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About CatherineA

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    Platinum Member
  • Member # 197025

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Immigration Info

  • Immigration Status
    Adjustment of Status (pending)
  • Place benefits filed at
    National Benefits Center
  • Country
    Costa Rica

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  1. Fastest Way

    Not everyone has the same experience, though. For us, moving to the US was my husband's first time in the US, first time out of Central America. We were planning on a few months of down time to get adjusted/ take English classes etc. We also weren't living together abroad (I agree if both people live abroad and there's not a firm move-date, K1 makes little sense), so waiting the extra 4 or 5 months for K1 only to plan to spend another several months of doing time made zero sense in our situation. Everyone is different. Also, you don't have to sit around doing nothing, there's always options.
  2. Fastest Way

    I believe that people in Sweden can do Direct Consular Filing in London with special circumstances (like a job transfer perhaps)? There was a thread about it a while ago, try to search "DCF Sweden"? Oh, and DCF is the fastest legal way. You marry abroad and the whole thing is handled at the embassy. Not overnight or anything, but the fastest way to a spouse visa by a long shot.
  3. Fastest Way

    You can volunteer at a non-profit origination in a position that is normally a volunteer position (for example, like my husband, you can join the volunteer program at the local animal shelter, walking and training the dogs, but you can't "volunteer" to be the animal shelter's secretary, because the secretary is normally a paid position). Study is different-- you can't be in a degree program because that's for student visas and I'm not sure if you can take "real" university classes (that's an area I'm not sure about. I have no idea if USCIS allows it, but most universities won't allow it). But community based programs are fine. My husband also took English classes run by a charitable organization in our town. If you've got any kind of time-intensive hobby (my husband fixes up old motorcycles, maybe you sew or paint etc), that's a great time to really dive into it. Otherwise, you can check out what sorts of things are available in your community. I notice that your profile says Bloomington, IL (great place!), looks like their recreation department takes volunteers for tons of different programs: http://www.bloomingtonparks.org/info/volunteer you could even see if they'd let you run your own program teaching something you enjoy (do you cook, do fitness, etc) . There's always work with animals, or cooking for the homeless, there are church outreach programs, all sorts of stuff. I highly encourage you to take advantage of this "time off" (whether you want the time off or not) and really get out there and learn your new community, meet your new neighbors and really just kind of enjoy the break, doing things you don't have time to do. If you'll need transportation, do not delay in getting your Social Security Number, even if it's not required for a driver's licence in your state, it will make the whole process much easier. You'll get the SSN in your maiden name, and can switch it after you're married.
  4. K1 vs k3 and CR1

    They won't be deported-- but they are accruing out-of-status days which could effect AP eventually if you let it drag on enough. But because the marriage came before any sort of USCIS action, they wouldn't be deported unless there was some mitigating factor like a crime etc. Not that it's advisable at all, trust me, I was all sorts of anxious and angry during those couple of months (about 2.5 from the 1-94 expiry IIRC). The EAD took a good 4 months or so, and I don't remember exactly when he got it, just that he started work in August. Ah and you quoted my dates before I fixed them. I was off by a year and fixed it. Married late Jan 2016, filed mid April 2016, started working Aug 2017, not 2016. I don't remember the exact I-94 expiry but it was late January as well. I think all told he was 10 weeks between I-94 and AOS filing.
  5. K1 vs k3 and CR1

