Lee & Garasia, LLC
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  • "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

Green Cards Archives

Green Card Renewal Denied | Options and Consequences

For a lawful permanent resident, denial of a green card renewal application can be extremely stressful. Depending on the nature of the denial, there can be severe consequences, both direct and collateral, ranging from bearing an expired identity document to being placed into removal proceedings. At the outset, it is crucial to distinguish exactly what is being "renewed" because the nomenclature is used so loosely. A green card renewal comes up in two different contexts.

Applicants Are Responsible For False Information In Immigration Forms

The Board of Immigration Appeals recently issued a sobering decision that underscores the importance of understanding your own immigration case and knowing what you are filing. In Matter of Valdez, 27 I&N Dec. 496 (BIA 2018), the Board discounted the appellant's claim that they should not be held accountable for false statements contained in their applications because they were not fully aware of what the preparer was asserting on their behalf. In the case of the Valdezes, their green card applications were approved on the basis of Mr. Valdez serving as a religious worker. However, Mr. Valdez never worked as a minister with the church that sponsored him. His defense in court was that English was not his native language and he did not understand or appreciate that his application contained false information. Neither the immigration court nor the BIA gave much credence to this argument. The BIA essentially held that ignorance of the contents of an application prepared by someone else does not absolve the applicant. When an individual has signed an immigration application, there is a strong presumption that the signer knows and understands what he/she is signing off on. In fact, "given the nature and significance of immigration documents...it is reasonable to expect that aliens will take steps to ascertain the accuracy of documents they sign and obtain a translation, if necessary." Eschewing reading or translation of an application's contents does not constitute a legitimate excuse. Of course, there are genuine instances where applicants were deceived and truly unaware of what was being filed for them. However, in order to overcome this strong presumption of knowledge, the onus is on the applicant to demonstrate fraud, deceit, or malfeasance.

New Policy for I-751 Green Card Interviews

USCIS has issued a new policy memorandum that provides guidance to USCIS officers on waiving interviews for I-751 cases. Under the Immigration and Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986, immigrants who have been married for less than two years to their petitioning spouse at the time their case is approved are granted "conditional green cards." To remove these conditions, immigrants must file the I-751 petition, normally together with their spouses, but in some cases, alone with a waiver request. Over the last two years, we have seen an uptick in I-751 cases being scheduled for interviews, even for cases which are clearly approvable and devoid of any issues-which therefore makes the timing of this new guidance intriguing. In any case, the new policy is overall positive and may help to expedite the processing of I-751 cases (which are currently taking close to 18 months and in some cases, longer) by allowing officers to dispense with interviews under certain circumstances.

New Immigration Policy Poses Deportation Risk For Green Card Applicants

During the July 4th break, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a very important policy change that drastically departs from previous agency guidance issued in 2011. Memo 602-0050.1 is titled "Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens" and supersedes previous policy under which people were placed into immigration court by USCIS. Except in very limited circumstances, the revised guidance will now govern when NTAs should be issued, or individuals referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for further action.

How To File For Your Brother's or Sister's Visa or Green Card | Latest Developments

Over the last few months, the Trump Administration has vociferously touted its plan to reform the immigration system by truncating "chain migration." Put simply, adult children, brothers, sisters, and parents would no longer be eligible through a family relationship to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident. Fortunately, there is no such law yet. US Citizens currently remain able to file I-130s petitions for their siblings under the fourth preference family category-and should strongly consider doing so, given the interminable backlog as well as the specter of extinction.

Immigration Issues 10-Year Green Card By Mistake | Error on Green Card

Occasionally, USCIS may issue green cards that erroneously indicate the wrong date of expiration. In fact, in late 2016, a New York Times article reported that an Officer of Inspector General report found that more than 2400 permanent residents who were approved for and should have been granted conditional green cards were mistakenly given permanent ten year green cards without conditions. Immigrants who receive green cards with administrative errors should not take the mistake lightly. For some, there can be serious ramifications, especially in the context of the above scenario.

File For Your Family's Visa Before It Becomes Too Late | Plans to Limit Immigration

Over the last few weeks, there has been significant coverage of immigration in the media due to the government shutdown as well as President Trump's bold agenda to tighten border security and restrict immigration. While much attention has been given to the fate of "Dreamers" and their ability to acquire permanent residency, the welfare of their undocumented parents as well as family immigration, in general, has been given short shrift. To state things plainly, there is a movement underway to drastically limit family immigration. Under President Trump's Framework on Immigration Reform and Border Security, the Administration is seeking to curb the legal migration of family members and limit visas to only the nuclear family. Under the its definition, only spouses and minor children of US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents are considered eligible to apply for a green card. Parents, adult children 21 years or older, as well as siblings have been relegated to the category of "extended family," which traditionally would encompass cousins, aunts and uncles. In short, the following preference categories would be eliminated under President Trump's plan:

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.

Not All Green Card Holders Qualify for the 212h Criminal Waiver

The Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") recently issued a precedential decision late this month that may be of interest to green card holders who are or may be facing removal proceedings. The case is Matter of Giovanni Rosalia VELLA, 27 I &N Dec. 138 (2017). The issue concerns whether a lawful permanent resident who is convicted of an aggravated felony is eligible to file for a 212h criminal waiver if his/her most recent admission was not as a lawful permanent resident. Under 212h of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the government may waive the following criminal grounds of inadmissibility:

How Long Does It Take For A Green Card Interview To Be Scheduled?

Once a family-based petition for a green card is filed, especially in conjunction with an adjustment of status application, an applicant will often wonder how long the case will take to complete. Generally speaking, we have seen a delay in adjudication in 2017 due to a slew of applications for citizenship and green cards that were filed last year. As a result, cases that would ordinarily take four to five months can take possibly up to and sometimes beyond one year. For family-based applications, is it important to understand that most cases will be scheduled for an interview at the local district office. For example, nearly all I-130 spouse petitions filed with I-485 adjustment of status applications will be scheduled for an interview. This makes sense given that an officer will need to meet with the couple to determine whether the relationship is genuine and bona fide. Therefore, it is unrealistic for an applicant to assume that once he/she is married and files for permanent residence, the green card will automatically be mailed without some sort of government vetting, especially in this day and age. On the other hand, not all family based cases will be scheduled for interviews. It is possible that certain cases will be adjudicated without having the petitioner and beneficiary appear personally for questioning.

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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