Currently browsing: Immigration

Greg Cunningham

Greg Cunningham joins the Quiroga Law Office Full Time

SPOKANE VALLEY, Washington — Noted immigration law advocate Greg Cunningham has joined the Quiroga Law Office as its senior paralegal, helping to establish the firm as the premier provider of legal services to eastern Washington’s immigrants and their families.
Founder and former program manager of Catholic Charities Spokane Refugee and Immigration Services, Cunningham brings extensive experience advising residents of a broad area, from Spokane to Tri-Cities to Walla Walla to Okanagan, on immigration law, as well as helping them and their families procure needed financial assistance.
“I come with a good reputation,” he says, noting that he worked at CCS for 13 years. “People know me. They know I’m good and I’m honest.”
Cunningham met Quiroga Law Office partner Hector Quiroga, an immigrant from Colombia, through Quiroga’s activities as a CCS volunteer. The two share a vision for the firm as a world-class legal advocacy organization, extending help even to those who can’t afford a lawyer.

Read more

Changes in Immigration Law with Executive Order | Effects in Spokane and Eastern Washington

President Barack Obama has announced his position regarding his policy on immigration. It is clear that the President waited this long so as not to affect the past midterm election, but it is also clear that a disregard to immigration policy will hurt both Democrats and Republicans at the voting polls. 
The comprehensive immigration reform is a bill that had President Obama’s blessing, and was approved by the Senate, but it languished in the House of Representatives for over two years; thus, forcing the President into taking the executive action route.
 
This executive action will benefit many immigrants who qualify. This benefit will be temporary and could be lost if the political landscape changes (i.e. a Republican President is elected in November 2016 and takes office in January 2017). A new President can simply cancel, or otherwise reverse the executive action issued by President Obama. This does not include the massive opposition the Republican Party will likely (as it has already promised) put forward in the upcoming months.

Read more

Once again, Obama gets squeezed on immigration

WASHINGTON — The Republican takeover of Congress may have shaken up Washington, but it has left President Obama in the same position on immigration: squeezed between angry congressional Republicans and even angrier immigration advocates.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged the president to hold off on a long-promised executive action that would legalize millions of undocumented immigrants.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., one of the strongest Republican proponents of an immigration bill that would grant legal status to undocumented immigrants, said such a move by the president would be the equivalent of “pulling the pin off a hand grenade and tossing it into the middle of the room.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of the co-authors of a bipartisan bill passed by the Senate last year, said it would “poison the well,” a phrase repeated by other GOP leaders.
Immigration advocates say they’ve heard that song before.
“That well hasn’t had water for a long time,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.
Immigration groups are responding in full force. Hundreds of undocumented immigrants are likely to rally outside the White House on Friday, followed by protests, marches and hunger strikes in the weeks to come. They were already fuming over Obama’s decision to postpone his executive action after setting a summer deadline, and they say they won’t let him get away with missing his latest promise to act before the end of the year.

Read more

Spokane Fiancé visas: What You Need to Know to Start Here

Want to bring your beloved across the U.S. border and into Spokane? Fiancé visas are fairly simple to get — for those who follow the rules.
Any citizen of the United States or legal resident — a green card holder — can petition to bring his or her betrothed into the country in order to marry and become a permanent legal resident. To qualify for a Nonimmigrant Visa for a Fiancé (K-1 visa), however, you must meet federal government guidelines.
As with all government programs, fiancé visa applications can require multiple forms and instructions can be confusing. What’s more, petitioners with a criminal history, especially one involving domestic abuse or violence, as well as those who have filed fiancé visa petitions before may need special help obtaining a visa for a fiancé.

Read more

Becoming a U.S. Citizen in Spokane

Becoming a U.S. citizen in Spokane is a crucial step toward security and independence — and is a good idea for every immigrant, depending on eligibility.
Citizenship can be a wonderful thing. It confers a long list of rights on its holder, including the right not to be deported. Green-card holders don’t have that security. If you’re convicted of a crime in the U.S. but you’re not a citizen, you could find yourself on a plane headed back to your country of origin — with a one-way ticket.
If you’ve been in this country for at least three to five years and you’re not a citizen, then isn’t it time to do so? If you plan to remain here, give yourself some peace of mind and become an American. A good attorney may smooth the process, and advocate for you when and where. The Quiroga Law Office focuses in immigration law and naturalization, and will be there with you every step of the way.
Don’t wait a minute longer to claim your rights: Call the Quiroga Law Office, PLLC today at (509) 927-3840 and take the first step toward U.S. citizenship. You will be glad you did.

