To prosecute, or not to prosecute – that is the question.
Soon after the Department of Homeland Security announced a new memorandum on prosecutorial discretion, the telephone calls started.
“Is it true,” the caller wanted to know, “the government is no longer going to try to deport immigrants without documents and I’ll be able to get a work permit?”
He had heard this information from an immigration expert talking on the radio. He wanted to confirm the details.
As happens so, so often with immigration, potential applicants for benefits do not grasp the full details of “new” programs and policies.
This leaves them vulnerable not only to unsympathetic government officers they may encounter, but also to deceptive immigrant advocates hoping to take advantage of their naiveté.
More often than not, love happens unexpectedly.
For immigrants who have entered the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program, love can lead to deportation – and a ten year to permanent separation from their spouse and children.
Despite years of battling this issue as a green card attorney, I’m still saddened every time government agents fail to grasp love and marriage deserve a second look before family ties are destroyed and immigrants are blindly sent back to their country of origin.
Policy makers, it seems, should grasp that love can happen, instantly, and innocently, even for tourists.
Though more vulnerable than ever before, Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries need not give up the fight.
On September 14, 2020, the Ninth Circuit of Appeals struck a near-fatal body blow to the dreams of nearly 300,000 TPS beneficiaries, leaving them groping for air as the program nears its death bed.
On June 7, 2021, the end-is-near message was amplified. The Supreme Court ruled that TPS grantees who entered the country without inspection are not eligible to adjust their status to permanent residency inside the United States.
A few weeks later, the Biden Administration extended the life line of the six nations facing termination under the Ninth Circuit’s only until December 31, 2022.
Despite these outcomes, your TPS story does not have to end on a negative note.
Ever wonder what goes into a marriage green card fraud determination by immigration officials?
Although I have written fairly extensively on immigration fraud, my focus has been on teaching innocent immigrants how to avoid con artists.
But what about immigrants, with true marriages, accused of wrong-doing by the government?
In a long overdue policy shift designed to help victims of certain types of crimes, the Biden Administration has announced USCIS will begin to speed up the processing of temporary work permit applications and grants of deferred action for immigrants who seek U Visas.
The program was created by Congress to strengthen the law enforcement community’s ability to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes, while also offering protection to victims.
Its huge backlog coupled with lengthy processing times have hindered the program almost since its inception. As a result, immigrants whom the government had hoped would assist them in reducing violent crime remained vulnerable to further harm due to the delays.
Defeat in law, especially immigration law, should be taken with a grain of salt. It is not uncommon for policies and principles to change over time.
“When one door closes”, Alexander Graham Bell once noted, “another often opens.”
He could have been talking about the Temporary Protected Status program.
On June 7, 2021, the Supreme Court denied the eligibility of TPS beneficiaries to seek adjustment of their status to permanent residence without leaving the United States.
Is their hope of becoming a lawful permanent resident now gone forever?
He never went home.
He left his native county at the age of 20 to find work. Born in an impoverished area of a poor country, he left home to earn money which he could send back to his mother and eight siblings.
He ventured through, and stayed briefly at, a few countries, eventually reaching the United States.
For the next 25 years, he crisscrossed California, Arizona, and Utah, moving from crop to crop before settling in San Diego where he worked as a dishwasher at one of the city’s most prestigious restaurants.
On May 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status for 18 months. This designation will enable Haitians who were on TPS to continue living and working legally in the United States, until November 2022.
The program has been on its death bed since the Trump Administration announced its plan to terminate Haiti’s TPS status in January 2018. Various lawsuits managed to keep the alive, pending the outcome of those cases.
After an exhausting up-and-down legal battle, the extension provides Haitians with the chance to once again breathe a sign of relief.
The Supreme Court has spoken.
Immigration officers can no longer place someone in immigration court hearings to face removal charges without telling them where and when to appear.
April 1, 1997.
The day IIRAIRA went into effect.
The day we entered the Age of Immigration Darkness.