eligibility criteria

  13. Resources Available • Raise your question mark sign! • Supervising attorneys/BIA accredited representatives wearing the sash will come to you to help • Call-In Training Manual • Answering FAQs

  14. End of the Call: Referrals List found in Training Manual; SECTION 11 REMINDER: Do not take names or phone numbers of callers Do not give callers your name or number, but you can provide referral to your authorized immigration legal services office Private Attorneys – City Bar Referral Panel and AILA Lawyer Search service Provide referral to an authorized immigration legal services provider that handles cases like the caller’s

  15. Manage the Caller’s Expectations We try our best to include up-to-date information on free or low-cost organizations for referrals, but remind the caller: • Each organization has their own intake procedures; • Organizations may have a waiting list for appointments; • Their services may change due to funding or staffing; • Appointments may not be available immediately.

  16. Reporting Immigration Scams Many callers may indicate they have been a victim of immigration fraud by individuals or immigration service providers who represent themselves to be attorneys or who provide legal advice when they are not licensed or accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Report scams confidentially to: • NY County District Attorney’s Office212-355-3600 • NY State Office of Attorney General Consumer Help Line800-771-7755 For more information:

  17. Information Included in the Manual Not Covered by Today’s Training • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request • Document Renewal and Replacement • CUNY In – State Tuition • Immigration Arrest and Detention • Immigration Forms and Fees, Waiting Times, Poverty Guidelines and Fee Waivers Refer to 2012 Call-In Training online on the Citizenship Now! YouTube channel ( for presentations on some of these topics

  18. Family Based Immigration Presented by: Julie E. Dinnerstein, Esq., Senior Legal Consultant, CUNY Citizenship Now!

  19. Eligibility for Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card)

  20. Focus on the Family We will focus for the next 45 minutes on qualifying family-based relationships for green card application eligibility. However, keep in mind that many people with a qualifying family relationship, will still *not* be able to become green card holders.

  21. Overview: Sometimes Some U.S. citizens and some lawful permanent residents (also known as LPRs or green card holders) can sponsor some close family members some of the time. Sometimes the family sponsorship and green card applications can be filed together, but in many – perhaps most – cases, the family sponsorship petition must be filed and a number of years will go by before the sponsored immigrant is eligible to apply for a green card.

  22. Overview: More Sometimes Sometimes the sponsored family member is eligible to apply for a green card in the United States (known as “adjustment of status”). Other times the sponsored family member is required to (or may chose to) apply for a green card from abroad (known as “consular processing”).

  23. Overview: The Bad News Many times, would-be green card applicants who have qualifying relationships with U.S. citizens or green card holders will not be able to obtain green cards. Reasons for ineligibility include, but are not limited to: • Unlawful entry  Unlawful presence • Unlawful work  Criminal activities • Lack of a financial sponsor

  24. Overview: The Not-So-Bad News Some barriers, but not all, to successful green card applications, may be overcome through: Waiver applications or By applying from abroad (consular processing) instead of applying from in the United States (adjustment of status).

  25. Case Study Sandra first came to the United States when she was four years old. After finishing college, at the age of 23, Sandra married her long-term boyfriend and high school sweetheart, Brett. She soon became pregnant and gave birth to twins. Sandra’s two daughters, her husband Brett and, incidentally, her father, are all U.S. citizens. Can Sandra get a green card?

  26. Poll Question Can Sandra get a green card?

  27. answer Can Sandra get a green card? E Maybe Sandra can get a green card, but maybe not – we don’t yet know enough about Sandra’s situation.

  28. The Bottom Line Having a qualifying relationship with a U.S. citizen or green card holder is not a guarantee to obtaining a green card.

  29. Qualifying Family Relationships: USCs U.S. citizens can sponsor: Parents (USC must be 21 or older) Spouses (although only one at a time) Siblings (USC must be 21 or older) Children, whether single or married, of any age.

  30. Qualifying Family Relationships: LPRs Lawful permanent residents (known as LPRs or green card holders) can sponsor: Spouses (although only one at a time) Unmarried children of any age.

  31. What Is a Qualifying Marital Relationship for Family Sponsorship? Must be a legal and valid marriage in the place where the marriage takes place. Cannot be for the purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit. Cannot be a bigamist or polygamist marriage.

  32. Who Is Considered Someone’s “Child” for Immigration Purposes? Generally under 21, but . . . • certain persons may be considered in the “child” category at 21 or over, under the Child Status Protection Act; • depending on the immigration benefit sought, there may be age cut-offs at 14, 16, 18 or as late as 25. Some (but not all) step-parent/step-child relationships can qualify the step-child for immigration benefits as a “child.” Some (but not all) adoptions can qualify the adopted child for immigration benefits as a “child.”

  33. Who Is Considered Someone’s “Sibling” for Immigration Purposes? Must share at least one parent in common. Some (but not all) step-sibling relationships can qualify the step-child for immigration benefits as a sibling. Some (but not all) adoptions can qualify the adopted sibling for immigration benefits as a sibling.

