Friday, February 14, 2014

Majority of Americans Support Immigration Reform

There is broad support for a variety of proposed immigration reform measures being considered by Congress. Americans overwhelmingly acknowledge the need to reform the country’s current broken immigration system. Proposals include enforcement measures, new pathways to legal status and citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and further opportunities for workers in key industries to legally immigrate to the United States. Key findings are as follows:

Americans support every major immigration reform proposal on the table. Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of a variety of proposed reform measures, including implementing a new entry and exit visa tracking system (86% support/11% oppose), requiring employers to electronically verify the legal status of job-seekers (82%/16%), and giving the Department of Homeland Security more resources to secure the border (78%/21%). Each of these three proposals receives the support of at least three-quarters of voters from both parties. Clear majorities also support proposals such as a merit-based visa system for future legal immigrants (78% support/18% oppose), a start-up visa program for foreign entrepreneurs (73%/22%), allowing both more legal immigrants with advanced skills in science or technology (70%/28%) and allowing more lower-skilled legal immigrants as guest workers in industries with labor shortages (64%/33%).
Voters agree that undocumented immigrants should have the opportunity to come out of the shadows and remain in the country legally – whether it’s described as pathway to “citizenship” or to “legal status.” Six in ten Americans support a “pathway to citizenship” for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants presently in the country (63% support/33% oppose). Support is similar for a “pathway to legal status” for undocumented immigrants (58%/37%). Regardless of how it is described, majorities across partisan lines – including Republicans (51% support “citizenship” and 56% support “legal status) – support these proposals. Meanwhile, voters are near-unanimous (88% support/11% oppose) in their support to creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came here as children as long as they meet certain criteria. This measure earns the support of 90% of Democrats, 90% of Independents and 81% of Republicans.
Voters roundly reject the immigration status quo. Americans overwhelmingly call for new reforms (79% adopt new reforms/15% leave the system as is) over leaving the current broken immigration system as is.
There is clear political opportunity for members of Congress who back immigration reform. Americans are far more inclined to vote for incumbents who support immigration reform (39% more likely/9% less likely). This is true among Republican voters (41% more likely/11% less likely), Democrats (43% more/7% less), and Independents (34% more/11% less) alike.

Americans will feel disappointment if Congress does not take this opportunity to reform the nation’s immigration laws. Roughly three in four voters (74% disappointed/25% not disappointed) will be disappointed if Congress does not act on any proposals currently being considered and fails to pass any new laws for the country’s immigration system.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Obama to Allow Military Immigrant Relatives to Stay in US

Obama to Allow Military Immigrant Relatives to Stay in the US

Federal immigration authorities will no longer deport non-criminal immigrant family members of former and active duty members of immigrants serving in the United States military.

According to a Department of Homeland Security memo released Friday, November 15, 2013, the Obama administration  states that illegal immigrants who are relatives of United States active military and veterans will no longer be deported, and can apply to stay in the United States.

This new policy will apply to troops' and veterans' spouses, children and parents, who can now apply for parole status that will allow them to stay in the United States and suspend deportations.

The parole status is authorized in one-year increments and allows relatives to adjust for permanent legal status.

Parole of Spouses, children and parents of Armed Forces personnel

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that veterans have earned the right to keep their relatives in the United States, and wants to assist military members, veterans, and their families to navigate our complex immigration system and apply for naturalization and other immigration services and benefits.

It is estimated that about five percent of the force, or more than 65,000 military immigrants, currently serve on active-duty. This new policy memo indicates that halting the deportation of immigrant family members would help to alleviate the “stress and anxiety” of these military personnel. 

"Similarly, our veterans, who have served and sacrificed for our nation, can face stress and anxiety because of the immigration status of their family members in the United States."

"We as a nation have made a commitment to our veterans, to support and care for them. It is a commitment that begins at enlistment, and continues as they become veterans."

Immigration Attorney Proudly Serving in the United States

Brandt Immigration handles immigration and citizenship issues on a daily basis and if you are a spouse, child, or parent of armed forces personnel, or have questions regarding this new policy, we encourage you to contact the experienced Immigration Attorneys at Brandt Immigration today.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Immigration Courts Nationwide Suspended During Government Shutdown

Immigration courts nationwide are continuing to adjudicate detained cases. Court functions that support the detained caseload will continue, but other functions are suspended. 

