Tag: deportation

Couple awaits word on whether they will be deported to Mexico

Oakland nurse and mother of four, Maria Mendoza-Sanchez, and her husband have lived in the United States for over two decades, but they do not have legal status.  Under a federal deportation order, the couple and their youngest child, Jesus, 12, will be flying to Mexico City on Wednesday, August 16.

Mendoza-Sanchez received a call on Tuesday afternoon from Senator Dianne Feinstein.  Praying that Sen. Feinstein’s call would bring good news in the 11th hour, Mendoza-Sanchez answered the phone with hopes that her family could remain intact.

Unfortunately, Sen. Feinstein apologetically told Mendoza-Sanchez that immigration authorities had denied the request for a stay and there was nothing more she could do.  Mendoza-Sanchez, her husband, and Jesus, a United States citizen by birth, will have to leave the United States and make a new home in Mexico.

Their three daughters, ages 16, 21, and 23, will stay behind in the United States.  The two older daughters will raise their younger sister, ensuring she completes her final two years of high school.  The two younger daughters are U.S. citizens and the oldest daughter is protected by DACA status.

Immigration attorney, Carl Shusterman, represents the family.  He termed Tuesday’s denial of the stay request a “tragedy.”  ICE officials refused to make an exception for Mendoza-Sanchez and her family because, “if they did, they would have to make an exception for other people, too.”  

Maria Mendoza-Sanchez is a nurse at Highland hospital in the oncology and cardiology wing.  Her husband, Eusebio Sanchez, is a truck driver.  Neither Mendoza-Sanchez nor her husband have a criminal record.

According to an immigration expert, the denial of the stay reflects a shift in the government’s deportation approach.  When cases received high levels of media attention and local political involvement in the past, ICE would shy away from the negative publicity and alter their response.  Santa Clara University School of Law professor, Pratheepan Gulasekaram, says that ICE “is sending a message with this removal…Everybody is potentially a target.”

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The Unlucky Undocumented: How Being in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time is Getting Immigrants Deported

People often ask us how life for immigrants has changed since Donald Trump became President.

We tell them that one major change is the fact that Immigration and Customs Enforcement now routinely sweeps up immigrants during raids even when those immigrants were not the targets of the raids.

For these people, they just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In these scenarios, ICE is raiding a house or work place to find a particular undocumented immigrant, but come into contact with additional, previously unknown undocumented immigrants.

And that is how they get caught.

As explained in this recent piece from Time magazine, “[u]nder the Trump Administration’s new enforcement priorities, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are instructed to detain and deport anyone who is in the country illegally, which means even so-called “non-targets” may end up in custody after a raid.”

As an example, Time cites a four-day operation in late July 23017 in which ICE arrested 650 people.  Of those, 457 were not targets of the raid.  This means that 70% of the immigrants were unlucky and got caught in the middle of a raid meant for someone else.

President Barack Obama had stated, defined priorities detailing who ICE should be looking for – namely criminals and people who had already been deported from the U.S. who were now back in America.  President Trump did away with those stated priorities.

ICE spokeswoman Danielle Bennett explained to Time that since the priorities have been eliminated, no classes or categories of removable undocumented immigrants are exempt from deportation.

“I think that our agency now feels that we can make arrests. They’re in compliance with federal law, there aren’t the restrictions,” she said. “It allows more flexibility for the officers to make decisions from their personal dealings with the person.”

As of now, based on raw statistical data, about 44% of those being deported under President Trump do not have criminal records.  This is a slight increase over the 42% of those deported during the Obama era.

Undocumented Dad Nabbed by ICE while Dropping Daughter Off at School Gets Another Chance

Last week, the Board of Immigration Appeals vacated a deportation order entered against Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez.  Romulo’s case drew nationwide attention after a YouTube video surfaced of his daughter weeping after his arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In February, Avelica-Gonzalez was taken into custody by ICE while he was dropping off his daughters at school.

Here is the video taken in the moments after the man was taken into custody.

He has been held at the Adelanto Detention Facility in San Bernardino County since he was taken into custody.

Romulo has lived in the U.S. for 25 years, but had no way to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the States.  He has two misdemeanor convictions – one for receiving stolen car tags and one for driving under the influence.

Avelica-Gonzalez has four children who are U.S. citizens, according to National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). He was working as a cook at the time of his arrest.

“He should not be imprisoned just for trying to live a better life and stay with his family,” Avelica-Gonzalez’s 13-year-old daughter, Fatima, said in a prepared release.

