A view from a closed and deadly quiet Boston

https://www.irishecho.com/2020/04/a-view-from-a-closed-and-deadly-quiet-boston/

OLDEST IRISH AMERICAN NEWSPAPER IN USA, ESTABLISHED IN 1928

Attorney John Foley is sheltering in place at home, but still working as best he can from there.

By John Philip Foley

Boston — Like most places, Boston is closed. With the exception of cars delivering take-out food, the streets are deserted. The only activity is at supermarkets and pharmacies where the shoppers are wearing face masks and gloves as they maneuver one way aisles only to find the toilet paper shelves mostly empty.

Buses and trains are operating on a reduced schedule and ridership is down by about 90%. Logan Airport, usually a beehive of activity, is silent.

We are all in front of the television watching dual press conferences between President Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. One is full of false bravado, the other common sense that in time will be deemed wisdom.

We hear President Trump using adjectives like “fantastic, wonderful and perfect” as he encourages Americans to get back to work while a neighbor complains about the lack of basic medical supplies at the nursing home where she works.

And it’s in those nursing homes where the real tragedy is taking place. As in Ireland, the number of nursing home deaths continues to rise, and what makes it even worse is that these people are dying alone.

It’s not so bad being tucked away at home until you hear the morning news and realize another hundred people who live around you died last night and the obituary section in the Boston Globe is now larger than the sports section.

As kids, we joked about our Irish-born grandparents reading the “Irish sports page” and now it’s us looking at those same pages to see if we knew anyone who died.

Some of us are lucky to be able to work from home, but nothing is really getting done.

As an immigration lawyer, I tell clients all interviews and oath ceremonies have been cancelled and will not be re-scheduled anytime soon.

Then President Trump tweets and my phone explodes as clients call, email and text in fear. Trump is using a pandemic as a re-election tool while he is scaring the hell out of innocent people with a presidential order that will not make anyone safer.

As the days merge together and the death toll rises, we seek comfort and happiness from any source. We were delighted to share in the recovery of Belfast lawyer Niall Murphy. The video of Niall giving the thumbs up as he was wheeled out of the ICU filled us with hope.

This virus has also exposed how alike we are as humans. It has exposed that most of our daily squabbles and fights are over issues that don’t really matter. If and when this is over, I envision an Ireland more focused on building a better, safer future than refighting old struggles.

Now go wash your hands!

Foley Law Offices, P.C.
10 Post Office Square
Suite 800 South
Boston, MA 02109
Ph: (617) 850-9018
Cell: (617) 378-8540

USCIS will accept all benefit forms and documents with reproduced original signatures for submissions dated March 21, 2020, and beyond

I hope many of you have seen this, but thanks to AILA’s continued advocacy, CIS has agreed to accept original signatures.  More to come, we hope, regarding other requests, such as 90 day extensions on RFE, NOID, etc.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 National Emergency announced by President Trump on March 13, 2020, we will accept all benefit forms and documents with reproduced original signatures, including the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, for submissions dated March 21, 2020, and beyond.

USCIS already accepts various petitions, applications and other documents bearing an electronically reproduced original signature. This means that a document may be scanned, faxed, photocopied, or similarly reproduced provided that the copy must be of an original document containing an original handwritten signature, unless otherwise specified. For forms that require an original “wet” signature, per form instructions, USCIS will accept electronically reproduced original signatures for the duration of the National Emergency. This temporary change only applies to signatures. All other form instructions should be followed when completing a form.

Individuals or entities that submit documents bearing an electronically reproduced original signature must also retain copies of the original documents containing the “wet” signature.  USCIS may, at any time, request the original documents, which if not produced, could negatively impact the adjudication of the immigration benefit.

 See Volume 1, General Policies and Procedures, Part B, Submission of Benefit Requests, Chapter 2, Signatures [1 USCIS-PM B.2].

Message to Foley Law Offices Clients

We sent the message below to Foley Law Offices clients who have interviews scheduled with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The bottom line is the USCIS is closed at least until April 1st.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Client:
I am writing to inform you that your upcoming interview with USCIS has been cancelled. USCIS has canceled all “in person” interviews, including naturalization ceremonies, until April 1st.

You do not have to do anything. USCIS will re-schedule all appointments when it is safe to resume interviews. We will put you on a 30-day calendar and continue to update you as we move forward together.

