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5 BIG Changes to US Immigration in 2020 You Need to Know About

In this week’s live video, immigration attorney, Andres Mejer, discusses the 5 big changes to immigration policy in the United States that everyone should know about.

Transcript (Transcripción):

Andres Mejer :Welcome to Para Ser Legal to be legal, where we talk to you about what’s new and hot in immigration today. My name is Andrés Mejer. I’m a published author, public speaker and immigration attorney. What do we got for you? We have five changes that will rock your world in 2020.

Andres Mejer :Number one, prices for immigration are going up. So for any of you that have listened to this program for any length of time, you know that in 2017 Trump changed to increased prices by 20 30 percent in some cases where we’re significantly high. But it’s the first time that prices have gone up in 13 years. So people did make as much a fuss of it. And they were able to document what the reasons for it were in the increased costs. Now, USCIS is completely self-funded. That means they don’t get a single tax dollar that you paid to the federal government. They get all of the revenue from fees that you pay for petitions.

Andres Mejer :Having said that, last year, Trump administrators said, hey, we’re going to change prices and we’re going to change it by a lot. In some cases, we’re going to double some of those fees. So on average is 21 percent. But for a lot of them, it is really a lot more than 21 percent. So the citizenship you’re going to go from, seven point twenty five dollars to one thousand one hundred and seven Green Card application. Doesn’t matter if it’s from a family based petitions, diplomas, petition or humanitarian reasons, you’re going to go from one thousand seven hundred sixty two two thousand seven hundred and fifty, actually. Let me take that back. That is pretty predominant for a family based petition. But for others, it could be even more. Your doctor, we know, goes from four ninety five to seven sixty five. Your employment authorization goes up from 410 to 490. And fee waivers are routinely being denied. Fee waivers where you say, listen, immigration for the following reasons, I really can’t afford to pay for these filing fees, but please process my application for my citizenship anyway. Maybe I’m maybe up disabled. Maybe I get government assistance. Maybe I’m unemployed. Whatever the circumstances are. Well, those are routinely being denied Now and government is trying to completely prevent you from filing it in the first place. They want to say deny, deny, deny, deny, deny, deny. They don’t even want to look at. They just want to deny it as quickly as possible.

Andres Mejer :Number two, citizenship test is getting harder, is more will be more expensive. And it’s easier to deny you for grounds of immorality. Now, during fiscal year 2019. Remember that fiscal year for immigration goes from the end of September to the beginning of October. So for 2019, USCIS approved eight hundred over eight hundred thirty four thousand Green Card applications sorry, citizenship applications from legal permanent residents. That’s an eleven year high. You wonder why the Trump administration wants to deny U.S Trump administration doesn’t want you to come in. They want to deport you. As you know, more and more, no matter what, no matter how long you’ve been here. I mean, just look at what they did to DACA, look at what they did to TPS holders that have been here 10, 15 years and have kids and have homes and jobs. They want to deny all of that and send them all home. So people are afraid and those that qualify are applying and they’re applying in record numbers as they should after December 20th. Green Card holders who want to apply for citizenship, are going to be getting a harder test.

