Punishment for lying on immigration forms

In order to highlight what happens when an alien lies on a visa or immigration petition, allow me to cite the example of Inocente Orlando Montano, a citizen of El Salvador.  He applied for temporary protection status (TPS) in the United States and in order to be eligible for the program, he deliberately entered the wrong date of his entry into the US.  He also hid record of his military service.  While tens of thousands of immigrants in USA are able to fool the authorities, Montano was convicted of immigration fraud and perjury.  He is now in prison and after doing his time he will be deported to El Salvador.  If you decide to lie on an immigration petition or provide a false document you should be prepared for similar punishment.

It is understandable USCIS makes mistakes and some people are just too good at committing fraud.  In many countries from which most of the immigrants come, it is easy to get almost any type of fraudulent document for the right price or if you know the right people.   Now if you are tempted to lie on your immigration application or provide a fraudulent document, you may want to think again.  While so many applicants get approved, it does not mean that they might never be apprehended.  It is important to remember that even naturalized citizens can be stripped of their citizenship if they resorted to fraud during their immigration journey.  Of course, visas and green cards can be nullified very easily at any point.  Prison time for several years and then deportation are standard procedures.

De facto deferred action for undocumented parents

Since there is no chance that CIR will become law during Obama presidency, he is starting to exploit loopholes in existing laws to benefit the undocumented immigrants.  The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) scheme was extremely successful and enabled some half a million undocumented DREAMers to get some sort of legal status and get work permits.  They will also no longer be deported and while it is not the perfect solution for them, it is expected that like the TPS program, this program will be renewed indefinitely.  Considering how powerful the Latino groups now are, even a Republican president will be terrified of messing with it. 


As already reported earlier, the administration is hinting to foreigner to cross the Mexican border and immediately seek asylum using violence as a reason.  DHS has also declared that those of you who are using fake Social Security Numbers or green cards will not be prosecuted for working illegally or for stealing identity.  Things are getting even better.  Brandon Montgomery of ICE, has announced that "...[they] may, on a case-by-case basis, utilize alternatives to detention for these individuals particularly when the detention of a non-criminal alien would result in a child being left without an appropriate parental caregiver.”  He is talking about a new program under which anyone with a child in the US (legally or illegally) will not be arrested or deported, though, right now there will be no legal status or a work permit.  For that they will have to wait till Obama announces a deferred action program for all immigrants

So if you are without a kid, get one, according to legal experts so that you can take advantage of this program.  If you have kids in your home country, arrange for them to be sent to the US.  Needless to add that if you plan to come to the United States illegally, do so in the company of at least one minor child. 

Can I be prosecuted for working without papers?

This used to be the case in the past because under US law, working without authorization or use of fraudulent documents to prove your eligibility to work (for instance, using a false Social Security number or green card or passport or claiming to be a US citizen) are all serious crimes punishable by years of jail time and deportation.  However, as long as a Democrat is the president, things might be different, based on what recently happened in the case of arrests of illegal immigrants made at the Danny's Family Carwash in Phoenix, Arizona.  While the illegal employees were arrested they were all released without any charges or deportation proceedings.  ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez actually said, "As everyone here knows, we target employers, employers that aren't playing by the rules. We don't target the employees, we're targeting the companies that are not playing by the rules."

This is excellent news for unauthorized immigrants who are unable to become legal.  They can now work without fear of being prosecuted for breaking this law related to illegal employment.  You must still know that just because Democrat Presidents are not enforcing these laws, it does not mean that employment laws do not exist.  A GOP president might enforce them.  

Why is my application not approved for years by USCIS?

If you have been waiting forever for approval of an immigration petition for years, you must not lose hope as long as you were eligible, completed the application accurately, provided all the required documentation, and have a crime-free background.  The reason it could be taking so long is if you meet any of the following criteria:
  • If you are a Muslim
  • Native of a country with terrorism activity.  Visits to such countries, for example, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc..  Even travel through these countries can pose a risk.
  • Wiring money to friends and family in countries with terror links.
  • Attending mosques in America where FBI thinks that terrorists get together
  • Donations to groups with suspected terrorism links 

The program is called Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program and ACLU found about its existence and how it is being used to deny immigration benefits and citizenship of Muslim backgrounds.  Once the FBI raises a red flag the approval is put on hold till evidence emerges that you are not a threat to the United States.  This process may take years, or, there may be no approval if there is a serious doubt.  If you fit this criteria, you now know what maybe causing the undue delay in approval of your application.

