Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Widow(er)s of deceased U.S. Citizens must file I-360 Visa Petition by OCTOBER 28, 2011.

USCIS Reminder:  Widow(er)s of deceased U.S. Citizens must file I-360 Visa Petition by OCTOBER 28, 2011.

If your US Citizen Spouse passed away less than two years after you were married and you have not since remarried, you may be eligible for a US Visa.  You may be able to file the form I-360 for Special Immigrant classification as a widow(er) but you must do so by OCTOBER 28, 2011. 

Form I-360 is commonly used to classify an alien as :

1. Amerasian;
2. A Widow(er)
3. A Battered or Abused Spouse or Child of a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident;  
4. A special immigrant such as: : A. Religious Worker; B. Panama Canal Company Employee, Canal Zone Government Employee, U.S. Government in the Canal Zone Employee; C. Physician; D. International Organization Employee or Family Member; E. Juvenile Court Dependent; F. Armed Forces Member; G. Afghanistan or Iraq national who supported the U.S. Armed Forces as a translator; H. Iraq national who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. Government in Iraq or I. an Afghan national who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. Government in Afghanistan.

The form can be seen on the USCIS website by clicking here

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Immigrants suffer from hate crimes

Library assistant Gilda Ramos says she was stunned the first time Hispanics in her English language class told her that many had been victims of attacks and robberies by marauding gangs of teenagers. "Walking ATMs," is how she describes the workers, who often were robbed on Friday or Saturday night after getting paid from jobs such as dishwashing, construction or landscaping.
The revelation came just days before the fatal stabbing of Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero in November 2008, only a block or so from the library where Ramos teaches. His attackers later told a judge that targeting Hispanics was something they did for kicks; confident their victims would not call police, because they feared questions about their immigration status, or they assumed their complaints would be disregarded.
Seven high school pals are now in prison; the teen who inflicted the fatal blow is serving 25 years. A new PBS documentary portrays efforts by community leaders to put the killing in the past. However, a letter last week to county leaders from the U.S. Justice Department, which began a probe of police policy after the killing, indicates much still needs to be done.
The 28-page missive to Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy from the department's Civil Rights Division lists recommendations for improving hate crime investigations and cites vague policies and procedures that preceded Lucero's killing. Michael Goldberger, chief of the Civil Rights Division in the department's Brooklyn, New York, office, said these were just preliminary recommendations; a final report is pending.
The recommendations included making it easier for people to register complaints about the police by placing notices in libraries and other public places, and better community outreach and improved communication with officers on the beat. The letter cited some confusion over interpreting what a hate crime is.
"Officers need to be informed clearly that youths are capable of committing hate crimes," the letter says. "The tendency to brush off attacks as 'just kids being kids' fails to recognize the severity of criminal conduct in which minors may engage, as seen from the murder of Marcelo Lucero."
Levy, a staunch critic of illegal immigration and the target of disdain by Hispanic advocates, said in a statement that some recommendations are constructive and will be implemented. An aide noted, for instance, that Levy supports better tracking and classification of "youth disturbances."
"Many others we are already doing and some we disagree with," Levy said, speaking about the recommendations.
The Rev. Allan Ramirez, a longtime Levy critic, was dubious. "This report confirms what all of us, community leaders, immigrant advocates, have been saying throughout the years," he said. "We could have saved the Department of Justice a lot of money and a lot of time because we knew all of this already a long time ago."
The PBS documentary "Not In Our Town: Light In The Darkness," airs Wednesday night. Narrated by Academy Award-nominee Alfre Woodard, it chronicles the events that led to Lucero's killing on a November night near the Patchogue train station. The film follows the court proceedings against the teens — six of the seven pleaded guilty — and reports on efforts made by community leaders to stem anti-immigrant violence.
The hour-long documentary also will be shown in 150 communities across the country and used as a tool to discuss anti-immigrant violence. That initiative is led by Not In Our Town, an organization started in 1995 to highlight stories of communities taking positive action to fight intolerance.
Ramos believes conditions in her Patchogue have improved, and she hopes the documentary will spark further discussions.
"Latinos feel now that they have rights, that they have a voice, they can express their concerns," she said. "They can come to the library; they can go to the precinct and report a crime or do something about a situation that years ago they felt they were not entitled."
She said other changes are evident on the streets of Patchogue, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of New York City.
"There's more civic participation of Latinos. They walk the streets proudly. Before, you could see they would walk in groups because they were afraid something would happen to them. They're feeling way safer, and they feel they have a voice and they can express themselves."
Not all agree.
Joselo Lucero, the victim's brother who has become an advocate for Hispanics, said he moved from the Patchogue area several months ago after becoming involved in a street dispute with people yelling anti-Hispanic epithets, but he did not want to elaborate. He said it was unlikely the people hurling insults knew who he was.
"We have to find some way to create trust in the police department because for many years they are failures," he said. "My brother's name is going to be everywhere, every time. He's going to be a legacy in this community for change."
Suffolk Deputy Police Chief Christopher Bergold said that since Lucero's killing, the police department has worked to improve hate crime awareness training. He said all officers are now required to take eight-hour refresher courses on hate crimes annually at the police academy. In addition to deploying Spanish-speaking officers in Patchogue and elsewhere, all officers have access to Spanish-language interpreters who are available via cell phones, he said.
Police also contend they do not ask crime victims about their immigration status.
"We go to great lengths to respond to hate crime and anti-bias incidents, and we have gone to great lengths to build bridges with the Latino community," Bergold said "We want to make sure no person feels uncomfortable coming to the police."
Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri concedes that until Lucero's killing, he was unaware that the attacks had been happening in his community. He said he now speaks regularly with Hispanic business owners and is confident that the hate crimes are no longer an issue.
"We worked hard to lessen the anger, to lessen the rhetoric," he said. "The community had every reason on both sides to strike out, and they never did. I don't think there was ever anger or shame. It was like a disappointment. We were disappointed it happened in a place we all love.

