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.

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 Services Available for Those Affected by Hurricane Florence or Typhoon Mangkhut

Re-parole or changing immigration status are two of the services offered now by the USCIS to certain immigration applicants.

USCIS has posted a host of immigration services offered to those affected by the last two hurricanes that hit mainland US this month. This is an effort to afford some flexibility to those that might experience hardships in their immigration process due to these events. Please be advised, these are discretionary services and available only upon request to the qualified individuals. Please read the entire list of services and conditions that apply, HERE

Please familiarize yourself with what USCIS considers “Special Situations” and what exceptions you can benefit from should they apply to you, here: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/special-situations

As always, if you feel that you need more clarifications and that your case might benefit your own case or that of someone you know, feel free to contact us as soon as possible.

When Immigration Becomes a Beauty Contest

The last thing one can associate immigration matters with, would be a beauty contest. Yet, it might just be appropriate from a certain perspective. It seems that every day the Trump Administration is poised to bring increasing restrictions and tests for more and more aspiring immigrants. The present article is an attempt at deconstructing and, hopefully, guiding you through the meanders one of the latest obstacles.

On April 18, 2017, President Trump signed the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order, which seeks to create higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers and to protect their economic interests by rigorously enforcing and administering immigration laws. It also directs DHS, in coordination with other agencies, to advance its stated policies to “help ensure H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries.”

This Executive Order is having a trickle-down effect on all areas of immigration law.  Limiting legal immigration to the best and the brightest is the overall tone of this Order. The “Beauty Contest” for immigrating to the U.S. involves proving the legitimate source of your funds, education, experience, skills, preparation and training for the projected business plan and a reasonable business plan which makes sense and will likely generate jobs to U.S. workers in the US – that is – hire American workers.  That is the objective.

Who – Who can qualify for a treaty investor or treaty trader visa? Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.  See U.S. Department of State’s Treaty Countries for a current list of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.

What – What is the effect of this Order on long standing immigration and federal regulations providing for clear cut standards toward diversity of the work force?  For example, should an investor in the U.S. be allowed to transfer here to develop and direct the business following a substantial investment in that business?  The answer still appears to be “yes”, as the investor and treaty trader visas such as E-2 and E-1 and even EB-5 immigrant entrepreneur “million dollar investor visas” have remained virtually unscathed and still in effect thus far.  

How – To qualify for E-2 Treaty Investor nonimmigrant classification –  you must be national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.  

How – To qualify for E-1 Treaty Trader classification, the general requirements for a treaty trader are: You are a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation; you carry on substantial trade; and you carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification.

How – The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. You invest the minimum amount of capital required for the location where the commercial enterprise will be principally doing business or creating jobs ($1 million generally, and $500,000 for rural areas and areas of high unemployment).

When  An E-1 or E-2 visa can be processed in a matter of weeks or months.  The EB-5 immigrant visa status will take more than a year to process.  The best practice is to file first for an E-1 or E-2 and then apply for the EB-5 depending on your timing.

Why – Investors come to the US for many reasons, including political and individual freedom, opportunity, excellent educational systems, natural resources and overall quality of life.  Having lived, worked and studied abroad, it is this author’s opinion that we still have the best overall options in the world for living, working and studying.

On the other hand, non-treaty companies and individuals must rely on professional visas such as H-1B visas which are subject to annual numerical limitations of 65,000 or 20,000 depending on your educational level.  Inter-company transfer visas (L-1A) also appear to be facing scrutiny and losing favor.  Both are being targeted by investigation and enforcement by existing and newly minted government employees.

Needless to say, under these new circumstances, choosing the right immigration lawyer becomes more and more daunting and uncertain. At Leslie I. Snyder, PA, our firm is always on the lookout for the latest regulations and “initiatives” that tend to muddy the already murky enough waters of immigration matters. Even if that means helping our clients to win a beauty contest.