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.

 

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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.

Texas v. SCOTUS

handsThe Supreme Court of the United States is set to hear a case that will affect over 4 million immigrants in the United States. President Obama’s Executive Orders expanding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), were introduced in 2014 and would grant lawful presence to certain types of undocumented immigrants. Ever since these program were proposed, Texas and 25 other states have adamantly tried to block these initiatives, challenging that Obama does not have the authority to implement such extensive changes to immigration enforcement.

In 2015, a Texas federal court upheld the injunction which propelled the case to the Supreme Court. The Court has until the end of June to announce their ruling on whether or not Obama’s program is constitutional. On April 18, the Court heard oral arguments regarding the case and it still appears that the justices may be evenly split along ideological lines.

There are two outcomes that seem most likely: deadlock or “standing” ruling. As a result of Justice Scalia’s death, the Court is now split evenly between four liberal and four conservative judges. If the Court rules a deadlocked 4-4 decision on this case, the Texas federal court ruling will be upheld and the program will remain blocked. A standing decision refers to the idea that states do not have legal standing to bring this case, which would allow the expanded DACA and DAPA programs to proceed to implementation.

Goldstein & Associates will continue to follow the case, which is to be decided by June. For those interested in more information on the matter, please do not hesitate to contact our firm online or at (412) 258-8080 for a free consultation.

Same-Sex Partners Eligible for Immigration Benefits

On June 26th, 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling in United States v. Windsor, also known as the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) case. In its decision, the Supreme Court held that the federal law’s provision that limited the federal definition of “marriage” as only between one man and one woman was unconstitutional. This paves the way for over one thousand federal benefits to be bestowed upon same-sex couples who are legally married.

As the immigration laws in the U.S. are controlled by the federal government, this ruling also affects same-sex couples in the immigration context. Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees all immigration applications in the U.S., stated, “Working with our federal partners, including the Department of Justice, we will implement today’s decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws.” In other words, same-sex partners of U.S. Citizens will be able to apply for green cards based on their marriage, just as heterosexual couples currently do. In addition, in immigration removal proceedings, certain applications for relief that rely on a showing of hardship to the U.S. Citizen spouse will also be open to same-sex couples. There are multiple avenues that are now open to same-sex couples, and you should be sure to consult with an immigration attorney prior to filing applications for immigration benefits.

We have been watching this issue as it has progressed through the courts. We applaud the Supreme Court’s decision, as it has opened the door for thousands of same-sex couples to seek the right to obtain immigration status in the U.S. We are ready to speak with individuals who may have questions regarding how the Supreme Court’s ruling could affect their particular situation. If you are in a same-sex relationship and would like to discuss your immigration situation, please give us a call at 1-888-233-7002 and we will gladly discuss your case with you and see if we will be able to help.

New Policy Allows Immigrants Who Entered as Children to Remain in U.S.

On June 15, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. agency that oversees all immigration enforcement, announced that certain people who came to the United States as children would be eligible to apply for something known as deferred action, so long as they met other requirements as well. Deferred action means that even if you are in the United States illegally, DHS will not try and deport you and send you home for two years. If you are given deferred action, it will be valid for two years, and you would be eligible to apply to work legally in the United States as well.

There are a few rules that cover whether you are eligible for this new policy. The following list are some of the factors that you need to look at when determining if you would fall under this policy, and our office can help you determine whether or not you have a good case for this type of application.

  1. Were you younger than 31 years old on June 15, 2012?
  2. Did you come to the United States before you turned 16 years old?
  3. Have you resided in the United States since June 15, 2007 and still live here today?
  4. Were you in the United States on June 15, 2012? Will you be in the United States when you file your application?
  5. Did you enter without having a U.S. immigration officer give you permission?
  6. Did you have permission and a legal status, but it expired and you stayed longer?
  7. Are you currently in school?
  8. Have you graduated, or have you obtained a certificate of completion from a high school in the United States?
  9. If you did not finish high school, have you gotten your GED?
  10. If you did not finish school, and you also do not have your GED, are you an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or another branch of the Armed Forces?There is one more step, and these answers need to be “No” to be eligible:
  11. Have you been convicted of a felony?
  12. Have you been convicted of a significant misdemeanor?
  13. Have you been convicted of three or more misdemeanors?
  14. Do you pose a threat to national security or public safety?

Our firm is prepared to assist individuals who believe they are eligible for the new deferred action explained in this letter. There are many factors that need to be reviewed, to make sure that you fit each specific rule for this program. We can assist with things such as whether you have continuous residence, what documents should be submitted, etc.

We never charge someone to come and talk to us about his or her issues, so there is no risk is calling us. We will do our best to help you apply for this program, but if you are not eligible, we will help you determine what else you may be eligible for, so that you can still apply for legal status in the United States.

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US Supreme Court Rejects BIA Deportation Waiver Policy As Arbitrary and Capricious

US Supreme Court Rejects BIA Deportation Waiver Policy As Arbitrary and Capricious

Last week, the US Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Judulang v. Holder struck down the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) approach for deciding when non-citizens are eligible for a discretionary waiver of deportation under section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Mr. Judulang had been in proceedings to be removed from the United States on the ground that he had committed an “aggravated felony” involving a “crime of violence.” The BIA ruled that a “crime of violence” was not “comparable” to any ground for exclusion, rendering Mr. Judulang ineligible for Section 212(c) relief. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed this decision before it was accepted by the Supreme Court.

In its unanimous decision written by Justice Kagan, the Supreme Court held that the BIA policy for deciding when resident aliens may apply to the Attorney General for relief from deportation under INA section 212(c) is “arbitrary and capricious.” The Court highlighted that:

“The comparable-grounds approach does not rest on any factors relevant to whether an alien (or any group of aliens) should be deported. It instead distinguishes among aliens – decides who should be eligible for discretionary relief and who should not – solely by comparing the metes and bounds of diverse statutory categories in which an alien falls. The resulting Venn diagrams have no connection to the goals of the deportation process or the rational operation of the immigration laws.”

In conclusion, the Court ruled,

“We must reverse an agency policy when we cannot discern a reason for it. That is the trouble in this case. The BIA’s comparable-grounds rule is unmoored from the purposes and concerns of the immigration laws. It allows an irrelevant comparison between statutory provisions to govern a matter of the utmost importance—whether lawful resident aliens with longstanding ties to this country may stay here. And contrary to the Government’s protestations, it is not supported by text or practice or cost considerations. The BIA’s approach therefore cannot pass muster under ordinary principles of administrative law.

Goldstein & Associates, LLC applauds this decision of the US Supreme Court, which marks the end of a policy that turned many deportation cases into a sport of chance. As practitioners that work with complex deportation and removal cases, the attorneys at Goldstein & Associates know the importance of just decisions such as this one. As the case law develops with regard to deportation defense and litigation, we strive to uncover ways to apply new precedent decisions so that they may benefit our existing clients. In Judalong, the Supreme Court strengthened the framework of our immigration laws in a way that will allow for fair hearings on discretionary waiver of deportation cases under former section 212(c) of the INA.

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