How can I apply for Asylum in the U.S?

What is an Asylum?

Did you come to the U.S for protection or for fear that you may suffer persecution? This issue happen more than people think! Typical issues include race, religion, nationality membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. If you have suffered from any of these, you may be eligible to apply for Asylum for permission to stay in the U.S!

What does it allow? Need more information, click here. 

  1. Permission to work in the U.S
  2. Allowing permission for family in the U.S
  3. Filing for Permanent resident card

(Find detailed information, clicking here. )

 

How can I apply for Asylum in the United States?

According to USCIS, there are two way to do it, either through the affirmative process or the defensive process.

 

Affirmative Asylum

In order to do this, you must already be in the U.S, regardless of how you arrived into the U.S or resident status.

 

You must apply for asylum within one year of the date of their last arrival in the United States, unless you can show:

  • Changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing
  • You filed within a reasonable amount of time given those circumstances.

 

What form do I need?

I-589, “Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.” Click here for form. 

What does this mean? 

Formally known as “Withholding of deportation,” this form is typically to withhold removal.

Who can apply?

  • If you are physically in the U.S
  • Not a U.S citizen

What is the process for an Affirmative Asylum?

USCIS says…

  1. Arrive in U.S
  2. Apply for the I-589 application
  3. Background Checks, Security checks, and finger printing
  4. Receive Interview notice
  5. Interview
  6. Wait for Asylum officer to approve/deny case
  7. Receive decision

Still confused? Read more here.

Be aware that if your case is not approved, you will be issued a Form I-862 to conduct a review and hearing by a judge (Executive Office for Immigration Review), instead of USCIS.

Defensive Asylum

“A defensive application for asylum occurs when you request asylum as a defense against removal from the U.S. For asylum processing to be defensive, you must be in removal proceedings in immigration court with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).” -USCIS

Also, is processed in two ways…

  1. Individuals were considered ineligible for the affirmative asylum process
  2. Individuals were placed in removal after being caught at entry of port or trying to enter the U.S without legal documentation.

Judge with then decide whether they are eligible for defensive asylum..

 

We strongly recommend you seek professional help to go through the process of applying for Asylum. Immigration attorney Sean Lewis has a vast experience in Asylum cases and will fight for you!


Citations:

https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum

https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum/affirmative-asylum-process

Image from: https://yazdanlaw.com/how-long-will-an-asylum-application-take/


 

How do I get a Fiancé Visa?

HIRING AN EXPERIENCED FIANCÉ VISA ATTORNEY MEANS YOUR CASE WILL RUN SMOOTHER!

So you want a Fiancé Visa?

Found love in a different place? We get it, it happens! Now, what should you do? Well, here’s what you need to know…

What is a Fiancé Visa?

A fiancé visa allows you to file a I-129F, allowing you, an U.S citizen, permission to bring over your foreign fiancé in order to get married.

Who is eligible?

  1. U.S citizens. Only citizens may be able to apply for their Fiancé visa (if you need information on how to become a U.S Citizen, click here)
  2. After admission into the U.S, couple must intend to marry within 90 days of arrival.
  3. All previous marriages from both side must be legally terminated and both individuals must be free to marry.
  4. Within two years of filing application, both U.S citizen and fiancé have met at least once.

What’s the cost?

Cost varies depending on different cases, consult with Sean Lewis before sending in your application.

Fees:

According to travel.state.gov, fees include…

    • Filing an Alien Fiancé(e) Petition, Form I-129F
    • Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, Form DS-160 (required for each K visa applicant)
    • Medical examination (required for each K visa applicant; costs vary from post to post)
    • Other costs may include translation and photocopying charges, fees for getting the documents required for the visa application (such as passport, police certificates, birth certificates, etc.), and travel expenses to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an interview. Costs vary from country to country and case to case.
    • Filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status

What’s the application process? Need more information? Click here. 

Basic steps include:

  1. Filing a I-129F to petition fiance
  2. Applying for Visa Application
  3. Inspection at a Port of Entry
  4. Marriage
  5. Status Change – Permanent Residency

How do I learn about getting a Social Security card?

Click here.

What’s the timeline?

