Immigration has become a hot topic since the 2016 election. Now more than ever, it is critical that all immigrants secure their status in the United States. There has been a rise in applications for U.S. citizenship, and currently there is a backlog of 18-22 months. That means that if you file an application today, you will be interviewed between February and May 2020.
Many immigrants have put off becoming a U.S. citizen because of financial cost, language barriers, or simply because they feel that being a Legal Permanent Resident is enough. In today’s climate, this could not be further from the truth. The only protection against deportation is becoming a United States citizen. Many Legal Permanent Residents have learned the hard way that past criminal behavior or immigration violations that they thought were forgiven still have consequences. This is especially true for Legal Permanent Residents who travel abroad and risk questioning or secondary inspection upon returning to the United States.
If you have been a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) for 5 years, or if you are an LPR married to a U.S. Citizen for 3 years, you meet the first requirement to file for U.S. citizenship through naturalization. The most important step an LPR must take when deciding to become a U.S. citizen is to review their case with an experienced immigration attorney before filing the application. An experienced attorney can review your entire immigration history and advise you of any potential negative details that may hurt your chances of becoming a U.S. citizen. Today, USCIS is reviewing naturalization applications with great scrutiny. LPR’s with any criminal arrest or violation should not file an application without the assistance of an attorney. Certain crimes or prior immigration violations in your past can cause your application to be denied, or even to be referred for deportation before the Immigration Court.
Becoming a United States citizen not only allows immigrants the only protection against deportation, but it also allows for immigrants to petition for their parents, married children, and siblings. Most importantly, as a U.S. citizen, you can register to vote and make your voice heard.
For details on the requirements to become a U.S. citizen, please refer to the “Citizenship and Naturalization” section in the “Services” tab of our website. At Garza & Associates, we have an experienced legal team that has dealt with many complicated issues in the naturalization process. Contact us at (713) 664-6200 to schedule a consultation today.
A difficult case from Colombia is approved and her immigrant visa is granted
L. Torres arrived at Garza & Associates through a referral from one of our satisfied clients. She had filed her immigrant petition in another state and the case was improperly filed so it stagnated in limbo. She changed law firms and the new immigration attorney advanced the case and submitted an I-601a Unlawful Presence Waiver. This was necessary to avoid a ten-year bar as a penalty for having entered the country without immigration inspection.
The decision from USCIS was a denial. The previous law firm had not demonstrated extreme hardship to her qualifying relative. After this, she ended moving to Houston and eventually hired Garza & Associates to file a second waiver. Through a thorough analysis of the case, our lead attorney, Yohanna Romero Baca, found additional medical hardship that led to a favorable approval.
L. Torres attended her consular appointment and she is now a proud lawful permanent resident. She is happy to now focus on a future real estate career. We wish her the best and we know she will be another example of immigrants making a positive contribution. If your waiver has been denied, let us review your case so we can help you obtain your residency.
At Garza & Associates, we believe that an educated and informed client is our best partner. Our attorneys assist clients through complicated issues and procedures for obtaining U.S. citizenship, residency and/or nonimmigrant status.
Customers with a basic understanding of the legal systems of the United States and Texas and the problems they are facing are invaluable to assisting our team of attorneys in their representation. Below are some valuable links to resources that will allow you to be informed about your immigration and nationality issues. USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services)
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