Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.
Take the current situation facing Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries.
Over 300,000 individuals who have TPS status are at risk for deportation if the Trump Administration scraps the program in the near future.
Rumors abound such a decision will be abruptly made, with limited, if any, advance warning.
For now, such action is on hold due to various court cases opposing the Adminstration’s plans to terminate TPS for several countries.
Once the courts render their decisions, all bets are off.
A few weeks ago, USCIS announced that I-130 petitions can now be filed via the internet.
The I-130, known as the Petition For Alien Relative, is the first step in the green card process. Its purpose is to prove the family relationship between a U.S. citizen or green card holder and an immigrant relative.
Most news stories note how this development speeds up the green card process. They portray the change as a positive, pro-immigrant measure.
The new filing procedure is a step in the right direction. Yet, the change warrants cautious optimism for immigrants and their families.
For several years, fixing our immigration system has been a hot political topic.
Building a border wall has been at the forefront of most Congressional proposals. Several representatives tout it as the primary cure for an overflow of immigrants trying to enter our country without legal documents.
This approach is short-sighted.
It negects the main component necessary for constructive immigration reform.
Sponsoring family members to live in the U.S. has been a central tenet of immigration law for over 50 years.
Contrary to chain migration rhetoric, immigration rules do not facilitate expedited passage of unlimited numbers of distant relatives through America’s ports of entry.
Rather, family-based applicants from abroad experience a slow and tedious process.
Over 28% of immigrants granted green cards from abroad last year had been waiting 10 years or longer for their interviews.
Sound a little harsh?
Good. I have your attention.
If you work with a notario, you’re likely ready to pounce on every word I write.
Perhaps reading my title, your ears perked up like a poodle sensing potential danger nearby.
Allow me to explain.
Historians will tell you the Cold War officially ended several decades ago.
Only not between Cuba and the United States.
Even today, as the back-and-forth diplomatice dance illustrates, harsh feelings and distrust between the two nations still linger.
Overcoming 60+ years of a politically severed relationship is not a simple task.
At a recent green card interview, the officer asked my client, “Why did you return home in 1985 and 1988?”
“To give birth to my two children,” she responded.
“I couldn’t afford the health care here.”
The officer gave me a confused, dazed look.
I couldn’t bite my lip.
“Sort of kills the anchor baby rhetorical nonsense, doesn’t it?”
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.