Although everyone wants to know an exact timeline, there isn’t. The process varies case to case. Not to mention, how correct the paperwork and forms are filled out. Process can take longer if a form is missing or filled out incorrectly, therefore, in order to ensure a quicker process, consult with Sean Lewis.

What comes after permanent residence?

On a “regular basis” there are requirements that allow for naturalization…

What are those requirements?

According to USCIS…

  1. Continuous residence: Live in the United States as a permanent resident for a specific amount of time.
  2. Physical presence: Show that you have been physically present in the United States for specific time periods.
  3. Time in state or USCIS district: Show that you have lived in your state or USCIS district for a specific amount of time.
  4. Good moral character: Show that you have behaved in a legal and acceptable manner.
  5. English and civics: Know basic English and information about U.S. history and government.
  6. Attachment to the Constitution: Understand and accept the principles of the U.S. Constitution.

 

Want to read more about this? Check out this PDF, page 101.


Citations:

https://www.uscis.gov/family/family-us-citizens/fiancee-visa/visas-fiancees-us-citizens

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/family-immigration/nonimmigrant-visa-for-a-fiance-k-1.html#10

In need of an Artist Visa?

Are you an aspiring musician wishing to play in the United States?

Sean Lewis, a musician himself, knows the importance in music and would love to help fulfill your dream here.

Sean Lewis started his life as a musician at the age of 17 and has played in bands, most famous: London – D’Priest 

 

 

So you want a artist visa? Let’s begin with..

 

 

 

 

 

What is an artist visa?

Individuals with “Extraordinary Ability or Achievement” that are nonimmigrant. It’s okay if you aren’t Beyonce and don’t have 22 awards or 63 nominations from Grammy awards. Thankfully, you can still apply for an artist visa with any international or national achievements you may have.  

Who is eligible? See more here.

  1. O-1A: individuals who have extraordinary talent in athletics, business, or education (excluding arts).
  2. O-1B: Including arts like motion pictures or in the television industry, individuals with extraordinary talent or achievements.
  3. O-2: Individuals helping O-1A/B. Must prove that they are essential in individuals event or performance.
  4. O-3: Spouses of O-1A/B and O-2.

What’s the cost?

Cost may vary. Make sure to first consult with Sean Lewis to as many fees can apply with processing.

What is the application process?

For O-1’s:

  1. Petition to file form I-129, “Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker”
  2. Provide evidence including:
    1. Consultation
    2. Contract between the beneficiary and petitioner
    3. Itineraries (Must begin 1 year before said event)
    4. Any involving agents

What’s the timeline?

Process can vary from 10 days to 6 months depending on the approval of application. If limited in time, individual can expedite and pay fee to fast track the application. 

How long can I stay? Can I extend it if need be?

Typically can be up to 3 years. Yes, but must go through similar documentation as before with a statement explaining the extension.


If you interested in learning more, contact us at 615-226-4236 for more information!

Want to read more about artist visas? Click here.

La imposición de inmigración tiene estudiantes temerosos y deprimidos

Las escuelas no son seguras de las consecuencias generadas por la imposición de inmigración de la administración de Trump, una revisión de UCLA encuentra.

En este artículo interesante, habla de la lucha de niños inmigrantes aquí en los EE. UU. ¡Lea sobre ello! Si tienen problemas similares, no dude en llamarnos!

Por: Suzanne Gamboa 

WASHINGTON — Los profesores y los educadores a través del país dicen que la postura estricta del presidente Donald Trump de la inmigración ha creado el miedo palpable en el aula, con estudiantes clases ausentes, dejando notas bajar y exponiendo problemas de conducta y emocionales entre el miedo de perder a la familia a la deportación.

Las conclusiones estaban contenidas en un informe lanzado el miércoles por el Proyecto de Derechos civiles en la Universidad de California, Los Ángeles, que contempló más de 730 escuelas en 24 distritos en 12 estados sobre el impacto de las medidas de imposición de inmigración de la administración en enseñanza y aprendizaje.

Los investigadores encontraron que el 64 por ciento de los 5,400 profesores, administradores y otro personal escolar que respondió dijo que habían vigilado a estudiantes que estaban preocupados por cuestiones de inmigración que pueden afectar ellos, sus familias o la gente que conocen.