Read more:

On the topic of hate crimes directed at undocumented immigrants, USCIS approved 10,000 petitions for the U Visa.  U visas are for victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are wiling to help law enforcement investigate or prosecute crime. The visa was created to assist in the prosecution of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes while at the same time offer protection to victims of such crimes. reports that more than 45,000 victims and their immediate family members have received U visas since the implementation of this program. 
If you are an undocumented immigrant and have been a victim to a crime you may be eligible for this nonimmigrant visa. Call the  Law offices of Berdugo & Fialkoff at 215 – 992 – 9662 to determine your eligibility for this visa. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Tangled Web of Lies Shall Lead You Nowhere

It may come as a surprise to some, but on the N-400 Application for Naturalization (citizenship), a petition necessary to go from being a mere green card holder to being a United States citizen, asks the following question:

(12)  Between March 23, 1933, and May 8, 1945, did you work or associate in any way (either directly or indirectly) with:
  1. The Nazi government of Germany?
  2. Any government in any area (1) occupied by, (2) allied with, or (3) established with the help of the Nazi government of Germany? 
  3. Any German, Nazi, or S.S. military unit, paramilitary unit, self-defense unit, vigilante unit, citizen unit, police unit, government agency or office, extermination camp, concentration camp, prisoner of war camp, prison, labor camp, or transit camp?

For most this question is an obvious check in the “NO” box but for some this question needs some serious consideration.  Lying on an immigration application is grounds for removal from the United States at any point in the future when the truth is discovered.

In a recently published article titled “Justice DepartmentBoard upholds deportation of accused Nazi” the article’s subject John (Ivan) Kalymon, age 90, was ordered removed from the United States because of his past conduct in Nazi persecution during World War II. The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Kalymon in 2004 seeking to revoke his U.S. citizenship which he acquired in 1955.  The court found that he had participated in the Nazi extermination of European Jewry. 

Kalymon checked “NO” when he should have checked “YES” and as a result his fraudulently obtained status as a United Status citizen will be revoked and he will be deported back to Germany or any other country that will take him.

