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FOUR WAYS TO BECOME A U.S CITIZEN

An individual may become a citizen of the United States in one of four ways;

  • Birth in the US or one of its territories
  • Birth outside of the US but to parents who are citizens of the US
  • Naturalization
  • Through the naturalization of one’s parents

Succinctly put, a child must either be a citizen at birth (1 or 2 above) or become a citizen before the age of 18 (3 or 4 above), to qualify for citizenship through a parental relation. For greater clarity, the following provides more detail on how certain circumstances would grant US citizenship to a minor child.

1.) Children born within the US

Any child born within the territorial confines of the United States or any of its territories is ipso facto a citizen of the United States, regardless of the immigrant status of either one or both of his or her parents.

 

2.) Children of US citizen(s) born outside of the US

Both parents are citizens

If both parents are US citizens, but the child is born outside the US, the child is a citizen so long as:

  • The parents were married at the time of the child’s birth and
  • Either parent lived in the US or its territories prior to the child’s birth

One parent is a citizen

If the child is born on or after November 14, 1986 and either parent is a US citizen, the child will also be a US citizen provided:

  • The parents were married at the time of the child’s birth and
  • The US citizen parent spent at least five years of her or his life in the US prior to the birth of the child of which at least two years were after the US citizen parent’s 14thbirthday. The physical presence in the US requirement may also be met by
    1. Serving in the US Armed Forces,
    2. Being employed by the US government or
    3. Being employed by certain international organizations.

Note:for those born before November 14, 1986 but after October 10, 1952 to a US citizen parent, the requirements are the same as for a child born after November 14, 1986 EXCEPT the US citizen parent must have resided in the US for a minimum of ten years, five of which must have been after his or her 14th birthday.

 

3.) Children not born in the US who still qualify for automatic US citizenship

If the child is under 18 years of age and was born after February 27, 2001, he or she is a citizen provided that:

  • At least one parent is a US citizen
  • The child is under 18 and
  • The child is in the lawful physical custody of the US citizen parent

If the child was adopted by a US citizen parent, he or she is a US citizen provided that:

  • The child legally resides in the US with the US citizen parent
  • The child is under 18 years of age
  • The US citizen parent adopted the child before his or her 16th
  • The child was admitted as an orphan or Convention adoptee into the US and his or her adoption was completed in its entirety abroad or
  • The child was admitted as an orphan or Convention adoptee who was entering the US to be adopted and whose adoption was completed prior to his or her 18thbirthday.

 

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Edited, Supplemented and Republished by Nigel E. Blackman, Esq. for www.bmlawonline.com

UNDERSTANDING THE INITIAL AND MOST CRITICAL STEPS OF DEPORTATION CASES IN THE UNITED STATES

Despite the fact that legally speaking “Deportation” is now known as “Removal”, deportation is the most common term and the most widely used therefore, for the purposes of this brief discussion I will be using the term as commonly known, deportation.

Often, I come across individuals who have been deported from the United States and their questions most assured do pertain to the questions of (1) whether they have the capacity to return and (2) how to manage the procedure of returning to the United States.

My first line of inquiry addresses the circumstances under which they were removed and more specifically, what infringement (usually a crime) triggered a removal hearing.  The type and nature of the crime that triggered the deportation proceeding is critical to evaluate because it means that the alien (anyone not a U.S Citizen) may have more or less reliefs available to them in order to increase the chance of remaining in the United States.  The second line of inquiry is whether they went through a deportation case, were represented by counsel, and whether they themselves understood the nature of what was happening in the case.  The third line of verbal inquiry addresses what reliefs against deportation they applied for in the case.

Normally client comes in for a consultation and we will as, part of office routine and professional due diligence, request the files from both the alien’s immigration case and criminal case history.   The first thing we attempt to look to is the criminal history.  We cross reference the criminal history with the Department of Justice Charging document to establish consistency between the two matters (The government may make certain mistakes or even misinterpretations of the law or fact in the charging document).  This DOJ document is also commonly known as the NTA (Notice to Appear).  In my opinion, this is one of the first most critical stages at the outset of the case. Ultimately and ideally, the allegations as charged should, in summation, be tantamount to the charge of removeability.  Once that is analyzed the alien must apply for the available relief that he may be entitled. The relief is the grounds or arguments for not being removed from the United States.  Most popular reliefs are voluntary departure, cancellation of removal, adjustment of status, asylum, withholding of removal and convention against torture, to name a few.

