President's 2014 Executive Action has understandably generated a lot of excitement as well as controversy. We have even heard it referred to as "Obamesty." However, make no mistake about it: what President Obama announced is far from amnesty. Amnesty is essentially an official governmental pardon. In the immigration context, we often think of what President Reagan did for millions of illegal immigrants in 1986. To be more precise, though, President Reagan signed into law The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which was actually a bill passed by Congress that legalized illegal immigrants who entered the country before January 1, 1982 and who satisfied other eligibility grounds, such as security checks and a minimum level of English.
Coming on the heels of news of an expected announcement by President Obama of an immigration executive action, possibly by this Friday, November 21, the White House boldly pushed the agenda even further late last week by announcing a new program for minors in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Scheduled to launch in December, this in-country refugee/parole program will allow parents here in the United States to request their unmarried children under the age of 21 to be interviewed for possible refugee status. Some interesting points about this new program:
The term "conditional discharge" is becoming an increasingly confusing term because conditional discharges exists in different states but they don't have the same meaning. A prime example is the difference between New Jersey and New York's versions. In New Jersey, a conditional discharge is an alternative disposition afforded to defendants charged with certain drug offenses. The statute is NJSA 2C:36A-1. It is available only in the municipal courts and generally refers to a suspension in the proceedings whereby the case is taken off the prosecution track. Instead, the defendant undergoes a period of probation that, if successfully completed, will result in the charges being dismissed. Conditional discharges are only available in cases charging a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons violation of chapter 35 or 36, which relate to drug offenses in New Jersey. We talked about the potential benefits of a conditional discharge in NJ in a previous post.
One of the most confusing concepts regarding eligibility for naturalization are the independe physical and continuous presence requirements needed for US Citizenship. They are two separate doctrines and each must be satisfied before an application for naturalization is recommended for approval. It is entirely possible to satisfy the physical presence requirement but not meet the continuous presence prong. Conversely, one may be able show the necessary continuous presence but may have applied too early to fulfill the physical presence requirement.
If immigration were not confusing enough, there are some visa categories that cover different classifications. The two that immediately come to mind are the H visa and the K visa. For example, there is an H-1B for professional workers, which is different than an H2B, which is for seasonal workers. For today's discussion, I want to focus on some key differences between the K-1 and K-3 visa because while they both involve loved ones, they are two very different visas. It is important to understand the terminology, as well as the benefits and limitations of each visa, because not everyone can file for a K-1, and not everyone can file for a K-3.