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© Copyright 2016 Law Office of Mary K. Neal, LLC. This website is attorney advertising material. General information on this website should not be relied on as legal advice for any specific issue. Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Imagine that you have been living in the United States for many years as a legal permanent resident.  You have always paid your taxes, always been careful to keep your immigration documents up-to-date.  You work hard, support your family, and have never committed any crime, never been involved with any nefarious organizations.  Finally, you decide it is time to apply for citizenship.  You sign up for a citizenship workshop, and conscientiously bring all your documents with you. 

You are sure that everything is in order, and then an attorney at the workshop tells you that you not only should not apply for citizenship, you may actually be deportable.  How can that be? You have led a model life!  Now you are in danger of being sent out of your adopted country forever?

This is the reality for many immigrants who find out they may have made a false claim to U.S. citizenship.  The immigrant may have received a voter registration card in the mail, or reported for jury duty after receiving a...
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The United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) just published many new study aids for immigrants who want to prepare for the citizenship exam. I thought I'd blog on a happy note today and highlight the benefits of citizenship.

Many immigrants live for years or decades as legal permanent residents (LPR).  LPRs or "green card" holders are able to live and work in the U.S. virtually without restriction, and are eligible for many benefits.  From day to day, life for an LPR may seem no different from the life of a citizen.  However, besides personal benefits, citizenship can make a big difference to family and community, and it is also the only truly "permanent" status available.

If you are eligible to become a citizen, here are some of the benefits you would realize:

1. Freedom to travel and even live overseas without the worry of falling out of status:  As an LPR, if you spend too much time outside the United States, the government may determine that you have abandoned your re...
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The case of Mexican father Felipe Montes and his American citizen children highlights the bind faced by immigrant families in custody proceedings.  Parents wanting to keep their families intact are forced to take different or even contradictory stances in immigration court and in state proceedings.

Briefly, here is Montes' story based on news reports (read Fox News or NPR ):

Mr. Montes lived and worked in North Carolina for many years, even though he never had a valid visa  or legal status in the United States.  He married a U.S. Citizen and was by all accounts a good father to his three American-born sons. Unable to get a North Carolina driver's license because he had no Social Security number, he was cited by the local police multiple times for driving without a license and related offenses.   Eventually, these driving violations put Montes on the radar of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  Montes was detained and sent back to Mexico.  Ill and unable to work, Montes' wife c...
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Today, March 29, 2012 Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, declared temporary protected status (TPS) for Syrian nationals present in the United States.  Syrians can register for this status from now until September 25th, of this year (2012).  The protected status will last until September 25th of the following year, 2013.

I just attended a teleconference hosted by USCIS on this topic, and thought this would be excellent topic for my first blog entry on this site.  So here's a primer on TPS, and some specifics about the Syria designation.  This is simplified and not meant as advice on any specific person's situation.  There are many nuances to immigration categories that are beyond the scope of this blog.

What is TPS?  How is this different from Asylum?

Foreign nationals who are granted TPS are allowed to live and work in the U.S. without fear of removal (deportation) other than on criminal grounds, and can travel outside the U.S. with special permission (advanced parole).

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