Category: محامي لجوء

USCIS Redesignates Syria for TPS

The Department of Homeland Security redesignated Syrian nationals for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Temporary Protected Status is a status used by the government to halt the deportation of persons in the United States from countries where there is some sort of disaster or civil strife. USCIS designated Syria after the beginning of its civil war in 2011. The country has been redisignated twice after its initial designation. El Salvador, Haiti, and Syria are among the countries currently designated by USCIS.

The designation ends on September 30, 2016, unless the government redesignates Syria. Syrian nationals who were already granted the designation must reapply for redesignation by March 5, 2015. Nationals applying for the designation for the first time must apply by July 6, 2015. For eligibility criteria, please visit this link. Among the criteria is nationality of the country of designation presence in the United States, and continuous presence since the day of designation. Applicants granted TPS may not be removed or detained by the government for being present illegally. Persons granted this designation may be granted travel documents.

 

 

Don’t Hire a Non-lawyer in 2015!

There’s an Arab proverb that roughly translates to “let your baker bake your dough even if he took half of it”. I often wonder why some people hire non-lawyers to apply for their immigration benefits. There are usually two reasons: money and the tricks these notaries pay on unsuspecting immigrants that believe that they could help them.
As to the first reason,  I believe that hiring these notaries could really end up hurting you financially in the long run.  I’ve met many victims ended up paying as much as ten folds what they paid the non-lawyer to deal with their mistakes.  I once represented a very sweet couple from a former Russian republic for whom the non-attorney applied even though they had a standing removal order.  The couple had to go through the agony of fear of deportation while I worked with the government to reopen the case.  Buttom line, if they had hired a licensed attorney,  that would not have happened. 
As to the latter reason,  impersonating an officer of the court is a third degree misdemeanor in most states.  So engaging a non-lawyer to help you with your documents would be akin to helping someone commit a crime.  I know that these notaries are masters at telling you that you do not need an attorney.  At the end of the day,  attorneys have gone through the rigors of dealing with clients and had attended law school to deal with your exact situation. So why not hire someone who has your interests in their mind and have spent the time and energy to train to deal with your needs?
The best advice that anyone would give you,  is to how the right person for the job.  After all,  proverbs come from real life situations. 

Board Rules that Conditional Permanent Resident Admitted at POE Ineligible for 212(h) Waiver

The Board of Immigration Appeals ruled today that a conditional permanent resident admitted as such at a port of entry is ineligible for cancellation of removal since he was an aggravated felon. The Respondent in the case was a citizen of North Korea who was convicted of two crimes involving moral turpitude and an aggravated felony. He was admitted as a conditional resident in 1991 and was placed in removal proceedings in 2013. He conceded removability at his hearing but applied for adjustment of status along with a 212(h) waiver. The immigration judge ruled that he was ineligible for adjustment and the waiver since he was admitted to the United States and convicted of an aggravated felony. In upholding the immigration judge’s decision the Board ruled that conditional residents admitted at a port of entry is an alien admitted for permanent residence. The Board ruled that since the conviction was within 7 years of his admission, he was ineligible for cancellation of removal. Click here to read the decision.

BIA Issues Three Decisions Dealing with the Adam Walsh Act

The Board of Immigration Appeals issued three decision dealing with issues related to the Adam Walsh Act. The Adam Walsh Act prevents USCIS from approving any visa petition filed by a United States citizen if the Petitioner was convicted of a charge relating to the abuse of a minor. The Service could approve the petition if the Petitioner proves that he poses no risk to the beneficiary. The standard used for this discretionary decision is very unclear and convoluted. The decisions clarified nothing.

Unlike other immigration laws, the Adam Walsh Act does not seek to prevent an immigrant from receiving an immigration benefit but prevents a United States citizen from ever moving past a mistake he has committed. Despite the numerous arguments made by advocates to limit the law’s interpretation, the Board decided that the law was retroactive, meaning it applies to cases with convictions before its enactment. The Board also refused to delineate the standard of proof the Petitioner must meet to show that he poses “no risk” to the beneficiary, and in the third case, the Board ruled the the Petitioner bore the burden of proof in showing that his conviction is not a “specified offense against a minor”. The latter allowed the Service to use a case-by-case analysis, and permitted the Service to abdicate the long-standing categorical approach in analyzing such offenses.

As I argued before, there are several constitutional problems with the law. The Board can not rule on constitutional challenges to the laws which it applies. The task of determining the constitutionality of these laws falls on circuit and district courts around the nation. I look forward to the constitutional challenges that advocates will bring forward against this injurious law.

