Help for Immigrant Families During COVID-19

We are currently living during uncertain times due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Millions of people have been affected by falling ill, losing their jobs, and overall the uncertainty of not knowing when everything will get better. Amongst the ones affected are immigrant families who have been struggling to receive medical assistance due to the financial burden it will cause and also not having access to financial resources due to their immigration status. Many have lost their jobs leaving them without any financial resources to stay afloat. They find themselves in desperate times not having the funds to buy food, pay their bills or their rent, just like many of us. 

Stimulus Check

In April, millions of Americans received a stimulus check of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. However, this stimulus bill did not include immigrant families or spouses of Unites States Citizens even though they pay billions in taxes each year. According to Americas Voice Education Fund, immigrants paid $405.4 billion in taxes in 2017, including an estimated $27.2 billion in taxes paid by undocumented immigrants. Immigrant families have found themselves at a loss and alone with the lack of resources they have to aid them during this pandemic.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI)

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the lack of resources the immigrant community has access to, California Governor Gavin Newsom, made a decision to help the immigrant community by providing financial assistance through the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI).  California is providing state funded assistance one time to undocumented adults who are ineligible for other forms of assistance, including assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and pandemic unemployment benefits, because of their immigration status. 

The California Department of Social Services has selected twelve immigrant-serving nonprofit organizations to help individuals apply for and receive this disaster relief assistance in their region. An undocumented adult who qualifies can receive $500 in direct assistance, with a maximum of $1000 in assistance per household.

This assistance means a lot for immigrant families. It is rewarding to witness our governor and many non-profit organizations coming together to aid the immigrant community during this pandemic crisis.

Frequently Asked Questions Answered by California’s Department of Social Services

Who do I contact to apply for the disaster relief assistance for immigrants?

If you live in the County of Los Angeles/Orange please contact:

  1. CHIRLA (213) 201-8700 or (213) 395-9547
  2. CARECEN (213) 315-2659 (LA County ONLY)

If you live in the County of San Bernardino/Riverside please contact:

  1. San Bernardino Community Service Center (909) 521-7535 or
  2. TODEC Legal Center (888) 863-3291

If you live in San Diego County please contact:

  1. Jewish Family Service Center of San Diego (760) 206-3242

If your county is not listed please visit this page to see the full list of organizations based on your county https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesou…/immigration/covid-19-drai.

How can I apply for assistance if I am undocumented?

CDSS published the list of the nonprofit organizations that were selected to administer the disaster relief assistance in the various regions of California here: COVID-19 Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants. Individuals who are interested in applying for this assistance should contact the nonprofit organization listed for their county from May 18- June 30th

Interested applicants must contact the organization for their county directly to inquire about assistance availability. The nonprofit organization will assist individuals with the application process, confirm their eligibility, and deliver a payment card to approved applicants. Applicants will be considered on a first come, first served basis.

Funding is limited, and disaster relief application services and assistance are not guaranteed.

How do I qualify for the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI)?

Eligible individuals must be able to provide information that they:

(1) are an undocumented adult (person over the age of 18)

(2) are not eligible for federal COVID-19 related assistance, like the CARES Act tax stimulus payments or pandemic unemployment benefits; and,

(3) have experienced a hardship as a result of COVID-19.

What documents do I need to apply for DRAI?

You must provide information/documents to verify your:

  1. identity,
  2. home/mailing address,
  3. and show you have been affected by COVID-19. 

Contact the organizations listed for your county or region for more information about the application process and the documents required (CHIRLA).

Will receiving assistance from DRAI affect my possibility in obtaining my residency (green card) in the United States?

This disaster relief assistance is not means-tested and is one-time assistance. The federal government does not list this assistance as a public benefit for a public charge consideration. However, USCIS has not issued specific guidance related to this assistance.

If there are questions about immigration status and this assistance project, please contact Franco Law Group at 213.200.1505 to schedule your consultation with an immigration attorney. Consultation is offered at a discounted price of $25.

If I am approved for DRAI how will I receive the funds?

If a person is found eligible and their application is approved, the nonprofit organization that helped them apply will provide additional information on how they will receive their payment card either through in-person pick-up or through the mail.

When is the last day to apply for DRAI?

Applicants will be considered on a first come, first served basis. The $75 million in direct assistance will be distributed to individuals with approved applications beginning on May 18, 2020, until the funding is spent or until June 30, 2020, at the latest.

