Tag Archives: Immigration

Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published May 10,2021.

Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States”. You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Immigration Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas.
  • Our topic for today is: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States. Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Litigation Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our immigration legal assistant, Reyna Munoz, will be asking the questions and I will be providing the answers to the questions on this very important immigration topic: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Good morning attorney. Thank you for joining me today to talk about this incredibly important topic that our listeners will be learning about today.

Question 1:

Attorney, what is the Real ID Act of 2005 and why is it so important today?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Good morning, Reyna. The Real ID act was passed by Congress in 2005 after the tragic terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. The Real ID Act of 2005 “sets minimum security for license issuance and production and it prohibits federal agencies from accepting documents such as driver’s licenses and identification cards that do not meet the act’s minimum standards.” This is why when you go to the airport you will see a lot of signs that state that your driver’s license must be Real ID compliant. Real ID driver’s licenses usually have a star on the top right of the document. These ID’s are built with new technology and require a lot more paperwork from the applicant to prove their residency and their social security number. Why is the Real ID Act of 2005 relevant today? The Act is very important, and it is certainly relevant today because EVERY STATE WITHIN THE UNITED STATES MUST Be Real ID compliant by October 1, 2021. Those using driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by non-compliant States could be hindered from flying on airplanes, riding on trains and buses within the United States.  They could also be hindered or prevented from accessing federal buildings and potentially prevented from exercising other rights that they otherwise would have where a license or identification card is required. Perhaps many people don’t realize this; but, the driver’s license in their pocket or purse right now could already be Real ID compliant because many States have been issuing Real ID compliant driver’s licenses and other ID Cards for years now in compliance with the Real ID Act of 2005.
  • Reyna, the reasons that I have just listed are just some of the reasons why the Real ID Act of 2005 is relevant in 2021 and beyond. People who have licenses that are not compliant on October 1, 2021 could be hindered and possibly prohibited from doing a lot of things that people simply take for granted now.  People need to pull out their driver’s license to see whether it is Real ID compliant.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Attorney, I now clearly understand why the Real ID Act of 2005 is so important. Everyone needs to have a Real ID Act compliant driver’s license or ID card in their possession by October 1, 2021!

Question 2:

Does this mean that if people do not have a Real ID compliant document, they won’t be able to use their identification document anymore?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • No, not necessarily. The two words to pay attention to here is “not necessarily”. I mean, who wants the hassle when they simply are engaging in everyday life activities. I mean; they may get unnecessary questions and delays doing such things as traveling to see their extended family within the U.S. on a busy holiday.  They are stuck in some airport confirming their identity before they can get through airport security.  They could miss their flight.  This is merely a hypothetical of some inconvenience that could potentially occur from using non-compliant driver’s licenses after October 1, 2021.   But let me be clear here; for now, people will still be able to use their non-compliant real ID document to drive and vote. Many States are looking at State election laws right now and possibly Real ID compliant identification documents would be required to Vote by some State legislatures.  That is something to watch out for as the dust settles regarding these attempts to restrict voting by change or modification of election laws around the country.
  • Note that a REAL ID driver’s license or ID card cannot be used for international travel. Official Passports lawfully issued to the person by the U.S. Government or other appropriate government is required to travel internationally to anywhere in the world. However, beginning October 1, 2021, when it comes to domestic travel, people will need to provide other documents if they do not have a Real ID driver’s license or ID Card; such as:
    • A valid U.S. passport
    • Permanent Resident card
    • Border crossing card
    • Federally recognized tribal issued photo
    • USCIS Employment Authorization card
  • Again, the basic concern people should have when using a non-compliant driver’s license after October 1, 2021 is the real possibility of hassle and delays while officials or merchants or whoever conducts some form of inquiry or investigation trying to determine their real identity.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

I hear you, attorney; who needs the hassle; life is full of stress and strain as it is. Who need unnecessary disruption and drama created from using a non-compliant driver’s license?  But it’s good to see that people will still have other options to prove their real identity when it comes to domestic travel within the United States.

