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Trump Administration Attacks Immigration Policy

It’s no secret that the Trump administration has been cracking down on immigration, but some may be surprised at the extra hoops being added to the legal immigration policy. The paperwork for legal immigration is being doubled, tripled, or even more. Worse, the new forms and documents have incredibly vague yet complex questions.

Since January, the agency that reviews and processes immigrants’ applications, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has lengthened 15 applications. This includes paperwork that is required to be completed by US Citizens. In total, the forms have gone from 72 pages to 162. The instructions of the respective forms have increased from 114 pages to 215. All in, that’s a whopping 191 pages of additional paperwork added in less than a year.

USCIS has no qualms over the paperwork.  It is their position that the same amount of time will be needed complete the new forms as compared to the old.  This includes the I-485 form, which is the form that allows an immigrant to adjust their status from a temporary to permanent resident, which increased from 6 to 18 pages. The instructions for the form went from 8 to an incredible 42 pages. Yet, the agency insists that immigrants will still be able to finish the new application in the same exact amount of time as the shorter versions. This, by itself, speaks to their attitude and approach towards immigration and immigrants.

While potential citizens are more than willing to undergo additional paperwork, many don’t have the money to hire an attorney. From asking vague questions that could apply to simple traffic tickets to full out arrest, to probing into your political preferences, these new questions are both vague and unnecessary.

While this may seem like just extreme and vague vetting, it’s more than that. If an answer is not answered precisely and correctly, it can be considered as “misrepresentation”, which will mean that the application can be denied, and/or the immigrant subject to deportation. This is just a sly way to avoid having to propose new legislation and achieve the same goal: severely limiting the number of new immigrants to the US.

Under the Trump administration, hiring a great immigration law attorney is the difference between being able to stay legally in the US, and being asked to leave.  

Sweta Khandelwal is located in San Jose, CA, and she has helped many deserving immigrants achieve their goal of becoming US residents/citizens. Contact the the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal today.

Green Card Hurdles Introduced By Trump Administration

Since his candidacy, Donald Trump has taken a hardline approach to immigration. His plan to apply “extreme vetting” to visitors and immigrants to the United States is already taking shape with a new interview mandate that will be required to obtain a green card.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services confirmed that immigration authorities will now require an in-person interview for some green card applicants. This interview will be necessary for anyone who is moving from an employment-based visa to a lawful permanent residency as well as visa holders who are family members of refugees and people who receive asylum in America.

This interview will be conducted during the provisional stage that precedes getting a green card and it’s expected to slow the process of getting a green card. The purpose of the in-person interview is allowing an USCIS officer to verify the information provided on the application, discover new and relevant information, and assess the applicant’s credibility.

In 2015 alone, about 168,000 immigrants in these categories received lawful permanent residency, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The vast majority previously held an employment-based visa.

The travel ban that Trump signed in January and revised in March called for the federal government to develop “uniform screening and standards” to identify terrorists and individuals who pose a risk. The order stated that an in-person interview could be considered part of the standards.

Technically, the in-person interview requirement is not new, but it has been waived for these categories of visa holders most of the time over the last decade. Waivers will no longer be granted under the new policy. Many of these candidates have been living and working in the US for more than a decade.

The interview requirement is almost guaranteed to increase the wait time for green card applicants. According to the USCIS tracking tool, staffers usually have a 6-month delay before applications are even processed.

Stephen Legomsky, USCIS chief counsel between 2011 and 2013, said that the interviews likely add “some marginal value” but it may not be enough to offset the additional workload. He also said the USCIS plans to speed up interviews by streamlining operations and boosting staff training.

According to USCIS, the interviews will be phased in for:

  • Refugees and asylee relative petitions (Form I-730) for beneficiaries who are in the U.S. and petitioning to join a principal asylum or refugee application
  • Adjustment of status applications based on employment (Form I-485)

The interviews will begin for these categories on October 1, 2017.  Contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal to see how we can help you prepare for a USCIS interview.

