Phones answered 24/7 414-383-6700

Immigration Law

Home/Immigration Law

Proposed Changes to the Public Charge Rule in Immigration

Proposed Changes to the Public Charge Rule in Immigration - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Ken Cuccinelli, the acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director recently claimed that the famous poetry on the Statue of Liberty – “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus – referred mostly to European immigrants. Cuccinelli also added his own twist in an interview with NPR, stating that it should say, “Give me your tired, your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”

So what is a public charge, and what kinds of changes has the current administration proposed?

What is a Public Charge?

The term public charge refers to a person who is primarily dependent on the government for support. That could include using a form of welfare or public assistance that tax dollars pay for. The government currently determines who’s likely to become a public charge by having an immigration officer look at a person’s “totality of circumstances,” such as the person’s:

  • Age
  • Health
  • Family status
  • Financial status
  • Education and skills

Not all immigrants have to undergo this “public charge test.” Some immigrants who fall under humanitarian categories, like refugees and asylees, may not have to show that they won’t become a public charge; in some cases, certain immigrants qualify for a public charge waiver.

Related: 3 myths about Mexican immigration debunked

What Changes Could Occur?

If the proposed changes take effect:

  • More programs can be considered when determining whether someone is likely to become a public charge, like some healthcare, housing and food programs
  • Income levels may be considered
  • Other standards might fall under the “totality of circumstances,” such as a person’s ability to speak English, as well as physical and mental health conditions that could affect the person’s ability to work

The proposed changes have not yet taken effect, but if they do, they could cut down legal immigration as early as October 15 of this year.

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney in Milwaukee?

If you’re considering immigrating to the United States, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to set an appointment for a consultation to discuss your situation with a Milwaukee immigration attorney today.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T22:18:20-06:00November 27th, 2019|Immigration Law|Comments Off on Proposed Changes to the Public Charge Rule in Immigration

Exceptions to Naturalization Requirements in the U.S.

Exceptions to Naturalization Requirements in the U.S. - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

When a person wants to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, he or she must meet several requirements – including a requirement to speak English, take a civics test, and recite the Oath of Allegiance. However, there are some exceptions available to people who qualify. Here’s what you need to know.

Exceptions to Naturalization Requirements in the U.S.

Some people qualify for exceptions to the U.S.’s naturalization requirements that involve speaking English and taking a civics test, as well as taking the Oath of Allegiance to the U.S.

English Language Exceptions

You could be exempt from the English language requirement if you are:

  • Age 50 or older, if you have been in the U.S. as a permanent resident with a green card for at least 20 years
  • Age 55 or older, if you have lived as a permanent resident with a green card for at least 15 years

If you’re exempt under these rules, you’ll still have to take the civics test – but you can take it in your native language, provided that you bring an interpreter with you to your interview.

English and Civics Exemptions for Medical Disabilities

If you can’t speak English or take the civics test because you have a physical or developmental disability (or a member of your family does), you could be exempt from both. You must bring in a form completed by a licensed medical doctor or psychologist to prove that you (or your family member) has a disability that would prevent you from doing either of these things.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Exceptions to Naturalization Requirements?

We may be able to help you file your paperwork for U.S. naturalization, as well as help you prove that you’re exempt from either the English language requirement or the civics test requirement – or both.

Call us at 414-383-6700 now to schedule a consultation with a Milwaukee immigration attorney who can help.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T22:03:19-06:00November 27th, 2019|Immigration Law|Comments Off on Exceptions to Naturalization Requirements in the U.S.

Could You Pass the U.S. Naturalization Test?

Could You Pass the U.S. Naturalization Test - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

When eligible green card holders want to become naturalized U.S. citizens, they have to take the naturalization test. While the entire test features 100 civics-related questions, people are asked up to 10 of them and must answer six of them correctly in order to pass.

The overall national pass rate is 90 percent – but could you do it?

