Volume 10 | October 2019
Immigration Updates from BOILA
Beach-Oswald Immigration Law Associates, PC is a Washington, D.C. boutique firm devoted exclusively to immigration law. We have the highest possible rating for lawyers for legal acumen and ethical standards, and we have been practicing law since 1981. We are well versed in all aspects of immigration law, particularly, employment based immigration, citizenship, naturalization, asylum, deportation and removal, and temporary visas. 

We accept clients from all over the country. We welcome referrals from current and past clients, as well as friends and colleagues. Our top-notch lawyers represent professional workers, business owners, families, and asylum-seekers from all over the world. We provide the absolute best professional service possible to our clients and aid them in every step of their immigration processes. We prioritize ensuring our clients are not only assisted with their immigration cases but are thoroughly educated about the processes, laws, and requirements. All of our attorneys and legal staff at Beach-Oswald have a genuine desire to help those in need. We ensure the highest quality of professionalism and legal expertise.

In This Issue
Upcoming Events

So many of our clients have expressed concerns about the lengthy wait time for their asylum applications - both in court and at the Asylum Office, so BOILA will be hosting an asylum open house. We will invite all of our asylum clients to the office to answer all questions about your pending cases and offer guidelines for what to do in the interim.
BOILA Feature Stories

Gonzalo Bonilla Canenguez, now known as Rubi Esmeralda, is native and citizen of El Salvador. She is a transgender woman who suffered from past persecution since a very young age in her native country of El Salvador due to her sexual orientation.

Upon entering the U.S., Rubi was apprehended by Immigration authorities and placed under custody. She was later transferred to a detention center in Maryland.

With little to no information, BOILA took the reins of Rubi’s asylum application on a ProBono basis and worked hand to hand with Ms. Rubi. We communicated with Rubi on a daily basis from detention and made numerous visits to the center to ensure her well-being.

While we prepared for her asylum hearing we conducted extensive research on country conditions in El Salvador and researched about the LGBT community in El Salvador.

During Ms. Rubi’s Individual hearing set at the Arlington Immigration Court in December 2019, BOILA with well-documented and supportive evidence met the burden of proof that made Ms. Rubi qualify for asylum. We highlighted the atrocities that people belonging to the LGBT community face in El Salvador by gangs, religion, security forces, family members and communities at large. We also demonstrated that the El Salvadorian government is unwilling and unable to protect the LGBT community and they are actually part of the problem.

Ms. Rubi’s asylum application was successfully granted by the immigration judge on the same day of her individual hearing allowing her legally remain in the United States and not to be forced to return to a country where she could lose her life only for being who she is.

Thanks to BOILA’s efficient work Ms. Rubi will be eligible to adjust her status and obtain her green card after one year of her grant for asylum.

We are proud and committed to bringing solutions and a new respite of hope to those who flee their native countries in search of safe and just living, free of harm.

Our firm was retained to represent Mr. Carlos Pizarro Suazo and his family in their immigration matters. We submitted a Nunc Pro Tunc I-485, Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status on behalf of Mr. Pizarro Suazo and his family based on his approved Form I-140.  Included in his application are his derivative family members: Carolina Ahumada Cortes (spouse); Carlos Francisco Pizarro Ahumada (son; and Jeannette Pizarro Ahumada (daughter).

Mr. Pizarro filed his I-485 application based on evidence from The State Bar of California regarding ineffective assistance and neglect by his former attorney, Ms. Mr. Howard Fox. Due solely to the gross and repeated negligence by his former attorney, Mr. Pizarro was denied the opportunity to effectively present his eligibility for his green card application.
Mr. Pizarro, a Chilean national, but for the ineffective assistance of counsel by his former attorney, would be eligible for adjustment of status. Mr. Pizarro was employed in the U.S. since October 2007 for Cedar lake MGM Foods in lawful H-1B nonimmigrant status. Mr. Pizarro and his employer continually followed proper immigration procedure and law by filing applications to maintain his ability to work in the U.S. and maintaining his status in the U.S.  
Mr. Pizarro’s employer, Cedar Lake MGM Foods, spent years following proper immigration law and procedure including filing multiple Forms ETA 9089 Application for Permanent Employment Certification with DOL on Mr. Pizarro’s behalf and filing multiple Forms I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS on behalf of Mr. Pizarro. Despite the efforts by Mr. Pizarro and his employer, Cedar Lake MGM Foods, Mr. Pizarro’s I-140 and H-1B nonimmigrant extension petition was denied solely because his former attorney’s ineffective assistance of counsel. As a result, Mr. Pizarro was unable to file for his green card application and he was ineligible to file H-1B past six year limit. 
We assisted Mr. Pizarro by obtained a properly filed PERM application with the Department of Labor which was approved; a properly filed I-140 petition with USCIS which was approved, Bar Complaint against his former attorney, and his and his family’s green card applications which were approved as well. After years of uncertainty about his immigration status Mr. Pizarro and his family may safely remain in the U.S. with their green cards. 

