2019 in Review, Part Two

This is Part Two of our 2019 in review series. It can also, in a way, serve as a preview for 2020. From an immigration standpoint. Because the atmosphere around all things immigration is unlikely to change in an election year.

We only wrote about President Trump and his administration a few times last year. Our 2019 philosophy about the President was summed in in a piece we wrote in June:

. . . what Hector, or any of us, think about Trump is totally irrelevant. What we think about his policies, his re-election prospects, his rhetoric, his anti-immigration spiels, is, again, totally irrelevant. Going on about them for even a minute or two is utterly counterproductive to our mission.

We’re here to help immigrants. That’s it. Wasting time opining on the President and his administration would be like an ER trauma surgeon taking time away from triage to talk about a car company’s safety devices. It does nothing to help the patient – the one with the immediate need.

In 2019 the cumulative effects of Trump administration policies toward legal immigration became clear: it is being restricted. At least for people from certain countries. The ‘wrong’ countries, in the administration’s opinion, are being squeezed.

In September, HBO’s John Oliver devoted an entire episode of Last week Tonight to legal immigration. Oliver, like our firm’s founder Hector Quiroga, is a naturalized citizen. For Oliver, like Hector, it wasn’t easy and took time. They both know that with immigration and naturalization “there are no orderly lines.”

“The truth is,” Oliver said, “for those who want to come here, there is no one line to get in; the lines that do exist can be prohibitively long or have sudden dead ends; and for many people, and this is really important, there simply isn’t a line at all.”

In 2019 it became clear that slowing legal immigration didn’t require draconian measures. It didn’t require intimidation. It didn’t require sweeping new rules.

It only required a strict enforcement of . . . paperwork.

As we reported many time last year, immigration courts are now backlogged for years. They cannot – and won’t – accommodate any missteps:

Every day we see cases – sometimes years of work – denied over little mistakes that even a year ago would have been continued while the deficiencies were fixed. Small mistakes made by people doing their best to get through paperwork that has grown exponentially since 2016.

There’s no leeway, there’s no sympathy.

Mistakes will send you to the back of the line and will cost you years toward a green card, toward naturalization.

This will not change in 2020. and our year long advice certainly still stands:

That is the crux of it for naturalization or, really, any immigration process: start now; have everything done on time, completely, and without error; show up at every appointment and hearing; never risk being sent to the ‘back of the line.’


That warning is simple: right now, there is little regard for immigrants and the forces that be have been empowered to embrace that. If you think for a moment that your case will receive any consideration if you have failed to fill in the right form, pay the right fee, miss a document, or check the right box, you will be lucky if you are only put to the back of the line.

That sums up our – repeated – advice through 2019. That does not change for 2020, we’ll see about 2021.

Simply put – don’t make it easy for the government to shuffle aside your case or rule against you or just keep you in limbo. Talk to us first. Please.