    Of course everyone can do as they wish, I personally didn't want a short engagement/ rushed marriage/however you'd want to look at it especially because he and my family had never met, but that's more about my own personal desires than anything. And of course that the right visa is the one that works for the couple. That's my entire point. The day we decided to get married is the day we "got engaged" and could have applied for the fiance visa. If we'd wanted the CR1 visa, we'd have had to have gone to the courthouse in the next few days (I was visiting him in Costa Rica at the time and I had an airplane ticket out of the country the next week) or wait until we were ready to be married or at least until my next visit. Basically, in addition to the CR1 visas taking ~6 months longer than fiance visas, for couples who aren't already married, there will likely be at least some between deciding to marry/ deciding to immigrate and actually getting legally married which adds to the overall time difference. We decided that yes, we'd like to get married in early January 2015. Applied for fiance visa February 2015. Immigrated late October 2015, married mid-January 2016, he started working August 2016 (mostly through our own AOS delay). Had we wanted CR1 instead, unless we also got married in early January 2015, there would have been at least *some* time between then and marriage (likely at least 6 months). So we'd have applied for CR1 in ~June of 2015, immigrated sometime around August 2016. And THEN we'd have started adjustment/ English classes. So longer time to immigration, shorter engagement (which i did not want), longer time to start working. I said nothing about missing each other more or jewelry or announcements. Just that we arrived at a decision at a particular point in time. Your personal and work details are completely different from ours, which is why the CR1 was clearly better for you, and I suspect would be for most people in a similar situation. I still think that the K1 was absolutely the right path for us, and could be for others in a similar situation. That's why the which visa is better thing is a situational discussion not a pure and simple "here's best one". I didn't say or suggest as much. Edited because I messed up dates. I am getting old, apparently.
  6. K1 vs k3 and CR1

