Contact Us: (617) 714-4375 |
Contact Us: (617) 714-4375


Be careful when using online/social media!

For years, DHS agencies including USCIS and ICE have investigated non-citizens through social media. USCIS and ICE will present documents that show clients, for example, using controlled substances, advocating support for terrorist-designated organizations and other problematic organizations, and having romantic relationships with people other than the US citizens petitioning for green card.


This week DHS announced that it will create fake social media accounts to further its long-standing practice of investigating non-citizens through social media. This announcement caused Facebook to reiterate its policy of prohibiting fake accounts and caused uproar among immigrant advocates, privacy advocates and free-speech advocates alike.


This policy, however, should not surprise anyone. Non-citizens have fewer privacy, free-speech and other rights in this country than do US citizens (generally speaking except for systemic issues of racism, sexism and other discrimination that may trump immigration status). Non-citizens need to strive for very clean, if not non-existent, social media presences. Regardless of whether Facebook prevails in disallowing DHS from setting up fake accounts, non-citizens in the US need to make sure that their social media records do not cause them harm vis-a-vis their immigration status.


Maine ACLU Obtains US Border Patrol Training on Transportation Checks

Maine ACLU Obtains CBP Training on CBP Transportation Checks

The US Border Patrol routinely uses “transportation checks” as a means for investigating the immigration status of individuals it accidentally or purposefully encounter. The document above describes the law that arguably allows for stops anywhere within 100 miles of a US border. In Maine and other states along the Canadian border, much of the state is within 100 miles. Because of this, the US Border Patrol can set up transportation stops on highways for the purpose of conducting “consensual” checks of drivers’ and passengers’ immigration status. Also, as discussed in the attached document, the US Border Patrol can enter buses and conduct “consensual”  checks of identity and immigration status. The training manual states that the US Border Patrol does NOT have to inform individuals of their right to refuse to answer questions, and most people do NOT know of this constitutional right. Individuals without immigration status are in a Catch 22. Regardless of their constitutional rights including the right to refuse to answer questions, if they do not answer questions, it is likely that the US Border Patrol will find a way to change the encounter from “consensual” to probable-cause based, and thereby will require cooperation and disclosure of identity.


If you have questions about your immigration status, about ways to possibly fix your immigration status, or about your constitutional rights in encounters with law enforcement officials, contact my office to set up a consultation with Attorney Ellen Sullivan. The initial consultation is scheduled for 55 minutes, with a charge of $200 that you may pay by cash, check or credit card.


Uncertain processing times of I-765 Applications for Employment Authorization

Many of my clients feel frustrated right now because of the uncertain and often slow processing times for USCIS benefits. One of the most significant problems is with I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, aka “work permit.” Many of my clients file for “work permits” in conjunction with I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status (“green card”). Historically, the work permit took under 90 days to process, and if it did not, I could advocate on behalf of my client to get the card processed. Now, the cards are taking three, four, five months and even longer. Importantly, I can no longer go to the local USCIS office to request that the work permit application be expedited due to slow processing or due to a client’s offer of employment. In many cases, work permits are not decided before my clients “green card” interviews. Last month, two clients received the actual work permits in the mail AFTER they received their green cards! (The work permits are not necessary and in fact are invalid once the “green card” is approved.)


USCIS publishes “processing times” on its website, but in the past year or so, I have found that information to be unreliable. In addition to publishing processing time dates, the USCIS website publishes a “case inquiry” date, which if often months or a year after the processing time date. That means that even if a case is outside the normal processing time, we cannot complain until the case reaches the “case inquiry” date.


If you have questions about your current pending case/s, consult an immigration attorney. I meet with new clients on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in my Cambridge office or via telephone. The charge for the initial 55-minute consultation is $200.

Did you know that you can pay some USCIS fees via credit card?

Did you know that you can pay some USCIS fees via credit card? Go to to read about which fees can be accepted by credit card. For the most part, any fee for a form that goes to a “Lock Box” can be paid by credit card. To pay by credit card, submit Form G-1450 with the USCIS form that you file with USCIS.


However, before submitting the credit card payment for a USCIS fee, make sure that your form is going to a lock box and that your form fee can be paid by credit card. Also, before paying by credit or debit card, make sure that your card has enough funds or a sufficient credit limit to accept the charge from USCIS. USCIS will only attempt to charge the card once. If the card is rejected for any reason, USCIS will immediately reject the case and send the entire case back to you or your attorney. If there is a deadline for your filing, USCIS’s rejection of the filing fee could affect your eligibility for the USCIS benefit that you are seeking.

Why is my USCIS case taking so long?

Why is my USCIS case taking so long

The American Immigration Lawyers Association recently released the attached memo that explains the rise in processing time and possible reasons behind the slow-down in USCIS processing times. As case processing times increase, individuals and businesses with pending applications and petitions suffer from the government’s lack of predictability, lack of transparency, and lack of consistency in the way that it handles USCIS cases.

Stay on top of your case by following it on’s “Case Status” page. Consider linking your email to USCIS’s updates (although the updates do not always come). Make sure to update your contact information with your attorney and your address with USCIS so that you do not miss important communications. Tip: Even if you do update your contact information with your attorney and USCIS, have a way to check your old mailing address even after you move.

Why is my USCIS case taking so long

Heartbreaking Deportation of Connecticut Mother

The Trump Administration continues its senseless and arbitrary deportations of longtime members of our communities, of people who have contributed to our neighborhoods, our schools, our restaurants, our shops, and our diversity. The administration forgets, or likely refuses to admit, that our economy and our culture depends on people who are willing to work hard at jobs that are difficult or impossible to fill, whether those jobs are high-tech jobs or home-cleaning jobs. US workers should not be displaced, however the reality is that US workers are not able to fill some jobs, such as high-tech jobs or rural physician jobs, or are unwilling to take other jobs, such as low-paying, grueling jobs such as cleaning our homes.

Read the story at

I-751 Facing Lengthy Delays

In my practice, I represent many couples on removing conditions on residency, a requirement for conditional permanent residents who are married to US citizen less than two years at the time that they adjust status based on that marriage. To remove the conditions, clients must file Form I-751 with extensive supporting documents.

Currently, my clients are experiencing lengthy delays on their pending Forms I-751. Some of my clients face wait times of over one year, which is well over the published USCIS processing times for the form. The processing times are at:;jsessionid=bacXD1OC9RCyFagQNRyeu

If you need to file Form I-751, remember to file it BEFORE the expiration of the current green card. If not, your case becomes much more complicated and you risk facing removal proceedings in immigration court.

Please contact me at or 617-714-4375 if you would like to consult on your current pending I-751 or if you would like to discuss my representation on new cases relating to removal of conditions on residence.

Trump Cancels DAPA Plans

The current president’s Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, recently rescinded President Obama’s plan to extend protections to certain parents of US citizens and lawful permanent residents. See This change in policy is not a surprise. Instead it is another assault on immigrants who live long, lawful and productive lives in the United States of America and who are fundamental parts of our communities.

If you would like to discuss your current immigration status with an immigration attorney, please contact Attorney Ellen Sullivan at or 617-714-4375.


© Copyright 2014 Law Office of Ellen Sullivan, P.C. This website does not constitute a representation agreement with Attorney Sullivan or anyone else at the firm. The information on this website is not intended to, nor does it in fact, replace legal advice provided by an attorney in an attorney-client consultation. Please contact our office or another immigration attorney if you would like legal counsel. Sitemap