Welcoming Attorney Gabriel Laborde to Goldstein & Associates

Gabriel Laborde

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goldstein & Associates is excited to be welcoming the newest attorney to our staff, Gabriel Laborde Torres.

Gabriel moved to the United States from Puerto Rico just over 2 years ago. In Puerto Rico, Gabriel studied law at the University of Puerto Rico School of Law. Enrolling in the immigration law clinic during his last year of law school, Gabriel played an active role in helping immigrants with their removal proceedings, asylum and DACA applications, and family petitions. Gabriel also provided pro bono legal services through law school clinics that provided information on sexual and reproductive rights.

After graduating from law school, Gabriel was invited to lecture at the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus’ School of Public Health and the University of Puerto Rico School of Law on legislative processes in Puerto Rico and at the University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of Psychology on employment law. He has also been part of panels at conferences at the Puerto Rico Bar Association and has published in the Digital Journal of the University of Puerto Rico School of Law and the Puerto Rican Journal of Psychology. Gabriel has also advised the Municipality of San Juan and the Puerto Rico Department of Education on Title IX compliance.

Gabriel came to the Pittsburgh to support his significant other’s studies, and began volunteer work with the Transgender Name Change Project where he represented transgender individuals in their pursuits to change their names in Allegheny County. Gabriel has also assisted Casa San Jose, a non-profit organization in Pittsburgh dedicated to creating a welcoming community for Latino immigrants by providing opportunities for civic and social engagement.

Gabriel feels his work with Goldstein and Associates will help him further his own goal of understanding what it takes to help minority communities in their efforts for equality and acceptance. If you are interested in speaking with Gabriel, feel free to contact us online or by calling 412-258-8080.

Your Rights Entering the United States of America

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Whether you are at the airport or entering the United States via land or a sea port, you will encounter officers with the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) and/ or officers with Customs and Border Protection (CBP). We at Goldstein & Associates wish to outline what rights you have when you are traveling into the country.

Please note that you cannot travel out of the country and be let back in without a valid US Passport (for US Citizens), approved travel document (for those applying for an immigrant visa), or valid US Visa.

All information below is summarized from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) series, “Know Your Rights.” The original article can be found at: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/what-do-when-encountering-law-enforcement-airports-and-other-ports-entry-us.

TSA and CBP officers have the right to search all people and property when entering the country. Questioning and fingerprinting (for non-US Citizens) is routine, and it is advisable to cooperate with basic inquiries. If you are selected for additional questioning, you have rights. If you are a US Citizen, you have a right to an attorney. If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident or visitor, your rights to an attorney are limited to certain circumstances, and you may be refused legal counsel by the officers. However, if you are under arrest, you always have the right to an attorney, regardless of country of citizenship.

In some cases, TSA or CBP officers may ask you to unlock your personal electronic devices. You are not required to do so. However, failure to cooperate with these requests may cause the officer to deny you entry into the United States. If your electronic devices are confiscated, you should write the name of the officer down, and get a receipt for the item(s) taken.

Your Rights if you get Stopped by Law Enforcement Officers

Police car

If you are a recent immigrant, you may be feeling anxious about possible encounters with law enforcement officials or officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We at Goldstein & Associates wish to outline what to do if you are stopped by the police or ICE Agents in your car or on the street, as well as what rights you have.

All information below is summarized from an article from the American Civil Liberties Union. See the original article at: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/stops-and-arrests-what-do-when-encountering-law-enforcement?redirect=know-your-rights/when-encountering-law-enforcement-stops-and-arrests.

If an Officer Stops You

If an officer stops you and asks you questions, and you have legal immigration status, then comply with their requests. You are required to carry your immigration documents with you, such as your green card, Employment Authorization Card (EAD), documentation of nonimmigrant status (such as a work or student visa), or border crossing card. Failure to produce these documents can result in your arrest. If you are in the process of procuring one of these documents, but your application is pending with USCIS, then show the officer the receipt notices from your case.