    This still really really depends on the couple. I'd still go K1 for us, even knowing what I know now and my husband grudgingly agrees (he would have wanted to work sooner than he did, but a good part of that is our fault for taking forever to apply for AOS). He'd never been out of his home county, forget to the US before. He needed time to adjust (and some English classes). Even if he'd had a green card on arrival, we'd have given him some time and space to adjust and take English classes. For us, the "down time" between immigration and work was part of the plan, not a negative downside to be endured. So, may as well get those few months started sooner than later, and stop paying to maintain two houses in two countries, when one would be sufficient. Plus, on a more personal level, I didn't want to go from engaged to married in a matter of days both by preference and family considerations, so even if we had decided on CR1, it would have been even more of a time difference between the two visas. I was (and still would be) willing to pay the difference for the (relative) speed. The only thing I'd do differently is apply for AOS sooner. I do recognize that we're not the norm, but it should be understood that there ARE people for whom the K1 has no downsides except for cost and even then that can be mitigated by closing the distance quicker.
  7. Tried and failed for 13 years now. Aren't you so pleased to see where your USCIS fees are going to? https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-decade-into-a-project-to-digitize-us-immigration-forms-just-1-is-online/2015/11/08/f63360fc-830e-11e5-a7ca-6ab6ec20f839_story.html?utm_term=.6e20bfced9c1
  8. It is 2018, get with the program: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=%2Fs
  9. There will be fewer jobs available. I'm talking demand for labor not demand for visas. The workers are supply. Less demand for labor= less incentive to risk life/ imprisonment/ pay lots of money to come here and probably not find a job= lowers supply of willing immigrant workers. Couple that with the higher enforcement for those who haven't gotten the memo generally and you're starting to attack the problem. Why don't we see illegal immigrants working in Silicon Valley tech companies, for example?
  10. I think that you and I both know that you are severely overstating the "few billion". If this isn't a conversation that we're going to take seriously and conduct in good faith, I'd rather not have it. If you'd rather have a ping-pong "discussion" full of thoughtless soundbites, then I guess we're finished here. You know as well as I do that there already exists a framework for temporary guest worker visas, and I suspect the types of jobs we're talking about here are H-2A and H-2B (temporary agriculture and non-agriculture, low skill). I'm not reinventing the wheel over here. I'd imagine that you'd be dealing with an increase in applications if there is an increase in visas available but even a tenfold increase won't get you anywhere close to a single billion let alone multiple. If you'd like to attempt a real conversation, here's a further explanation of the thought process-- These are the types of jobs filled by illegal immigrants, by and large and the only way for a non-family member to come and fill those positions is to go through the visa process which as low annual caps, or EWI and work under the table. I personally believe that most people are rational actors and most would choose the legal, get-a-visa route if they can, and they're not going to choose the illegal-risk-life-pay-lots-of-money route if they don't have a pretty good promise of something worthwhile waiting on the other side. So while I'm not going to defend EWI or non-immigrant visa abuse, I can at least see why this situation exists. Here, here's a job opportunity, you need this visa to go take it. Nope, can't have that visa but the job still exists wink, wink, nudge, nudge, basically. This is why going after the *employers* would be a huge component of this. Some H2B holders find themselves passed over for work in favor of those here illegally because the employer can at a *minimum* avoid paying payroll taxes on their wages, but also likely pays lower wages in general. Turn those here illegally into H2B holders and everyone is better off (unless your aim is simply to stem immigration in general and not illegal immigration specifically, which if it is, that is an entirely different conversation). Maybe run it similar to the H1B program-- annual cap and close off to new applications once the cap is reached. But because of the temporary/seasonal nature of the H-2A and H-2B jobs, maybe split the annual cap up quarterly, maybe twice a year, whatever works. Clearly, anything short of completely open borders isn't going to stop the "supply side" of willing worker immigrants. But increasing existing caps to meet demand sure won't hurt-- it will just decrease demand on our side, keep wages higher on our side (good for US workers too) and eliminate the disincentive to go home after the temporary work is over/ eliminate need/desire to have family join, at least for those who make the cap. AND if you want to steal a page from Bush's failed proposal (failed for other reasons, not this financial piece) and allow their Social Security contributions to transfer to their home country's social security system (thus providing a financial incentive to go home when the time has run out/ at least get rid of a disincentive to leave), we'd still have the payroll taxes from the employer in our system (which we are not getting now), but not the individual to support when they reach retirement age. That, multiplied by hundreds of thousands of guest workers over dozens of years, and we've actually got a good thing going for ourselves. Add in sort of [mandatory but tax-free] (unsure if either is legal/possible but hey, it was part of the proposal) savings account that can only be accessed upon return to home country--we don't know, no one could get past the "too mean to the immigrants" and "not tough enough on the illegals" bit to let that idea flesh out. Because the fee-funded USCIS can't possibly hire more people with the "billions" of new applicants' fees and the penalty fees imposed on the millions of in-country applicants, right? Or we couldn't control the flow of applications with annual caps like the existing programs (!) but simply increase the caps to meet demand? As in... what I've been talking about? Possibly?
