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By admin, LLC on March 6, 2014
Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder is pushing hard for Washington lawmakers to get moving on immigration reform, and he has a personal reason for doing it. Snyder is in the midst of crafting a strategy that he sees as the future of the hard-hit city of Detroit, and it relies heavily on the ability of legal immigrants to get work visas. That’s why he’s lobbying Congress so hard. But in the meantime he’s going ahead with his own plans, marketing Detroit as a golden opportunity for engineers, I.T. professionals, health care workers and more to come and be a part of the city’s rebirth.
Snyder sees immigrants as job creators that will boost Detroit’s economy, so he’s got a proposal in to his own state legislators to create incentives that will bring 50,000 immigrants in to the city. He has created a visa program for those who have advanced degrees or abilities in business, arts and the sciences with the idea that they can create a sort of Renaissance environment that will attract even more talent. Combining the influx of creative thinkers with the city’s other efforts in the areas of technology, manufacturing and the arts is the governor’s master plan.
Though many are praising Governor Snyder’s ideas, some are less enthusiastic, pointing out that the visa offer is only geared towards those in elite positions and that it leaves behind those who don’t have the same skills, but those points are countered by advocates who say that the innovation that is brought to the city will create new jobs for all. And there is already talk that Snyder’s idea may spread, with advocates proposing that other states could also join in, creating competition for highly skilled immigrants that could contribute to more widespread economic revivals across the country.
By admin, LLC on February 27, 2014
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) announced in 2012 fell short of the Dream Act that most immigrants were hoping for, but still offers the chance for a two-year deferral on deportation action to those young people who have signed up for its protections. Still, when it came into being there was a flurry of activity by hundreds of thousands of young people who were eager to take advantage of what it offered. Since that time, however, the number of people signing up has slowed to nearly nothing, and immigration advocates are growing increasingly frustrated.
Despite the fact that as many as 1.1 million people are estimated to be eligible for DACA, but only about half of that number has signed up. There are a number of reasons being offered for the dramatic slow down. One of the top reasons is that people don’t have a full understanding of who is eligible. Parents think that their children are too young to apply or that because they didn’t got to college they are ineligible. Another reason that is being offered is cultural stigmas about being undocumented.
The largest group of DACA-eligible people are from Mexico, and they represent the majority of those whose applications have already been received. But immigrants who have brought their children from Asian countries are less likely to acknowledge their own status, with only 9 percent of eligible Chinese having applied and 16 percent of eligible Filipinos. The embarrassment of admitting to being undocumented also looms large in Korean, Vietnamese and Thai communities. Advocates are trying to overcome this by providing hotlines and informational youtube videos to try to spread the word.
Finally, there are concerns that by registering for DACA families will call attention to themselves and actually be more vulnerable to actions by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Advocates are trying to assure the fearful that the agencies do not share information, but it’s a hard sell.
By admin, LLC on February 20, 2014
A settlement has been reached in a San Francisco case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The case had involved over a dozen immigrants who had been restrained during court appearances for extended periods of time, despite the fact that none of them were accused of offenses that were violent.
The suit was filed to specifically address the immigrants’ due process rights, stating that forcing detainees to wear wrist, ankle and waist chains was a violation of their civil rights. According to ACLU attorney Julia Harumi Mass, “People seeking justice who pose no threat to security should not be weighed down by the humiliation and physical pain of being chained like a dangerous animal.”
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2011 and has been under litigation for over two years. The ACLU was assisted in their filing by the law firm Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich and Rosati and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. The settlement came after the ICE agreed to stop the practice with the exception of allowing for restraints to be used in specific situations, including courtroom emergencies and in master calendar hearings in which large numbers of detainees are present for short periods. Even in these situations, the ICE has agreed to completely discontinue the use of “daisy chaining” which strung immigrants together in the same manner as was once done with chain gangs.
According to a statement, the ICE indicated that the settlement would enable them to provide enough security in the courtroom without violating the detainees due process rights. They stressed that they have an obligation to both public safety and the rights of those in their custody, and that they had, “worked with plaintiffs to arrive at an agreement which affords the agency the flexibility to do both.” The agreement has already received judicial approval and will go into effect in April. It is unclear whether there will be carryover into other immigration courts across the country.
By admin, LLC on February 10, 2014
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA for short, is an immigration policy implemented in August 2012. Several key components attempt to balance the limited resources of law enforcement and the concerns regarding the status of people who are in the country outside the legal immigration process. The policy addresses those between the ages of 15 and 31 without legal status who arrived in the US as minor children. It does not apply to those over 31, but those under the age of 15 who are presently in the deportation process can apply.