Adelanto and Otay Mesa Detention Centers During COVID-19

Immigrants held at detention centers such as the Adelanto Detention Center and the Otay Mesa Detention Center live in fear for their lives for being at risk of contracting the Coronavirus due to the tight quarters they find themselves in. Many of them have health issues and do not have access to quality medical resources to protect them if they were to fall ill with COVID-19. 

On May 6, 2020, CBS 8 reported the 1st COVID-19 related death of a detainee at the Otay Mesa Detention Center.  According to NBC Bay Area on May 15, 2020, ICE listed on their website that there are 149 infected detainees at the Otay Mesa Detention Center, the highest known in the country’s sprawling network of immigrant detention facilities.

According to the agency, the Adelanto Detention Center, reported 4 detainees with COVID-19. On May 14, 2020, an employee with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) working at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center tested positive for COVID-19.

To protect the health of immigrant detainees at detention centers nationwide and more specifically the Adelanto Detention Center and the Otay Mesa Detention Center, civil rights organizations such as the Human Right’s Watch, ACLU, and the National Immigrant Justice have pressured ICE and federal judges to release detainees in order to protect their health.

Thanks to their efforts on May 5, 2020, a federal judge ordered immigration officials to immediately reduce the number of detainees at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Desert Sun

Due to the loss of the 57 asylum seeker that died at the Otay Mesa Detention Center due to COVID-19, a San Diego federal judge ordered that a group of “medically vulnerable” detainees at the Otay Mesa Detention Center be screened for release amid the COVID-19 outbreak at the facility (CBS 8).  

We have to continue pressuring ICE agencies and federal judges to continue releasing detainees in order to protect their lives.

How to contact a family member that is detained at the Adelanto or the Otay Mesa Detention Center?

If you have a family member detained at the Adelanto Detention Center this is how you may get in contact with them:

If you need information about a detainee that is housed at this facility, you may call (760) 561-6100 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. When you call, please have the individual’s biographical information ready, including first, last and hyphenated names, any aliases he or she may use, date of birth and country of birth.

If you need to get in touch with a detainee you must call (866) 348-6231 and leave the detainee’s full name, alien registration number and a telephone number where you can be reached. He or she will be given your message.

Detainees cannot receive incoming calls. If you need to get in touch with a detainee to leave an urgent message, you must call (760) 561-6100 and leave the detainee’s full name, alien registration number and your name and telephone number where you can be reached. The detainee will be given your message (Adelanto Website).

If you have a family member detained at the Otay Mesa Detention Center this is how you may get in contact with them:

If you need information about a detainee that is housed at this facility, you may call (619) 671-8700 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. When you call, please have the individual’s biographical information ready, including first, last and hyphenated names, any aliases he or she may use, date of birth and country of birth.

Detainees cannot receive incoming calls. If you need to get in touch with a detainee to leave an urgent message, you must call (619) 671-8724 and leave the detainee’s full name, alien registration number and your name and telephone number where you can be reached. The detainee will be given your message (Otay Mesa Website).

Are you in need of an immigration attorney? 

If you or a loved one has been placed in immigration detention it is imperative that you consult with an immigration attorney as soon as possible. You may reach Franco Law Group at 213.200.1505 to schedule an appointment. Our office hours are Monday-Friday from 10 am to 6 pm.

Our attorneys have experience with detainee cases at the Adelanto and Otay Detention Centers, as well, as out of state detention centers. We have an office located in Los Angeles at 5601 E. Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90022 and in San Diego at 402 West Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101.

What happens to my immigration case during the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

On April 24, 2020, USCIS announced that they are extending their temporary closure date until June 3, 2020. USCIS is the immigration office that reviews applications of those seeking their U.S legal permanent residence card (also known as a “green card”) or U.S citizenship. Typically, they hold in person interviews and exams with the applicant in order to determine if they will obtain their U.S legal permanent residence card or U.S citizenship.

Due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, USCIS announced on March 18, 2020 that they cancelled all interviews and visits to the USCIS immigration offices to protect everyone’s health and safety. Previously, they had announced that they would temporarily close until April 1, 2020 but since then they have extended their date to June 3, 2020.

