Beach-Oswald Immigration Law Associates
Beach-Oswald Immigration Law
News Update
In This Issue . . .

1. BOILA Feature Story
1. BOILA Grants
2.TPS terminated
3. DOS Scraps CAM
4. DHS to Collect Social Media Info
5. Influx of Naturalization Applications
6. TPS for Nicaragua
7. Asylum Seekers
8. USCIS Updates
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Washington, DC
2011 to 2017

Issue: #11
                November 2017


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. 

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.
Please be sure to see Ms.Danielle Beach-Oswald featured in this months Washingtonian Magazine 'Top Lawyers' edition.


BOILA Feature Story:

Disability Naturalization


Ms. Kemngang, a native citizen of Cameroon, was a legal permanent resident for over 5 years.  Ms. Kemngang suffers from major depressive disorder (MDD) and has a history of bacterial meningitis.  These two conditions combined can cause serious complications such as brain damage and learning disabilities which have left Ms. Kemngang with significant cognitive deficits.  

For this reason we applied for Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exception as Ms. Kemngang was unable to maintain attention or concentration to learn the required material and information for the Civics and English test portion of the Naturalization Exam.  Ms. Kemngang had two interviews with USCIS with two different officers, Request for Evidence, several attempts at two different doctors completing the disability form to USCIS satisfaction, and after discussing her case twice with Director of USCIS office, her application was approved and she was sworn in as a citizen!  


Mr. MM , a native and citizen of Honduras, was granted Special Immigrant Juvenile status by USCIS. BOILA assisted Mr. MM in applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile status after helping his mother, who lives in the United States, obtain physical and legal custody over him and after obtaining a determination from the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, Maryland that it would be unsafe for Mr. MM to return to his home country of Honduras.
Ms. PC , a native and citizen of El Salvador, was granted Special Immigrant Juvenile status by USCIS. BOILA assisted Ms. PC in applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile status after helping her mother, who lives in the United States, obtain guardianship over her and after obtaining a determination from the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland that it would be unsafe for Ms. PC to return to her home country of El Salvador.
Mr. F and his wife, Ms. T , have both been granted Cancellation of Removal for certain non-permanent residents.  Mr. F is a native and citizen of Cameroon while his wife is a native and citizen of Sierra Leone.  They were granted this status by the Baltimore Immigration Court as BOILA was able to prove that Mr. F & his wife had resided in the United States for at least ten years, that they were both persons of good moral character, and most importantly that should they be removed from the United States, their two U.S. citizen children would suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.  The couple's children have a number of medical ailments such as severe allergies and learning disabilities.  Mr. F and his wife are now eligible to receive their lawful permanent residence status and remain in the United States indefinitely to care for their children.   
Ms. A , a native and citizen of Nigeria, had both her Alien Relative Petition ( I-130) and her Application for Permanent Residence ( I-485, Green Card) approved by USCIS. Ms. A and her USC daughter, who was also her petitioner, went for their interview with Immigration in October.  Their interview went as well as could be expected and Ms. A received the approval notices for both petitions within three weeks of her interview. She is now a lawful permanent resident in the United States.
Mr. A , a native and citizen of Cameroon had his I-130, Alien Relative Petition approved by USCIS. His USC wife petitioned for him in August 2016. After many status inquiries to USCIS and the service center where their application was pending, Mr. A and his wife were finally scheduled for an interview. Mr. A filed his I-130 with an exemption request because he is currently in removal proceeding with the Baltimore Immigration Court. Because of the exemption request, the burden to prove he and his wife had a bona fide marriage was extremely high. BOILA assisted Mr. A and his wife during their interview and prepped them beforehand with the facilitation of supplemental joint documents and photos. Due to the overwhelming joint documents submitted during the interview, USCIS approved their petition. Mr. A is now free to move on to the next phase of his immigration process.
Mr. T had his exemption I-130 Alien Relative Petition approved by USCIS in November 2017 after the petition had been pending for two years. Mr. T, a native and citizen of Cameroon is currently in removal proceedings in Baltimore. Now that his petition has been approved, he is now moving on to the next phase of his immigration proceedings.
Ms. N, a native and citizen of Cameroon has been granted lawful permanent residence (green card). Ms. N was granted derivative asylee status through her mother in 2011.  Her mother then became a naturalized United States citizen, thus making Ms. N ineligible to adjust her status. BOILA filed a nunc pro tunc asylum application in 2016 and requested that USCIS hold her pending green card application in abeyance until the nunc pro tunc application was approved. After her nunc pro tunc application was approved in May 2017, USCIS took her green card application out of abeyance.  BOILA then responded to Request for Evidence sent by USCIS in October and three weeks later Ms. N's green card application was approved.