Foley Law Offices will remain open but most communication will be via email and telephone. If you have specific questions about your case, please email me ([email protected]) or if you would prefer to discuss your situation, call me at (617) 378-8540.

Copied below is the stakeholders email I received from USCIS announcing the shut down. Please use this down time to continue to collect evidence (ie: bank statements, photographs, etc.) of the bona-fides of your case.

Be safe! We will get though this together.

Thanks,

John
03182020

Foley Law Offices, P.C.
10 Post Office Square
Suite 800 South
Boston, MA 02109
Ph: (617) 850-9018
Cell: (617) 378-8540
[email protected]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Stakeholder,

Effective March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is suspending routine in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and Application Support Centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). This suspension of public service will be in effect until at least April 1.

Educating yourself and practicing good hygiene are the strongest tools against infection. Get the latest facts by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 website.

We will provide further updates as the situation develops and will continue to follow CDC guidance. Please visit uscis.gov/coronavirus and our office closure web page for updates.

Sincerely,
USCIS Contact Center

USCIS Offices Temporarily Closed to the Public

As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has suspended routine in-person services until at least April 1 to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). USCIS staff will continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public. However, USCIS will provide emergency services for limited situations. To schedule an emergency appointment contact the USCIS Contact Center.

USCIS domestic field offices will send notices to applicants and petitioners with scheduled appointments and naturalization ceremonies impacted by this closure.

When USCIS again resumes normal operations, USCIS will automatically reschedule Application Support Center appointments due to the office closure. You will receive a new appointment letter in the mail.

U.S. House Again Approves Irish E-3 Visas

Want some good news for a change? A bill which could give Irish citizens access to thousands of US visas every year has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Once again, it was Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal pushing the buttons that lead to a unanimous voice vote in the House last week that could lead to Ireland being added to the E-3 visa program. The legislation now moves to the U.S. Senate where only one senator (Tom Cotton of Arkansas) blocked it two years ago.

Sources close to Congressman Neal and to the Irish government tell me there has been a lot of behind the scenes politicking and they are confident of a unanimous Senate vote. The bill would then be sent to President Trump and the consensus is that he will sign it into law.

If it becomes law, it opens a legal path to the United States for thousands of Irish citizens. Under the current law, only Australian citizens can apply for the 10,500 E-3 visas that are available every year. The Irish would get the ones not used by the Australians. In recent years, about half (5,500) have gone unused.

An E-3 visa means legal employment but it does not lead to Legal Residency/Green card and it is not for everyone. In order to qualify, applicants must be employed in a speciality occupation, have a legitimate offer of employment in the U.S. and possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials.

The Irish Government is working on a reciprocal arrangement, which would ease restrictions on Americans who wish to retire to Ireland and enable U.S. citizens to work in Ireland on a similar basis.

E-3 visas are for two years, but can be renewed indefinitely. They allow the spouses of recipients to work in the U.S., but not their children.

In order to qualify, applicants must be employed in a speciality occupation, have a legitimate offer of employment in the U.S. and possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials.

There’s no indication when the U.S. Senate will take up the legislation but it is being pushed aggressively by the Irish government and Irish-American leaders in Congress

Get the facts about REAL ID

Beginning October 1, 2020, you will need a REAL ID or other acceptable ID such as a valid passport to fly within the U.S.

REAL ID is a Federal Security Standard for IDs that was created in 2005 as a result of increased federal security measures after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The cost to obtain a REAL or Standard driver’s license/ID card is the same.


For more information visit https://www.mass.gov/guides/massachusetts-identification-id-requirements

Education of an Idealist

I had the good fortune of spending a little time recently with the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power.  She was the guest of the Irish American Partnership at its annual women’s Christmas breakfast.

Ambassador Power was born in Ireland and her Irish heritage is very much a part of who she is today.  Before she became President Obama’s U.N. ambassador, she was a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.  She is now teaching at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Ambassador Power was at the Partnership breakfast to talk about her latest book, The Education of an Idealist.

Her book (and the late night comedy of Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel) has helped me survive the daily atrocities of the Trump Administration.  When you read about the forethought, diligence and planning that went into U.S. foreign policy during the Obama Administration as compared to the shoot from the hip, attention deflection policy now on display, you should be embarrassed as a U.S. citizen.  I know I am.