You may ask yourself, “well what does that mean for my immigration case?” “Is it on pause or on hold during the pandemic of the Coronavirus?” To answer this question, no, your case is not put on hold during the pandemic of the Coronavirus. Immigration officers are still working and continue to review your application. Therefore, you may still continue working with your attorney to submit your application and if you don’t have an attorney and would like to begin an immigration case, please don’t hesitate and contact one of our Franco Law Group attorneys at 213.200.1505.

USCIS Resources

Using the following links you are able to:

Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) aka “Immigration Court”

On March 13, 2020 the Executive Office for Immigration Review in Los Angeles (also known as the “Immigration Court”) announced that they would be postponing all Master hearings as a result of the breakout of the Coronavirus. A master hearing is a preliminary hearing where you present your immigration case before an immigration judge.

Later on March 18, 2020 the Executive Office for Immigration Review also postponed all non-detained hearings. Therefore, the only hearings that are still scheduled are for those that are detained and are presenting a case before an immigration judge in order to fight for the right to stay in the United States.

Now, if you have a case that you are fighting before the Immigration Court you may wonder if your case is put on hold due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the answer is no. Your case is still active and still being reviewed. Therefore, you should continue working with your attorney to meet any deadlines you may have to submit documents and continue working to move your case forward. If you don’t have an attorney we have an experienced team of attorneys that can help. You may contact us by commenting below or calling our office at 213.200.1505.

As of now, the Executive Office for Immigration Review is not set to open until June 15, 2020. Therefore, any hearings after June 15, 2020 are still scheduled until further notice.

Any filings due during a court closure should be filed. Filing deadlines after March 30, 2020 remain in effect subject to the discretion of the immigration judge. There is no requirement that documents be filed in person. For all courts, parties are encouraged to file by mail or by ECAS where available (EOIR).

Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)

If you are an asylum seeker in Mexico and you have a case pending under the MPP program, please know that currently all hearings presently scheduled through April 22 will be rescheduled. Any individual with an MPP hearing date through April 22 should present themselves at their designated port of entry on their previously scheduled date to receive a tear sheet and hearing notice containing their new hearing dates. The Board of Immigration Appeals are still reviewing immigration cases.

Have a Question?

Tel: 213.200.1505

San Diego Tel: 619.955.2024

Fax: 213.785.1248

Email: Reception@FrancoLawGroup.com Romero@FrancoLawGroup.com

Franco Law Group Locations: East Los Angeles Office 5601 E. Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90022

    DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)

    If you are a DACA recipient, please seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney now. Do not wait until the Supreme Court makes a decision on DACA’s fate.

    If you’re among the 700,000 young adults uncertain about their future with DACA, call us today!

    On Tuesday, November 12, 2019, the Supreme Court held oral arguments. We are expected to hear the ultimate DACA decision as late as June of 2020 or as early as January of 2020. Please continue your support by participating in events, and by writing to your congress members. We will continue our relentless fight to protect and defend the rights of our immigrant community!

    What To Ask An Immigration Lawyer?

    What To Ask An Immigration Lawyer?

    A good immigration lawyer will make the immigration process easier by clearly explaining each step. An immigration attorney will guide you through the immigration laws and make the process easier to understand. Choosing the right attorney can mean the difference between the success or the failure of your immigration case. 

    Here are some questions you can ask your immigration attorney before your you begin working on your case: 

     

    • What types of immigration cases do you and your law firm handle?

     

    Immigration attorneys handle a multitude of cases that each have different processes and specific requirements. Immigration cases can include work visas, green cards, investment visas just to name a few. Having an immigration lawyer who has a firm grasp on immigration law and specifically your case can benefit you and your case’s outcome. 

     

    • What is your experience with immigration cases similar to mine?  

     

    Because there are a variety of types of immigration cases covered by immigration law, each case involves a unique process with specific requirements and different issues can arise. Having an immigration attorney who has experience in cases similar to yours is extremely important to increase the possibilities of a successful outcome.

     

    • What do you need from me? 

     

    Figuring out what your immigration lawyer will need from you for your initial meeting will insure that you get the most out of your consultation. Be sure to ask your immigration attorney what forms and other important paperwork they need from you to help aid the process.   

     

    • Why are you the best immigration lawyer for me? 

     

    After learning about your immigration attorney’s experience with other immigration cases and cases similar to yours, this question is an opportunity for your attorney to give you final confirmation on how they will handle your case as well as to explain why you should hire that attorney specifically. 