“Tenemos una estudiante que había intentado cortar sus muñecas porque su familia ha sido separada y quiere estar con su madre”, un profesor de Maryland dijo a investigadores, que prometieron el anonimato a demandados. “Literalmente no quiso vivir sin su madre”.

Otro profesor contó de verificar a un estudiante que no comía o hablaba. Los amigos de la muchacha dijeron que había venido a casa de la fiesta de promoción “para encontrar a su mamá deportada y nunca tenía la posibilidad de decir adiós o algo”, según el informe.

El informe nota que el 88 por ciento — casi nueve en diez — niños estadounidenses con al menos un padre inmigrante es ciudadanos americanos. Para niños con menos de 5, la parte se acerca al 94 por ciento, según la investigación por el Instituto de la política de Migración.

Patricia Gándara, co-director de el proyecto de Derechos civiles, dijo que los investigadores comenzaron la revisión después de tener noticias cada vez más el personal escolar sobre problemas en escuelas que provienen de conversación de la administración y acción en la inmigración.

Las escuelas más afectadas luchan ya con huecos de logro y a menudo son el más pobre, según la revisión. Aunque no fueran apuntados, el 82 por ciento de los demandados tiene que ver con escuelas del Título 1 — aquellos con números altos o partes de niños pobres.

“Las escuelas que son las más vulnerables en este país también son estos golpeados con fuerza con las consecuencias involuntarias de esta imposición de inmigración”, dijo Gándara, “y hasta que hagamos algo sobre esto, aquellas escuelas van a seguir sufriendo”.

Las escuelas en el Sur fueron más afectadas. Más de un de siete educadores en el Sur y cada octavo en escala nacional, relató que el aprendizaje de los estudiantes fue considerablemente afectado debido a su preocupación por los que compañeros de clase son deportados.

“Esto afecta a cada uno”, dijo Gándara. “Otros niños en el aula, en la escuela, éstos son sus amigos, y sus compañeros de clase andan en el aula y ven a sillas vacías”.

Justin Minkel, que era el Profesor de Arkansas del Año en 2007 y enseña a los primeros estudiantes, dijo que todos sus estudiantes son inmigrantes, con unos documentados y unos no. Aproximadamente el 99 por ciento de estudiantes en su escuela es pobre, dijo.

“Hay muchos casos angustiosos”, dijo. 

Uno de sus estudiantes este año es 6 y su madre no puede conseguir la asistencia médica porque no está aquí legalmente. Sus riñones fallan. Lucha diariamente con si volver a México para conseguir el cuidado y arriesgar de ser capaz de volver a su hijo.

Los estudiantes sienten el efecto de la retórica presidencial en inmigrantes a un nivel “visceral”, dijo. Un estudiante joven encontró el llanto pronto después de la elección de Trump le dijo que ella y su mamá tendrían que poner sus cosas en un bolso esa noche por si fueran obligados a irse.

“Yo siempre la clase de cree que nuestro trabajo es ayudar a niños a vivir las vidas sueñan. Va hasta ahora más allá de enseñanza, lectura y escritura y matemáticas. Los hace sentirse seguros”, dijo Minkel. “Hay un verdadero sentimiento de no ser seguro”.

Dijo que el superintendente escolar ha sido soportante y ha dicho al personal del distrito que donde los niños vienen de no importa, porque “una vez que anden a través de la puerta son nuestros hijos”.

Lupita Ley Hightower, la superintendente en el Distrito de la Escuela primaria de Tolleson en Tolleson, Arizona, dijo que los profesores a menudo la llaman sobre cómo consolar o aconsejar a estudiantes “en la crisis” sobre la inmigración porque era una vez indocumentada ella misma.

Dijo que su escuela tiene varios programas para ayudar a aliviar miedos, incluso el funcionamiento con padres para proporcionar la información sobre sus derechos, unión de estudiantes vistos como preocupada o reducida con un “adulto humanitario individual”, profesores de formación y niños alentadores “al viaje en el tiempo” para verse en el alcance de sus futuros sueños. Dijo que se refieren a sus niños como niños en la esperanza, más bien que niños en peligro. 

