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San Antonio Immigration Law Blog

Supreme Court allows immigrant “wealth tests” to proceed

The U.S. Supreme Court will allow the Trump administration to implement so-called “wealth test” rules making it easier to deny residency for immigrants because they have used or may need to use public-assistance programs.

The 5-4 decision means the government can apply the new standards by lifting a nationwide injunction that was granted by a New York federal judge. Critics say the ruling places undue hardships on more impoverished immigrants from non-English-speaking countries.

Are you struggling to adapt to life in Texas as an immigrant?

Whether you arrived in Texas from a nearby, bordering country or traveled clear across an ocean to get here, you may have felt both excited yet nervous as you settled into your new lifestyle. If you have family members who were already living in the United States for some time, they have probably formed a strong support network to help you adjust to a new culture.

Any number of issues can arise to impede your ability to feel comfortable in your new surroundings, particularly if there's a problem with your legal status or some other immigration-related challenge exists. Several phases of adjustment are typical for most immigrants. You may relate to one or more of these stages.

US citizenship: Is this your ultimate goal?

Arriving in Texas from another country of origin might have been exciting, yet stressful for you as well. You hopefully had already built a strong support network to provide guidance and support as you adapted to life in the United States. If you're one of tens of thousands of people in this state and across the country who need help to become naturalized citizens, you no doubt have already begun to study as part of the process.

There are many requirements you must satisfy before applying for U.S. citizenship. You'll also have to take several tests, which, of course, is why you need to study. Such tests will include information on various topics, including English and U.S. history. The more you learn about obtaining a green card and other issues you might encounter on your path to citizenship, the less likely it is that a legal obstacle will arise. 

Lawsuit labels U.S. immigration courts as deportation machines

A lawsuit claims that the Trump administration has upended the tradition of judicial independence in the U.S. immigration system.

The suit, filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Innovation Law Lab, targets President Trump and Attorney General William Barr, who the groups say exerts undue influence over immigration judges.

Report: White House sought to embed ICE agents at HHS

The Washington Post reports senior White House officials tried to plant Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) targeting parents and relatives of migrant children for deportation.

The newspaper says HHS, which oversees the care of unaccompanied migrant children, rejected the offer but still agreed to let ICE agents collect fingerprints and other biometric data from adults who attempt to claim migrant children from government shelters.

ICE officers in Texas arrested more than 40,000 people in 2019

Arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) dropped by 5% during fiscal year 2019 in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. However, compared to the last year of the Obama administration, arrests in Texas are up 30%.

Overall, ICE arrests in the U.S. were down 10% from 2018 while the Houston and Gulf Coast region saw that number dip by 19%. ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence says the decrease is the result of redirecting resources to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Defining marriage under immigration law

If bringing your spouse to the United States is a goal for you, you may already be working with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to obtain a green card for him or her. This must mean that you also have lawful permanent residence status or that you are a U.S. citizen, through either birth or naturalization. However, since family visas are among the most commonly abused by those who commit fraud to obtain residency in the U.S., they are also among the most carefully scrutinized by immigration officials.

Because of this, you will want to ensure that you have every possible advantage when beginning the process of seeking a visa for your spouse. However, before you even begin gathering the documentation you need, the first thing you must do is to determine whether your marriage is valid under the U.S. immigration laws.

New policy may slow ebbing H1-B successes to a trickle

You want the best workers for your company, and sometimes that means looking outside the country. H-1B visas might be the way to get the specialized employees you need to get the job done. But dwindling acceptance rates could make it harder to keep the flow of talent going.

The denial rates for H-1B visas have grown significantly in recent years, and major incoming changes could push things further in that direction. Successfully petitioning the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the visa is getting more difficult, so getting the help you need could rest on knowing how to navigate the process.

Are there benefits to filing Form I-130 online?

Applying for a visa or green card requires a lot of documents, and for a long time, applicants had to send those papers through the mail. That is starting to change. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has slowly been adding options for people to file certain immigration petitions online.

Most recently this includes Form I-130, known as the Petition for Alien Relative. Form I-130 is essentially a first step for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor their loved ones to get a green card. As of November 2019, you can file Form I-130 online through USCIS. But does this actually make the process faster? Or easier?

Dreamers wait while SCOTUS decides their fate

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments over the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program, which has been in place since 2012, protects “Dreamers” – some 800,000 young immigrants whose parents brought them to the U.S. illegally as children. It has been under fire since President Trump took office.

The president attempted to rescind the program in 2017 – an effort which has been shot down in lower courts. Now, the issue has finally made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the decision on the issue will become final. With a politically divided panel of justices, the outcome of this case is in no way certain.

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