    Contact the Best Immigration Lawyers in Los Angeles

    IMMIGRATION LAW: HUMANITARIAN RELIEF

    Temporary Protected Status; INA §244

    TPS established a safe haven in the U.S. for nationals of foreign state (or if stateless of person habitually resided in the foreign state) if the AG, after consultation with appropriate government agencies, determines with respect to that foreign state that:

    • there is an ongoing armed conflict within the state posing a serious threat to the personal safety of the country’s national if retuned there
    • there has been an earthquake, flood, drought, epidemic or other environmental disaster resulting in a substantial disruption of living condition in the area affected; the foreign state is unable temporarily to handle the return of its nationals and the foreign state has affirmatively requested designation
    • there exists extraordinary and temporary conditions in the foreign state that prevent aliens who are nationals from returning safely.

    Humanitarian Parole, INA §212(d)(5)(A)

    Humanitarian parole is an extraordinary measure, sparingly used to bring an otherwise inadmissible alien into the United States for a temporary period of time due to a very compelling emergency.

    The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may temporarily parole any alien applying for entry into the United States based on urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. Humanitarian parole is granted on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of the Secretary of DHS.

    Humanitarian Reinstatement, INA §213A(f)(5)

    After the death of a petitioner a visa filed on your behalf in the past may still be valid. The petition is automatically revoked pursuant to federal regulations when the petitioner in a family based petition passes away. However, pursuant to the same federal regulations, the Attorney General may in his discretion reinstate the approval of a family based visa. The Attorney General may exercise favorable discretion where “for humanitarian reasons revocation would be inappropriate.” 8 C.F.R. Sec. 205.1(a)(3)(i)(C). Such an exercise of discretion is not automatic; it requires the beneficiary to affirmatively request and document why such humanitarian relief should be granted. Such a request is known as “humanitarian reinstatement.”

    IMMIGRATION LAW: VICTIMS OF CRIME / DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

    U Visas; INA §101(a)(15)(U)

    The U Visa is available to certain victims of crimes. The U Visa allows temporary legal status and work eligibility in the United States for up to four years. The U Visa is a non immigrant visa available to 10,000 people per year.

    An applicant must show:

    • She or he has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of qualifying criminal activity
    • Possesses credible and reliable in that he or she has knowledge of the details concerning the qualifying criminal activity upon which his or her petition is based
    • Has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful to a certifying agency in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity; and
    • The qualifying criminal activity occurred in the U.S., in U.S. territories or possessions, or violated a U.S. federal law that provides for extraterritorial jurisdiction

    Qualifying Criminal Activity (one or more of the following or any similar activities in violation of federal, state, or local criminal laws:

    • Abduction
    • Blackmail
    • Domestic violence
    • Extortion
    • False imprisonment
    • Felonious assault
    • Female genital mutilation
    • Hostage
    • Incest
    • Involuntary servitude
    • Kidnapping
    • Manslaughter
    • Murder
    • Obstruction of justice
    • Peonage
    • Perjury
    • Prostitution
    • Rape sexual assault
    • Sexual contact
    • Sexual exploitation
    • Slave trade
    • Torture
    • Trafficking
    • Unlawful criminal restraint
    • Witness tampering
    • Attempt, Conspiracy or solicitation

    T Visas; INA § 101(a)(15)(T)

    T Visa allows certain victims of human trafficking to remain in the United States if they agree to assist law enforcement in testifying against the perpetrators. A total of 500 T visas are available per year.

    T Visas are available to persons who:

    • who have been subject to severe trafficking (the use of force, fraud, or coercion for sex trafficking or involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery)
    • who are physically present in the U.S.
    • who are physically present in the U.S.
    • who the Attorney General and the Secretary of DHS agree have complied with a reasonable request by Federal, State or Local law enforcement authorities to assist in the investigation or persecution of such trafficking or in the investigation of crimes where acts of trafficking are at least one central reason for the crime; and
    • who would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm upon removal

    Laws that Enacted Provisions for Victims of Domestic Violence

    • Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994
    • Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000
    • Torture Victims Relief Reauthorization Act of 2003
    • Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003
    • Violence against Women and DOJ Reauthorization Act of 2005

    IMMIGRATION LAW: NON-IMMIGRANT VISAS

    Non-immigrants enter the U.S. for a temporary period of time and are restricted to the activity consistent with their visas. These type of visas are less restricted and more readily available.

