Category Archives: Health Care Workers

Episode 2: Violence Against Women (Domestic Violence and Immigration)

Legal Thoughts –  Episode 2 of Violence Against Women (Domestic Violence and Immigration)

COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW | Transcript of Legal Thoughts

Published February 5, 2024

Topic: “This is a Series of Conversations with a Guest Podcaster from the Mental Health
Profession.”

 

Welcome to Legal Thoughts

Attorney Introduction:

My name is Coleman Jackson and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation and immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas. In addition to myself, we have a Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Law Clerks, Ayesha Jain and Mlaah Singh, and Admin Assistant, Michelle Gutierrez. On today’s “Legal Thoughts” podcast, our Law Clerk, Mlaah Singh, will be interviewing me and my guest, Ana Marcela Rodríguez, a mental health professional with Therapy Works Counseling as we talk about law, mental health and psychology where it impacts those seeking legal services. This is intended to be a series of podcasts:

The First Podcast in this series is “Immigration and Trauma”

The Second Podcast in this series is “Violence Against Women (Domestic Violence and Immigration}”

The Third Podcast in this series is “Limited English Proficiencies and Microaggressions in American Culture”

Interviewer Introduction:

Hi everyone, my name is Mlaah Singh and I am a Law Clerk at the tax, contracts, litigation and immigration law firm of Coleman Jackson, Professional Corporation. Our law firm is located at 6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 620, right here in Dallas, Texas.

This is the Second Podcast in our Legal Thoughts Podcast Series on immigration and mental health. Today’s topic is Violence Against Women (Domestic Abuse and Immigration). Before I get started with my questions on this important topic. I want to warmly welcome by our guest podcaster Mrs. Ana Marcela Rodrigues and give her a chance to greet our audience at this time.

Guest Podcaster Introduction:

Good afternoon everyone; my name is Ana Marcela Rodríguez. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Therapy works counseling- we specialized in bilingual counseling services and psychological evaluations for immigration. I’m excited to get started with our first podcast in this series on mental health and the law.

Interviewer: Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk:

Thank you so much Mrs. Marcela and welcome back to Legal Thoughts. This time I am going to change up a bit and alternate my questions between Attorney Jackson and Mental Health Counselor Marcela. So, let’s get started.

Question Number One for Attorney, Jackson:

What is the Violence Against Women Act? What problems does it primarily aim to solve?

Attorney Answer: Coleman Jackson:

Thanks Ms. Singh for such a foundational question. The Violence Against Women Act commonly referred to as VAWA, was originally enacted in 1994 during President Bill Clinton’s Administration. VAWA has been amended and reauthorized several times. The most recent amendment and reauthorization occurred in September 13, 2023 under the Biden-Harris Administration.

VAWA was enacted to address a widespread problem in American societyin general. Violence against women in the form of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking are the types of evil and base behaviors that VAWA is designed to fix. As it relates to immigration, VAWA was enacted to give some abused noncitizens a way out of abusive relationships with United States citizen parents, spouses and children who hold them hostage because their immigration status in the United States depends upon a “family visa petition” filed on their behalf by their family member. Violence gives the abuse victim a door out of their abusive relationship by permitting them to self-petition to be allowed to stay in the United States without the need to rely on their abuser.

In 2023, President Biden signed a VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 and expressed strong support for VAWA and secured the highest-ever funding level for VAWA implementation. There is strong support for VAWA and commitment for the protection and support for abuse victims whether they are immigrants or others in the United States.So in a nutshell: VAWA was enacted and reauthorized several times to solve violence against women and offer various kinds of survivor support systems in combating abuse against women. Immigrants can seek protection from their abusers through these VAWA protections.

Interviewer: Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk:

Interviewer Comment: Thank you for that clear explanation Mr. Jackson. Hopefully those who have not heard about the Violence Against Women Act can now understand it a bit better. So, moving forward, my next question is for Ana Marcela Rodriguez.

Question Number Two for Ana Marcela Rodriguez:

What circumstances warrant the application of the Violence Against Women’s Act? What are the issue topics that children and women go through as it relates to the processes of immigration specifically?

Guest Podcaster: Ana Marcela Rodriguez, Mental Health Professional:

The Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) was enacted in 1994 to provide comprehensive legal protections and support services for women who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. The circumstances that warrant the application of VAWA include instances of physical, emotional, or psychological abuse against women. This may include situations where women are unable to leave abusive partners due to immigration status, fear of deportation, or lack of financial resources.

Immigrant women and children face unique challenges and vulnerabilities when navigating the immigration process. Women, especially those with undocumented status, may be particularly susceptible to exploitation and abuse, including sexual assault and trafficking. Immigration policies and enforcement practices can also pose barriers to seeking assistance or reporting abuse, as individuals may fear deportation or separation from their children.

Children of immigrant families may also experience trauma and stress as a result of family separation, detention, or fear of deportation. Additionally, immigrant women and children may face obstacles in accessing legal and social services, which can exacerbate their vulnerability to violence and exploitation.

Overall, the issues that immigrant women and children face as it relates to the processes of immigration are complex and multifaceted. The implementation of VAWA is crucial in providing protections and support for these vulnerable populations.

Interviewer: Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk

Thank you Mrs. Rodriguez. It is truly disheartening to hear stories and testimony from victims of abuse, neglect, and harm. So, Mr. Jackson,

Question Number Three For Attorney Jackson

In what ways can lawyers protect victims of violence? What specific legal strategies or approaches do you find most effective when assisting immigrant victims of domestic violence or sexual assault in seeking immigration relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)?

Attorney Answer: Coleman Jackson

Legal Professionals can help victims of violence in the following ways: Listen to them carefully, be patient, do not be judgmental and allow them the space to tell their story without coaching them. The lawyer must understand the facts. This listening task could take several meetings as the lawyer seeks to determine what legal options are available. Second, after gathering sufficient facts to determine the legal options, the lawyer must explain the legal option: its requirements, trouble spots and other factors the client should know. Third, the lawyer must let the abuse victim decide whether they want to pursue the legal options available to them. Once the victim decides to proceed with legal options, the legal professionals must form a trusted team with the abuse victim and methodically document the case, file the case and advocate for the victim. This includes continuous contact and encouragement of the victim and keeping the victim informed on the processing status of their case. Fourth the lawyer should refer the abuse victim to

  1. law enforcement if warranted;
  2. Domestic violence support groups if warranted;
  3. Mental health service providers when warranted

Interviewer: Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk

Thank you Mr. Jackson. It is with a hopeful approach that the work lawyers do can truly change people’s lives. Legislation is oftentimes not on the same side as an individual’s best interest. So, thank you for your service and attention to those who deserve it.

