215 W. 18th Street, Suite 101
Kansas City, Missouri 64108
Phone: 816.753.7382 • Fax: 816.605.1129

Late last year, I posted this entry on the issue of same-sex marriage in the immigration context. Recently, there have been a few updates that I think warrants a new look at the issue.

First, the Obama administration has indicated that they will not defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in federal court. However, Speak of the House Boehner has said that where the administration will not act, the House will.

Recently, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) issued a decision, Matter of Alla Adel Alyazji, 25 I&N Dec. 397 (BIA 2011), which overturns in part the precedent decision concerning whether and when an adjustment of status is an "admission" to the United States, at least for certain purposes.

Recently, the federal government has changed the emphasis of its approach to immigration enforcement in the area of employment. The prior emphasis taken by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit of the Department of Homeland Security was on raids on businesses to find and arrest undocumented workers, and place them in removal proceedings. Now ICE is focusing on examining the documentation for workers and using fines against businesses as the key to its enforcement.

In response to a recent Ninth Circuit case, Kazarian v. USCIS, 596 F.3d 1115 (9th Cir. 2010) , the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is adjusting its procedures with regard to processing I-140 petitions for aliens applying under the following categories: Aliens of Extraordinary Ability (EB-1); Outstanding Professors or Researchers (EB-1); and Aliens of Exceptional Ability (EB-2). You can find the memo here. An alien applying for an immigrant visa under one of these three categories is required to submit evidence establishing that the applicant has sufficient renown to be eligible for the visa. There are several categories of evidence, and each visa classification has a different minimum number of categories that must be met. For more details or questions on these requirements, please contact us at: 816-753-7382.

Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR), often referred to as a green card, is a visa status that allows someone in the United States to remain permanently, without the need to continue or alter their visa status regularly. However, such status can be revoked in several ways, including as a result of criminal activity. Many permanent residents who face removal proceedings will be eligible for cancellation of removal, but will also be detained throughout the process, while the required paperwork is filed, the individual is fingerprinted, and the court schedules the final hearing.


Cancellation of Removal for Certain Lawful Permanent Residents is authorized by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 240A(a). The Act provides that anyone with a green card who is placed in deportation proceedings due to criminal activity, can have their removal (deportation) cancelled if they have been in the United States for five years as a green card holder, and seven years in any legal status before they committed the crime in question, and if the crime is not an Aggravated Felony (this includes all sorts of serious offenses, including drug trafficking crimes, but not minor possession crimes). Also, the alien must demonstrate that they warrant such a grant of relief in the discretion of the attorney general.  Generally, this requires showing some rehabilitation.

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