Immigration News – New law to reduce visas coming

** Contributions to this Column are made by Attorney Caroly Pedersen, Esq. of the American  Immigration Law Center – Call 954-382-5378


Republicans Propose  To Dramatically Reduce Overall U.S. Immigration!

On February 7th, Republican Senators unveiled planned Immigration legislation which would dramatically change America’s entire legal immigration system. Called the “Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act” the proposal intends to cut all legal immigration by 50%, exclude parents of citizens from the current special designation as “immediate relatives” and instead  force them to wait in long visa lines, eliminate the yearly diversity (Visa Lottery) program, and cut refugee visas by half. Most tragically, the measure would eliminate all immigrant visas for adult children of U.S. Citizens and Residents, and all siblings (brothers & sisters) of U.S. Citizens, allowing only spouses and unmarried minor children of citizens and permanent residents to obtain Green Cards.

Introduced by Republican senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, the Act, would dramatically alter our current legal immigration laws and by Cotton’s own estimate, “cut annual immigration in half, from 1 million to 500,000 green cards per year”. An exception in the proposal would allow qualifying elderly parents to obtain temporary visas to stay with sponsoring U.S. Citizen children in the U.S., but would require proof of health insurance and not allow the parents to work or receive public benefits.

According to CNN, Sen. Cotton,  said he’s been in “close contact” with Trump’s staff as they’ve worked on the details of the bill and that he’s spoken with Trump about it as recently as Tuesday morning. Referring to Trump, Cotton reportedly told reporters, “He strongly supports the broad concept of moving legal immigration towards a merit-based system,”. The Senate Bill is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks and as we  know, things are changing at lightning speed.

So with family immigration under fire, it’s only a matter of time before some version of a Restrictionist  immigration Bill is signed into law by Trump. As a result, U.S. Citizens should not delay in filing petitions for Parents, adult Children (single and married) and Siblings now! Similarly, U.S.  Residents (Green Card holders) should file petitions to sponsor their adult single children as well. As in the past, immigrant petitions for all these family members filed now before the law changes, will remain valid in the future, even if family categories are later restricted or eliminated.

This radical immigration proposal is just the start of similar legislation to come under the Republican controlled Congress and Whitehouse. There are few limits on their powers, except public opinion! This is your opportunity to voice your opposition to any Congressional proposals to restrict legal immigration, before it’s too late! Call your local Senators now and tell them  you do NOT support the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act and want to stop any efforts to restrict legal immigration. For Florida, you can call your Senators at: Democratic Sen. Nelson : 202-224-5274 and Republican Sen. Rubio: 202-224-3041 Those outside Florida can get the link to contact your state’s  Senators  by visiting our website at: and clicking on the Immigration Newsletter link.

Appeals Court Refuses To Re-instate Trump’s Travel Ban!

Last week the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Trump’s request to lift the hold on his Executive Order travel bans. For background, on January 27th, Trump issued an Executive Order called “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” which would “ban entry into U.S. from Certain Muslim-Majority countries for at least 30 days and some up to 90 days for all immigrants and non-immigrant nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen”. Following the Executive Order, the state department cancelled visas and put all visa processing on hold for nationals of the named countries, including initially applying the ban to U.S. Residents (Green Card holders) causing hardship, detentions, denial of entry into the U.S. and chaos at airports, Consulates and the USCIS. As a result, the states of Washington and Minnesota filed a lawsuit to stop implementation of the ban, citing its violation of U.S. law and the Constitution. A Federal Judge in Washington then issued an order to “stay” (hold) the ban from being implemented, pending a trial on the legality of the Executive Order. The Trump Administration then appealed the stay, which resulted in the current ruling by the 9th Circuit Appeals Court to uphold the stay. The Administration can appeal the decision or rewrite the Executive Order in an effort to make it more acceptable under the law¸ for instance only apply the ban to issuance of new visas to national’s of the named countries, etc.. Stay tuned…


Question: My girlfriend is here in Miami on a tourist visa visiting from Venezuela. I plan to propose to her on Valentine’s Day and want her to stay here in the U.S. so we can get married. I am a resident and will go to my swearing in ceremony to get my American Citizenship in a few weeks. My questions are, once I get sworn in, how long do we have to wait before you can file her immigration papers so I can sponsor her? If we get married at the courthouse, can we use that certificate or do we have to have the wedding ceremony first? Also, once you file her papers, does she have to go back to Venezuela or can she stay here with me while she goes through the immigration process? Thanks.


Answer: Great question. To be validly married, you must: 1) get your marriage license and either 2) have your civil marriage ceremony performed at the clerk’s office, or 3) have a religious clergy member or notary perform the ceremony. The quickest way is usually to get your marriage license and have your ceremony performed at the clerk’s office at the same time. You can always have your religious ceremony later, without delaying the filing of your wife’s immigration petition.

Once you are married and you become a U.S. Citizen (the same day) we can file your wife’s residency petition. However, first, she needs to have a medical exam performed by a doctor authorized by the USCIS, so we can include her medical report in the immigration package when filing. Since your girlfriend entered the U.S. legally, she can stay here in the U.S. legally during her entire Residency process. Once the case is filed, she will receive her work authorization card in about 90 days and then she can apply for her social security number. Once she has that, she can apply for her Driver’s License. The process in Florida generally takes about 6-8 months or so to receive her Green Card. You can get the link to South Florida Marriage License websites in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County by visiting our website at: and clicking on the Immigration Newsletter link.




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