Tag Archives: Immigration

IMMIGRATION PROTECTIONS FOR CRIME AND ABUSE VICTIMS

By Coleman Jackson, Attorney & Counselor
June 23, 2020

IMMIGRATION PROTECTIONS FOR CRIME AND ABUSE VICTIMS

Under U.S. law an immigrant who is the victim of crime and abuse could be eligible to become a lawful permanent resident (get a green card) if they or themselves or child or parent are a victim of a crime or extreme cruelty under certain circumstances.  The particulars of the circumstances are the determinants as to whether the immigrant victim should pursue green card status through:

  1. the United States federal law (Title IV, Sections 40001-40703 l Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act, as amended | VAWA Status
  2.  the Immigration & Nationalization Act Section 101(a)(15)(U) visas or
  3.  the Immigration & Nationalization Act Section 1101(a)(15)(T) visas.

CRIME AND ABUSE VICTIMS

In a civilized society, unchecked violence against anyone cannot be tolerated for it violates the social compact between peoples.  Injustice is violence; its abuse and it goes against truth and all notions of decency and order. Injustice cannot be tolerated for without justice peace is impossible to achieve.

Immigrants like all peoples have fundamental human rights given to them by their creator.  For a long time now, United States federal law has set forth protections for immigrants in (1) VAWA status, (2) U visa and (3) T visa.  Some of the most significant comparisons and differences between VAWA status, U Visa and T Visa are as follows:

Differences and Comparisons Between Three Types of Protections for Immigrant Crime and Abuse Victims

 

  VAWA STATUS U VISA T VISA
WHO Applies to Immigrant spouses, children, parents abused by their U.S. Citizen spouses, parents or children or Green Card Holders Applies to Immigrant crime victims Applies to Immigrant human trafficking victims
WHAT Battered spouses, children and parents who have endured substantial physical, emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident. Victims of abduction, abusive sexual contact, hostage, blackmail, domestic violence, extortion, murder, incest, involuntary servitude, rape, prostitution, sexual assault, stalking, trafficking, witness tampering, perjury and other specifically listed crimes perpetrated inside the United States by any perpetrator. Victims who tricked, deceived, hoodwinked, coerced, recruited, transported, harbored, housed in the U.S. for the purpose of violence& abuse, sexual exploitation, pornography, forced labor, debt slavery, involuntary servitude, or like evil acts.
WHEN AND WHERE MUST THE ABUSE OR CRIME OCCUR During a bona fide marriage or within specified familial relationships with U.S. citizen or LPR While immigrant victim is In the United States and is victim of specified crimes by any perpetrator. While victim is inside or outside of the United States and is a victim of a crime by any person bringing or receiving the trafficking victim in U.S.
       
HOW TO APPLY FOR THE IMMIGRATION BENEFIT File I-360 Application with USCIS if inside the U.S. File I-918 Application with USCIS if inside the U.S. File I-914 Application with USCIS if inside the U.S.
       
DO THE IMMIGRANT NEED TO HELP LAW ENFORCEMENT Does not have to help law enforcement and does not need law enforcement Application Certifications Must help law enforcement and must get law enforcement to help complete Application Certifications Does not have to help law enforcement and does not need law enforcement Application Certifications

 

IMMIGRATION PROTECTIONS FOR CRIME AND ABUSE VICTIMS

These are some highlights of the differences and comparisons of these three options available for immigrants; who unfortunately, find themselves abused or otherwise victimized.  They simply need to know that they don’t have to suffer injustice in any form in silence and all alone.  There are laws designed to protect immigrant abuse and crime victims.  And there are many social agencies available for abuse victims throughout the nation.  Don’t let anyone ever take away your humanity.  You have been created with hope and dignity and a purpose.

 

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432

Foreign Agricultural H-2A Visa Workers on American Farms During Covid-19 National Emergency

By:  Coleman Jackson, Attorney & Certified Public Accountant
May 14, 2020

Foreign Agricultural H-2A Visa Workers

The H-2A nonimmigrant visa classification has been around for a very long time.  See Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 101(a)(15)(ii)(a), 8 U.S.C. 1101.  The H-2A foreign agricultural workers visa; known as H-2A is more in the public eye right now due to the media’s focus on the rise of Covid-19 cases in meat packing plants, on farms and in rural America potentially resulting in food supply chain disruptions.  The concern of the coronavirus’ disruption of the food supply is very real and it is of grave concern to the well being of farmers’ bringing their goods to market and to their fellow citizens ability to feed their families.  In a nutshell, the foreign agricultural workers program known as the H-2A Visa permits agricultural employers to fill shortages in the available work force by following certain procedures to lawfully bring foreigners to the United States temporarily to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work.  The Department of Homeland Security defers to the U.S. Department of Labor with respect to defining what work falls into the categories of temporary and seasonal agricultural work.  Historically, the Department of Labor has defined “agricultural labor” as such duties as hauling and delivery on the farm, harvesting, cultivating and planting seed.  Foreign workers on H-2A Visas has historically also worked as sheep herders, goat tenders, cattle raisers, poultry farmers and in other occupations typically in rural areas of America where various kinds of animals are raised for market.  The point is that agricultural workers are not limited to farms performing task around a farm; foreign workers on H-2A Visas work on plantations, ranches, nurseries, meat packing plants, greenhouses, orchards, and as truck drivers and delivery drivers on these or other similar locations.  The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) has defined the term temporary agricultural work as no more than 12 months or employment of a seasonal nature tied to a certain time of the year, event or pattern.