Question Number Four for Ana Marcela Rodriguez, a Mental Health Professional:

Mrs. Rodriguez, In your experience, how do cultural factors and immigration status contribute to the manifestation and treatment of trauma among women seeking support under the VAWA? Are there specific cultural considerations that mental health professionals should be aware of when working with this population?

Guest Podcaster: Ana Marcela Rodriguez, Mental Health Professional:

Cultural factors and immigration status significantly contribute to the manifestation and treatment of trauma among women seeking support under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Immigrant women often face unique challenges such as language barriers, lack of social support, and fear of deportation. Additionally, cultural norms and expectations surrounding gender roles and interpersonal relationships can impact the way women experience and cope with trauma.

For example, in some cultures, women may be expected to endure abuse in silence for the sake of preserving family honor, which can make it difficult for them to seek help. Furthermore, their immigration status may limit their access to resources and support services, leading to greater isolation and vulnerability to trauma.

Mental health professionals working with this population must be aware of these cultural considerations. It is crucial for them to approach therapy with cultural humility, acknowledging and respecting the unique experiences and coping mechanisms of immigrant women. Creating a safe and supportive environment that takes into account their cultural background and immigration status is essential for effective treatment. Additionally, mental health professionals should be knowledgeable about the VAWA and immigration policies that impact these women’s access to resources and support. By understanding and addressing these specific cultural factors, mental health professionals can better support immigrant women in their healing and recovery from trauma.

Interviewer: Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk

Thank you Mrs. Rodriguez, hopefully seeking out representation and protection underneath the Violence Against Women’s Act only gets more accessible over time.

Question Number Five for Coleman Jackson

So, Mr. Jackson, In cases involving protection orders and family court proceedings under VAWA, what legal considerations and challenges should lawyers be mindful of to ensure the best possible outcomes for their clients?

Attorney Answer: Coleman Jackson

The best thing for a lawyer to do with respect to family law matters, such as protective orders, custody issues and the like is refer their client to a competent lawyer who regularly practices family law. Law is highly specialized and its best to leave family law practice to attorney’s who regularly practices in the area.

Interviewer: Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk

Definitely, with all potential obstacles considered, it is best for there to be respectful of their feelings, fears, and boundaries.

Question Number Six for Ana Marcela Rodriguez, a Mental Health Professional

So Mrs. Rodriguez, What types of psychological attention are most recommended to victims of domestic violence? What are ways in which those who have suffered can turn to treatments and therapy on their own?

Guest Podcaster: Ana Marcela Rodriguez, Mental Health Professional:

Victims of domestic violence often require specialized psychological attention in order to heal from the trauma they have experienced. It is recommended that victims seek out therapy that focuses on trauma, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and trauma-focused therapy. These types of therapy can help individuals to address and process the emotional and psychological impact of the abuse they have endured, as well as develop coping mechanisms for navigating challenging emotions and situations.

In addition, victims of domestic violence may benefit from joining support groups where they can connect with others who have had similar experiences. This can provide a sense of community and validation, as well as opportunities to gain perspective and tools for managing their trauma.

For those who have suffered from domestic violence, seeking out treatment and therapy can be a critical step towards healing. There are a variety of resources available for individuals to access therapy and support on their own, such as contacting local domestic violence shelters or organizations, searching for therapists who specialize in trauma and abuse, and exploring online therapy options.

Ultimately, it is important for victims of domestic violence to prioritize their mental and emotional well-being by seeking out the psychological attention and support that they need in order to heal and move forward.

Interviewer: Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk

For listeners, be sure to take the time to seek help, support, and treatment, even if it’s hard to find. Help and support is always available, and it is important to look after your own mental health during such difficult times. Also, do not hesitate to contact Ms. Rodríguez at the number (972-695-3421) and the link to her page is www.therapyworkscounseling.com

Question Number Seven for Coleman Jackson

Now, Mr. Jackson, What are the qualifications and how does an abuse victim apply for VAWA? How long must an abuse victim wait before they receive an answer from USCIS on their VAWA petition? Can the victim work to support themselves during this wait period? Does the abuse victim have to tell their abuser about their application or must the government tell the abuser about the filing? What happens once USCIS approves the abuse victims VAWA application?

Attorney Answer: Coleman Jackson

Let me first say that VAWA protects immigrants who are married to United States Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents, VAWA also protects parents of United States Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents; and VAWA also protects Children of United States Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents and their parent who, themselves were not abused but their child were abused by a USC or LPR. VAWA allows some abused immigrants to self-petition for Lawful Permanent Resident status.

Second, let’s talk about qualifications. Who can apply for VAWA? The requirements depends upon whether the abuse victim is the spouse of the abuser, or child of the abuser or parent of the abuser. Let me deal with these in that order. First what is the qualification when the self-petitioner is a spouse:

  1. the spouse of an abuser must prove that they are married to a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident or an abuser who has been a USC or LPR.
  2. The spouse of an abuser must prove that the abuser is a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident or has been an USC or LPR.
  3. The spouse of the abuser must prove that the United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident abused then during their marriage.
  4. The spouse of the abuser must prove that the marriage was entered into in good faith.
  5. The spouse of the abuser must prove that that the abuse occurred inside the United States.
  6. The spouse must prove that she lived with the abuser, and
  7. The spouse must prove that she is a person of good moral character.

 

Next, what are the qualifications for VAWA when the abuse victim is a child:

  1. The abused child must prove that they are the son or daughter of a United States Citizen or LPR Abuser.
  2. The child of an abuser must prove that the abuser is a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident or has been an USC or LPR.
  3. The child of the abuser must prove that they have been abused by the USC or LPR in the United States.
  4. The child of an abuser must prove that she is living in the United States at the time the VAWA petition is filed.
  5. The child of an abuser must prove that she lived with the abuser, and
  6. The child of an abuser must prove that she is a person of good moral character.

