Category: Immigration

Say ‘NO’ to Notaries and Immigration Consultants

Unfortunately, there is a large amount of non-attorneys practicing immigration law. No one can deny the fact that not all immigrants are going to be able to afford a high end attorney to assist them with their cases. This is where people such as Notaries (Notarios) or Immigration Consultants come in to play. These people often time offer low cost assistance to immigrants and their families. Unfortunately, the “help” these people are receiving is not always help. In fact, it may actually hurt more than help.

The Problem with Notaries

Notary publics, are people who serve as an impartial witness to people signing many types of important documents. They attest that the person signing is in fact the person he or she says they are. They are NOT authorized to help any individual full out immigration forms, or instruct people what forms to fill out.

I repeat – it is not LEGAL for notary publics, often called notaries, to help choose or fill out immigration forms for immigrants. Also, they are not allowed to charge fees for such services.

The Problem with Immigration Consultants

Sadly, there is a possibility for a person to become an immigration consultant. These people are authorized to provide non-legal services to immigrants. What does non-legal services mean? It means they are glorified typists. They are able to fill out forms that the immigrants tell the consultant they need filled out. However, the immigration consultant is not able to instruct a person as to what forms he or she may need, nor can they make any decision as to the content placed onto the forms.

Only Attorneys Are Able to Provide Legal Advice

Immigration is a very complex area of law with real consequences. It is important to seek the advice of an attorney who regularly practices immigration law. No notary public or immigration consultant will be able to properly guide you to making the right decision.

Some nonprofit agencies do have accredited representatives who are not licensed attorneys; however, they are supervised by attorneys. Once such agency is Catholic Charities.

If you are concerned about a notary public or immigration consultant, you can refer to this link for more information.

Immigration Implications of the DOMA Ruling

Late last month, the United States Supreme Court decided United States v. Windsor, a case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The provision of DOMA that was at issue defined marriage as the union between one man and one woman, essentially prohibiting the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. The Court struck the law down on Constitutional grounds, paving the way for same-sex couples to be eligible for federal benefits, provided that they are legally married in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage.  While the case before the Court had to do with federal estate taxation, one consequence of the ruling is that the federal government will now recognize same-sex spouses as such for the purposes of immigration law.

United States immigration law makes it relatively easy for immediate family members of citizens to obtain permanent resident status, known informally as a “green card.” The DOMA decision effectively removes all barriers for married same-sex couples of different nationalities to obtain green cards for one another the way opposite-sex couples can. According to a report in the New York Times, Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, stated that federal agencies will “implement today’s decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws.”

The implications of the ruling will be far-reaching, affecting many facets of life for same-sex couples, including tax benefits, medical decision making powers, eligibility for federal benefits, family-law protections, and others.

Contact Immigration Attorney Shannon Blanchard Today for a Consultation

If you are a same-sex spouse and are interested in learning more about how the DOMA decision affects your immigration rights, contact the Law Office of Shannon Blanchard today for a free consultation. Ms. Blanchard is an experienced immigration advocate, and works hard to get the best possible legal result for each client she represents. Some of the types of matters Ms. Blanchard handles include:

To schedule a consultation with Ms. Blanchard, contact our office today at (858) 480-1077. To reach us via email, please fill out the contact form on the right side of this page.

President Obama Strives For “Common-Sense” Immigration Reform

I used to feel optimistic about immigration reform but after reading that the lawmakers that once helped sponsor the immigration bill are now showing some hesitation, I have begun to question whether immigration reform will ever see the light of day. Half the articles about immigration reform seem to criticize the bill and claim that it will not pass muster with Congress, while the other half are written in a positive light with high hopes that the immigration bill will eventually become law.

I guess I understand Congress’s divided stance on immigration reform. But what are President Obama’s thoughts on the matter?

President Obama Wants to Repair an Immigration System That Is “Badly Broken”.

President Obama seems to be all in when it comes to the Immigration Reform bill. He understands that “many hurdles lie ahead for proponents of immigration reform” but wants lawmakers to “put a bill on his desk by the end of the summer.” During his address on Saturday he explained that this bill would have to be a compromise, stating, “Nobody will get everything they want – not Democrats, not Republicans, not me.” However, he feels that the bill would at least be a “Common Sense Immigration Reform.”

Are we striving for common sense or perfection?

What Does Obama’s Common Sense Immigration Reform Look Like?

According to President Obama, common sense steps to immigration reform include:

  • Smarter enforcement
  • A pathway to earned citizenship
  • Improvements to the legal immigration system

What Issues Do Lawmakers Want Addressed Before Passing The Bill?

In order for Congress to pass the immigration reform bill, several lawmakers feel that certain issues need addressed first. These issues include:

  • Border security strengthening provisions
  • Issues regarding health care for undocumented immigrants and whether they need to pay for their own health care

What are your thoughts? Do you think the immigration reform bill will pass by the end of summer?

To read more, click here.

Status of the Long-Awaited Immigration Reform Bill

Remember a few months ago when we first laid our eyes on the 17-page blueprint of what would eventually become the highly anticipated immigration reform bill? I sure do. Many of the proposals on that blueprint seemed too good to be true, while others seemed, to put it nicely…outlandish! The immigration reform draft made changes to border security, to the allocation of visas, and to the path to citizenship. It also added new methods to employment verification. Under that blueprint, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before December 31, 2011 would be able to apply for “provisional” legal status within six months and would be permitted to “work safely in the United States and visit their homelands.” The Bill would also permit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to have unregulated right of entry to all federal borderlands. Yikes!

A great deal of change was anticipated for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

So where is that Bill now?

What Is The Status Of The Immigration Reform Bill?

Individuals who once adamantly fought for Immigration reform are now hesitating to back it up in its current form.

Senator Marco Rubio has been one of the key players in immigration reform and to the path to citizenship. He has vehemently defended immigration reform to other legislatures. However, according to Washington Post, “Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said earlier this week that, as the bill stands, he won’t vote for it.” He apparently even circulated a memo to other Senators that listed 21 things that made him apprehensive about the immigration reform bill.

Moreover, Sen. Jeff Flake feels that the immigration reform bill still “has a long way to go.”

What’s the Problem With the Bill?

The main problem with the bill at this point seems to be Border Security. Senator Rubio feels that if border security is not improved, then the bill will never become binding law. Another change that Senator Rubio wishes to see is the implementation of a biometric tracking system. A biometric tracking system is a procedure used to track illegal immigrants who overstay their visas by using identification methods such as fingerprints.

When is the Next Vote on the Immigration Reform Bill?

The Senate will consider the immigration reform bill next week.

A note to all of those who are in support of the Immigration reform bill in its current form: please don’t hold your breath. According to Republican chairman of the House judiciary committee, U.S. Representative, Bob Goodlatte, “There is an effort on the part of those Senators to improve the Senate bill, but it has a long way to go from the House perspective.”

Hopefully this immigration reform bill will become binding soon (but I’m not holding my breath).

What changes would you like to see in immigration reform? How will you feel if Congress does not pass the immigration reform bill?

 

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