What are the requirements?
According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the individual must:
What is the purpose?
Due to the high volume of immigrants without lawful status either through entering outside the system or legal status expiring, the resources of Immigration Services and Homeland Security are not enough to address the whole of the population. DACA prioritizes the resources of law enforcement to focus on national security and public safety threats. It also defers dealing with the unlawful immigrant population that arrived prior to the age of consent and accountability until Congress addresses the public concerns in this area with legislation.
What happens if a request for DACA is approved?
Approval of a DACA application results in exactly what the title says, a deferral of deportation action for two years. It does not grant lawful status to the recipient. It does however grant a work permit that also serves to give the recipient access to normal economic activity such as jobs, checking accounts, credit cards and a valid driver’s license. At the end of the two years, the applicant may reapply for a two-year extension.
Opponents of DACA claim the program creates a path to citizenship and amnesty, circumventing current legislation (Vaughan). The policy itself clearly does not do this. However, proponents of the policy openly admit that they view this program as a first step toward comprehensive immigration reform that would include amnesty and a path to citizenship. They recommend ways for DACA recipients to get involved with promoting comprehensive immigration reform legislation that includes a path to citizenship. (Curran & Burger LLP)
Overall, DACA is a small piece of the immigration debate, but serves as a starting point for the conversation on immigration policy going forward. This is an important area of public policy debate and all sides deserve serious, fact-based attention.
By admin, LLC on February 3, 2014
The United States Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994, taking an important step for many noncitizens who found themselves in an abusive relationship involving a United States citizen or permanent resident. These noncitizens are recognized as being an especially vulnerable group due to their fear of deportation as a result of their citizenship status. This deep unease of bring attention to their presence and plight often leads to victims of domestic violence to remain silent. The silence concerning domestic violence created a vacuum in which many victims were left without recourse and allowed an abuser to go without punishment.
VAWA allows noncitizens to seek an immigration status without involving or informing the abuser, though it does require substantial evidence to establish a pattern of abuse being suffered. The petition requires that the individual also establish the nature of the relationship with the abuser.
How is Abuse Defined?
Abuse under the Violence Against Women Act includes:
It is not necessary for the victim to have a police report or have contacted the authorities in any way to provide the necessary evidence to establish an abusive relationship.
Who Qualifies As a Petitioner Under VAWA?
to be a qualifying self-petitioner the individual must establish that they are:
The guidelines further indicate that the abuse must have taken place within the United States, and the victim must have lived within the same residence.
Once these basic requirements are satisfied, the immigrant may be granted a “prima facie” determination which then makes them eligible for public benefits. In these cases the threat of deportation is also removed and they may be granted work authorizations as well.
Amendments in 2000
November 2000 saw changes to the original securities provided under the Violence Against Women Act.
2000 found law makers including additional circumstances such as immigrants who lost their status as a direct result of domestic violence; those who left their marriage as a result of abuse; the abuser died or was a bigamist.
These changes included the creation of a “U” Visa established for the sole purpose of aiding those individuals who qualify under the VAWA. It addresses the immediate needs of those individuals who can provide compelling evidence to law enforcement of their abuse or involuntary servitude.
It also provides those immigrants granted asylum under VAWA to apply for naturalization in three years rather than the standard five years. There is also a special provision which is extended to those who qualify under VAWA which does not eliminate physical residence time after being contacted by the USCIS; disregards time spent outside the United States if due to domestic violence; and removes moral character questions when related to domestic abuse situations.
These are all fantastic steps forward in the protection of women’s rights, however, there is a strong concern for an already overwhelmed public assistance program and greater competition for jobs by opening these doors in such a magnanimous manner. It also highlights the frozen plight of US citizens who are still combating their own recourse when facing domestic violence.
By admin, LLC on December 30, 2013
New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, has claimed that he will sign a bill passed by the state legislature that will allow illegal immigrant students living in NJ to pay in-state tuition. This will make New Jersey the sixteenth state to allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state rates. Is Chicago next?
“The most important thing is for these young men and women of our state, who we have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in their K-12 education, we’re now going to give them an opportunity in an affordable way to be able to continue their education”-Christie.