Question 3:

So tell me attorney, what categories of immigrants in the United States qualify to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or State issued ID?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • Reyna, the following categories of immigrants in the U.S. are eligible to apply for a REAL ID driver’s license or ID card at their local Department of Motor Vehicles, (DMV):
    1. Immigrants who are currently United States Lawful Permanent Residents or Green Card Holders
    2. Immigrants who have a pending application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident
    3. Immigrants who are currently hold the status of temporary resident of the United States
    4. Immigrants who have conditional permanent resident status such as valid work permit in the U.S.
    5. Immigrants who have an approved asylum application
    6. Immigrants who have a valid unexpired nonimmigrant visa, such as, an F-1 Student Visa
    7. Immigrants who have a pending asylum application
    8. Immigrants who have a pending Temporary Protective Status Application or approved TPS
    9. Immigrants who have an approved deferred action status, such as Deferred Action of Childhood Arrival or DACA
  • Note that State and Local laws and regulations could be a factor as to who is eligible to apply for a driver’s license or ID Card. These State rules could potentially modify or even exclude immigrants from this eligibility for Real ID card list.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Thank you very much for this thorough presentation of those immigrants who are potentially eligible for Real ID.

Question 4:

So how will REAL ID impact undocumented immigrants who live in states that issue them a state ID, but don’t meet any of the categories you just mentioned?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • Well Reyna, the Department of Homeland Security, DHS has stated in several announcements that some States issue noncompliant cards to undocumented people. If that is so; DHS requires that those non-compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards clearly state that the ID card is not acceptable for REAL ID purpose. These non-compliant driver’s licenses have a unique design or color to differentiate them from Real ID compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards.
  • DHS has also made it clear, however, that just because an individual carries a noncompliant identification card or driver’s license does not mean that anyone should that the holder of this unique, stand out type card is undocumented.
  • A critical point that people should be aware is this one: Issuance of licenses to individuals are a matter of State law and not federal law.  States have the right to set their own standards, rules, and regulations eligibility for issuance of driver’s licenses and other licenses within their State.  Eligibility standards and application requirements are different from State to State.  For example, in California, undocumented immigrants are eligible to apply for a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or ID card in that State; however, undocumented people in Texas are not eligible to receive a Real ID compliant driver’s license or any other identification card.  People residing in Texas should check with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicle to learn the requirements for issuance of identification licensure within the State.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Okay, attorney, this has been very informative. You have made it crystal clear that issuance of driver’s licenses and identification documents are determined by State laws and regulations and not federal laws. Licensure rules vary from State to State.  Eligibility requirements are different in each State.  It just depends upon where the immigrant resides within the United States as to whether they can obtain a Real ID complaint driver’s license or other identification.   In Texas, check with the Department of Motor Vehicle for driver’s licensing eligibility requirements and procedures.
  • Some of the listeners of our Legal Thoughts Podcast reside in other States and even overseas. I have noticed.

Question 5:

Attorney, where can immigrants and others find more information on REAL ID in their own specific State since a lot of our listeners are not from Texas?

Attorney Answers Question 5:

  • Individuals who desire to learn more about REAL ID in regard to their own State, should visit: dhs.gov/real-id
  • This is a very user-friendly site with plenty of information readily available to anyone with an internet connection. Furthermore, the site has webpages explaining these REAL ID issues in Spanish, French, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.

Reyna Munoz’s Concluding Remarks:

  • Thank you for sharing this website, attorney. Potentially many people could find all of this information incredibly timely and helpful since States must comply with the READ ID Act of 2005 and become compliant by October 1, 2021. Those are all my questions for now in regard to the REAL ID Act of 2005. Thank you for taking the time to discuss this important topic.
  • Attorney, thank you for the detailed information on Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts everyone in America; including, undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States. Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast for more taxation, government contract law, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts podcasts. Everybody take care!  Read our taxation, government contract litigation and immigration law firm’s blogs at www.cjacksonlaw.com.  Coleman Jackson, P.C., is 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’s Concluding Remarks:

THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States. If you want to see or hear more taxation, government contract litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. Stay tuned! We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate, and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, government contract litigation and immigration.  Until next time, take care.

Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published March 29, 2021.

Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers”. You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Immigration Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson, and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas.
  • Our topic for today is: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers. Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Litigation Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our immigration legal assistant, Reyna Munoz, will be asking the questions and I will be providing the answers to the questions on this very important immigration topic: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Attorney, thank you for joining me today and for taking the time to discuss the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, I 601 and the Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, I 601A.

