Tag Archives: Immigration Attorney

U-Visa Cap Reached for Fiscal Year 2015

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that they have reached the statutory maximum approval of 10,000 U-Visas (U-1 Nonimmigrant Status) for the 2015 fiscal year which started on October 1, 2014. There were so many applicants on the waiting list that the 10,000 cap was reached very quickly. Approval of U-Visa applications will not resume until Fiscal year 2016 which begins on October 1, 2015.

Family members who have been included on applications as derivatives do not fall into the 10,000 limit so if the primary U-Visa application has been approved, derivative application can still go forward for approval.

While the 10,000 cap for the 2015 fiscal year has already been reached, you may still submit an application for a U-Visa. USCIS will continue reviewing applications. If found eligible, you will be added to the wait list and there may be options available to you while your application is pending. Eligible applicants and qualifying family members must continue to meet eligibility requirements at the time the U-Visa is issued.

Each year, 10,000 U-Visas are available have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity and who cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.

Murphy Law Firm can help you with your U Visa application. If you have been a victim of crime and think you may qualify, schedule a consultation to see how we can help.

Executive Action on Immigration

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced that he will be taking executive action on immigration due to inaction by congress. The new guidelines presented by President Obama last night will help an estimated $4.9 million people who are presently in the United States with no lawful status. Two areas where individuals will see relief are an expansion of the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and a new policy of Deferred Action for parents of children who are U.S. Citizens (USC) or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR).

Expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA will no longer have an age cap. Individuals meeting the following criteria will be considered for deferred action if they:

  • Were under the age of 16 when they entered the U.S.,
  • Are attending school or have earned their high school diploma,
  • Have lived here continuously since 1/1/2010,
  • Have no felony crime convictions or significant misdemeanors,
  • Have no more than 2 minor misdemeanors.

The original age cap disqualified individuals born before June 15, 1981. Now, there is no restriction on age. In addition, DACA and DACA renewals will be granted for a period of three years instead of two effective November 24, 2014. And the entry date to the U.S. has changed from June 15, 2007 to January 1, 2010.

Deferred Action for Parents of U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident children (DAP)
For individuals with children born in the U.S., or who have become LPRs or USCs, there are new guidelines allowing parents to apply for deferred action. Parents are eligible if they:

  • Have children born in the U.S. before November 20, 2014 (or who have become LPRs or USCs by that time),
  • Have no legal status as of 11/20/14,
  • Have lived here continuously since 1/1/2010,
  • Have no felony crime or significant misdemeanors
  • Have no more than 2 minor misdemeanors.

Individuals applying for deferred action under either program will have to have a background check and pay the filing fees, currently $465.

These programs will be available to people who are currently detained or are in removal proceedings. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) must start identifying people in custody and who have pending removal cases. They may be eligible for administrative closure or termination of their cases. We will be reviewing our client’s cases one by one. We are hopeful that many of our clients currently in removal proceedings will now be eligible for the expanded DACA or the new DAP program announced by the president.

There are several other changes that will impact businesses, foreign investors, researchers, and skilled workers. The naturalization process and process for those seeking waivers will also be affected.

Temporary Protected Status for Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone

The Department of Homeland Security announced on November 20, 2014 that due to the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, Temporary Protected Status is now designated for Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone for a period of 18 months. Eligible nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone who are currently residing in the United States may apply for TPS with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

There is a 180-day TPS registration period which begins Nov. 21, 2014 and ends on May 20, 2015. The TPS designation is in effect from Nov. 21, 2014 until May 20, 2016. If you are granted TPS status, you will not be removed from the United States and are eligible to receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

To be eligible for TPS, applicants must demonstrate that they have been continuously residing and continuously physically present in the United States since Nov. 21, 2014.  Applicants must also undergo security checks. Individuals with certain criminal records or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible for TPS. A consultation with an Immigration Attorney will help determine whether an individual’s criminal convictions will prevent them from applying for TPS.

Read more at the USCIS Website