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Abolition of maternity tourism and family reunion: lawyer answers ForumDaily readers' questions

The beginning of 2020 turned out to be rich in immigration innovations. One of the noisiest of them was the abolition of maternity tourism, and with it the complication of the visa process for obtaining medical services in the United States. Now, those who want to come to America for treatment will need to prove their “ability and willingness” to pay for medical services, and pregnant women will be refused a visa at all if the consular officer decides that the purpose of the trip is to give birth to the USA and “give” the child American citizenship. Another blow was the permission of the US Supreme Court to use the “public burden” rule to make immigration decisions. Now poor immigrants may have difficulty issuing green cards.

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Attorney Ekaterina Muratova clarified the nuances of these innovations and answered questions from ForumDaily readers about obtaining visas, asylum, and immigration to the United States. If you need help or want to consult in advance about your personal situation, write to Ekaterina Muratova at or call +1 (305) 778-7198.

Ekaterina has more than 15 years of experience in the immigration field in the USA. For many years, she has been advising on obtaining legal status in the United States in various ways: a green card lottery, work, business visas, investment green cards, citizenship through marriage, family relations in the US, and much more.

Question: I am a US citizen. I applied for the reunion of my son and his family. The son is dead. Can his family stay reunited?

Ekaterina Muratova: It depends on whether they lived in the USA at the time of the death of their son or not. If they were in the USA, then there is a limited exception to the rule. If not, they were waiting for the case to be considered in another country, then, unfortunately, they will not be able to obtain immigrant visas, since the receipt of their documents directly depended on the receipt of the documents by the main beneficiary, that is, your son.

Question: For family reunification (my daughter called), I received a green card for 10 years. I have such a situation that I am only 6-7 months a year in the USA. My daughter signed an afidavit, can I use such a medical insurance as Medical? Will it affect when I apply for citizenship? My daughter won't have to pay a fine?

Ekaterina Muratova: A new regulation has been introduced - the Public Charge Rule - which allows the state to charge all expenses that the state incurs to the immigrant from people who signed the Affidavit of Support. Also, receiving state aid will be considered as a negative factor when considering an application for citizenship.

Question: Tell me, please, I am a US citizen and soon I will have a son, but not in the USA. Can a child get an American passport based on the fact that one of his parents is a US citizen?

Ekaterina Muratova: Yes! A child can be issued U.S. citizenship if one of the parents is a U.S. citizen.

Question: I am in the second month of pregnancy, we want to apply for a tourist visa now, and to go to the USA at 5 months. Will they let me in at the airport if they notice my stomach? What will happen if we nevertheless give birth there (deportation, visa deprivation, etc.)? If the birth is suddenly unforeseen, ahead of schedule? And if foreseeable, but will we have enough funds to pay for them? What awaits us under such conditions?

Ekaterina Muratova: Recently, an order was issued for officers at US consulates not to give tourist visas if they suspect that the purpose of the trip will be childbirth in the USA. However, giving birth in the United States is not illegal. If you get a visa in advance, and later give birth in the United States and pay all medical expenses yourself, then there will be no negative consequences. It is very important not to use any state assistance in obtaining medical and other services when you are in tourist status. Otherwise, the consequences may be undesirable.

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Question: My husband and I received US citizenship a month ago. The son lives here for almost 4 years. Works. Divorced. 39 years. I did not use privileges. We want to apply for a reunion and a change of status at the same time. In addition, our American daughter, 19 years here, two years ago filed for reunion with her brother. The case has not yet been considered. Do I understand correctly, as soon as we, parents, submit a petition, will its status automatically change? And reunion is much easier than if he were in Russia, right? About a year for everything. And what are the chances of taking elderly parents (85 years old) here? I read that they have a “special status”, and there should be no problems either in terms or in receiving a green card.

Ekaterina Muratova: The waiting times for reuniting with parents are shorter than between siblings. However, for adult children, this process takes several years, regardless of where they are located - in the United States or outside the country. It depends on the annual quotas for immigrant visas for each category of relatives. You can also sponsor your elderly parents to immigrate to the United States. For them, the process can really take about a year.

Question: Tell me, please, does the officer see information about unpaid bills when passing control at the airport? From the hospital, to the apartment, etc. Bills could come when we were already outside the United States. And there is no answer to requests for the presence or absence of debts.

Ekaterina Muratova: If organizations filed for debt collection, then this is public information.

Question: I have been in the USA for 20 years. Under what circumstances can I take an exam with a translator?

Ekaterina Muratova: If you mean the US citizenship exam, then only if you have a medical certificate from a doctor with a description of the disease, because of which you cannot learn the language at a basic level.

Question: Will family reunification become longer in connection with the new laws?

Ekaterina Muratova: The timing of petitions depends only on annual quotas for immigrant visas. They have not changed.