Su distrito escolar es más con experiencia en relación con los efectos de medidas enérgicas de inmigración que han experimentado al ex sheriff del condado de Maricopa Joe Arpaio y SB1070, una ley que el estado pasó lo que ensanchó los poderes de imposición de inmigración de los funcionarios locales.

“Realmente tratamos de crear la atmósfera más segura en la escuela para padres y la comunidad”, dijo Hightower

Dan Domenech, el director ejecutivo de AASA, la Asociación de Superintendentes Escolar, dijo que las consecuencias de imposición de inmigración están siendo levantadas en reuniones de la asociación.

Los niños vienen a la escuela en rasgones, se preocupó que sus padres sean llevados y que los oficiales de inmigración van a entrar en la escuela y detenerlos, Domenech dijo. Los niños también tratan con el contragolpe de otros estudiantes que se burlan de ellos, dijo, como el canto “construyen la pared”, que a menudo era oída en reuniones de campaña de Trump y discursos.

“La atmósfera en la escuela es seguramente afectada y cobrada”, dijo Domenech.

“Los estudiantes están siendo muy afectados por esto. Viven en el miedo”.

Esto añade a la letanía de educadores de cuestiones tratan con, incluso disparos escolares y ansiedad sobre la pérdida de la asistencia médica. Aunque el Congreso finalmente financiara el Programa de Seguro médico de Niños o VIRUTA, las reducciones potenciales a la financiación de la Asistencia médica han hecho correr a $4 mil millones en la financiación para la educación especial en el peligro, Domenech dijo.

Lily Eskelsen García, la presidenta de la Asociación de la Educación Nacional, dijo en la conferencia de prensa del miércoles que un profesor del segundo grado de Colorado buscó su consejo a explicar el comportamiento de uno de sus estudiantes a sus compañeros de clase. 

“Dijo que uno de mis estudiantes viene a la escuela cada día – esto es un estudiante del jardín de infancia – con lo que llama ‘todas mis cosas especiales por si vengan para conseguirme’. Dijo ‘¿Cómo explico a otro kindergartners de qué tiene miedo?'”

Añadió más tarde, “Por primera vez en la historia, los niños de nuestro país tienen miedo de nuestro presidente… es por qué dan vuelta a nosotros, es por qué dan vuelta a sus profesores, a alguien en que pueden confiar”, dijo.

Gándara dijo que la revisión encontrada a profesores, consejeros y administradores también siente la tensión y la ansiedad debido a de qué sus estudiantes afrontan y la atmósfera en la cual tratan de educar.

Muchos demandados dijeron que tenían estudiantes con miembros de familia que habían sido deportados y las deportaciones eran conocidas a la clase entera y comunidad, que reforzó miedos sobre la propia seguridad de los estudiantes o de sus amigos.

Los educadores también dijeron que un o ambos padres de algunos estudiantes han sido deportados o perdieron un trabajo debido a su estatus migratorio, haciendo cosas aún peores para algunos estudiantes. 

“Quiero decirles que las cosas estarán bien, para hacerlos sentirse mejores, pero sé que no puedo decir sinceramente esto”, dijo un profesor en la revisión. “Las cosas pueden no estar bien”.

Las conclusiones adicionales de la revisión incluyen:

  • El ochenta por ciento de demandados dijo que habían visto problemas behaviorísticos o emocionales en estudiantes a consecuencia de la imposición de inmigración elevada. Los problemas eran por lo general descritos como el llanto, la incapacidad para hablar, ser distraída o sentimiento redujo.
  • Una clara mayoría (57,4 por ciento) de los encuestados dijeron que están viendo un aumento del absentismo, lo cual puede afectar el financiamiento de la escuela. Los encuestados informaron estudiantes escondidos durante días mientras que las noticias de ataques distribuidos. Por ausentarse de la escuela, algunos niños pierda la única comida que pueden conseguir ese día.
  • Más del 60 por ciento de demandados relató alguna decadencia en el aprovechamiento académico en estudiantes, aunque también relataran la resistencia notable a pesar de las circunstancias. Los profesores relataron la vista de la plomada de grados entre estudiantes que habían sido cumplidores altos o habían estado trabajando hacia el colegio.
  • Los estudiantes van a trabajar para ayudar a apoyar a familias o tomar los deberes de un padre ausente. Por ejemplo, una profesora del cuarto grado en el Nordeste dijo a investigadores que su estudiante “me dijo que su mamá la enseña cómo hacer la comida y alimentar a su hermanita por si la mamá sea llevada”.
  • Más del 85 por ciento de profesores y administradores hizo un informe aumentado de su propia ansiedad y tensión sobre por qué sus estudiantes pasan. También relataron un sentido de impotencia. Un administrador de la escuela primaria dijo a los investigadores que se encontró “estando sin poder dormir por la noche si debería ofrecer tomar la custodia temporal de un niño o niños en caso de que sus padres sean deportados de improviso, y esto es emocionalmente agotador de un completamente nuevo modo”.

**LAW OFFICE OF SEAN LEWIS DOES NOT OWN THIS ARTICLE; UPLOADED/TRANSLATED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES**  Special thanks to Suzanne Gamboa!

Immigration Enforcement Has Students Fearful and Depressed

Schools are not safe from the fallout generated by the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement, a UCLA survey finds.

By Suzanne Gamboa / 

NBCNEWS.COM

 WASHINGTON — Teachers and educators across the country say President Donald Trump’s strict stance on immigration has created palpable fear in the classroom, with students missing classes, letting grades slip and exhibiting emotional and behavioral problems amid fear of losing family to deportation.

The findings were contained in a report released Wednesday by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, which surveyed more than 730 schools in 24 districts in 12 states about the impact of the administration’s immigration enforcement measures on teaching and learning.

Researchers found that 64 percent of the 5,400 teachers, administrators and other school personnel who responded said they had observed students who were concerned about immigration issues that may affect them, their families or people they know.

“We have one student who had attempted to slit her wrists because her family has been separated and she wants to be with her mother,” one Maryland teacher told researchers, who promised anonymity to respondents. “She literally didn’t want to live without her mother.”

Another teacher told of checking up on a student who was not eating or talking. The girl’s friends said she had come home from the prom “to find her mom deported and never had the chance to say goodbye or anything,” according to the report.

Experts elaborated on the findings of the research in a news conference on Wednesday.

 The report notes that 88 percent — almost nine in ten — U.S. children with at least one immigrant parent are American citizens. For children under 5, the share goes up to 94 percent, according to research by the Migration Policy Institute.

Patricia Gándara, co-director of Civil Rights Project, said researchers started the survey after increasingly hearing from school personnel about problems in schools stemming from the administration’s talk and action on immigration.

The hardest-hit schools are already struggling with achievement gaps and often are the poorest, according to the survey. Although they weren’t targeted, 82 percent of the respondents are associated with Title 1 schools — those with high numbers or shares of poor children.

“The schools that are the most vulnerable in this country are also the ones being hit hard with the unintended consequences of this immigration enforcement,” Gándara said, “and until we do something about that, those schools are going to continue to suffer.”

Schools in the South were most affected. More than one of seven educators in the South and one in eight nationally, reported that students’ learning was significantly affected because of their concern over classmates’ being deported.

“This is affecting everybody,” Gándara said. “Other kids in the classroom, in the school, these are their friends, and their classmates are walking into the classroom and seeing empty chairs.”

Justin Minkel, who was Arkansas Teacher of the Year in 2007 and teaches first-graders, said all of his students are immigrants, with some documented and some not. About 99 percent of students in his school are poor, he said.

“There are a lot of heartbreaking cases,” he said.

One of his students this year is 6 and his mother can’t get health care because she is not here legally. Her kidneys are failing. She struggles daily with whether to go back to Mexico to get care and risk being able to return to her child.

Students feel the effect of the president’s rhetoric on immigrants at a “visceral” level, he said. One young student he found crying soon after Trump’s election told him she and her mom would have to put their things in a bag that night in case they were forced to leave.