Deferred action for all illegal immigrants

Since Comprehensive Immigration Reform is unlikely to happen in an Obama presidency (it will be an issue in the 2014 mid-term Congressional elections but Democrats are unlikely to take the House of Representatives), the best hope for undocumented immigrants is to wait for 2016 election cycle and see if Democrats can completely dominate Washington DC.  In the meantime, because Latinos put President Barack Obama in the White House, it is payback time and there is no way Democrats can survive the 2014 elections if the Hispanics refuse to turn out to vote.  That is why the activists are already putting pressure on the president to declare a deferral on deportation (along the lines of highly successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for DREAMers).

Who will be eligible?
  1. Fewer than three misdemeanors
  2. No felonies
  3. Continuous presence in the United States after a certain cutoff date to be announced later on.
  4. Evidence of productive life in American, in form of employment, education or raising a family.
  5. Parents of American citizens or green card holders or those with legal status
  6. Family members of the disabled
  7. Individuals who are victims of crimes and are suing someone
  8. DREAMers who were not eligible for DACA

How to apply?
  1. Complete forms to be announced later on by USCIS
  2. Pay fees as required
  3. Fingerprinted for background check

Features of the program

Since it will be a deferral, it will not grant any legal status, but you will have a right to work legally, receive a genuine Social Security number, apply for a driver's license, and be able to travel overseas under special circumstances.  While the program will technically die on the last day of Obama presidency if a Democrat president is not elected in 2016, if history is any indicator, such programs eventually become almost permanent, like the TPS.

US citizen with criminal record sponsoring husband

Lucy writes, "I have recently met a man from Australia and I plan to marry him.  I would also like to file the paperwork for his green card.  What is causing me some anxiety is that I have a few black marks in my background.  DUI, public intoxication, speeding tickets, and an arrest (charges were eventually dropped).  How will this affect my petition?  Can there be a denial of my petition?  What can I do so that there are no problems?"

In general, the decision to allow a US citizen to marry and sponsor an alien has very little to do with his or her criminal background.  The main thing that the USCIS is going to look at is the immigration history of the spouse, criminal history of the alien, your ability to support him (though his income if he is working can be added to the financial support documentation), and whether or not your marriage is genuine.  It is likely that the USCIS will run a background check on you as well and your criminal record will raise red flags in the sense that the officer will suspect that a lawbreaker is more likely to break laws again.  So be prepared for intense scrutiny of the validity of your marriage and very close examination of the documents that you provide.  You may also be grilled more aggressively during the interview.

Leave USA while B2 extension petition pending

Brad writes, "My wife and I applied for an extension of our B2 visa using the USCIS Form I-539.  In the meantime, circumstances have changed and we need to travel back to our native country.  Obviously, we now only have copies of our I-94.  Can we depart the US without it?  Will we have any problem if we ever come back?  What is the implication of receiving an approval/rejection of the petition?"

You may want to write to the USCIS withdrawing your I539 petition because while an extension maybe worthless at this point, a rejection on your record does not look good.  Hang on to the copy of the letter you write for withdrawal.  In addition, hang on to your copy of the I94, boarding passes showing that you left the US (it is generally believed that the US is able to track who left the country using the data provided by the airlines but the system is not perfect and is full of errors), I539, and I797 and have them with you on your next trip to the US, though, most likely they will not be needed.  Once the trip ends, if you want to keep visiting the US, just save these documents in your USA travel files because you never know when these might be needed.

