Immigration Attorney Highlights Changes to Enforcement and Processing

Henry A. Posada directs our attention to recent and impending changes in immigration law

Mar 30, 2012, 18:02 ET from Law Offices of Henry A. Posada

LOS ANGELES, March 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Henry A. Posada, a top immigration lawyer in Los Angeles, stays abreast of the latest legislative, judicial and executive developments that could impact the legal immigration process. He shines a spotlight on two salient issues that have arisen in the last several months.  The first issue of note is prosecutorial discretion in enforcement of the immigration laws.  The Department of Homeland Security has stated how prosecutorial discretion could help prioritize enforcement. What is meant by prosecutorial discretion is "the authority of an agency charged with enforcing a law to decide to what degree to enforce that law against a particular individual."  It appears that personnel from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will focus enforcement efforts on, inter alia, individuals who represent potential national security threats, who have criminal records, or who have histories of repeat immigration offenses.  The positive flip side of this governmental enforcement priority is that many cases currently pending in removal proceedings are being reviewed by immigration officials, including the ICE Office of the Chief Counsel, for "administrative closure" where unique, humanitarian considerations militate in favor of low priority-enforcement treatment.  For example, in cases involving immigrants who are young, elderly, ill, who have been physically present in the U.S. since childhood or for many years, who have gone to or are in school, or immigrants with unique equities may be able to have their removal cases administratively closed if ICE is in agreement that the case be closed.  During the time a removal case is administratively closed, the person is allowed to remain in the United States.

The other issue that is being watched closely by the team at the Law Offices of Henry A. Posada is a proposed rulemaking at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  In January of 2012, USCIS posted a notice of intent to propose a new rule that would reduce the time that U.S. citizens are separated from their family members during the legal immigration process. Currently, the law requires the spouses and children of U.S. citizens who have accrued a certain period of unlawful presence in the U.S. to leave as part of the legal immigration process and be barred from returning for 3 or 10 years (depending on how long they were in the country illegally). If the immigrant can demonstrate that such a separation would cause "extreme hardship" to the U.S. citizen family member, the immigrant may receive a waiver (but only if the sole grounds for inadmissibility are unlawful presence, and are not other issues such as misrepresentation or criminal history). Under the current system, the immigrant must leave the U.S. before applying for that waiver, which in and of itself can lead to a prolonged separation.

The newly proposed rule would streamline the process, allowing an immigrant to apply for and get final adjudication on a so-called "provisional waiver" before having to leave the country to obtain a visa through an overseas consulate. Even if the waiver is accepted, the immigrant must still leave the U.S. and obtain a visa through the normal channels. The proposed rule is not in effect yet.

The Law Offices of Henry A. Posada will continue to monitor these developments and provide updates in subsequent press releases.

ABOUT HENRY A. POSADA: Henry Posada, a Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law, has garnered increased attention for his extensive knowledge on immigration issues and his diligent work on behalf of his clients. He is highly sought-after for a variety of legal services, from post-conviction relief to help getting a work permit in California.

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