Hines & Associates, PLLC

Hines & Associates, PLLC Hines & Associates, PLLC is an immigration law practice located in Washington, DC. It was founded by attorney Claudia Hines, Esq. Hines & Associates, PLLC was founded by attorney Claudia Hines.
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Miss Hines was born in Bogota, Colombia. She subsequently immigrated to the United States in 1978, and became a naturalized U.S. Citizen in 1981. Hines & Associates, PLLC provides payment plans for most all immigration matters.

Mission: Our Mission is to provide quality immigration services to our clientele.

Operating as usual

El Salvador’s government cut deals with MS-13 gang in bid to reduce killings, report says:El Salvador's government cut d...
09/09/2020
El Salvador’s government cut deals with MS-13 gang in bid to reduce killings, report says

El Salvador’s government cut deals with MS-13 gang in bid to reduce killings, report says:

El Salvador's government cut deals with leaders of the MS-13 gang in an attempt to reduce killings and other violence, according to a news report, in a startling move to open dialogue with a group whose reach extends to the United States.

The reported talks, which the El Faro news site said began in June 2019, would contradict statements by El Salvador's president, Nayib Bukele, that he would not negotiate with MS-13, which El Salvador's courts have declared a terrorist group.

It also highlighted the difficulty of improving security in gang-afflicted El Salvador, where an estimated 60,000 active gang members fuel violence that has forced hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans to flee.

On Friday, a statement from Bukele’s office denied the El Faro report, saying he “has never negotiated with terrorist structures or groups that live on the margins of the law.”

The MS-13 gang, a reference to its Spanish name “Mara Salvatrucha,” has footholds across Central America, Mexico and the United States, where it is linked to human trafficking, drug networks and targeted killings. In June, U.S. authorities arrested and charged more than two dozen alleged MS-13 leaders and members, including one suspected gang boss facing terrorism charges.

El Faro cited records of prison visits and official intelligence reports apparently showing two key members of Bukele’s government — Carlos Marroquin, director of the Social Fabric Reconstruction Unit, and prisons director Osiris Luna — visited at least two maximum-security prisons to negotiate with MS-13 leadership more than a dozen times since June 2019.

The imprisoned gang members received benefits ranging from access to favorite foods to the unofficial reversal of a government policy that mixed members of the country’s three warring gangs — MS-13, 18th Street Sureños and 18th Street Revolucionarios — in prison cells, the report said.

In turn, MS-13 reportedly pledged a decrease in homicides and support for Bukele’s party, Nuevas Ideas, in February 2021 legislative elections.

Marroquin and Luna also denied the report. Neither Bukele nor the two officials responded to requests for further comment.

El Salvador’s office of the attorney general opened an investigation into the reported negotiations.

“This is a clandestine negotiation outside public scrutiny and outside all types of social or state control, which can lead to many abuses of power and illegitimate or illegal privileges,” said Manuel Escalante, a lawyer with the San Salvador-based Human Rights Institute at Central American University.

Bukele, Latin America’s youngest president at 39 years old, has credited his security strategy for a sharp decline in homicides, falling from 1,630 in January to July 2019 to 697 for the same period this year. Bukele’s plan focuses on increasing law enforcement in key gang-controlled territories, along with targeted social programs.

This homicide reduction was applauded by many Salvadorans worn down and traumatized by decades of violence.

But security experts suggest that changing gang tactics, not Bukele’s plan, may be at the heart of the homicide drop. They also note that other gang-related crimes, such as extortion, have persisted.

The El Faro investigation showed “the reduction of homicides seemed not to be due to government security strategy, but rather a gang decision,” International Crisis Group researcher Tiziano Breda said.

In a news conference Friday, the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Ronald Johnson, praised the country’s strides forward in reducing migration and emphasized the importance of the drop in homicides.

Allegations of clandestine negotiations are nothing new in El Salvador, with examples reaching back at least 15 years. Most notably, the government under President Mauricio Funes brokered a now-infamous truce in 2012 that granted special privileges to gang members in exchange for homicide reduction and support in presidential elections.

When the truce fell apart, homicides soared. El Salvador suffered one of its most murderous years on record in 2015, with 104 homicides per 100,000 people.

“Any negotiation with the gangs represents a basic recognition of them as a group of influence in national life,” said Carlos Carcach, security expert and professor at El Salvador’s Higher School of Economics and Business. “They are, in fact, groups of influence because they can easily increase homicides in a day.”

Now, some experts and citizens fear the same outcome. “It’s a really volatile and fragile equilibrium that can be reversed if something goes wrong,” Breda said.

“Realizing the government entered into an agreement with criminals makes me uneasy because I don’t know how that is going to affect me,” former police officer Marvin Reyes said. “Just because there are fewer homicides doesn’t mean insecurity is gone.”

