Immigration News 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 Inequality.org, 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 Inequality.org 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.

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.

Continue reading “New Bill Proposed in Massachusetts Offers State Protections from Federal Requests”

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?”

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.

 

DOJ Lawyers and Possible Sanctions

In February of 2015, a federal judge blocked an executive immigration order, given by President Obama, that would have granted deportation stays to five million immigrants currently residing in the U.S. without proper documentation. What’s more, the immigration action would have also provided many of those same immigrants with the right to lawfully obtain permits to work.

Continue reading “DOJ Lawyers and Possible Sanctions”

Marriage Fraud: A Growing Problem in the U.S.

For some immigrants, the idea of marrying an American citizen to gain legal status within the U.S. is a tempting idea – some will even go so far as to commit marriage fraud. Marriage fraud is the act of engaging in a fraudulent marriage, usually by bribing an individual with money to get them to agree to the marriage, for the purpose of gaining U.S. lawful permanent residence. The following reviews what constitutes an authentic marriage in the U.S., and what the penalties for committing marriage fraud are. If you’re facing penalties for marriage fraud in Boston, the immigration attorneys at the Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C. can help.

Continue reading “Marriage Fraud: A Growing Problem in the U.S.”

Arpaio Sues Over Immigration

In November of 2014, President Barack Obama announced his long-awaited plans for immigration reform. Perhaps most significant of the reform is the inclusion of deportation stays for more than four million immigrants in the U.S., namely those who are the undocumented parents of American citizens or legal residents. While the reform was viewed as a step in the right direction by many, others, like Arizona County Sherriff Joe Arpaio, are prepared to take legal action against the President for the immigration action. In fact, in December of 2014, Arpaio filed one of the first lawsuits (in what may be a series of many) against Obama’s immigration plan. Continue reading “Arpaio Sues Over Immigration”