I recently went through the successful application to remove conditions on residence (I-751) with my wife, and found there were a few things I could have done better with my initial submission.
We unfortunately received (and responded to) an RFE (Request for Evidence) due to insufficient documentation for the petition. I had included standard items, like the last joint bank statements, marriage certificate, etc, but it wasn’t enough to prove a “bona fide” marriage.
Some tips I’d suggest for anyone looking to file this on their own:
- Consult a lawyer when preparing your filings. Yes, it will cost you $300-$600, but it can help you prevent mistakes at the onset.
- Draft up a cover letter detailing each piece of evidence, the time span it covers, across various categories
- Include any beneficiary information you have
- Your evidence should span the entire period of marriage–in my RFE I submitted information from just before our marriage date, quarterly, to the present
- Highlighting the petitioner’s name, spouse’s name, and dates on evidence will help your examiner work the case faster
- Include a couple affidavits; it’s easy to ask your friends/colleagues to draft one, and helpful.
Note: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, just my own personal experience.
For the past two days I’ve had the pleasure of serving my Jury summons at the New York Supreme Criminal Court at 111 Centre Street. I’ll skip to the end, and tell you that I was not selected to serve as a Juror. In fact, my ballot was never even pulled, so I was personally never questioned or cross examined.
I came into my jury duty thinking of the justice system as a sleek and powerful machine, but left feeling it’s just exhausted old men. The inefficiency of the jury selection mechanism is unrivaled by any other branch of government I’ve encountered to date–and I travel, obtained a greencard through the 9/11 transition, became an American citizen, hold passports in Canada and Finland, file my own taxes, and operate an LLC.
First, the courts’ operating hours are from approximately 9:30 to 4:30 with a 1 hour 30 minute lunch break and two mandated 15 minute breaks in the mid-morning/afternoon. That’s 5 hours of actual work in a day–who else do you know that works 30-hour weeks? Courts do not move particularly quickly, so the short working days are sorely felt.
Secondly, the jury-selection process includes many items that waste time. For example, jurors show up late to the court in the morning without penalty. On the second day, we were requested to arrive by the crackingly early time of 9:30 AM, but we didn’t get started on the roll call until after 10:00 AM due to late arrivals and the apathetic court staff. The first day we also started well after 10 AM due to a terrible educational video they played while the late arrivals straggled in. The process could be streamlined by assessing fines to no-shows, and drawing a line in the sand for the start time–the court can easily instruct potential jurors to arrive 30 minutes early to give enough time to clear security.
Thirdly, potential jurors should receive educational training in advance of their service date. The two judges easily spent 30 minutes each explaining basic concepts of law before they began to randomly draw jurors. Then, each juror was individually questioned about life experience, marital status, etc in a time consuming process that took about an hour per panel. Why not offload this to an e-learning/quiz online? Jurors could come into the courtroom with their responses already in front of the judges/lawyers to move into the deeper questioning period.
Finally, the right of the plaintiffs/defendants to excuse individual jurors should be limited. I watched entire panels of jurors excused arbitrarily, which makes a mockery of the right to a fair trial. In reality, the jury selection process is when the parties in the case attempt to select the jurors they feel will be most receptive to their arguments, violating the spirit of the law. While the ADAs and defense lawyers said that their goals were only to secure an “impartial jury”, they define an impartial jury as one which entirely aligns with their views.
This also wastes vast amounts of time.
Obama wasn’t content to rest up after his illegal assassination of Osama bin Laden back in May, this time stepping up his game to take out American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki with a predator drone / Hellfire missile in Yemen. The audacity of conducting public assassinations on the territory of sovereign nations aside, the New York Times picks right up on the issue of due process:
The strike appeared to be the first time in the American-led war on terrorism since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that an American citizen had been deliberately killed by American forces, a step that has raised contentious constitutional issues in the United States. It was also the second high-profile killing of an Al Qaeda leader in the past five months under the Obama administration[.]
The White House decision to make Mr. Awlaki a top priority to be hunted down and killed was controversial, given his American citizenship.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which fought unsuccessfully in the American court system to challenge the government’s legal justification for its so-called targeted killings program, which was used to take aim at Mr. Awlaki, condemned that program in reaction to the news of Mr. Awlaki’s death. “As we’ve seen today, this is a program under which American citizens far from any battlefield can be executed by their own government without judicial process, and on the basis of standards and evidence that are kept secret not just from the public but from the courts,” Jameel Jaffer, the A.C.L.U.’s deputy legal director, said in a statement.
For what it’s worth, Foreign Policy’s blog agrees that Anwar was a US citizen due an appropriate trial. The correct course of action would have been extradition from Yemen to the US for trial.