Sometimes it has been seen that depending on the nature of the charge that triggered the removal hearing one may even be able to request prosecutorial discretion from the District Counsel’s office by asking the government to refrain from prosecuting its case against the alien.  If this is done then the matter could go away in such a premature stage of the case and be terminated. If the alien is a permanent resident he may have a new chance at citizenship, which will ultimately render the alien incapable of being subject to deportation in the future.

Additionally, if an alien concedes deportability, it may be strategic that he should also file all other necessary applications especially to make an application during the pendency of the case for permission to return after deportation in the event that the alien is in fact removed.  If that application is adjudicated prior to being removed one would not have to adjudicate it after leaving.

All in all….pay attention and do not lose your ability to put yourself in a better position to (a) fight your case (b)be successful at challenges to deportability; or (c)preserve your rights to successfully return, if deported.

FREE U.S. CITIZENSHIP APPLICATION CLINIC

March 1,2017-March 31, 2017

 

    Well, after the most recent presidential elections in the United States, and consistent with the hysteria over the last few weeks, combined with the rippling effects around the world we have decided to move our Free U.S Citizenship drive forward to the month of March this year.  Our drive begins on March 1, 2017 and ends on March 31, 2017. Every year, during the month of June, we normally schedule a free clinic with the purpose of providing Free U.S Citizenship Application processing services.  The services are free of charge for any legal fees for the ordinary processing of applications for obtaining United States Citizenship.

     For many years I have harped, annoyingly to most, on the fact that many green-card holders have become too complacent with their status as permanent residents.  Many people are here for more than half their lives and some for the majority of their lives only to end up removed from the United States for infractions, some not even that serious.  Returning to life in your home country can be shocking.  Most of the times it is very difficult to readjust to new surrounding and in a society whose customs and values you have become unfamiliar with.  In most cases it becomes almost impossible especially if you left as a young child.  For many who are unable to adjust to life in their home country end up in drug abuse situations, homeless, developing mental illness and in a lot of circumstances commit suicide.

     Furthermore, any personal, economic, familial and social gains obtained during the time one has spent in the United States can be devastatingly lost and usually amounts in severe financial ruin, family separation from children, spouses and siblings, and overall, the incapacity to function in the new environment.  Over the years and after pleading with several clients to apply for the relief of Citizenship I have heard several reasons for them to claim to be skeptical of obtaining U.S Citizenship, a few of which I would like to address is this short attendance with you.  This subject is dear to me and therefore, my responses are normally riddled with sarcasm and distaste; but I am sure you will get the idea.

CLIENT STATEMENT: “I don’t want to get my citizenship in the United States because I will have to give up my citizenship of my home country!”

MY RESPONSE: According to international law you obtain citizenship of any country in two ways either by (1) birth or (2) relationship to the state itself.  Firstly, one who is born in any sovereign territory obtains citizenship by operation of law and the fact that he is born within the territorial boundaries of that state;  secondly, one who has satisfied the internal requirements of residential time or any other qualification mandated by that sovereign territory.

CLIENT STATEMENT: “AMERICA doesn’t allow for dual citizenship”

MY RESPONSE: Nonsense!  Once again principles of International law prevail over states’ wishes and in the order of Laws (even if it were true) and therefore International Law on the issue is prevalent (I think if anyone tells me that this year I will dig out my eyes with a dull and blunt object to put me out of my misery).  You have obtained your citizenship by birth in country of your birth….your original nationality.  You do not lose it merely by becoming a citizen of another country.  You must take some affirmative act of formally renouncing your citizenship of any country!  You then have migrated to the United States and have satisfied your 3 or 5 year time period to apply for citizenship.  You become a citizen of both places and are a dual national by operation of law, which no man may challenge.  You can even move to somewhere else, a third territory, and get married or perform some act that qualifies for benefits in that country and become a citizen of that country also.

     Now that being said, the statement regarding the U.S not recognizing dual citizenship is for other reasons where different types of questions arise.  These issues are mostly jurisdictional questions where international crimes are concerned where individuals claim that that the United States cannot take certain actions against them because they are a citizen of another country.  It also arises in international civil claims.

Therefore it is important to understand what you hear or read because the context of the matter must be properly understood first before you qualify the statement.

