Overcoming negative moments in life does not simply happen.
For many immigrants, nowhere is this more true than in overcoming abusive relationships with a person they both love and fear.
Many immigrant who are victims of domestic violence and physical abuse feel trapped in their relationships.
It requires taking actions to change and the courage to take those actions.
They worry that without their partner, no matter how badly they are mistreated and harmed, there is no path to permanent residence.
United we stand, divided we fall.
This theme is more than the title of a popular song in the early 1970s. It is a slogan worth adoption by all immigration reform supporters, by all immigrant communities.
For many years, as a family unity attorney, I have denounced the American public for failing to acknowledge the benefits of cultural diversity which immigrants bring to this country.
My criticism does not exclude any ethnic group.
Whereas members of various cultural groups may appreciate the value of immigration reform for their cultural brethren, they largely ignore the same needs for immigrants of different hues, traditions, and origins.
According to Kim Anderson, former President of American Families United, “U.S. citizens are the most neglected constituency in the immigration debate.”
Hyperbole aside, Anderson raises a critically significant issue that is grossly undervalued by many pro-immigrant advocates.
Simply stated, U.S. citizen spouses are far too minimized in immigration reform discourse.
April 1, 1997.
The day IIRAIRA went into effect.
The day we entered the Age of Immigration Darkness.
For immigrants, a divorce is not always the worst aspect of divorces. In many instances, a divorce has no impact on immigration status.
On the other hand, navigating the issues of family court proceedings is often like tip-toeing through a field of landmines. One misstep and permanent residency or citizenship dreams are shattered.
Once again, President Biden has reversed the immigration course taken by the Trump Administration regarding the Temporary Protection program.
TPS for the country of Sudan, was earmarked for expiration on May 2, 2022, has been extended to November 3, 2022.
TPS for South Sudan, whose termination was to take effect on November 2, 2018, remained in effect due to federal lawsuits only up to December 31, 2022.
However, under the Biden announcement, the nation has been redesignated for full TPS benefits.
Want to know the big secret to winning I-601 waiver cases?
I learned it early in my career at a seminar for new attorneys. A judge, running the course, gave me a piece of advice that guides me to this day. It’s proven crucial in countless trials and appeals with immigration courts and agencies.
The advice, though simple, was profound.
Good lawyers, said the judge, prepare in advance. They know their evidence before their hearings start. They maximize their clients’ chances of success.
Can a middle ground be found for immigration reform?
On the surface, the art of diplomacy seems permanently lost in Congress. Compromise appears impossible.
Far too many immigration opponents have adopted a rigid law and order stance against undocumented immigrants. They refuse to negotiate on any issues remotely related to comprehensive immigration reform. In their view, the southwest borders must be locked down in order to stop the hijacking of America.
Immigrant advocates, on the other hand, assert that piecemeal solutions are measures too distasteful for rational consideration. Immigrants arriving at the border, regardless of the strength or weakness of their asylum claims, must be granted full access to immigration courts and constitutional protections.
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 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.