Ms. Newman’s practice focuses on family-based immigration, including adjustment of status before the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration Courts, consular processing of fiancé(e)s, spouses and children, and waivers of inadmissibility due to unlawful presence in the United States (I-601 waivers). Ms. Newman believes the number one goal of United States immigration law should be to keep families together. To achieve this important goal, she believes that immigration law should be reformed to create avenues of legalization for undocumented parents, spouses and children of lawful immigrants and U.S. citizens, as well as shortening the wait for immigrant processing of relatives outside the United States.
Family-sponsored immigration allows United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to file immigrant visa petitions for certain relatives to obtain their own permanent resident status (green cards). U.S. citizens who are 18 or over may petition for their spouses, children and siblings. A U.S. citizen over the age of 21 may petition for his or her parent. U.S. citizens over the age of 18 may also file petitions to bring their fiancés (fiancées) to the United States to get married and apply for permanent resident status here. Lawful permanent residents of the United States may only file petitions for their spouses and unmarried children. The U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who files the family petition is called the “petitioner” and the relative for whom the petition was filed is called the “beneficiary.”
Some beneficiaries who are living in the United States may be eligible to apply for their green cards without leaving the country. These applicants include some who originally came into the United States lawfully with visas and others who qualify under former “Section 245(i)” for whom immigrant visa petitions were filed before April 30, 2001. Other beneficiaries of family visa petitions will be required to return to the home country for an interview in the US Embassy or Consulate (consular processing) before being approved for permanent resident status. Applicants who must leave the country to apply may require special approval of hardship waivers to excuse prior unlawful presence or other immigration violations before they can return to the United States
Other ways to qualify for lawful permanent residence in the United States include employment based petitions and the diversity visa lottery.
Citizenship & Naturalization
In over 17 years of practice, Ms. Newman has also represented hundreds of clients seeking United States citizenship. One of the most rewarding aspects of immigration practice for Ms. Newman is to attend the naturalization ceremony of a client who initially came to her many years ago as a refugee. Through her family-focused practice, Ms. Newman now represents successive generations of immigrants. She has numerous families in which the parents came as refugees, and through Ms. Newman’s representation won asylum and then permanent residence for themselves and their children, and then became US citizens. Now the children are married and in some cases are immigrating their own spouses, and the grandparents have also emigrated from the home country to the United States. This is a process that can take as long as 15 years, but in the end, this is what immigration is and should be about: keeping families together.
Most lawful permanent residents who are of good moral character may apply for U.S. citizenship after five years of continuously residing in the United States. Permanent resident spouses of United States citizens may apply for citizenship after three years of continuous residence. Certain active military personnel and certain military veterans may qualify for United States citizenship even if they are not lawful permanent residents, and other military personnel who are permanent residents may be eligible for expedited naturalization.
A child born outside the United States to U.S. citizen parent may automatically be a United States citizen at birth. Other children of U.S. citizens born outside the United States may acquire United States citizenship immediately upon entry to the United States as lawful permanent residents, and other permanent resident children may automatically become citizens through the naturalization of their parents.
Political asylum is a form of protection available to persons who have already suffered persecuted or fear they will be persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The applicant must submit his or her asylum application within one year after entering the United States. Withholding of removal is a related form of relief for persons applying more than one year after their last entry to the United States. Withholding requires that the applicant prove that more likely than not, he or she will be persecuted if returned to the home country. Applicants who are granted asylum may petition to bring their spouses and minor children into the United States, and they may apply for lawful permanent residence (“green card”) one year after winning asylum.
Ms. Newman is well-known among her colleagues for her expertise in asylum law. She has served as a mentor attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of San Francisco for well over ten years, and in this capacity assists other attorneys providing pro bono representation to asylum applicants. Ms. Newman was recognized by the Lawyers’ Committee for her own pro bono service to refugees in 2002 when she was awarded the Father Cuchulain Moriarity Award for her outstanding representation of refugees through the Lawyers’ Committee Asylum Program. Ms. Newman also served as the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Northern California Chapter Liaison to the USCIS San Francisco Asylum Office from June 2004-June 2006. Ms. Newman is also recognized as an expert in NACARA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
Deportation and Removal Defense
A significant portion of Ms. Newman’s immigration practice is dedicated to defense of persons in removal proceedings. Undocumented immigrants may find themselves in deportation and removal proceedings as a result of arrest by police or Border Patrol officers, work-place raids by ICE, or referral of their asylum applications to the Immigration Judge by the Asylum Office. Even lawful permanent residents of the United States may be placed into removal proceedings as a result of criminal convictions or forgetting to file an application to remove conditions on their permanent resident status.
Ms. Newman represents refugees who are seeking asylum or withholding of removal before the Immigration Judge. Ms. Newman is recognized for her expertise and professionalism in representing applicants seeking cancellation of removal, a special form of relief from deportation available to undocumented persons who have lived in the US for more than 10 years, have established good moral character, and who have certain qualifying relatives who will suffer exceptional hardship if the applicant is deported. Ms. Newman also represents lawful permanent residents who are in removal proceedings and who are seeking waivers due to criminal convictions, including 212h and 212c waivers, and cancellation of removal for permanent residents. As an immigration attorney, Ms. Newman frequently consults with criminal defense specialists to minimize the immigration effects of criminal convictions for clients who are in criminal court proceedings, as well as to obtain post-conviction relief for her clients who are in immigration court proceedings.
Guatemalans who initially entered the United States before October 1, 1990 and Salvadorans who initially entered the United States before September 19, 1990 may still be eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence under the Section 203 of the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (“NACARA § 203”). Their spouses and unmarried children under age 21 may also be eligible. NACARA § 203 eligibility requires 7 years continuous residence, good moral character, and hardship to the applicant and/or certain family members. In addition the NACARA §203 applicant must have applied for political asylum or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) before December 31, 1991 or have registered as an “ABC” class member by that date.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a special benefit for citizens of certain designated countries who have been continuously present in the United States since the date of designation of the particular country. A country may be designated for TPS as the result of an on-going civil war or a catastrophic natural disaster such as an earthquake, flood or drought. The countries currently designated for TPS are El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Somalia and Sudan. Citizens of Liberia were previously included under TPS, but now may remain under a related benefit, Deferred Enforcement of Departure. TPS allows the beneficiary to live and work in the United States until such time as the country designation is terminated by the Attorney General.
JACQUELYN G. NEWMAN - Attorney at Law 369 Pine Street, Suite 622 - San Francisco, CA 94104 Tel. 415-788-4318