Immigration and Firm News

I had the privilege of seeing the Seattle Opera perform "The Consul." This Gian Carlo Menotti opera, which runs through March 7, 2014, deals with the frustration and torment of freedom and opportunity seekers everywhere trying to apply for visas and the bureaucracy they face. Althoughneither the location nor the government involved is mentioned in this opera, it is set in the 1940s or 1950s. Menotti's idea for the opera was inspired by a New York Times article about a woman from Poland who … [Read more...]

A colleague of mine who adopted a foreign born child who is a US citizen reports problems signing up for health care under the Washington Health Care Exchange. The problem is that the system does not seem to recognize the Social Security Numbers of individuals with Certificates of Citizenship or Certificates of Naturalization. She has reported this to the powers that be at the Exchange. But it is representative of a larger issue we immigration lawyers frequently see. We don't just represent … [Read more...]

In a year when the State Budget was paramount, the Washington State legislature took up several immigration related bills, some with no fiscal impact, and others with a major fiscal impact. As the Washington State Legislative term winds down, but goes into special session to finalize the budget, this post focuses on several bills during the term. Immigration advocates supported some bills and opposed others. So far, we have been successful with each, although the session is not yet over. … [Read more...]

The Seattle Times reports today that the U.S. Passport Office in downtown Seattle will open its doors to the public on Saturday, March 12 from 9am to 3pm to encourage more people to apply for passports. Normally open by appointment only for expedited service or complex cases, the Seattle Passport Office is located at the Jackson Federal Building, 915 Second Ave., Suite 992. Usually, applicants can apply by mail or in person at post offices, city and county offices, or at Neighborhood Service … [Read more...]

The Seattle Times reports today in "Bill Tightens Legal Services for Immigrants", that the Washington legislature is considering elimination of the "Immigration Assistant" designation for nonlawyers who provide immigration services. The bill would increase the penalties against those who wrongfully provide legal advice to immigrants and would make state law consistent with federal law on the subject. As Chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Washington Chapter (AILA), I … [Read more...]

I just returned from Vancouver, Washington where together with fellow immigration attorneys, we helped legal immigrants with green cards apply for U.S. citizenship. The Washington Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) provides pro bono services three days a year at nine sites throughout Washington State at locations traditionally under-served by the availability of affordable lawyers. Citizenship Day programs were also held this weekend in Des Moines and Mt. Vernon, … [Read more...]

In my newer role on the Board of the International Section of the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA), I came to learn of an invaluable resource for foreign and American investors wanting to do business in Washington State. The WSBA just released the 5th edition of Doing Business in Washington State: A Guide for Foreign Business and Investment, edited by Randy J. Aliment, with articles written by lawyers in the fields of business, tax, real estate, intellectual property, antitrust, … [Read more...]

Immigration enforcement legislation creates problems for U.S. citizens as well as for immigrants. Over the last few years, we have seen growth in our American citizen clientele because of new federal and state documentation burdens enacted under the guise of national security or to combat illegal immigration. The most common refrain we hear is: "I grew up in the U.S. I always thought I was an American but never had anything to show for it and I never needed the proof until now." Ironically, we … [Read more...]