Stay up-to-date on immigration news with Monty & Ramirez!
Stay up-to-date on immigration news with Monty & Ramirez!
Share this:
JUNE 2017 
Expect More Scrutiny at Consular Interviews and More Delays!
A new questionnaire form designated as “DS-5535- Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants” was approved on May 23, 2017. This form will allow the collection of information from immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants who have been determined “to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.”
Travelers that want to visit the United States can be asked additional questions when the consular officer determines that the circumstances of a visa applicant, a review of a visa application, or responses in a visa interview indicate a need for greater scrutiny:
  • Travel history during the last 15 years, including source of funding for travel;
  • Address history during the last 15 years;
  • Employment history during the last 15 years;
  • All passport numbers and country of issuance held by the applicant;
  • Names and dates of birth for all siblings;
  • Names and dates of birth for all children;
  • Names and dates of birth for all current and former spouses, or civil or domestic partners;
  • Social media platforms and identifiers, also known as handles, used during the last 5 years; and
  • Phone numbers and email addresses used during the last 5 years.
The additional questions may be sent electronically or be presented orally or in writing at the time of the interview. Failure to provide requested information will “not necessarily result in visa denial, if the consular office determines the applicant has provided a credible explanation why he or she cannot answer a question or provide requested supporting documentation.” Further, “the collection of social media platforms and identifiers will not be used to deny visas based on applicants’ race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, political views, gender, or sexual orientation.”
For more information, please contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Monty & Ramirez LLP at 281-493-5529 or via email at info@montyramirezlaw.com.
The Government Warns of a Scam via Telephone
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received information that a scam is being committed via telephone by a person claiming to be a USCIS employee.
If you have received a phone call from someone claiming to be a USCIS official demanding your personal information or payment, hang up immediately.
USCIS will never ask for any payment over the phone or via email. If payment is necessary, you will receive a letter on official stationary requesting payment. Never give your payment over the phone to anyone claiming to be a USCIS official.
If you want to verify whether a call came from USCIS, you can:
  • Call the National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 to ask about the status of your case.
  • Make an Info Pass appointment at http://infopass.uscis.gov, or
  • Log on to myUSCIS to find up-to-date information about your application.
To report a call from a scammer please visit http://1.usa.gov/1suOHSS to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. If you receive a suspicious email or voice message and are unsure if it is a scam, send an email to uscis.webmaster@uscis.dhs.gov to the USCIS webmaster. The messages will be received, reviewed, and forwarded to the authorities as necessary.
For more information, please contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Monty & Ramirez LLP at 281-493-5529 or via email at info@montyramirezlaw.com.
USCIS will issue redesigned Green Cards and Employment Authorization Documents
As part of a new secure identification document project, USCIS has redesigned the Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card) and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). USCIS began issuing the new cards on May 1, 2017. According to USCIS, this redesign shows the commitment to taking proactive approaches against the threat of document tampering, counterfeiting, and fraud.
The new cards use fraud resistant security features and enhanced graphics to create cards that are highly secure and are less likely to be tampered with.
The new cards will:
  • Have an individual’s photo on both sides;
  • Green cards will have an image of the statue of liberty (predominately green color);
  • Employment Authorization Cards will have an image of a bald eagle (predominately red color);
  • Holographic images embedded;
  • No longer have an individual’s signature.
Some Green Cards and EADs may still have the past design format, as USCIS will continue using past card stock until its supplies are depleted. If you are issued a new card with the old formatting, the card will remain valid until the expiration date shown on the card.
For more information, please contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Monty & Ramirez LLP at 281-493-5529 or via email at info@montyramirezlaw.com.
Department of Homeland Security Proposes a New Way of Obtaining Individual’s Personal Information
A Department of State notice dated May 4, 2017 proposes to establish a new records system. This system will allow ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents, criminal research specialists, and intelligence analysts to search, analyze, and visualize volumes of existing information and to conduct research in order to identify, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who violate criminal, civil and administrative laws enforced by ICE. 
Personally identifiable information to be used:
  • identifying and biographic data, such as name and date of birth;
  • financial data;
  • citizenship and immigration data;
  • border crossing data;
  • criminal history;
  • contact information;
  • family relationships.
ICE may share the above relevant information with the appropriate state, federal, local, foreign, or international government agencies. However, DHS and ICE will consider individual’s requests to determine whether or not information may be released. Thus, individuals seeking access to any record contained in this new system may submit a request in writing to a U.S. ICE FOIA Officer. Individuals who wish to contest the accuracy of records may submit requests to the ICE Privacy & Records Office.
SB-4 Texas Immigration Bill to Enter into Effect on September 1, 2017
Once SB-4 takes effect, it will force local enforcement officers in Texas to honor federal ICE detainers. It will forbid local entities/campus police from limiting officials’ ability to ask the immigration status of someone who is under a lawful detention or under arrest.
The following are some important sections of this law:
SB-4 Provides an Exception for Victims of Crimes
  • The U Visa provides lawful immigration status and work authorization to qualified crime victims who have been helpful in the investigation or prosecution of a crime;
  • When the law was created, Congress recognized that victims who do not have legal status may be reluctant to help in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity for fear of removal from the United States. The U Visa was enacted to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of persons and other crimes while allowing victims to report crimes without the immediate risk of being removed from the U.S. Congress also sought to encourage law enforcement officials to serve immigrant crime victims.
  • SB- 4 - Allows for exception for victim or witness to a criminal offense or if the individual is reporting – officer may not inquire about immigration status.
  • Counter exception – unless it is necessary to investigate the offense.          
SB-4 also provides that law enforcement may not inquire about immigration status if the person has a driver license or a government-issued ID.
  • The recommendation is to carry your driver license, work permit, or documents showing that you have a case pending with immigration with you all at all times. 
SB-4 Makes it Harder to Obtain an Immigration Bond
  • Section 401 – Article 17.16 Code of Criminal Procedure is amended by amending subsection (a) and adding subsection (a-1)- this section appears to deter bail bond companies from providing bond to individuals who may be identified as not lawfully present in the United States. 
The June 2017 Visa Bulletin has arrived!
The Visa Bulletin for June 2017 has been released by the Government. For more details, visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2017/visa-bulletin-for-june-2017.html
If you have questions about the June 2017 Visa Bulletin, contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Monty & Ramirez LLP at 281-493-5529 or via email at info@montyramirezlaw.com.

CONTACT US
Monty & Ramirez LLP
150 W. Parker Road, 3rd Floor
Houston, Texas 77076
Phone: 281.493.5529
Toll-Free: 1.866.427.0152
Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/MontyRamirezLaw
Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/MontyRamirezLaw
150 W. Parker Road, Third Floor | Houston, TX 77076 | 281.493.5529



powered by emma

Subscribe to our email list.