Month: February 2013

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Multinational Taxpaying

U.S. tax laws are almost as complicated as U.S. immigration laws. They are particularly complex for non-U.S. citizens who reside, even part time, in the United States. “Residence” in the U.S. has a different meaning under U.S. tax law than it does under U.S. immigration law.  The impact of U.S. tax law on foreign nationals varies depending on where the individual is from as the U.S. has tax treaties with many foreign countries, though not with all countries. Due to the complexity of U.S. tax law and the large impact it can have on individuals, we recommend that all of our non-citizen clients seek the assistance of a tax professional who is well versed in tax liability for multinational taxpayers.

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USCIS Releases Updated DACA Statistics

On July 15, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security announced a new deferred action program for certain individuals who came to the United States as children and who meet educational, continuous presence, and other key requirements.  Under this program, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, eligible individuals may request deferred action and work authorization for a period of two years, which is subject to renewal.  At this time, the program does not provide applicants with legal status, it simply places them in a period of authorized stay during which any removal action is deferred.


On February 15, 2013, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service issued updated statistical data on DACA cases processedbetween August 15, 2012 and February 14, 2013.  The data indicates that a total of 423,634 DACA applications have been accepted for processing, and that 199,460 applications have been approved to date.  The data also ranks DACA applicants in terms of their country of origin and state of residence; the top three countries of origin among DACA applicants are Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras, and the top three states of residences are California, Texas, and New York. 
Comprehensive immigration reform may provide avenues to legal permanent residence for DACA beneficiaries in the near future.  Please check our blog regularly for the latest updates on immigration reform.

 

 

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Comprehensive Immigration Reform on a Fast Track?

Undocumented immigrants have waited a long time for relief. Due to the political nature of comprehensive immigration reform and Congressional deadlock, Congress has not addressed this issue in decades. Recently, the Obama administration has created some stopgap measures like deferred action for dreamers and state-side waiver processing. Interesting statements made by key Republican congresspeople suggest that the Republican Party may now be on board for comprehensive immigration reform. Our office has been contacted to make a number of presentations about comprehensive immigration reform including looking at this issue from an historical perspective. We caution our clients, however, that this process is in its earliest stages and it will take, presumably, months before there is some type of reform. Clients should therefore be aware that there are unscrupulous individuals, such as notarios, who are trying to charge people fees to file applications for comprehensive immigration reform. There are currently no applications to be filed and our office, other lawyers, and community groups, will be providing alerts regarding this issue. Stern & Curray hopes that comprehensive immigration reform is passed in the near future.

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The long awaited “state-side” waiver has arrived!

In January 2013, the Department of Homeland Security published a rule for how certain undocumented relatives of U.S. citizens apply for a waiver of the time they were in the U.S. without permission. The new state-side waiver rule will result in significantly shorter periods of family separation by allowing a green card applicant to apply for and receive an approved waiver before leaving the U.S. for the consular interview.  As a result, the time that the applicant for permanent residence will have to spend outside the U.S. could be shortened to as little as a week. However, not all foreign nationals who have a U.S. citizen immediate relative (spouse, parent, child over 21 years of age) will benefit from this rule.

To be eligible for the new waiver, an individual must meet the following criteria:

  • Be physically present in the U.S.;
  • At least 17 years of age at the time of filing;
  • Have an approved immigrant visa petition as the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen;
  • Have an immigrant visa case pending with the U.S. Department of State;
  • Be inadmissible based on unlawful presence in the United States;
  • Meet all of the requirements of the provisional unlawful presence waiver.

It is important to note that the program is only available when there is hardship to a U.S. citizen spouse or parent, not a lawful permanent resident spouse or parent. An individual may become eligible for the program even if they are in removal proceedings if they are able to successfully petition the government to administratively close their removal proceedings and they meet the other eligibility requirements.

Individuals are not eligible for an unlawful presence waivers if they meet the following criteria:

  • The eligibility requirements have not been met;
  • Have a pending application to adjust status to permanent resident;
  • Are in removal proceedings that have not been administratively closed or re-calendared;
  • Have been ordered removed, excluded, or deported from the U.S. or are subject to reinstatement of a prior removal order;
  • DOS acted to schedule your immigrant visa interview prior to January 3, 2013;
  • Have not proven extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen spouse or parent, or that your application should be approved as a matter of discretion;
  • USCIS has reason to believe that DOS may find you inadmissible for grounds other than unlawful presence.

Immigration will begin accepting applications for the new waivers on March 4.

 

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