A recent study found that only one in three Americans would pass the multiple-choice test. In the study, researchers discovered that only 13 percent of people surveyed knew when the U.S. Constitution was ratified, and only 40 percent knew which countries the U.S. fought against in World War II.

Related: What’s on the U.S. Citizenship Test?

Some of the questions are fairly easy – if you’ve lived here your whole life. For example, you might see:

  • We elect a president for how many years?
  • Who is in charge of the executive branch?
  • Which war wasn’t fought by the United States in the 1900s?

Sure, you can answer these: 4, the president, and the Global War on Terror.

But could you answer some of the toughest questions? According to a 2011 study, these are the five hardest.

1. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

  • A. 14
  • B. 21
  • C. 25
  • D. 27

2. Which of these is something Benjamin Franklin is known for?

  • A. He was the first person to sign the Constitution
  • B. He discovered electricity
  • C. He was the nation’s first Postmaster General
  • D. He was the nation’s second president

3. Who was president during World War I?

  • A. Woodrow Wilson
  • B. Warren Harding
  • C. Calvin Coolidge
  • D. Franklin D. Roosevelt

4. Which statement correctly describes the “rule of law”?

  • A. The law is what the president says it is
  • B. The people who enforce the laws do not have to follow them
  • C. No one is above the law
  • D. Judges can rewrite laws they disagree with

5. Under the Constitution, which of these powers does not belong to the federal government?

  • A. Ratify amendments to the Constitution
  • B. Print money
  • C. Declare war
  • D. Make treaties with foreign powers

Answers

  • 1. D
  • 2. C
  • 3. A
  • 4. C
  • 5. A

How did you do? Did you get all five correct?

People who want to become naturalized U.S. citizens have to answer at least six out of ten questions correctly. If someone fails the test twice, they must apply to retake it and pay the filing fee again.

Are You Thinking of Immigrating to the U.S.?

If you’re interested in immigrating to the U.S., we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your consultation with an immigration attorney in Milwaukee. We can answer your questions about asylum, citizenship, family sponsored visas (and other types of visas) and even deportation defense.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T21:47:28-06:00November 27th, 2019|Immigration Law|Comments Off on Could You Pass the U.S. Naturalization Test?

Asylum vs. Refugee Status

Asylum vs. Refugee Status - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

When people want to come to the U.S. to escape persecution in another country, they can apply for asylum or refugee status.

But what are the differences between the two?

Here’s what you need to know.

Asylum vs. Refugee Status

Basically, asylum and refugee status are the same – but there’s one major difference, and it lies in where you asked to enter the U.S. for protection.

Asylum

You can apply for protection in the U.S. under asylum laws if you meet the definition of a refugee and you’re already in the United States. You can ask for asylum no matter where you’re from, and regardless of your current immigration status. In fact, you have up to one year after arriving in the U.S. to ask for asylum in most cases.

Refugee Status

You can apply for protection in the U.S. under refugee laws if you meet the definition of a refugee and you’re of “special humanitarian concern to the United States.” You can ask for refugee status when you’re outside your country but not in the U.S. (If you’re in the U.S., you’ll ask for asylum.)

What’s the Definition of a Refugee?

A refugee is a person who has been persecuted in his or her country or has a credible fear that they will be persecuted because of:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • A particular political opinion

A person’s eligible family members can typically be allowed into the U.S. with the refugee or asylee, but every case is different, and you must apply for permission to bring or include your family on your petition.

Do You Need to Talk to a Milwaukee Immigration Attorney?

If you need to talk to a Milwaukee immigration attorney, we may be able to help you. Our lawyers can answer your questions and help you with asylum or refugee status, removal proceedings and immigrant visas, as well as a wide range of other immigration issues. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your consultation today.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T21:26:23-06:00November 27th, 2019|Immigration Law|Comments Off on Asylum vs. Refugee Status

3 Current Immigration Myths, Debunked

3 Current Myths About Mexican Immigration, Debunked - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

What’s really happening south of the U.S.-Mexico border? The internet is full of myths and half-truths, and it can be pretty confusing when both sides of the broader debate have an agenda.