    Visas for Temporary Visitors (B1/B2)

    • B-1 Visitor for Business
    • B-2 Visitors for Pleasure

    Visas for Students and Trainees (F, M, J, H-3)

    • Academic Students (F Visa)
    • Vocational Students (M Visa)
    • Exchange Visitor (J Visa)
    • H-3 Visa – Temporary worker invited by an individual or an organization for purposes of receiving instruction and training other than medical in nature.

    Visas for Business Personnel (H, L, E, I, O, P Q, and R Visas)

    • H-1B Professional Workers
    • H-2 Temporary Workers
    • L-1 Executives / Managers
    • E Australian Special Occupation Visa
    • I Representatives of the Media
    • O-1 Extraordinary Ability
    • P-1 Athletes & Entertainers
    • Q-1 Cultural Exchange
    • R-1 Religious Workers

    Family-Related Visas for Fiancees, Spouses, and Children of U.S. Citizens and LPRS

    • K-1 Fiancee
    • K-3 Spouse of USC
    • V Visa (Spouse/Child of LPR)

    Diplomatic and International Organization Aliens

    • Nato
    • TN trade under NAFTA
    • A and G visas

    Miscellaneous

    • Extension of Stay
    • Change of Status
    • Transit, crewmen
    • Law Enforcement Visas

    One Year Under President Trump and Expectations for 2018

    NEWSLETTER – January 2018

     

    Written By Attorney Sergio A. Perez of the Franco Law Group, APLC.

     

    One Year Under President Trump and Expectations for 2018.

                                            

    The year 2018 is now upon us and, as expected, the first year of Donald J. Trump’s presidency brought several changes that have been detrimental to immigrants.  The first of these changes were the implementation of executive orders and policies that eliminated enforcement priorities and prosecutorial discretion.  Under President Obama, immigration authorities were directed to prioritize their enforcement and prosecutorial efforts, with immigrants deemed to be threats to public safety and national security being the highest priorities.  However, under President Trump, any person in the U.S. without authorization is an enforcement priority and is subject to detention and possible removal.  President Trump also implemented the so-called Muslim travel bans which have been partially blocked and partially upheld by the federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.  Additionally, on September 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced the elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which gave temporary lawful status to certain immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, commonly called “Dreamers”.  (The elimination of DACA is currently being litigated in the courts.)  The Trump administration also took aim at Temporary Protected Status, or TPS.  This is a designation which gives temporary protection from removal to eligible immigrants from certain countries who cannot be repatriated due to ongoing armed conflicts, environmental disaster or other extraordinary and temporary conditions that exist in their countries of origin.  In September of 2017, the Trump administration announced that the TPS designation for Sudan would be removed.  Then, in November of 2017, the administration announced the removal of the TPS designations for Nicaragua and Haiti.  Consequently, approximately 1,000 Sudanese, 2,500 Nicaraguans and 59,000 Haitians will be subject to removal if they do not obtain another form of legal status or leave the U.S. when their TPS ends – November 2, 2018 for Sudanese, January 5, 2019 for Nicaraguans and July 22, 2019 for Haitians.

     

    Just days into the new year, on January 8, 2018, the Trump administration continued to undo protections for immigrants by announcing the removal of the TPS designation for El Salvador.  Now, approximately 200,000 Salvadorans with TPS have until September 9, 2019 to obtain another form of legal status, leave the U.S. or be subject to removal.

     

    Past statements from President Trump and his administration give us an idea of what other changes immigrants and their advocates can expect in 2018.  First, the Trump administration has stated that it is considering removing the TPS designation for Honduras.  If this happens, approximately 57,000 Hondurans who currently have TPS will be faced with the same circumstances as their Sudanese, Nicaraguan, Haitian and Salvadoran counterparts.  Additionally, on January 4, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated that he will review a practice called administrative closure.  This is a practice used by immigration judges to administratively close cases to allow immigrants in removal proceedings time to pursue immigration benefits outside of the immigration court.  If Attorney General Sessions orders the end of this practice, 350,000 immigration court cases which are currently administratively closed could be reopened.

