Immigration Law Blog

 

The Traumatizing Effects of Immigrant Detention Centers

Immigration detention centers are often used in the United States to hold immigrants whose status is unknown or court dates are pending. Unfortunately, many reports details these detention centers as places that are not only uncomfortable, but downright traumatizing. If you or a family member is being held in a detention center and need legal help, the immigration attorneys at the Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C. can help.

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An Overview of the Different Types of Immigrant Visas

If you are an individual who is hoping to apply and be approved for a U.S. immigrant visa, it is important that you understand the multiple types of visas that are available, and which one you may qualify for. For help filing your visa application in an accurate and proficient manner, an immigration attorney is key.

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New Bill Proposed in Massachusetts Offers State Protections from Federal Requests

Illegal immigration activists in Massachusetts are at it again. This time, activists are pressing lawmakers in the state to pass a bill that would limit the authority that federal laws regarding detention requests have over local and state police officers. Specifically, the bill would bar Massachusetts’ police officers from legally being allowed to arrest an undocumented person once that person has been discharged from local custody. The bill would be considered a will for undocumented immigrants in the state, especially in light of anti-immigrant policies present throughout the rest of the country.

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What Do Americans Think About Illegal Immigration?

More than perhaps ever before in U.S. history, illegal immigration has become a hot—and highly controversial—topic. And with the presidential election quickly approaching, it seems as though everyone wants a piece of the illegal immigration opinion pie. Which leaves one pressing question: What do Americans really think about illegal immigration? Continue reading “What Do Americans Think About Illegal Immigration?”

Immigration Reform in the 2016 Presidential Election

For undocumented immigrants in America, 2016 is a year full of unknowns. If Donald Trump gets the republican bid for president—and is elected as such by the Electoral College—things could change dramatically, and fast. That’s because Mr. Trump has adamantly declared that he would force all immigrants who are undocumented to return to their home countries if elected. While Trump has yet to propose a strategic plan of how he would make this happen—and find and deport between approximately 11 to 12 million people—he’s made it clear that he’s a man on a mission. To counteract his hardheaded and—as some would claim—callous approach, Hillary Clinton has vowed to tackle Trump’s plan.

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Court Upholds Arizona’s Controversial Immigration Law

In 2010, the state of Arizona passed S.B. 1070, a controversial piece of legislation that requires police officers to determine a person’s immigration status at the time of arrest or detainment if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person is an undocumented illegal immigrant. The legislation has colloquially been referred to as the ‘papers please’ law, as it requires detained individuals to show proof of identity and legal resident status. Since the bill’s passing, there have been a number of questions raised about the constitutionality of the law, based on the argument that it encourages racial profiling. On September 4, 2015, a federal judge in Arizona upheld the legality of the law.

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Sarah Saldana Takes a Firm Stand

Sarah Saldana, the director for ICE, or Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, has spoken firmly about the agency’s position on immigration enforcement; according to Saldana, there will be no repercussions for sanctuary cities, nor enforcement of certain immigration laws, until comprehensive immigration reform is passed and Obama’s immigration action is enacted.

Understanding Sanctuary Cities

Sanctuary cities are those cities throughout the U.S. (and Canada) that provide shelter to immigrants, via the adoption of certain policies, who have entered the country illegally and are facing deportation. For example, San Francisco has passed legislation that prohibits police officers from asking questions about a person’s residency status. Some well-known sanctuary cities throughout the U.S. include Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Houston, Miami, Baltimore, Washington D.C., New York, and Chicago, amongst others.

Saldana Under Fire for Protecting Sanctuary Cities

On July 21, 2015, Saldana came under fire when she, as well as Leon Rodriguez, the director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, were repeatedly asked questions by congressional members regarding why no legal actions have been taken against sanctuary jurisdictions that, quoting Senator David Vitter (Republican – Louisiana), “refuse to turn over dangerous criminals.”

Saldana adamantly replied that once comprehensive immigration reform was passed by congress, ICE would address the legality of the policies in sanctuary cities.

Not the First Time Saldana Speaks Up

Saldana’s recent question-and-response session with Congress is not the first time the director of ICE has been clear about what she expects; in April of 2015, Saldana spoke openly in front of members of the House Judiciary Committee regarding consequences for ICE officers who fail to enforce the law (specifically, President Obama’s immigration priorities). To quote Saldana, she was clear that “not abiding by some other rule or policy” or not following a directive could result in a “range of punishment,” including termination.

Congress’s Response

Congress has threatened before to withhold funding from sanctuary cities that harbor undocumented immigrants, and on July 23, 2015, the House voted for—and passed—a piece of legislation that would do just that. Happily, the White House has stated that it will veto the legislation, as it threatens to undermine the current administration’s efforts and priorities.

Contact a Massachusetts Immigration Attorney Today

If you’re facing deportation or have questions about your immigration status, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney who’s on your side. At the Law Offices of Joshua P. Goldstein, P.C., our immigration attorneys want to help you. To learn more about our services and your rights an immigrant, call us today at 617-722-0005.

 

Declining Numbers of Immigrants from Mexico Entering U.S.

While immigration remains one of the most controversial topics in politics today—and is sure to spur heated debates in the 2016 presidential race—the number of undocumented immigrants from Mexico entering the U.S. has actually declined, not increased, in recent years.