The third most popular one that drives me absolutely NUTS is:

CLIENT STATEMENT: “I don’t want to become a citizen of this place.  I am going home after I retire!”

MY RESPONSE: Firstly, (After gritting my teeth and trying to prevent myself from reaching over the desk and slapping the skin color off of these some people for having the audacity to conjure up the sentence to say it in public)……..GROW SOME BALLS AND SHOW SOME ALLEGIANCE!!!!!  Secondly, you are not dead as yet and you don’t know what the future holds. Have at least the slightest bit of foresight rather than thinking past the tip of your nose, especially when you have assets, children and a family.  You have stayed in the United States for the last 20-30 or more years.  You have enjoyed Medicaid, Medicare, the healthcare system, have obtained credit, purchased houses, cars and other assets.  Do you believe, that in all circumstances, once you leave that you will continue to receive your benefits, pensions, social security etc…..THINK AGAIN!  NOT IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES!  Try getting sick abroad…especially in poor countries.  Try maintaining your income level in territories where the money exchange sector is completely out of whack!  Try still getting your benefits once you lose you residential status!  That will normally have your behind running back to the Unites States then trying to get your citizenship when you are broke, sick and completely frustrated.  Seen it 100 times!

……Or what you think you will automatically qualify for a visitor’s visa so that you come and go as you please?  Sounds lovely, but doesn’t work all the time.  Check it out!

I look at Immigration like financial planning.  We have to think several steps ahead and cater for eventualities.  For our readers… if you or someone you know is in need of their citizenship PLEASE DO IT NOW!  A new day is at hand in the United States and it will not be as friendly or carefree as it was with immigrants as before.  Its tolerance has ended on November 8, 2016.

Letter to the Editor: Is Freedom of Speech still in Crisis?

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The management of Blackman & Sons, Inc. is a bit perplexed over the continued silence regarding the decision of the Guyana National Broadcasting Association (GNBA) as to whether or not to grant the corporation its broadcasting license for its radio station operation.

The Media corporation is also the same corporation that owns and operates the local television station, HBTV Channel 9. It had submitted its first radio license application in or about 1992 prior to the 1992 elections.  This application has never had a decision. Thereafter the then new administration, in a different political party assumed control over the administration of the government and the processing of the license application.  The corporation’s managing director, Eve Blackman, for over 20 years has been pursuing a decision on this license application; however, there has been no response regarding countless inquiries made, and further and more importantly, no decision has been considered on the application.  The corporation sent in another application a few years ago during the last administration.  Prior to the end of the last administration the then government granted  a series of broadcasting licenses for individuals, corporations and other entities that, for the most part, were commenced post BSI’s application and furthermore, they all applied for the their licenses years after BSI’s application was submitted for consideration.  The application was obviously ignored.

This new coalition government and its administration, apparently, has taken the same position as its predecessors and has failed to make any decision on the application of the corporation for licensing to perform its radio broadcast operations.  This blatant administrative failure to issue the license is a clear violation of the law and an abuse of lawful discretion of the management and board of the GNBA.

Approximately 9 months ago managing Director, Mrs. Blackman, contacted Mr. Leonard Craig regarding the License applications and he stated that “it was being worked on”.  The new administration has taken its seat in government for over one year and still, to date the GNBA has failed and continues to fail to properly respond to the inquiry of the managing director, Eve Blackman; and even more disappointing, to render a decision on the corporation’s licensing application. However, and sorrowful to say the point and time for a cognizable response has since gone.

At this juncture, based upon the government’s continuing inability, incapacity or unwillingness to process the corporation’s application in combination with other actions by the GNBA against the corporation, BSI must at this point take into consideration that it has been “BLACKLISTED” from inclusion in the broadcasting sector of the country with the intent to further continue to strangle the life from corporation for no recognizable reason that could be considered.

Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of democracy in this Republic and BSI has made its airwaves, through HBTV Channel 9 available to any and all who wished to use the station, and without discrimination regarding sex, religion, race, ethnicity or gender.  For some, they have had use of the channel’s airwaves most extensively and at most favorable conditions for both the present and previous government administrations; therefore the reason for treatment being dealt to Channel 9 is unwarranted, unjust, illegal and as stated, the source of perplexing and confusing sentiments among board members.

It appears as though this may be a matter that only a court of law can fix.  However, it is hoped that it will not come to that.