Secret password to cross legally into USA

Exactly as many had expected, the granting of asylum to DREAM9 by Obama Administration has provided other aliens to exploit the same loophole to legally enter the United States, get a work permit, driver's license, and then a path to green card and citizenship.  Experts believe that the US Government is letting the immigrants exploit this loophole since other options for them are not permanent and it is not expected that Congress will pass the so-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Obviously, if you are an undocumented immigrant here and do not want to live here illegally forever or you were deported, this path is your best option, though, to discuss your individual situation you must hire a good lawyer to help you with your case.  Basically, the easiest part is crossing the border legally because hundreds of immigrants simply need to say just the password "credible fear."  As soon as you say these words, the agent will let you inside the country, formally arrest you, and here is the best part, instead of being sent to a jail, you get sent to a hotel and get free meals.  Very soon after the paperwork is completed you will be allowed to go free to apply for a work permit and live a normal life while you pursue your green card.  During questioning you can claim torture by drug dealers or mafia or government or police or whatever works for your case.  Many immigrants are also presenting false papers showing ransom notes and photos of injuries from violence, along with fake medical reports and police cases.  The DHS actually approved DREAM9 because they claimed that they were being persecuted for not speaking Spanish well and having American accents.

The window of opportunity is brief because a crackdown might come soon and that is why it is a path risk exploring considering that almost everyone in Mexico and other Central American nations can claim some form of abuse from drug mafia and local police/military. Those of you waiting for President Barack Obama to legalize all undocumented aliens with an executive order must remember that if a Republican replaces him in 2016 that protection may expire (some experts think that it will be politically risky and those types of protected status may be renewed in perpetuity).

Can Obama legalize immigrants if CIR fails?

Since it is highly unlikely that Comprehensive Immigration Reform will become law before 2015 (assuming that Democrats win solid majority in House and are able to get at least 60 seats in the Senate), there is a lot of hope for undocumented immigrants.  Not only has the asylum after self deportation emerged as a viable option, it is widely believed that the President Barack Obama will not surrender and declare defeat.  Reports leaking out of the White House indicate that some of the following options are being considered:

  1. Introduce a deferral on deportation program for all undocumented aliens who are family members of DREAMers (most of these individuals are already eligible for a program called DACA) and this falls under the family unification provision which Americans overwhelmingly approve and support.
  2. Legalize parents of US born children.  A way may also be found to bring siblings of these children into the program in the name of family reunification.
  3. Legalize senior citizens who have spent extensive time in the United States, have no criminal history, because it sounds cruel to deport them to countries where they have no ties because all their family members are here and will legalize one way or the other.
  4. Legalize spouses of citizens and green card holders without the delays caused by current regulations.

So is this going to be permanent?  Well, technically not, but anyone familiar with the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) knows that they are temporary only in name but are expected to be renewed indefinitely.  In this case, the thinking is that as soon Washington is taken over by the Democrats, they can make these the law of the land.

Self deportation as an option to legalize

The actions of the DREAM9 have actually made self-deportation cool (it was a terrible word when Mitt Romney used it).  As you might be aware, a group of Mexicans citizens who had one point or another been in the United States illegally simply left the US voluntarily (some were deported) and then showed up at the border claiming that the Government of Mexico was torturing and persecuting them.  The United States Government has agreed the law and order situation in Mexico has deteriorated to a point that a Mexican citizen can make a convincing argument that it is no longer safe to live there (luckily this argument can be made for many countries right now).  Hence, the United States laws mandate that these individuals be accepted into the country and given permanent residence.  Many experts believe that the Obama Administration is using this loophole to let undocumented aliens legalize (once you leave the country and if no bar on reentry was imposed prior to departure, it cannot be held against you) because Comprehensive Immigration Reform is unlikely to happen.


So who should self deport?  Obviously, each case is unique and you need to discuss this with your lawyer, but asylum is clearly an option right now.  Particularly if you were deported by ICE and are stuck outside the USA, there is nothing to lose by trying to apply for asylum in the US.  You do this by preparing documentary evidence of persecution and/or harassment and then presenting yourself at a land crossing in Mexico (this option also exists for those who already have visitor visas to the United States or can procure one and in that case they can apply for asylum after arriving in the country without the drama at the airport).

Another group that could pursue the asylum route is those undocumented immigrants who came after the cutoff date to be eligible for RPI status or do not have any acceptable documentation to prove their arrival or presence here.  Note that you maybe jailed for months/years but most likely you will be free to work legally, have a driver's license, and live a normal life in America. 


Are there any risks if I self deport to get asylum? Yet again, this is something that your lawyer will advise you because if the asylum petition is rejected, you maybe deported and barred from entry into the US.  If you engaged in document fraud or lied, you may also be prosecuted and jailed prior to deportation.  Most likely that may not happen because the Obama Administration is very lenient right now and is clearly hinting that this is an option that aliens may consider. 

