Month: March 2017

Yes, undocumented immigrants do indeed pay taxes


In the United States, there are numerous lies, untruths and falsehoods spread by those that dislike immigrants.
One of the favorite arguments made by those who oppose immigration is that undocumented immigrants (so-called “illegals”) is that because they are here without authorization, they aren’t working, they aren’t paying taxes and they are just living off the government dole.

Fact: undocumented immigrants pay billions – billions with a B – in income taxes every year.

How is this possible?

Turns out the IRS wants to get everyone’s taxes – both citizens and non-citizens alike.  So they have a procedure to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a Taxpayer Identification Number, to have their taxes withheld from their wages and to file tax returns every year.

Surprised?

Apparently, some Americans are woefully misinformed on this issue as evidenced by a recent brouhaha that erupted on social media this weekend.

Belen Sisa is an undocumented immigrant.  She currently is the beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program put in place by President Obama.  This means that she is allowed to remain in the U.S., to study and to work.  Sisa came to the U.S. many years ago with her parents and never returned to Argentina.

Last weekend, she posted a photo on her personal Facebook page.  The photo was of her sitting with a blank tax return and mentioned that she had just completed her taxes.

Then all hell broke loose.

Sisa found herself deluged by haters who called her a liar and a tax cheat.  Some folks messaged her to say that they had reported her to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for filing a false tax return.

Here are some of the nice quotes that Ms. Sisa received:

  • “You’re disgusting and I hope that you and your family will be sent back to the lesser country that your ancestors built.”
  • “Whose social are you using? Your face/clothes/car seems to be contrary to u needing assistance girl.”
  • “If you are a foreign invader you will be investigated and picked up I will see to it myself. Who am I you may ask? I’m your biggest nightmare … I am a governor hopeful and putting your deportation on my resume is going to look great on my accolades.”

Sisa’s post has been shared more than 2,600 times.

People are behaving horribly when it comes to immigrants these days.  This is another example of horribly misguided attacks on people who are following the law.  The haters need to relax and mind their own business.

Trump Administration Ramps Up Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

President Donald J. Trump has had a sting of failures since taking office.

His initial Muslim ban, launched on a Friday afternoon with no warning, led to a ridiculous series of immigrants being turned away at U.S. Airports.  Numerous protests followed.

The President and his Republican allies in Congress failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, despite Trump’s promise to tackle the issue on his first day in office.  The GOP has been promising to repeal and replace the ACA since it went into effect 7 years ago.

The President’s approval ratings are in the toilet.

So he appears to be doubling-down on his efforts to vilify immigrants, painting the millions of immigrants in the U.S. as rapists and thugs.

Last week, the President’s team announced plans to publish a registry of crimes committed by immigrants.

According to the Washington Post:

“Administration officials said the strategy is intended to reframe the political debate over immigration reform from what they view as a misplaced emphasis on the well-being of the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants to the negative impacts their presence can have on local communities.”

President Trump brought the spouses of two Americans killed by immigrants to his address to Congress last month.  He has directed the Department of Justice to highlight crimes committed by immigrants when releasing annual crime statistics.

It is easy to see what is going on.

A President who lost the popular election by 3 million votes, who is wildly unpopular with numbers at historic lows for any President and who does not know how to govern has decided to continue his virulent, hateful and dishonest characterization of immigrants as criminals.

There is a word for this.

The word is scapegoating.

Federal statistics make crystal clear the fact that immigrants commit LESS crimes than the native born.  This is true even for undocumented immigrants.  So the President’s clarion call is a false one.

Alternative facts, one might argue.

Instead of being a leader for all Americans, Trump has decided to play to stereotypes, hatred and fear.

This has worked for politicians in the past.  It may work in America in 2017 as well.

Hopefully, not.  Hopefully, the President will tone down the rhetoric and recognize the amazing work that immigrants from around the world are performing every day in the United States.

From our perspective, we will be sure to scrutinize the President’s actions and report on the regularly and honestly.

Kansas City Schools Tell ICE to Get a Warrant


The Kansas City School Board voted last week to require Immigration and Customs Enforcement to obtain a warrant before entering school premises.

The Board is concerned that ICE activities at city schools would lead to fear and distrust with their immigrant students.

ICE claims that they have a “sensitive spaces” policy, but our office routinely hears of instances where such policies are disregarded.

Agents of ICE have been known to go to extreme measures in tracking down and arresting undocumented immigrants, often in front of their children.

KC Public Schools decided to adopt a Welcoming Schools policy that prohibits ICE officers from entering school properties or buses without a warrant.

An ICE spokesperson commented after the school board vote that “ICE’s policies preclude law enforcement operations or actions at sensitive locations such as schools, churches” and other sensitive locations, according to the Kansas City Star.  ICE reportedly only engages in enforcement at those facilities with prior approval from a supervisor or existent circumstances.  

This is where the sensitive spaces policy loses steam.  ICE simply gets a supervisor to sign off on the raid or later claims that an emergency situation arose, thereby requiring them to enter the sensitive space.

The School Board acted after finding that ICE enforcement at schools or on buses “significantly disrupt the school environment, interrupt learning, impede the safety and security of the school environment, and infringe on students’ rights to free access to public education.”

With the election of Donald Trump and his appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, immigrants around the country are increasingly nervous of enforcement.  Specifically, they worry about ICE overreach and the increase in raids promised by immigration hardliners.