If you do not have legal immigration status, or if your pending application has not been issued receipt notices yet, then ask if you are free to go. If they answer yes, then calmly walk away. Never run. Sometimes, officers may state that you are not under arrest, but you are not free to leave. In this case, you are being detained (but not arrested). They may pat you down and ask for your name. If they ask any further questions, you do not have to answer.

If an Officer Stops you in your Car

Remain calm and pull over immediately, roll down the window and keep your hands visible at all times. You must show your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. You do not have to answer any of the officer’s questions, unless they inquire about your valid immigration status, and you do not have to let the officer search your car. However, if they have a reason to believe that you have committed a crime, they may search your car anyway.

If you are Arrested

You have the right to remain silent. Do not disclose any information other than your name. You have the right to speak with an Attorney. When you make phone calls from prison, officers may listen to calls you make to friends and family, but not to attorneys.

If you are concerned about how this may affect you or your family, or if you have any other immigration needs, feel free to contact us online or call our office at 412-254-8700.

Immigrant Rights and Law Enforcement

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If you are a recent immigrant, you may be feeling anxious about possible encounters with law enforcement officials or agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We at Goldstein & Associates wish to outline what to do if ICE agents come to your house, as well as what rights you have.

Your Rights if ICE Agents are at Your Door

All information below is a repost of an original article from the American Civil Liberties Union. See the original article at: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/what-do-if-immigration-agents-ice-are-your-door.

1. If officers are at your door, keep the door closed and ask if they are Immigration agents, or from ICE. Ask the agents what they are there for. Opening the door does not give the agents permission to come inside, but it is safer to speak to ICE through the door. If the agents don’t speak your language, ask for an interpreter.

2. If the agents want to enter, ask them if they have a warrant signed by a judge. If ICE agents do not have a warrant signed by a Judge, you may refuse to open the door or let them in. An administrative warrant of removal from immigration authorities is not enough. If they say they have a warrant, ask them to slip the warrant under the door. Look at the top and at the signature line to see if it was issued by a court and signed by a judge. Only a court/judge warrant is enough for entry into your premises. One issued by DHS or ICE and signed by a DHS or ICE employee is not.
a. An example of an order by a judge: https://www.aclu.org/files/kyr/kyr_abra-la-puerta.pdf
b. An example of an order by ICE: https://www.aclu.org/files/kyr/kyr_no-abra-la-puerta.pdf

3. Do not open your door unless ICE shows you a judicial search or arrest warrant naming a person in your residence and/or areas to be searched at your address. In all other cases, keep the door closed. State: “I do not consent to your entry.”

4. If agents force their way in anyway, do not attempt to resist. If you wish to exercise your rights, state: “I do not consent to your entry or to your search of these premises. I am exercising my right to remain silent. I wish to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.” Everyone in the residence may also exercise the right to remain silent.

5. Do not lie or show false documents. Do not sign any papers without speaking to a lawyer.

If you are concerned about how this may affect you or your family, or if you have any other immigration needs, feel free to contact us online or call our office at 412-258-8080.

Trump Proposes “Fortress America” Following Orlando Shootings

os-donald-trump-attacks-his-opponents-and-addresses-protesters-at-a-packed-cfe-arena-20160305Donald Trump has put a new twist on his immigration policy following the mass shooting at a Florida nightclub by the American-born son of Afghan immigrants. If elected, Trump promised, he would halt immigration from any area of the world with a “proven history of terrorism” against America or our allies. He also accused the Muslim community of broad involvement in these types of attacks.

While a ban on immigrants from certain countries has been done before and has some legal standing, Trump’s proposed religious-based ban poses serious Constitutional concerns. No previous U.S. president has proposed a religious ban on immigrants and Trump’s proposal demonstrates his poor understanding of the Constitution and the founding principles of our nation.