 

Third, what are the qualifications for VAWA when the abuse victim is a parent:

  1. The abused parent must prove that United States Citizen or LPR Abuser is their child.
  2. The parent of an abuser must prove that the abuser is a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident or has been an USC or LPR.
  3. The parent of the abuser must prove that their child abused them and that the abuse occurred inside the United States.
  4. The parent must prove that she or he lives with or have lived with the abuser, and
  5. The parent must prove that she or he is a person of good moral character.

 

Let me lump your other questions into a discussion of the overall VAWA Process generally. First VAWA allows an abuse victim to file a self-petition with a designated USCIS VAWA Unit in complete confidentiality and privacy. The abuser is not notified of the filing. Second, the USCIS’ specially dedicated VAWA Unit sends the self-petitioner a notice within about two to three weeks after receipt of filing if the VAWA petition appears to be valid. The self-petitioner can take this notice to receive certain public benefits, such as Medicare, and some other public benefits. But the Notice of Prima Facie Eligibility does not authorize the self-petitioner to work.

 

Third, the USCIS specially dedicated VAWA Unit sends the self-petitioner an approval notice and notification of deferred action or a denial notice This review process takes up to three years currently. Upon receipt of the approval notice, the self-petitioner can apply for work authorization and remain in the United States to wait for a Lawful Permanent Visa to become available. If the self-petition is based on abuse by a United States Citizen, the self-petitioner can immediately file for lawful permanent status, if they did not concurrently file their VAWA petition and LPR application. Otherwise, they can file for LPR and those self-petitioners whose VAWA is based on a LPR abuser; they must wait to file until a immigrant visa becomes available. Once the self-petitioner file their adjustment of status (if they are in the United States); they can remain in the U.S. until their adjustment application is decided. If the self-petitioner is not in the United States when an immigrant visa becomes available, they must apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. Consulates Office abroad. Finally, in the event the VAWA Unit sent the self-petitioner a denial notice, the immigrant is subject to removal from the United States.

Interviewer: Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk

Thank you for such a clear answer Mr. Jackson. You have made it very clear for listeners to understand how the Violence Against Women’s Act can be applied. Hopefully, our listeners have learned something today that can potentially help them, their peers, or even their understandings of immigration and abuse.

Our listeners who want to hear more podcasts like this one please subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcast. You can also read our law firm’s blogs on our website in English, Spanish and Portuguese by going to our law firm’s website, which is, www.cjacksonlaw.com and selecting your preferred language. Everybody take care! And come back in about two weeks, for more taxation, business structuring, contracts litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts from Coleman Jackson, P.C., located right here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 620, Dallas, Texas 75206.

 

English callers: 214-599-0431 | Spanish callers: 214-599-0432 |Portuguese callers: 214-272-3100

 

Attorney: Coleman Jackson

 

ATTORNEY’S CLOSING REMARKS:

Thank you very much Ana for joining me today on the continuation of our Legal Thoughts Podcast Immigration and the Law. Todays Podcast, which is our Second Podcast in the series is Violence Against Women (Domestic Abuse and Immigration).

 

Our listeners should stay tuned for future podcasts in this series where Ana and I answer questions about the Violence Against Women Act protections for immigrants experiencing inhumane and unjust treatment at the hands of a United States citizen parent, child or spouse; and Episode 3 where we answer questions on the topic: Limited English Proficiencies and microaggressions in American Culture. As usual, we invite our audience to suggest topics and questions on matters they desire to know answers for involving international, federal, and state and local tax matters; contracts, litigation; and business, family and humanitarian immigration. You can read our blogs or contact us on our law firm’s website which is www.cjacksonlaw.com. Navigate to English, Spanish or Portuguese by using the language selection bottom on our law firm’s website.

 

If you want to see or hear more taxation, business structuring and contracts litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. Subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcast. Stay tuned! We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, litigation and immigration. Until next time, take care

 

Episode 1: Immigration and Trauma

Legal Thoughts –  Episode 1 of Immigration and Trauma

COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW | Transcript of Legal Thoughts

Published January 15, 2024

Topic: “This is a Series of Conversations with a Guest Podcaster from the Mental Health
Profession.”

Welcome to Legal Thoughts

 

Attorney Introduction:

My name is Coleman Jackson and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation and immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas. In addition to myself, we have a Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Law Clerks, Ayesha Jain and Mlaah Singh, and Admin Assistant, Michelle Gutierrez. On today’s “Legal Thoughts” podcast, our Law Clerk, Mlaah Singh, will be interviewing me and my guest, Ana Marcela Rodríguez, a mental health professional with Therapy Works Counseling as we talk about law, mental health and psychology where it impacts those seeking legal services. This is intended to be a series of podcasts:

The First Podcast in this series is “Immigration and Trauma” The Second Podcast in this series is “Violence Against Women (Domestic Violence and Immigration}” The Third Podcast in this series is “Limited English Proficiencies and Microaggressions in American Culture”

Interviewer Introduction:

Hi everyone, my name is Mlaah Singh and I am a Law Clerk at the tax, contracts, litigation and immigration law firm of Coleman Jackson, Professional Corporation. Our law firm is located at 6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 620, right here in Dallas, Texas.

The importance of this podcast stems from the idea of awareness and understanding. The process of immigration is not fast and not easy therefore it is important to acknowledge the mental, financial, and emotional tolls this process takes. Today we will be hearing from Coleman Jackson, an immigration attorney, and Ana Marcela Rodriguez, a therapist who specializes in the psychological effects of immigration. Hearing both perspectives will help listeners receive a holistic view of immigration processes. Hopefully, this podcast can even resonate with listeners from various origins.

Before I get started with our questions on this important topic: “Immigration and Trauma”. I want to welcome our guest podcaster, where, at this time I am going to ask her to introduce herself and tell our Legal Thoughts Podcasts audience about herself and her work in the mental health field.

Guest Podcaster Introduction:

Good afternoon everyone; my name is Ana Marcela Rodríguez. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Therapy works counseling- we specialized in bilingual counseling services and psychological evaluations for immigration. I’m excited to get started with our first podcast in this series on mental health and the law.

Interviewer: Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk

Thank you very much Mrs. Marcela. I am going to start by asking Attorney Jackson a series of questions from the practicing attorney’s perspective; and then, I will turn and ask Mrs. Marcela a series of questions from the mental health professional’s perspective.

Question Number One for Attorney, Jackson: So, Attorney Jackson, my first question is how does immigration laws impact the mental health of individuals navigating the immigration process in the United States, and what legal challenges do immigrants navigating through the immigration process often face?

