It’s Official: New York State Will Aid Undocumented Students

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has confirmed he will sign into law a new measure passed by the New York State Senate. The bill offers undocumented students access to state financial aid and scholarships for higher education.


New York Democrats became a majority in the State Senate in November after a decade of being a minority. Immigration protections are now on the front of their agenda. The new bill constitutes a pro-immigrant countermeasure to President Trump’s federal immigration policies that have been seeking to undo the protections of The Dream Act, put into place by the Obama administration over ten years ago.

The provisions of the new law will include allowing undocumented residents to obtain state driver’s licenses and reducing maximum jail sentences for certain misdemeanors that could otherwise lead to deportation.

” The New York bill will affect an estimated 146,000 young people who were educated in New York public schools but have been ineligible to receive financial aid under federal and state law, according to analysis by the New York State Youth Leadership Council and N.Y.U. Law School’s Immigrant Rights Clinic. ” – notes the New York Times in an article yesterday.

Read the entire article HERE.

The Immigration Offices of Leslie I. Snyder, P.A. strive to keep our clients informed with the latest developments affecting US Immigration policies. We provide assistance on immigration issues ranging from family integration, immigrant and non-immigrant visas, business, employment, adjustment of status, citizenship.

Lapse in Federal Funding Does Not Impact Most USCIS Operations

The current lapse in annual appropriated funding for the U.S. government does not affect USCIS’s fee-funded activities. Our offices will remain open, and all individuals should attend interviews and appointments as scheduled. USCIS will continue to accept petitions and applications for benefit requests, except as noted below.

Some USCIS programs, however, will either expire or suspend operations, or be otherwise affected, until they receive appropriated funds or are reauthorized by Congress. These include:

  • EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program (not the EB-5 Program). Regional centers are a public or private economic unit in the U.S. that promotes economic growth. USCIS designates regional centers for participation in the Immigrant Investor Program. The EB-5 Program will continue to operate.
  • E-Verify. This free internet-based system allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the U.S.
  • Conrad 30 Waiver Program for J-1 medical doctors. This program allows J-1 doctors to apply for a waiver of the two-year residence requirement after completing the J-1 exchange visitor program. The expiration only affects the date by which the J-1 doctor must have entered the U.S.; it is not a shutdown of the Conrad 30 program entirely.
  • Non-minister religious workers. This special immigrant category allows non-ministers in religious vocations and occupations to immigrate or adjust to permanent resident status in the U.S. to perform religious work in a full-time, compensated position.

(USCIS Advisory)

Operation “Second Look” Gains Traction in Trump Administration

For years, stripping naturalized US citizens of their citizenship was reserved for those who committed extreme crimes. A new program started by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has started to take a closer look at existing naturalization cases that might be based on fraud. The problem is that some of these cases might be based on very thin evidence, even downright mishandling of the naturalization documents by government employees themselves. The New York Times article details the case of a Haitian family that found itself in the middle of such a situation, years after their naturalization.

“Second Look” started as “Operation Janus” under the Obama administration. Both programs seek to identify people who obtained US citizenship despite deportation orders or criminal indictments. However, the article outlines other cases that point to an increase in denaturalization cases by the Trump administration, under criminal and civil premises.

“Since January 2017, United States attorney’s offices have filed 107 criminal naturalization fraud cases. Among these cases are a number against people like Odette Dureland, naturalized citizens who purportedly committed fraud but who deny those claims. Many involve people whose histories raise no national-security concerns — an apparent departure from the Obama administration’s priorities. But the number is on par with prosecutions during the Obama era. Where there has been a marked rise in denaturalizations under Trump is in the civil process. Lawyers in the Office of Immigration Litigation filed more than 65 civil denaturalization cases between January 2017 and November 2018, according to data from the Justice Department, twice the total number of civil cases that the office filed in the last two years of the Obama administration. Some of these people would most likely have been denaturalized under any administration, including people who were convicted of serious crimes or were discovered to have participated in war crimes. But the Trump administration’s prosecutions have served another purpose: In news releases and declarations by senior officials, the denaturalization cases have been used as cudgels — tools for attacking the legal immigration process as riddled with fraud, as pathways for criminals and terrorists to enter the United States.”

The full in-depth analysis by the New York Times is HERE.

Family Immigration: Affidavit of Support Will Make or Break Your Case

Family-based immigration is one of the core specialties here at the Law Offices of Leslie I Snyder P.A. We follow closely various matters that help us guide our clients on the right path to citizenship. One of the ways for a non-immigrant visa holder to be naturalized is through marriage. However, contrary to what many might think, this avenue is not always a sure-shot at changing immigration status, and should not be taken lightly. The recent decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in the the Matter of Sothon SONG, shows just that.

The petitioner in this case, a native of Cambodia, entered the US on a K-1 non-immigratn fiancée visa on November 25, 2011. All the paperwork needed for naturalization was filed on time. However, subsequent events lead to the denial of the applicant’s petition. The case file shows the following:

“While the application was pending, the marriage broke down, and on July 10, 2012, the petitioner wrote to the USCIS to withdraw his affidavit of support. On November 21, 2012, the USCIS denied the respondent’s adjustment application, finding that she was inadmissible under section 212(a)(4) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(4) (2012), as an alien who is likely to become a public charge. The couple divorced on December 20, 2012. The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) subsequently initiated removal proceedings.”

On November 19, 2018, inthe Interim Decision #3945, the petitioner’s appeal was denied. According to the Department of Justice web site, “Most BIA decisions are subject to judicial review in the federal courts.”

The .pdf file of the full case is on the Department of Justice web site, under Interim Decision #3945

Immigration Declines to Lowest Level in Over a Decade

New data analysis by the Pew Research Center shows the number of unauthorized immigrants in the US at its lowest in over a decade. The detailed article appeared on November 27th, 2018 on Pew Research Center Hispanic Trends

“There were 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2016, down from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007” – the analysis shows.

  • The sharp drop was mainly due to a sharp decline in the number of new unauthorized immigrants, especially Mexicans, coming into the country.
  • You can read the in-depth study HERE. Below are a few highlights that are worth noticing:
  • More than a million unauthorized immigrants have temporary protection from deportation
  • A rising share of unauthorized immigrants arrive legally, but overstay visas
  • Number of recent arrivals declines
  • Border apprehensions of Mexicans decline, but rise for Central Americans
  • About 5 million U.S.-born children live with unauthorized immigrant parents

Our Firm is ready to help with your immigration issue no matter where you are in the process. We stay on top of the latest immigration developments. An informed and up-to-date attorney is a powerful ally you will want to have. Please feel to contact us  by email or phone for your immigration related questions.