Lee & Garasia, LLC
  • Tel: 732-516-1717
  • Toll free: 888-404-5876
Experience, Accessibility, and Excellence for Over 20 Years
  • "Lee and Garasia are excellent lawyers, punctual and professional. They are dedicated to going above and beyond the usual level of service to meet your client's needs. Their staff is very knowledgeable, friendly and polite. I would highly... recommend this firm to anyone." Read More

  • "I would definitely recommend Mr.Lee and Garasia as an immigration attorney because they did a great job with my case i.e. of Adjustment of Status (i-485). Mr. Lee helped us in each and every detailed information and prepared to the best of it. It was all well done and would like to appreciate." Read More

  • "I would like to thank my lawyer Mr Lee & Garasia and the staff for all immense help and patience throughout this entire process, I really appreciate your constant attention to my case, as well to my questions and my concerns. You've really made this process much more comprehensive to me, which I greatly appreciate." Read More

  • "Mr. Lee and Ms. Garasia did a great job with my renewal of my permanent residence application. They help prepare the paperwork with such a great attention to details and accuracy. I will recommend the law firm every time." Read More

  • "Mr. Lee did a great job with the renewal of my permanent residence application. My case was very time sensitive and they worked really fast on my case with great detail and accuracy. I will recommend the law firm every time." Read More

  • "I would recommend Attorney Paris Lee for anybody who needs immigration consultation. Mr. Lee is THE lawyer who respects and cares clients. Mr. Lee is professional and honest. Bottom line, preparation for the results and NO BS!" Read More

  • "Stalin - Lee did a wonderful job, Got my wife her visa in one year. He is extremely helpful and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend him for all your immigration needs." Read More

  • "Hello. I appoint him as my immigration lawyer and that way he solved my cases was truly amazing. He was so honest and knowledgeable for his work.He solved my all family immigration issues and because of his effort we were able to get done our immigration work done successful. Thank you lee and garasia." Read More

  • "Lee & Garasia stand for accountability and responsibility. They are reliable, honest and are always constructively looking for a solution. A big thanks :)" Read More

Edison Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

What If My Passport and Visa Are Lost Or Stolen?

During the Christmas vacation, a number of our clients had the unfortunate experience of either losing or having their passports stolen. Their next natural question was, what was their status? A few were understandably concerned (given the current atmosphere) that they might be deported. Some also h ad previously scheduled trips/cruises abroad that they had eagerly been looking forward to.

Changes to New Jersey's Marijuana Laws Does Not Eliminate Immigration Consequences

Now that Phil Murphy has been elected to be New Jersey's next governor, there is much anticipation that marijuana will be legalized in the state within the first 100 days of his tenure. Under State Senator Nicholas Scutari's bill, the possession of and personal use of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 would no longer be against the law; additionally, people who have been convicted of marijuana related crimes would be able to seek an expungement of those convictions. Public use of marijuana, however, either through smoking or ingestion would still be outlawed. Presumably, this would continue to encompass driving while under the influence of narcotics, pursuant to 39:4-50.

Having Problems Booking An INFOPASS Appointment? More Changes Coming 2018

Many people are reporting that they have been unable to book INFOPASS appointments to visit their local USCIS offices. For the last several weeks, no appointments appear to be available. For individuals who have prepared their cases pro se, this can be incredibly frustrating given that an INFOPASS appointment is often the only way for a person to visit USCIS, whether to learn more information about why a case is pending; apply for emergency advance parole; or to secure an I-551 stamp-just to name a few situations. Now to make matters worse, there is word that USCIS will begin rolling out a new pilot program in January, starting with the Hartford District Office. Under the new program, individuals will no longer be able to self-schedule INFOPASS appointments over the internet. Instead, people will be required to call the national customer service phone number (800-375-5283) and explain the nature of their call to a representative. If appropriate, the call will be escalated to a "tier 2" rep who will determine whether an appointment should be given and who will then call the requester back to inform him/her whether an appointment is being granted. The rationale, allegedly, is to streamline the process and eliminate situations where people are coming in for matters that can be handled through the customer service telephone system. According to sources, the pilot program will increase one city per week.

Expect Processing Delays for Work Permits and Advance Parole

A November AILA practice alert has confirmed what many practitioners and clients have experiencing lately, namely an appreciable delay in the processing of work permit and advance parole applications. Nationally, people are reporting four to seven months to receive their employment authorization documents and nearly five months for advance parole. This is in stark contrast to how long USCIS used to take in the past (work permits in conjunction with adjustment of status applications only used to take three to four months). Why is this important? At the risk of overstating the obvious, these new delays significantly impact an individual's ability to work legally as well as travel. It is critical to remember that unauthorized employment as well as travel without permission can have serious ramifications on a person's application for adjustment of status.

Exceptions to the Affidavit of Support I-864 | What If I Don't Make Enough?

