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Tag • Immigration Law Blog

Representing Thousands of Affected Immigrants, a Massachusetts Civil Rights Group is Suing to Stop the Trump Administration’s Fast-Track Deportation Policy

According to reporting from CBS Boston, the Lawyers for Civil Rights—a Boston-based legal organization—has filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump Administration in order to protect immigrants in Massachusetts and around the country. The legal complaint was filed on behalf of two immigrant rights advocacy groups: Centro Presente and Pioneer Valley Workers Center—both of which advocate for thousands of members who will be directly affected by the Trump Administration’s proposed policy. Here, our Boston deportation lawyers highlight the most important things that you need to know about this lawsuit. 

Understanding the Trump Administration’s Expedited Removal Plan

Through expedited removal as it is currently constituted, undocumented immigrants who are detained within 100 miles of the United States border can be deported on a ‘fast track’. In practice, this means that these immigrants are often ordered deported from the United States without obtaining professional legal representation and without receiving an official court hearing. Further, the expedited removal offers very limited appeal rights. 

In July of 2019, the Trump Administration issued new guidelines seeking to radically expand the coverage of expedited removal. Under the new fast track deportation policy proposed by the Trump Administration, any undocumented immigrant in the United States could be ordered removed on an expedited basis unless they can prove at residency in the United States for over two years. To be clear, the Trump Administration’s expedited removal policy would apply in every jurisdiction in the country, including in Massachusetts. 

A Lawsuit to Protect Immigrant Rights

It is worth clarifying what exactly the administration is attempting to do with this policy: President Trump is maneuvering to put all undocumented immigrants at risk of immediate deportation. This is a direct effort to take away the standard due process protections provided by United States immigration law. As explained by Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, the Executive Director for the Boston-based civil rights organization Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR), this latest attack on immigrant rights “puts all of our communities in jeopardy and stokes unnecessary fear.”

The lawsuit filed by the civil rights groups seeks to protect and preserve immigrant rights. An expanded expedited removal policy would deny many immigrants an opportunity to have a full hearing. In most cases, expedited removal begins—and ends— with an evaluation conducted by an immigration officer. The immigrant in question can then be placed on the path towards deportation without having an opportunity to ever make their case in an immigration court. 

Discuss Your Case With Our Boston, MA Immigration Lawyers Right Away

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our skilled Boston deportation defense lawyers are tireless and effective advocates for immigrant rights. You only have a limited amount of time to raise defense against deportation. If you or someone you know is facing deportation, please call us at (617) 722-0005 to set up fully confidential initial consultation. From our conveniently located law office in the heart of Boston, we represent clients throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

Devastating News: Boston Immigrants With ‘Special Medical Status’ May Soon Be Ordered to Leave the Country

On August 26th, 2019, WBUR reported that United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has been sending out notification letters stating that the agency is no longer going to consider deportation waivers for immigrants with serious medical issues. Instead, these matters will be handled by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).   

Evidence that Policy Has Changed in Boston

Currently, there is considerable confusion surrounding this issue. The federal government has not publicly announced any official changes to the medical waiver program. However, there is substantial evidence coming from communities all around the greater Boston area that suggests that there have been major changes. 

Anthony Marino of the Irish International Immigrant Center told reporters from WBUR that last week nearly a half dozen of his clients — people with medical conditions that are generally approved for deportation waivers — received virtually identical denial letters. 

Within these letters, one of which was obtained and printed by WBUR, there is language that suggests that USCIS is ending the medical deferral program altogether. This comes despite the fact that nothing has been officially announced and many families are living with deep stress and frustration. 

A Potential Death Sentence for Immigrants

It is impossible to overstate the cruelty and callousness of this type of sudden policy shift. As explained in a report from the Boston Globe, sick children who are patients at Boston-area children’s hospitals are now facing potential removal from the United States. An advocate bluntly states in the story that our government is handing these children a “death sentence.” In several cases reported on by WBUR, undocumented immigrant parents of chronically ill children have received the impending deportation letters.  