Fatima is the daughter who videotaped her father’s arrest.

Avelica-Gonzalez’s immigration lawyer has successfully gotten those convictions vacated and the Board of Immigration Appeals then granted his request for an emergency stay of deportation while it reviewed his case.

His legal team has requested that ICE release Romulo while the deportation case proceeds.  A new bond hearing is set for August 30, 2017.

ICE has a long-standing policy instructing agents to  avoid conducting enforcement activities at so-called “sensitive locations” such as churches, hospitals and schools, unless absolutely necessary. But Avelica-Gonzalez’s arrest at his daughter’s school sparked renewed concerns that ICE is loosening that policy — an accusation that federal officials have denied.

With regards to the latest BIA decision in AVelica-Gonzalez’s case, Department of Justice spokesman Kenneth Gardner said officials had no official comment about the decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals. “The decision speaks for itself,” Gardner wrote in an email.

As Trump Eases Enforcement Priorities, Undocumented Immigrants Feel the Squeeze

If you want to understand what it feels like when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) comes to get an undocumented immigrant, read this article in Newsweek.

As a candidate for President, Donald Trump promised to round up the “bad hombres.”  His Attorney General has routinely called for stricter enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.  John F. Kelly, the head of Homeland Security, has similarly promised that until Congress changes our immigration policies, his agency would enforce the laws on the books to the fullest extent possible.

Enter Jonatan Palacios, an undocumented man from Honduras.  Back in 2008, he was ordered deported by an immigration judge.  ICE recently found Mr. Palacios and took him in to immigration custody.

In an interview with Newsweek, Palacios said “I was so panicked.  I was trying to think through every little detail. Eventually, there was nothing else we could do and I just got out of the car, gave Lillie a hug and went with them.”

Immigration lawyers across the country explain that since Trump came into office, ICE has moved sharply away from the Obama-era policy of deporting criminals first.  Now, all undocumented immigrants are at risk.

Under Obama, agents were required to follow a specified list of priorities. Under Trump, ICE can investigate any undocumented immigrant they deem to be a “risk to public safety or national security” —a deliberately vague mandate, say immigration experts, that gives individuals in the agency a lot of leeway to make their own choices.  For better or worse.

This is contrary to candidate Trump’s promise to focus on “bad hombres.”

It should also spark a debate about what our nation’s immigration process should look like.

Do we really want to deport millions of people who have lived in the U.S. without proper authorization for years and years but who have committed no crimes?

Or, given the limited financial resources that ICE and other law enforcement agencies have, do we want to prioritize those who violate the laws?

In addition, the current approach under Donald Trump appears hostile, mean-spirited and destined to break up thousands of families.

 

 

Indian Doctors Face Deportation Due to Paperwork Error

Two Indian physicians who reside in Houston, Texas, face imminent deportation from the United States due to a paperwork error.

Dr. Pankaj Satija is a neurologist who helped found the Pain and Headache Centers of Texas.  His wife, Dr. Monnika Ummat, have resided in the U.S. for many, many years.  Dr. Ummat is also a neurologist.  She specializes in treating epilepsy at Texas Children’s Hospital.  They are the parents of 2 U.S. citizens, 7-year-old Ralph and 4-year-old Zoeey.

The pair faced removal last week after immigration officials refused to extend Dr. Satija’s and Dr. Ummat’s temporary permission to stay in the U.S.  The decision by Homeland Security may cause dozens of Texans who suffer from neurological disorders to be without their doctors.

“I have 50 patients today and 40 patients tomorrow,” said Dr. Satija. “I’m just concerned they’ll be left in a lurch. They could land up in the emergency room.”

The Houston Methodist Hospital System sponsored Dr. Satija for a green card (lawful permanent resident status) in 2008.  Dr. Ummat would be eligible to adjust status as his spouse.  But because the couple are from India and because USCIS has a nearly decade-long backlog for Indian professionals to adjust status, they have not yet received their LPR status.

The couple regularly renewed their travel documents and work authorizations.  But last year, their permission to travel abroad was extended for only one year instead of two years, which had typically been what they received.  Later snafus by Customs and Border Patrol contributed to the confusion.

The couple never noticed the problem.  Then Dr. Satija’s brother called from India to tell him that their father had been admitted into intensive care and was gravely ill.  The entire family flew to India.

When they returned to the U.S., they learned that they had left the U.S. on expired advance parole documents (the formal name for the travel documents).

