Lee & Garasia, LLC
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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

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Edison Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

New Public Charge Rule Will Affect Green Card Applicants Who Have Used Government Aid

Last week witnessed the release of the much-dreaded final rule pertaining to the public charge ground of inadmissibility. To say that the new policy is a drastic reworking of the current practice is an understatement. The policy changes not only significantly expand the contours of what is considered a public charge but potentially arm adjudicators with additional tools to deny individuals seeking admission into the US. Since the Department of State has already implemented its own draconian public charge regulations, these new changes primarily affect people who are applying for family-based admission in the US, notably adjustment of status applicants. It also impacts certain non-immigrants requesting a change or extension of stay in the US.

New U Visa Policy | I-918 Application Will Not Stop Deportation

This month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced an important policy change pertaining to enforcement against individuals who have filed for protection under the U visa program. The changes are formalized in Directive 11005.2 and summarized in a Questions and Answers Fact Sheet issued by the agency on August 2. In a significant reversal of the former practice, ICE officers are no longer required to interact with USCIS to request a prima facie determination of eligibility for U status before executing a removal order against an individual who has lodged a Stay of Removal. Effective immediately, ICE officers and attorneys are now accorded a wide berth of discretion to determine what action to take against such individuals. Enforcement are to consider the totality of circumstances, including both positive and negative factors; the beneficial impact of an applicant's assistance to law enforcement; and whether a temporary reprieve from removal is appropriate-all this without input from USCIS, which is in charge of adjudicating the U visa application. As a consequence, a sizeable population of U visa applicants with outstanding removal orders but who have legitimate pending U visa applications, may be expeditiously removed notwithstanding that they may have meritorious, approvable cases.

How Much Bank Balance Do I Need For The Affidavit of Support?

Over the last year, there has been alarming uptick of consular cases denied on public charge grounds. Under this ground, a visa may be refused if the "applicant is likely, at any time after admission, to become primarily dependent on the US Government (federal, state, or local) for subsistence. Under new Department of State guidelines, the Affidavit of Support, in and of itself-even where the petitioner meets 125% of the poverty guideline level-is no longer dispositive. While a strong affidavit may serve as a positive factor, a whole host of other factors should be taken into consideration by the consular officer, including the visa applicant's "age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, and skills."

False Claim to Citizenship Does Not Need To Be Knowing to Trigger Deportation

A deeply jarring decision from the Board of Immigration Appeals came out late last month pertaining to the issue of false claims to US Citizenship. Under Section 237(a)(3)(D)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, "an alien who falsely represents, or has falsely represented himself to be a citizen of the United States for any purpose or benefit under this Act (including section 274A) or any Federal or State law is deportable." What makes this case, Matter of Zhang, 27 I & N Dec. 569 (BIA 2019), interesting is that the Board held that a false claim need not necessarily be made knowingly in order to render an individual deportable. Here, Mr. Zhang purchased a naturalization certificate without having undergone the examination, and it was questionable as to whether he knowingly or unknowingly tried to circumvent the process. On appeal, Mr. Zhang maintained that he in good faith believed that he was a US citizen and argued that the government bore the burden of demonstrating that he made the false claim willfully or knowingly.

Citizenship Test Will Be Changing | N-400 Test Changes

Green Card holders interested in becoming United States Citizens should be aware that USCIS is planning on revising the civics test as part of a new decennial review and revision process. Under this plan, the citizenship test will be reviewed every ten years and if necessary, revised to ensure accuracy, timeliness, as well integrity. The test was last revised in 2009.

Military Parole In Place and Deferred Action May Be Discontinued

According to very reputable sources, it appears that the Administration will soon be terminating humanitarian policies intended for the military. The two most prominent programs that are endangered are deferred action and parole-in-place ("PIP" for short). The second one, especially, has been of enormous utility to family members of the military who would not otherwise be eligible to adjust their status in the United States. For more information on parole-in-place, read our previous entry here. Although USCIS has yet to officially confirm anything, those intending on filing for deferred action or parole-in-place would be well advised to do so within the next few weeks before the new hardline policy becomes effective. Should these programs be terminated, undocumented and out-of-status family members of active and veteran military members will presumably not be given any special consideration, and like those similarly situated, be vulnerable to removal from the US. The negative effects of dismantling parole-in-place should be obvious: morale and the ability to focus on one's duties may be compromised if armed force members serving our country are now preoccupied with and worried about family members who do not have status.

Plans to Merge USCIS Office Means Interviews in Different States

At the AILA Annual Conference this past month, there was talk amongst attorneys of USCIS's latest plans to "realign" operations to purportedly enhance efficiency by redistributing the workload. This was also confirmed by a USCIS official quite recently, and we have actually seen some parts of it implemented already. Under this new operational protocol, scheduled to go into effect officially this October, the 24 District Offices throughout the United States will be consolidated into 16 Districts. As a consequence, each District Office will serve more states. However, locale and proximity do not apparently figure to be dispositive factors in determining which office serves which states. For example, it seems that the Brooklyn Office will now be subsumed by the Newark District Office. The Boston Office will reportedly merge with the Buffalo Office, and cases originally scheduled for adjudication at the Philadelphia Office will supposedly now go to the Cleveland Field Office.

5 Year Bar For Missing Immigration Court

Individuals with problematic immigration cases may already be aware of the three and ten-years bars, which typically apply after a person has accrued the requisite "unlawful presence" and then departed the United States. If a person is deemed to have been unlawfully present for 180 days or more, but less than one year, and then left the country, he/she will face the three-year bar. If a person has one year or more of unlawful presence, and then departed the country, he/she will be barred for ten years. What is less known, and perhaps more insidious, is something called "the five-year bar," which can prove even more formidable than the unlawful presence bar.

NJ Drunk Driving Immigration Consequences | Marijuana Use Can Be Deportable

In New Jersey, a DWI is most commonly associated with alcohol. However, that is not the only way an individual can be charged with driving while under the influence. Under New Jersey statute 39:4-50, the law encompasses driving under the influence of not only intoxicating liquor, but also narcotics, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drugs. In other words, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana can give rise to a DWI charge just as easily as driving impaired due to alcohol.

Emergency Travel Outside of US While Green Card Case Pending

With few exceptions, leaving the United States while a green card case is pending can be fatal to one's case. In general, departure from the United States without an advance parole document normally results in a denial of the adjustment of status petition. USCIS will determine that the individual has abandoned the application. Moreover, in some cases, if an applicant has overstayed and accrued too much "unlawful presence," he or she may trigger a three or ten-year bar from returning (depending on the length of the unlawful presence). So, in most cases, if an individual foresees that he/she will need to travel outside the US during the pendency of an adjustment of status case, advance parole should be strongly considered.

PROFESSIONAL RECOGNITION

    • 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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