To read the three decision visit here.

Report Shows that Majority of Deportations are Done Through Expedited Removal Proceedings

The American Immigration Council published a report today showing that the majority of removals are being conducted through expedited removal procedures like expedited removal, reinstatement of removal, and stipulated removal. These three mechanisms, in my opinion violate basic constitutional rights including Due Process.

The three mechanisms  allow immigration officials or an immigration judge to hasten an immigrant’s removal. The first two, expedited removal and reinstatement of removal, allow an immigration officer to remove an applicant for admission at a port of entry or if found within 100 miles from the border. The procedures does not take into account the person’s contacts in the United States. The only possible recourse for the immigrant is to exhibit fear of returning to his country, after which he will be subjected to a credible fear interview. Oftentimes, the immigrant is not informed of his right to counsel or know that he had been deported.

Lastly, an immigrant could also stipulate to be removed from the United States. The report speaks about the coercive nature of the interrogation process, which raises serious Due Process concerns. During these interviews, immigration officers usually use coercive tactics to “convince” the immigrant to stipulate to be removed. These individuals are usually in detention, which raises serious issues regarding the voluntary nature of these stipulations.

The removal system is plagued with injustice and the odds are usually stacked against individuals who do not know the system and usually do not speak English.  While some might believe that these expedited removal proceedings might be the right procedures to deport people who have no right to be in the United States in the first place, they are, in my view, illegal and a slap in the face of our judicial system. America could simply do better.

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Applying for Asylum? Should you?

This week, I will be traveling to Miami to represent a client in an asylum interview. In this post, I will be discussing eligibility for asylum in simple terms.  I will also provide a list of important resources one could use when applying for asylum.
Asylum law is the international community’s recognition that some individuals would be threatened if they were forced to return to their homeland. According to the High Commissioner of Human Rights, this practice is one of the oldest traditions in human history. National laws are used to establish eligibility for this form of protection. Under our laws, the process of establishing eligibility is a complicated one. An asylum seeker could apply for protection overseas, where he or she applies for asylum through an international agency. However, one a person is in the US, the Department of Homeland Security adjudicates these petitions.
To qualify as an asylum seeker, one must meet the definition of refugee under the Immigration and Naturalization Act. The Act defines a refugee as :”any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality . . . and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. INA § 101(a)(42)(A), 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A).
It seems like such definition should encompass many categories and should be straightforward. It suffices to say that one of the most appealed petitions in immigration law is the petition for asylum I-589. Most of the immigration cases that reach circuit review around the United States involve asylum petitions. Many people believe that the application is a straightforward one. Sometimes, the application is such; however, when the threats are not crystallized or there is a fear of future harm, one should really hire an attorney. Most of these appeals involved applicants whose petitions were not clear enough to convince the adjudicator that they were harmed or would face harm if returned to their countries.  It is very important to consult an attorney before you apply, and if you can not afford one, please visit this link to find a free attorney in your state. Please do not apply on your own, and consult an attorney, specially since the chances of success are very low (see graph below).
So to answer the question above,  consult an attorney before you apply and do discuss other options if the attorney recommends against filing. Please comment if you have any questions.
Asylum Statistics
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Board of Immigration Appeals Holds that Admission of Conviction Might not Trigger Stop-Time Rule

I have been an advocate of changing the Supreme Court’s decision that removal proceedings are civil and not criminal. The main reason being my argument is the fact that criminal law has infiltrated removal proceedings since the criminal grounds for removal have been expanded by Congress on several occasions.

One of the problems in removal proceedings is the definition of “conviction” for immigration law purposes. The common sense definition of the term does not apply in these “civil” proceedings, since a mere admission of enough facts makes you removable for immigration purposes. The consequences that come from such “conviction” are tremendous in the immigration context, including triggering the stop-time rule, a rule that would make a person ineligible for discretionary relief like Cancellation of Removal for non and lawful permanent resident.

The Board in a recent unpublished decision ruled that admission, without being informed of the possible consequences of such conduct and the true definition of the crime, did not trigger the stop-time rule under Matter of K,I&N. Dec. 59 (BIA 1957).  Unfortunately, this is an unpublished decision by the Board, which under guidance, the Board does not have to follow. However, I have used these decisions in court proceedings and they were very persuasive. 

I ask you to please comment and let me know what you think. Also, please feel free to add me or follow me on social networks. Thank you for following me.

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