George Terezakis Presents Seminar, at Freeport Library, on: Naturalization: How Immigrants Become U.S. Citizens

George Terezakis Presents Seminar, at Freeport Library, on:

Naturalization: How Immigrants Become U.S. Citizens

Earlier this week, a friend and I presented a program at the Freeport Library, on the process by which lawful permanent residents, or “green card” holders, apply to become U.S. citizens.   This program is part of the Nassau County Bar Association’s community outreach program, known as “Legal Tuesdays”, held at that library.

In general, a lawful permanent resident, married to a U.S. citizen, is eligible to apply to naturalize three (3) years after becoming a resident, otherwise, after five (5) years.   A member of the U.S. military may apply after one (1) year as a lawful resident. There are other requirements: proof you have been paying your taxes; that you have been residing in the U.S. for more than half of the time required to naturalize; that you have no disqualifying criminal convictions; and that you are a person of good moral character.  You must also pass a simple test to demonstrate your familiarity with U.S. history and civics, and that you can speak and write in English.

If you or someone you know may be eligible to apply to naturalize, contact our firm; we are happy to answer any questions you might have, and we can help you with the process.



On July 11, 2022, Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, announced the extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelans, for an additional 18 months. The extension will be in effect from September 10, 2022, through March 10, 2024.  Details for reregistering will be announced in the near future.

If you are a Venezuelan national who has not yet filed your initial TPS application, you must register for TPS with USCIS  before September 9, 2022 in order to receive the protections of TPS.  In order to be eligible, you must be a Venezuelan who has been residing in the U.S. since March 8, 2021. It’s not too late!  Register now!

If you have questions or need assistance, feel free to call us at:  516-742-3838.

Terezakis Law Firm, PLLC

The Violence Against Women Act also Protects Men!


The Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) is a law designed to protect immigrants – not simply immigrant women – from abuse by their spouses who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Non-citizen spouses are especially vulnerable to domestic abuse. They are often pressured to remain in abusive marriages when their spouse threatens to not help them gain legal status, or to have them deported. Abused, non-citizen, spouses often remain trapped in violent and abusive relationships out of fear: of being physically harmed; of being separated from their children; or due to their lack of financial resources. Abused spouses often feel intimidated and overwhelmed, by the traumas they have endured, and as a result of their unfamiliarity with the American legal system.


The VAWA protects an abused spouse whether a man or woman – by enabling them to leave their abuser without giving up their chance to become a lawful permanent resident. It allows them to file a “self-petition”, which if approved, will allow them to then apply to become a lawful permanent resident. It eliminates the need for any assistance from their abusive spouse. This takes away the abuser’s power and control over their non-citizen spouse. A self-petitioning spouse is still required to show they entered into their marriage in good faith, and that they were physically abused, or subjected to extreme mental cruelty, by their U.S citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse. It doesn’t matter whether the abused spouse who seeks VAWA protection is a man or a woman!

Our firm has successfully handled many VAWA cases. We’ve helped both men and women – become lawful permanent through VAWA, and we have done so with compassion and discretion. If you know someone who may benefit from the VAWA, please feel free to contact our firm to schedule a consultation.

TPS Extended Until October 2021!!


On December 7, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security announced the extension of Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for beneficiaries from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras, and Nepal. Originally set to end in January 2021, TPS will now be extended to October 4, 2021 allowing TPS holders to continue legally living and working in the U.S. without fear of being deported.

TPS was put in place to help those whose home countries are experiencing a temporary extraordinary event, such as natural disaster or armed civil wars. With Hurricanes Eta and Iota recently devastating Central American countries, including Honduras and El Salvador, the extension put in place is a great relief to TPS beneficiaries.

It is hoped the Biden administration will help pass a law to enable TPS beneficiaries to become legal permanent residents, and eventually, US citizens. We will continue to provide updates and information relating to any important changes to our immigration law.

Judge Orders DACA Program Opened to New Enrollees!