Attorney Answer: Coleman Jackson

Without overcomplication, simplification and generalization of the impacts of the immigration process on an immigrant’s mental health; let me try to put into context immigration law in America. Immigration laws in America are complex, extremely intrusive, quite insensitive, and the immigration process can be extremely slow and very expensive.

The practice of immigration law requires unrelenting advocacy and an unyielding passion for justice; and legal advocates at the same time must possess and show immigrants and their families lots and lots of compassion and empathy.

The practice environment that I have just described impacts the delivery of legal services because lawyers and their team advising and helping immigrants navigate their way through the American immigration law maze must be strong advocates and relentless encouragers. I will just end with these points: American immigration laws are full of humanitarian provisions benefiting immigrants who are abused, fleeing persecution, running from disasters of all kinds, and those searching for a new start or new investment opportunities. These humanitarian and business opportunities also impact immigrants’ mental health giving them hope where there seem to be no hope.

Interviewer: Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk

I appreciate your sensitivity in answering this question. It is important to acknowledge that no two cases are the same and it is refreshing to hear a lawyer express the same thought. Each immigrant has their own individual shot at obtaining citizenship.

Question Number Two for Attorney, Jackson:

My second question for you today, Attorney, is through the broad lens of your professional legal career, can you highlight any examples where you witnessed the effects of trauma and mental health strain on clients? How could legal professionals best address client mental strain?

Attorney Answer: Coleman Jackson

Well without revealing any details about any particular client or clients, during the course of practicing immigration law, I have seen immigrants deal with a lot of uncertainty with dignity and grace. I have at those times of stress and strain, let them know that my law firm team and I care about them and that we are there to navigate them through the immigration process. The stress and strain may present itself in various ways; such as, immigrant clients doubting their worth, questioning whether they are accepted or understood in America because immigrants are often forced to communicate extremely sensitive and complex information in English (a language that is not their native tongue). Some clients show wear and tear due to the extremely intrusive, long and incredibly expensive process. Other clients of our law firm have displayed wiriness, dread and even fear when faced with gathering certain types of documentation, such as, police clearance reports; or when revealing certain sensitive information required to support their immigration petitions and applications.

Anxiety arises due to long periods of waiting without any meaningful feedback as examiners process immigrant’s petitions and applications. In recent years, processing times can go on for 36 to 72 months often without any updates or comments from government adjudicators. In recent years those seeking asylum must wait over six years for a hearing and often many are referred to Immigration Court for final determinations by the affirmative Asylum Officers after waiting over six years for their hearing. The wait for an Immigration Court date could be another 3 to 5 years.

On many occasions our compassionate and caring team has had to really encourage immigrants to take the next step, just stay the course and continue to provide information and documents that in some cases are difficult to obtain in some countries and very sensitive in other cultures. Don’t give up and continue to be patient. That is often a comment that I make to our immigrant clients and their families. Thank you for your patience; that is what I often tell them attempting to encourage them to continue the process and continue to be positive and hopeful.

The best way for legal professionals, in my opinion, to address immigration clients’ mental stress and strain is to demonstrate competence in the law, commitment to the client and genuine concern for the outcome. The goal is to help the immigrant to obtain the immigration benefit in which they seek. Competent lawyers must be fierce advocates for their clients, good listeners and loyal encouragers. They must hire team members with similar qualities.

Interviewer: Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk

It is certainly a hefty expenditure to begin therefore this country is thankful for lawyers like yourself who are able to fight for justice where justice is deserved. Most of these individuals just need one person to take a chance on them for their entire life to change.

From a legal perspective, Attorney, how does the United States immigration system address mental health needs or mental trauma of immigrants and their families seeking refuge in America or pursuing a new life in the United States?

Attorney Answer: Coleman Jackson

The immigration laws of the United States does not directly deal with mental health needs of immigrants specifically, but there are numerous provisions in the law that can provide relief and a way out for immigrants finding themselves in America and dealing with various types of stressful, cruel, inhumane, domestic violence or other challenging situations causing them mental distress and pain; for example:

Various types of humanitarian waivers for medical problems and health issues; Violence Against Women’s Act that permits immigrants abused by U.S. citizen children, parents or spouses to self-petition and obtain a Green Card; U Crime Victims Status which is possibly available for immigrants who are victims of certain crimes in America perpetrated by anyone; not just relatives but even stranger on stranger violence; and; T trafficking victims visas which are sometimes available for victims of human trafficking.

Interviewer: Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk

Thank you for your valuable answers, Mr. Jackson. Hopefully our listeners can benefit from learning about immigration from a legal perspective and even find answers in the context of their own USCIS pursuits.

Now, Mrs. Rodriguez, I’d like to ask you, How does the immigration experience impact the mental health of individuals, and what are some common mental health issues that arise in this context?

Guest Podcaster: Ana Marcela Rodriguez, Mental Health Professional

The immigration experience can have a profound impact on the mental health of individuals. The stress and uncertainty associated with leaving one’s home country and adjusting to a new culture, language, and way of life can lead to a range of mental health issues. Some of the common mental health challenges experienced by immigrants include:

1. Anxiety and Depression: The stress of immigration, including language barriers, challenges in finding employment, and navigating unfamiliar systems, can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. The loss of familiar support systems and social connections can also exacerbate these issues.

2. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Immigrants may have experienced traumatic events in their home country or during the immigration process, such as war, violence, or persecution. These experiences can lead to PTSD, which can cause significant distress and impairment in daily functioning.

3. Acculturation Stress: The process of adapting to a new culture and society can be overwhelming and may lead to acculturation stress. Immigrants may struggle to balance their cultural heritage with the pressures to assimilate into their new environment, leading to feelings of confusion, isolation, and identity conflict.

4. Social Isolation and Loneliness: Immigrants may face challenges in building social connections and support networks in their new country, which can contribute to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Lack of social support can exacerbate other mental health issues and lead to a sense of alienation and disconnection.

5. Discrimination and Racism: Immigrants may face discrimination and racism in their new country, which can have a significant impact on their mental health. Experiences of prejudice and bias can lead to feelings of anger, frustration, and a diminished sense of belonging.

6. Family Stress: The immigration process can strain family dynamics, leading to conflicts and tensions within the family unit. Separation from loved ones, financial pressures, and adjustments to new family roles and responsibilities can all contribute to family stress and impact the mental well-being of immigrants.