The other risk that you maybe able to overcome by exploiting loopholes is the requirement that you prove your presence in the United States on a certain date and that you did not leave the country during this time. The thing is that for those of you who are already here, if you do most of the preparation before walking into Mexico and spend as brief time as possible, you maybe able to take advantage of the provision about brief and innocent absences.  In that case, you will still be able to argue that not only were you present on the cutoff date but also you maintained continuous presence.  The bottom line is that the overall risk of missing out on Immigration Reform is very low in case asylum petition is denied.

How to maintain status before H1 approval?

Nina writes, "I am currently on H4 status in the United States but an employer has filed an H1B petition for me.  My H4 status expires in a few weeks but because my H1 may not be approved for several months, I took steps to attend a university and have an I-20.  However, I did so not because I genuinely wanted to study, and therefore, would rather not pay the tuition to drop out as soon as my H1 is approved.  How can I remain in lawful status while I wait for a decision on H1?  Would it help if I defer my admission by a year?  Would that allow me to be in lawful status?

Your lawful status in the US will expire the day your I-94 indicates which should be related to your H4 status expiration.  In order to be here lawfully, you will need to be in another visa category and if you wish to use your F visa, you must enroll in college and take required number of courses.  If you would rather not spend the money on tuition, it is best to ask for a deferral from the university, leave the country till the H1 is approved, and return on that visa.  In any case if your H1 is denied, you can come back as a student.

What to do if I made a mistake in DS-160?

Rosa writes, "I did not fully understand the meaning of a question and selected the wrong answer.  In response to a question about being denied entry into the US, I said yes, even though I was only denied a visa of a different category.  Now I have a request for evidence (RFE) from the embassy asking for documentation related to denial of entry.  I am told that I cannot schedule a visa interview till I send the documents.  What should I do now?  How do I rectify the error?

You must write a letter in response to the RFE stating clearly what happened and how the confusion arose.  Keep it simple and write in bullet points.  Attach any evidence that you might have saved regarding your visa denial.  Hopefully, that should do it.  If not, you must file a new application.

Can I withdraw a petition from USCIS?

Andrew asks, "Just to be absolutely sure that I would never be out of status, because I was not sure if my employment based permanent resident application will be approved, I also filed an I-130 and I485 for adjustment of status based on marriage to a US citizen (marriage happened after my I140 was filed by my employer).  It so happens that my green card has already been approved and I have received a stamp in my passport.  How do I withdraw my USCIS Forms I130 and I485?  Or do I even need to?"

Trust me, you will not get two green cards.  Since you used the same A# and all other identifying information being identical, as soon as the USCIS adjudicating officer starts to process your pending family based green card application, it will be apparent that you already are a green card holder.  In that case, your petition will be denied/rejected. 

The thing is that rejection/denial looks suspicious later on when you apply for naturalization and you will unnecessarily need to provide a lot of explanation on why you had a petition for green card when you were already a permanent resident.  At first glance, it might even reek of intention to commit some kind of immigration fraud.  So your best option is to write to the USCIS with a copy of your USCIS Form I797 (there is no set form or format for withdrawing your petition and you can simply mail a letter to the same address that the notice of action came from) and tell them you that you will like to withdraw your petition and close the case.  In a few weeks, expect to receive a letter to that effect from the USCIS, but just in case, keep copies of your letter.  In the future, whenever you do business again with the USCIS (for example, to sponsor a family member for a green card), be prepared to answer questions about this petition but simply add a note saying that you withdrew the petition.

Urgent overseas trip but lost green card

Greta writes, "I am a permanent resident and last month I noticed that I could not locate my green card.  I immediately applied for a replacement card and have received USCIS Form I-797 in response to my filing of USCIS Form I-90.  Now, I have to take a quick business trip to deal with an emergency at one of my company's offshore locations.  How can I travel?"