Andres Mejer :What does that mean? We don’t know. We haven’t seen it, but it’s getting harder. How much harder? Again, haven’t seen the questions. Hard to say. But there is a requirement to date for most people that you have to read, write and speak basic English. You also have to have basic understanding of U.S. history and government. They call it civics. USCIS is advised that they’re going to make it harder. But we haven’t seen the questions yet. We know they want to make it more expensive. We know they want to deny more petitions. So making the test harder is the logical outgrowth of that. So is the next one. They’re going to expand the reasons why they are going to deny your petition. Now, I’ve said this in the past. Every single immigration petition has a requirement. You’re a good moral person. Well, they’re going to it’s usually proven in the negative meaning I don’t have I haven’t done bad things. So because I haven’t done bad things, I’m a good person. If I’ve done bad things, I’m not a good person. Well, this administration is expanding the list that says you’re not a good person. In other words, expanding the things that convict you. And there are. I’m sorry. Of convictions. What happened to you? And let me tell you, there is a lot of debt when you’re applying for citizenship. There’s a look back, period. So what immigration does it says first? Have you been? Is there anything in your past like a conviction that would completely disqualify you? For example, your axe murder, you serve 20 years. But hey, you lied about your name and you got your citizenship under the new name. No. They’re going to catch up that you’re going to get disqualified. You to get deported. So what we’re talking about here is crimes that can disqualify you won a war, crimes of moral turpitude. That isnt new. But again, you’re expanding what is a criminal turpitude. They’re defining it very expansively. And it’s not really defined. It’s conduct that’s immoral. It could be shoplifting a five dollar offense and all of a sudden you’re disqualified for one petty offense. So immigration looks anything in your past that disqualifies you. Number one. Number two, how did you get your Green Card? Did you get it lawfully? Did you lie? Did you make it? Did immigration make a mistake? Were you lawfully admitted? In other words, were you admitted and no mistake was made either by you or by the government? Because it doesn’t matter who makes the mistake, the government is going to blame you. So that’s a second capsule that they have to disqualify you since your application. The third is, are you a good moral person? During the look back period. So if I filed in January 1st, 2020, the look back period is usually five years or from January 1st, 2015, unless I got my Green Card based on marriage to my spouse, which I didn’t. I got it thanks to Ronald Reagan, but maybe you did so in that case. You’re the look back period is only three years. So during the look back period. Is there something that makes me an immoral person like a conviction for immoral conduct, like shoplifting? Now, if I was convicted of shoplifting 20 years ago and afterwards, I got my Green Card Now applying for my citizenship. That’s not going to disqualify me. It’s well past the look back period. If you were convicted of two or more offenses which combined resulted in five or more years in jail except for political offenses. So we’re not saying you were convicted of one offense that resulted more in five years. That’s clear. Automatic disqualifier. No, here we’re talking about years, multiple convictions. None of them were significant. But in the totality. You served you could have served more than five years in jail. Guess what? You’re not a good person. You’re convicted of a controlled substance. Drunk is pretty much everything except for marijuana. Less than 30 grams. Any other drug? You’re disqualified. You’re not a good person. And depending on what it is, you’re also going to in deportation proceedings and deported. Now, if you’re in jail, one offense more than 180 days in during the last three or five years, then looked backward automatically. Not a good moral person. You gave false testimony on Earth under oath, not under oath. Under oath. The words you perjured yourself. Not a good moral person. Any prostitution offense that could be you engage in prostitution. You attempted to procure prostitution. You tried to bring a prostitute from abroad or you received proceeds from prostitution. Meaning you pimped someone out. Any one of those. You’re not a good moral person. So let’s say I’m a Green Card holder and I have a jailed child. I have to know Amy and Marcello. But let’s assume they’re not in the United States and they were not born here. And something happens and I need to get them here as quickly as possible so I pay a coyote to bring them across. They’re caught at the border. I get them released. I then file for them. They’re in removal proceedings. I’m not going for my citizenship. And the governor’s going to say, you smuggled somebody Now. I was not accused of the crime. I was not convicted of the crime. But the officer could have enough information to find that. I, in fact, did that. Like, for example, they asked me at my citizenship test, the ceremony and my citizenship interview. And I foolishly admit to having done it because I didn’t have an attorney. Loops Now. I disqualified myself. Not a good thing. Polygamy. So that’s where I have more than one wife at the same time. Whoops. I’m not sure why anybody would actually want that. For those of you, though, no, I happen to work with my wife. She’s also an attorney we met in law school. Who else is going to put up with us attorneys? Right. So she’s my life partner and business partner. So we’re all good. No polygamy here. Gambling affects two or more gambling offenses or someone that receives a benefit from. Illegal gambling, automatically disqualified habitual drunkard. No, I’m not talking about to get a bad day. You went to a bar, you had you had a drink and you went home drunk. I’m not talking about the habitual drunkard is when you’re regularly drunk, when you’re. You have to subscribe yourself to Alcoholics Anonymous. Now, it doesn’t mean you can’t rehabilitate yourself. It doesn’t mean you can’t show that you’re a different person. But it’s it’s that much harder during the look back period now than it ever was before. To a more convictions for DUI. I’ve spoken about this in the past. It’s going to keep on coming back. I told you in October when the when the government made a decision that if you’re in removal and you’re filing for certain relief, if you have to work conditions for a DUI, you’re disqualified. I told you, it’s going to come back to every single immigration petition. And it is here we are for Center for Citizenship. Later on, we’ll be saying the same thing for asylum. We’ve talked about it in the family based petition context. If your have two or more, do you guys, you’re screwed unless you can show you’re a different person. It was a really long time ago and you’re otherwise deserving. And I got to tell you to a more do you ICE in this climate? It’s tough. Failure to support your dependents. So like I said, I have two kids I married. But let’s say we’re separate. Let’s say we aren’t for, you know, God forbid we get we get divorced. And the judge says, I have to pay a thousand a month. Chances are I have to pay a lot more than that. But let’s imagine the conversation. I don’t have to pay a thousand a month and I fall behind on my payments. I bounced a check. I lost my job. It took me a couple of months to find a new job. You know, I was unable to pay my mortgage or anything else, including my child support. Well, the failure to do that means I’m not a good person. I’m not a good moral person because I’m not taking care of my kids. And every parent should take care of their kids. So why should the government give me citizenship? Adultery, that’s an extra marital affair tends to destroy existing marriages unless there’s extenuating circumstances. How does that happen? Well, some time, you know, when you’re applying for citizenship, it asks you who your kids are in marriages and divorces. And guess what? If you have a child out of wedlock when you’re married, got adultery. That could be a basis to deny your citizenship. And the last one, you got to love this unlawful act that adversely reflects upon your good moral character. What on earth does that mean? We have no clue. I could drive a truck through that definition. It could literally fit anything that is so overbroad. It’s absurd. So that likely will be found unconstitutional, but that will take months or years for that to happen. In the meantime, if you were arrested for any reason, ever, make sure you speak to an attorney, not just any attorney, but an immigration attorney who you trust, not just somebody that you Googled. You don’t look them up, meet with them, ask questions, make sure that they treat you right. See how you feel after meeting with with this, with the staff, with the attorney. Do they answer your questions? Do they call you back? Are they proactive? And they’ve written a book. Are they informing you on this program? Who are they? What are they about? But meet with somebody who doesn’t have to be with us. Look, you might be in Arizona, Texas, Florida. Who knows? You know, most of our clients are in New Jersey, but we have many that come from as far away as Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New York for our services. But if you’re in Nebraska, you might want to find somebody more local, which I understand. Just talk to somebody. Do not file a petition of any kind in this climate without first consulting with a qualified immigration attorney because you will regret it.