Interviewer: Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk

It seems as though mental stress can derive from many specific instances and even take the form of several disorders. So with such variation and such room for mental health strains to arise, how can mental health therapists and counselors help law firm clients dealing with immigration-related trauma, and what unique considerations come into play when working with this population?

Guest Podcaster: Ana Marcela Rodriguez,

Mental Health Professional Mental health professionals can help the unique challenges faced by individuals navigating the immigration system and coping with the impact of trauma . We need to be specialized and culturally competent to appropriately support immigrant clients. Here are some ways mental health professionals can assist law firm clients dealing with immigration-related trauma:

1. Providing Trauma-Informed Care:

2. Culturally Competent Counseling:

3. Building Trust and Safety:

4. Addressing Legal and Emotional Needs: providing support in managing stress, anxiety, and depression related to immigration processes while also addressing the emotional impact of legal proceedings and bureaucratic challenges.

5.- Providing Coping Strategies: Therapists can teach clients coping strategies and resilience-building skills to help them manage the stress and emotional impact of the immigration process. This may include techniques for managing anxiety, practicing self-care, and building a support network.

6. Collaboration with Legal Professionals: Collaborating with lawyers and legal professionals involved in the immigration case can ensure an integrated approach to addressing clients’ comprehensive needs, combining legal expertise with mental health support.

7. Referrals to Support Services: Mental health professionals can connect clients with community resources.

Interviewer: Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk

That is a very insightful answer. It is very possible that most of the time, such individuals may just need to be pointed in the right direction to take care of themselves throughout various avenues in the pursuit of citizenship. It also may be important for these issues to be brought up within these legal proceedings if an individual is unaware of what they are struggling with.

Mrs. Marcela, from your experience in mental health canceling in immigration matters, what are some cultural and systemic factors that contribute to the mental health challenges faced by immigrants; and how can these concerns be addressed by immigrants themselves, and by the attorneys representing immigrants, counseling immigrants and advocating on behalf of immigrants and their families in the American legal system?

Guest Podcaster: Ana Marcela Rodriguez, Mental Health Professional

Immigrants face numerous mental health challenges as a result of cultural and systemic factors. The acculturation process, difficulty in obtaining healthcare resources, language barriers, discrimination, and the stress of adapting to new socio-economic realities all contribute to the mental health burden experienced by immigrants.

Culturally, immigrants may struggle with the clash of traditional values and beliefs with those of their new environment. This can lead to feelings of isolation and a lack of sense of belonging, leading to depression and anxiety. Systemically, immigrants often face limited access to mental health services due to financial constraints, lack of insurance, or healthcare disparities. Furthermore, discrimination and xenophobia can result in additional stress and trauma for immigrants, exacerbating their mental health struggles.

As counselors, it is crucial to advocate for immigrants by promoting culturally sensitive and accessible mental health services. Building awareness and advocating for policy changes to address healthcare disparities is essential in ensuring immigrants have adequate support for their mental health needs. Additionally, providing culturally competent therapy and support groups can help immigrants navigate the challenges they face while adapting to a new culture. By advocating for immigrants, counselors can help move towards a more inclusive and equitable mental health system.

Interviewer: Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk

I can certainly see where gaps in justice can arise on matters of immigration. From the root of the problem and outwards, there are also many stereotypes and biases that interfere with proper justice, especially with the application of immigration legislation. It is crucial that lawyers, and especially courts, are able to see that the American Dream promises the allowance for a pursuit of happiness for all, especially those who may need it most. I would also like to note, for immigrant or potential immigrant listeners, please know that home is wherever the heart is and it is up to you and your own dreams to decide where to settle and make a life for yourself.

My next question, Mrs. Rodriguez, is how can mental health therapists and counselors potentially collaborate with legal professionals to provide holistic support to clients dealing with immigration issues, migration concerns, cultural issues and related trauma?

Guest Podcaster: Ana Marcela Rodriguez, Mental Health Professional

In a variety of ways. Firstly, mental health professionals can provide psychological evaluations and therapy to individuals dealing with the stress and trauma of the immigration process. They can also assist in addressing cultural adjustment and identity issues that arise from migration. Additionally, mental health professionals can offer group therapy and support for individuals who have experienced trauma related to immigration and displacement.

On the other hand, legal professionals can help clients navigate the complex legal processes surrounding immigration and migration. They can provide legal representation and advice for clients seeking asylum, residency, or citizenship. Legal professionals can also advocate for the rights of immigrants and assist with issues such as family reunification and employment authorization.

By collaborating, mental health professionals and legal professionals can ensure that clients receive comprehensive support that addresses both their mental health and legal needs. This approach can help individuals better cope with the challenges of immigration and migration and promote their overall well-being and successful integration into their new communities. Interviewer:

Mlaah Singh, Law Clerk

I certainly agree. Thank you Mrs. Rodriguez. On behalf of our Legal Thoughts Podcast audience, I thank our Attorney and our Guest Podcaster, Ana Marcela Rodríguez, a mental health professional with Therapy Works Counseling for sitting with me and answering my questions on immigration and trauma today. We intend to continue this series of podcast in the near future with Episode Two: Violence Against Women Act Petitions and Episode Three: Limited English Proficiencies in American Culture.

Our listeners who want to hear more podcasts like this one please subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcast. You can also read our law firm’s blogs on our website in English, Spanish and Portuguese by going to our law firm’s website, which is, www.cjacksonlaw.com and selecting your preferred language. Everybody take care! And come back in about two weeks, for more taxation, business structuring, contracts litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts from Coleman Jackson, P.C., located right here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 620, Dallas, Texas 75206.

English callers: 214-599-0431 | Spanish callers: 214-599-0432 |Portuguese callers: 214-272-3100

Attorney: Coleman Jackson

Thank you very much Ana for joining me today on our Legal Thoughts Podcast in Episode One, Immigration and Trauma. I also want to thank our Legal Thoughts Podcast audience for giving us their ear today.

Our listeners should stay tuned for future podcasts in this series where Ana and I answer questions about the Violence Against Women Act protections for immigrants experiencing inhumane and unjust treatment at the hands of a United States citizen parent, child or spouse; and Episode 3 where we answer questions on the topic: Limited English Proficiencies and microaggressions in American Culture. As usual, we invite our audience to suggest topics and questions on matters they desire to know answers for involving international, federal, and state and local tax matters; contracts, litigation; and business, family and humanitarian immigration. You can read our blogs or contact us on our law firm’s website which is www.cjacksonlaw.com. Navigate to English, Spanish or Portuguese by using the language selection bottom on our law firm’s website.

