A Grandmother Deported…..

A Grandmother Deported…..

By John Foley, Esq.

It was difficult to understand what the daughter on the other end of the phone was saying through her sobs. “Pleeeeeeze” she cried repeatedly “please, please, please don’t let them deport my mother. It was all my fault. She didn’t do anything. She was only there because of me. Please, please, pleeeeeze promise me you won’t let them deport her.”

I waited for a break in her cries and between sobs told her I would do whatever I could but “in immigration law there are no guarantees. Sorry but it’s as simple as that.”

The daughter was in jail. She knew she was going to be deported. She had a drug problem that brought her to the attention of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement—more commonly known as ICE. That same drug problem convinced her to give up custody of her only child, a U.S. citizen to her mother.

The mother’s world came crashing down after she stood by her daughter as the daughter was arraigned on the drug charges. As they were leaving the Court parking lot, their car was blocked by two ICE vehicles and they were swarmed by ICE agents. Both mother and daughter were taken into custody.

The daughter went to a county jail where she was placed in solitary confinement.

The mother, who has lived under the radar outside of Boston for the past twenty years had a meeting with ICE.

ICE did an FBI fingerprint check and other than driving without a license and a minor domestic matter, the mother has no criminal history.

She has a 15-year old son who is a U.S. citizen and a Probate Court order naming her the Guardian of her 10-year old grand-daughter. The Court order prevents her from taking the 10-year old outside Massachusetts much less the United States.

According to ICE she last entered the U.S. on a flight in 2006 and has been here illegally since then. When asked what she should do with the two U.S. citizen children in her care, one ICE agent shrugged his shoulders in an “I don’t know or care” kind of way and another simply said “not my problem.”

Copies of the U.S. birth certificates and Social Security cards for the children were provided, with records detailing medical issues for both children and the Court order preventing relocation of the 10-year old. After a somewhat tense exchange the ICE officer said “just enforcing the law. It’s that simple.”

A black battery operated ankle bracelet was fitted on her right leg and she was told what to do if it started to vibrate and how to recharge it. She was told not to try to take the ankle bracelet off and that she could wear it in the shower and there was no chance of getting a shock from it. The ICE officer who put it on said he would meet her at the airport and “discretely take it off” and watch as she boarded the plane out of the U.S.

She was told to report to ICE once a week and to show up in two weeks with an airline ticket out of the United States. She was also warned ICE could come to her home any time day or night to check on her.

She was given five weeks to get her affairs in order before she was returned to a country where she no longer had family, a home or any prospect of employment   She is being forced to begin life again at the age of 52.

Neither ICE officer answered when asked what she should do with the two minor U.S. citizens.

A neighbor, who kept saying he was a U.S. citizen, had driven her to the meeting with ICE. “She is a good person” he said “I’ve known her for years. She takes care of her family, she works hard, she pays her taxes. She is not the kind of person who should be deported. She’s not a criminal or in a gang. Why are they doing this?” he asked as he fought back tears.

I explained that none of that mattered to ICE. He asked if they knew she was the mother and grandmother of US citizens and that they’d be affected by their actions. I assured him ICE did know there were other U.S. citizens who would be affected by her deportation. But, to use the words of ICE they’re “just enforcing the law. It’s that simple.”

Unfortunately, it is anything but simple.

 

 

Speak up, be heard, and demand change with Congress!

Attorney Foley with Congressman Stephen Lynch at a New England Council meeting.

I was able to catch up with Congressman Stephen Lynch of South Boston at a recent New England Council meeting in Boston.  Always quick with a joke, Congressman Lynch said “the presidency is supposed to age the occupant of the office, not us!”  He talked about the “frustration of Washington” where everything ended in a battle based on political party lines and “nothing gets done.”

I updated the Congressman on a couple of immigration matters in his district and invited him to an upcoming immigration forum at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton which is part of his district.  I asked about the possibility of immigration reform under the Trump administration and Congressman Lynch said “I don’t see it but it’s early (in the administration) yet.”  He talked about areas, like infrastructure improvement where there could be agreement with the Trump administration “to get something done.”

I told the Congressman that the phones in our law office were ringing off the hook and that people with immigration issues were scared.  I also told the Congressman that in many cases there was little that I or any immigration lawyer could do to help.  Congressman Lynch said it was the same in his office and that “these are indeed scary times.” 

