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Immigration Advice: How to Avoid Losing Your Green Card Or Becoming Ineligible for Naturalization

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Each year, about one million people receive US permanent resident status, also known as green cards. Lawful US permanent resident status gives an individual the right to live and work permanently in the United States.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) however says this right is only provided on condition that the green card holder does not commit any actions that would make them removable from the country under immigration law.

Failure to follow some guidelines could make green card holders be at risk of deportation, or make them ineligible for US citizenship.

USCIS and Immigration law experts provide some guidelines on how to maintain permanent resident status:

  • Maintain permanent residence in the US. The US government will find you to have abandoned your permanent resident status if you remain outside the US for a period of more than one year. If you intend to be out of the country for more than one year as a green card holder, USCIS and immigration experts advice you to first obtain a re-entry permit before leaving the US.
  • Do not commit crime. In addition to penalties you will face for committing crime, USCIS says those offenses are also considered immigration violations. Permanent residents who commit serious crimes such as murder, rape, sexual assault on minors, fraud, terrorist activities, drugs and people trafficking, could lose their lawful permanent resident status and also become ineligible for naturalization in the future.
  • Always file taxes, and make sure to file the US resident tax return (Federal Form 1040). This applies even if all your income was earned outside the US.
  • Never claim to be a US citizen when you are not, whether verbally or in writing. Immigrants are especially warned that claiming to be a citizen to a law enforcement officer is considered a serious crime and could make you deported if found guilty, or make you ineligible for naturalization.
  • Permanent residents are warned to never vote in national, state or local elections that require voters to be US citizens. There are criminal penalties for illegal voting. Such voting could also lead to the loss of your green card.
  • Do not be a habitual drunkard. A permanent resident who is deemed to be drunk or uses illegal drugs most of the time is ineligible to become a US citizen.
  • Failing to support your family or pay child or spousal support could make permanent residents lose their green cards or ineligible for naturalization.
  • Males between the ages of 18 and 25 are required by US law to register for the Selective Service.
READ ALSO:   Check here: Green card results are out

SOURCE: –mwakilishi.com

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Diaspora

VIDEO: Homeless Kenyans in the US and the Dark Secrets

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“There was one shower, for the entire floor. There were bedbugs. There were rats. People come from the streets with all sorts of things, you know. It was difficult. It was very difficult,” so begins my conversation with Moses Munene, who was homeless in Washington DC.

Yet that’s not what comes to mind when you speak to Moses Munene, now a property developer in Kenya.

As he narrates his tale with charming candour it is difficult to lump the arresting personality with an image of those who bear the tag ‘homeless’.

But for one and a half years, Munene was indeed homeless in Washington DC, the capital of the United States, the land of opportunity, or so it has been termed.

A Kenyan by birth, he travelled to the US in 2002, seeking medical treatment after a bad fall injured his spine, he was 36 then.

“Once I got to DC, I stayed with one guy for two to three days, who then took me to a Christian place where I could live but they wouldn’t take me in. I called the Kenyan embassy then but they didn’t have any options, so I slept out in the cold that night.”

Perhaps it was a foreshadowing of things to come but Munene could not have known this then. After two nights in the cold, a lady from the Kenyan embassy referred him to Christ House.

“I was taken in by a medical facility for the homeless, Christ House. They arranged everything from my medical insurance to planning for my surgery.

“I stayed there for around six months but they could only host me for the duration of my treatment. Once that ended, they had no choice but to take me to a shelter.”

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This was the turn of the road where Munene, a man of great faith as is evident from the references he splices in throughout our conversation, began his solitary sojourn into the world of homelessness.

Lunch

“It was hard. In the shelter, once you wake up in the morning you leave so they can clean. So I used to go to hotels where meetings were held. I’d spend my whole day there, sometimes I’d get lunch if they were serving it and come back to the shelter in the evening.”

Pulling from his wealth of memories, Munene paints me a picture of the shape that life took while he lived at the shelter.

“Everyone has their own bed where you put your suitcase, sometimes it gets really cold and you don’t want to leave. People would smoke in the shelter so when you came in you’d find everyone smoking everywhere.”