If you want to see or hear more taxation, business structuring and contracts litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. Subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcast. Stay tuned! We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, litigation and immigration. Until next time, take care

Overview of the TN Nonimmigrant Visa | How Does the TN Visa for Canadians Differ from the TN Visa for Mexicans?

By: Coleman Jackson, Attorney and Certified Public Accountant
May 20, 2021

TN Nonimmigrant Visa

A TN Visa, also known as the nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional visa, is designed for professional workers from Canada and Mexico. This visa was created by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for special economic and trade relationships that between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The TN visa is a temporary visa, this means that the person applying for it has no intention to permanently reside in the United States and must notify appropriate U.S.  immigration officials that their work will have a termination date and that they will depart the United States when their work is done. It should be stressed that a person with a TN visa may apply for unlimited renewals that are granted in increments of three-year periods.

On July 1, 2020, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USCMCA) took effect thus replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement, however this change has not changed the TN-Visa provisions under old NAFTA.

 

Who is eligible to apply for the TN Visa?

 Who is eligible to apply for the TN Visa?

Those that are eligible to apply for a TN visa must be citizens of Mexico or Canada that seek to apply for temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level. To perform a business activity at a professional level means that the person must have, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree or appropriate credentials that demonstrates that the intending TN visa recipient’s status as a professional. The intending TN visa immigrant must be engaged in a trade or business of trading goods, services, or investment activities performed inside the of the United States. The following categories of licensed professions who are citizens of Canada and Mexico are eligible to apply for the TN Visa:

  • Accountant
  • Architect
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Disaster Relief Insurance Claims Adjuster
  • Economist
  • Engineer
  • Forester
  • Graphic Designer
  • Hotel Manager
  • Industrial Designer
  • Interior Designer
  • Land Surveyor
  • Landscape Architect
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Management Consultant
  • Mathematician
  • Range Manager/Range Conservationist
  • Research Assistant
  • Scientific Technician/Technologist
  • Social Worker
  • Silviculturist
  • Technical Publications Writer
  • Urban Planner
  • Vocational Counselor
  • Medical/Allied Professionals
  • Dentist
  • Dietician
  • Medical Laboratory Technologist/Medical Technologist
  • Nutritionist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Pharmacist
  • Physician
  • Physiotherapist/Physical Therapist
  • Psychologist
  • Recreational Therapist
  • Registered Nurse
  • Veterinarian
  • Agriculturist
  • Animal Breeder
  • Animal Scientist
  • Apiculturist
  • Astronomer
  • Biochemist
  • Biologist
  • Chemist
  • Dairy Scientist
  • Entomologist
  • Epidemiologist
  • Geneticist
  • Geochemist
  • Geologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Horticulturalist
  • Meteorologist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Physicist
  • Plant Breeder
  • Poultry Scientist
  • Soil Scientist
  • Zoologist
  • College, Seminary, or University Teacher

 

TN Visa for Canadian Citizens

TN Visa for Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens applying for a TN visa that meet one of the professions listed above and is traveling to the United States for temporary business purposes has to complete the application for admission with a U.S. officer at a United States port of entry, such as an airport, where they must prove their Canadian citizenship by providing a valid passport. During this step the applicant also has to prove enough to satisfactorily satisfy the U.S. border officer that the TN visa applicant is seeking entry to engage in business at a professional level. The person can expect to present evidence such as documents from the prospective employer, degrees earned from credible institutions of higher education, anticipated length of stay and summary of job duties. If the Canadian citizen is traveling with their spouse or dependents, these relatives will not be required to have a visa, but they must prove their Canadian citizenship and prove their relationship with the TN nonimmigrant. The spouse or dependent will have to apply for admission at a United States port of entry. Like everyone else who comes to the U.S. border, they are seeking admission to enter.

 

TN visa for Mexican Citizens  

TN visa for Mexican Citizens

Mexican citizens who are applying for a TN visa will also have to prove their Mexican citizenship which can be proved with a valid passport. However, the process is different than the steps that Canadian nationals have to take. Citizens of Mexico will have to schedule an appointment with the United States Consulate in Mexico and provide the proper documentation to satisfy the consular officer. Mexican citizens who are a spouse or dependents of a TN nonimmigrant holder will need a visa, unlike Canadian citizens.

 

Extension of Stay for Mexican and Canadian Citizens

Both Mexican and Canadian citizens under certain conditions can apply for an extension of stay in the United States. The first condition is that the individual must apply with the USCIS and pay the correct fee to request a stay extension. Second, the person must be in the United States under the TN nonimmigrant visa status, if the person is not in the United States, then they can request that USCIS notify the their consular’s home office. If the TN status extension is approved, it can be approved for a maximum of three years.

 

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| Portuguese (214) 272-3100

Foreign Doctors and Other Healthcare Workers Opportunities to Work & Live in the United States

October 9, 2020
By Coleman Jackson, Attorney
Foreign Doctors and Other Healthcare Workers Opportunities to Work & Live in the United States

Covid-19 has revealed a lot of short comings in the health care system in the United States.  An overwhelming majority of negative health outcomes have affected the minority communities throughout the country.  The social injustices and the long tail of racial injustice and its impact on the health and well being of our follow citizens are glowing clearly down whatever dark path Covid-19 takes as it sweeps across America’s urban areas and rural areas and whatever other path this mysterious virus goes down.  One thing is clear its impact is not equal on all of America.

America needs to do better.  She must do much better by its citizenry.  One place to start is making sure that a sufficient supply of quality healthcare workers is available to serve all America regardless of what they look like or how much money they have in the bank.  Quality healthcare involves much more than universal health insurance and access to understaffed hospitals and clinics.  There must be qualified, compassionate, skilled healthcare providers who are willing and able to serve communities throughout America staffing the hospitals, clinics and medical offices.