Andres Mejer :Number three, more forums you’ll be able to file electronically. Now don’t get excited. Yes, filing electronic forms. Sounds great. Just go on the website, press a couple of buttons and off I’m going. It’s you know, there are very few that are available. Number one. Number two, you still have to provide the supporting documents, which again, today it’s all about the documents. What documents do you need? And how do you prove it? Not so much answering questions, but hey, if you answer the question incorrectly, there’s no such thing as a mistake. You know, it’s the truth coming out to light. So be very careful in fiscal year 2019. There were one really over one million two hundred fourteen thousand three hundred applications filed electronically. That’s 10 percent more than the year before. One of the thousand one of forty two thousand two thousand eighteen. So USCIS and three forms for a total of eight that can be filed online. So this year, based on parentage thats N 600, change of status I 539. You wanna extend your visa to add stay more time when you want to change it from a student to a tourist or vise versa. That’s for my five thirty nine. Replace your Green Card form I-90, travel document. I-131 A. You want your citizenship was denied and you want to request a hearing form N-336 and citizenship N400. Until the system is such that you can file forms electronically and upload all the supporting documents. I don’t recommend you do this, but in some things you can do some things that are very simple. For example, work authorization, you already you already have an approved petition and you wouldn’t be getting it, but asylum Green Card application travel permanent. You know, those are the ones that are coming. The I45 theI765, I-131, I-129, I-589. Those are really substantive petitions where the documents are incredibly important and there are what I call gotcha questions. You know, things that they asked you, hey, have you ever worked without permission? They want you to say no. Meanwhile, they’re asking you for your tax returns for the past three years. Guess what? If. Net income. Chances are you weren’t. And now you just lied and committed fraud. I don’t. Not trying to beat you over the head with this information. I just see too many people that good people that had good petitions and had a good chance of success that screwed it up. And their petition was not your average run of the mill petition. It was really unusual. There was a characteristic and because of it. They’re now in removal proceedings. Don’t let it happen to you. Just be informed.

Andres Mejer: Number four. Fourth, change coming in 2020. Public charter. Look, I’ve talked about this before. I spoke about the litigation that’s been ongoing. But the changes, some of the litigation, some of those injunctions have been overturned. So what’s the public charge? Public charter is not new. It’s been around since the 19th century. This is where the look principle behind it is. If I if I’m U.S. government are going to bring you home again and allow you to come count states, I don’t want to support you. So you need to prove to me that you can support yourself. If you can’t, you’ll become a public charge. So they created a definition which says, hey, if you’ve had 12 or more points in the last three years, you are deemed inadmissible because of this public charge. Now that they quit the single duration standard, which also is no is new. So let’s say I lost my job and because of it, I couldn’t get a mortgage. I couldn’t feed my children. I could my mortgage, my, my, my, my, my rent. So they gave me food stamps. They gave me housing assistance. And they keep me on the unemployment benefits. That does it doesn’t count on that. But, you know, they gave me three different benefits every month that I get. That’s three points to five, four months. That’s twelve disqualified for three years. But lets say you only had it for two. And then I found a job and I was able to get off it. Fantastic. It helped me only for a little bit of time. Hey, now the government be able to say, you know what? We think you might need it in the future again. And because of it, you’re in a indivisible. There’s been litigation. October 2019 for federal judges, stop the implementation of this new rule. Each of them granted a preliminary injunction. All then stopped the problem, home security from them more than ever. Implementing this new rule. But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. You got that right. 9TH Circuit granted a stay in the preliminary injunction. So they stopped the stopping of the implementation. Four days later, Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit did the same thing. So the 9th Circuit did it for the Eastern District of Washington, not District of Columbia. I’m talking about the state of Washington and for the district, California and 4th Circuit denied for district of  Maryland. So there are still two courts that have stopped it completely. And that’s southwest of New York. The northern district of Illinois that will be resolved in 2020 is likely in some fashion. There will likely be a circuit court split and it will likely go to the Supreme Court, but only time will tell.