Power to Revoke US Citizenship Limited by Supreme Court

In Maslenjak v. United States, the Justices of the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the contention that the government could revoke the naturalization of an individual that made a minor misstatement at their naturalization interview or their  N-400 application.

The lawyer for the government argued that something as minor as failing to disclose a traffic ticket would be adequate grounds for revoking an individual’s naturalization years after it had been granted. Not one of the Justices agreed with the lawyer’s argument. The court held that there must be a connection between an illegal act and the individual’s eligibility to become a naturalized US citizen. Further, the court ruled that the misstatement must have affected the government’s decision had the government had knowledge of the misstated information at the time of the misstatement.

In the case in front of the court, Ms. Maslenjak was admitted to the United States as a refugee after falsifying information about her husband’s service in the Bosnian Serb military. The misstatement was repeated on her N-400 application. The government moved to denaturalize her and the jury was improperly instructed by the Judge that any misrepresentation, no matter how insignificant, was adequate grounds for revoking Ms. Maslenjak’s citizenship. The Supreme Court held that the Judge erred and remanded the case to the lower courts to consider if the US government may try her using the stricter standard.

If you believe that you have a unique situation that may impair your ability to Naturalize, contact our office.  A Naturalization is not a simple process and involves more that filling the form.  We would love to assist you.

Trump’s Travel Ban: Who is Affected?

US Supreme CourtAfter lower courts repeatedly shot down Donald Trump’s travel ban for unfairly targeting Muslims from certain countries, the Supreme Court allowed a revised version as of Monday, June 26, 2016. The decision all but allows Trump to now boast a victory. The travel ban affects travelers from six countries that are predominantly Muslim.

The Supreme Court’s decision leaves far more questions than answers regarding Trump’s travel ban. Essentially, certain foreign nationals can be banned entry into the United States if they lack a bona fide relationship with a person or an entity in the country. It does not apply to anyone, including refugees, who have existing relationships with American citizens or entities, such as if they have family in America or a relationship with an educational institution.Read More

Federal Spending Bill and Immigration

On May 1st, 2017, it was announced that Congress would again be dodging a “government shutdown” bullet by passing a federal spending bill known as the. Often referred to as an “omnibus bill” or a “stop gap” measure, this approach funds the federal government in full until individual annual agency budgets can be determined. This most recent measure provides the federal government with an impressive one trillion dollars until the end of its current fiscal year on September 30, 2017. In addition to allotting varying amounts of money to different agencies, there are often new or changed regulations as to how these agencies will operate and spend their funds. So now that Washington is funded for the next few months, how will the agencies governing immigration and their policies be affected?Read More

Buy American, Hire American: President Trumps’ Executive Order


Sweta Khandelwal, U.S. Immigration Attorney at The Law Offices of Sweta Khandelwal, speaks about President Donal Trumps’ Executive Order “Buy American, Hire American.”

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H-1B Quota over–now what?

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on May 3 that all data entry for FY 2018 H-1B cap-subject petitions had been completed.  Only 65,000 applicants for a general H-1B nonimmigrant visa would be accepted for this fiscal year through the computer-generated random selection process, or lottery. For those not selected for an H-1B visa, the USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees.Read More

“Hire American” Executive Proposal “Full of Sound and Fury”

With Trump’s new “Buy American and Hire American” executive order comes concern across the nation from those who would potentially be affected by it. However, is there any real cause for concern from this latest executive order?

Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” executive order is the administration’s latest efforts at attempting to reform the H-1B program, a program that allows high-skilled non-immigrants to come to America from other countries to work. This is a temporary work visa, with workers being able file for renewal or extension to continue working in America. Fitting with Trump’s overall campaign and administrative theme of “America First”, this new executive order may sound scary to those that it would have the greatest impact on- high-skilled workers employed by US Companies across the country, especially in high-tech. However, what effects will this actually have on H-1B holders?

In actuality, this “Buy American and Hire American” proposal can be looked at as a microcosm of Trump’s entire presidency thus far- “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. Though it may sound like drastic measures from an administration that apparently lives by drastic measure, in reality these proposals are modest and bring no real change on their own.Read More





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