 

Foreign Agricultural H-2A Visa Workers

There was-and-still-is a very regimented step-by-step process that  agricultural employers must follow to bring foreign farm laborers to work on their farms, ranches, meat packing plants or similar locations; which begins with a petition filed with their state workforce commission; then they go to the DOL for labor certification that there is a lack of available domestic workers to perform the intended project; once the employer receives the DOL Labor Certification they file a request with the Department of Homeland Security; and upon approval, the foreign worker petitions the Consulate’s Office in their country to obtain the H2-A Visa to come to America and work on a specific  temporary or seasonally project for less than 12 months.  The H-2A visa is valid for 3 years.

 

Foreign Agricultural H-2A Visa Workers

This process has been relaxed and modified somewhat. Covid-19 has created the necessity to impose travel restrictions, stay at home orders and caused lots-and-lots of tremendous pain, loss and suffering throughout the country.  In response to anticipated disruptions and uncertainties in the U.S. food supply and the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 epidemic in rural America; the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published temporary amended regulations regarding temporary and seasonal agricultural workers and their U.S. employers in the H-2A nonimmigrant agricultural workers classification.  These final regulations are published in 85 FR 21739 and is effective from April 20, 2020 through August 18, 2020.The following are the major amendments to the normal process that historically were used by domestic farmers to bring foreign nonimmigrant workers to work temporarily on their farms, ranches, meat packing plants and other similar locations under the H-2A Agricultural Workers program:

  • The H-2A regulations were temporarily amended to permit all H-2A employers to allow nonimmigrants who currently hold a valid H-2A visa status to start working upon the receipt of the employer’s new H-2A petition, but not earlier than the start date of employment listed on their H-2A petition.
  • The H-2A regulations were temporarily amended to permit all H-2A workers to immediately work for any new H-2A employer, but not earlier than the start date of employment listed on the H-2A petition filed during the Covid-19 National Emergency.
  • The H-2A regulations were temporarily amended to create a temporary exception to 8 CFR 24.2 to allow nonimmigrants to extend their H-2A period of stay beyond the three-year limitations without first requiring that the immigrant leave the United States and remain outside of the United States for an uninterrupted period of three months. It is important that an H-2A petition for an extension of stay with a new employer must have been filed with USCIS on or after March 1, 2020 and remain pending as of April 20, 2020.
  • H-4 nonimmigrants who are the spouses and children of an H-2A agricultural worker visa holders are beneficiaries of these same amendments noted in one through three above. H-4 visa holders’ admission and limitations of stay are dependent on the validity of the H-2A visa holders’ status and they must be otherwise admissible.

Moreover, as a practical matter, certain in-person interview requirements at the Consulate Offices have been eased during this Covid-19 National Emergency to facilitate foreign workers traveling into the United States.  H-2A workers fall under the ‘essential worker’ category of critical worker and probably are exempt from the stay-at-home, travel restrictions and other measures imposed by local, state and federal governmental agencies during this Covid-19 National Emergency.

 

Foreign Agricultural H-2A Visa Workers

Foreign agricultural workers on H-2A visas are subject to the United States federal tax laws but they are exempt from withholding of U.S. federal income taxes, social security taxes and Medicare taxes on compensation paid to them for services performed in connection to their H-2A agricultural worker visa status.  If they receive more than $600 in compensation, the foreign nonimmigrant worker must receive a Form W-2 from their employer which exempts social security and Medicare taxes.  Typically, the worker files Form 1040-NR and the employer must report the wages of its agricultural nonimmigrant workers on Form 943, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees and file all other appropriate tax returns with local, state and federal taxing authorities.   Most of the modified filing, payment and reporting deadlines announced by the U.S. Treasury and Internal Revenue Service during this Covid-19 National Emergency applies to H-2A agricultural workers and their employers.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432

Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act: Delinquent Taxpayers Can Now Lose Their U.S. Passport

By:  Coleman Jackson, Tax Lawyer
December 21, 2015

Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act  (FAST Act)  - Delinquent Taxpayers Can Now Lose Their U.S. Passport

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) became U.S. law on December 7, 2015.  It deals with more than the repairs and upkeep of the nation’s roads, bridges and other surface transportation.  Taxpayers beware; the FAST Act is not just about transportation; so don’t let the title fool you!

Two sections of the FAST Act should be of interest to all U.S. taxpayers as follows:

  1. Section 32101 authorizes the U.S. Treasury or Internal Revenue Service to refer taxpayers with certain outstanding tax obligations to the U.S. Department of State for the purpose of revocation or denial of U.S. passports for certain unpaid taxes; and
     
  2. Section 32102 authorizes the U.S. Treasury or Internal Revenue Service to enter into one or more qualified tax collection contracts for the collection of all outstanding inactive tax receivables.  That mean private debt collectors could be hired to help the government collect unpaid taxes.

Without a valid U.S. Passport You can Face Many Troubles

Without a valid U.S. Passport, international travel would be pretty much impossible for a delinquent taxpayer. Unwelcomed calls from debt collectors attempting to collect unpaid taxes would not be an ideal tax holiday.  Taxpayer’s affected by these FAST Act tax provisions may be prohibited from traveling for pleasure, health reasons, emergency, family matters, business matters or any other reason; if such travel requires a U.S. passport.  If the intent of the FAST Act tax provisions is for taxpayers to prioritize getting their back taxes paid or making appropriate payment arrangements with the IRS for payment of unpaid taxes; the Tax Provisions in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act is sure to get delinquent taxpayer’s attention.

This tax law blog is written by the Tax & Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your area with respect to any specific immigration, IRS tax problems and other income tax, gift tax, or estate tax issues or your particular set of circumstances impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Immigration & Tax Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431| Spanish (214) 599-0432