Putting a Human Face on the Problem

MassLive published a story on this topic that helps to put a real human face on this problem. Jonathan Sanchez, a 16-year-old child, has been getting treatment for severe cystic fibrosis in the Boston Children’s Hospital for the last three years. His mother says that he has made significant progress during that time and that he was “nearly dying” when he first arrived for treatment. 

The family has reportedly received one of these letters from USCIS. They are now terrified that they are weeks away from facing deportation from the United States — and the potential loss of necessary and life saving medical care for their young son. This is horrific. Our law firm will closely monitor this issue for updates. 

Set Up a Case Evaluation With Our Boston, MA Immigration Attorney Right Away

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our top-rated Massachusetts immigration lawyers are committed to achieving successful results for our clients. We handle the complete range of immigration law matters. For a fully private immigration consultation, please call us now at (617) 722-0005. With an office location in Boston, we serve clients all around the region, including in Brookline, Waltham, Framingham, Lowell, Lawrence, Salem, Brockton, Somerville, and Newton. 

 

Two Massachusetts Prosecutors Sue Trump Administration Over Courthouse Immigration Arrests

According to reporting from Boston.com, two of the top prosecutors in Massachusetts have filed a joint lawsuit against the federal government, challenging the Trump Administration’s authority to conduct immigration enforcement operations at courthouses. This action comes days after a Massachusetts judge was indicted for allegedly helping an undocumented immigrant escape out the backdoor of a state courthouse to avoid ICE. Here, our Boston immigration attorney provides an overview of the lawsuit and explains why ICE courthouse raids make our community less safe.

The Legal Argument: Violation of the Constitutional Right to Access Courts

The lawsuit — which is reported to be the first of its kind in the country — was filed by Rachael Rollins, the District Attorney for Suffolk County and Marian Ryan, the District Attorney for Middlesex County. In their complaint, they raise a number of different legal arguments against the federal government.

Most importantly, they argue that the Trump Administration’s policy of conducting immigration enforcement operations at Boston-area courthouses has the effect of denying many community members their constitutional right to reasonably access the courts.

When immigrants fear the possibility of an ICE raid, they are simply much less likely to participate in the legal process at all— even though they may be witnesses to the crime or even the victim of the crime. District Attorney Marian Ryan stated in a press conference that she has recently had multiple criminal cases disrupted because of this issue.

Courthouse Enforcement Operations Make Our Community Less Safe

In far too many cases, crime victims are unable to access justice because witnesses are too afraid of deportation to participate in court proceedings. Getting justice for the community requires making state and federal courts a safe space from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and other enforcement operations. Officials in other states, including in New York and in California, have also taken action to limit the ability of federal immigration officers to conduct enforcement operations in courthouses.

Notably, the lawsuit filed by District Attorney Rollins and District Attorney Ryan comes just days after a Massachusetts judge was arrested for allegedly helping an undocumented immigrant evade an ICE agent inside a courthouse. As reported by National Public Radio (NPR), Judge Shelley Richmond Joseph of the Newton District Court was charged with obstruction of justice by federal prosecutors in Massachusetts after she allegedly helped an undocumented immigrant slip out of the back door while an ICE agent was waiting in the front of the courthouse. A now-retired court officer was also charged in the case. They both have pleaded not guilty.

Get Help From Our Boston, MA Immigration Attorney Today

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our Boston immigration attorneys are committed to providing exceptional legal representation to immigrants and their family members. We are strong advocates for immigrant rights in Massachusetts.

To set up a fully confidential review of your case, please do not hesitate to contact us today at (617) 722-0005. From our office in Boston, we represent clients throughout the region including in Suffolk County, Middlesex County, and Norfolk County.

 

Los Angeles 7-Eleven Stores Raided By ICE Agents, No Warrants Were Presented

On the morning of January 10th, 2018, federal immigration agents raided 7-Eleven store locations in nearly two dozen states across the country. According to reporting from the Los Angeles Times, several 7-Eleven stores in Southern California were among those that were subject to the immigration raids.

Questions are now being raised over whether or not California law was properly followed by employers. California State Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) informed reporters that he will be asking the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the California Labor Commissioner’s office to investigate this situation to ensure that there was full compliance with the requirements of California law.

