Immigration Newsletter

Friday, January 31, 2014

House GOP Releases Immigration Reform Principles - Drew Law Office, pllc.

House GOP Releases Immigration Reform Principles - Drew Law Office, pllc.

This link goes to my website or if you prefer. There I have posted the actual text of the GOP statement and my comments. I will post a link to some media analysis as well on this blog and on later today.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

USCIS Introduces Centralizes the Civil Surgeon Application Process

USCIS Introduces Form I-910 and Centralizes the Civil Surgeon Application Process

Starting on March 11, 2014, USCIS will implement a new process to receive and adjudicate applications for civil surgeon designation centrally at the National Benefits Center. This process change requires physicians seeking civil surgeon designation to file a formal application at a USCIS Lockbox. Centralizing the civil surgeon application process will:
  • Improve the application intake process;
  • Enhance USCIS’s ability to manage and track civil surgeon applications;
  • Promote consistency and uniformity in USCIS decisions on civil surgeon-related matters; and
  • Improve overall efficiency and integrity of the program. 
Once centralization goes into effect, physicians seeking civil surgeon designation will need to complete Form I-910, Application for Civil Surgeon Designation, and pay a $615 application fee. This new application form and process implements provisions of the agency’s 2010 Fee Rule. It will not affect current civil surgeons. Prospective civil surgeons should not file the form and fee prior to March 11, 2014.
Previously, civil surgeon designation has been a local process at the district or field office with jurisdiction over the prospective civil surgeon’s office location.  The new process is detailed in Volume 8, Part C of the USCIS Policy Manual, which replaces the civil surgeon designation guidance found in Chapter 83.4 of the Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM).  The new policy on civil surgeons:
  • Reaffirms and clarifies the purpose, role, and responsibilities of civil surgeons;
  • Outlines the professional qualifications needed for civil surgeon designation;
  • Explains the application requirements for civil surgeon designation;
  • Clarifies the process for adjudicating civil surgeon applications;
  • Provides consolidated guidance on blanket civil surgeon designation;
  • Reaffirms USCIS’s ability to revoke civil surgeon designation and clarifies revocation grounds; and
  • Provides guidance on maintenance of the civil surgeon list. 
On Jan. 28, 2014, USCIS also published the section of the USCIS Policy Manual with updated and comprehensive policy guidance regarding health-related inadmissibility grounds and waivers.
For more information on civil surgeons, visit the Prospective Civil Surgeons web page. For more information on Form I-910,

Thursday, January 16, 2014

NH Immigration Attorney Jillian LaCroix has article published in NH Bar Newspaper!

Reblogged from NH Bar News

Bar News - January 15, 2014

Criminal Law: Out of the Store & Out of the Country


Practice Tips
• Do not allow a client to plead guilty to a theft (shoplifting) if the statutory elements of theft are not met.
• Whenever possible negotiate down to a conviction for willful concealment.
• Closely examine prior convictions for theft under RSA 637 : 3, II (or shoplifting under the prior statute) as there may be grounds to vacate the conviction under State v. Thiel (See also State v, Arsenault, 153 N.H. 413 (2006)). It is important to consider whether the defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily pleaded guilty to the crime, even if she did not actually commit all the elements of that crime.

In law school we were taught to examine each word of a statute and to parse every possible meaning. As a lawyer, I did not understand the real-life impact of that attention to detail until, during a recent case, I discovered the disparate immigration consequences of a conviction for willful concealment under NH RSA 644: 17,I [now NH RSA 637 : 3-a, I (Supp.2009)] and theft (formerly shoplifting) under NH RSA 644: 17, II [now NH RSA 637 : 3-a, II (Supp.2009)]. 

In State v. Thiel, the New Hampshire Supreme Court held that RSA 644:17 defined “two separate crimes: willful concealment, RSA 6434:17, I, and shoplifting, RSA:17; II.” Thiel, 999 A.2d at 466 (2010). This distinction is crucial when analyzing the New Hampshire statute. Under RSA 637:3-a (and 644:17) a person is guilty of willful concealment if, without authority, he or she willfully conceals the goods or merchandise of any store while still upon the premises of such store. Whereas, a person is guilty of theft (formerly shoplifting) under the relevant variant of RSA 637:3, II if, with the purpose to deprive a merchant of goods or merchandise, he or she knowingly removes goods or merchandise from the premises of a merchant. 

In State v. Thiel, the New Hampshire Supreme Court held that a defendant cannot be guilty of shoplifting until they have left the merchant’s premises with goods that are unpaid for. Thiel, 999 A.2d at 466 (2010). While this distinction is important in distinguishing the two separate offenses, it also is the element of intent or mens rea that truly distinguishes the offenses in the context of immigration law. 

Under federal immigration law, most, but not all, convictions for theft are crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMTs). Those crimes considered to be CIMTs under immigration law are noteworthy because they can render a person subject to removal or prevent a person from legalizing her status. The First Circuit distinguishes those thefts that are turpitudinous, and thus CIMTs, and those that are not by asking “ whether the defendant intended to permanently deprive the owner of the purloined property”. Patel v . Holder, 707 F.3d 77, 80 (1st Cir. 2013) (emphasis added)(quoting In re Grazley, 14 I. & N. Dec. 330, 333 ( BIA 1973). The consequences of this distinction are palpable when translated into their immigration consequences. 

Practical Advice. For criminal law attorneys, the practical consequences are simple. A non-citizen client who is convicted of willful concealment (under RSA 637: 3-a,I) will not face adverse immigration consequences based on that conviction alone. Whereas, a person convicted of theft (under RSA 637:3-a,II) may face collateral immigration consequences, such as deportation, inadmissibility, or ineligibility for future immigration benefits. 

Jillian LaCroix is the associate attorney at Drew Law Office, PLLC. She focuses exclusively on the practice of immigration law and regularly handles matters before the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice and the Department of State. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Nevada Driver Authorization Cards For Undocumented Immigrants Bring Long Lines

Nevada Driver Authorization Cards For Undocumented Immigrants Bring Long Lines

This makes sense from the State's point of view. More licensing fees, more drivers tested, and more drivers insured. There are enforcement reasons why the Federal government doesn't want this to happen -- but from the State perspective it is good public safety and fiscal policy.