Nashville Legal Issues Blog

What to expect during an immigration interview

Oftentimes those who are are seeking a visa, residency or citizenship will be called into the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices for an interview before their application is approved. This is often done so that they can better gauge whether you are who you profess to be on your application. They also do this to discuss any issues with you that may prevent your application from being approved.

While no two interviews will be alike due to the differences in circumstances and agent interviewing styles, there are some steps that you can take to be better prepared for your appointment.

How do I acquire permanent labor certification?

Earning permanent labor certification in the United States is a process that has various requirements depending on the program in which the subject is working. The Department of Labor (DOL) oversees these programs and the issuance of labor certifications. It is the responsibility of the employer, not the employee, to file applications for permanent labor certification.

When a permanent labor certification is issued by the DOL, it allows a foreign employee to be hired full-time by an employer for permanent work in the United States. Prior to the certification being issued, the DOL must be able to show that there are not enough workers in the country already who are skilled, able, trained and qualified to accept employment from the company wishing to hire a foreign worker.

Refugee cap to drop to lowest level in recent years

The refugee cap set by the White House will be the lowest in recent years. The cap will be set at 45,000 refugees next year. The plan was announced by the White House when it issued a report to Congress late in September, which is required by law. This will be the lowest cap on refugees since a cap was initiated back in 1980.

Refugee resettlement agencies had asked the White House to put the cap at around 75,000 refugees due to increasing demands on humanitarian issues around the world. The cap for last year was set at 110,000 by the previous White House administration. Despite this cap, only half the number have been admitted to the country due to the travel ban by the current administration.

Preparing an I-129 petition for hiring a nonimmigrant worker

Perhaps you own a seasonal business; for example, you might raise and sell Fraser Firs, a very popular type of Christmas tree. You get along well during much of the year with a small staff of full-time employees. However, you always have to look ahead to the busy season, and that means hiring temporary employees to get you through the crunch.

Your business is in a rural area and there are not enough locals to fill your need for temporary help. You therefore plan to hire nonimmigrant workers, but you must first submit an I-129 petition to the government.

The many types of immigration relief program

If you are facing deportation or some other type of problem as it relates to your immigration status, it's important to learn more about your legal rights.

There is more than one type of immigration relief program, including but not necessarily limited to the following:

  • Asylum. Depending on how long you have been in the United States and the circumstances of your case, you may qualify for asylum.
  • Withholding of removal. If you have fears of returning to your country of origin because of a risk to your life, this program could be right for you.
  • Cancellation of removal. If an undocumented immigrant has been in the United States for at least 10 years, this person may qualify to remain in the country through cancellation of removal.
  • Special immigrant juvenile status. Any immigrant child who has been abandoned, abused or neglected may qualify for this relief program.

Criminal convictions and how they impact your immigration status

As long and as involved of a process as it might have been to get a visa or permanent residency permit issued to you, you probably don't want to do anything that would put that hard work to waste. If you commit either a misdemeanor of felony in the United States (U.S), you risk either having your legal status downgraded or even being deported.

Congress first drafted a list of crimes and other non-criminal acts that would qualify an immigrant for removal from the U.S. back in 1988. At that time, some of the aggravated felony convictions that would get you deported were crimes like the trafficking of firearms or drugs or murder. Nearly 30 years later, though, that list has grown to include offenses such as contempt of court theft, fraud, battery, and consensual sex with minors.Those convicted of crimes that violate moral turpitude, such as is the case with child abuse, tax evasion, concealed weapons, fraud and perjury charges, may not just wind up getting deported. Instead, the convictions for these types of crimes may get them forever prohibited from reentering the country again.

How moral turpitude is defined and how it can get you deported

Up until the time you are granted United States citizenship, your ability to lawfully remain living in the country is not guaranteed. Instead, you're always just a few steps from being sent back to where you came from.

Perhaps one of the more surefire ways of getting yourself deported is if you are charged and convicted of a crime that involves moral turpitude. The way in which this type of offense is defined has been modified a bit with the ruling of Matter of Silva-Trevino, 26 I&N Dec. 550 (AG 2015).

A crime of moral turpitude is now defined as any immoral or depraved act that's committed against another individual. Crimes such as assault, theft and fraud are just some of the more common crimes that may involve moral turpitude. Our office offers criminal-immigration analysis services to inform you (and your criminal lawyer, if you have one) of a crime's potential impacts on your immigration case.

Any offenses committed that seek to deprive the rightful owner of a product or otherwise cause bodily harm to another are thought to introduce the element of moral turpitude. Also, any crime that involved lewdness, malicious or reckless intent may be deemed as falling under this umbrella as well.

In order for a non-citizen to be qualify for deportation for a having been convicted of crimes of moral turpitude, they must meet a number of conditions. First, the crimes must have occurred since the individual's arrival in the United States on a visa. Second, the individual must have received at least two moral turpitude convictions since then. Charges that stem from the same incident count as a single conviction.

One exception to aforementioned rule is if the non-citizen is found to engage in the crime of moral turpitude crime during the first five years after they're admitted to the United States. If the conviction occurs during this time frame and it's deemed to carry a potential sentence of as long as a year, then it's possible for the non-citizen to be deported with just one such offense on their record.

If you're facing deportation from the U.S. after having been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, then a Nashville immigration-related criminal defense attorney can advise you of your rights in your case.

Open Letter: Thank You, Tenn. Attorney General Herb Slatery, for Rescinding DACA Lawsuit Threat

Our founding attorney Elliott Ozment wrote an open letter to Tennessee Attorney General Herb Slatery regarding his decision to remove Tennessee from the threatened lawsuit on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Tennessean newspaper published Mr. Ozment's op-ed on Sept. 18, 2017.

Who qualifies for the H1-B specialty visa and how to apply for it

Nashville, as well as the United States as a whole, attracts many talented individuals who aspire to strike it big and get their very own taste of the American dream. For those fortunate enough to be uniquely skilled in an in-demand field or who have become well-reknowned for their accomplishments in a particular area of inquiry, they may qualify for a H1-B visa.

In order to qualify for an H1-B Specialty visa, it's necessary for a U.S. employer to sponsor you. It's generally required that the applicant for this type visa possess a bachelor's degree at a bare minimum.

Ozment Law featured on News Channel 5 discussing DACA

ozment_1504669607727_65708392_ver1.0_640_480.jpgOur office in Nashville has received numerous calls from concerned clients and community members concerning the future of DACA and what to do. News Channel 5 in Nashville interviewed Mr. Ozment on Tuesday, and Mr. Ozment addressed common questions callers have asked:

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