U.S. immigration law is federal law, as opposed to state or local law, so making changes to it must be done on the federal level by the U.S. Congress.  For that reason, I believe it is important to continue to meet with and encourage our Congressional delegation to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.  The only way forward is to speak up, to be heard, to demand change.

If you or a family member has immigration issues, let me know if I can help.  Email me at John@FoleyLawOffices.com or call me at (617) 973-6448 for a quick chat.

I look forward to speaking with you.

John Foley

Foley Law Offices, P.C.     

Boston USCIS, Asylum and Immigration Court Closed 3/14/2017

Due to inclement weather, the Boston District Office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Asylum Office,and Executive Office of Immigration Review will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, March 14, 2017.  The Boston USCIS district office is trying to reach all persons scheduled to appear tomorrow by phone today. All interviews scheduled at the USCIS Boston District office on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 will be rescheduled.

 

Obama Administration ends special parole for Cuban nationals

On Thursday, January 12, 2017, effective immediately, President Obama repealed the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, a special parole policy for Cuban nationals. This announcement ends the ability for any Cuban who comes to the U.S. to stay and become a legal resident based on humanitarian relief. Cuban nationals who now attempt to enter the U.S. and are apprehended at a port of entry or near the border will be subject to expedited removal. Previously, Cubans were not subject to expedited removal. The changes also affect the Cuban medical professionals known as the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program.  Medical professionals must now request parole in the same manner as foreign nationals of other countries.

The end of the policy by the previous administration is consistent with President Obama’s efforts to end hostile relations with Cuba. As of today, the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program is not affected and remains in effect.  Cubans who come to the U.S. may qualify for humanitarian relief such as political asylum.

If you believe this program affects you, please contact our office to set up a consultation. Call (617) 978-3448 to schedule an appointment.

 

 

New Legislation Introduced to Protect DACA!

On Friday, December 9, 2016, a group of bipartisan Senators introduced the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act. The BRIDGE Act aims to temporarily protect all individuals who are eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The intent of the bill is similar to the DACA program, however the bill expands the eligibility to younger undocumented individuals who are not currently eligible for the DACA program. Should the bill pass, individuals who are eligible for DACA will be able to apply for a “provisional protected presence” which temporarily provides relief from deportation, like the DACA Program. Individuals will also receive work authorization after a series of strict background checks and fee. Unfortunately, the extension would only be eligible for three (3) years. This was done purposefully by the writers of the bill in hopes of forcing Congress to work on some sort of immigration reform.

The bill also includes stronger confidentiality safeguards barring the use of personal information for deportation purposes, unless the matter involves national security concerns or a criminal felony investigation. There has been growing concern and fear as to what is going to happen to DACA recipients once President-elect Trump takes office, including the use of DACA recipients’ personal information for deportation of DACA recipients and parents of DACA beneficiaries. He has promised during his campaign to repeal all of President Obama’s executive actions, including DACA. While recent statements from the President-elect have indicated that he would like to find a solution for DREAMers, it is unclear and uncertain as to what actions he might take.

The group will re-introduce the bill in the new session of 2017 with more support from both Democrat and Republican parties. We will continue to monitor this legislation and provide any further updates about the DACA program as they arise.

In the interim, if you have any questions about DACA, please contact Attorney Nicole Fink at (617) 973-6448.

USCIS Filing Fees are Increasing in December!

USCIS has announced that they are increasing its filing fees effective December 23, 2016. The fees increased an average of twenty-one percent (21%). According to USCIS, the increase in fees were necessary to offset the growing costs of USCIS, to improve upon processing times, increase better customer service, and cover the costs of services without charge to refugee and asylum applicants and those eligible for fee waivers.

Below is a brief chart of the fee increase of the most common forms.

Forms New Fee ($) Old Fee ($)
I–90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card 455 365
I–102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document 445 330
I–129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) 535 340
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative 535 420
I-131/I-131A Application for Travel Document 575 360
I–140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker 700 580
I–360 Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant 435 405
I–485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status 1,140 985
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (certain applicants under the age of 14 years) 750 635
I–526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur 3,675 1,500
I–539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status 370 290
I-601 Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability 930 585
I–601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver 630 585
I–751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence 595 505
I–765 Application for Employment Authorization 410 380

N–400 Application for Naturalization

640

595

All applications postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016 must include the new filing fees or USCIS will reject the submission. In order to avoid the increase in fees, we urge you to file your application as soon as possible. For more information on the filing fees, please visit the USCIS website.