Ms. Lim came to BOILA afraid she was getting ready to lose her green card and be forced to return to Cambodia.

Ms. Lim married her U.S. citizen husband in 2013, a man she thought he was the love of her life. The first two years of marriage were good but things quickly turned ugly between the two. Her husband became abusive and started yelling and cursing at her. He would leave their home for days at a time and eventually abandoned their home all together to go live with his sister.

Prior to the downfall of her marriage, Ms. Lim had gotten a green card through a family petition filed by her husband. Since they had been married less than two years at the time she filed for her green card, Ms. Lim was given a conditional green card valid for two years only. Her green card due to expire in September of 2015 and

When Ms. Lim came to BOILA she and her husband had already been scheduled for an interview with Immigration on their pending Form I-751 petition. But now that her husband had abandoned their marriage, she was unsure of how to proceed and was afraid immigration would take away her green card.

We worked with Ms. Lim to demonstrate to Immigration that she and her husband had a bona fide marriage up until their separation, and that their ultimate divorce was through no fault of Ms. Lim's.

We were all delighted when Ms. Lim's Form I-751 petition was approved, but the excitement was short lived when we discovered Immigration mistakenly thought Ms. Lim had filed for naturalization. According to Immigration, Ms. Li filed for naturalization and her application was approved. This was FALSE. Ms. Lim never filed for naturalization. BOILA quickly began sending inquiries to Immigration to notify them of their error and request that they send Ms. Lim her ten year green card.

It took several inquiries and follow ups with Immigration, but Ms. Lim finally received her green card in the mail. Ms. Lim and her grandmother came by the office to show us her green card and express words of gratitude.
Changes to Public Charge Rule

USCIS has announced that it will implement the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule on February 24, 2020. This comes as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court granting the administration's request for a stay of the nationwide injunction against public charge rule.

The Rule will apply to all applications postmarked or submitted on or after February 24, 2020.

USCIS plans to post updated versions of the following forms during the week of February 3, 2020 : Forms I-129, I-485, I-539, I-864 and I-864EZ. Starting February 24, 2020, only the updated versions of these forms will be accepted.

The guidance does not apply to applications and petitions filed in Illinois - it is the only state where the Final Rule remains enjoined.

Fake Universities Established by ICE

The operation known as Paper Source was implemented in 2015. DHS first created the fake university, University of Northern New Jersey, then the second fake university, the University of Farmington. Each university had a fake website and commercial buildings.The universities posed at accredited institutions and even charged tuition fees : $8,500 for undergraduate, and $11,000 for graduate students.

In January 2019, DHS charged eights student "recruiters" with participating in a conspiracy to aid foreign citizens to remain in the U.S. fraudulently. There were more than 100 students also arrested.

The universities never conducted classes or had any professors or staff employed. There was no curriculum or homework given. As the arrests continue and further investigation into the fake universities progress, DHS has discovered many of the "students" enrolled in the universities had either received final orders of removal or been granted voluntary departure.

USCIS Issues Update to Guidance on Biometrics Collection
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced updates to its  Policy Manual  t hat address mobile biometrics services and fingerprint waivers.

USCIS requires biometrics from individuals who submit applications, petitions, and requests for certain immigration benefits. USCIS uses biometrics to verify identity, produce secure documents, and conduct required criminal and national security background checks. 

Mobile Biometrics Services

Generally, individuals have their biometrics collected by appointment at an applicant support center (ASC). In limited cases, at the discretion of the agency, USCIS may make special arrangements to collect biometrics from those who cannot attend scheduled ASC appointments in person, due to disability or other health reasons.

This update clarifies that USCIS will not provide mobile biometrics services in prisons or jails for individuals who cannot attend their ASC appointment due to incarceration or detention.

This policy applies only to individuals held in non-DHS custody. For those in DHS custody, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will continue to collect biometrics.