Question 1:

Attorney, can you tell me, what is the I 601 and the I 601A waiver?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Sure Reyna. A lot of immigrants in Texas came to the U.S. undocumented; therefore, they need a Waiver of Unlawful Presence. many undocumented immigrant parents waste their money when their U.S. citizen children turn 21. They waste their money because although they can successfully get their I-130, Petition for Alien Relative petition approved, their U.S. citizen children do not qualify for the U.S. person who will suffer extreme and unusual hardship if the undocumented immigrant is not granted an I-601 waiver for unlawful presence in the U.S.  Bottom line, it’s a waste of money to file an I-130 when you do not have a qualifying relative to satisfy Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility based on the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility.  The undocumented immigrant needs a qualifying relative who will suffer extreme hardship if the undocumented immigrant is not permitted to immigrate to the United States.  The extreme hardship requirement for a waiver of unlawful presence can only be satisfied by a qualifying relative, such as, a U.S. citizen parent or U.S. citizen spouse.  Repeat, U.S. citizen children do not and cannot satisfy the qualifying relative requirement; therefore, unless the undocumented immigrant has a qualifying relative, it is a waste of time, effort, and money for their 21-year-old child to file an I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative on their behalf if the intent is to get a Green Card through the child.  A big log or bolder is blocking the road for the undocumented immigrant seeking a Green Card through their 21-year-old child.  The parents need a qualifying relative! If they had a qualifying relative, the parents probably would have gotten their Green Cards years ago.
  • Form I-601A, Provisional Waiver of Unlawful Presence is a waiver request based on humanitarian concerns of immigrants leaving the U.S. who are barred from returning for 5 to 10 years due to the fact that they have spent more than 180 continuous days unlawfully in the U.S. Before the I-601A provisional waiver process was implemented, these parents and other undocumented immigrants would leave the U.S. without an I-601 Waiver and when they got to the Consulate in their home country, they learned that they needed a waiver of unlawful presence to return to the United States.  The waiver was typically then prepared in the foreign country and submitted for approved by the U.S. Consulate Office.  Often times the Consulate would deny the waiver and therefore the immigrant would get stuck for 5 to 10 years in their home country with their husband, or wife and children remaining up here.  Family separation occurred as an inherent feature of the immigration waiver process.  The Form I-601A was created to hopefully prevent this harsh family separation reality.  Form I-601A can only be used to request waiver for unlawful presence.  It cannot be used to request a waiver or pardon for any other reason of inadmissibility of the undocumented immigrant.  For example, if there are crimes in the immigrants’ background or medical or health issues, DUI issues, Domestic Violence issues or other inadmissibility issues with the immigrant, the I-601A waver cannot be used for these grounds of inadmissibility.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Thank you for this detailed explanation Attorney. You’re correct, a lot of times undocumented people think that once their child turns 21, they will immediately be able to apply for a green card, but it is important for them to understand that this is a process and they need a qualifying relative who suffer extreme and unusual hardship in the event the undocumented immigrant leaves the U.S. and is not permitted to return for 5 to 10 years.

Question 2:

Attorney, what are the differences between the I 601 and the I 601A?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • The I 601 waiver is used to request waiver or pardon for a host of areas of inadmissibility, such as, unlawful presence, physical or mental health (such as, DUI, domestic violence could be considered by some Consulate Officers as indications of mental illness); whereas, the I 601A provisional waiver can only be used to request a pardon for unlawful presence in the U.S. Inadmissibility based on mental health, physical health, crimes, or other grounds of inadmissibility are not eligible for consideration in an I 601A waiver case.
  • The I 601 waiver is granted to pardon numerous offending grounds of inadmissibility; whereas the I 601A waiver is a provisional waiver of unlawful presence.
  • The I 601 waiver is typically filed at the U.S. Consulates Office by undocumented immigrants seeking a green card through a qualifying relative; whereas, the I-601A provisional waiver of unlawful presence is filed inside the U.S. before the immigrant leaves the United States. It is provisional in the sense that the Consulate Officer will make the final determination as to whether the immigrant is admitted to return to the United States.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • It sounds like the these understanding the use and purpose of these two forms and this whole area of immigration waiver law are incredibly important topics for many immigrants residing in Texas and throughout the Southwest.

Question 3:

Who can file an I 601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • Reyna, the following types of immigrants may file Form I 601, Application for Waiver of Inadmissibility:
    1. Those applying for adjustment of status
    2. Those applying for Temporary Protected Status, TPS
    3. Those who are applying for adjustment of status under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act
    4. Those who are applying for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status under Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA), And finally,
    5. Special Immigrant Juveniles who have an approved I 130, Petition for Alien Relative.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 4:

Thank you for that detailed list, attorney. Now tell me, who is eligible to file the I 601A, Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver??

