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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh Supports Immigrants, Stands Behind Newly Amended ‘Trust Act’

As reported by WGBH, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh recently told Boston Public Radio that immigrants should be able to feel safe in our city. The mayor’s statements came after rumors swirled that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under the instructions of the Trump Administration, was preparing to launch major raids in dozens of cities across the country — including in Boston. 

However, Mayor Walsh and Boston Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement Director Yusufi Vali confirmed that there was no evidence of unusual deportation raids in the city. In addition, the Mayor also reaffirmed his support for the Boston Trust Act — a local law that was recently amended to clarify that the Boston Police Department will not act as an immigration enforcement agency. 

The Boston Trust Act: Explained

Passed unanimously by the City Council in 2014, the Boston Trust Act is a local ordinance that seeks to ensure that all immigrants are able to fully and completely participate in economic life and civil life in Boston. Among other things, the Trust Act limits cooperation between city law enforcement agencies and law enforcement officers and federal immigration agents. It is sometimes referred to as Boston’s sanctuary city statute.  

However, there have been some serious questions raised about the viability of the Boston Trust Act — especially in the light of the harsh actions that have been taken by the Trump Administration to undermine immigrant rights. 

In June of 2019, city officials, supported by Mayor Walsh, filed amendments to make the Boston Trust Act significantly stronger. Specifically, the amendments make it clear that local law enforcement officers in Boston will not arrest someone based solely on their immigration status. In Boston, the police will not make an immigration arrest unless a court order in place.

ICE Can Still Conduct Operations in Sanctuary Cities

It should be made clear that local sanctuary status is not a blanket protection against federal enforcement action. 

Boston is one of nearly a dozen cities and towns in the state of Massachusetts that identify as a ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions for undocumented immigrants. The Boston Police Department is focused on handling local matters — not handling federal immigration issues. Still, sanctuary laws like the Boston Trust Act, as important as they are, will not always prevent ICE from conducting raids. 

If you or your loved one was arrested or detained by ICE in Massachusetts, immediate action is a must. It is imperative that you reach out to an experienced Boston, MA immigration attorney as soon as possible. 

Discuss Your Case With Our Boston, MA Immigration Lawyer Today

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our Boston immigration attorney is a compassionate and committed advocate for clients. We handle the full range of immigration cases, including defense against deportation or removal. To schedule a strictly confidential immigration consultation, please call us today at (617) 722-0005. With a law office in Boston, we serve communities throughout the state of Massachusetts. 

 

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.

How to Get a Green Card in 27 days. A Boston Immigration Lawyer explains

Green Card Lawyer Boston, Massachusetts

If I had a dollar for every time a client has told me that their friend got their green card is four weeks, I’d have been able to retire long ago. But the reality is that, right now, if everything goes perfectly, when someone living in the Boston, Massachusetts area seeks a green card through adjustment of status (I-485) based on a concurrently-filed visa petition (I-130) filed by through U.S. citizen spouse, the entire process takes about 5 months, give or take a month or so.

Contrary to my normal experience, yesterday, I witnessed a miracle. My client got a green card in just 27 days. That’s right–27 days!  So how was he able to blast through the entire immigration process in such a short period of time?

Here’s the background on this happened. My client was a research scientist at a famous university in Boston, Massachusetts. In late-October, he was selected to receive a prestigious award, which carried with it $1 million in research funding. But there was one small problem. To qualify for the award, he needed to become either a permanent resident or a U.S. citizen by the first week of December. I told him that it was unlikely that he would be able to get his green card in such a short time frame. But since he intended to apply for a green card anyway, I saw no harm in trying.

Under time pressure, my office prepared all the immigration forms in a single day. Don’t ask me how but the client managed to walk away with a completed medical exam in one day. Next, we filed his green card case with USCIS and got immigration receipt notices back in one week.

Then, I enlisted the help of Ines Goncalves-Drolet, a miracle worker who handles constituent services for Congressman Barney Frank. At the request of Ines and Congressman Frank, USCIS Boston District Office agreed to request the file and expedite my client’s I-485. USCIS National Benefits Center sent his green card file to USCIS Boston District Office via overnight courier and an adjustment of status interview was scheduled within a few days time.

For helping my client expedite his green card, I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Congressman Barney Frank, Ines Goncalves-Drolet as well as USCIS Field Director Karen-Anne Haydon, District Director Denis Riordan and the officers and staff at USCIS Boston District Office. Without crucial help from these people and others, my client would likely still be waiting for his green card and one million dollars in research funding might have been lost.

If you want to get your green card approved in an expedited fashion, it’s easy!  All you need is an immigration case with impeccable merits, a compelling national interest, the sympathetic ear of a congressional representative, the favorable discretion of your local USCIS field office director . . .  and a good measure of luck.

If you need help with your green card, citizenship or other immigration case, call my Boston immigration law office at 617-722-0005. I’d be happy to help you.