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  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 2:43 pm on May 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Immigration decisions Threaten Rule of Law 

    With the President‘s proclamation of Buy American-Hire American and with “no tolerance” declarations coming from Homeland Security and the Attorney General, the immigration service (USCIS) has been issuing illogical decisions in many cases which fail to follow the rule of law.

    Our immigration system is based on laws and federal regulations. As a Board Certified Immigration lawyer I am hearing reports  from immigrants and their attorneys across the country that the government is ignoring the law and denying otherwise approvable immigration cases. In cases of legal immigrants that were previously approved, such as non-immigrant investors, intra-company transfers and other temporary workers these people are seeing their renewal applications denied. The law has not changed, but the government is too often choosing to ignore the law or otherwise is giving the law a skewed interpretation never seen in historical precedent.

    At my office, this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer has seen cases based on clear evidence being denied. The USCIS in many cases is completely ignoring the evidence and denying cases with no reasonable or logical explanation, thereby making a mockery of the rule of law. I am seeing this trend across the board, from deportation cases, to business immigration cases, to immigration marriage cases and to student visa cases. It is also seeping into the political asylum process and every other type of immigration case.

    It used to be that if a case is mistakenly denied or denied because the government overlooked certain evidence, a person could file a Motion to Reopen or Motion to Reconsider. Unfortunately, that process is also being made into a mockery. Either the USCIS chooses to ignore such motions to fix a denial, by letting them sit there for years with no decision (while the person remains subject to deportation while waiting), or they  deny the motion on improper and wrong technical grounds without considering the merits of the motion. At this point, I often tell my clients not to bother with such motions.

    What is an American spouse or  sponsoring company to do when they follow all the rules and receive an unfair decision? For years, the final answer for my clients has been litigation. For many years, I have filed lawsuits against Homeland Security and other government agencies for wrongful denials of immigration cases. While these have been few and far between over the years, the recent uptick in illogical, unfair, and, dare I say–illegal—denials, warrants the need for more  immigration lawsuits to be brought.

    Ultimately, a federal judge has the ability to order the reversal of a decision if it is arbitrary, capricious or not in accordance with the law. I encourage immigrants, non-immigrant workers, companies, American spouses of foreign nationals, immigrant students and others to challenge these improper denials by taking their cases to federal court and asking a federal judge to consider the evidence (something that USCIS is all-to-often failing to do).

    For further information, this Houston immigration lawyer (713.850.0066) and Miami immigration lawyer (305.538.6800) may be reached by phone or via email at bruce.coane@gmail.com.

     

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  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 7:58 pm on March 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dreamers   

    Dreamers and the End of DACA, with Board Certified Immigration Attorney Bruce Coane 

    Who are the “Dreamers” that we hear about in the immigration debate? What is DACA? I explain it all in this short video.

    As a Houston Immigration Lawyer and Miami Immigration Lawyer, I use these words at work on almost a daily basis. There are hundreds of thousands of young people who got work permits under President Obama’s Executive Order called DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

    These young adults, who came here illegally as young children and dream about one day being “legal” in the U.S. are known as Dreamers. Many of them already have a work permit thanks to DACA, but President Trump canceled the DACA program as of March 5, 2018, and these young adults can no longer get their work permits or their legal “DACA” status renewed.

    For more, check out my video.

     

    For further information, I can be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, or by email at bruce.coane@gmail.com

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:39 pm on February 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: i9, ICE, w4, Work authorization, work permit   

    Employers will be seeing stepped-up Immigration Inspections 

    In a recent article in the Houston Chronicle, it was noted that ICE will engage in stepped-up enforcement at work-sites, looking for undocumented workers or other violations of immigration law.

    cronice

    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/columnists/tomlinson/article/Employers-should-prepare-for-immigration-12486366.php

    It is unlawful for an employer to hire or employ a person who is not a citizen or otherwise authorized to work in the United States.

    There are severe penalties for employers that fail to get a properly completed I-9 form from every worker. These forms are just as important as the W-4 or background check done for every new worker.

