The Houston Press recently ran the story of a Houston Chef who was detained for weeks after an international trip. The individual was a Permanent Resident, but was detained due to a misdemeanor assault charge. The government argued that he was not eligible for bond because he was returning from international travel - a technical legal issue many permanent residents are unaware of. Criminal charges (even those that are pled down to misdemeanor-level offenses or dismissed - can create problems for any non-U.S.-citizen who travels out of the country. It is important for anyone who wants to travel internationally to consult with an experienced, specialized immigration attorney before traveling internationally or even within 100 miles of an international border.
On January 26, 2016, Kathryn N. Karam attended a seminar on Texas's new open carry laws. At the seminar, Attorney Karam noted that many people are not aware that certain firearms offenses may render a person deportable from the United States, even if the person charged with a firearms offense is a Permanent Resident and even if the crime is not an aggravated felony, a crime of violence, or a crime involving moral turpitude.
The New York Times reports that the U.S. Supreme Court will consider the case against President Obama's Executive Immigration Programs. President Obama announced his executive immigration programs, including Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), in November 2014, but the state of Texas and several other states sued to block their implementation. The Supreme Court's decision to hear this case means that the previous decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which held the programs to be impermissibe and temporarily blocked them from being implemented, may be overturned.
USCIS has announced that the fees for certain H-1B and L-1 visa petitions will increase.
In 2008, Hurricane Ike caused severe damage to much of the Houston area. It happened just weeks before the Presidential election in which Barack Obama would become the first Democratic Party President elected to office since Bill Clinton. This time is particularly vivid in my memory – I had moved to Houston the year before and was in my first year of practicing immigration law. Several of my clients had applied for citizenship, and their applications had been approved. They were eager to vote in the election, but there was one problem – they had to take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States before they actually became citizens and could vote. In Houston, we have Oath Ceremonies once per month, often with over 1500 people who have been approved to become citizens naturalizing at each ceremony. When Ike came through, it caused damage to the facility at which the oath ceremony was to take place. The Houston Chronicle published an article entitled Ike Put Their Citizenship- and Their Votes – On Hold. Then the Houston U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office found a new venue for the ceremony and it occurred in time for new citizens to register to vote in the November 2008 election. My clients and many others approved for naturalization breathed a sigh of relief.
The U.S. Department of State has released the February 2016 Visa Bulletin. EB-2 India has moved from February 1, 2008 to August 1, 2008.