The Education of an Idealist is going to be a fantastic movie.  It will open in an Irish pub with a little girl kicking a soccer ball off a wall and end with that same little girl, now a woman, walking out of the United Nations building in New York with a son holding one hand and a daughter the other.  It is simply a great and uplifting read and I couldn’t recommend it higher.

The Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen was at the same Partnership breakfast and Ambassador Power and her book was the subject of a recent column:  https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2020/01/09/the-education-empathetic-policy-maker/YvtlB4VvPNQIznqEcicRpN/story.html?event=event12


USCIS Updates Process for Accepting Petitions for Relatives Abroad

Release Date: 

WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that, as part of the adjustment of its international footprint to increase efficiencies, Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, will only be processed domestically by USCIS or internationally by the Department of State in certain circumstances beginning Feb 1, 2020.

Diversity Visa 2020 Program

Are you feeling lucky? The U.S. Government is now putting forward an immigration program which allows a class of 50,000 immigrants known as ‘diversity immigrants’ to be issued Legal Residency/Green Cards. Applicants selected for the program must meet simple but strict eligibility requirements. There is no cost to register for the DV-2020.

Unfortunately, not everyone can apply. DV-2020 is not open to immigrants from:

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories and Vietnam.

 

Eligibility:

Do not submit and entry unless you meet both of these requirements.

 

  1. Individuals born in countries whose natives qualify may be eligible to enter.

 

  1. Each DV applicant must have:
  • A high school education or equivalent. This is defined as successful completion of a 12 year course of formal elementary and secondary education.

OR

  • Two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.

 

You must also provide the following information in order to complete your entry:

  • Your name – exactly as it appears on your passport.
  • Gender – male or female.
  • Birth date – day, month, year.
  • City where you were born.
  • Country where you were born.
  • Country of eligibility for the DV program.
  • Entrant photographs. (Recent photographs taken within the last six months of yourself, your spouse and children, etc).
  • Mailing address.
  • Country where you live today.
  • Phone number.
  • Email address.
  • Highest level of education you have achieved.
  • Current marital status and your spouses information.
  • Number of children and their information.

 

Entry Period:

Entries are being accepted until 12pm on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. No late entries or paper entries are accepted and the law only allows for one entry per person.

 

Completing your Electronic Entry:

To Apply – Go to dvlottery.state.gov. Your entry must be complete in full. Complete your entry yourself, avoiding secondary or professional help.

It is extremely important that you retain your confirmation page and your unique confirmation number once your entry is completed. You can also check the status of your entry after applying when you return to dvlottery.state.gov.

 

Selected Applicants:

The Department of State will randomly select individuals by computer from among qualified entries. All DV-2020 entrants must go to the Entrant Status Check using the unique confirmation number saved from their DV-2020 online entry registration to find out whether their entry has been selected in the DV program. Entrant Status Check will be available on the E-DV website at dvlottery.state.gov beginning May 7, 2019 until September 30, 2020.

 

For more information on DV-2020 visit the link below:

https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/Diversity-Visa/DV-Instructions-Translations/DV-2020-Instructions-Translations/DV-2020-Instructions-English.pdf

If you have any other questions regarding you eligibility, call our office at

(617) 850-9018.

 

Good Luck!

 

Production Problems at USCIS

Beginning today, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) will begin recalling approximately eight thousand five hundred Permanent Resident Cards (also known as Green Cards) due to production error. The Green Cards were for approved Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence for spouses of U.S. citizens. The cards were printed with an incorrect “Resident Since” date and mailed between February and April 2018.

USCIS will send notices to individuals who received the incorrect Green Cards and to their attorneys of record. The affected individuals should return their incorrect Green Card to USCIS in the provided pre-paid envelope within 20 days of receiving the notice. They may also return their cards to USCIS field offices. USCIS will send replacement Green Cards within fifteen (15) days of receiving the incorrect card.

The recall does not affect these Green Card holders’ status as lawful permanent residents. If affected individuals need to travel internationally or prove their lawful permanent residence while they wait for a replacement card. they may contact the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 to determine if they need additional proof.

Spouses of U.S, citizens map apply for naturalization after three years of permanent residency and must meet other requirements. The incorrect date on these cards could lead applicants to wait longer than necessary to apply to become U.S. citizens.

Foley Law Offices is checking Green Cards received between February and April to see if any of our clients need to take action. If you have any questions about your Green Card, please call us at (617) 973-6448 for a free telephone consultation.