In an attempt to deter negotiations, the country’s highest court declared gangs as terrorist organizations in 2015. The move backfired, said Jeannette Aguilar, an independent security consultant in El Salvador. “It criminalizes the possibilities of dialogue and other forms of mediation,” she said.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/el-salvador-gangs-violence/2020/09/05/8fb8734e-eee3-11ea-bd08-1b10132b458f_story.html

The investigation by the El Faro news site described a stunning shift for President Nayib Bukele, who denied the reports.

CITIZENSHIP! Every time a client sends us a photo thanking us for doing what we do, we get a little emotional because we...
08/17/2020

CITIZENSHIP!
Every time a client sends us a photo thanking us for doing what we do, we get a little emotional because we know what this means to so many. We proudly congratulate our client, Juan, for his achievement today and encourage all those who have been putting their citizenship off, to make the decision to file.

07/28/2020
www.dhs.gov

July 28, 2020
Latest on DACA

“... By this memorandum, I am rescinding the 2017 and 2018 memoranda, and making certain immediate changes to the DACA policy to facilitate my thorough consideration of how to address DACA in light of the Supreme Court’s decision. For the reasons outlined below, pending my full reconsideration of the DACA policy, I direct DHS personnel to take all appropriate actions to reject all pending and future initial requests for DACA, to reject all pending and future applications for advance parole absent exceptional circumstances, and to shorten DACA renewals consistent with the parameters established in this memorandum...”

https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/20_0728_s1_daca-reconsideration-memo.pdf

July 14, 2020BREAKING: Trump Admin. Drops Pandemic Student Visa Policy.The Trump administration has agreed to rescind a ...
07/14/2020
BREAKING: Trump Admin. Drops Pandemic Student Visa Policy - Law360

July 14, 2020

BREAKING: Trump Admin. Drops Pandemic Student Visa Policy.

The Trump administration has agreed to rescind a directive that would have barred foreign students from the United States if their colleges canceled in-person instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, following lawsuits by a number of universities and states, according to a Tuesday hearing.

During the hearing Tuesday in a case filed by Harvard University and MIT, U.S. District Judge Allison D. Burroughs in Boston recounted her understanding of an agreement between the federal government and those schools.

The hearing was slated for a 90-minute spar between the two sides over a motion for a preliminary injunction. Instead, it ended in less than two minutes, after the parties acknowledged a truce had been reached.

The settlement means U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will revert back to guidance issued in March that allowed international students to remain in the U.S. even if their college or university opted for online-only instruction during the pandemic.

The abrupt course reversal by the federal government moots not only the suit brought by Harvard and MIT, but also similar suits filed by the state of New York, a group of universities in the Western U.S., Johns Hopkins University and a coalition of 17 state attorneys general led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Harvard and MIT are represented by Ari Holtzblatt, Paul R.Q. Wolfson, Seth P. Waxman, Felicia H. Ellsworth, Mark C. Fleming and William F. Lee of WilmerHale.

The government is represented by Rayford A. Farquhar of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts.

The case is President and Fellows of Harvard College et al. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security et al., case number 1:20-cv-11283, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Read more at:

https://www.law360.com/immigration/articles/1291817/breaking-trump-admin-drops-pandemic-student-visa-policy?nl_pk=8d4231c0-cd28-451d-a70d-c1a505cabcbb&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=immigration

The Trump administration has agreed to rescind a directive that would have barred foreign students from the United States if their colleges canceled in-person instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, following lawsuits by a number of universities and states, a Massachusetts federal judge said in a....

07/10/2020

July 10, 2020

Quick Decision Coming In Harvard, MIT Visa Restriction Suit:

A federal judge said Thursday she is looking to decide by July 15 whether student immigrants attending Harvard University and MIT can be denied entry into the U.S. if their colleges go fully online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Top universities have sued the federal government and vowed to protect international students from deportation. ICE recently announced a policy that would require international students to leave the country if they do not take any in-person classes this fall term. This would apply even if the university is fully online this fall or if the university transitions to an online model in the middle of the semester.

On July 7, top universities including Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford have denounced the policy, while also assuring international students that they will work to create a plan that will allow them to continue their studies in America “without fear.”

On July 8, Harvard and MIT filed suit in federal court, seeking to block the policy and calling ICE’s decision “arbitrary and capricious.”

The latest assault falls on foreign students, those currently in the US and holding an F-1 visa. July 6, 2020 The US to ...
07/07/2020
U.S. to force out foreign students taking classes fully online

The latest assault falls on foreign students, those currently in the US and holding an F-1 visa.

July 6, 2020
The US to force our foreign students who are taking classes fully online:

“... Foreign students must leave the United States if their school’s classes this fall will be taught completely online or transfer to another school with in-person instruction, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced on Monday.