Trump has used the Orlando massacre as evidence of Islamic threat to America and as reason to suggest a temporary prohibition on Muslim immigrants. Because of the vagueness of his announcement, it is hard to discern how broadly Trump would extend an immigration ban on any other country or religious groups.

Goldstein & Associates urges anyone who may be concerned about their status to contact us online or call us at 412-258-8080 to discuss options before it is too late.

Immigration and Our Economy

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Both immigration reform and economic performance in the United States are hot topics during this presidential election. As such, it is imperative to look at the effect of immigration on our economy. Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has an impractical and self-destructive approach to immigration that would have severe consequences for our economy. In addition to the construction of a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border and a banning of all Muslim immigration to the U.S., Trump suggests a mass deportation of any undocumented individual. This alone would destroy the United States economy if it were to be implemented.

Deporting the 6.8 million employed undocumented workers would wreak havoc on our economy and reduce private industry output by between $381.5 billion and $623.2 billion dollars, according to the American Action Forum’s (AAF) May report. Not only would this revenue disappear, but the AAF reports that the government would have to spend between $400 and $600 billion to address the deportation efforts of the roughly 11.2 million undocumented immigrants. A mass deportation would destroy industries, economics, and families across the United States.

It is important to note that unauthorized immigrants are paying billions of dollars in taxes, spending billions of dollars in U.S. businesses, and having U.S.-born children who will grow up to do the same. A pathway to legal status and citizenship, as outlined by Hillary Clinton, would allow for this substantial tax revenue, consumer spending, and entrepreneurship to continue.

Goldstein & Associates understands how integral immigrants are to the United States economy and society in general- we would be happy to assist anyone interested in exploring their immigration options. Contact our office online or call for a free consultation at 412-258-8080.

Justice Department v. Judge Hanen

Judge HanenThe Texas v. SCOTUS debate is heating up. The feud between the Obama administration and a federal Judge has escalated after Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville, Texas, ordered the Justice Department to provide the names of tens of thousands of immigrants that were granted protection from deportation under Obama’s DAPA and DACA programs.

The Justice Department is calling the judge’s order grossly disproportionate and a clear overstep of his authority. This is ironic, considering Obama’s implementation of these programs has also been called an overstep of authority. It is clear that there is bad blood between Judge Hanen and the government lawyers involved; in addition to the request for the names, the Judge also ordered lawyers to take ethics courses and even barred some from appearing in his court.

According to the Obama administration, if implemented, these measures would cost roughly $8 million over five years. In addition to the exorbitant financial cost, forcing the government to reveal the identities of innocent immigrants would be a serious breach of the confidentiality of immigration applicants.

On June 7, 2016, the Judge halted this order and it will be “stayed” until a hearing in August. The Department of Justice has until July 31, 2016 to file a brief explaining the lawyers’ “misrepresentation” of the DAPA and DACA programs.

Goldstein & Associates will continue to follow the case and provide any significant updates. If you are concerned about how this may affect you or your family, feel free to contact us online or call our office at 412-258-8080.

On Obama’s Immigration Actions

Orlando-Immigration-Attorney-President-Obama-Immigration-ChangesAs Barack Obama’s second term comes to a close, we have the opportunity to look back at the relationship between his presidency and the illegal immigrant population in the United States.

It is important to understand the numbers prior to Obama taking office in 2008; when George W. Bush left office in 2007, the total number of illegal immigrants was estimated to be 12.2 million. During Bush’s time in office, between 2000 and 2006, an estimated 4.16 million immigrants illegally settled in the United States. Reports from the Center for Immigration Studies estimate that, between 2009-2015 (the first six years of the Obama administration), around 2.52 million immigrants illegally settled in the U.S. The latest numbers revealed that in 2012, the population of illegal immigrants was 11.7 million. In looking at these numbers, it is clear that both the number of migrations and total illegal immigrants went down after Obama took office.

