Renouncing US Citizenship

December 27, 2011 § 6 Comments

Section 349(a)(5) of the INA provides for the loss of nationality by voluntarily acting the intent to relinquish his or her US Nationality.

If you want to renounce your American citizenship, you have to do it voluntarily and with intent to relinquish US citizenship.

  1. You are required to appear in person before a US consular or diplomatic officer
  2. You have to be in a foreign country , generally at a US Embassy or Consulate and
  3. You are required to sign an oath of renunciation

Renunciations that do not meet the requirements stated above have no legal effect. US citizens cannot renounce their citizenship by mail, through an agent, or while being in the US. Certain attempts to renounce US citizenship are found to be ineffective on a variety of grounds, as stated below :

RENOUNCE ALL RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES

If you decide to renounce your US citizenship, you cannot decide to retain some of the privileges of citizenship.

DUAL NATIONALITY / STATELESSNESS

If you have decided to renounce US citizenship, you should be aware that, unless you already possess a foreign nationality, you might be left stateless and so, will not get the protection of any government. You will also have difficulty traveling as you will not have a passport from any country. Even if you are not stateless, you will still need a visa to travel to the US. Another important fact is that Renunciation of US citizenship may not prevent a foreign country from deporting you back to the US in some non-citizen status.

TAX & MILITARY OBLIGATIONS

Having decided on renunciation, you should also know that you may have no effect whatsoever on your US tax or military service obligations. Apart from this renouncing will not allow you to avoid possible prosecution for crimes which you would have committed in the US, or escape the repayment of financial obligations previously incurred in the US or incurred as US citizens abroad.

RENUNCIATION FOR MINOR CHILDREN

You cannot renounce US citizenship on behalf of your minor children. Before an oath of renunciation will be administered, one under the age of eighteen must convince a US diplomatic or consular officer that he/she fully understands the nature and consequences of the oath of renunciation and also that he/she is voluntarily renouncing his/her US citizenship.

IRREVOCABILITY OF RENUNCIATION

You have to know that the act is irrevocable, except as provided in section 351 of the INA .It cannot be canceled. If a person renounced his/her US citizenship before the age of eighteen, he/she can have that citizenship reinstated if he/she informs the Department of State within six months after reaching the age of eighteen.

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Recent Developments on South Carolina’s New Immigration Law

December 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Recently, a federal judge blocked many provisions of South Carolina’s new immigration law from taking effect on January 1, 2012, including a requirement for law officers to check the legal status of people they pull over if officers suspect they are in the US illegally.

US District Judge Richard Gergel also blocked certain sections making it a state crime not to carry immigration documentation or for illegal immigrants to transport or house themselves.

“While the Court does not doubt the good faith of the South Carolina General Assembly in attempting to address the immigration issue, the Constitution of the US and the INA have placed the policy-making role regarding immigration in the hands of the national government,” the judge wrote. “It is clear to the Court that Congress did not intend to allow the state any further role beyond arresting persons allegedly harboring or transporting unlawfully present persons.”

The federal government had earlier sued South Carolina challenging the constitutionality of the law set to take effect on the New Year day. The federal government and civil rights groups that also includes the American Civil Liberties Union wanted to block the act of checking the immigration status of suspects pulled over by the police. One can be questioned following a stop or arrest for something else, and stops the officers from holding someone solely on that suspicion. Some were also of the view that it would encourage racial profiling.

During the hearing, the judge referred to the provision as the “traffic dragnet” and ruled that it would ultimately capture far more “low priority targets” than was necessary and leading to complicating federal immigration enforcement efforts. Previously, Gergel also denied the state’s request that the law proceed as scheduled and that he suspend all court hearings on the case until the US Supreme Court rules to Arizona’s similar law.

In addition to these, a federal appeals court turned down requests by Georgia and Alabama to delay action on challenges to their own new illegal immigration laws pending the outcome of the US Supreme Court decision. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has also requested for such a delay for their new law. According to a spokesman for South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, other sections of the law would go into effect on the New Year day. State prosecutors have said the country’s high court will most likely rule in six months or less.

The judge in his ruling, has said blocking the whole law would have phased out sections that are clearly lawful, like a requirement that all employers check their new foreign national employees’ legal status through a federal online system. Businesses found to violate the law could have their operating licenses revoked. Gergel was also not impressed on the state’s contention that the new law will help federal authorities control immigration issues.

 

Physical Presence for US Citizenship

December 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

To be naturalized, before the date of filing your application, you should have resided continuously, after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence, within the US for at least five years. During the five years immediately prior to filing your citizenship form, you should have been physically present therein for periods totaling at least half of that time. In addition, you should also have resided within the State or within the district of the Service in the US in which you filed the application for at least three months.

