Immigration Court Boston

Category • Immigration Law Blog

Undocumented Immigrants in Massachusetts are Fighting for the Right to Get a Driver’s License

According to the most recent information provided by the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), undocumented immigrants are eligible to apply for a driver’s license in 12 different U.S. states. Unfortunately, Massachusetts is not one of these states.

A group of activists is pushing to make a change. As reported by, the Pioneer Valley Workers’ Center is part of a statewide coalition pushing for reforms to the Massachusetts driver’s licensing standards. Here, our Boston, MA immigration attorney explains why all adults should be allowed to apply for a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status.

We are a Car-Based Society: 80 Percent of Workers in Massachusetts Drive to their Job

Perhaps more than any other developed country in the world, the United States is an automobile-based society. As noted by in their report on this issue, nearly eight in 10 Massachusetts workers indicate that they typically drive get to their job. For people who live outside the City of Boston, the percentage is even higher than that. Preventing a person from getting a driver’s license dramatically reduces their economic opportunities and their ability to support themselves, their family, and their community.

Undocumented Immigrants Should Be Able to Drive Without Fear

No one wants to be pulled over. For undocumented immigrants, the fear associated with a traffic stop is exponentially higher. In many cases, that initial stop, and the lack of a driver’s license, will eventually lead to deportation proceedings. Even a simple stop for something like rolling through a stop sign could result in criminal charges for driving without a license, and, subsequently, removal from the United States.

As explained by Andrea Schmid, an organizer who works at the Pioneer Valley Workers’ Center, it is “very easy” for undocumented immigrants to get caught up in the system simply because they lack the ability to get a driver’s license. If you are caught driving without a license in Massachusetts, you could face an arrest and criminal charges. In many cases, this is what triggers deportation.

The Proposal: Pass the Work and Family Mobility Act

Activists and organizers are pushing Massachusetts legislators to support a bill called the Work and Family Mobility Act. Essentially, this law would allow undocumented immigrants in Massachusetts to obtain an ordinary driver’s license — one that is no different than the one that is issued to any other driver in Massachusetts. This would help increase economic opportunities for undocumented immigrants and reduce fear from the Trump Administration’s draconian immigration policies. Notably, similar legislation has already proven to be very effective in other states, including in California, Maryland, Connecticut, and Vermont.

We Support Immigrant Rights in Massachusetts

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, we are proud to support immigrant and immigrant rights in Massachusetts. Our top-rated Boston immigration has more than fifteen years of experience handling the full range of immigration law matters. To set up a strictly confidential immigration law consultation, please contact our law firm right away.

Immigrant Detainees Used as a Source of Cheap Labor in Boston Jail

In an egregious infraction of justice, immigrant detainees in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, may have been exploited for their labor. Now, one of the immigrant detainees, 40-year-old Anthony Whyte, is filing a class action lawsuit against Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department which states that he and other detainees should have been paid minimum wage for their labor over the past six years.

Continue reading “Immigrant Detainees Used as a Source of Cheap Labor in Boston Jail”

How will the Government Shutdown Impact Your Immigration Case

As an immigration lawyer specializing in deportation defense, my Boston office has been inundated with calls from clients. Everyone wants to know how the partial government shutdown that went into effect on October 1, 2013 will impact their immigration case. The answer depends on what specific type of immigration case you have since the shutdown will affect certain aspects of some immigration agencies, but not others.

So, based on agency, here’s my handy guide:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

If you’ve applied for a green card, naturalization, a work permit, or other immigration benefit with USCIS, then I have good new for you: the shutdown will have no impact on your immigration case. This is because USCIS operates on a fee-for-services model, which is outside of the federal appropriation funding model. INFOPASS is operating as usual. Two exceptions are that E-Verify and the USCIS Office of Ombudsman will remain closed during the shutdown.

Immigration Court/Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR)

Unlike USCIS, which remains largely unaffected, the government shutdown throws our Immigration Court into chaos. Detained cases are being processed throughout the shutdown. Immigration Judges Day and Shapiro will be conducting detained hearings. But the non-detained immigration cases in court will not proceed. On Friday, October 4, 2013, for instance, there will be no Immigration Judges hearing cases in Boston Immigration Court.

Immigration lawyers will not be permitted to review court files in Boston Immigration Court during the shutdown.

And exactly will happen to a non-detained immigration case in Immigration Court during the government shutdown? It’s very unclear. We are venturing into unknown waters. Little or no information has been forthcoming from EOIR, the national Immigration Court agency. No one knows how the non-detained docket will be managed after the shutdown ends.

In the face of so much uncertainty, my best advice is to follow the Boy Scouts motto:  be prepared. If you have a hearing, make sure you are ready to appear. Meet all filing deadlines and call-up dates. Timely file all relevant motions.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

ICE detention and removal operations, including the posting of immigration bonds, will continue without any impact during the shutdown. Office of Chief Counsel, the Trial Attorney Unit, will continue to work on detained cases only.

Student Visas/SEVIS/SEVP

A government shutdown won’t impact Department of State consular posts that issue F-1 visas to foreign student. The SEVIS system will function as usual. You will still be issued your I-20 and can still obtain work permits for use with CPT and OPT. Applications to reinstate student status will still be processed by USCIS, which the shutdown doesn’t affect.