Health Care Worker Visa

If there is a shortage in health care workers, can health insurance coverage alone solve the problems laid bear by Covid-19? There were a woefully insufficient number of healthcare workers in under served communities throughout the United States long before Covid-19 arrived on our shores.  Health insurance does not solve this problem.  Legislation enacted on November 12, 1999, 220 Public Law No. 106-95, 113 Statute 1312 Section 5 suppose to have made it easier for certain foreign physicians and other healthcare workers seeking to work and reside in the United States to enter the United States in the second employment-based preference category, known as the,  EB-2 Visa under the national interest waiver.  Now the EB-2 NIW is not the only visa that health care workers may use to work in the United States, for example, the H1-B, J-1, EB-1 and the traditional EB-2 are all visa types that might afford foreign health care workers the opportunity to live and work in the healthcare field within the United States.  But the EB-2 NIW was designed to make it easier and shorten the time for foreign healthcare workers to come to the United States to live and work indefinitely in the healthcare industry.

The EB-2 NIW- Who Qualifies for the EB-2 National Interest Visa?   All kinds of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers may qualify; so long as, they agree to work full time in a field designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a health professional shortage area or in a Veterans Administration Hospital; and a federal agency or a state department of public health has determined that the healthcare workers’ service is in the public interest.  These are the two prongs of the 1999 legislation establishing the EB-2 National Interest Waiver.  They must be satisfied by obtaining a certification from the federal or state agency, such as the Veteran’s Hospital (VA) on the federal level or State Public Health Agency on the State level.  Local health agency certification will prove to be insufficient and also private organization attestation of the public interest will prove to be insufficient to satisfy this requirement.  A certification by the State Department of Public Health tend to be persuasive evidence of “public interest” when it comes to satisfying the National Interest Waiver certification requirement.  Keep in mind that an NIW is generally considered an easier path to the second preference employment-based EB-2 visa.  NIW healthcare workers must still satisfy all of the requirements for the traditional EB-2 visa in addition to the NIW requirements.

EB-2 Visa
The EB-2 NIW- Does the EB-2 National Interest Visa applicant need to obtain a U.S. Department of Labor certification?  The EB-2 NIW is exempt from labor certification requirements under the 1999 legislation.  The physician or other healthcare worker must certify that they will work full time in a healthcare shortage area or VA hospital for five years.  The healthcare worker must present credible evidence that their work will advance a critical national goal and that their work will benefit the public interest of the United States.  In this time of Covid-19, this certification by the foreign healthcare worker could possibly be easier that ever before to meet due to increased coronavirus related sickness, hospitalizations and exhaustion and depletion of health industry capacity that was already strained in some rural and underserved areas of thee U.S. long before Covid-19 hit the American shores.

The EB-2 NIW- What is the process of applying and how long does it generally take from the filing of the application and working at an American hospital, clinic or other healthcare facility?First of all, the petitioner applying for an EB-2 NIW does not need a hospital or other institution to file the petition nor do they need a job offer.  The foreign healthcare worker can self-petition for an EB-2 NIW. The petitioner must first file USCIS Form I-140 with supporting documentation showing the following:

  • All identification evidence required for the traditional EB-2 visa;
  • Written evidence that the two prongs of the National Interest Waiver showing that the healthcare worker will work full time in an underserved healthcare area, or in a Veterans Administration Hospital facility;
  • Credible Credentialing evidence that shows or demonstrates that the physician or other healthcare worker has the educational, licensing, experience and other professional indicia required by Immigration and Nationalization Act Section 212(a)(5) (B) to work in the intended State of the United States in which they intend to work;
  • All evidence required for USCIS Form I-485 Adjustment Application in the event an Immigrant Visa is immediately available. The immigrant must review theVisa Bulletin published each month by the U.S. Department of State in making the determination as to when to file Form I-485, Adjustment of Status Application; and
  • Other credible evidence as required for healthcare workers in the State.

 

healthcare workers spouse and family visa

As for the processing times at the USCIS, currently processing times are over one year; but, processing times varies based on all facts and circumstances and during Covid-19 the process could take a few months if the foreign healthcare worker shows that their skills are in the public interest and that they are willing to serve at medical facilities with acute shortages or in underserved communities in rural and intercity America.  It should be noted that although an adjustment of status application (Form I-485) can be filed when an immigrant visa is available and can even be filed concurrently with the I-140; the USCIS is not expected to approve the adjustment application until the healthcare worker has actually served in the underserved medical area for at least five years.    Where to file for EB-2 NIW?  Outside of the United Sates the foreign worker files the appropriate forms and supporting documents with the U.S. Consulates Office in their home country; whereas, inside the United These the petitioning foreign healthcare worker files the appropriate forms and supporting documents with USCIS who handles immigration processing inside the country.  Premium or expedited processing could be available to speed up the processing of the I-140 petition; but the availability of premium processing is changed by the government from time to time upon short notice.

The EB-2 NIW- What about the healthcare workers spouse and family? The foreign workers spouse and children under the age of 18 may be admitted to the Unites States in the E-21 and E-22 immigrant visa status.  Their spouse and children can enroll and attend school in the United States.  During the pendency of the adjustment of status application, the spouse is eligible to file for Form I-765, Employment Authorization Application for approval to work in the Unites States.  The spouse and the children can maintain this status and live in the United States indefinitely; so long as, the principal foreign worker maintains the EB-2 NIW immigration status.  Let’s just note that the foreign worker and their spouse and children can travel freely inside and outside of the United States, so long as, they maintain the second preference employment-based visa immigration status.  Once the individual family members adjustment of status application is approved (they get their Green Cards) and they can reside and work in the United States permanently and they can apply for U.S. citizenship after holding the Green Card status for five years.

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 | Portuguese (214) 272-3100

 

The Substantial Presence Test

May 08, 2017
By Coleman Jackson, Attorney, CPA

An Immigrant is Considered a Resident of the U.S. for Federal Tax Purposes When They Meet this Test

The Substantial Presence Test

Except for certain exempt individuals, such as teachers, trainees, students, professional athletes and certain foreign government individuals, immigrants physically in the United States who meet the substantial presence test as depicted in the diagram below are considered an U.S. Resident for federal tax purposes.

(a) (b) (c) (d)
Year Number of Days Immigrant Physically Present in United States  During Period Multiplier Substantial Present Days (Multiply (b) times (c))
Current Year   1.00  
First Prior Year   .333  
Second Prior Year   .167  
Total  Days Immigrant Present in U.S. (add column (d)  

tax status of immigrants

It is critical to determine the tax status of immigrants because immigrants who are Green Card Holders and those who meet the substantial presence test are taxed just like United States Citizens.  United States Citizens are taxed on their world wide income no matter where the income is earned.  Generally speaking, immigrants meet the substantial presence test when all of the following statements are true:

  1. The immigrant was physically present in the United States for at least 31 days during the current calendar year; and
  2. The immigrant was physically present in the United States for 183 days during the three year period for which residency is being determined.