You have done the right things so far because a green card holder should not leave the United States without evidence of being a permanent resident (while you will not have any difficulty entering the US because your information is in the CBP database that the agent can access using your passport) because you will not be allowed to board a plane at the overseas airport without valid proof of being allowed to enter the US.  What you need to do is to make an INFOPASS appointment, bring along your USCIS Form I-797, passport, and green card file (hopefully, nothing will be needed because all the information will be there for the officer to check but it does not hurt to have all your documentation with you) to request the officer to put a stamp in your passport.  When you travel, you should travel with your passport, USCIS Form I-797, and yet again as a precaution, your green card file so that you can reenter without any issues.

How can I wipe out history of false SSN?

Most undocumented immigrants at some point during their illegal stay in the United States of America have used a fake or stolen SS# to do normal things like going to school/college, banking, employment and filing taxes.  If you are able to legalize your status either using one of the means available to adjust status through marriage or with some sort of amnesty, you will have a valid SSN


So what will happen to all the paper trail and records created with a fraudulent Social Security number?   Unfortunately, even if you leave your current job (where it is impossible to update the number) and start a new job, the record is not going away anywhere.  For example, transcripts cannot be updated with new SSN (you just can't show up at a school or college years later and insist that they issue new ones to you with a different SS#).  Going to a financial institution and trying to update the Social Security number might actually lead to a criminal investigation by the anti-fraud unit and filing of charges like in the case of Joe Giudice.  The worst, or course, are the all powerful credit bureaus which have notoriously inaccurate records even for native born Americans.  These companies have zero interest in making their records accurate or up to date and are known for harassing anyone who tries to approach them even when their are clearly wrong. So for you, the credit bureaus will gladly take your new information and add it to their databases, but the old information will never go away and will always be part of your credit history. The net result is that your credit file will always show your past use of stolen numbers because the bureaus use several identifiers (like phone numbers, addresses, credit accounts held, etc.) rather than just SSN.


Is it possible to make a clean start?  To start off, try to change your SSN wherever possible.  For example, just get a new job.  Try closing your credit cards or car loans by paying down the debt in full.  As long as you have a good record of paying down your debt when it becomes and have the income to qualify for a loan at this time, most likely the bank will not pay much attention to identifiers that the bureaus used.  Time eventually erases everything.  After several years of using credit responsibly, leading a crime free life, and being a good citizen, you can move forward in life in America.

Can undocumented immigrants apply for asylum?

Based on the fact that Lulu Martinez, Lizbeth Mateo, Adriana Gil Diaz, Claudia Amaro, Luis Leon, Ceferino Santiago, Marco Saavedra, Maria Peniche, and Mario Felix (the so-called group of DREAM9 members who applied for asylum after leaving the US and reentering at the Nogales Border Checkpoint) were granted approval to argue their case before an immigration judge, many of you have asked if you can do the same in order to legalize your status in the United Status.

How can an alien take advantage of American asylum laws?

As everyone knows, United States is very kind to victims of violence or other crimes in foreign countries and it seems that the Obama Administration has decided to encourage unlawful immigrants to adjust their status by exploiting this loophole since Comprehensive Immigration Reform is not an option.  So if you want to become legal in America if you are already here or want to enter the US legally, try this:

  • Hire the most competent lawyer you can find. The downside is that if your asylum petition is denied, you will be deported and a ban may be imposed on entering the United States for some period of time.  Therefore, it is absolutely critical for you to think it through based on legal advice and choose this path only if you will be fine returning your native country.
  • Prepare your documents to support your case.      
  • Go to Mexico (you don't have to be a citizen of Mexico to go there if you are already in the US illegally but if you are elsewhere plan to fly into Mexico).  The land border crossing points have one way open door to Mexico without the presence of any immigration agents and you can basically just walk in.  If it is an option, use the opportunity to meet with friends and family or even take a vacation, but you could turn right back and join the long lines to cross the border into the United States.  If you can do that in a group, even better, but you can also do it alone.
  • Show your documents to the border agent and ask formally for an asylum.  The agent will take it from there.
  • Get arrested.  Obey orders and do what you are told (the officers are armed and authorized to shoot if you do something stupid).  Stay peaceful and do not talk (tell them that you will need an attorney).  Go to the detention center and stay out of trouble (no need to scream or protest or go on a hunger strike).
  • The asylum process will start and just follow the steps.  You will be told what to do by officers.  Use a prison pay-phone to stay in touch with your attorney and family.  Your lawyer will have already prepared you to answer all questions.
  • Most probably, you will be released (the prisons are overcrowded and there is no room for more so if you behave and cause no trouble during detention you will be released) and then you can apply for a work permit, driver's license, advanced parole (just don't travel to the country that you accused of torturing you because that will hurt your refugee case), and will be mostly to live like any other legal immigrant for years because the cases can drag in the courts.
  • Wait for your asylum petition to be approved and that point you will be eligible for a green card and eventually citizenship.

