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

Does Applying For Public Benefits Mean My Citizenship Case Will Be Denied?

Last Thursday, USCIS announced that it will be implementing its Final Rule on Public Charge Inadmissibility on February 24, 2020 (except in the state of Illinois, where the rule remains currently enjoined). Under the new regulations, USCIS officers will have expanded authority to determine whether an applicant is likely to become a public charge by evaluating a number of factors including but not limited to an individual's age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, and skills. Additionally, a noncitizen who receives a specified public benefit for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period will practically be presumed to be someone more likely than not to become a public charge in the future. 

With this breaking development, which is likely to significantly affect the vast majority of green card cases after its effective date, there has been some confusion as to how it will be applied to citizenship cases. Fortunately, the final rule pertains to grounds of inadmissibility, which are potentially implicated when an individual applies for adjustment of status or seeks to enter the country from abroad. It does not currently apply to naturalization matters, although it does forecast the direction in which things are moving. So, as of now, receipt of public benefits-ie., welfare, food stamps, cash assistance-does not, in and of itself, disqualify an individual from becoming a citizen. However, this does not mean that public benefits are not relevant to the analysis. In fact, these is a specific question on the N-400 that asks whether the applicant has made any misrepresentation to obtain public benefits. This is a loaded question that potentially goes to good moral character and more importantly, potentially to one's green card. In other words, if an applicant lied or obtained public benefits through fraud or misrepresentation prior to a grant of permanent residence, this conduct could have possibly affected one's green card case if disclosed. If it was not disclosed and only discovered at this point now, during the naturalization application process, USCIS may defer the matter for investigation and conceivably institute an action to revoke one's green card if it is determined that this information could have materially affected the adjudication process.
This is just one illustration of how conduct prior to, as well as after a grant of permanent residence, can affect an application for naturalization. While officers presumably focus on the statutory period, they are not necessarily limited to that time period and can, when warranted, inquire into conduct beyond the five years if relevant. This is why it is especially important to fully explore all previous periods of residence in the US with your attorney and not gloss over any problematic issues just because they are outside the five (or in some cases, three) year statutory period.
The above is general information only. It is not specific legal advice nor intended to create an attorney client relationship. If you need advice, please consult with an attorney.

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    • Avvo Rating 10.0 | Superb
    • Client Distinction Award | 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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