We know that the government shutdown will end. But we don’t know when. How the shutdown impact your immigration case may change as the situation evolves. Please contact me if you have questions or need help with an immigration issue.

Boston Immigration Court will be closed on February 8, 2013

In anticipation of a major snow storm, the Immigration Court in Boston will be closed on Friday,  February 8, 2013. The Immigration Judges will extend all filing deadlines and reschedule all deportation and bond hearings set for February 8, 2013. The court will be open normal hours on Monday, February 11, 2013.

I expect similar cancellations at the Boston and Lawrence District Offices of USCIS, but I’ve received no formal.

My law office will be closed at 1:00 PM on February 8, 2013 and the MBTA is scheduled to close at 3:30 PM

Stay warm, be safe. And, of course, call me if I can do anything at all to help you with your immigration needs.

Deportation Defense Success Story in Boston Immigration Court

Boston Immigration Court News

This week, I had a detained deportation trial in Boston Immigration Court. My client, a permanent resident who had lived in the United States for over twenty years, was facing deportation to Pakistan, a country where he knew no one and didn’t speak the language. He entered Boston Immigration Court in chains and an orange jumpsuit and walked out of court knowing that he would soon be a free man and a could continue his life in the U.S. with this green card.

Allow me to explain how I won the case:

The Department of Homeland Security had arrested my client and detained him at the Plymouth County House of Correction in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Interestingly, my client was arrested in Connecticut but because Hartford Immigration Court has not detained docket, he was transferred to a facility in Massachusetts so that his deportation trial could be placed on the docket of Boston Immigration Court. In Boston, Immigration Judge Steven Day exclusively handles the detained docket for all deportation cases in all of New England (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire).

My client was facing the prospect of being deported because of a criminal case that had concluded many years before. Initially, Immigration and Customs Enforcement charged my client with having a criminal conviction that was classified as “aggravated felony.” But, after I reviewed the record of conviction (especially the plea colloquy), I realized that, in fact, he had pled guilty to a divisible statue. This means that he was convicted of a statute that included several different offense, some of the included offenses were aggravated felonies, while others were not.

Based on this research, I successfully challenged Immigration and Custom’s Enforcements’ allegation that my client had an aggravated felony conviction. This was a crucial victory because even though my client was still deportable, by eliminating the aggravated felony conviction, my client became eligible for relief in the form of cancellation of removal for certain lawful permanent residents.

Cancellation of removal is essentially a way of asking the Immigration Judge for a second chance. The standard is a balancing of the equities where the Immigration Judge weighs a range of factors including the severity of the applicant’s criminal offense, the recency of the criminal record, the hardship imposed by a possible deportation, as well as any other positive or negative equities.

In support of my client’s application for cancellation of removal, I prepared a detailed affidavit of his proposed testimony in Immigration Court. This gave my client an opportunity to tell his life story. Most importantly, he explained why he was unlikely to have problems with the law in the future. And, at the end of the deportation hearing, Boston Immigration Judge Steven Day granted the application for cancellation of removal, a hard won victory for my client.

If you or someone you know is facing deportation and needs and aggressive and effective attorney for representation in Boston Immigration Court, please call me. I’d be happy to review your case and help out outline a winning deportation defense strategy.

Boston Immigration Court welcomes Steven Day as its new Immigration Judge

Boston Immigration Court News

Boston Immigration Court has announced the appointment of a new Immigration Judge. Steven Day, a retired Marine and former appellate attorney with the Office of Immigration Litigation, will be filling the vacancy created when Immigration Judge Francis Cramer retired. As with custom, Immigration Judge Steven Day will complete in-house training program at for immigration judges and then serve temporarily at Immigration Court in Newark, New Jersey. Immigration Judge Steven Day is expected to begin hearing deportation cases in Boston starting in April.

In another big personnel change, Immigration Judge Eliza Klein will be leaving Boston Immigration Court and has accepted a transfer to the Chicago Immigration Court. This is a transfer she had requested. She will arrive in that Immigration Court during July. So, with Judge Klein’s departure, it remains to be seen who will fill this vacancy on the bench in Boston Immigration Court.

If you use an immigration lawyer, will USCIS suspect that something is wrong with your immigration case?

Green Card Lawyer Boston

At a meeting in my immigration law office in Boston, a potential client recently asked me this question:

I’m interested in hiring an immigration lawyer to prepare my green card case. But is it risky to use an immigration lawyer? I’m concerned that if USCIS sees that I have an immigration lawyer, the immigration officer might get suspicious. By using an immigration lawyer, perhaps the officer will presume that my case has some problem or issue.

The notion that an immigration officer will suspect that your case has some problem simply because you have hired an immigration lawyer is utter nonsense–a complete myth. Everyone has the legal right to be represented by an immigration lawyer of their own choosing. In my experience, using an immigration lawyer never generates suspicion that your case has a problem.

Anyone can fill in your name and address on an immigration form. But only an experienced, effective immigration attorney can spot issues before they crop up. If you decide to prepare your immigration case on your own, without an immigration lawyer, you do so at your own peril. You may think that you don’t need an immigration lawyer because you assume that your case is easy. But without an immigration lawyer, you can’t be sure that you’ve seen all the relevant issues. You might need a complicated immigration waiver and not even know it!

So, you now know that if you need help with an immigration issue, you can feel free to hire me or consult with me without fear of reprisal!