Here are three current immigration myths, debunked.

3 Current Myths About Mexican Immigration, Debunked

The most common myths floating around (right now, anyway) include:

  • Mexico isn’t doing anything about Central American migrants.
  • Most immigrants crossing the U.S. border are Mexican.
  • Most illegal immigration in the U.S. is caused by people coming over the southern border.

Let’s look more closely at each of these.

Myth #1: Mexico isn’t doing anything about Central American migrants.

Truth: Mexico has been deporting a rising number of people from its own country in recent months. In fact, the Mexican government has made several efforts to step up immigration enforcement at its own borders. They’ve deported nearly 81,000 people since last December, which is a 33 percent increase in the number of people the country had deported in the previous 6 months.

Myth #2. Most immigrants crossing the U.S. border are Mexican.

Truth: The majority of people caught crossing the U.S. border without proper documentation are Central American. (And no, they’re not from “Mexican countries.”) Net migration from Mexico has actually slowed down a lot – more Mexicans are leaving the U.S. than are coming in.

Related: Hiring an immigration lawyer

Myth #3. Most illegal immigration in the U.S. is caused by people coming over the southern border.

Truth: The borders aren’t the problem here. Most undocumented immigrants don’t make the dangerous trek across rugged terrain – although they’re the ones you see on the news. The majority of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. right now actually came here by air on legal visas, and then overstayed those visas. In fact, in 2017, about 700,000 travelers to the U.S. stayed long past their visa expiration dates. (In that same year, there were about 300,000 apprehensions at the border – and that’s the lowest number since 1971.)

Related: What is a U.S. visa?

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Immigration?

You should never take your chances by overstaying a visa or by crossing a border illegally – the penalties for doing so are harsh and can include a ban on reentering the United States in the future.

If you want to immigrate to the United States, we may be able to help you. Call our experienced Milwaukee immigration attorneys at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation now. We can answer your questions and help you get on the right path to American citizenship.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T21:08:08-06:00November 27th, 2019|Immigration Law|Comments Off on 3 Current Immigration Myths, Debunked

How to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence (Marriage)

How to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence Based on Marriage - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

For many people, the U.S. immigration process is incredibly complicated and tough to navigate. Working with a Milwaukee immigration lawyer can help you sort out the process – your attorney can file the appropriate paperwork, answer your questions, and help you through each step.

If you want to remove conditions on your permanent residency based on your marriage, you may find it helpful to talk to an attorney about the requirements. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence Based on Your Marriage

The U.S. government puts conditions on permanent residency that’s based on marriage because the government wants to ensure you didn’t get married simply to get around the law. However, you can remove those conditions by filing the appropriate paperwork with the government – as long as you meet these conditions:

  • You are still married to the same person (a U.S. citizen or permanent resident) after two years.
  • You are a child and cannot be included on your parents’ application.
  • You are a widow or widower who entered into your marriage in good faith (not with the intent of defrauding the government).
  • You entered into the marriage in good faith, but you got divorced or your marriage was annulled.
  • You entered into the marriage in good faith, but your spouse was abusive or subjected you or your child to extreme hardship.

In cases where you are still married, you and your spouse have to apply together to remove your conditions. However, if you’re not married, you can ask the U.S. government to waive the joint filing requirement – but you have to prove that removal from the U.S. would cause you extreme hardship. That can be difficult, and many people in situations like those choose to enlist the help of an immigration attorney.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Removing the Conditions on Your Permanent Residency Based on Marriage?

If you need help removing the conditions on your permanent residency, you may benefit from working with a Milwaukee immigration attorney. Call us right now at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation with a caring, compassionate and knowledgeable attorney – we can answer your questions and help you through the process.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T20:52:47-06:00November 27th, 2019|Immigration Law|Comments Off on How to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence (Marriage)

What is Unlawful Presence in U.S. Immigration?