Andres Mejer:I want to talk about the 5th, and it’s a big one. New obstacles for asylum seekers. One, they don’t want to get work authorization. And 2, they don’t want you to qualify for asylum. So work authorization. They want you to wait longer. They want you to wait for a whole year in the U.S. before you can file for citizenship. When you came legally, appropriately and requested asylum, they want you to wait a year. It’s absurd. They wanted to deny work permits to anyone that entered illegally. Who cares what the law says? The law actually says if you filed for asylum, it makes no distinction to whether you had legal entry or illegal entry. You know, you could have come in as a tourist and overstayed or come as a tourist and applied for asylum. Or you could have entered illegally and then came in and applied for asylum. It doesn’t matter under the law, but this administration wants to make a difference and say illegal disqualified from work authorization. Now, if they deny you your asylum, they want to be able to deny you work authorization immediately. As of that date. They also there’s a requirement that when you file for work authorization for asylum, they have to respond in 30 days. Do they do it? No. But you’re supposed to. They want to remove that requirement. Also, they want to make your life harder, more expensive, but they don’t want any of taking any responsibility for themselves. Now, the last ones to do is to pay attention for this. We’ve talked a lot about how they make it harder to file for asylum. So I. Where you file, how you file when you came. How you came, you know, making you wait in in Mexico, making you file for asylum in other countries. Now, even you can get through all of that. They want to be able to deny you based on in some cases, not even a conviction of a crime, but a suspicion of a crime. So asylum. If you meet the requirement. In simple Europe, you fear persecution for a protected reason. It’s more complicated than that, but for purposes of conversation, you’re afraid to go back to your country and it’s for a reason the law protects. We’ll simplify it just for this purpose. You could still be disqualified if you were convicted of a particulary particularly serious crime. Well, this administration wants to take that definition of particular a serious crime and expanded massively. So I’m going to talk about some of them. Any conviction for an offense with a possible jail sense of more than one year? So domestic violence or no, I’d say a DUI that resulted in an injury to somebody else. But the judge for extenuating circumstances didn’t give me any jail time, couldn’t give me five years, but gave me probation instead. And no, Jim. Guess what? Disqualified for asylum. Any second conviction for DUI? I told you this was coming. You’re convicted of a DUI. Two or more. You’re going to be disqualified for almost anything. Now, certain circumstances where immigration official suspects that you commit committed domestic battery, basically domestic violence. Now. So example, I’m in an altercation with my wife. She calls the police or somebody calls the police. Please comes in. She I get arrested. She says she’s afraid. Then, you know, the next day she realized, you know what? She’s not really afraid. She wants to withdraw. No, she didn’t. She doesn’t want to give testimony against me. The charge to get dismissed. We show up for Now from my aunt for my asylum hearing. And officer says, hey, you did this, right? If the also believes I did it, even though I wasn’t convicted, I’m not as qualified for us. For some for a particular serious crime that I was not even convicted of. Almost all convictions, including a controlled substance. That’s not new, except for a single amount of marijuana under 30 grams. So particularly serious crime is being expanded to unheard of situations, even if they’re not particularly serious. Asylum officer is also supposed to consider extenuating circumstances. No department wants to remove that altogether. These draconian new rules. If the proposed rules go into effect, immigration officials will not consider if and if a court vacates a conviction.

Andres Mejer :You heard that right?

Andres Mejer :You were convicted. You proved to the court that conviction was unjust and immigration is going to ignore the fact that it was unjust and just focused on the conviction. Folks, times are tough for immigrants. You know, the roads are coming here. Not every scenario in asylum in particular for the past decade, the majority. Immigration is not from South America. It’s from Southeast Asia, China, India. That’s where the majority of immigrants are coming from. They’re not coming from South America. But all of these focus is on South America and Central America. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the world that we live in.

Andres Mejer :Thank you for tuning in. I’m  Andres Mejer. If you want to stay current on the hottest immigration U.S, subscribe to our channel to give us a call. We’ll see if you qualify for a no cost consultation. Until next time.

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