  34. The Details: Two Kinds of Families The first kind of family, involving “Immediate Relatives” is all lumped together as one group. The second kind of family, involving “Preference Relatives” is divided into five distinct categories conveniently labeled: • 1  3 • 2A  4 • 2B

  35. Who Is an “Immediate Relative”? “Immediate relatives” are: Spouses of U.S. citizens (aka USCs); Unmarried children under 21 of USCs Parents of USCs who are 21 or over.

  36. Who is a “Preference Relative”? A “Preference Relative” is: Preference Category 1: Unmarried son or daughter who is 21 or over of USC; Preference Category 2A: Spouse or unmarried child under 21 of an LPR (green card holder); Preference Category 2B: Unmarried son or daughter 21 or over of an LPR (green card holder); Preference Category 3: Married child of USC; Preference Category 4: Sister or brother of USC 21 or over.

  37. Tip: Turning 21 For anyone seeking to benefit from an immigration petition or application, turning 21 can change (and sometimes even end) eligibility. However, sometimes (although by no means always) beneficiaries of pending immigration petitions and applications may maintain the same benefits and options designed for the under-21 crowd, even after they turn 21. Any questions relating to potential maintenance (or loss) of immigration benefits after an individual’s 21st birthday should be referred to a supervising immigration attorney.

  38. Benefit #1 to Being an “Immediate Relative” Generally, as long as entry into the United States was lawful (non-citizen presented self to immigration officials at the border and was “admitted” or “paroled”), the non-citizen may apply for a green card from within the United States (adjustment of status).

  39. Benefit #2 to being an “Immediate Relative” There is no waiting on line for a turn to apply for a green card.

  40. “Preference Relatives”: The Negatives “Preference relatives” must wait on line for years after the family sponsorship petition is filed. Generally (although there are some exceptions), “preference relatives” who have (1) entered the U.S. unlawfully, (2) worked in the U.S. unlawfully or (3) have lived in the U.S. unlawfully are not eligible to apply for green cards from within the U.S., but must apply from abroad (“consular processing”), which leads, for many, to other bars to obtaining green cards.

  41. “Preference Relatives”: The One Benefit A “preference relative” can generally bring his or her spouse and children along as “derivatives.” In other words, once a preference relative is at the front of the waiting line, the spouse (in Preference Categories 3 and 4) and children (all preference categories) of the “preference relative” also become eligible to file green card applications.

  42. How the System Works Family sponsorship begins with the family sponsorship petition, Form I-130. The I-130 is used with both “immediate relatives” and “preference relatives”. The I-130 is used whether the family member will apply for a green card in the United States (“adjustment of status”) or apply for a green card outside the United States (“consular process”).

  43. The Role of Form I-130 A USC or LPR files a family sponsorship petition on Form I-130 to establish that: • The person who wants to sponsor a family member (the “petitioner”) is a USC or LPR; and • The petitioner has a qualifying family relationship with the family member being sponsored (the “beneficiary”).

  44. Form I-130 Form I-130 can be found at Costs $420. Filed by the person who is already a U.S. citizen or green card holder (the “petitioner”) on behalf of the family member who wants a green card (the “beneficiary.”)

  45. A Few More Things to Know About the I-130 After an I-130 has been filed (but, before the beneficiary has a green card), a change in: • The petitioner’s immigration status, • The beneficiary’s age (from “child” to adult), or • The beneficiary’s marital status. • Does one of two things: • Changes the preference category (or changes a “preference relative” into an “immediate relative”, or vice versa),or • Kills the petition.

  46. A Few More Things to Know About the I-130 If the I-130 petitioner dies before the beneficiary obtains a green card, the I-130 beneficiary might (or might not) still be able to obtain a green card based on the already-filed I-130. If the I-130 petitioner commits domestic violence against the beneficiary, there are alternate options for the I-130 beneficiary to seek a green card as a victim of domestic violence.

  47. CASE STUDY Madhu, a long term lawful permanent resident (green card holder), filed a family sponsorship petition for her son, Anil, several years ago. She is thrilled because she has just learned that Anil’s “priority date” is “current” which means that it is his turn to apply for a green card. She hopes that her son, who lives abroad, will be able to apply for and complete the green card process and enter the United States by the fall. You run into Madhu and she shares this information with you along with a final piece of good news – her son Anil is engaged to Archana and his wedding is only two weeks away. What do you say to Madhu?

  48. Poll QUESTION What do you say to Madhu?

  49. ANSWER What do you say to Madhu? B Ummmm . . . That sounds great and all, but have Anil and Archana considered a commitment ceremony or just exchanging rings out of a Cracker Jacks box or something? If the couple marries before Anil completes his green card application process, gets approved, and comes to the United States, your family sponsorship petition is dead in the water.

  50. How the System Works for“Immediate Relatives” If the non-citizen is in the United States and eligible to apply for a green card from within the United States, the U.S. citizen can file the I-130 along with the non-citizen’s green card application. If the non-citizen is outside of the United States already, or must travel outside the United States to apply for a green card, the U.S. citizen first files the I-130 and, after the I-130 is approved (currently takes about 5 months), the non-citizen begins the green card application process.