Should you have any questions about the fee increase, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Nicole Fink at (617) 973-6448 or by e-mail at Nicole@foleylawoffices.com.

Appointments for 1st Time H-1B Holders in Vancouver!

vancouver

Skyline of Vancouver

In a recent meeting with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the U.S. Consulate General at Vancouver, B.C., Canada, confirmed that it will accept first time H-1B applications for stamping.  Appointments for first time H-1B holders are limited and released only several months in advance. Previously, it was recommended that  first time H-1B holders return to their home country for stamping.

Please note, this only applies to the Vancouver Consulate. First-time H-1B applicants should not attempt to book their first appointment at any other non-home country consulate besides Vancouver. The appointments fill up quickly, so it is advised to regularly monitor the online appointment system in order to obtain the first appointment available.

Should you have any questions about how to prepare for your first visa appointment, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Nicole Fink at (617) 973-6448 or by e-mail at Nicole@foleylawoffices.com.

UPDATE: I-94 Application now available for Land Port of Entry

In an effort to streamline the I-94 process, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that travelers may apply for an I-94 prior to their arrival at a land port of entry. In order to expedite the entry process, travelers can apply online, up to seven (7) days prior to entry. The application fee is $6 application.

After submitting travel and biographical information, travelers will receive a provision I-94 card. At the land port of entry, travelers must present themselves within 7 days of filing the application, and submit any information requested by the CBP officer.  Travelers will need to reapply for an I-94 number if they do not enter within 7 days.

Previously, travelers who entered by land would receive a paper I-94 card. For more information regarding the online I-94 program, please visit CBP’s website.

Should you require any further assistance, please contact Attorney Nicole Fink at 617-973-6448.

Beginning TODAY you can enter into a FREE lottery for a Green card!

The Diversity Visa Lottery for 2018 Opens 10/4!

What Is It?

The Diversity Immigrant (DV-2018) Visa Program, more commonly known as “the lottery” opens today — Tuesday, October 4th. Administered by the U.S. Department of State, the purpose of the Diversity Lottery is to give foreign nationals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S. the opportunity to immigrate. For 2018, 50,000 diversity visas will be available. There is no cost to enter the lottery..

Am I Eligible?

Individuals must meet 2 criteria in order to qualify for the diversity visa program.

  • Requirement #1: Individuals must have been born in a country whose natives qualify.
  • Requirement #2: The individual must have at least a high school education (or its equivalent), or at least two (2) years of work experience within the past five (5) years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or expectation to perform.

When Do I Apply?

Registration for DV-2018 opens today, October 4, 2016 at 12 pm EST and will close on Monday, November 7, 2016 at 12 pm EST.

How Do I Apply?

You will need to submit an application electronically. (Late entries or paper applications will not be accepted). DO NOT wait until last minute to submit the application as high demand may result in website delays.

How Much Does It Cost?

It is FREE to register. We caution against anyone asking for money to assist in the application. It is highly recommended that you complete the application yourself.

Is my country eligible?

Please review the DV-2018 instructions to determine if your country is eligible.

Should you have any questions about the diversity visa process, contact Attorney Nicole Fink at (617) 973-6448.

Attorney Foley in Belfast with Lord Mayor

John-Foley-and-Mairtin-O-Muilleoir-1000-ffccccccWhite-3333-0.20.3-1In Ireland last week, I traveled north to Belfast to visit old friend Mairtin O Muilleoir. In addition to being the publisher of the Irish Echo newspaper in New York, Mairtin is a member of the Belfast City Council and he is currently the Lord Mayor of Belfast. This photo was taken as Mairtin showed me the Belfast City Council chambers.

While Belfast continues to make steady progress towards a lasting peace, it is a work in progress. Mairtin and I talked about his recent assault by an aggressive mob of Loyalists as he was opening a children’s park in the Woodvale area of North Belfast.

As this Youtube video shows (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-4gdpne0yY), the strong police presence did not prevent Mairtin from the kicks and punches of this bigoted minority. The police are now reviewing the video and charges for assault and battery are expected.

I suggest the Police Service of Northern Ireland charge these bigots, and those that prepared them for this violent confrontation with a hate crime to insure significant penalties and deter this type of behavior towards elected officials.

As for Mairtin, he literally turned the other cheek, said he would continue to be the Lord Mayor for ALL of Belfast and rambled on about the beauty of Belfast and its people. With Mairtin leading the way, I have no doubt Belfast will continue its steady progress towards peace and reconciliation.