Munene explained that the shelter had a six-month policy. Once you exhausted your months, you’d have to go back to the streets. Yet, with the industrious spirit of the motherland colouring his bones, the Kenyan got a job as a desk monitor and was able to extend his stay for another six months.

I asked Munene how his family allowed him to live in a shelter in a foreign country, yet he had a house waiting for him in Kenya.

“My family didn’t know I was in the shelter, I lied. I told them I was in college because once you are here people expect you to have a certain kind of income.”

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Trump insists on scrapping Green card lottery and make e-verify mandatory

For every hill, a valley and Munene eventually emerged into the light when his troubles made it to the ears of Kenyans in the diaspora.

“When Kenyans in Washington found out that their fellow countryman was living in a shelter, they came together and had a small fundraiser after which I was able to rent an apartment.

With the rest of the money, I set up a small curio stand in DC. I would get the things from Kenya: they’d send me kiondo’s and earrings and things like that and that’s what I did for nine years.”

Not one to miss an opportunity, he narrates how he learned to work the system so he wouldn’t have to rely solely on imports from Kenya.

“Sometimes I’d go to New York once a month, you could find earrings from China that looked like the ones from Kenya. I’d buy a dozen for 12 dollars and sell a pair for 10 dollars. I’d mix them up with the ones in Kenya which made things easier for me because importing from Kenya was expensive.”

Eventually, as it always does, life came full circle and Munene came back to Kenya lifetimes wiser to start his business. However, he was quick to clarify that the homelessness that he had to battle and grapple was not a lone occurrence but rather an open secret among many nationals who seek their fortunes in the US.

Moses Munene at his curio stand which he ran for 9 years. PHOTO|COURTESY

“Kenyans are homeless, you go to places especially in Baltimore and you find a big group of Kenyans who are homeless. They live in abandoned buildings. They light fires in the wintertime to ward off the cold.

READ ALSO:   EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about applying for 2021 US Diversity Visa [VIDEO]

In DC, I met people who’ve been there since the Tom Mboya Airlift: old men, people who’ve been there for a very long time. There was an ageing Luo I met, he was hungry most of the time. It [homelessness] is a very difficult thing.”

I ask him why they stay, why they wouldn’t just come back home. He explains that for them, it is difficult to return with empty hands from a land where they are expected to draw the milk and the honey.

“I have a friend there [in the US], the brother of a former Cabinet minister. The guy was homeless then, yet they are well up in Kenya. He doesn’t go back home because they’d ask him what he’s been doing. He has degrees, he has a masters from there.”

With a clarity sharpened by experience, he explains the situation, “They have that fear, to go back home with nothing to show.”

Munene is perhaps luckier than most. While he was able to return, those he has left behind can no longer be covered with the muslin cloth that we have weaved with our fantasies of America, the promised land.

Yet, these Kenyans on the streets of Baltimore, of DC, of Atlanta have homes. Maybe what bars the door are the locks of our own expectations, the expectations we place on the heads of those who leave like a crown.

“It takes a lot of courage to come back,” says Munene, a statement that bears more gravity than we should allow it.

SOURCE-Kenyans.co.ke

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Diaspora

WAIT! Relocating to Kenya from the Diaspora? Here is what you can take with you

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For a Kenyan who has lived in the diaspora, when moving back to Kenya you are allowed, among other items, one motor vehicle (excluding buses and mini buses) into the country duty free subject to some few conditions.

First, the regulations for exporting cars to Kenya still apply hence the car has to meet the age limit set by the government (… years from the date of manufacture The vehicles should also be inspected by JEVIC and should not be a Left Hand Drive. Please read more on importation guide where – may be insert the link.

Returning Kenyans are exempted from paying taxes on their personal effects as stipulated on part B paragraph 5 of the 5th Schedule of the East Africa Community Customs Management Act 2004.

Here are the conditions and limitations:

  • If you are intending to change residence to come back to Kenya, you must be over 18 years old. KRA shall verify your supporting documents, which include your passport, Alien ID, work permits etc.
  • Original Valid passport used for the last 2 years or any previous passport other than the current passport. (The entry and exit stamps are used by customs to check the compliance of the regulation).
  • Must have proof of living abroad for two years and have their effects imported within 3 months of arrival.
READ ALSO:   Check here: Green card results are out

In addition, under the Same Schedule, returning residents are also allowed, one motor vehicle (excluding buses and mini buses) into the country duty free subject to the following conditions:

  • The importer must be changing residence and not just been out of the country merely on temporary non-residential visit. The Importer must be over 18 years old. The individual must have personally owned and personally used the motor vehicle outside Kenya for at least twelve months (excluding the period of the voyage in the case of shipment) prior to importing the motor vehicle. This is verified when the returning resident submits the original passport to KRA.
  • The motor vehicle must not be older than 8 years.