    If the I-9 form is not properly signed or dated, or missing information, there can be huge paperwork penalties that amount to tens of thousands of dollars. This Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer has defended businesses on such cases in the past, helping clients to avoid huge penalties.

    The other issue is that if ICE wants to, they can criminally charge the employer and arrest the owners of the business if they find any undocumented workers. It is very important for employers to make sure that their workers are all properly documented, or the employer should consider terminating the worker or helping them to apply for a work permit. Even for undocumented workers, there are often ways to get work permits.

    For further information, I may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800.

     

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:11 pm on February 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , GreenCard, H1B, L1, , VISA   

    Immigration Meltdown…..TPS? Dreamers? Chain Migration? 

    As our immigration system continues to be front-page news, I’ve been watching the entire system literally melt down. As a Board Certified Immigration Lawyer, it is my job to come up with solutions as roadblock after roadblock is placed before my individual and business clients. In this recent article in Playboy magazine, I was quoted in connection with the revocation of TPS and work permits for over 200,000 people from El Salvador in the U.S.

    El-salvador_main

    http://www.playboy.com/articles/what-could-happen-if-the-president-actually-tries-to-deport-200-000

    No, these 200,000 people are not MS-13 gang members, rather they have been fully vetted and passed all security checks. As the president and his appointees revoke program after program and shut down paths to immigration, regular citizens are fighting back. As I mention in the article above, there are solutions available for Salvadorans, but none will be as easy as simply renewing their TPS status and work permits as they have done for over a decade.

    With regard to Dreamers, this issue has been causing the threat of government shutdowns. Of course, the whole issue was created when our president revoked Dreamer status (DACA) for the hundreds of thousands of young people who came out of the shadows to apply for this government benefit, with the promise of work permits for registering themselves. Unlike TPS, this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer reports that there was nothing “temporary” about the DACA program. It was established by an executive order of President Obama, which the current president has revoked, thus creating a DACA problem.

    It is not my job to criticize the president, so let me point out that I do agree with him that there should be a permanent solution to DACA, but revoking and canceling the program may have not been the best way to reach that permanent solution. On the other hand, perhaps the president viewed it as a way to put pressure on Congress to deal with the issue, albeit at the expense of the hundreds of thousands of people who have to worry daily about their immigration status.

    Finally, there is the notion of chain migration, a phrase that I never heard before in my decades of experience as a Houston immigration lawyer. Perhaps I should start saying that I specialize in chain migration, together with my other immigration specialties, but truth be told, that phrase exists nowhere in the law. As a Board Certified Immigration Lawyer, I have no idea what chain migration is.

    According to some of the president’s speeches, it apparently refers to our system of family-based immigration. Under our laws, there are two main ways to immigrate to America, namely business-based immigration and family-based immigration. There are other ways too, such as refugees, etc, but these are the two main ways to come here.

    Family-based immigration is our legal system where U.S. citizens can bring over their spouse, parents and/or children. A U.S. citizen can also sponsor a brother or sister, but that category of immigration typically takes 15 to 25 years, depending on country of origin. So, by chain migration, does the current regime seek to stop a U.S. citizen from sponsoring their foreign-born husband or wife from living with them in the U.S.? Do they seek to stop foreign-born step-children or the grandparents who often babysit, from coming to the U.S.? This is an open question left up to anyone’s guess.

    Since the “chain migration” phrase does not exist in the law, maybe it means to revoke all family-based immigration, or maybe it is a developing concept to revoke as many laws as possible that allow family-based immigration. I will note that the same family-based laws that allow my clients from Norway to sponsor their parents or children to come to America, are the same exact laws that allow my Haitian and Filipino clients to sponsor their spouse and children and parents to come to the U.S.

    I hope this article helps in understanding the current immigration debate. It is important to know exactly what the law and federal regulations actually say, rather than to generalize and claim that all illegal border crossers are drug dealers and MS-13 gang members (couldn’t be further from the truth!), or that all immigrants (or a large percentage) are criminals. I’m sure that the same small percentage of the immigration population that is criminal, matches (or is even less than) the percentage of native born Americans who are criminals. You will notice that those who seek to stop legal immigration to this country do not cite to any valid studies or statistics, rather they cite to a car accident here or a murder there that was committed by an immigrant, while thousands of similar incidents, sadly, are committed by local born Americans every day.

