Updates from April, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 12:42 pm on April 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , #ImmigrationCourt, #SocialDistancing   

    Immigration Cases continue to be Processed 

    While many offices close and the population shelters in place, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is open for business (via mail and online filings) and continues to process cases.

    Our office also remains open, although most consultations these days are done by phone, WhatsApp, FaceTime or Skype. The front desk in all three of our offices is still manned by our excellent staff who continue to receive in-person packages and materials from clients and vendors. We also continue  to do  in-person appointments.

    The USCIS has stopped interviewing at local offices and has canceled naturalization ceremonies which is very unfortunate. But, with social distancing, such large ceremonies would have been impossible. Hopefully they will resume in the near future, otherwise their backlog of cases will be almost insurmountable with further delays in adjudications.

    As for foreign visitors to the USA and others on non-immigrant visas, many are in quite a predicament. If a non-immigrant worker such as H-1B or L-1 worker gets laid off, they can’t exactly leave the country right now, and they can quickly fall out of status once their grace period expires. And, those on ESTA or B-2 visitor status with expiration dates fast approaching have a serious dilemma where they cannot leave the USA and where there are limitations on extending status.

    This Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer continues to work tirelessly, both at home and at the office to preserve the legal rights of clients and to timely file applications so that clients do not miss critical deadlines.

    As for immigration courts, the courts that handle jail cases are still operating on a daily basis. The regular immigration courts that handle cases for foreign nationals who are not in jail, have canceled cases through April 10. That will most likely be extended in light of the president’s announcement extending social distancing for another 30 days.

    For further information, you may contact the  author, Bruce Coane, who is a lawyer Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is available 24/7 at bruce.coane@gmail.com. He may also be reached at 713.850.0066 and 305.538.6800 during the week. The website is http://www.coane.com.

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 2:48 pm on February 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #Anchorbabies, #PublicBenefits, , ,   

    Immigration Update: Travel Bans: Nigerians, Pregnant Women, Poor Immigrants 

    Here is my first Immigration Update of 2020, where this Houston Immigration Lawyer and Miami Immigration Lawyer talks about travel bans and new regulations dealing with foreigners accepting public benefits, Medicaid, etc.

    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 11:39 am on February 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Oil, ,   

    Nigeria Travel Ban Hits Hard 

    The Trump administration announced a travel ban on citizens of Nigeria, to go into effect later this month. As soon as this was publicized, this Houston Immigration Lawyer and Miami Immigration Lawyer ‘s phone started ringing off the wall and the emails began to pile up.

    Nigeria is Africa’s largest country and it is one of the top  oil-producing nations in the world. Most large oil companies like Shell, Chevron and others have a large presence in Nigeria. Moreover, these companies often move Nigerian petroleum engineers and other management employees back and forth between Nigeria and the U.S. But oil is not the only industry that will be affected by the all-out travel ban.

    The tourism industry will be hit very hard. There are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Nigerians traveling to the U.S. every year.Many come to visit family that live here and have immigrated here.

    Just this morning I was thinking about the annual International Bar Association (IBA) conference which will be held in Miami later this year. Usually, the Nigerian delegation of lawyers and judges attending this international event is close to 1,000. With the new countries being added to the travel ban, I would have to think this will be the last IBA annual conference held in America. There are just too many lawyers and judges who would otherwise attend but are being barred by the current administration.

    The number of flights that will be lost to the travel ban, and the effect on the Miami economy (hotel rooms, registration fees, restaurants, etc) from the loss of almost 1000 lawyers and judges coming from Nigeria for this event will be huge.

    Many of my clients from Nigeria are in the oil industry and worry about their families and separation from their families. Some are working in Nigeria for Chevron or Shell or Schlumberger, while their spouse and children are in the U.S. on student visas. The spouse working in Nigeria will typically come 3-4 times a year to visit with their family in Houston or California or Alaska, where they typically live in the U.S.

    Our office will be able to continue the green card process of visa petitions for these workers, but the actual issuance of an immigrant visa (following approval of a visa petition) will be barred. For those oil and gas workers from Nigeria who are temporarily working in the U.S. right now, they will be able to finish their green card cases and receive a green card as long as they stay here. It is only those who must get a visa at a USA Embassy who will likely be affected by the ban. And, certainly lawyers, judges, tourists and students trying to fly to the U.S. with a temporary visa will be barred from entry.

    For further information this Board Certified immigration lawyer may be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, or via email at bruce.coane@gmail.com.

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 9:46 am on November 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #BusinessImmigration, #CEO, , #L1A, , ,   

    L-1 Visa Lawsuit Filed to Overrule USCIS Denial 

    This past week, our law firm sued the federal government in U.S. District Court in Miami, over the denial of an extension of an L-1A, intracompany transfer working visa.

    Our client, from Europe, had started his branch office in the USA and has over 10 American workers in Florida. The USCIS, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security had already previously approved him for an L-1A visa to work in the United States. After starting the business here and hiring more than ten employees, it was time to file for an extension of his stay in L-1A status.