Read more

Visa Petitions for Family Members: The In’s and Out’s

If you want to bring family members from another country to Spokane, you’ll need to file visa petitions for them.
Before doing so, though, you must decide what kind of visa works best in their case: immigrant visas, for those coming to the U.S. to stay, or non-immigrant visas, for tourists or those coming for a limited visit.
Adding to the complexity of this formula is the government’s wish to regulate the numbers of immigrants coming in from any particular nation. Those wishing for U.S. immigrant visas for family members from China, Mexico, India and the Philippines will face longer waiting periods than those from other countries whose residents apply less frequently.
One glance at the latest Visa Bulletin and its confusing language and charts may make the process of petitioning for family visas seem daunting — but don’t be discouraged.

Read more

Undocumented? A Waiver for Unlawful Presence Can Save Your Family

If you marry an undocumented immigrant in Spokane, your spouse will need to obtain a waiver for unlawful presence from the U.S. government if he or she wants to remain in our country. Don’t panic, though: Getting this waiver is often easier than you might think.
Federal agencies would prefer, of course, that everyone living in the U.S. had followed all the rules in coming to our country and remaining here.
Now, though, the Provisional Waiver for Unlawful Presence allows the petitioner to remain in the country while awaiting forgiveness and a visa. The only catch is this: for the visa to be valid, the petitioner must leave the country, head to the nearest embassy, and submit to an inspection before getting a U.S. passport and visa. The time spent away from home and family could be a month or more.
Does not getting a waiver for unlawful presence mean a couple must remain apart? Not necessarily. Those who are denied simply must leave the U.S., wait a year or two, then apply for clemency and a visa.
One thing you should not do, however, is attempt to apply for a waiver for unlawful presence on your own. In Spokane, Quiroga Law Office practices immigration law, and is here to help. If you’re in Spokane County and need an I-601A Provisional Waiver for Unlawful Presence, call us today at (509) 927-3840.

Read more

Immigration Implications of Crimes | Spokane and Kootenai County Bar Associations

The following is a presentation that I did in conjunction with Greg Cunningham from Catholic Charities of Spokane, Refugee and Immigration Services. The purpose of this presentation was to give a primer to criminal defense attorneys on the immigration consequences of crimes committed by non-US citizens. We explain the implications of INA section 212 and 237 for certain crimes. Some crimes render an immigrant deportable and some inadmissible. We look at both circumstances and what defenses maybe available to the defendant to preserve an immigration case or at least preserve the possibility of acquiring a waiver.
 
In this post, you will find a video of the presentation recorded at my office. I have also included pictures taken of the presentation when we were giving the talk at the Spokane County Bar Association. The same presentation was given to the Idaho Kootenai County Bar Association on March 3, 2014.

Read more
Fiance Petitions

Fiance and Spousal Petitions in Spokane County

Fiance and spousal petitions in Spokane County are not as easy to acquire as they once were. We do have a local USCIS office downtown at the Federal Courthouse, where the required interviews for this type of petition can be held. However, as the saying goes, love can be complicated. That’s especially true when it involves marriage between a U.S. citizen and a non-citizen.
If you meet someone who isn’t an American citizen and you want to marry them, you’ll need to think carefully before you act. If you’re a foreign citizen hoping to marry and live in the U.S., you should exercise caution, as well. In either case, a good lawyer is invaluable for navigating fairly tricky terrain.
To bring a foreign-born fiance or spouse to the U.S. to live, the American citizen will need to file a fiance and spousal petitions in Spokane with the federal government (a visa petition will be sent to adequately request – a fiance visa for those who have not married yet, and a spousal visa for those that have already marry). But a “yes” answer isn’t automatic. The person wishing to come to America will have to meet certain criteria:
You must have met each other at least once. This may seem like a no-brainer. The fact is, marriages made strictly for the sake of immigration do occur, as do “mail-order” spouses. To try to prevent them, the feds require evidence that you and your would-be spouse have met in person.
A few photos of the two of you together is often all the evidence you will need. If you don’t have one, however, you’ll need something else: an airline ticket may suffice, or emails between the two of you talking about meeting may be sufficient. An attorney can help you find evidence that the government will accept. You must both be eligible to marry.

Read more