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Maryland Immigration Blog

Special Immigrant Juvenile visas protect vulnerable children

Immigrant children under 21 who have either been abused, neglected or abandoned by a parent may be qualified to apply for permanent residency in the United States as a Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ).

In addition to meeting the aforementioned criteria, the applicant must already be living in the United States and be unmarried at the time of the application. If you've been married before, then you must have either gotten divorced, had the marriage annulled or have become widowed before filing the application.

How can someone qualify for an 'Einstein visa?'

Some of our readers may have seen the recent media reports that First Lady Melania Trump was granted what's commonly referred to as an "Einstein visa" years ago. The official name of the visa is EB-1. It's purpose is to allow immigrants who "have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher or are a multinational executive or manager" to live and work in the country legally.

Since the first lady was working as a model under an HB-1 visa when she was granted the EB-1 visa in 2001 (before she married Donald Trump), one might wonder how she was able to qualify. There's no clear answer to that or to what role her future husband may have played in her obtaining the EB-1, which is a stepping stone to a green card.

Sessions moves to make obtaining asylum more difficult

Immigrants to this country have been concerned and sometimes frightened by the actions of our current president. So have those who are seeking asylum here to escape violence and persecution in their countries -- and sometimes in their own homes.

The number of people applying for asylum has increased significantly in recent years. Now U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is working to change the qualifications for being granted asylum.

Is my immigration status at risk given my felony conviction?

While you want to avoid committing any crimes at any point in your life in the United States, it's particularly wise to do so when you're either visiting the country on a visa or are merely a permanent resident.

Committing any criminal offense, whether it be a misdemeanor or felony, during one of these latter stages can result in you having your legal status downgraded or even get you deported. You may even be barred from entering the U.S. again.

Taking a look at chain migration in the United States

,Chain migration has become a hot topic in the news since President Donald Trump gave the annual State of the Union address back in January. President Trump made a claim that one immigrant is able to bring in "virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives" to the United States in what he says is chain migration. Under the current administration's plan, immigrants would only be allowed to sponsor spouses and minor children for access to the country.

If you take a deep look at the law, one could argue that when one immigrant comes to the United States, it could lead to their aunt or uncle winding up in the country via sponsorships. This would happen by the original immigrant sponsoring their parents, who would then sponsor their brother or sister for access to the country.

Seeking green card status as a widow/widower of a U.S. citizen

There is much debate in the corridors of power in Washington these days about the legal status of people who live in this country but weren't born here. Therefore, it's only natural that many immigrants as well as those who seek to live in this country are nervous and confused.

One group that isn't widely discussed is people who are widows and widowers of U.S. citizens. Under the law, anyone who was legally married to a U.S. citizen when he or she died can obtain a green card.

Helping juveniles seek legal status

As the political debate rages on in Washington, D.C., and throughout the country about immigration, we cannot forget that among the most vulnerable people in our country are immigrant children and minors.

Unmarried immigrants under 21 years old who have been abandoned, neglected or abused by parents or guardians can seek legal protection by qualifying for special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS). This status provides lawful permanent residence in our country.

Trump makes getting a green card just a little bit more difficult

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials, under direction of President Donald Trump, announced on December 18 their intentions to update an aspect of the green card application process. They will discontinue honoring congressional appeals for green cards as they've historically been accepted in the past.

For years, many who have been seeking permanent residency in the United States have turned to their congressional representatives in Washington, D.C. for help in dealing with USCIS. These individuals have relied on congress-issued privacy waivers as a way of filtering communication among immigration, family members and attorneys.

How does the U.S. government grant asylum?

Immigrants come to the U.S. for a number of reasons. Some of these immigrants have suffered persecution in their home countries and are seeking protection.

For these immigrants, the U.S. offers asylum. Anyone can seek asylum if they have been persecuted against or fear persecution due to their:

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