Immigration By the Numbers

Peak years for immigrants entering the United States from Mexico were from 2003 to 2007, according to data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. During those years, approximately 1.9 million undocumented Mexicans immigrated to the U.S. In contrast, the years between 2008 and 2012 saw a 57 percent decrease; a total of 819,000 people entered the U.S. from Mexico during those years.

Why the decline?

The decline in immigration is explained by a variety of factors, including a falling birth rate in Mexico, a growing economy in Mexico—providing more jobs in country, and a decline in available construction jobs in the U.S. In regards to the former, the average woman was giving birth to an average of seven babies in Mexico in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, the birth rate has declined to a similar number to the U.S birth rate (1.88 births per woman, according to 2012 statistics. However, the birth rate has risen by one percent since that time). The declining birth rate doesn’t just mean that there are less people to enter the U.S. from Mexico, but also that there is less competition over jobs within Mexico.

Profile of Immigrants Who Do Enter the U.S. from Mexico

The profile of those who enter the U.S. from Mexico varies greatly. Similar to years past, there are many unskilled laborers who enter the U.S. hoping to find work. However, more than ever before, the profile of immigrants entering the U.S. from Mexico has shifted; many are coming to escape the violence in their own country, not to find work in the U.S. What’s more, a large margin of immigrants who are entering the U.S. from Mexico are educated, speak English, have more wealth the previous generations, and may even be naturalized citizens who are returning.

Despite this trend, those who are opposed to immigration into the U.S. continue to aggressively advocate for anti-immigration and pro-deportation policies.

How a Massachusetts Immigration Attorney Can Help You

If you’ve entered the U.S. from Mexico and have questions about your immigration status, are facing criminal charges, or have fears about deportation, don’t wait to take action. At the Law Offices of Joshua P. Goldstein, P.C., our immigration attorneys are on your side. To learn more about how we can help you and what your rights are, call us today at 617-722-0005.

2015 Boston Immigration Law Scholarship Winner!

The Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein are pleased to announce that we have chosen Zulma Munoz as the 2015 winner of our Boston Immigration Law Scholarship! We were overwhelmed by the excellent applications we received for the scholarship, all of which evoked the struggles and challenges of the immigrant experience. Over 150 deserving students applied!

Ms. Munoz is the child of Mexican immigrants and was born in Oakland, California. She graduated from the University of California Berkeley in 2012 with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology. She will be attending University of San Francisco School of Law in the fall of 2015.

Our office recognizes that the U.S. immigration process is stressful for families and can have traumatic outcomes that can impact a child’s potential to seek an education and succeed in the United States. As an office that specializes in family-based immigration and deportation defense, we’re dedicated to helping hard-working and ambitious immigrants and children of immigrants attain their goals for higher education. We are so happy to help Ms. Munoz achieve her dreams of attending law school and we know she will accomplish big things in her future!

Zulma Munoz’s Winning Essay

At an early age, I learned that education was a ticket out of poverty.  When my mother was seventeen, she and my father carried my brother across the border to the United States.  I was born three years later in Oakland, California.  At age two, my father died in a car accident.  When I was seven, my mother married a wonderful man and I was delighted to have a new father.Maya Immigration Scholarship Winner

I remember dreading adulthood because I believed it meant washing dishes for endless hours.  For twenty-five years, my father cleaned dishes as a utility worker.  Since my parents worked long hours, my mother desired to keep my brother and I away from the streets so she had us join a soccer team.  I soon realized that my teammates’ parents did not have jobs my parents did.  I also discovered something that I had never seen in my house: university diplomas.

Being a part of a team exposed me to the first injustice that would shape my desire to become an advocate.  I realized that low-income immigrant parents often suffered from unjust work situations.  The second injustice emerged in school with my older brother.  My teachers assured me that I could become a doctor, dentist, or lawyer, while my brother faced criticism from his teachers.  I was forced to comprehend why someone would be treated and live differently just because of where they were born.

When I was a freshman at UC Berkeley, officials arrested my brother for marking the streets with graffiti.  Within a week, the case was transferred to Immigration Court and my brother’s deportation followed closely thereafter.  The next few months and years of my life were dominated by court proceedings, translating for my parents at attorney consultations, and supporting the emotional well being of my mother and 11-year-old brother.

In many ways, I am privileged that my life’s circumstances taught me about the immigration, education, and labor systems in American because it motivated me to start my career early.  My brother’s case catapulted my knowledge and frustration with the legal system, so I decided to pursue a career through which I could influence the outcomes of individuals with similar stories.  Whether I was organizing students to journey to Washington DC to lobby for immigration reform or providing immigration relief to youth without legal citizenship, my mission was clear.

After my brother’s deportation, I was determined to ensure other families did not suffer as my family did.  Consequently, I dedicated myself to direct-service work and now have a strong working knowledge of immigration remedies, education reform, and about the systemic challenges underserved communities face that I bring with me to the law school.  I am committed to attaining my law degree in order to continue giving back to the communities, schools and families from which I come.  My journey demands that I engage in work I can believe in and becoming a lawyer will strengthen my ability to do so.