Discussion Points for Punto Legal –March 27, 2019
1. Question from two weeks ago.
Last week a caller wanted advice about her driver’s license situation. The caller was undocumented but had a valid social security number he father got for her in the 1990’s. Unfortunately, she no longer had the Social Security card itself. She went to the DMV and sought a driver’s license. DMV would not give her a driver’s license because she did not have the card itself. It sounded like the DMV did have the Social Security number and they associated the number with the caller. The caller then went the Social Security office and was told they would not help her get a Social Security card because she was undocumented. Pretty outrageous situation. There is something called Exceptions Processing at DMV. I read up on what Exceptions Processing does. It looks like they deal with proof of identity problems only, but this may be a place to start. I also looked at the Social Security Administration’s website. It is possible to apply for a replacement Social Security card online. But I am not sure it would work in this case. But it is worth a try. The other alternative is go through the entire process to get a driver’s license and then sue the Colorado DMV in a district court.
2. Which is better: A Fiancé Visa or Marrying outside the U.S.
Let’s suppose you are a U.S. citizen, but your boyfriend or girlfriend lives in Mexico. You are getting tired of all that travel to Mexico. So you propose marriage. And the answer is yes. Do you then apply for a fiancé visa, which allows your fiancé to come to the U.S. for 90 days for the purpose of getting married? Or do you get married in Mexico and immigrate your spouse to the U.S. The best way to do immigrate your fiancé is to get married in Mexico and then immigrate your new spouse. Why is this? First fiancé visas take longer to get. And there are more questions by the immigration service. Second, the fiancé has to go through the same immigration processes as the spouse. Then they get a 90 days visa to come to the U.S. and get married. After they marry in the U.S., the fiancé and any children have to apply for adjustment of status with the immigration service. The government fee for that alone is $1,225.00. In short, the fiancé visa takes longer and costs more money.
I had a question this week about the immigration medical exam for an immigrant fixing his papers in the U.S. He had received a letter from the USCIS telling him he had not submitted a medical exam with his applications and would have to do submit a medical exam at some point in the future.
Almost all applicants for adjustment of status must submit a medical exam at some point in the immigration process. The primary purpose of the exam is to screen immigrants for TB and sexually-transmitted diseases. It also requires that you get certain vaccinations up to date. The medical exam is now valid for 2 years. Now you have three options for submitted the medical exam. First, you can send it in with your application to fix your papers. Second, you can take it to the interview and give it to the interview officer. Or, you can submit it after the interview when you get a request for evidence.
4. Adam Walsh Act.
When I talk to people who want to become permanent residents, I ask them about their criminal history because certain crimes can require waivers or prevent you from immigrating. Sometimes the U.S. relative who is petitioning for his spouse or children wants to know if his criminal history is relevant to the process. I tell them that we have fixed papers even where a citizen -petitioner was in prison. But there is one exception to this rule. A law entitled the Adam Walsh Act, which was passed in 2006. It imposes immigration penalties on U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are convicted of certain crimes against minors. A U.S. citizen who is convicted of a "specified offense against a minor" may be prevented from filing a visa petition on behalf of a close family member. The law provides an exception only if the immigration service makes a discretionary decision that the citizen or permanent resident petitioner does not pose a risk to the petitioned relative despite the conviction. Here is an example: Hector is a U.S. citizen who pled guilty in 2005 to soliciting a 17-year-old girl to engage in sexual conduct. In 2017 he submits a visa petition on behalf of his immigrant wife. Immigration authorities will run a background check on his name to discover the prior conviction. His visa petition will be denied, unless he is able to obtain a waiver based on proving that he is not a danger to his wife. "Specified offense against a minor" includes offenses that are not extremely serious, such as false imprisonment. It is defined as an offense against a victim who has not attained the age of 18 years, which involves any kind of sexual activity with a child.