Fingerprint Waivers

The updated guidance also clarifies that an approved fingerprint waiver is tied to the specific petition, request, or application listed on notice of the appointment for submission of biometrics at the ASC. In other words, someone cannot use an approved waiver for any other biometrics requirement for any future filings. 

Individuals may qualify for a waiver of the fingerprint requirement if they cannot provide fingerprints because of a medical condition. Only certain USCIS employees are authorized to grant a fingerprint waiver.

End of Visas for Iranian Nationals
the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that Iranian nationals are no longer eligible for E-1 treaty trader and E-2 treaty investor changes or extensions of status based on that treaty. This change comes due to the October 3, 2018 termination of the 1955 Treat of Amity, Economic Relationship, and Consular Rights with Iran.

The E-1 and E-2 nonimmigrant visa classification allows aliens of treaty countries to be admitted to the United States under the guise of engaging in international trade or investing into U.S. businesses.

Now that the treaty has been terminated, USCIS will begin to send Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID) to the applicant’s whose applications filed after October 3,2018. Iranians who currently hold E-1 and E-2 visas status can remain in the U.S. until their current status expires.

Changes to “Unlawful Acts” Bar for Good Moral Character for Naturalization
USCIS recently issued a policy alert expanding the guidance on unlawful acts that determine an applicant’s eligibility for good moral character (GMC) for naturalization purposes. These changes can greatly affect an applicant meeting the GMC requirement for naturalization. The expanded policy went into effect on December 13, 2019.

Policy highlights include:
  • Expands existing guidance on the “unlawful acts” bar to establishing GMC for naturalization, including adding additional examples of unlawful acts.
  • Emphasizes that USCIS officers determine whether an “unlawful act” is a conditional bar on a case-by-case basis and provides guidance on that case-by-case analysis.

Conditional bars are triggered by specific acts, offenses, activities, circumstances, or convictions within the statutory period for naturalization, including the period prior to filing and up to the time of the Oath of Allegiance.

  • One or More Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMTs)
  • Aggregate Sentence of 5 Years or More
  • Controlled Substance Violation (except for simple possession of 30g or less of marijuana)
  • Incarceration for 180 Days (except political offense)
  • False Testimony under Oath
  • Prostitution Offenses
  • Smuggling of a Person
  • Polygamy 
  • Gambling Offenses
  • Habitual Drunkard
  • Two or More Convictions for Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Failure to Support Dependents
  • Adultery
  • Unlawful Acts

Current Status of the Trump Travel Ban

The Trump Administration's travel ban was first introduced three years ago. The proclamation that was enacted in January of 2017, restricts travel to the United States for five nations : Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. All of which are majority Muslim nations.

President Trump has already threatened to expand the ban to the following countries : Belarus, Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania.

According to a Cato Institute report, most of the separations for families have occurred among Yemeni families. The ban has had a devastating effect on many families who are being arbitrarily separated from their U.S. citizen family members.

There have been three versions of the ban since the beginning of the Trump Administration. The most recent one was upheld in 2018 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite the Supreme Court ruling, the travel ban goes back to Court on Tuesday. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments from relatives who haven't been able to enter the United States because of the ban.

Though the Trump Administration claims the travel ban is in order to protect national security, it seems to only be unnecessarily separating families due to their national origin or religion.
USCIS Updates
Update to Travel for TPS Beneficiaries in Removal Proceedings

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is updating the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify the effect of travel outside the United States by Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries who are subject to removal proceedings.
In particular, this  update (PDF, 317 KB)  covers beneficiaries who have final removal orders, and who depart the United States and return with an  advance parole travel document . TPS beneficiaries in removal proceedings who travel abroad temporarily with the authorization of DHS remain subject to those removal proceedings. If they are under a final order of removal, the travel does not execute or fulfill the order. The alien in question remains subject to the removal order.  
New I-94 Form Released

USCIS announced the release of its revised Form I-9 to replace the form currently in use with an expiration date of August 31, 2019. The validity of this version of the Form I-9 was automatically extended until the newest update could be released.
Employers may begin using the new Form I-9 immediately upon its release, but must use this Form for all new hires and re-verifications following 90 days from the release date.
Employees who have already completed the Form I-9 on the previous version of the Form I-9, including employees who have accepted their offer of employment, but have not yet begun working, do not need to complete a new Form I-9 using the newly released version.
The new version of the Form I-9 does not include any surprises. The revisions primarily add clarifying language with no substantive changes to the process or requirements of the form.
Employers can download the newest version of the Form I-9 at www.uscis.gov/I-9 .