Question: Tell me, please, is it possible to change the 14th Amendment of the USA in the direction of canceling citizenship under the law of the land, and if so, how soon? How exactly does the pregnant women ban law in the United States work? If, suppose a woman hides the fact of pregnancy and receives a visa, and then gives birth, will they give the child citizenship, and how will this affect visa applications in the future?

Ekaterina Muratova: The abolition of the 14th amendment is extremely unlikely. Children born in the United States receive citizenship. Giving birth in the United States is also not illegal. But if a woman deliberately provides false information about the purpose of the trip when obtaining a tourist visa, on this basis she may subsequently be denied visas. Another thing is if a woman had a multivisa, she visited the United States for tourism, and during the next visit she gave birth in the United States. That is, initially, when obtaining a visa, she did not provide deliberately false information about the purpose of the trip and its intentions.

Question: During my visit to Thailand, I underwent video and audio filming in the fall of 2013. Then, upon arrival home, they began to blackmail me, threatening that they would distribute the video at work if I did not provide and get contacts from guests, foreign citizens. I was mostly interested in guests from the USA, and since I work at Ritz-Carlton-Moscow, I had limited access to guests, but I refused flatly. Then at the hotel among the employees began to show the video. In 2016, under the guise of selling a phone, I was lured into the woods and psychologically tried to break, threatening to fabricate a case of sex with minors, while they hid my faces and, having stolen money from my wallet, left me in an unknown place. By the way, they also extorted money and sent videos that threatened me. I wrote a statement to the police and prosecutors about extortion. The answer came that it is impossible to conduct business with respect to unknown persons, since it is impossible to identify them, and there is no corpus delicti. After they staged a reality show where the employees I work with could see what I was doing at home, watch on the phone, and know what was happening on social networks. The confidentiality of the investigation and my right to privacy were not respected. And this has been happening in a 5-star hotel for over 5 years. Can I count on political asylum? And I have no evidence, because I am being watched day and night, and I can not ask anyone to write that I am politically persecuted because of my orientation, and also because of the desire to take advantage of my access to the working area with guests.

Ekaterina Muratova: Each asylum case in the USA is very individual and is based on the details of the persecution. If you have a legitimate fear of living in your own country, you need to schedule an individual consultation with a U.S. immigration lawyer. During the consultation, your story will be given due attention. In addition, communication between a lawyer and a client is strictly confidential. It is difficult to make a legal opinion based on a few sentences.

Question: I am a citizen of Turkmenistan, in 2014 I flew on a tourist visa to the United States, spent 6 months in the United States, New Jersey. Without any problems and violations left the United States. At the moment, I have again received a US tourist visa and plan to immigrate. Is there an option to obtain political asylum? I have dual citizenship, Russian Federation and Turkmenistan. And all two times an American visa was issued to me in a Russian passport at the US Embassy in Turkmenistan.

Ekaterina Muratova: If you have a legitimate fear and threat of persecution in both Russia and Turkmenistan, then asylum is possible.

Question: Tell me, please, how will the “social burden” rule affect the reunion of a US citizen with his parents if the interview is scheduled for early February (parents are not elderly). Do I need to bring financial evidence to the interview?

Ekaterina Muratova: The potential immigrant, as well as its sponsors, must prove that the likelihood of an immigrant becoming a burden to society in the United States is extremely small. Evidence of financial security will undoubtedly be a weighty argument.

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Question: Tell me, please, is a visit to the Highlands adult charter school a free school for learning English included in the list of benefits?

Ekaterina Muratova: If you mean the Public Charge rule, such schools are not included in the state aid listed in the law, which may subsequently affect the consideration of immigration and non-immigration petitions.

Question: Can I pass on citizenship in my native language if I am older than 55 years old and have been living in the USA for 15 years? And do you need to be served in advance or when it is already 55 years old?

Ekaterina Muratova: You can. Serving can only be done after 55 years and 15 years of residence in the United States.

Question: Tell me, please, if I am a resident of Canada, how long can I stay in the States?

Ekaterina Muratova: Up to 6 months in each year.

Question: For example, I did not pass on citizenship using two attempts. After what time can I apply for citizenship again, given that it takes quite a while to wait for an interview?

Ekaterina Muratova: You can be served at any time. There is no requirement that you wait a while after an unsuccessful attempt.

Question: 180 days have passed since the application for asylum adjustment status. Can I change my shelter to any other type of stay if I have a sponsor other than marriage?

Ekaterina Muratova: This is possible before you schedule an interview with USCIS. Once the application is submitted to the immigration court, options will be very limited.

Immigration Center Catherine Muratova:

Phone: + 1 (305) 778 7198

Your question to Ekaterina Muratova

Miscellaneous immigration lawyer Ekaterina Muratova Immigration in the USA

Read also on ForumDaily:

5 interesting facts about illegal immigrants in the USA: where they come from and where they live

USCIS Redesigns Family Reunion Green Card Application Process

What are the differences and how do the US airport fast track security programs work?

USCIS announces the entry into force of the 'public burden' rule: what's next

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