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • Reyna, those eligible to file the I 601A Provisional Waiver for Unlawful Presence must meet the following requirements:
    1. They must be physically present in the United States at the time of filing;
    2. They must be least 17 years of age or older;
    3. They must have a case pending with the United States Department of State because they are: (A) the principal beneficiary of an approved I-130 or they are the beneficiary of an approved I 360; or (B) they are the spouse or child of a principal beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa and have paid the immigrant visa processing fee; or (C) they have been selected by the Department of State to participate in the Diversity Visa program; and
    4. They must be able to demonstrate that denying admission to the United States would result in extreme hardship to a relative U.S. citizen spouse or U.S. citizen lawful permanent resident or parent.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 5:

Attorney, in regard to the I 601A you mentioned “extreme hardship,” what exactly does this term mean in U.S. immigration law?

Attorney Answers Question 5:

  • That is correct, Reyna. The applicant must demonstrate that being denied the entrance back into the United States will cause extreme hardship to their qualifying relative. Some of the areas of the qualifying relative’s life that might be relevant in support of an I-601 or I-601A, Application for Waiver to overcome unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility are:
    1. Education: Disruption of current academic programs or loss of opportunity for higher education due to lower quality education in home country;
    2. Personal considerations: Such as separation for close relatives in the United States
    3. Financial considerations: Cost of caring for family members or loss of job
    4. Health of the qualifying relative: Ongoing medical treatments in the United states
    5. Special Considerations: fears of persecution or cultural differences in home country
  • Keep in mind that the U.S. citizen relative must prove that they will suffer extreme financial hardship if their immigrant relative is not allowed back into the country. The hardship must be more than the mere normal and expected financial difficulty derived from lack of the undocumented immigrants earned income, family relations or household support. The hardship that might be experienced by the undocumented immigrant or their children are not factors that the adjudicators typically would consider when evaluating waiver cases.  Even when a qualifying relative meets the extreme hardship requirement, it simply means the adjudicator of the waiver application can exercise discretion and grant the waiver.  It is not mandatory that the waiver be granted even when extreme hardship is clearly shown.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Attorney thank you for summarizing what term “extreme hardship” means in the unlawful presence waiver context. This is such an important fact and potential hurdle for all immigrants who must meet the extreme hardship requirement to overcome the unlawful presence ground of admissibility.

Question 6

Attorney, my final question regarding the unlawful presence waiver is this:   Is there a filing fee for Form 1 601 and Form I 601A?

Attorney Answers Question 6:

  • Yes Reyna, there is a USCIS filing fee for both of these forms.
  • As of March 11, 2021, the filing fee for the I 601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility is $930 and the filing fee for the I 601 A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver is $630.
  • USCIS filing fees are subject to change with little notice.

Reyna Munoz’s Concluding Remarks:

  • Attorney, thank you for the detailed information on both the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, I 601 and the Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, I 601A. Unlawful presence in the U.S. is a hurdle facing many immigrant families throughout Texas and the Southwest in general. This information may prevent them from spending their hard-earned money unwisely.  I mean, if they don’t have a qualifying relative in the U.S. for the unlawful presence waiver; that sounds like a big problem.  I mean that is a huge problem, Attorney!  Like you said, its like a big log or bolder stretching across the road blocking the path to a Green Card for people who have been here for a while undocumented.
  • Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast for more taxation, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts podcasts. Everybody take care!  Read our taxation, government contract litigation and immigration law firm’s blogs at www.cjacksonlaw.com.  Coleman Jackson, P.C., is 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’s Concluding Remarks:

THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers
  • Immigrants who have resided in the United States for more than 180 days continuously without lawful status has a major problem under current immigration law. They need a waiver or pardon for unlawful presence when they leave the U.S. in order to lawfully reenter the U.S.  That in a nutshell is what the I- 601 and I-601A waivers are designed to accomplish as far as unlawful presence is concerned.  This is the current state of immigration law in the United States as it pertains to undocumented immigrants and current waiver unlawful presence.
  • If you want to see or hear more taxation, government contract litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. Stay tuned! We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, government contract litigation and immigration.  Until next time, take care.

Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: USCIS Reverting back to 2008 US Citizenship Test | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published March 5, 2021.