Some argue that in recent years, since Obama began his immigration reform efforts such as DACA and DAPA, that the number of illegal immigrants has dramatically increased. However, since 2009, the size of the illegal population has remained almost constant due to new arrivals being offset by those who returned home or became authorized to live in the U.S. It has recently been reported that there has been a decline of around 100,000 in illegal immigrants between 2013 and 2014. While this may seem promising, the decline is probably not statistically significant. There is a margin of error associated with these types of statistical studies that essentially makes it impossible to know if the decline is substantial. Even so, the overall numbers clearly indicate that the number of undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. during the Obama administration was lower than that in the Bush administration.

Goldstein & Associates encourages those seeking immigration options to contact us online or at 412-258-8080 as soon as possible to ensure that you can take advantage of opportunities under the current administration.

Hillary Clinton’s Strong Stance on Immigration

la-pn-hillary-clinton-speech-silicon-valley-20150224Hillary Clinton has outlined policies that are committed to ensuring a fair and just immigration system. As Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee for the 2016 Presidential Election, it is important to understand her immigration plans and how they may affect your status.

In early May, Clinton vowed to support immigration reform and expand President Obama’s deportation relief policies. Taking it a step further, Clinton promised to extend protections to additional categories of undocumented immigrants. One category would be the parents of young, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children (DREAMers) who may be able to remain in the U.S. under Obama’s DACA as well as parents of American citizens, under DAPA.

Clinton is committed to creating a pathway to “full and equal citizenship” as part of her immigration reform. Clinton supports Obama’s efforts and has also addressed less discussed immigration issues. She argues that those in deportation proceedings, at the very least the young, should receive more legal representation. Clinton also called for movement away from the current detention policies and argues that undocumented immigrants who are especially vulnerable, such as children, transgender, and generally noncriminal immigrants should not be detained.

In short, Hillary Clinton’s comprehensive immigration policy calls for granting a pathway to citizenship, providing deportation protections, reforming detention practices, expanding legal representation to immigrants and creating a pathway to citizenship. If you are interested in learning more about Clinton’s policies or any opportunities you may have regarding your immigration status, please do not hesitate to contact Goldstein & Associates for a free consultation online or at (412) 258-8080.

We encourage you to explore existing legal protections that are currently available to you- in light of the fact that some may not be available after a new administration comes into power.

 

Obama Immigration Raids

13260226_557612724413200_2879551303306558359_nOn Thursday, May 12th, the Obama administration announced their intent to begin a “30-day surge of immigration raids”. The target of the raid will be families who did not show up for court appearances of who have defied orders for removal. The raids are in response to the doubling of the Central American family units apprehended at our borders with the hope that other Central Americans will be deterred from illegally entering the U.S.

These raids sound like something out of Trump’s immigration reform plan, but have actually been initiated by the Obama administration. Leading Democrats, including Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, have staunchly opposed the raids. Rightfully so, as it appears that the raids will not have the intended effect on immigrants coming to the U.S.

The undocumented migrants that the raids are targeted toward are not coming here to work or conduct illegal business, but are simply fleeing from their home countries riddled with brutal violence and persecution. The targets are chiefly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador; it has been reported that eighty-three U.S. deportees back to these countries have already been murdered in their homelands. For that reason, it is hard to believe that this immigration raid will have the desired deterrence effect- “nothing will change people’s minds when they are literally fleeing for their lives” according to White House spokesman, Josh Earnest.

The lack of access to legal representation is a big reason that these Central Americans get placed in removal proceedings. In 2014, 86% of asylum cases from Central America lacked legal representation. An overwhelming majority of these detainees have a reasonable fear of returning home. This fear will be heightened as the immigration raids ensue. The Obama administration should reevaluate the proposed raids and take a more humanitarian approach to the immigration crisis in the United States.

Goldstein & Associates would be happy to discuss legal options for individuals and family units who may be affected by the proposed immigration raids. Please do not hesitate to contact our firm online or call us at 412-258-8080.