Ms. K , a native and citizen of Cameroon had her I-130 Alien Relative Petition approved by USCIS. Ms. K and her USC husband filed the I-130 petition and the green card applications together. They were interviewed on the green card application earlier this month. Now that the I-130 petition has been approved, BOILA is confident that Ms. K should be receiving her green card approval notice any day.

TPS Terminated for Haiti Effective July 2019

The Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced the termination of TPS for Haiti effective July 22, 2019.
The decision was made after a review of the country conditions. It was determined that the original country condition that designated Haiti to be given Temporary Protected Status as a result of the 2010 earthquake no longer existed.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducted extensive outreach in the Haitian Community and determine that the country could support the influx of Haitian nationals returning.  Since the 2010 earthquake, the number of displaced Haitians has decreased by 97 percent according to the memorandum released by the Department of Homeland Security on November 20, 2017.
The termination date was delayed 18 months to allow for Haitians with TPS adequate time to plan to return to Haiti or seek alternative lawful immigration status in the U.S.
Haitians with TPS will still be required to re-apply for work authorization documents through the TPS termination date.

DOS Scraps CAM Refugee Program Months After CAM Parole was Terminated
With barely a 24 hour notice, the Department of State (DOS) stopped accepting new applications for the Central American Minors (CAM) refugee program on Nov. 9, 2017.  Likewise, USCIS will stop interviewing CAM cases as of Jan. 31, 2018. After that date, individuals with pending applications who have not been interviewed will receive a notice with further instructions.
The decision to terminate the CAM refugee program was made as part of the U.S. government review of the  U.S. Refugee Admissions Program  in response to President Trump's executive orders aimed at tightening immigration controls. The parole portion of the CAM program was terminated in August 2017.
The Obama Administration had enacted the CAM refugee/parole program in 2014 to respond to a massive spike in the number of unaccompanied minors and families entering the U.S. illegally from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Under the program, minors who failed to win refuĀ­gee status could enter on a two-year, renewable parole if they had a parent already legally present in the country.
Applications were first accepted from qualifying parents in the U.S. on behalf of their children on December 1, 2014 and had to be filed with a designated resettlement agency. Only parents over 18 and legally present in the U.S. were eligible to be qualifying parents. Each qualifying child had to be unmarried, under the age of 21, and residing in El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras. The other parent of the qualifying child residing in those countries also qualified if they were the legal spouse of the qualifying parent in the U.S.
In July 2016, the Obama administration expanded the categories of accompanying relatives eligible for refugee status or parole to include: (1) sons and daughters over the age of 21; (2) the biological parent residing with the qualified child in El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras, even if that parent is not married to the parent in the United States; and (3) caregivers of the qualifying child who are related to the U.S.-based parent (including aunts, uncles and grandparents). The changes were made to capture more derivatives; especially since the parents of many Central American Minors are not legally married and because many Central American Minors live with guardian in their countries while their parent earn and income and send remittances from the United States.
Although critics had complained of the program's restrictions and lengthy screening process, many also recognized that improvements were being made and that the CAM program was saving lives. As of August of this year, 1,627 youth had been brought to the United States as refugees through CAM. Another 1,465 had come on temporary parole.
Without the CAM refugee or parole program, many expect human trafficking of minors to increase. As for those children who could have otherwise been eligible to come to the U.S. as CAM refugees or parolees, many are in danger of forced recruitment into gangs, and can face death if they refuse.

DHS to Collect Social Media Info on All Immigrants
     The newest initiative by the Department of Homeland Security is to collect social media information on all immigrants, including permanent residents and naturalized citizens. The new rule is expected to go into effect on October 18 , 2017 .  This would mean that social media display names and aliases, associated identifiable information and search results could be added to the DHS immigrant files.  Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts would be subjected to this new policy; with the potential of even obtaining Google search histories.
     This new rule would make conversations U.S. citizens are having with immigrants on social media the subject of government surveillance, inevitably having far-reaching consequences.  DHS has attempted to pilot several programs to use social media in the past in order to screen immigration applicants, but these initiatives are said to "lack criteria for measuring performance to ensure they meet their objectives".  The new DHS policy is expected to include 12 points of expansion for what the Department is allowed to collect and these seem to be the most alarming.
     As of May of this year, the Trump administration had approved  a new questionnaire for visa applicant which requests social media handles for the past five years and biographic information for the past 15 years.  But the most shocking revelation about this newly proposed rule is that it goes well beyond potential immigrant visitors and is expected to apply to green card holders and naturalized citizens, some who have been here most of their lives.  