Despite the previous and present government’s administration’s (through the GNBA), treatment of the corporation and its radio license application, BSI who has always remained silent on major issues affecting it.  Now it has been forced to become vocal and proactive on the issues affecting it. As a result, of the disrespect, disregard and ultimate disgust, BSI is at this time preparing to commence its radio broadcast operations on August 1, 2016 via both air-waves and internet.   Despite this position that the corporation has been forced to take on the matter it will be immediately taking steps to deal with finally resolving the issues between the corporation and the administrative body surrounding the multiple undecided applications.

Within the coming weeks we shall be moving the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority to  further assess the matter and make a decision.  Otherwise, we shall be forced to seek legal counsel on other legal remedies.

By:  Denise Melville-Blackman, Esq.

PRESS RELEASE: New Chairman Appointed for HBTV Channel 9

 

Denise Melville-Blackman, Esq.
Denise Melville-Blackman, Esq.

As leadership of the Blackman & Sons, Inc, owner of the media house, HBTV Channel 9 remained outstanding and in question and after three months of deliberations and meetings of the directors of the board a meeting was called and vote of the Board of Directors of Blackman & Sons, Inc. was made. As of May 1, 2016 a New Chairman, for an interim period, of the Corporation has been decided upon.

Denise Melville- Blackman, has been elected by a vote of the board of directors of Blackman & Sons, Inc. to be the new Interim Chairman of the Board of Directors of Blackman & Sons, Inc.

She was born in New Amsterdam, Berbice, in February 3, 1980 to Leslie Melville and Bibi Khan of Richmond Hill, New York, and is, by profession, an attorney at law and the managing partner in the U.S based law firm of Blackman & Melville, P.C.

After leaving Guyana at the age of 2 she spent her formative years in Richmond Hill, NY where she attended Forest Hills High School. After an exemplary high school education she attended St. Johns University in Queens, New York on academic scholarship. She majored in government and politics whereafter she graduated Cum Laude and subsequently went on to pursue her studies at Touro Law Center in Central Islip, NY. Her concentration of legal studies at Law School were in Corporate Finance and Criminal Law. Soon after graduating she was recruited as an intern by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney. Thereafter, she departed the Suffolk District Attorney’s office to pursue a career in private practice where-after she employed her excellent research skills and naturally aggressive court demeanor to become a most noticeable and recognized matrimonial, family and immigration law attorney. Two years after winning 98% of her cases she moved her way to managing partner of the small but dynamic private firm.

During her tenure as managing partner she has maneuvered the way for this firm to grow from a single office to having multiple offices and extending the practice of the firm from Civil and Criminal practice to Immigration and International Civil practice with satellite offices in New York, Atlanta, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad.

She is presently licensed in New York and Georgia. With continued personal and business growth in mind she expects to extend her ability to practice in the Caribbean and expected to submit applications to attend Law School at the University of the West Indies this winter so that she may acquire her legal education certificate with hopes to qualify to practice as an attorney in the Caribbean and become a member of the Guyana Bar.

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International Adoption by Family Members

DENISE 2Denise A. Melville-Blackman, Esq.

For many adopted parents understanding the procedures to be performed when adopting a foreign child who also resides abroad can be quite confusing and rather frustrating at times.

When an adopted parent(s) is seeking to bring that adopted child from another country to the United States, one should be aware of (1) exactly what type of permanent resident / green card filing is necessary; and furthermore, (2) what sort of supporting evidence will be required and (3) whether the country is a signatory to the Hague Convention.

Many involved in the adoption process have asked: “What exactly is this Hague Convention” and “why is it necessary to know which countries are signatories to the Hague Convention”? The answer, The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) is aninternational treaty that provides important safeguards to protect the best interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents who are involved in inter-country adoptions. If the country your adopted child resides is a non-convention country, then different requirements and forms will be required, i.e. I-800A/I-800 versus I-600A/I-600 forms, etc. Especially with regard to Orphan forms how and when the latter forms are required should be discussed with your attorney, should you choose to utilize the services of an immigration adoption attorney.

The adoption process, pursuant to the INA (Immigration and Naturalization Act)combined with the Hague Convention; provides three different processes whereby an alien child may immigrate on the basis of an inter-country adoption. The first two processes apply only to children adopted by U.S. citizens. Respectively, the child may (a)immigrate immediately after the adoption or (b) may immigrate to the U.S. to be adopted in the United States.  The third process is an immediate relative.