USCIS Reverting back to 2008 US Citizenship Test

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: USCIS Reverting back to 2008 US Citizenship Test”.  You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Immigration Thoughts

  • 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.
  • Our topic for today is: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: USCIS Reverting back to 2008 US Citizenship Test. Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant; Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant; and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our immigration legal assistant, Reyna Munoz, will be asking the questions and I will be providing the answers to the questions on this very important immigration topic: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: USCIS Reverting back to 2008 US Citizenship Test.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 1:

Good morning Attorney, as you know we will be discussing a very important topic this week to keep our listeners informed on Immigration Matters that they ought to know about. Our topic of interest is the new United States Citizenship Test that has been announced by USCIS. Can you tell me what this is about?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Good morning Reyna.
  • On February 22, 2021, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will go back to the 2008 version of the naturalization test. This will begin on March 1, 2021.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 2:

Attorney, why did USCIS decide to revert to the 2008 U.S. Citizenship test?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • Well Reyna, this is due to an executive order that the Biden Administration released on February 02, 2021 titled “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems.” USCIS determined that the revised naturalization civics test that was implemented on December 1, 2020 may inadvertently create potential barriers to the naturalization process. Reverting back to the 2008 civics test will eliminate barriers and make the process more accessible to all eligible individuals.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Wow attorney, it’s good to see that these barriers will be eliminated by reverting back to the 2008 naturalization civics test!

Question 3:

Who can take this test, attorney?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • Reyna, the civics test is given to applicants that are applying for United States Citizenship, it is also a requirement for naturalizing.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • This test is incredibly important then, for those who wish to become naturalized US Citizens!

Question 4:

What sort of topics does the test contain?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • That’s a good question, Reyna!
  • The people taking the test must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, principles, and form of government of the United States.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 5:

Attorney, does USCIS provide any study guides or any assistance in helping applicants study for the test??

Attorney Answers Question 5:

  • Yes, test items and study guides can be found on the Citizenship Resource Center on WWW.USCIS.GOV/CITIZENSHIP

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Thank you for sharing this helpful website!

Question 6:

Attorney, you’ve answered a lot of important questions! My final question is, what about the people that have been studying for the 2020 test? How will they be affected by this new order?

Attorney Answers Question 6:

  • Good question, Reyna
  • Those that filed their application for naturalization on or after December 1, 2020 and before March 1, 2021 will be given the option by USCIS to take either the 2020 civics test or the 2008 civics test. There will also be a transition period where both tests are being offered. On April 19, 2021, the 2020 test will be phased out for those taking the test for the first time and those applicants that are filing on or after March 1, 2021 will take the 2008 civics test.
  • Reyna, I hope this answered your question. Do you have any more questions?

Reyna Munoz’s Concluding Remarks:

  • That answered my question perfectly! Those are all my questions for now, Attorney, thank you! This information is incredibly helpful for those that are going to take the United States Citizenship test!
  • Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast. Everybody take care!  Follow us for more taxation, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts from Coleman Jackson, P.C., which is 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’s Concluding Remarks:

THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about “Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: USCIS Reverting back to 2008 US Citizenship Test.” If you want to see or hear more taxation, litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. 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.

Podcast – The United States Citizenship Act of 2021 | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published February 25, 2021.

The United States Citizenship Act of 2021

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “The United States Citizenship Act of 2021”.  You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:
ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Immigration Thoughts

  • 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.
  • Our topic for today is: The United States Citizenship Act of 2021
  • Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant; Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant; and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our immigration legal assistant, Reyna Munoz, will be asking the questions and I will be providing the answers to the questions on this very important immigration topic: “The United States Citizenship Act of 2021.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 1:

Attorney, I have been hearing a lot about President Biden’s Immigration Bill proposal. Can you tell me what this is all about?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Yes, Reyna. On January 20, 2021, the Biden Administration released a statement that states his immigration bill named the United States Citizenship Act of 2021 has been sent to Congress. This immigration bill creates a road map to citizenship for undocumented people, it keeps families together, embraces diversity, promotes immigrant and refugee integration and citizenship. Not only that, but it also includes growing the economy, it protects workers from exploitation and improves the employment verifications process.
  • This immigration bill also discusses border protection by supplementing existing border resources with technology and infrastructure, manages the border and protects border communities, cracks down on criminal organizations, addresses the root cause of migration, improves immigration courts, and supports asylum seekers and other vulnerable populations.
  • We are not sure if this bill will get through Congress, but we believe it is important to educate the public on the contents of this immigration bill proposal.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 2:

Attorney, if this bill passes, who benefits from it?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • If this bill passes undocumented people will be able to apply for temporary legal status. After five years, if they pass a criminal and National security background check and pay their taxes, they will be able to apply for a green card.
  • Furthermore, dreamers, TPS holders, and immigrant farmworkers who meet specific requirements are eligible for green cards immediately under this legislation.
  • Keep in mind that this is an administration proposal. It must be negotiated and approved by both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and signed by the President in order to become law.  There could be many modifications and compromises along the way.  And this comprehensive immigration proposal may never become law.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 3:

Attorney, what about US citizenship? Will undocumented people be able to apply for citizenship at any point?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • Yes, Reyna. As a matter of fact, all green card holders who pass additional background checks and demonstrate knowledge of English and U.S. civics can apply to become United States citizens.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

That is amazing news!

Question 4:

What about the people that have an approved family-sponsorship petition outside of the United States?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • This comprehensive immigration bill proposal provides a section on keeping families together. Those that have an approved family-sponsorship petition will be allowed to join their family in the United States on a temporary basis while they wait for green card to become available.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 5:

Attorney, does the bill state anything on integration for immigrants and refugees?

Attorney Answers Question 5:

  • Yes, the bill provides funding for state and local governments, private organizations, educational institutions,community-based organizations, and not for profit organizations. This funding is to expand programs and promote integrations and inclusion. It will also increase English-language instructions and provide assistance to individuals seeking to become citizens.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

That is great to hear, attorney!

Question 6:

How will this immigration bill help grow the United States economy?

Attorney Answers Question 6:

  • This bill will give the Department of Homeland Security the authority to adjust green cards based on macroeconomic conditions and it will incentivize higher wages for non-immigrant, high-skilled visas to prevent unfair competition with American workers. It will also provide dependents of H-1B visa holders work authorizations and children will be prevented from aging out of the system.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 7:

How will this immigration bill protect undocumented people in the workplace?

Attorney Answers Question 7:

  • This bill will protect migrant and seasonal workers by increasing the penalties for employers who violate labor laws. It also grants greater access for U-Visa for workers who suffer serious labor violations and cooperate with worker protection agencies.
  • Also, DHS and the Department of Labor will be required to establish a commission involving labor, employer, and civil rights organization to make recommendations for improving the employment verification process.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 8:

Attorney, if this bill passes it will be very helpful for the undocumented community that meet certain requirements. However, what does this bill have to say in regards to border security and crime?

Attorney Answers Question 8:

  • Reyna, you are right. If this bill passes it will be a great help for a lot of undocumented people. However, it will also provide more robust border security. This bill will provide funding for training and continuing education to promote agent and officer safety and professionalism. It will also provide budget to deploy technology to expedite screening and enhance the ability to identify narcotics and other contraband at every land, air, and seaport of entry. This bill also gives the ability to prosecute individuals that are involved in smuggling and trafficking networks.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 9:

It’s good to hear that this bill also addresses border security and targets criminal activity. Does the bill say anything about finding the root source of migration?

Attorney Answers Question 9:

  • Yes Reyna. This immigration bill will also dedicate funds to find the underlying cause of migration. It will also increase assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. It will also re-establish the Central American Minors program which will reunite children with U.S. relatives.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 10:

Thank you, Attorney, for that information. What else does the bill say about protecting vulnerable individuals that are undocumented?

Attorney Answers Question 10:

  • Well Reyna, this bill will reduce immigration court backlogs and will expand training for immigration judges. It will also restore fairness and balance to the immigration system. The bill will also eliminate one year deadline for filing asylum claims and will raise the cap on visas from 10,000 to 30,000.
  • The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 sent to Congress by the President is in the first steps of the legislative process. Again, in order for this bill to become law, it must be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.  There might be many changes along the way as this bill goes through the legislative process. Its fate in the legislative process is unknown.  People should stay tune for further updates.
  • Reyna, do you have any additional questions regarding the United States Citizenship Act of 2021 proposed by President Biden?

Reyna Munoz’s Concluding Remarks:

  • No, I think those are all my questions for now Attorney. Thank you for explaining this important bill that if passed will change the lives of so many people that are undocumented.
  • Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast. Everybody take care!  Follow us for more taxation, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts from Coleman Jackson, P.C., which is 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’s Concluding Remarks:

THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about “The United States Citizenship Act of 2021.”If you want to see or hear more taxation, litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. 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.

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