California Employers Must Request a Judicial Warrant From Immigration Officers

On October 5th of 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill No. 450 (AB-450) into law. This legislation put restrictions on employer cooperation with immigration enforcement agents at California worksites. The law became effective as of January 1st, 2018. Among several other things, AB-450 bars California employers from voluntarily giving federal immigration agents access to their premises. Specific provisions include:

  1. A requirement that employers seek a judicial warrant from ICE agents;
  2. A mandate that employers give notice to workers if certain type of immigration enforcement action is set to occur; and
  3. The creation of penalties for any violation of these rules.  

The goal of this law is to provide enhanced protections to immigrants in California. This has become an especially important issue as additional threats to immigrant rights have come from the Trump Administration.

Warrants Were Not Served at the Southern California 7-Eleven Stores

According to the information in the reporting from the Los Angeles Times, ICE did not obtain judicial warrants before conducting raids at the 7-Eleven stores. Instead, a spokesperson for ICE stated that officers served these stores with I-9 inspection notices. This has raised serious questions about whether or not California law was followed by the employers.

Workplace Raids May Be Increasing

Workplace raids have long been a tactic used by immigration enforcement agencies. While this type of aggressive action was used less frequently during the Obama Administration, the recent 7-Eleven raid indicate that workplace immigration enforcement raids may be making a return. On January 15th, 2018, The New York Times published a well-sourced story suggesting that the Trump Administration plans to increase the use of job-site raids in the coming months. This is an issue that must be watched closely. It is imperative that California employers follow state law and the immigrant communities are fairly protected.

Contact Our Immigration Lawyers Today

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, we represent people in immigration court who are facing deportation or removal from the United States. Our legal practice is dedicated to protecting the legal rights of immigrants and their families. For immediate assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Using FOIA to your Advantage

In the United States, you have the right to request important information from the federal government under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As an individual working through the process of becoming an American citizen, you could be required to use this right at some point, especially if you run into legal issues when applying for a work visa or green card. This is because it is possible that there is background information about you in your immigration record that somehow complicates matters like this. Find out what information is available to the federal government by filing a FOIA request with the aid of an experienced immigration attorney. If the United States federal government has information about you that it can potentially use against you, you have a right to know about it.

How to Seek Information Under FOIA

Your immigration file contains information that can be of significant value to you. However, you can also potentially run into issues with obtaining this information if you came to the country before 1982 or if the information in your record has been redacted, or blacked out, because it contains the names of government officials or individuals other than yourself.

Before you start working with an attorney or contacting government agencies, determine which information you need. This will determine the agency with which you file your request and how you file it.

Once you determine the information you need, or if you determine that you need to see your entire immigration file, you or your attorney will make a formal request to the correct agency. This might be the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), or the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Along with your request, you will need to provide your reason for seeking the information. Your attorney can help you craft this statement and, if necessary, request that the officials handling the request expedite it if you are in a situation where your life, health, or safety is at risk.

Generally, a FOIA request takes five to six weeks to complete, sometimes up to 80 days. When you request that your case be expedited, you can expect to receive your file within 20 days to one month. If you are in need of more immediate information, your attorney can provide a detailed statement of how your life, health, safety, or liberty is at risk to have the request handled in an even quicker manner.

Work with a Boston Immigration Attorney

If you need to file a FOIA request, work with an experienced immigration attorney who can guide you through the steps you need to take and help you understand the information you receive as a result of your request. To start working with immigration attorney Joshua L. Goldstein, schedule your legal consultation with The Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C., today.

2016: The Year Ahead in Immigration Law

Presidential Election

We’re in an election year and this election will have a big impact on immigration policy. The presidential campaigns are already going strong, and they’ve been pretty unusual and unpredictable so far.

On the Republican side, immigration has become a central issue in their campaigns. A number of the candidates have been speaking to and validating one of the worst characteristics in the American people – xenophobia. The messaging has gone past the point of offensive – it’s become racist.