    In denying the extension of stay and rendering the business owner out of status, the  government now claimed that he was not a manager or executive who managed management employees, even though all the evidence submitted indicated that he was the CEO of the U.S.-based company.

    President Trump, through an executive order, has stated that the government would give a more difficult time to intracompany transfer workers, but he did not say the USCIS should not follow the law and should not approve cases that clearly qualify under the law.

    This Miami immigration lawyer and Houston immigration lawyer has been suing the federal government on improperly denied immigration visa cases for over thirty years. Normally, such cases are resolved in favor of the foreign national, based on my own personal experience. Moreover, if the government waits for the federal judge to overrule their decision, the federal government is often on the hook to pay attorney’s fees of the foreign national.

    The government is expected to file an answer to the lawsuit in the next 60 days, with a 2021 trial date most likely on the horizon.

    About the author: Bruce Coane is a Miami immigration lawyer and a Houston immigration lawyer and is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Coane practices immigration law in all 50 states and has clients all around the world.He may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 2:49 pm on July 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , #I-9, #ICEraids, #Notice of Inspection, #W-4   

    Crackdown by ICE Targeting Employers 



    This article appeared in the Miami Herald a few days ago and confirmed my suspicion that ICE was cracking down on employers who possibly hire undocumented workers.

    This immigration lawyer has seen an unusual uptick in I-9 Notice of Inspection cases at my office. I see those types of immigration cases about once every few years, but recently, I saw three in the past six months (two in the past 60 days).

    What exactly is an I-9 case or a Notice of Inspection? Many small employers who do not have an HR department may not be aware of the paperwork requirements under federal immigration law. For example, each time an employer hires a new employee, they must get a completed I-9 form, together with the normal W-4 and other new employee paperwork.

    The I-9 form process is full of traps, so ICE knows that any small employer is an easy target. If any employer fails to perfectly complete the form for each new hire, there are fines for EVERY mistake on each form. That means there can be thousands of dollars of fines for each form not completed correctly, including a fine for failure to complete the form within three days of hire. And, of course, as a Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer, I must inform my clients that there are serious fines and penalties for failure to complete the form at all.

    What if the employer has lots of turnover, like the local hamburger store or a Subway franchise. When ICE hand-delivers the Notice of Inspection, they often ask to see I-9 forms for every employee (including former employees) for the past two, or three years. Imagine what the fine could look like for a small business with lots of turnover and thousands of dollars in fines for each form not done perfectly (or at all).

    When I showed this article to my wife, she asked if the employer has to have I-9 forms for American workers as well. Many small businesses may be shocked at the answer, which is, “yes.”  The I-9 must be on file for EVERY employee, including American citizens.

    Bruce Coane, Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer  is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. For further information, I may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 713.850.0066 (Texas office) or 305.538.6800 (Florida office).

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 4:44 pm on May 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , #ImmigrationDenials,   

    Immigration Update for 2019 

    In this video, I talk about the USA immigration situation through the first quarter of 2019. While illegal immigration gets much of the news, there have been serious attacks on legal immigration as well. Cases for citizenship and green cards are being denied in greatly exaggerated numbers. I discuss these issues, together with immigration delays, improper denials, and what the general public can do about it.

    Bruce Coane is a Board Certified Immigration Lawyer with offices in Houston and Miami Beach. He may be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800 or via email at bruce.coane@gmail.com.

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 9:45 am on April 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #MelaniaTrump, ,   

    Immigration Update with Introduction to EB-1 Extraordinary Workers 

    This video features Immigration Attorney Matt Gaffron of our law firm, discussing the EB-1 extraordinary worker visa. It is a method to obtain a green card to live and work in the United States.

    Bruce Coane is a Houston immigration lawyer and a Miami immigration lawyer and is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com, or at 305.538.6800 or 713.850.0066.

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 2:57 pm on December 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Immigration Law: Successful Migration Still Exists 


    In recent days, I have had several very happy clients, following their immigration experience. First, in the photo to the left, is a client from Israel. She has lived in the United States for 15 years and has finally received a green card to permanently reside here. She suffered for years with no work permit and no driver’s license, but now, she is finally, fully legal.

    The other photo is of a family from Africa. I handled their employment-based self-petition for an extraordinary worker in the oil and gas industry. The photo was taken at the Houston immigration office following their adjustment of status interview. They are still waiting to receive the green card because the extraordinary worker visa category is now backlogged with a waiting list for visa issuance. In the meantime, they are all authorized to stay and work in the U.S. until the visa number gets reached.

    This Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer takes pride in helping immigrants to legally navigate through the complex immigration system.

    Bruce Coane is Board Certified in Immigration & Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He may be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, or by email: bruce.coane@gmail.com.

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 5:24 pm on May 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , #Processing   

    2018 Immigration Delays in Work Permits and Visas 

    Here is my latest video where I talk about delays in the processing of immigration cases. Click to view video.

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

  • 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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