In nearly all family-based cases, an affidavit of support is required to be executed by the petitioner/sponsor. Due to the stringent guidelines, however, not all petitioners qualify to meet 125% of the poverty guideline level, thereby placing the visa or green card application in jeopardy. A visa or permanent resident applicant can potentially be denied under the "public charge" inadmissibility ground if there are not sufficient financials. USCIS will deem somebody a public charge if an officer has determined that the applicant will likely become "primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long term care at government expense." See USCIS Public Charge Fact Sheet (https://www.uscis.gov/news/fact-sheets/public-charge-fact-sheet). This can be especially critical when the petitioner cannot otherwise meet the requirements through either a joint sponsor or the use of assets (petitioner's, household member's, or intending immigrant's). Therefore, for those whom an I-864 may be problematic, it is always worth exploring whether an af fidavit is required in the first place. There are certain limited exceptions where an intending immigrant may file an I-864W in lieu of the I-864. There are essentially four classes of people who are considered exempt from the affidavit of support requirements:

How Long Can I Stay Outside the US Without Losing My Green Card?

Most permanent residents are aware that while they are authorized to stay indefinitely inside United States, they risk losing their status if they remain outside for an extended period of time. For all practical purposes, a green card holder will likely be refused admission if outside the US for one year or more under the theory of abandonment. As covered in previous articles, one way to avoid being charged with abandonment is to proactively file for a re-entry permit before leaving; the re-entry permit will authorize a permanent resident to remain outside the country for up to two years. An even more conservative approach is to avoid trips that are 180 days or greater. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, an individual technically applies for "admission" to the United States each and every time he/she travels outside for 180 days or more. As such, the individual is exposed to greater scrutiny by Customs and Border Protection which is the agency charged with determining admissibility to the US. Depending on one's answers and proof (or lack thereof) of ties to the US, one could possibly be deemed to have relinquished his/her green card.

Automatic Extension of Work Permits | What If EAD Expires While Renewal Pending?

For foreign nationals navigating our immigration system, one of the greatest sources of anxiety is the expiration of work authorization in light of USCIS's interminable processing delays, which have only increased during the present administration. Due to the sheer mass of information out there, some of which is outdated, the rules can not only be buried but also inscrutable. Fortunately, USCIS has released some guidance this year that clarifies which categories of work permits are eligible for automatic 180 day extensions while their renewals remain pending. The purpose of the policy is to prevent gaps in employment for those who have filed timely renewal applications before the expiration of their current employment authorization documents ("EADs"). The extension applies to I-765 renewal applications pending as of, and those filed on or after January 17, 2017. Eligible categories include the following:

Do You Have To Answer a Text Message From ICE? | DHS May Start Calling, Texting, and Emailing Illegal Immigrants

Two weeks ago, the Portland Mercury reported that immigration enforcement officers in that state were allegedly texting undocumented immigrants in order to entrap them into disclosing their immigration status and other crucial information. The article can be found here. If true, this practice is perhaps the latest tactic that ICE is employing to carry out President Trump's enforcement mandate. It also underscores to what lengths the government is willing to go to apprehend people suspected of being in the country illegally. Not only do these latest methods come across highly invasive, there is something fundamentally unconscionable about it that violates any sense of fair play. One shudders to predict what is next. Will ICE agents resort to impersonating others and reaching out to people through fictitious Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts? Given the direction that things appear to be going, this is certainly possible. As mentioned earlier in a previous post, the government quietly passed a new rule that allows the Department of Homeland Security to monitor immigrants' social media and internet searches. Notwithstanding that, both legal and illegal residents are reminded that individuals have the right not to speak (or communicate) with government enforcement agents. An ICE agent reaching out to someone by text or telephone is no different than a street encounter. The officer is free to talk and ask questions of the subject; however, if the subject is not under arrest, he/she is equally free not to answer questions and just walk away. Similarly, one is not legally required to answer a text message nor provide information that may incriminate oneself. If the recipient does not recognize the texter or does not feel comfortable communicating, he/she is free to terminate the interaction. The right to remain silent and not incriminate oneself is enshrined in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution and covers not only oral communication but presumably any words or actions testimonial in nature. (This could include emails and texts.) The issue is whether the answers were compelled or voluntarily given. If an individual freely provides information pertaining to his/her immigration status and country of origin, such information may be used during immigration court proceedings to satisfy the government's burden of proof.

PROFESSIONAL RECOGNITION

    • The National Advocates | Top 100 Lawyers
    • Rated by Super Lawyers | Angie Garasia | 5 Years
    • Avvo Rating 10.0 | Superb
    • Client Distinction Award martindale.com | 2016 Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award
    • New Jersey State Bar Association | Paris Lee Chair - Immigration Section 2015-2016
    • Nationally Recognized | Newsweek Nationwide Showcase | Top Attorneys 2013
    • New Jersey Chapter | American Immigration Lawyers Association | Angie Garasia | Chapter Chair 2015-2016
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Lee & Garasia, LLC
190 State Route 27
Edison, NJ 08820

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