Published on Lawyers.com and the Epoch Times on November 18, 2016
Q & A.
Can I Still Apply for Citizenship If I Was on Probation For Assault and Battery?
In 2008 I was charged with assault and battery. I paid several fines and was placed on probation, which was terminated in March of 2009. Can I still apply for citizenship?
Mr. Lee answers:
You can apply for citizenship even though you were charged with assault and battery in 2008. Since the crime was committed over five years ago, that would be outside the required period of good moral character. An immigration examiner would look at the severity of the offense to determine whether he or she would consider it further in adjudicating your citizenship application even outside the five-year period of good moral character.
I Am on F-2 Visa Status and Need to Change It to F-1. I Also Have a Pending Asylum Case. Does My Pending Asylum Case Make My Change of Status Denied?
My husband and I entered the US three years ago on F1 and F2 visa respectively and we maintained our status till now. I filed an asylum case more than 2 years ago and haven't been interviewed yet. Recently, I granted an admission for a PhD program with fellowship and need to change my status to F1. I'm concerned that my asylum application can affect my change of status because it proves that I am not willing to leave the country and it conflicts with applying for F1 status which is a non-immigrant visa. I know that I have to fill in form I-539 which does not ask whether I have applied for asylum or not. However, It asks about my employment history in the US and since I have received EAD card a while ago, I've been employed here and filed my Tax for 2014. So definitely I have to mention it in my application and explain the circumstance. Do you think that my pending asylum case affects the approval of change of my status to F1 and makes it denied?
Mr. Lee answers:
The asylum application would not negatively affect your application for change of status from F-2 to F-1. As you note, the I-539 form does not ask for information on whether you have applied for asylum. By the same token, however, one of the benefits of the asylum claim, employment authorization, is seen as a violation of nonimmigrant status even though it is allowed under your asylum claim. Such would be a valid ground for U.S.C.I.S. to deny the change of status on the basis that you have not maintained your nonimmigrant status as an F-2 is not allowed to work in this country.
How to Avoid Deportation?
Currently I'm an F1 student, but I wanted to ask what would happen if I go out of status and DHS comes to arrest at my apartment. Can they forcefully fly me back to my country? I'm in a position that if I will be sent back I would become a homeless since I have no family at my home country. I would practically prefer to be executed as extreme as it might sound, just not to be sent back. Can the judge show mercy? I have a citizen sister but sponsoring through her would take 11 years. Please let me know if I have chances to avoid deportation, because I'm not sure how long I would keep the F1 status.
Mr. Lee answers:
If you fall out of status and DHS arrests you at your apartment, you would still be afforded due process which means that you would be entitled to appear before the immigration judge and ask for any relief which you think you deserve. From your words, you and/or your legal representative at that time might wish to explore the reliefs of asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention against Torture (CAT). You would not be simply put on a plane to your home country.