Donald Trump has called for a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S.; has said Mexicans coming into the U.S. are rapists, criminals and drug dealers; has indicated that he would deport the over 11 million undocumented people in the U.S.; has plans to end birthright citizenship; and has stated he wants to build a “real wall” to keep out immigrants on the U.S.-Mexican border. While Ted Cruz doesn’t go quite as far as Trump in his rhetoric, he supported Trump’s plan to stop all Muslims from entering the U.S.; wants to ban non-Christian Syrian refugees; also wants to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border; supports the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants; and has stated he would triple border protection, among other things. Instead of reaching out to immigrants and seeing their potential to add to and improve the United States, the Republican party candidates talk about immigrants using words of prejudice and paranoia.

On the democratic side, the two main candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, both support the rights of immigrants as well as the idea of Comprehensive Immigration Reform with a path to citizenship. They’ve spoken out against the hate that the Republican candidates have been selling. They have reaffirmed their support of President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform and have each taken a stand against the recent deportation raids conducted by the Obama administration.

he next President will impact the immigration system in a number of ways – he or she will affect what happens with Comprehensive Immigration Reform, detention centers for immigrant mothers and children, deportation raids, discretionary relief policies, and enforcement priorities. So, the question is, will the American people elect a President who glorifies hate and intolerance, or will the country choose a candidate who will defend the rights of immigrants?

Recently, with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, the Presidential election has taken on even more importance for immigration. There is now a vacant Supreme Court seat. President Obama will try to nominate a candidate in the remaining months that he is in office, but he is already getting a large amount of pushback from Republicans. Republicans are urging the Senate to delay the consideration and confirmation of any Supreme Court nominee until the next President is in office. With many important Supreme Court cases in the pipeline, including United States v. Texas (the case that will determine the legitimacy of Obama’s executive action on immigration), the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice is critical. We’ll provide more updates and information on the United States v. Texas case and Justice Scalia’s potential replacements in our next newsletter!

Reporting a foreign birth abroad to a US consulate

Immigration Attorney – Boston, MA

I recently spoke on immigration issues Islamic Society of New England in Quincy, Massachusetts. It was a great night and I certainly appreciated the warm reception and generous hospitality of Imam Khalid.

In my presentation, I stressed the importance of legal representation. It always sounds so self-serving when I tell people that they should hire a immigration lawyer. I’m an immigration lawyer and so, of course, I would recommend hiring a lawyer. But I say this because I see people again and again making the same simple immigration mistakes that could have been easily avoided if only they had consulted with a decent immigration attorney beforehand.

At the mosque in Quincy, MA, I fielded many good questions on a variety of immigration topics. Several people wanted to know how to report a foreign birth abroad. Here’s the lead-up to the question and a common situation: a guy files an N-400 to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. After gaining U.S. citizenship, he returns to his home country, gets married and has a child. So question is how do you get the wife and child green cards so they can immigrate to the United States?

First, the U.S. citizen husband needs to file a petition for immigrant visa for his wife. You can do this by filing Form I-130 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). But don’t make the mistake of thinking that the child will automatically gain immigration benefits simply because by being listed on the wife’s immigration form. A separate visa petition (I-130) must be filed for the child.

But another way around this problem exists. Under certain circumstances, the child could derive U.S. citizenship from the father even if born outside the U.S and even if the mother is not a U.S. citizen. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a father will transmit U.S. citizenship to his child if the following conditions are met:

1. The father must be physically present in the U.S. for a period of five years, two of which after age 14; and

2. A biological relationship must be established between the father and the child;

3. The father must agree in writing to support the child until 18 years; and

4. while the child is under the age of 18, the father either (a) legitimates
the child, (b) acknowledges paternity, or (c) establishes paternity in court.

If you can meet all of these requirements, your child already has US citizenship and, therefore, doesn’t need a visa to enter the US.  Instead, to enter the US, you will need to get a American passport for your child by filing Form FS-240 or Consular Report of Birth.  Along with the form, you should submit documentation to show that you meet all the requirements.  The form is filed at the US Consulate abroad in the country that your child lives.

The bottom line is that no one can properly gain admission into the US without either a visa, a green card or a US passport.  Seek the advice of a good immigration lawyer to make sure that each member of your family has some basis for gaining entry.

For more information or answers to your immigration question, please call or email me to set up a time to meet with me.