In the event that both of these conditions are met and none of the exemptions apply, the immigrant is treated as a Resident of the United States for tax purposes.  But as is typical in American law, there are exceptions even if an immigrant meets the substantial presence test.  The ‘closer connection to a foreign country exception’ is just such an exception.    Also what constitutes a day in the United States can be affected by whether the immigrant is a regular commuter from Mexico or Canada, or whether the immigrant is in transit between two foreign points outside of the U.S., or simply whether the immigrant is in the U.S. in one of the ‘exempt person statuses’ that we mentioned at the top of this blog.  Even the medical condition of the immigrant could impact whether time in the United States is counted toward the term ‘day’ in the United States for the substantial presence test.  Any time in the United States due to a medical condition that arose while the immigrant was in the U.S. is not counted in the substantial presence test calculus.

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

Check Your ITIN because it could be Expired or Expiring Soon

By: Coleman Jackson, Attorney, CPA
November 21, 2016

Check Your ITIN because it could be Expired or Expiring Soon

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, otherwise known as (ITIN) allows taxpayers to meet their tax filing obligations who cannot obtain a Social Security Number.  An ITIN is typically used by nonresident foreigners , undocumented resident foreigners, dependents and spouses of U.S. Citizens and resident foreigners who cannot get a social security number, and nonresident students, professors or researchers filing a U.S. federal tax return or claiming an exception, and anyone else who has a tax reporting obligation but cannot obtain a social security number.  The ITIN, like a social security number, is a nine digit code.  The ITIN begins with the number 9 and has fourth and fifth digits ranging from 50-65, 70-88, 90-92, and 94-99.   These are the middle digits of the ITIN.   The ITIN does not grant the holder any legal rights to reside in the United States.  The ITIN does not grant the holder any right to work in the United States.  The ITIN is issued by the United States Treasury (IRS).  The ITIN is only used for tax reporting purposes.

ITIN holders beware!  Section 203 of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act), which became law on December 18, 2015 made critical changes to U.S. Tax Law, 26 U.S.C. Section 6109 as it relates to the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Program.  Because of these PATH Act changes, every ITIN holder must check their ITIN to determine whether it is expired or expiring soon.  The PATH Act made major changes in the ITIN Program which requires holders of ITINs to renew their ITIN.

Holders of unused ITINs must renew them or they will expire.  Any ITIN not used on a federal tax return for the last three (3) years.  Count back from the current year to the previous three tax reporting periods.  If it has been three years since the ITIN was used; it expires on January 1, 2017.  That means that if you hold an ITIN that was not used in 2015, 2014 or 2013; your ITIN is no longer valid and cannot be used when you file your 2016 federal tax return; unless, you timely renew it.  The IRS began accepting ITIN renewal applications on October 1, 2016 for taxpayers affected by the PATH Act.

ITINs issued before 2013 began expiring in 2016 on a rolling basis.  The mandatory renewal period for these ITINs is on what the IRS is calling a rolling basis.  The key numbers that triggers the expiration and mandatory renewal schedule as to when the pre-2013 ITIN renewal period began are the middle two digits of the ITIN.  For example, beginning October 1, 2016, ITIN holders with middle digits of 78 and 79 began renewing their ITIN. Every ITIN holder must examine their ITIN and the ITIN of family members (household members) to determine when their ITIN expires or expired based on the IRS rolling renewal schedule.

Holders of expired ITINs could have difficulty complying with U.S. tax laws.  They could be prohibited from claiming exemptions and dependents and so forth with expired ITINs.  Moreover, failure to timely file required federal tax returns carry serious consequences under U.S. tax laws, such as, civil negligence penalties, fraud penalties and potential criminal prosecution.  There could also be serious consequences under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for failure to comply with U.S. federal tax laws (Internal Revenue Code).  Federal tax law abuse violates the terms of immigrant visas under the INA in certain circumstances.   ITIN holders must check their ITIN because the ITIN could be expired or expiring soon.

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

U.S. Immigration Petition Prices Set to Increase this December

October 27, 2016
By:  Coleman Jackson, Attorney

U.S. Immigration Petition Prices Set to Increase this December 2016

Have everybody heard?  It is official.  United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fees are set to increase effective December 23, 2016.  Applications and immigration petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016, must include the new fees or be rejected by USCIS.  Some examples of the fee increase effect on some of the more popular applications and petitions are as follows:

Form Number

Form Title

Fee-Effective 12-23-2016

Current Fee

I-90

Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card

$455

$365

I-102

Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document

455

330

I-129/129CW

Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker

460

325

I-129F

Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)

535

340

I-130

Petition for Alien Relative

535

420

I-131 /I-131A

Application for Travel Document

575

360

I-140

Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

700

580

I-212

Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal

903

585

I-360

Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant

435

405

I-485

Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

1,140

985

I-485

Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (certain applicants under the age of 14 years)

750

635

I-526

Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur

3,675

1,500

I-539

Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

370

290

I-600/600A

Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative /Application for Advance Petition Processing of Orphan Petition

775

720

I-800/800A

Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative /Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country

775

720

I-601

Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability

930

585

I-601A

Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

630

585

I-690

Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility

715

200

I-694

Notice of Appeal of Decision

890

755

I-698

Application to Adjust Status From Temporary to Permanent Resident (Under Section 245A of the INA)

1,670

1,020

I-751

Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence

595

505

I-765

Application for Employment Authorization

410

380

I-824

Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition

465

405

I-829

Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions

3,750

3,750

I-924

Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program

17,795

6,230

I-924A

Annual Certification of Regional Center

3,035

0

I-929

Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant

230

215

N-336

Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings

640

595

N-400

Application for Naturalization

640

595

N-470

Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes

355

330

N-565

Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document

555

345

N-600/N-600K

Application for Certification of Citizenship/Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under INA Section 322

1,170

600/550

USCIS Immigrant Fee

220

165

Biometric Fee

85

85

The table of fees above does not list the names or filling fees for all immigrant petitions and applications.  Filing fee increases take effect on or after December 23, 2016.  New submissions must be submitted to the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) with the payment associated fees attached.

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.