Is naturalization decison affected by civil lawsuits in my country?

Jorge writes, "I am currently engaged in a legal battle with a family member over a piece of property in my native country.  It is stuck in the courts and I am very hopeful that I will win the lawsuit.  Do I have to disclose this matter to the USCIS as part of my N-400 application for citizenship?  Can this jeopardize my application?"

The United States Government cares about criminal convictions because that shows poor moral character.  After all, we would not like drug dealers or murderers to become Americans.  Civil disputes like this one do not prove anything about your moral character.  Anyone can file a claim against you for any reason, including using forged documents to prove that your property belongs to them.  You have done nothing wrong but you will get stuck in courts for months or years.  So go ahead and file your application and there is no need to disclose this matter because it is not required.  Actually even if you lose the case and have to surrender a property or pay a fine, it does not matter.

US visas for same sex spouses

As everyone knows that if a US citizen marries a person of the same sex they are now eligible for green cards like heterosexual couples.  The United States is now extending the same benefit to legally married gay and lesbian couples from any country that recognizes their marriage.  So for tourist visas, they will be able to apply as a family.  For employment based visas like H or L, the applicant can include her or his same sex spouse as well.  And another great benefit will be that if a permanent resident marries a person of the same sex from another country in which their union is formally recognized, it will be possible to sponsor for permanent resident status.  All they will need a marriage certificate as proof because the United States has essentially decided that if a marriage is recognized someplace else, it should recognize it as well. It gets better. Let us say that you are in one of those homophobic countries that still does not believe in marriage equality and unfortunately the list of such nations is very long. So what you can do is to get married in a country where same sex marriage is legal. For example, you could come to the United States and get married in one of the many states where same sex marriage is legal and the requirements for foreign visitors are simple (check with the state in which you wish to marry) and from then on as far as US visa laws are concerned you are legally married even if your own country does not recognize your marriage.

What visa do I need for rehearsal with music group?

Hans writes, "I am a musician and I will practice with a group of musicians in an orchestra for two weeks.  I am being paid for everything by my employer and the time spent in the US is only for rehearsals so that when this group visits my country, we can perform together.  Can I go to US on a visitor visa or do I need another visa?"

Actually, using your B2 visa will be a violation of the terms (since you are not coming to visit or vacation).  You need to decide this in consultation with the organization that you will be practicing with in America because they will have a better idea of what exactly you would be doing there.  They can also provide you with supporting documentation to attach with your visa application.  In my opinion, most likely this organization may recommend a P or a Q visa depending on the arrangement that they have with your group.

Am I eligible for EB2 NIW petition?

Carmen writes, "I have a doctorate in biochemistry and I have been working in the United States for five years now as a H1B but my employer has refused to sponsor me for a green card.  I have a good resume, have authored research papers, and have spoken at conferences in my field.  Should I try the NIW route?"

It used to be a lot easier in the past but now the United States is flooded with way too many STEM professionals, all desperate to achieve permanent resident status.  Not too long just a PhD was enough to impress the USCIS but not any more and your inability to find a sponsor is definitely a red flag.  Also remember that many applicants with sponsors use the NIW route as well because they are qualified and their employers just want to make sure that the permanent resident status is granted. 

Here are the requirements of which you need to meet at least three of them in addition to proving that you have exceptional ability (a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business):

  1. Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to  your area of exceptional ability
  2. Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation
  3. A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation
  4. Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability
  5. Membership in a professional association(s)
  6. Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations
  7. Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.

As you will notice some of these requirements are somewhat subjective.  Therefore, I strongly suggest that you start interviewing with law firms that specialize in National Interest Waiver petitions (a good place to start is your peers) because a regular attorney may not have the skills needed to build a case that somehow you are so special that your presence in the United States is of national interest and you should be granted a waiver because Americans or other permanent residents are not available (remember that a lot of your peers in biochemistry are in the green card pipeline but have sponsorships from their employers).  In other words, the bar is quite high for you in proving that you are superior to all of them.  You have just a few hundred dollars to lose though if you apply and are rejected but if you succeed, you are all set.