What is Unlawful Presence in U.S. Immigration – Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

U.S. immigration law requires people who want to visit or move to the United States to follow certain legal avenues – including filing applications for special permits like visas, as well as to obtain legal residency in the U.S. In some cases, the U.S. government considers people to be unlawfully present in the country.

What is Unlawful Presence in U.S. Immigration?

Unlawful presence, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is “the period of time when you are in the United States without being admitted or paroled or when you are not in a ‘period of stay authorized by the Secretary.’”

What Happens if the U.S. Government Says You’re Illegally Present in the Country?

If the government finds that you’re unlawfully present in the U.S., you can be barred from reentering the country for:

  • 3 years if you have been unlawfully present for between 180 days and 1 year during a single stay
  • 10 years if you have been unlawfully present for more than 1 year during a single stay
  • Permanently, if you reenter (or even try to reenter) without being admitted legally after you’ve been in the U.S. for more than a year unlawfully, spread out over all your stays

You’re considered unlawfully present in the U.S. if you’re here for any reason without being admitted or paroled, or if you have stayed longer than what’s authorized (like overstaying a visa, for example).

Are There Exceptions for Unlawful Presence?

There are some exceptions for people who fall into certain categories. If an exception applies to you, you’re not accruing days of unlawful presence. Some of those exceptions include:

  • Minors. Kids don’t accrue unlawful presence until they’re over the age of 18.
  • Asylees. If your asylum application is pending, you’re not accruing unlawful presence.
  • Battered spouses and children. If you can show a connection between your status violation and abuse, you won’t accrue unlawful presence.

There are other exceptions, too, but those are a little more rare – but if you’re not sure if they apply to you, you can talk to a Milwaukee immigration attorney for guidance.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Immigration?

If you need to talk to an attorney about immigrating to the United States, we may be able to help you. You can call our office of experienced immigration attorneys to set up a consultation today – we’re available at 414-383-6700.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T20:36:52-06:00November 27th, 2019|Immigration Law|Comments Off on What is Unlawful Presence in U.S. Immigration?

Unlawful Presence Bars in U.S. Immigration

Unlawful Presence Bars in U.S. Immigration – Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Some people are barred from entering the U.S. for any reason – even when they’d ordinarily be qualified – because they were found to be unlawfully present in the country in the past. These bars to admittance are called unlawful presence bars, and they typically last either 3 or 10 years… but sometimes, they’re permanent.

Unlawful Presence Bars in U.S. Immigration

If you’ve been unlawfully present in the U.S. and you’ve been caught, you’re likely to be barred from coming back for a certain period of time (even if you could ordinarily apply for a visa). Unlawful presence means that you either came into the U.S. without being properly admitted or paroled, or that you overstayed a visa or other authorization to be in the country.

3-Year Unlawful Presence Bars

If you’re not a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and the courts found you guilty of being in the country illegally for more than 180 days but less than a year, you are subject to a 3-year unlawful presence bar. The condition to a 3-year bar is that you leave the country voluntarily; if you go through removal proceedings, you could be inadmissible for a longer period.

10-Year Unlawful Presence Bars

If you were in the U.S. for more than a year during a single stay on or after April 1, 1997, and your presence was unlawful, you could be subject to a 10-year bar to reentry.

Permanent Unlawful Presence Bars

You can be permanently barred from coming back to the United States if you were in the U.S. for more than a year (in one stay or over a series of stays) after April 1, 1997 and you entered (or tried to enter) the U.S. without proper admittance.

Can You Avoid an Unlawful Presence Bar?

