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IL immigration attorneyImmigrants who are hoping to live in the United States and those who are already present in the country may encounter a variety of issues that will affect their legal status and their ability to obtain the necessary visas or Green Cards. One issue that may arise during the immigration process involves inadmissibility, in which immigration officials determine that a person is not eligible to enter the U.S. Fortunately, this will not necessarily prevent a person from immigrating to the United States, and waivers of inadmissibility may be available in certain situations.

Applying for Waivers of Inadmissibility

While there are multiple reasons why a person may be inadmissible, waivers may be available if a person meets certain requirements. These requirements include:

  • Inadmissibility for health-related reasons - If a person is inadmissible because they have been diagnosed with an infectious disease such as gonorrhea, syphilis, or leprosy, they may qualify for a waiver if they are the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder or if they are applying for a visa under the Violence Against Women Act. A person who is inadmissible because they have not received required vaccinations may receive a waiver if they can provide evidence they are opposed to vaccinations because of sincerely-held religious beliefs. Those who are inadmissible due to physical or mental health disorders that are associated with harmful behavior may be able to receive a waiver if they can provide a complete medical history that includes findings about their current condition and details treatment that is available in the United States that is expected to reduce the likelihood of future harmful behavior.
  • Inadmissibility based on criminal convictions - Waivers may be available for those who are inadmissible due to crimes of moral turpitude, controlled substance violations, prostitution, or multiple criminal convictions that resulted in prison sentences of at least five years. In general, a waiver will be available if at least 15 years have passed since the criminal activity in question, although waivers may also be available in other situations.
  • Inadmissibility based on unlawful presence - A person who remained in the United States illegally for between six months and one year will be inadmissible for three years, while a person who was in the U.S. illegally for more than one year will be inadmissible for 10 years. However, these immigrants may qualify for waivers in some cases.

In many cases, a person may qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility if they can show that being denied admission to the United States would result in extreme hardship for an immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder. A person who is not currently in the United States or who is applying for an adjustment of status may file Form I-601 to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility. Those who are currently in the U.S. may file Form I-601A if they have already applied for an immigrant visa and would be inadmissible due to unlawful presence.

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IL immigration lawyerThere are many different types of issues that can affect a person’s legal status as an immigrant to the United States. People who have entered the U.S. on an immigrant or non-immigrant visa or who have received a Green Card through adjustment of status may face deportation based on a number of factors, including certain types of criminal convictions. An experienced immigration attorney can help immigrants understand the types of convictions that may cause a person to be deported and the options for addressing these issues.

What Types of Crimes Make a Person Deportable?

Immigration laws are meant to protect the health and safety of those who live in the United States, and immigrants who commit offenses that may cause harm to other people may be subject to deportation. Some offenses will automatically lead to deportation, while others may lead immigration officials to detain a person and initiate removal proceedings because they believe that a person presents a risk of harm to others.

Generally, deportation proceedings may address the following types of crimes:

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DuPage County immigration attorneyA recent decision by a Texas federal judge has dealt a blow to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the United States, which currently provides protection for hundreds of thousands of immigrants. With the judge’s ruling that the program is illegal, the program will no longer be accepting new applicants, and the status of those who are currently in the program could also come into question.

The DACA Program

In 2012, then-President Obama created the DACA program in order to provide a reprieve from deportation for undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children. Many of these Dreamers–a term frequently used to refer to those protected by DACA–are now adults. Since the program was created, more than 800,000 Dreamers have been accepted.

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump tried shutting down the program, but was barred from doing so by a number of legal actions. In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court finally ruled that the Trump administration could not dissolve the program since it had failed to provide a sufficient justification to end the program.

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Itasca IL immigration lawyerIn January, the Biden administration announced plans for the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 with the goal of implementing significant immigration reform. The bill was formally introduced in both the House and the Senate in February and is currently working its way through the legislative process in both chambers. The bill contains hundreds of pages of legalese, as most congressional bills do. The goal of the bill is much more direct: “To provide an earned path to citizenship, to address the root causes of migration and responsibly manage the southern border, and to reform the immigrant visa system, and for other purposes.”

Breakdown of the Bill

If it passes, the new law would create the largest immigration legalization program in United States history. Some of the key highlights of the bill include the following:

  • Many undocumented immigrants would be eligible for lawful prospective immigrant (LPI) status if they were physically here in the U.S. on or before January 1, 2021. LPI status would allow them to stay in the country lawfully, be eligible for social security cards and work authorizations, and travel outside the U.S. and be readmitted as long as the time away does not exceed 180 days. They would also be able to renew their LPI status every six years; however, if the individual passes a national security and criminal background check and pays taxes, they would be eligible for lawful permanent residence (LPR) status in five years. It is estimated that this new rule would apply to about 11 million undocumented immigrants. Other immigrants who would also be eligible for LPI status are those who worked during the COVID-19 pandemic at jobs that are deemed “essential critical labor or services,” temporary protected status (TPR) recipients, and temporary agricultural workers classified as H-2A.

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Itasca IL immigration lawyerPresident Biden has announced that his administration will be limiting the number of immigration arrests that take place at courthouses. According to the new policy, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents will no longer have the authorization to carry out routine arrests at courthouses.

ICE agents will still be able to arrest individuals in cases in which matters of national security are at risk or the individual poses a threat to public safety. They will also be able to arrest an individual who is the subject of an active pursuit or if there is suspicion the individual may destroy evidence.

Addressing Fears of Law Enforcement

The policy of immigration arrests at courthouses was put in place by the Trump administration and allowed ICE agents to make routine immigration arrests at federal, state, and local courthouses. The practice is believed to have caused many people to avoid cooperating with law enforcement or attending court hearings. Many undocumented immigrants were fearful of confronting domestic abusers or testifying at trials because they feared being arrested by ICE agents and then facing deportation charges.

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