For specific information about a particular court, please visit:

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is processing emergency stay requests as well as cases where the alien is detained, including case appeals, motions, federal court remands, and bonds. The stay line is open (for emergency stay calls only), but all other telephone lines have been switched to closed status. The BIA Clerk’s Office staff is accepting all filings and will be open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

During the government shutdown, the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer will maintain its ability to issue subpoenas and accept for filing any complaints that must be filed to comply with statutory deadlines.

In Orlando, evidence of the shutdown's effect was on display at the two-story building that houses the immigration court in an office park east of downtown. A sign on the door said the court was closed except for cases involving "detention." All others would be "re-scheduled when the government re-opens," the sign said.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Will a criminal conviction or arrest affect my immigration status?

    If you are not a United States citizen, an arrest and/or conviction can affect your immigration status. Certain criminal convictions can directly lead to being placed in removal proceedings (also commonly referred to as deportation proceedings)
    If you are not a United States Citizen and you have been charged with a crime, it is particularly important that you consult with an experienced attorney that is familiar with the criminal and immigration laws. It is important that before you plead to any type of criminal charge you are fully aware of the immigration consequences of the criminal conviction.

    For more  information or to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Immigration Attorneys, please call us today at 888-553-5806 or email

    Brandt Immigration
    Orlando Immigration Lawyers
    Experienced Immigration Attorneys

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Immigration Attorney Dina Castillo Ward

Dina Castillo Ward is an immigration attorney that brings a diverse immigration background to Brandt Immigration.

She has over 14 years of experience, including time spent as an Immigration Information Officer with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services and as a Judicial Intern with the Executive Office for Immigration Review – Immigration Court.  Attorney Castillo Ward focuses her practice in all areas of immigration law.

Attorney Castillo Ward is a member of the Florida Bar, American Immigration Lawyers Association, American Bar Association and Orange County Bar Association.  For more information, please do not hesitate to contact the office to schedule an appointment with Ms. Castillo Ward.

Monday, September 2, 2013

DS-260 Form to be Required for all Consular Processing Immigrant Visa Applicants

Beginning on September 3, 2013 the Department of State (DOS) will transition to an online Immigrant Visa application instead of filing the paper forms.

The Immigrant Visa application is the process by which a foreign national obtains his or her green card while outside the U.S.  The immigrant visa applicant will submit Form DS-260 (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration) online along with Form DS-261 (Choice of Address and Agent).

These new online forms will replace the previous paper Form DS-230 and DS-3032.  Only Diversity Visa and Cuban Family Reunification Parole Applicants will continue to use the paper forms.

While the online Forms DS-260 is very similar to the paper Form DS-230 there are a few changes. Namely, the applicant’s residential history.  Previously on the paper Form DS-230, the Immigrant Visa applicant only had to list the City, State/Province, Country, and dates of their residency since the age of 16.

Now, the applicant must list the full address of every place they lived since reaching 16 years of age.  The full address must include the street number, street address, City, State/Province, and zip/postal code.

After the implementation date, the National Visa Center may instruct applicants who recently filed paper Forms DS-230 and DS-3032 to refile using the online system. This may only occur in some instances, but recent applicants should be prepared to refile.

Brandt Immigration is experienced at submitting Form DS-260 applications online and knows how detail-orientated the forms actually are.  If you or a family member are interested in obtaining an Immigrant Visa please do not hesitate to contact our experienced immigration lawyers today.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Deferred Action Immigration Program In First Year Aids More Than 400,000

One year ago, undocumented young people turned out by the thousands across the country to apply for a new government program that allows them to stay in the United States, work and remain safe from deportation. A dream and a chance for a pathway to citizenship.

A report just released by Brookings provides information on the "DREAMers" who applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals relief beginning on August 15, 2012.

There are more than 557,000 of them and nearly 72 percent (400,562) have been approved for the program as of the end of June. Those DREAMers came the US as children from around the world. 
75% of those DREAMers had been in the country for more than a decade by the time they applied for deferred action, and 33% entered before they were 5 years 
old. Most applicants were ages 15 to 23.

The program is clearly successful, however it is only a small resolution and we must keep fighting for a comprehensive immigration reform!