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July 2013 Archives

Dude! Where's my sock?!?! The outer limits of drug paraphernalia

In less than cool news for recreational drug users and sock wearers alike, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently upheld a broad interpretation of what constitutes 'drug paraphernalia' as that term could be construed as "relating to a controlled substance". A link to the July 9, 2013, decision in Mellouli v. Holder can be found below:

Federal courts take a new and friendly approach to Chinese coercive population control asylum claims

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently decided in a case entitled Zheng v. Holder that an asylum applicant who was the victim of a forced abortion deserved to have her asylum claim reconsidered after the Immigration Judge denied her asylum claim and ordered her deported.

Chinese Christian Indonesian asylum applicant can claim past persecution based on harm to child

Chinese Christians have historically been persecuted in Indonesia on account of their race and religion. The recent boat that sank off the coast of Australia is a reminder of the country conditions that Chinese Christians flee when they pursue asylum claims. http://www.voanews.com/content/migrants-boat-sinks-off-indonesia-australia-criticized/1709612.html

In gay Filipino asylum/withholding of removal claim, Federal Court holds that Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) committed legal error in evaluating the facts of the claim

An individual is eligible for asylum if he or she can prove that they were persecuted in their home country on account of their race, religion, membership in a particular social group, nationality or political opinion. In sexual orientation claims, the applicant would fall under the "membership of a particular social group" category. If the government of the applicant's home country is not directly persecuting the applicant, the applicant may still be granted asylum if he or she can show that the government is unwilling or unable to protect them from the mistreatment at the hands of non-government actors.

Brief Comment about the Family 2A Preference Category.

As posted in our YMF blog by my partner, Donald F. Madeo, Esq., the Family 2A Preference Category is now current as of August 2013. This is wonderful news indeed, and this change will help many individuals and families. It is especially good news for those who have immediate relatives (spouses and children) in their home countries, and for whom they have filed I-130 petitions. Just a few months ago, this preference had a waiting period of two and a half years. No more long waits for those families! Of course, we still have to take into account processing times by USCIS and the National Visa Center. But we can look at it this way: before, we had to look at those processing times in addition to the waiting times in the visa bulletin!

Good News for Immediate Family Members of Green Card Holders !!

As expected, the Family 2A preference category is now CURRENT as per the August, 2013 Visa Bulletin. This represents a "jump" of close to 2 years! The July Visa Bulletin showed that visas were available for spouses and children of lawful permanent residents who had filed their Alien Relative Petitions in October, 2011 (September 2011 for Mexico). With this category now becoming current, there is no longer a waiting period for visa availability.

CIS Ombudsman's Office working on the implementation of same sex marriage adjustments

In further good news for our clients in same-sex relationships, it has been announced that the Ombudsman's Office will work closely with USCIS as they begin to process applications and petitions impacted by the Supreme Court's decision that overruled DOMA.

Same sex marriage sponsorship

DHS FAQs on the effect of the Supreme Court's ruling that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional. USCs and LPRs in same-sex marriages can now sponsor their spouses for immigrant visas. In evaluating the petition, USCIS will generally look to the law of the place where the marriage took place.

"Hey - - We All Have to Eat"

News out of California is that you can obtain your citizenship for the low, low price of 200 egg rolls! The New York Post reports in the link below that an immigration officer in Santa Ana, California, has been indicted on charges of accepting bribes from applicants for citizenship and residency. In one such case, the officer accepted the egg rolls in exchange for favorable treatment of a naturalization application. Reading this article is making me hungry.

NYT reports on the real life stories behind DOMA being struck down: Gay immigrants now have a future in the United States

The New York Times in an article entitled "For Gay Immigrants, Marriage Ruling Brings Relief and a Path to a Green Card, " relates the story shared by many gay couples in the immigration vortex:

Today the Wall Street Journal published an editorial that was co-authored by Jeb Bush that calls on the House to pass the Senate's immigration reform bill

I urge anyone who is uncertain about the common sense and economic and border security benefits of the Senate's immigration reform bill to read today's article contained in the Wall Street Journal entitled "A Republican Case for Immigration Reform," by Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick. The article states:

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