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.
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.
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