  11. That's why there would be applications, not just a get your ticket and arrive. In part, yes. As I said, there's obviously some supply/demand going on here otherwise people wouldn't keep coming. Just the "system" we've got, if you can even call it that, incentivizes crossing illegally and working under the table because there isn't a legal path (or enough visas in the legal path) to fill labor demand. I'm not saying tear down the border and make it a free-for-all, and I have put a lot of thought into this, and some time into explaining that thought, and it would be nice if you could attempt to do the same in reply, or not reply at all. Your comment as is really just illustrates my point that "we" aren't thinking about this from anywhere but our own pre-existing political camps, which has gotten us exactly NOWHERE since Reagan and that some people have more of an issue with the "immigration" part than the "illegal" part.
  12. I agree that we can't continue on status quo because then we'll just face this same issue in 15+ years. But I disagree that the base will be fine with DACA itself (forget a DACA-style program and some form of amnesty) with or without a hammer drop. Throughout the campaign, and all over the airwaves/ conservative news and "news" sites, and heck even back to the implementation of DACA itself, this has been decried as unacceptable amnesty, "illegal is illegal no exceptions" etc etc. I really think that that drumbeat has been hit far too hard for far too long for many of the true believers to change their minds on this. I also don't necessarily think that enforcement is 100% the only way to go here. While YES, obviously more is needed, I do think that we may need to examine the reasons for illegal immigration and see if any of that can be addressed, and possibly open up legal paths where none currently exist. That will keep the "illegal" part out of it (but keep the "immigration" in it, which a lot of the base takes serious issue with). Obviously, there is a supply-and-demand thing going on here, we clearly have the need for labor (people don't generally come here to sit around unemployed, and a lot of people left during the recession). I think there may be some truth to the idea that if we had an easier to access/ more availability of a guest worker program, this could help to solve it. Many people may really just want to come for 6 months/year, and leave their families behind but the inability to move back and forth like that makes it preferable to just come illegally and stay, and maybe eventually bring the whole family. I know we have temporary worker programs but clearly not enough visas and/or enough policing of the employers who hire outside of the program. I think that the steps/desire to further limit legal immigration is not only unkind but is counterproductive to the aim of stemming legal immigration. The heart of the issue seems to be that we're looking at this as an either/or approach, mostly based on political philosophy/ideology. When really, a blended approach may work much better. I myself wouldn't be against having all 11 million people here illegally have the chance at AOS. But they need to prove a clean criminal history (false documentation aside), no (or minimal/ long ago) history of government assistance, pay a fine in addition to USCIS fees (and the fines can go toward getting rid of USCIS's constant backlog) and, perhaps, if entered without inspection, return to their home country for a consular interview, just to hit home the fact that you cannot enter this country without a visa and stay. That way, in the future, when people learn about how their neighbor's cousin's friend (which we all know is how most people in this world "learn" about US immigration) went to the US and 15 years later just got to stay and now he's a citizen, the story involves a giant and expensive headache and full knowledge that the law is different now. If you don't (or can't-- welfare and/or criminal history) go through these steps by a certain date, you're deportable and that's that. I then would cut off AOS from most non-immigrant visas (I'd list them but I'm sure I'd forget some key ones-- basically, AOS from student visas make sense, tourist visas do not, temporary worker somewhere in the middle), or if not cut it off, make it cost $5000, $10,000, whatever you want-- that way those who are using it as an end-run around a K1/CR1 can pay for that convenience, those who have been long out of status on B2s can pay to avoid a ban and those with a legitimate change in mind can figure out what's worth more to them. I would open up more legal paths to at least temporary work, possibly with the ability to self-petition after a certain number of years and proof of stability/suitability. I think that a merit based system is also a great idea but not at the expense of the family visas. I would not mess around too much with family visas, except possibly getting rid of the sibling petition route (which I've never heard a good explanation for)-- siblings can try for merit based. Or if you insist on scrapping the family route, add points to the merit system for family and consider some sort of "retirement" visa for parents of US citizens-- no work permits, and no Medicare, minimum age for it (care for elderly parents IS a real concern, not an excuse). Then enforce as much as you want. i think an actual physical wall is ridiculous and a giant waste of money and has terrible PR out there in the world but to each their own I suppose. Harsh, yet open. Blended.
  13. Yes, this does bear repeating. Just answer CBP's questions -- they may not ask what their plans are and it's never a good idea to offer information that is not asked for. And have the proof of ties to back up the claim that they are planning to marry and not stay and adjust. Everything should be just fine, they are nowhere near the first person to do this and won't be the last and it was and remains perfectly within the scope of permissibly. If they DO "change their mind" and stay and adjust, THAT is where future visa problems could arise. But that's not the case here and also the people who marry, stay, and adjust don't generally need visas in the future so this is a bit more bark than bite but certainly shows what this administration thinks of this loophole. I'm a bit surprised they haven't shut down the ability to adjust from non-immigrant visas (yet?).
  14. Actually, yes! Foreign related stuff (foreign earned income, ITINs etc I got help with that here) but I had a brief stint working for a congressional committee that was related to taxation issues so got some good basics there. PM what you need
  15. Rule number 3, don't pick a factual fight with a librarian. (A gov docs librarian, at that!)