It was not immediately clear how many student visa holders would be affected by the move, but foreign students are a key source of revenue for many U.S. universities as they often pay full tuition.

ICE said it would not allow holders of student visas to remain in the country if their school was fully online for the fall. Those students must transfer or leave the country, or they potentially face deportation proceedings, according to the announcement...”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-visas-students/u-s-to-force-out-foreign-students-taking-classes-fully-online-idUSKBN2472TT

Foreign students must leave the United States if their school's classes this fall will be taught completely online or transfer to another school with in-person instruction, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced on Monday.

06/23/2020

June 23, 2020

DC Circ. Allows Trump To Expand Fast-Tracked Deportations:

A split D.C. Circuit on Tuesday allowed the Trump administration to broaden the scope of fast-tracked deportation proceedings while a lawsuit challenging the policy continues, saying the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has the "sole and unreviewable" discretion to make changes to expedited removals.

Updated on Monday, June 22, 2020 at 4:15 p.m.President Trump will extend a freeze on "green cards" for new immigrants an...
06/22/2020
Trump Freezes Green Cards, Work Visas Until End Of Year

Updated on Monday, June 22, 2020 at 4:15 p.m.

President Trump will extend a freeze on "green cards" for new immigrants and sign an executive order to suspend H-1B, L-1, J and other temporary work visas for skilled workers, managers and au pairs through the end of the year, a senior administration official told reporters on Monday.

The goal of the move is to protect 525,000 jobs as part of the White House response to job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. NPR first reported the impending order on Saturday.

The order will target H-1B visas, which are designed for certain skilled workers such as those employed in the tech industry, as well as L-1 visas, which are meant for executives who work for large corporations.

But other workers will also be affected, including foreign au pairs who provide childcare. Professors and scholars will not be included in the order, the official said. There will be a provision to request exemptions. The order is not expected to immediately affect anyone already in the United States.

Business groups are expected to oppose the move. But groups that want less immigration cheered it. "No matter how you slice it, this is shaping up to be a big win for American workers at a critical time," said RJ Hauman, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for lower levels of immigration. FAIR had called on Trump to suspend guest worker visas.

"We have some concern over potential abuse of broadly written exceptions, but there is still time for that to be addressed, both now and during implementation," Hauman said.

In May, Trump issued a temporary halt on new green cards but stopped short of suspending guest worker programs amid concerns from the business community.

Plans for Monday's order raised significant concerns among business and industry groups. "The ban on H-1B visas, which are often used to fill very niche positions that are not easily found in the American workforce, will ultimately prove to be counterproductive and is an example of using a nuclear bomb to address a bar fight," said Leon Fresco, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Obama administration who now represents H-1B workers.

The order was not expected to apply to H-2A agriculture workers who Trump says are necessary to ensure grocery store shelves remain stocked with fruits and vegetables. Health care workers involved in treating coronavirus patients will also be exempt.

https://www.npr.org/2020/06/20/881245867/trump-expected-to-suspend-h-1b-other-visas-until-end-of-year?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20200622&utm_term=4631774&utm_campaign=breaking-news&utm_id=39098541&orgid=305

06/22/2020

New Rule effective August 25, 2020 - Asylum and Employment Authorization:

June 22, 2020

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced a regulatory change to deter aliens from illegally entering the United States and from filing frivolous, fraudulent, or otherwise non-meritorious claims for asylum to obtain an employment authorization document. This rule does not alter asylum eligibility criteria in any way and will be effective on Aug. 25.

This rule stems from the April 29, 2019, Presidential Memorandum on Additional Measures to Enhance Border Security and Restore Integrity to Our Immigration System, which emphasizes that it is the policy of the United States to manage humanitarian immigration programs in a safe and orderly manner, and to promptly deny benefits to those who do not qualify.

“Safeguarding the integrity of our nation’s legal immigration system from those who seek to exploit or abuse it is key to the USCIS mission,” said Joseph Edlow, the USCIS Deputy Director for Policy. “The reforms in this rule are designed to restore integrity to the asylum system and to reduce any incentive to file an asylum application for the primary purpose of obtaining work authorization. It also deters frivolous and non-meritorious applications by eliminating employment authorization for aliens who have failed to file for asylum within one year of their last entry until USCIS or an immigration judge determines the alien’s eligibility for asylum.”

The rule prevents aliens who, absent good cause, illegally entered the United States from obtaining employment authorization based on a pending asylum application. Additionally, the rule defines new bars and denials for employment authorization, such as for certain criminal behavior; extends the wait time before an asylum applicant can apply for employment authorization from 150 days to 365 calendar days; limits the employment authorization validity period to a maximum of two years; and automatically terminates employment authorization when an applicant’s asylum denial is administratively final.

For more information read the final rule, scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on June 26.

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Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 18:00
Friday 10:00 - 14:00

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(202) 506-8800

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