Welcome to 2020! There are new laws that have gone into effect on and around January 1, 2020 on a local, state and national level. Here are a couple of the changes in 2020 and how they may impact your immigration application.
Purchasing, possession and use of marijuana, in the legally mandated quantities is now legal in the state of Illinois. However, purchasing, possession and use of marijuana is still illegal at the federal level across the United States.
If you go to an interview with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and you are asked if you have used marijuana your answer should be 1) honest, and 2) no. Any use, even in California, Colorado, Illinois or any other state where it is legal to use marijuana is still illegal on the federal level and you should not be using any drugs that are prohibited by the federal government.
USCIS Fee Schedule
A proposal to increase rates on many USCIS applications including the Petition for Alien Relative and Application for Naturalization, among others. The comment period on this proposal ended on December 30, 2019. As of now, with the comment period completed, USCIS may look to implement these changes sooner than later.
If you are a green card holder that has been holding of on applying for citizenship, the application cost will potentially be going up from $640 to a proposed $1,170. If you have an application that you have delayed on filing, filing now will potentially save you hundreds in application fees.
On December 20, 2019 a new law went into effect, Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF). If you are a Liberian refugee who has been in the United States continuously since November 20, 2014 you may be eligible to receive a green card. This may also extend to your spouse, children under 21 and unmarried sons or daughters over 21.
These applications are only being accepted for one year, until December 20, 2020, so act fast. If you know Liberian family or friends that could benefit, let them know about the program so that they can act before it ends.
Around the holidays it is easy to get wrapped up in the season. Festivities, family, parties, showing appreciation for the year. It is important to remember that being around family is a privilege for some that is taken away in an instant.
Extra activity by the government to increase deportations does not mean you will be an exception. A recent news article highlights that many deportation proceedings that were administratively closed are now being reopened. For those with an ability to be documented, now is the time to act. There are individuals who are having their closed deportation proceedings reopened, or those who will encounter police checkpoints, or those who are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is to all of the individuals with options that I send the message - act now.
If you are married to a United States citizen and you are undocumented, it is time to speak with an immigration attorney. If you have a mother, father or child over 21 who is a United States citizen or green card holder, it is time to speak with an immigration attorney. If you have been the victim of a crime or have helped the police in their investigation of a criminal, it is time to speak with an immigration attorney. If you have been living with your United States citizen significant other, you have a child together, but you have are holding off to get married, now is the time to start the conversation. If you are undocumented and you do not understand your options, it is time to act now.
There are many reasons not to act on your status. You may be concerned about your family, or what could happen if you start proceedings, everything has been working until now, or even concern over money. However, you do not want to be making your immigration choices when you do not have the options to set your own schedule. Now is the time to take control of your future and the future of your family - act now.