Despite the fact that Barack Obama’s administration deported more immigrants than any President in United States History is often ignored in the immigration debate.  

President Trump has made the scapegoating of immigrants a central theme of his administration, going so far as to create a list of alleged crimes committed by immigrants.

U.S. Army Veteran to be Deported

Miguel Perez is not a U.S. Citizen.

His two children are.

Despite this, he is scheduled to be deported due to a conviction for selling drugs.

Perez served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

He enlisted for not one, but two, tours.  According to his family, Perez “was blown out of his Jeep in Kandahar” and suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the blast.

He suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  He started self-medicating with alcohol and he then turned to drugs.  That led to the selling of drugs.

Sadly, he had the opportunity to become a U.S. citizen after serving in the Army, but he didn’t understand how the process worked.  He thought that simply serving in the military resulted in him automatically becoming a U.S. citizen.

America has done a poor job of taking care of the women and men who fought in George Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan/. Problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs are legendary.

We provide little funding for treating the psychological injuries of war.

But when a man or a woman volunteers to pickup a gun and defend this country, we should be there for that soldier when they return.  If they make a mistake and commit a crime, go ahead and punish them.

But in this huge political push to see who can out-tough other politicians when it comes to immigrants, real people get caught up in the system.

We abandoned this man to the streets after he fought for us. This is deplorable what the government is now trying to do.

We believe that if you serve our nation honorably and come back to the United States that you should not be deported. A black letter rule that would prohibit us from deporting women and men who put on our country’s uniform.

Miguel Perez is running out of options. He has already been ordered de-or Ted by the immigration judge.  He is seeking relief in the Board of Immigration Appeals and has asked for members of Congress to assist him.

Will we leave this blood brother behind?  After what we a

Lawsuit Pays Off For Detroit Green Card Holder

This is our client, Bhavin.

Bhavin was born in India and came to the U.S. to study.

He is an engineer and works for Ford Motor Company. Bhavin lives near Detroit, Michigan.

Bhavin obtained lawful permanent resident status many years ago through his family.

In the summer of 2015, Bhavin filed an N-400 naturalization application with USCIS.

He underwent fingerprinting and biometrics at the Detroit USCIS Application Support Center.

Then he waited for his interview.

And waited. And waited. And waited some more.

He did everything that he could do to follow up with USCIS to see why his case had been delayed.

No one would give him a straight answer.

Bhavin went to InfoPass appointments at USCIS. That didn’t work.

Bhavin asked for members of Congress to help. That didn’t work, either.

Bhavin asked for the USCIS Ombudsman, who is supposed to be the consumer advocate at USCIS to intervene. Still that didn’t work.

Frustrated, Bhavin did not know what to do.

After waiting over 15 months and running out options, he took to the internet.

He found a forum on a website called Trackitt. This website allows people with similar problems to talk about them online and to post about possible solutions.

Bhavin found some references to a crazy immigration law firm in St. Louis that helps people whose immigration cases have been unfairly delayed.

He scheduled a Skype consultation with attorney Jim Hacking of our office.

Bhavin decided to sue USCIS after meeting with Mr. Hacking.

That was six weeks ago.

Today, Bhavin had his naturalization interview at the Detroit field office of USCIS.

The interview lasted about 30 minutes. Mr. Hacking flew in from St. Louis for the interview.

Everything went well and Bhavin was approved on the spot.

His oath ceremony is scheduled for one week from now.

Congratulations, Bhavin!

Big Win at Immigration for Happily Married Couple

When a US citizen marries a foreign national, they can sponsor their spouse for a green card.

If the couple has been married less than two years when the green card is approved, then the foreign national only receives a two-year, temporary green card.

Before the 2-year green card expires, the couple must submit a form called an I-751 form to the immigration service. They have to demonstrate that they are still married and the marriage is real.

If the couple fails to submit this form, the foreign national can lose their status and even end up in deportation proceedings.

Early last year, our law firm was hired to represent a U.S. citizen and his wife. They are both originally from Kosovo.

They have three children and they have lived together every day since they were married.

This couple did file the I 751 on time, but they failed to respond to a request for additional evidence from USCIS. As a result, USCIS denied their I-751 petition.

This couple happens to be members of the Islamic faith. They dress in traditional Muslim garb. S it is not entirely surprising that USCIS sent the woman to deportation court.

This is a bit upsetting, however, given the fact that we have had many clients who come to see us after having not filed there I 751 on time, but without ever being placed in removal. We had a Canadian client who filed it nine years late and he was not placed into removal.

To the best of our recollection, this is the only couple that we have ever had actually sent to deportation for this failure to follow the rules.

After the deportation proceedings began, the couple hired us to try and help.

We filed a new i-751 and submitted a lot of evidence that the couple is still married. The best evidence, of course, is the fact that they have 3 U.S. citizen children between them.

The immigration judge put the deportation case on hold while USCIS decided what to do with the new submission from our office. Last week, we went to a 10 minute interview at the St.Louis field office of USCIS and the case was approved on the spot by one of the supervisors.

We will now be able to take that approval notice and get the deportation case stopped.

We are very happy for a client, especially the wife who has been afraid to go visit her mother back home because of the pending deportation case. Now, she will be able to go visit her family. Our client is also eligible to apply for citizenship now.