CBP allowed the couple to enter the U.S. on deferred inspection, which means they were allowed in but would have to explain how they believed they were entitled to stay at a later date.

When they brought their paperwork back to CBP, they were initially told that everything would be okay.  But the next day, they were told “[s]omebody up there has decided you have to leave the country in the next 24 hours.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, in two expansive immigration memos the Trump administration issued in February, it directed the nation’s three main immigration agencies to “sparingly” use the practice of parole, though it hasn’t yet detailed the new regulations.

At the end of last week, DHS did agree to give the couple another 90 days to try and sort out the situation.

This story demonstrates a few themes we talk about at the Hacking Law Practice on a regular basis.

First, it is absolutely ridiculous that we have an immigration system that takes nine years for a pair of super-qualified doctors from India to get lawful resident status.

Second, it is absurd that we are even talking about the possibility of deporting these people who serve sick Americans every day of their lives.

Third, immigrants are awesome and help this country every day.

 

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

Don’t Use a Notario or Friend for Immigration Help!

Should I use a notario or friend to help me fill out my immigration forms? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States.

We want to begin this video by talking about what exactly is a notario, or a notary. A lot of time, in immigrant communities, you’ll see people hang out a shingle that says, “Immigration Forms, Forms and Taxes, Taxes and Forms, Immigration Help Here.” The person who hangs out the form is not an attorney. What you should know first and foremost, that this is the unauthorized practice of law. These people are breaking the law by claiming to be able to help you fill out forms. The law is designed to protect you. The law is designed to protect the immigrant from people what claim to know how to fill out forms.

We have seen many, many, many cases, far too many cases get denied or really, really screwed up because of bad advice that a notario, or a notary, or a friend, has given to an immigrant in completing their forms. The first problem is is that immigration is a whole lot more than just filling out form. A lot of people think that it’s just a matter of checking boxes and filling in information. The thing that is important is that each of the questions on most immigration forms, other than the biographical information, each of those questions are designed to address a particular area of the law within immigration. A statue, a law, or a regulation, that sets forth why someone may or may not be entitled to the immigration benefits sought.

Now, notarios, they just want your money. They just want to get your money in their pocket and to fill out the form as quickly as possible. We routinely see and hear about cases in which a notario fills out forms for someone, and the person is clearly not eligible for the benefits sought. The application is then denied, and the immigrant finds themselves not only with a denied immigration form, with the loss of the money that they paid to the notario, but sadly, they find themselves in deportation. This is one of the big ways that notarios can really screw up your case.

Another thing is that because they don’t know the law, they sometimes say things in your application, or they tell you to fill out a form a certain way, and that is bad information. We just got off the chat today with someone who said that the notario told them to lie about the fact that their father had been deported. They told them to check the no box instead of the yes box. They were trying to get the father back to the United States. Well, this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Notarios are not lawyers, they’re not steeped in the law, they haven’t studied the law, and sadly, they make mistakes all the time.

They often prey on the fact that they are of the same immigration background, the same nationality, the same ethnic community as people who are seeking immigration benefits, so very very, very careful in dealing with a notario or anyone that says that they are able to fill out immigration forms. Make sure you see their bar card. Make sure that they’re an attorney. Check out their online reputation. Make sure that they are reputable and that they know what they’re doing.

If you have been screwed over by a notario, or if you feel like you have been taken advantage of, or have given them too much money, or given them money and they gave you bad information, you should really follow-up with your state attorney general. You should really follow-up with your state bar association, because like I said, this is the unauthorized practice of law. These people are taking advantage of the immigrants. They don’t know what they’re doing. They’re going to screw up your case.

I don’t care if you hire me or any other immigration attorney, but you absolutely should not be doing business with a notario. You should instead get competent immigration advice from a good immigration attorney, whether that’s me or somebody else, that’s just fine, but this video is a public service announcement trying to encourage you to stay away from notarios at all costs. They will hurt your chances of staying in the United States. They could get you deported, and they clearly don’t know what they’re doing.

If you have questions about this, give us a call at 314-961-8200, or your can email us infoathackinglawpractice.com. If you like this video, be sure to click the like button. If you want to sign up for our YouTube channel, make sure you subscribe so that you get updates like this video, whenever we send out a new post.

Thanks a lot, and have a great day.

Judge OKs class action for children in deportation hearings

A glimmer of hope for immigrant children has emerged in a relatively dark and messy period for American immigration and deportation policies. This June, U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly of Seattle has approved a class action lawsuit to determine whether impoverished children are entitled to lawyers during deportation hearings.

Brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and immigration advocates, the case challenges the government’s failure to provide lawyers to children during deportation hearings.

A class action suit, or a representative action as some refer to it as, is a type of lawsuit in which one of the parties is a group of people who are represented collectively by a specific member of that group. In this case, the group of people represented is thousands of children throughout the West.

For years, the United States of America has encountered many cases in which minors are potentially eligible for asylum or citizenship but can’t afford legal representation. Under current policies, the country has run on a system that Matt Adams says “pits unrepresented children against trained federal prosecutors.” Matt Adams, the legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, is highly involved in the lawsuit and has stated that under the ruling, the merits of the practice will be argued in a single case, and the government will have to defend an unjust system.

This lawsuit is coming late in the game, but it is needed now more than ever for the immigrant community. Since 2013, more than 7,000 immigrant children have been deported without appearing in court. What was originally a border crisis for the United States has now become a due process crisis. Wendy Young’s advocacy group Kids in Need of Defense, as well as many other advocacy groups, have been pushing for a system more supportive of minors when it comes to court proceedings.

While it is an alarming thought that America’s fundamental due process right has been repeatedly abused with regards to immigrant children, the class action suit is one of the first steps of many in improving immigration policy that has for a long time been due reformation.

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Supreme Court Kills Off Obama’s Deferred Action Program for Parents of U.S. Citizens

The U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked in its review of a lower court’s decision on President Barack Obama’s controversial Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).

DAPA would have temporarily halted the deportations of undocumented immigrants and allowed them to work in the U.S. legally.

The 4-4 tie was expressed yesterday in a single sentence “the judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court.”

Texas and twenty-five other states challenged the DAPA program which would have shielded as many as 5 million undocumented aliens from deportation. Those eligible included the parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders. The states argued that Obama exceeded his jurisdiction in adopting the program.

A federal judge in Texas ruled against Obama and halted the program a week before it was set to begin in 2014. The feds argued that Texas and the other states lacked standing to bring the action and the judge agreed. An appellate court also agreed which meant that when the Supreme Court tied, the lower court ruling stayed binding.

This ruling deals a harsh blow to many mixed-immigration-status families throughout the U.S. It is expected that deportations will increase following this ruling.

The decision also stresses the importance of federal elections. Republicans have refused to allow comprehensive immigration reform to come to the floor of Congress for a vote. President Obama acted only after years of inaction on the part of Congress.

Republicans also refused to allow Obama’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Elections have consequences.

In his comments yesterday, the President said, “If you keep on blocking judges from getting on the bench, then courts can’t issue decisions.  And what that means is then you are going to have the status quo frozen, and we are not able to make progress on some very important issues.”

Hopefully, voters will remember these things in November.

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Old School Rapper Slick Rick Beats Deportation, Becomes U.S. Citizen

British rapper Slick Rick became a  U.S. citizen last week after a decades long battle with the immigration service over his possible deportation.

Slick Rick, whose real name is Ricky Walters, became famous for his work with fellow old-school rapper Doug E. Fresh and for his multi-colored eye patches.

INS and then USCIS tried to kick Slick Rick out of the country several times after he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder in 1991 and spent five years in prison.

“I am so proud of this moment — and so honored to finally become an American citizen,” Rick said Friday in a statement.

In the 1990 incident, Slick Rick fired a gun several times, although he claimed it was self defense. He claimed that a cousin who ended up injured in the gun battle had threatened Slick Rick and his mom on a prior occasion.

With the violent felony conviction, he faced deportation back to Great Briatin. He fought the deportation for many years.

On one occasions, Walters was arrested in Florida while trying to return from a Caribbean concert cruise with singer Erykah Badu.

It was less than a year after 9/11, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service was operating in an era of heightened security.

Def Jam founder Russell Simmons , along with Actors Will Smith and Chris Rock, tried to help and encouraged fans to push for his eventual release.

“This has been a long time coming for me, and I am relieved to finally put this long chapter behind me,” Walters said after he was sworn-in Friday in an official ceremony alongside dozens of other new citizens in New York.

“I want to thank everyone — my family, friends and fans — who have supported me and stuck by me over these 23 years. I am truly blessed, and stay tuned, I will have more to announce soon.”

He later posted a picture to Instagram of an American flag-themed eye patch with the caption, “#SlickRickVictory.”

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