                       By: George A. Terezakis, Esq.
If you are receiving this, it is because you or a family member, have been a client of our firm. We want to share this important news with you!
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was enacted by the Obama administration in 2012. It provides protection from deportation to non-citizens brought to this country as children; who have grown up here, yet lack legal status; and who enroll in this program. It provides legal status to participants, and so protects them from deportation-removal. It also allows them to receive employment authorization cards. DACA beneficiaries may also one day qualify to become lawful permanent residents, and eventually, U.S. citizens – something the incoming Biden administration has voiced support for.
In June of 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Trump administration’s efforts to terminate the DACA program were not in conformity with the law, and so continued to extend the protections of this program to registered beneficiaries.
Yesterday, Federal District Court Judge Nicholas Garufis, of the E.D.N.Y., ruled the Trump administration must accept new applications from DACCA enrollees who satisfy the requirements of the original program. To qualify, the applicant must have been born on or after June 16th, 1981; have come to the U.S. before their 16th birthday; have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15th, 2007; and not have a disqualifying criminal conviction. There are a few other requirements, but these are the central ones.
It is important that people who may qualify for the protections of this program, but who failed to register previously, take this opportunity to do so now. While the Trump administration will likely challenge this ruling, it is even more likely the Biden administration would abandon any such opposition. Those who did not know about this program, or who were too afraid to register initially, now have a second chance! The DACA program is relatively inexpensive to enroll in, and may one day offer a pathway to become a U.S. citizen.
If a family member, or someone you know, may qualify to register for DACA, please urge them to avoid the use of unethical “notarios” or “Multiservice” agencies who frequently victimize the unwary by fraudulently enrolling them in programs for which they do not qualify, or by absconding with their money. We have successfully helped many individuals enroll in, or renew their participation in, the DACA program.  Our bilingual, Spanish speaking, staff is here to help anyone who may have questions about their eligibility for DACA. We can also review an undocumented person’s immigration history to determine if they may be eligible to apply to become a lawful permanent resident.  Please, feel free to call us; we look forward to helping you!

The Terezakis Law Firm Wishes You a Happy Thanksgiving!

America took a beating on many fronts this year, but there are good reasons to believe 2021 will be better! Tomorrow we gather with our loved ones. We will mourn those we have lost; remember those who have sacrificed for us; and give thanks for the blessings we have received. Here’s to hoping next year we will celebrate, not simply with turkey and fine wine but gathered with our friends and family.

Federal Judge Calls Appointment of DHS Acting Secretary Unlawful, Challenging the Decision to Limit DACA

by Victoria Spagnolo

On Saturday, U.S District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis ruled that the appointment of Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was unlawful, challenging his authority to limit the DACA program which prevents the deportation of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

About a month after the Supreme Court held that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had improperly terminated DACA, Wolf issued a memorandum in July that drastically scaled back the DACA program. It cut short the validity of DACA permits from two (2) years to one (1) year and ordered DHS to stop accepting new DACA applications.

Judge Garaufis held that “DHS failed to follow the order of succession as it was lawfully designated” and that Wolf’s appointment is an attempt by the Trump Administration to circumvent the courts and punish “dreamers” and bypass legal hurdles by seating its desired officials in top positions.

The decision follows a report by the Government Accountability Office, a bipartisan congressional watchdog, asserting that Wolf was improperly serving and ineligible under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA). A federal judge in Maryland has also ruled that Wolf’s appointment was unlawful.

DHS continues to maintain that Wolf’s appointment was legal even without Senate confirmation. With inauguration day in less than two (2) months, there is a renewed push to get Wolf confirmed as Homeland Security Secretary.

#DACA #Dreamers #Immigration #DHS #Law #Supremecourt

A Milestone in Our Client’s Life!

A Milestone in Our Client’s Life!
Yesterday, following an interview, and after passing his citizenship test, our client’s application to become a U.S. citizen was approved. When I first met him at the detention center, he was a scared 16 year old facing deportation. We gained his freedom – release under bond. We defended him in his deportation proceedings, and helped him become a lawful permanent resident. Today he is steadily employed as an electrician; he has a wonderful wife and they recently purchased their own home in an upscale neighborhood on the North Shore. They are happy and building their lives together. His story is the story of many of the immigrants who help our nation flourish. Thanks to my office staff – everyday they make a difference in our clients’ lives. #Naturalization #Teamwork #KeepingFamiliesTogether #NassauDefender #ImmigrationMakesUsStronger


Keeping families together is the best part of the work we do! Today our client received his green card! He is now a legal permanent resident! We won non-permanent resident cancellation of removal for him following a trial.  These cases are very difficult to win, because you must demonstrate the person would suffer:  “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” in order to win.  It is all about documenting the hardship, humanizing the  client and his family, and presenting a compelling case. Thanks Lorena & Fabiola for all of your help!  It’s all about teamwork!

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