Early in my career, at a seminar for new attorneys, a judge 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.
On July 2, 2019, the Department of Justice published amended rules governing appeals of immigration court decisions. The new rules take effect September 3, 2019.
The rules attempt to resuscitate Affirmance Without Opinion, a BIA procedure discredited during the Bush and Obama administrations.
Affirmance Without Opinion (AWO) sacrifices constitutional due process for political expediency.
In the name of justice.
If you’ve ever hired an attorney, you know what I mean.
Sentences that go on forever. Words you’ve never heard before. Phrases you don’t comprehend.
Writing and speaking that makes you want to SCREAM for help.
Okay, I exaggerate.
Just a little.
It’s your choice.
You can engage in social media discussions responsibly.
Or you can share whatever images of yourself that you fancy.
Just be aware others are paying attention.
Some may be immigration officers.
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.
When it comes to immigration, quite often, the more things change, the more they remain the same.
For instance, over ten years ago, in my capacity as a citizenship and naturalization lawyer, I wrote a series of articles that explained why Congress should pass legislation approving waivers for immigrant veterans who committed certain offenses, related to mental illnesses caused by their military service, making them subject to automatic deportation.
I was shocked to learn about the number of immigrant veterans, facing removal, who were incarcerated at the El Centro, California Dentention Facility, alongside individuals whom I represented. Thus, I endeavored to tell their story, the story of expedited citizenship which never materialized for them.
Obama was president then. Trump is president now.
The issue persists.
Nearly 20 years old, Honduras TPS and Nicaragua TPS are two of the longest-standing TPS programs.
However, termination dates for both programs have been set.
Nicaragua Temporary Protected Status benefits were designated for closure earlier this year, on January 5, 2019.
Honduras Temporary Protected Status has been scheduled to end on January July 5, 2020.
Due to pending lawsuits, the issue when and if TPS benefits for both nations will terminate is unclear.
From its beginning, the history of Haiti Temporary Protected Status has resembled a political roller coaster ride.
The stability which TPS was created to provide a community during a crisis has been deficient and unsteady throughout the program’s nine-year existence.
As a result, the 2017 announcement that the program would be terminated on July 22, 2019 did not surprise Haitian community leaders. Many believe Haiti TPS has been a disfavored programs since its inception.
My father became a naturalized citizen in 1951. From start to finish, the paperwork took less than six months for the government to process.
His journey to the United States, the prelude to naturalization, was fraught with danger and discrimination, neither of which deterred him from his mission to provide a modest level of financial support for his mother and siblings living abroad in poverty.
When he was sworn in, he had no idea that one day he would vote in the presidential elections for John F. Kennedy.
2018 was an incredibly difficult year for immigrants, immigrant family members, immigrant rights advocates, and immigration lawyers.
So what might 2019 hold? Will immigration affairs remain bleak or will daylight start to shine again?
How should immigrants play their cards?