Influx of Naturalization Applications at USCIS
The wait time for naturalization applications has nearly doubled in the last year due to the increase in applications received at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Naturalization applications used to take five to seven months to be processed, and now they are taking close to a year, if not more in some cases.

There is currently a backlog of 708,638 applications nationwide according to  Immigration Impact.  Within the last year, over one million lawful permanent residence have applied for naturalization, nearly an eleven percent increase from the same period last year. A majority of the applications coming from areas with heavy Mexican residence such as, Texas, California and Arizona.
Many permanent residence are choosing to apply for naturalization in an effort to further ensure their security in the United States and assist in petitioning to bring their immediate family members.

TPS for Nicaragua Ends - Honduras Awaits Decision

On November 6,  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ended the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nicaragua, effectively ending the legal authorization for over five thousand Nicaraguan Nationals to live and work in the United States. DHS has delayed the official termination date until January 5, 2019.
The jury is still out on Honduras. DHS continues to gather information and data about the current country conditions in Nicaragua in order to determine whether to keep the TPS designation for the country. Since a determination has not been made for Honduras, the country's TPS is automatically extended an additional six months, through July 5, 2018.  Those who can, are urged to renew their work authorization documents as they will only be given a six month extension rather than the standard one-year extension.

Asylum Seekers Being Turned Away at U.S - Mexico Border
It is well known that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) frequently tuns away people seeking asylum along the U.S. southern border.  New evidence presented in federal court on November 13th shows that CBP's practice of hindering access to asylum has continued and is a systematic problem within the agency.

Declarations from dozens of individuals who have been denied access to the U.S. asylum process, as well as numerous advocates familiar with CBP's unlawful practice, document the experience of asylum seekers turned away all along the U.S. southern border-including in California at the San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, and in Texas at the El Paso, Hidalgo, Laredo, Brownsville, and Eagle Pass ports of entry.

Asylum seekers reported being told that the  U.S.  government was no longer granting asylum altogether, or to people from specific countries, by CBP officers at California, Texas, and Arizona ports of entry.

According to the declarations, CBP officers in California and Texas threatened to separate parents from their children if they persisted in their attempts to seek asylum and did not leave the port of entry. Accounts from California, Texas, and Arizona further reveal that CBP officers would resort to use of force if individuals refused to comply with their demands to leave the port of entry.

Federal law ensures access to the asylum process for all those fleeing persecution who seek protection at our borders.
The motion presented before the court asks the court to ensure that any relief granted in the lawsuit will apply to all asylum seekers pursuing protection at ports of entry along the U.S.-southern border.

 USCIS Updates

I-485 Adjustment of Status Form Changes

USCIS introduced a new version of the I-485, Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status on June 26, 2017.  The revised version has been substantially updated in both content and length, going from 5 pages to 18 pages.  There is new wording which is much more specific and much more intrusive.  This process is becoming much more arduous than before with a longer form and inevitably longer processing times, with the potential to create a backlog.  For those applying based on employment, the new interview requirement will be a substantial change. 
The Criminal Acts and Violations section, in particular has been significantly expanded.  Many of the questions are more typical of a Naturalization application and many of the questions appear to go to the discretionary element.  USCIS is now requesting arrest and police records that are not necessarily allowed in immigration court.  These records can often be misleading and wrong so this is very concerning and appears to be an overreach. 
New questions which ask about benefiting from the trafficking of any controlled substances or being a relative of a foreign national who illicitly trafficked a controlled substance are problematic.  It can be very difficult to determine a direct benefit from illicit dealings; a child for example may have no knowledge or even relationship with a family member involved in illegal activity in another country.  Further questioning regarding engaging in activities that "could have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences" may be construed in troublesome ways.  For example, a DACA recipient who has been openly vocal on Facebook against US government on foreign policy decisions can be perceived as guilty. 
We urge all individuals looking to file Adjustment applications to read all the questions very carefully and to consult a lawyer with any doubts or questions.  For those Spanish-speakers, as of this writing there is no Spanish language translation available online yet.  These are confusing and oftentimes difficult legal questions, so we encourage all applicants to talk to someone who can clearly explain the content.  
Please let us know if we can help you in any way for all your immigration needs.


Danielle Beach-Oswald
Beach-Oswald Immigration Lawyers