Impact of not filing taxes on naturalization

I wanted to clarify the confusion about the relevance of filing taxes in order to naturalizeUSCIS Form N400 asks about taxes in clear terms and it almost appears that if someone did not file their taxes with the IRS they are in trouble.  Well, it is US law that in order to be granted citizenship one must be a law abiding individual and among many things it means that owed taxes should be paid.  By making this an issue, the government makes sure that you pay your taxes before you naturalize.


However, not everyone is required to file a tax return.  This is generally not true for most permanent residents because most likely they will have an income as a couple (in case the spouse stays at home or has been unemployed for years) either from employment or from investments.  There are cases, however, that one may not owe taxes because the income is simply below the IRS threshold for filing a return.  This can be true for either very young or very old applicants.  So if you were not required to file a tax as per the IRS guidelines, you need not have a tax return for the application.  Be prepared, though, to explain this in the interview, just in case it pops up.  For instance, if you are a student and have only had summer jobs, you can have copies of your W-2 that will show that taxes were deducted from your paycheck but your income was too low to require a return.

Join US citizen husband with drug conviction

Nazia writes, "More than 20 years ago I was convicted of a drug related crime for which I spent a few weeks in jail.  I also did not disclose it for my visitor visa application but now I have married an American citizen and would like to relocate to the United States since he does not like living here in a Muslim country.  Is it possible for me to get a green card to live in the United States?"

Hiding a critical piece of information -- like a drug conviction -- from the United States Government is never looked upon kindly by the decision makers at the USCIS.  I wonder, though, why you want to disclose it now when you did not disclose it before (it is the right thing to do, of course).  It does not appear that you will be able to get a visa to the United States and definitely no green card for you.  What you may want to do is to hire an excellent immigration attorney and ask your husband to make contact with politicians in his state in the hope that an exception can be made in his case.

How do immigrants destroy their American dream?

While breaking laws is never a good idea even if you are a native born US citizen (for example, many companies will not hire someone with a traffic ticket and definitely not with DUI), if you are an immigrant you should NEVER break any laws (naturalized citizens can lose their citizenship if it is found that they broke laws -- and did not disclose them -- that would have made them ineligible for any immigration benefit.  These individuals are not only stripped of their citizenship but punished for the crimes they committed and then deported to their native countries.  It is also important to remember that for an alien being able to visit or live is not a right but a privilege.  Millions of undocumented aliens are eager to legalize so that they can live here permanently and while many millions more are waiting to come here.  There are surveys that show that almost a billion foreigners will move to America if they could.  And that is why it is tragic to see that those aliens who do manage to make it here legally or illegally, they don't value it and keep breaking laws jeopardizing their chances of achieving the American dream or in some cases being deported.


Unfortunately, way too many immigrants keep breaking laws with no respect for laws of the United States.  In fact data shows that those who break one law often are emboldened to break even more laws (that is why you must have noticed that the cops assume that someone who is speeding is also more likely drunk or stoned or is a criminal and they are mostly right).  One such individual is Joe Giudice, husband of Real Housewives of New Jersey Teresa.  He is an immigrant from Italy.  I have not been able to track his immigration history and whether he was ever in the country illegally but one thing is for sure: this man has no respect for US laws.  It is also not clear why Joe is not yet a US citizen despite being married to a US citizen for over 15 years (it is fair to assume that he has things in his record that would make him ineligible for naturalization). 

So what laws has he broken?  Well, they both have been indicted on 39 counts and that is one impressive list.  Except for murder, it looks like that this fraudster has falsified documents, lied about his income, failed to file tax returns, received driver's license using someone else's identity when his own license was suspended for DUI, and borrowed money from several financial institutions (mortgage, business/car loans) using fake papers.  

So just think about it.  This man will definitely get convicted on at least some counts and that will most likely mean that after serving his time in a US prison, he will be deported.  The Feds will also seize their assets to pay for fraud.  We are now looking at a family that will be torn apart and most likely bankrupted.