IMMIGRATION and Upcoming Changes, Jenn Nakhai from AEON Interviews Emmanuel Gonzalez, Esq.

In line with its efforts to amplify specific voices within the community, AEON counseling hosted Emmanuel Gonzalez, an immigration attorney resident in Lynn. AEON prioritizes the need to address issues such as racism, homophobia, transphobia, police brutality, and other forms of injustice or trauma.

AEON counseling also provides certain services such as cognitive-behavioral family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety, and a family therapy center.

Emmanuel Gonzalez remains a top attorney within the legal community, with most of his biggest cases revolving around the subject of immigration. He has been a resident of Lynn for over two decades, offering his services to those in need of representation on immigration matters.

Emmanuel takes pride in being able to help prospective citizens secure a future in a country they love. According to him, “I love doing what I’m what I do, making an impact on someone’s life. That’s a great thing for sure.”

A sizeable percentage of prospective citizens believe immigration attorneys to be after money, not the clients, which is a disturbing reality for the profession Gonzalez confirms.

Naturalization and Citizenship

Naturalization or citizenship has seen a couple of changes over the past couple of weeks. One such significant change includes changes to the citizenship test, which hasn’t been revised since 2008.

The initial test had only 100 civic questions about the history, constitution, the government, and President of the United States.

Of these questions, prospective citizens were expected to answer six questions out of ten questions taken from the original 100.

The revision has shifted the number of total questions provided to 128, requiring at least 12 correct answers from 20 questions selected from the original 128.

With these changes come several challenges, especially for individuals with learning disabilities. However, these challenges have always existed, and facilities such as form 648, which provide special accommodation for people with learning disabilities.

Another such facility that most people are unaware of is a special consideration known as 65:20. It allows people who have lived in the United States for up to 20 years and are 65 years of age to take the citizenship exam in any language of their choice.

Other changes coming to the fore include potential fee increments, especially concerning immigration court fees. These differences in these fees may be up to $1,000.

According to Emmanuel Gonzalez, the direct implication of this is that it will be almost impossible for some people to get an immigration attorney to defend their cases in an immigration court.

This was supposed to be in effect from October 1st, 2020. Thankfully, the federal judge put a hold on it, suggesting that it wasn’t exactly necessary to increase these fees.

The immigration service continues to suggest that these potential increments are due to the service’s inability to effectively work with its current budget allocations made up of funds acquired by the service. The immigration service is self-funded, thus the need to raise prices to meet up with its budgetary needs.

Breakdown on some of the proposed immigration increments

Here is a breakdown of the proposed new immigration fees.

Pardon: Old fee$630, proposed fee $960. (52%)

Removal of condition from a green card: Old fee: $595, proposed fee $760. (28%)

Naturalization: $640 (plus $85, for the fingerprints), proposed fee $1,170. (83%)

Emmanuel Gonzalez states that prospective citizens may be better off as permanent residents than citizens if they have a history dented by crime. According to Gonzalez, a case of marijuana can cost you citizenship even though it is legalized in certain States.

Other cases that may hamper your case include drug trafficking and sexual crimes. Thus, it is suggested that you contact a qualified immigration attorney (one with a license) to understand the immigration playing field better.

Psychological effects of immigration on couples

Couples often respond in different ways to the immigration process. Thus, it is advised that couples seek out couples therapy in a family counseling center during the immigration process. 

In many cases, there’s often a blame game, or a feeling of “being watched” or outright rejection from citizenship applicants. It is of utmost importance to engage the services of a marriage family therapist to mitigate the effects and anxiety that come with nervous racking immigration processes.

Importance of relationship therapists, and family counseling centers

Also, relationship therapists and family counseling centers are encouraged to work hand-in-hand with immigration attorneys. This relationship can foster a balanced transition for potential citizens as the process can negatively affect individuals, especially anxiety and depression if rejected.

Thankfully, AEON offers cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety, and cognitive-behavioral family therapy, among many other counseling and therapy solutions.

Emmanuel Gonzalez may be reached on (781)346-4874, or [email protected]