August 2012

Vol. 1, Issue 4
Assisting immigration clients around the world

 Ida Keir Law 


Green Card &
 Immigration Updates
What IS a Green Card?

A green card, which looks similar to a driver's license, shows the holder has permission to live in the U.S. on a permanent basis, to work, and freely travel in and out of the country.  Since 2010 the card has actually been green; it wasn't before that. It does not allow the holder, or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), to vote or get a U.S. passport, which are rights of citizenship. 


Most green card holders can apply for citizenship after 5 years, but citizenship is not automatic.  An LPR can be deported if s/he commits a crime or in other circumstances.


Most people get green cards through family or employment.  

To qualify through family, a U.S. citizen or green card holder must sponsor the immigrant and both must meet certain qualifications such as proving the relationship is genuine and that there is financial support for the immigrant.  There are quotas and long waits - some over 20 years -in most family categories,   There is no quota for a spouse, unmarried minor child, or parent of a U.S. citizen.  For most employment green cards, an employer must file a petition for the employee.  Again, there may be a long wait and many requirements. 


Most visas to the U.S. are not green cards, and grant only temporary permission to be in the U.S. For example, H-1B visas are employment-based visas that provide temporary permission, usually 3 years, to live and work in the U.S.  Student and visitor visas are also temporary. 



In This Issue
What IS a green card?
DREAMERs Can Apply from August 15!
Remember Haiti?
2011.11.18 IK headshot more light big
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DREAMERs Can Apply for Deferred Action from August 15!


 In June, President Obama announced that some young people who entered the U.S. under 16 will no longer be deported from the U.S.  They can be granted "deferred action" or DACA and are eligible for a work permit, but not a green card.  


You may be, or know, a young person who qualifies!  Many people will probably apply and there is likely to be a backlog, so get advice as soon as you can from a reputable nonprofit or attorney. Unfortunately, there are many immigration scammers ready to take your money or tell you they can expedite your application (they can't), so be very careful.


There are many details.  Some applications will be straightforward, but many won't.  For example, a DUI/DWI offense will disqualify you. 
You may be eligible to apply now if you:


1. Are at least 15, and under 31;

2. Came to the U.S. before age 16;

3. Have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007;

4. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;

6. Are currently in school, graduated or obtained a GED, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces; and

7. Have not been convicted of a felony, a "significant misdemeanor," three or more other misdemeanors, or do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.


Remember Haiti?

It's not doing so well.  On the immigration front, The U.S. embassy in Haiti received 55,000 non-immigrant applications last year. Over 30,000 applications were refused. With close to 6 out of every 10 applicants refused visas, Haiti has one of the world's highest refusal rates for visitor visas.  


The reason for this high rate of visa refusals? U.S. law presumes that visa applicants intend to remain permanently in the U.S. and it is up to the applicant to prove otherwise.  Not surprisingly, it's hard for Haitians to do.



     Immigration law is bewildering, ever-changing, and fascinating.  It affects us all in so many ways, often very personally.  If you have questions, please call or email.  If you'd like this newsletter to cover a specific topic, please let me know.  Stay cool! 


Ida Keir, Esq.