    Finally, I promised to mention the “meltdown.” As the current regime cancels immigration programs and seeks new laws to deport as many people as possible, they are also slowing down and fighting the approval of legal immigration cases across the country. For businesses with approved foreign workers, the government has announced they will re-visit those approvals and in many cases, they are claiming errors in approvals and canceling work permits or revoking them. This is seen across the country with those on valid H-1B and L-1 work permits. At our law firm, thankfully, we have generally been successful in fighting back and keeping our foreign worker clients legitimately employed, but it is not easy and it is expensive. On other cases, huge backlogs have been created for legal immigration, while at the same time, the government has insisted on expediting deportation cases.

    For further information, this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com, or at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 9:08 pm on January 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , #TemporaryProtectedStatus, ,   

    My Television Interview this week about Immigration Law 

    Earlier this week, I appeared on Houston’s CBS affiliate during the evening news, in connection with a story about TPS for El Salvadoran immigrants.

    TPS is Temporary Protected Status, and the Trump administration this week announced it was ending TPS for El Salvadorans in September 2019. Once the program ends, the Salvadorans who are here with legal work permits, will find themselves undocumented and out of status.  Hopefully, before that date, Congress will come up with a solution so these individuals can stay here with their American families, employers, etc.

    In the video, this Houston Immigration Lawyer and Miami Immigration Lawyer mentions some potential solutions. The last thing I would tell my El Salvadoran clients is to pack their bags, sell their home and car, and be ready to leave. Our immigration system does not work that way, so there is no emergency need to take immediate action. On the other hand, Salvadorans as well as any other nationalities who have had their TPS status terminated (Haitians and Nicaraguans) should get proper legal advice on how to take necessary steps to legally stay and work in the USA.

    For further information, I can be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 5:17 pm on December 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    U.S.Immigration Laws: Do Not Enter! 

    banpic

    It didn’t take long after yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the Muslim travel ban, that I got a frantic email today concerning a Pakistani Muslim woman stopped at the Houston airport and banned from entering the U.S.

    This is despite the fact that she has a valid visitor visa and that Pakistan is not even on the list of banned Muslim countries.

    Prior to yesterday’s court ruling, I had already seen an uptick in unusual denials of visitor visas at USA embassies abroad. Frequent travelers who have had visas before have been going for renewals and finding that they are arbitrarily denied, and  they are being asked obscure questions about prior visits.

    While the travel ban is limited to just a handful of countries, this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer states that the practical effect is that Muslims in all countries are likely to have a much more difficult time getting a visa or entering the country. The “America First” policy, however, is not limited to excluding Muslims. I have recently seen visas denied to individuals from Ukraine, Africa and other places, where those same people had visas in the past.

    For further information, I can be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800.

     

     

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 10:04 pm on November 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Citizenship Applications in the U.S. Surge as Immigration Talk Toughens 

    This recent immigration article in the New York Times highlighted what I have been telling clients for many years.

    I have often urged my legal permanent resident friends and clients to become a USA citizen, because having a green card, alone, may not be sufficient to guarantee unimpaired readmission to the U.S. nor may it be sufficient to avoid deportation.

    The simplest of crimes, even where negligent, can cause a lawful immigrant to be deportable. Moreover, rules are constantly changing when it comes to non-USA citizens, and the non-citizen is constantly in jeopardy of losing legal rights, as compared to USA citizens. This Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer urges all eligible green card holders to apply for USA citizenship whenever they become eligible.

    Of course, in these unusual times for our country, the naturalization process to become a citizen has become more expensive, it takes significantly longer and it it is more difficult.

    For further information, I may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or in Texas at  713.850.0066 or in Florida at 305.538.6800

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 8:20 pm on July 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: discrimination against disabled employees, , ,   

    Immigration Office Discriminates against the Disabled? 