Exemptions from tax:

Items that may be exempted when imported as baggage by a returning resident are:

  • Wearing apparel
  • Personal and household effects which were in his personal or household use in his former place of residence

For more information, you can contact the international relations and diplomacy office om +254 (0)20 201 8012/ +254 (0)20 208 6649 or email ird@kra.go.ke.

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Africa

US Embassy to deny you Visa if it believes that you can’t financially sustain yourself

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WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will implement the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule (“Final Rule”) on Feb. 24, 2020. Under the Final Rule, USCIS will look at the factors required under the law by Congress, like an alien’s age, health, income, education and skills, among others, in order to determine whether the alien is likely at any time to become a public charge.

The Final Rule, issued in August and originally scheduled to be effective in October, prescribes how DHS would determine whether an alien is inadmissible to the United States based on the alien’s likelihood of becoming a public charge at any time in the future, as set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Final Rule also addresses USCIS’ authority to issue public charge bonds in the context of applications for adjustment of status. Finally, the Final Rule includes a requirement that aliens seeking and extension of stay of change of status demonstrate that they have not received public benefits over the designated threshold since obtaining the nonimmigrant status they seek to extend or change.

The State of Illinois is however exempt from these rules.

“Self-sufficiency is a core American value and has been part of immigration law for centuries. President Trump has called for long-standing immigration law to be enforced and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is delivering on this promise to the American people,” said Ken Cuccinelli, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary for DHS. “By requiring those seeking to come or stay in the United States to rely on their own resources, families and communities, we will encourage self-sufficiency, promote immigrant success and protect American taxpayers.”

READ ALSO:   Important announcement to 2019 DV winners: You have until Sep 30th to secure an interview

Except for in the State of Illinois, USCIS will only apply the Final Rule to applications and petitions postmarked (or submitted electronically) on or after Feb. 24, 2020. For applications and petitions that are sent by commercial courier (e.g., UPS/FedEx/DHL), the postmark date is the date reflected on the courier receipt.  The Final Rule prohibits DHS from considering an alien’s application for, certification or approval to receive, or receipt of certain non-cash public benefits before Oct. 15, 2019, when deciding whether the alien is likely at any time to become a public charge. In light of the duration of the recently-lifted nationwide injunctions and to promote clarity and fairness to the public, DHS will now treat this prohibition as applying to such public benefits received before Feb. 24, 2020. Similarly, the Final Rule prohibits DHS from considering the receipt of public benefits by applicants for extension of stay and change of status before Oct. 15, 2019 when determining whether the public benefits condition applies, and DHS will now treat this prohibition as applying to public benefits received on or after Feb. 24, 2020.

USCIS will post updated forms, submission instructions, and Policy Manual guidance on the USCIS website during the week of Feb. 3, 2020, to give applicants, petitioners, and others ample time to review updated procedures and adjust filing methods. After Feb. 24, 2020, everywhere except in the State of Illinois, USCIS will reject prior editions of forms if the form is postmarked on or after Feb. 24, 2020. If USCIS receives an application or petition for benefits using incorrect editions of the forms, USCIS will inform the applicant or petitioner of the need to submit a new application or petition using the correct forms.

READ ALSO:   US Immigration Service to charge $10 Fee for H-1B Visa Registration

USCIS will continue to release information through its website in the weeks leading to the rule’s implementation date, including in the event that the injunction Illinois is lifted. This will include an update to the USCIS Policy Manual.

In the coming weeks, the agency is planning to hold a public engagement for immigration attorneys, industry representatives, and other relevant groups to discuss the final rule.

DHS remains enjoined from implementing the Final Rule in the State of Illinois. Should the injunction in Illinois be lifted, USCIS will provide additional public guidance.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and LinkedIn (/uscis).

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