  • The Hague Process: if the child resides in a country that is a party to the Hague Inter-country Adoption Convention.
  • The Orphan Process: (non-Hague): if the Hague Inter-country Adoption Convention does not apply;
  • The third process is the immediate relative process. This process requires the adopted parent to have completed a “full and final” adoption along with having satisfied the necessary residency requirements with the subject child. Under the latter process, an adopted child is considered, for immigration purposes, to be the child (or adult son or daughter) of the adopting parent if:
  1. The parent adopted the child before his or her 16th birthday (or before the 18th birthday under certain circumstances that will be described below). You submit evidence of a full and final adoption AND
  2. The parent had legal and physical custody of the child for at least two years while the child was a minor

If you, as an adopting parent, are having issues understanding what terms like “legal custody” “residency” or “domicile” are referring to please ensure that you speak with an immigration attorney specializing in adoptions so that your time, efforts and money are not wasted pursuing a particular route. I stress the importance of a proper consultation with an immigration attorney specializing in adoptions because there are also a few circumstances and exceptions to the rules whereby a child may still be able to qualify (a) for the adoption and (b) to migrate as a permanent resident under one of the processes, even if the prospective parent initially is of the belief that all is lost as it pertains to her ability to adopt the child she may have erred.  One example is the piggy-backing of one child upon another sibling that was adopted under the age of sixteen (16) by the same adopting parent. In this instance, a child that would otherwise be deemed ineligible for purposes of immigration laws because he/she was adopted after their 16th birthday can have the benefit of the tolling provision extending the adoptive age and; therefore, can receive the benefits of the immigration adoption by virtue of the sibling relationship to his/her younger siblings, despite being over the normal qualifying age.

Honestly, I can probably go on and on; but I am sure our readers would surely become bored with my rantings about the adoption process which must take place locally in the United States or in the foreign country. However, I can’t stress with enough importance how critical it is for adopting parent(s) to understand how to navigate through this document intensive process.

Although, I have given the “nutshell explanation” regarding the foreign adoption, a process that could be viewed as a nightmare of paperwork and procedure, it is being aware of exactly where to begin and what is required.  These two items are the keys to successfully obtaining your desired goal.

If there are any further questions or inquiries concerning inter-country adoptions feel free to call us at BLACKMAN & MELVILLE, P.C., where achieving your desired objective is our main goal.

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BMPC Opens Its Doors in Jamaica and Trinidad for Providing U.S Legal Services.

Double Pic Nigel Standing picAttorneys, Nigel E. Blackman, Esq., and Denise A. Melville-Blackman, Esq., partners in the firm of BLACKMAN & MELVILLE, P.C are proud to announce the official opening of its offices in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Kingston, Jamaica. BMPC has completed negotiations and the leases for both locations have been executed and sent off on December 10, 2015 The office officially opens its doors for assisting those with U.S immigration problems or other Federal matters on January 6, 2016. The telephone numbers are not yet published; however, now that the leases have been executed the network for the firm requires configuration and once that is done the telephone numbers should be released to the public via newspapers and published on our website. We will be expecting to release the telephone numbers by or before December 30, 2015, once the network is tested and confirmed.

Square-No-GradientFor those who are close to us and familiar with our operation know that we have been ardently trying for the past 5 years a few different ways of setting up legal offices in both locations but it has not been until October, 2015 that firm and efficient arrangements had started to be cemented. Our office in Georgetown,, Guyana located at 30 Fort St., Kingston, Georgetown continues to be our main processing and outsourcing center and the hub for all Caribbean operations.

The office in Trinidad will be located in the Woodbrook section of Port of Spain and the offices in Jamaica are located in Kingston 5 at Old Hope Road (all addresses are currently on our website). One or more associate attorneys from our office shall be in either territory at some point each month for approximately 2-3 days to assist potential clients with any business, U.S immigration or other federal matter Immigration matters and other types of legal matters that may be within the purview of our practice. We will be posting the appointment dates and times during the first week of January, 2016.
In the absence of availability any person who needs to consult with an attorney on any matter or an attorney in the jurisdiction at any given time please feel free to call us at our main numbers for a telephone or video consultation. Initially, consultations with our attorneys shall be free of any charges, until further notice.