300,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti and Sudan at the brink of losing their Temporary Protective Status (T.P.S) in the United States

Recent News

On Monday, September 14, 2020, a panel of judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came to the conclusion that the Trump administration has the right to end the Temporary Protective Status for over 300,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti and Sudan. This means that 300,000 immigrants are at risk of deportation in 2021.

What is TPS?

Congress created TPS in the Immigration Act of 1990. It is a temporary immigration status provided to nationals of specifically designated countries that are confronting an ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. It provides a work permit and stay of deportation to foreign nationals from those countries who are in the United States at the time the U.S. government makes the designation.

For decades each administration has allowed and extended the TPS designation to individuals living in the United States from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan due to the current country conditions. In doing so, immigrant families have been able to remain legally in the United States while establishing their lives and roots here. They have contributed to society and not to mention they have started their families here.

Now the question is, what happens next?

It is possible that the Trump administration may automatically deport those that have had a prior deportation order or have been detained at the border.

For those that have not been detained at the border nor have a prior deportation order, may be placed in removal proceedings before an immigration judge.

Another possibility is that a TPS beneficiary can possibly be eligible to apply for their residency (“adjustment of status”) via a child that is a United States Citizen, 21 years or older or are married to a United States Citizen spouse. They may be eligible only if they live in the 9th circuit or 6th circuit, which includes the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

If you have TPS and are from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, or Sudan, we recommend that you schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney to determine how you can prevent your deportation.

At Franco Law Group, we have experienced attorneys that are ready to help. For the month of September we are offering free consultation for individuals that have TPS. Call us today at (213)200-1505 to schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys.

FAQ: REQUEST FOR FURTHER EVIDENCE/ INTENT TO DENY

What is Request for Further Evidence (RFE)? 

Typically, USCIS requests further evidence when the applicant has not submitted enough evidence to establish that they are eligible for the relief they are applying for or additional evidence is needed. 

This has been a very common response from the department of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for immigrants submitting residency, U-Visa, and citizenship applications. This administration has been using this tactic to delay even more the application process.

What is Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)?

If you receive a letter from immigration titled Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), USCIS is informing the applicant that USCIS intends to deny the application, but will give the applicant the opportunity to submit additional evidence or arguments to try to convince USCIS that a denial should not be issued.  

How will immigration notify me if I need to provide further evidence?

An RFE or NOID is usually in the form of a letter and is very specific as to the additional evidence USCIS requires.  Further, the letter will provide a specific deadline by which the additional evidence or arguments must be submitted.

What do I do if I received a letter from immigration titled Request for further Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)?

You must consult with an immigration attorney as soon as possible as these notices have strict and short deadlines. During the consultation with an immigration attorney, the attorney can determine the specific evidence that is been requested, if any other evidence that was not requested that should also be submitted, and also to determine if any legal arguments must be made in support of the initial application or in response to the RFE or NOID.

What happens to my immigration case if I do not respond in time to the request for further evidence or notice of intent to deny from immigration?

A response to a RFE or NOID that is deemed insufficient or that is not filed by the required deadline will result in the denial of the immigrant’s initial application.  Further, under the guidelines of the administration of President Donald J. Trump, a USCIS denial will also likely result in the applicant being placed in removal proceedings before an immigration judge.  For these reasons, it is imperative that an immigrant consults with an immigration attorney if they receive a RFE or NOID from USCIS.

Who is the best attorney to hire to respond to USCIS’ request for further evidence or notice of intent to deny?

The attorneys at Franco Law Group are experienced in responding to RFEs and NOIDs and are available to assist you with your case. Call us today at 213.200.1505 to schedule your consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. They will explain in detail what immigration is requesting, the process step by step, and what to expect.

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)?

Last Updated: Friday, August 14, 2020 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

On April 24, 2020, USCIS announced that they were extending their temporary closure date until June 3, 2020. As of  June 4, 2020, USCIS is open to continue with interviews and to allow visits to their immigration offices.

USCIS is the immigration office that reviews applications of those seeking their U.S legal permanent residence card (also known as a “green card”) via a family petition, U-Visa, VAWA, Asylum 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 then they extended their date to June 3, 2020. As of June 4, 2020, USCIS immigration offices have opened for interviews and office visits.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

How long does it take to apply for a U.S Residency application (green card)?

The processing time once submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services Department (USCIS) depends on the field office or service center that receives your residency application.

To check current processing times for residency (green card) applications please visit https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.

You will need the following:

  1. Case Type (Ex., I-485, I-130, I-90, etc.)
  2. Field Office or Service Center (located on your receipt from immigration)
 How long does it take to receive a decision for my U-Visa?

Currently it takes about 5 years to receive a decision. As of today, August 14, 2020, USCIS service centers in Nebraska and Vermont are reviewing U-Visa applications submitted on December 10, 2015.

To check current processing times for your U-Visa application please visit https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.

How long does it take to apply for U.S Citizenship?

The processing time once submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services Department (USCIS) depends on the field office that receives your naturalization/citizenship application.

For example, as of today, August 14, 2020, the processing time for the Los Angeles field office ranges from 12.5 to 18.5 months. The Los Angeles County field office ranges from 13 to 16 months.

To check current processing times for naturalization/citizenship applications please visit https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.

 

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 August 24, 2020. Therefore, any hearings after August 21, 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.

 

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