“I always kind of think our job is to help kids live the lives they dream. It goes so far beyond teaching, reading and writing and math. It’s making them feel safe,” Minkel said. “There is a real feeling of not being safe.”

He said the school superintendent has been supportive and has told the district personnel that where the children come from doesn’t matter, because “once they walk through the door they are our children.”

Lupita Ley Hightower, superintendent at Tolleson Elementary School District in Tolleson, Arizona, said teachers often call her about how to console or counsel students “in crisis” over immigration because she was once undocumented herself.

She said her school has a number of programs to help ease fears, including working with parents to provide information about their rights, connecting students seen as anxious or depressed with an individual “caring adult,” training teachers and encouraging children to “time travel” to see themselves in reaching their future dreams. She said they refer to their children as kids at hope, rather than kids at risk.

Her school district is more experienced in dealing with the effects of immigration crackdowns having experienced former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and SB1070, a law the state passed that widened local officials’ immigration enforcement powers.

“We really try to create the safest atmosphere in school for parents and the community,” Hightower said.

 

 In this Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, photo released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, foreign nationals are arrested during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Los Angeles. (Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP) Charles Reed / AP

Dan Domenech, executive director of AASA, the School Superintendents Association, said the immigration enforcement fallout is being raised at association meetings.

Children come to school in tears, worried that their parents will be taken away and that immigration officers are going to come into the school and arrest them, Domenech said. Children are also dealing with backlash from other students who taunt them, he said, such as chanting “build the wall,” which was often heard at Trump’s campaign rallies and speeches.

“The atmosphere in school is certainly affected and charged,” Domenech said. “Students are very much being impacted by this. They live in fear.”

That adds to the litany of issues educators are dealing with, including school shootings and anxiety over loss of health care. Although Congress eventually funded the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, potential cuts to Medicare funding have put about $4 billion in funding for special education in jeopardy, Domenech said.

Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, said at Wednesday’s news conference that a second grade teacher from Colorado sought her advice on explaining the behavior of one of her students to his classmates.

“She said one of my students comes to school every day – this is a kindergarten student – with what he calls ‘all my special things in case they come to get me.’ She said ‘How do I explain to the other kindergartners what he is afraid of?'”

She added later, “For the first time in history, the children of our country are afraid of our president … it’s why they are turning to us, it’s why they are turning to their teachers, to someone they can trust,” she said.

Gándara said the survey found teachers, counselors and administrators are also feeling stress and anxiety because of what their students are facing and the atmosphere they’re trying to educate in.

Many respondents said they had students with family members who had been deported and the deportations were known to the entire class and community, which reinforced fears about students’ own safety or of their friends.

Educators also said one or both parents of some students have been deported or lost a job because of their immigration status, making things even worse for some students.

“I want to tell them things will be all right, to make them feel better, but I know I cannot truthfully say this,” one teacher said in the survey. “Things may not be all right.”

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Eighty percent of respondents said they had seen behavioral or emotional problems in students as a result of stepped-up immigration enforcement. The problems were usually described as crying, being unable to speak, being distracted or feeling depressed.
  • A clear majority (57.4 percent) of respondents said they are seeing increased absenteeism, which can affect school funding. Respondents reported students hiding for days while news of raids circulated. By skipping school, some children miss the only meal they may get that day.
  • More than 60 percent of respondents reported some decline in academic performance in students, although they also reported notable resilience in spite of the circumstances. Teachers reported seeing grades plummet among students who had been high achievers or had been working toward college.
  • Students are going to work to help support families or take on a missing parent’s duties. For example, one fourth-grade teacher in the Northeast told researchers that her student “told me that her mom is teaching her how to make food and feed her baby sister in case the mom is taken away.”
  • More than 85 percent of teachers and administrators reported increased of their own anxiety and stress over what their students’ are going through. They also reported a sense of helplessness. One elementary school administrator told the researchers he found himself “lying awake at night over whether I should offer to take temporary custody of a child or children in the event that their parents are deported unexpectedly, and that is emotionally exhausting in an entirely new way. 

**LAW OFFICE OF SEAN LEWIS DOES NOT OWN THIS ARTICLE; UPLOADED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES** Special thanks to Suzanne Gamboa!