Just got your Green Card? Some tips from a Boston immigration lawyer.

On behalf of the lawyers in my Boston immigration office, I say congratulations! You just got your green card and are now a lawful permanent resident of the United States! Below are some general tips to avoid future immigration problems and continue on a smooth path towards citizenship.

I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residency–Get Ready! If you have a two-year green card (i.e., conditional residency based on marriage), remember that 90 days before the expiration of your green card, you and your spouse, together, will need to file a petition to remove the conditions on your permanent residency. This petition is called an I-751.  In order to get your I-751 petition approved, USCIS will expect you to submit extensive documentation to show that the underlying relationship between you and your spouse has been on-going since your I-485 was approved and that you continue to share your lives together.

Prepare for citizenship by recording your trips outside the U.S. If you travel outside the U.S. after you get your green card, write down the date that you left the U.S. and the date that you returned to the U.S for every trip you take after your I-485 is approved. You will need this information when you apply for citizenship. Some of my immigration clients mistakenly believe that their passport will contain stamps that will memorialize each of their trips abroad.  This is not necessarily true. These days, passports are machine-readable, and they often are scanned rather than stamped when you leave certain airports or when you cross the border via land to Canada. Thus, because your passport may not be stamped when you leave and enter the U.S., you cannot rely on it as an accurate record of your trips abroad. Keeping a record of your trips as you take them will save you time and effort when you apply for citizenship.

Don’t “abandon” your green card. As a permanent resident, you certainly are not legally required to remain within Massachusetts. In fact, one of the great benefits of being a green card holder is that you are free to travel within the U.S. and internationally. But, if you want to keep your green card, only temporary trips outside the United States are permitted. As a permanent resident, you could have future immigration problems if you travel outside the United States frequently or if the duration of your trips abroad are lengthy. From my experience working with immigration clients in Boston, the most effective way to lose your green card is to move abroad. Take a look
at your green card and you will see the words permanent resident card at the
top. Remember, the green card is not permanent but does require you to
reside permanently in the United States.You should avoid staying outside the U.S. for more than 6 months continuously. You should not remain outside the U.S. for an extended period of time without first consulting with an immigration lawyer in Boston.

If you have a green card, you must notify the Department of Homeland Security of any changes of address. As a green card holder, it is your responsibility to notify the Department of Homeland Security of any address changes. You can do this by filing Form AR-11. I recommend that you file Form AR-11 online through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS, formerly the INS) website. Once you have submitted Form AR-11, keep a copy of it for your records. If you have a green card and also have an immigration application that is pending with USCIS, you must also separately notify USCIS of any changes of address by calling its National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283.  As an immigration lawyer, I handle change of address notification for all of my immigration clients and maintain records of each address change.

Register for Selective Service. If you are male, living in the U.S. as a permanent resident (i.e., green card holder) and between the ages of 18 and 25, you are probably required to register with Selective Service. Failure to do so could negatively impact your chances of gaining citizenship through naturalization. Contact the Selective Service System for more information.

Don’t commit crimes! (especially during the first five years after you become a permanent resident)  Of course, it’s generally a pretty bad idea to break the law.  But green card holders have no room for error.  Many people are shocked to discover the incredibly harsh immigration consequences of seemingly minor criminal offenses. Shoplifting, for instance, may be considered a relatively petty misdemeanor under Massachusetts law. But, if committed within the first five years of your status as a green card holder, a Massachusetts shoplifting conviction could result in your certain deportation from the United States without any chance for relief.

If you have ever appeared in a criminal court, do not travel outside the United States without first consulting with an immigration lawyer. I constantly meet with immigration clients in Boston who have criminal convictions and who mistakenly believe that one or all of their previous criminal cases were dismissed. Keep in mind that a Massachusetts district court judge may have told you that your criminal case was dismissed, and your criminal defense lawyer may have also told your that your criminal case will not show up on your record; but for immigration purposes, you may still have a criminal conviction!  Before you book your flight abroad, call me and set up an immigration consultation in my Boston office.

Again, congratulation on becoming a permanent resident. I hope these tips help guide you towards U.S. citizenship.