The best way to avoid being barred from the United States because you were here unlawfully is to follow the proper route for admittance – and that’s something our experienced Milwaukee immigration attorneys may be able to help you with. If you’re considering immigrating to the U.S., call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney today.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T20:25:51-06:00November 27th, 2019|Immigration Law|Comments Off on Unlawful Presence Bars in U.S. Immigration

What Kind of Visa Do You Need to Be an Au Pair in the U.S.?

What Kind of Visa Do You Need to Be an Au Pair in the U.S. - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

The U.S. government’s exchange visitor program allows for foreign nationals to join a host family in the U.S. and work as au pairs. Au pairs working in the U.S. can continue their education and experience everyday life with an American family. In order to become an au pair, you must have a sponsor located in the U.S. and the appropriate visa. For many people, that means working with a Milwaukee immigration attorney during the application process.

U.S. Visas for Au Pairs

You need a J visa to become an au pair in the United States. The first step you have to take is to apply for – and be accepted into – an exchange visitor program through a designated sponsoring organization here, in the U.S.

You must be:

  • Proficient in English
  • A graduate of at least a secondary school
  • Between 18 years old and 26 years old
  • Physically capable of providing child care
  • Personally interviewed
  • Able to pass a background investigation that includes your education, personal and employment references, and a criminal background check
  • Willing to take a personality profile test

As an au pair, you’ll live with a host family for 12 months and have the option to extend for up to another year. You must be professionally trained and willing to provide child care for up to 45 hours per week (and no more than 10 per day). You must also complete at least six hours of academic credit at an accredited institution.

If you’re accepted by a sponsoring institution and meet all the criteria, you can then apply for a J visa. Many people choose to work with a U.S.-based immigration attorney during the process, which can be time-consuming and, in some cases, complicated.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Getting an Exchange Visa?

Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney. We can answer your questions about exchange visas and the steps necessary to getting one, including scheduling an interview at your local embassy or U.S. consulate. If it’s easier, you can also contact us online for more information.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T20:03:27-06:00November 27th, 2019|Immigration Law|Comments Off on What Kind of Visa Do You Need to Be an Au Pair in the U.S.?

What is a Waiver of Inadmissibility?

By Carlos Gamino

United States immigration law prevents some people from being eligible to immigrate here – but in some cases, waivers of inadmissibility are available. If you’re able to get a waiver of inadmissibility, you can still immigrate to the U.S. You may want to talk to a Milwaukee immigration attorney to learn more.

Inadmissibility to the U.S.

Several circumstances can make it impossible for someone to immigrate to the U.S. They include:

  • Health-related grounds, like tuberculosis
  • Illegal entry into the U.S.
  • Misrepresentation on an immigration form
  • Past criminal activities
  • Prior deportation
  • Public dependency issues

Sometimes, though, waivers of inadmissibility are available to certain people.

What is a Waiver of Inadmissibility?

A waiver of inadmissibility is an order that allows you to immigrate to the U.S., even though ordinarily you wouldn’t be eligible. You can ask for a waiver if you’ve had a visa interview with a consular officer and the officer found you inadmissible to the U.S.

You can only ask for a waiver if you’re inadmissible based on:

  • Health-related grounds
  • Some criminal grounds
  • Immigration fraud or misrepresentation, in only some cases
  • The 3-year or 10-year bar if you were found unlawfully present in the U.S.

There are a few other conditions that are eligible for waivers, as well, so it’s probably a good idea for you to talk to a Milwaukee immigration lawyer if you’re not sure you’re eligible.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Getting a Waiver of Inadmissibility?

Not everyone is eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility. There are some conditions that the U.S. government won’t accept – but if you were told you’re inadmissible and think you might qualify for a waiver, we may be able to help you.

Call Gamino Law Offices at 414-383-6700 to schedule an immigration consultation with an experienced and compassionate attorney. We can answer your questions and evaluate your situation to help you figure out the best path to immigrating to the U.S.

Carlos Gamino

By |2019-11-27T08:47:45-06:00November 27th, 2019|Immigration Law|Comments Off on What is a Waiver of Inadmissibility?