If you lie on an immigration application that lie can come back and bite you in the behind forty plus years later. While this is an extreme example, it is important to answer all the questions asked on the applications to the best of your ability so you don’t have to live with the knowledge that you may be deported at any time if at any point someone discovers that you were granted your current status based on fraud. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Student Visa will be streamlined

The US government on Friday announced an initiate to streamline student visa seekers. The Department of Homeland Security said this initiative is a "key component of government-wide effort to encourage the best and brightest foreign students to study and remain in the US."
The "Study in the States" initiative will examine regulatory changes, expand public engagement between the gov't and academia, and provide an online information hub for DHS and its partners.
Currently, more than 1.1 million active nonimmigrant students and the dependents study in the US.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Work Visa Scam

The Des Moines Register recently reported that there is a work visa scam occurring in Iowa that could lead to many people's deportation.

According to one attorney, the scam goes as follows: A legal assistant goes door-to-door offering a work permit to anyone who files a $500 asylum claim. These assistants do not divulge that while asylum claim recipients can work lawfully while their case is pending, if they are not granted asylum, they may face deportation.
One victim, Fernando, told the Register that he has been caught in this scheme. He filed for asylum after he was promised a work permit and he is now flagged by immigration officials  who were not previously aware of his illegal status.

The immigrant community in Iowa has increased from 1,465 people applying for naturalization in 2002, to 2,198 in 2009.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


How did September 11 affect undocumented aliens?  Here are two relevant articles/blog:

Immigrant relatives of 9/11 victims in limbo waiting for green cards  By Erica Pearson
Sick immigrant workers from ground zero By Greg Siskind

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Top Ten Reasons to be a Citizen

Why should I be a US citizen? Here are our top 10 reasons

Becoming a US Citizen allows you to:
  1. Vote in national, state and local elections,
  2. Travel with a US passport
  3. Sponsor relatives for permanent resident status in the US
  4. Government benefits – some permanent residents cannot receive the same public benefits as citizens
  5. Apply for federal jobs – certain types of gov’t agencies require US citizenship
  6. Run for office – many elected positions require the officeholder to be a US citizen
  7. Tax consequences – citizens are treated different than permanent residents, especially when it comes to estate taxes
  8. Federal grants- many are only open to US citizens
  9. Deportation – after you become a citizen it is very rare that you will be threatened with deportation if you run into criminal problems
  10. Guaranteed Re-entry to the United States After Traveling Abroad: After leaving the U.S. for more than 180 days Permanent Residents can lose their green card upon attempted re-entry if the Port of Entry determines that the green card has been abandoned. While a immigration atty can obtain a re-entry permit for green card holders, which allows a Permanent Resident to travel abroad for up to two years without “abandoning” his/her U.S. residence. Citizens can come and go as they please.
If you would like to speak to an Attorney about applying for Naturalization contact our offices at 215-992-9662.  

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Oh! The Places You'll Go!

    Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.  - Dr. Suess

    There are many reasons for which people migrate to different countries. People move because of unsatisfactory country conditions, hopes of economic opportunity, escape from social turmoil, to gain a higher standard of living or to be with family. 

    I recently watched a documentary titled "The Other Side of Immigration" which focused on country conditions in Mexico which cause people to come to the U.S. for short or long periods of time.  The documentary included reasons such as NAFTA suffocating the local farmer's businesses making it impossible to compete with incoming U.S. product, the lack of government subsidies and the ability to make more than four times what they would make at home in the U.S.  However, all the local Mexicans interviewed in the film portrayed sadness and frustration at the prospect of sneaking into the U.S. to provide for their family back home and the inability to stay in Mexico and find decent employment. The documentary led me to wonder which country people in the U.S. move to if they could no longer provide for their family?  

    International Living Magazine named the top ten countries in 2010 to live in as:  Italy, Canada, Belgium, United States, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and #1 as France.  (click here to see list).  France has received the #1 spot on multiple occasions mostly due to its world class health care system (and perhaps its wine as well). 

    Would you go to any of the countries on the top ten list?  If not, then where?

    Thursday, September 1, 2011


    Registration period for the GREEN CARD LOTTERY will begin on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2011 and will continue until WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2011.  Residents of eligible countries wishing to emigrate to the US may submit an application.  Eligible countries are those with low levels of immigration to the United States(less than 50,000 in the last 5yrs).
    See a more in depth discussion on the application process by clicking here.