As long as a student has attended a high school in New Jersey for three consecutive years they will be applicable for the in-state tuition rates. Other states that are in the same boat as New Jersey include Colorado, California, Oregon, Texas, New York, Washington and others. These fifteen other states have laws permitting undocumented students to pay in-state tuition as long as they’ve graduated from primary or secondary schools in the state. Read the rest of the article online and see what is in store for New Jersey. What states do you think will be next?
By admin, LLC on December 27, 2013
One Latino immigrant, Armando Sanchez, has had his green card for over two decades, works and lives in the U.S. and travels back to Mexico twice a year to see his kids. For him, becoming a citizen is not a main priority and as long as he won’t be getting deported he is fine with the way his life is now. Immigrants like Sanchez feel the same way; that as long as they can live and work legally without fear of deportations then everything is perfectly okay.
This upcoming year the House of Representative are expected to take up immigration bills including one that may provide the legal right to live and work in the U.S. Not all immigrants want be citizens; many are like Sanchez and see the ability to work here as a huge benefit. Some advocacy and union groups claim that failing to get citizenship means immigrants live ‘second-class’ lives. Without full citizenship they might be able to live and work in the U.S., but they won’t necessarily have the same rights as actual citizens. To learn more about Sanchez and others like him check out the article online.
By admin, LLC on December 24, 2013
Deferred Action for Young Immigrants, DACA, is a relatively new law that was created in 2012 to protect the status of young immigrants within the US who were yet to receive legal status. This law protects eligible young immigrants who have been brought to the US as children against deportation. It also allows them to obtain a work permit to work in the US.
There are many uncertainties that still remain with this law. There are also various issues that are still unclear. However, with the assistance of a lawyer who can clearly interpret the law, young immigrants can determine whether they qualify for the benefits this law provides.
In general, for a young immigrant to qualify to apply for deferred action status, they must fulfill all of the following requirements:
If you meet all of the above requirements you should contact a lawyer for assistance in making your application and get the process started as soon as possible. You will need evidence to show that you meet all the requirements above. This should be in the form of documents including:
These and any other documents that will prove your presence in the US for the period that you have indicated in your application will be acceptable.
It is important to note that you can still submit an application even if the immigration authorities have started deportation proceedings against you. However, the proceedings for your application will be treated differently from other applications. You will definitely need a lawyer for this as you will probably have to have legal representation before a judge to ensure that you are not deported and the merits of your application are properly considered.
Although the policy was enacted in 2012, it is still considered to be new and untested. There is therefore a lot of room for interpretation.
Richard Garner is a lay advocate who volunteers his time to helping immigrants obtain citizenship and other benefits afforded to them in the United States.
By admin, LLC on December 23, 2013
Not just one but seven students are suing the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia for the right to be able to pay in-state tuition rates. These seven students were allowed to stay and work in the U.S. for two years under an order issued by Secretary of Homeland Security in 2012. Ramiro Vazquez, the main student featured in this article, has lived in Charlottesville since he was ten years old and is attending a Community College in Virginia. However, he pays more per credit hour than other students because he’s considered an ‘out-of-state’ student.
To be considered a resident in Virginia one must live there for at least twelve months prior to enrollment and have all intentions to remain there. “Tim Freilich, legal director of the Immigrant Advocacy Program, part of the Charlottesville-based Legal Aid Justice Center, said the students should qualify as in-state students. Most of them have lived in Virginia for years, he said, and most intend to stay. He points out that immigrants applying for asylum are eligible for in-state tuition.” They should be able to renew their status after the two years are up; therefore, still being able to work, go to school, get driver’s licenses, get social security numbers and more.
The rules vary from each state and each school and Virginia isn’t the only one who is struggling with this issue. The main argument is that they live in the United States so does that mean they’ve lived in Virginia long enough to be accounted for in-state tuition? Read the rest of the article online. What do you think these students should be granted?
By admin, LLC on December 20, 2013
Most people have heard of the infamous ‘green card’ but that doesn’t necessarily mean they know what it is or how it works. This article provides an in depth look at what a green card really means.
Before making the move from a native country to the United States one must obtain a green card, which allows them to work and make a living. The main purpose is that it’s proof provided to an immigrant explaining to employers that they are within the boarders legally. Without a green card there are very strict criteria for working in the U.S. so essentially it just makes things a lot easier by having one. The green card is also mainly used for proof of identity and proof that the individual has permission to live and work in the country.
The majority of people who are coming into the U.S. from another country will usually need the security of a green card and although the process to get one is tedious, it is necessary to make a life in the United States. Learn more about the green card here and contact an immigration attorney today for any questions or concerns.