    WPimage

    The immigration laws passed by Congress provide special provisions for people with disabilities. In particular, there is a process called disability naturalization, where individuals who cannot learn to speak English or otherwise retain information because of a disability, can be exempted from certain parts of the naturalization process.

    As background, naturalization is the process to become a U.S. citizen. To become a citizen, a person must first, generally, have been a permanent resident with a green card. To obtain citizenship through naturalization, a person must speak English, take a history test and know how to read and write English. An exception to all of this, is if they have a disability such as blindness, deafness, mental disorder, etc.

    While historically, the immigration service has approved many of these cases, I have noticed a trend in Houston lately where the interviewing officers are looking for ways to deny disability naturalization or otherwise give the disabled a hard time. For example, in a case that I  had at the Houston immigration office today, the officer, Ms. C. Arredando, claimed that she could not read the doctor’s writing on the immigration form that the doctor is supposed to complete.

    While doctors may be notorious for their poor handwriting, the doctor’s writing in this case was clearly legible to this Houston immigration attorney. When the officer was losing that argument, she then claimed that the doctor’s signature was not original, but rather a scanned copy. All the while, this poor disabled client who does not speak English was being told she would have to come back (after driving two hours to get there and waiting over an hour until her name was called) another day with a clearer form and original signature.

    Sadly, this is the new reality of how disabled clients may expect to be treated when visiting the Houston immigration office. The notion of the government accommodating people with disabilities does not seem to ring true, from my recent experiences, at the Houston immigration office. Perhaps the current strategy of the Houston immigration office is to frustrate as many people as possible so that they will drop their efforts to become a U.S. citizen.

    For further information, I can be contacted at bruce.coane@gmail.com or 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800.

     
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  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:18 pm on September 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Israeli Couple Finally Eligible for Green Card 

    I was hired yesterday by an Israeli couple who have been living illegally in the USA for over 20 years. They came to America legally with tourist visas, fell in love here, got married here, and never left.

    The couple had a baby in the U.S., but having a baby does not allow the parents to get any legal status. At the same time, the baby is automatically a USA citizen, by being born in America. However, once that baby grows and becomes an adult, it can sponsor its parents for lawful status when it turns 21 years old.

    Now, 21 years later, this couple’s baby is turning 21, and can now sponsor her parents for legal status in the USA. The parents, who have been living in the shadows for over 20 years, have been running a business, paying significant taxes, and generally helping the economy, all with no legal papers.

    I am looking forward to helping them through the massive amounts of paperwork to get their legal residence, now that their daughter is turning 21. They can finally come out of the shadows and live an even more productive life in America.

    __________________________________________________________________________________________________

    About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law and immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at houstonlaw@aol.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 12:59 am on April 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: applying for asylum in the USA, , , National Security Issues   

    National Security Issues Delay Green Card 

    Many times, an individual applying for asylum in the USA, may have been a member of a political action group abroad. While such individuals may get asylum in the USA and be permitted to live here, how do they get a green card?

    Once an individual has lived as an asylee/refugee in the USA for at least one year, they may apply for a green card. In order to get a green card, they must pass certain background checks. Interestingly, the same membership in a political action group that warranted their getting asylum, can now cause them to have problems in getting a green card.

    Our office recently handled a case for a man from the nation of Cameroon. He was a member of a rebel group seeking democratic changes. Unfortunately, the USA government had his rebel group on a list of terrorist organizations. This caused a huge delay when he tried to get a green card. In fact, such delays are a nationwide problem.

    In my client’s case, he waited over 6 years before seeking help from my office. The immigration service now has a special officer in most cities, who is in charge of national security cases like this. The special officer will conduct the interview and then do a report to a supervisor and legal counsel, and that team will decide if the individual gets a green card or is denied for national security reasons. This process can take years.

    Some proven ways to dislodge a delayed green card case in thus situation is to enlist the help of a Congressman, or hire an attorney, or file a lawsuit to compel action. In the case of our client from Cameroon, he just recently received his green card, about 7 months after he hired our law firm.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Bruce Coane is a leading lawyer with 30 years of experience in the field of immigration law and employment law. He may be reached via email at houstonlaw@aol.com or his website at Coane and Associates.

     
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