     

    The Trump administration has also been critical of the diversity visa lottery and what it calls “chain migration”.  The diversity visa lottery gives visas to persons from countries with low immigration rates to the U.S.  “Chain migration” refers to family based petitions by which U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can petition for eligible spouses, children, parents and siblings.  Indeed, the Trump administration has stated that it wants to eliminate or severely limit these immigration benefits with the goal of cutting yearly lawful immigration to the U.S. by half.  However, unlike the changes mentioned above, President Trump cannot unilaterally end or limit the diversity visa lottery or family based petitions as this would require changes in the law.  For this, Congress would have to act first.  The Trump administration and Congress are currently engaged in immigration reform discussions.  However, the outcome of these discussions remains uncertain as they have been overshadowed by President Trump’s widely reported and vulgar comments of January 11, 2018 regarding Haiti, El Salvador and African countries.

     

    Immigrants who have been affected by the Trump administration’s changes, or who might be affected by the administration’s expected changes, are encouraged to speak with a qualified immigration attorney to discuss their legal options.  The attorneys of the Franco Law Group, APLC are available to discuss your case.  Please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys at (213) 200-1505.

    Do Not Delay In Applying For Immigration Benefits

    NEWSLETTER – December 2017

     

    Written By Attorney Sergio A. Perez of the Franco Law Group, APLC.

     

    Do Not Delay In Applying For Immigration Benefits.

                                            

    Immigrants who are fortunate enough to be eligible for immigration relief should not delay in applying for those benefits.  Indeed, a delay could result in an immigrant no longer having a particular benefit available due to changes in personal circumstances, eligibility requirements or in the elimination of a particular immigration benefit entirely.  The reasons that immigrants delay vary from person to person.  However, the most common reasons observed by the attorneys of the Franco Law Group, APLC are the costs of application fees, the need to take care of other personal matters first, and simple indecision or a lack of motivation.  However, as recently happened with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, a benefit can become more difficult to obtain or be eliminated altogether through changes in laws and government policies.

     

    One case involving a prospective client of our firm, whom we will call Alex, illustrates this point.  Alex is a young undocumented immigrant from Guatemala who was eligible to apply for DACA.  Alex was determined to apply for this benefit but decided that he first needed to focus on other personal matters.  Alex was then in a car accident.  Although Alex was uninjured, his car needed costly repairs that further delayed Alex’s plan to apply for DACA.  Unfortunately, in September the administration of President Donald J. Trump announced the cancellation of DACA.  Further, only new applications filed by September 5, 2017 would be accepted and processed.  Alex did not apply for DACA by that date and his future in this country is now uncertain due to his undocumented status.

     

    In another case, a woman whom we will call Jenny approached our firm to discuss her immigration case.  Jenny is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico.  Twenty years ago, Jenny’s U.S. citizen sister offered to file a petition on her behalf.  At the time, the wait time for a U.S. citizen sibling petition to be processed for a beneficiary from Mexico was approximately 10 years.  Jenny decided that she did not want to wait that long and declined her sister’s offer.  Now, 20 years later, Jenny wanted to see if there was anything she could do.  Jenny regretted not accepting her sister’s offer as her petition would have been current 10 years ago.  Also, the processing wait time for her sibling petition category is now approximately 20 years.  Thus, Jenny would have to wait that long for her petition to be processed if her sister were to file an application on her behalf now.  Despite that, Jenny should proceed in having her sister file the petition because there could be changes that could affect her case.  For example, a change in the law or policies could possibly make the wait time shorter.  Also, if Jenny’s sister dies before a petition is filed, Jenny will no longer be eligible for that immigration benefit.

     

    It is not only undocumented immigrants who should take action.  Lawful permanent residents, or green card holders, should also act if they are eligible to apply for citizenship.  Lawful permanent residents remain subject to the immigration laws of the United States.  As such, they may be subject to removal from the country for certain violations of the law.   However, statistics show that many green card holders who are eligible for citizenship, particularly those from Mexico, simply do not apply.  Indeed, the Pew Research Center reported this year that lawful permanent residents from Mexico are the least likely to apply for citizenship, with only 42% of those eligible applying for and obtaining citizenship between 2005 and 2015.  Among the most common reasons given for this by Mexican green card holders were a lack of initiative or time.  Needless to say, such indecision and lack of interest could be costly for a lawful permanent resident if she one day makes a mistake that results in her being placed in removal proceedings.

     

    Immigrants are encouraged to speak with a qualified immigration attorney to determine if they are eligible for a particular immigration benefit, and to discuss the application requirements.  The attorneys of the Franco Law Group, APLC are available to discuss your case.  Please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys at (213) 200-1505.