You should have resided continuously in the US from the date of filing the application up to the time of admission to citizenship. During all the periods you should have been and still are a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the US Constitution.
Absence from the US for more than six months but less than one year immediately before filing for American citizenship will break the continuity of such residence, unless you can establish to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that you did not abandon your residence in the US during that period.
Absence from the US for a continuous period of one year or more shall break the continuity of such residence except that in the case you were physically present and residing in the US after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence for a continuous period of at least one year and thereafter, you

  • are employed by or under contract with the Government of the US or an American institution of research,
  • are employed by an American firm or corporation engaged in whole or in part in the development of foreign trade and commerce of the US, or a subsidiary thereof more than 50 percent of whose stock is owned by an American firm or corporation,
  • are employed by a public international organization of which the US is a member by treaty and by which you were not employed until after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence, no period of absence from the US shall break the continuity of residence if-

(1) before the beginning of such period of employment, but prior to the expiration of one year of continuous absence from the US, you established to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that your absence for such period is to be on behalf of the Government, or for the purpose of carrying on scientific research on behalf of an institution, or to be engaged in the development of such foreign trade and commerce or whose residence abroad is necessary to the protection of the property rights in such countries of firm or corporation, or to be employed by a public international organization of which the US is a member by treaty and by which you were not employed until after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence, and
(2) you prove to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that your absence from the US for that period has been for such purpose.

What a Blue Card Can Do

December 9, 2011 § 2 Comments

Some of the crops that were used to yield a good lot in California are now imported to the US as native farmers can’t find workers. This also has something for the Immigration Reform to do with.

The United States’ green card is the most sought by immigrants from all over the world to enter US and establish their living. Getting a green card is not a simple process and it is not given to all categories of employees. The process for unskilled labors is too lengthy due to the extensive formalities. To meet the demand of farm workers and to make the process simpler, a bill has been introduced that would grant five-year “blue” cards to agricultural workers.

What a Blue Card can do

The quota would let an agricultural worker who fulfills certain criteria to be able to remain in the US with his family, in case that person was into agriculture for a certain number of days in a year. This bill, hosted in both the House and Senate, is proposed to issue “blue cards” to undocumented farm workers if they can provide evidence for having worked in American agriculture for at least 150 workdays over the previous two years, also known as the Earned Adjustment Program.

This program is aimed at providing up to 1.35 million blue cards over its five-year lifespan. To get legal permanent status, the worker will be required to work in American agriculture for another three to five years after which he/she will qualify for permanent resident status (green card . Such workers should also have to pay a fine of $500 for being here illegally, and have to prove that their taxes are current and that they haven’t been convicted of a crime.

This program only applies to workers in agriculture, mainly employees of farms and farmsteads. Undocumented farmworkers and recent H-2A guest workers wanting to take the immigrant road would have to complete a two-step process.

  1. Apply for “Blue Card” Temporary Resident Status. This program will permit a farmworker to apply for a “blue card”, also known as temporary residency through a government-approved organization, a licensed attorney or a recognized immigration practitioner. The application period would begin seven months after the law becomes into effect and would last for 18 months.
  1. Earning Legal Permanent Resident Status after getting “blue card” status. Applicants are required to perform agricultural work for at least 100 work days per year for each of 5 years during the 5-year period beginning on the date of enactment of the Act to earn a “green card”.

Sham Application Workers who do not meet these requirements, who have filed a sham application, or who don’t apply for permanent status by the seventh year would lose their “blue card” status and have to leave the US. However, for immigrant workers, the bill also would offer a path to filing US Citizenship Form for those already employed in the country.

 

Green Card Process Made Easier

December 1, 2011 § 3 Comments

The House of Representatives passed a bill that made a minor adjustment to the visa system to allow more highly skilled immigrants from India and China to become legal permanent residents.  The bill was passed through by a vote of 389 to 15. Sponsors were several Democrats who are outspoken liberals on immigration. The bill does not address illegal immigration and it does not add any new visas to the system, which many Republicans are reluctant to do.

The bill seemed likely to pass easily in the Senate. The main impact will be to reduce visa backlogs, for example, some Indians having science or technology skills who were approved recently for permanent residency (green card) have to face waits of 70 years before they would actually receive the documents.  The bill eliminates restrictions on the number of green cards based on employment that is made available annually to each country. At present, there are 140,000 green cards available every year for immigrants based on their job skills, with each country limited to 7 percent of those visas. Per the bill, after a three-year transition, all employment-based green cards will be issued on a first-come-first-served basis, without any country limits.

The legislation also includes a measure that will more than double the green cards based on family ties available for Mexicans and Filipinos, the two countries facing the longest backlogs on the family side of the system. It raises the limit for 226,000 family green cards each year to 15 percent from the current 7 percent.

The main beneficiaries will be highly skilled immigrants from India and China, including many with master’s degrees and doctorates in science and engineering. Because they come from populous countries that send many people to work here who have advanced science and technology skills, immigrants from those two countries had been forced by the country limits into lines that were many years long and growing much longer.

Indians and Chinese who will now receive their green cards more quickly have been working in the US for years on temporary visas. The immigrants and their employers have passed labor market tests showing that qualified Americans were not available for jobs they hold.

American technology companies have been clamoring to offer more green cards for their foreign employees, arguing that the US was losing out in global competition by forcing those immigrants to leave. Some countries will lose under the legislation. During the next three years, many more employment green cards will be set aside for Indians and Chinese than for others languishing in backlogs, particularly Filipinos and South Koreans.  And because the law would add no new visas, backlogs would be redistributed but not eliminated. The wait in the most severely clogged employment visa categories will even out over time to 12 years for all countries.

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