Celebrities Face the Same Immigration Risks as the Rest of Us

“Real Housewives” star Joe Giudice could soon face deportation after serving his prison sentence for mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud.  The reality show star has been a U.S. permanent resident since he was a child, but he never applied for American citizenship. Because of this, he could be subject to removal from the U.S. because of his criminal convictions.

As Navid Dayzad pointed out in an article on Yahoo Entertainment, “unlike what most people think, a foreign-national does not automatically get a green card or full protection from deportation just because they have a U.S. citizen spouse or child.” This is a common misconception, and certain criminal actions could still put Green Card holders in danger of deportation.  The best way to protect yourself (aside from avoiding committing a crime) is to obtain U.S. citizenship once you are eligible. This way if you are a reality star who has committed fraud, you only have to worry about your prison term and ratings—rather than having to uproot your life from the United States.

Reduced Legal Fee for Social Security Cards

For once, the government has made it easier—rather than more difficult—to apply for a benefit!  With this improvement, we have passed on the savings to our clients.  Thus, several months ago we reduced the legal fees for an application for social security card in those circumstances when we can apply for it simultaneous with an application for an Employment Authorization Document.  Even better, these applicants do not need to go to their local social security office to submit the application in-person.   We pride ourselves on vigilantly keeping abreast of the government’s constant changes, and quickly adapting our procedures to gain efficiencies for our clients whenever possible.

Trump’s Wall To Deter Immigration Has Already Been Built

We often write and speak about the value immigrants add to the United States. Not just our clients (who we love), but all immigrants who come to the U.S. seeking the American Dream.  From entrepreneurs, to software developers, to newly married couples, to parents joining their children, each individual adds to the rich diversity, economy, and spirit of the U.S.   Despite the overwhelming evidence of the added value immigrants bring to our country, we have seen the current administration rail against immigrants from the beginning. Beyond chants to build a wall, the Trump administration has taken active steps to slow and deter legal immigration, which has already had measurable effects on U.S. immigration, creating an invisible wall.

In the context of family-based immigration, families are forced to remain separated for long periods of time due to new vetting policies and procedures that divert resources away from family-based applications. The result has been ever-growing wait times for legally filed applications to be processed.  Applications that may have previously taken only 5 months to adjudicate are now taking upwards of 10 months, causing family separation for the extended period in the meantime. Employment-based applicants face similar issues.  The business community has seen unprecedented scrutiny of nonimmigrant petitions for skilled workers, managers, executives, and others. We have seen a dramatic increase in Requests for Evidence, new interview requirements, and proposals to eliminate work authorization for spouses of certain H-1B workers.  All of these practices serve to discourage U.S. employers from recruiting foreign workers (who are much needed).

To see the impact these actions have already had, look no further than the decline in the number of H-1B applicants (for the first time in five years), international student enrollment, and tourism to the U.S. in 2017.  These declines not only run counter to our American values, but also have a measurable impact on our economy. The policies the administration has introduced have created an invisible wall, making legal immigration more difficult than ever, separating families and discouraging valuable foreign workers from coming to the United States.

Reminder About Heightened Security At Airports

We have previously written about the increasing importance of compliance with immigration laws while traveling in and out of the U.S.  The Department of State has indicated that it has put in place enhanced aviation security measures for all commercial flights to the United States, including heightened screening of personal electronic devices. Therefore, it is important that any e-mails or documents you may have on your laptop or smart phone are consistent with the terms of your immigration status.

For example, if you are entering the U.S. on a visitor’s visa, you are not authorized to work in the United States. Rather, the expectation is that you will visit the U.S. temporarily for limited activities and return to your home country.  If the immigration officer suspects that your intent is not to return to the U.S. or that you will violate the terms of your status during your visit, the officer may detain you right there in the airport and review your documents, phone, and social media.  If the officer finds information that contradicts your stated purpose for the trip, an individual could be detained for several hours without access to the outside world, let alone an attorney, ultimately leading to a forced return to your home country.  Most travelers intend to abide by the terms of their visas, but may be confused as to exactly what that may entail. To avoid any potential issues, we strongly recommend that our clients contact us before international travel to prepare any necessary documents and avoid these problems.

Navid Dayzad Named Recipient of 2018 Avvo Clients’ Choice Award

Avvo Award Photo

I received a nice affirmation that I have built the type of law firm I have aspired to create!  Over the years, we have established a client-centered philosophy, and because of that, I am excited to share that I was selected as the recipient of the 2018 Avvo Clients’ Choice Award.  I received their highest 10.0 rating, which is based on experience, professionalism, and background. In this political climate, it is now as critical as ever to be a zealous advocate for our clients and fight for their immigration rights. I am lucky to be able to continue this important work with amazing clients who add to the diverse fabric of our society.