Filing for Asylum under the Trump Administration

As you may have heard, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the Trump administration’s rule that prevents many Central American migrants from filing for asylum in the U.S. can continue. Is this an end to asylum for those people? Not necessarily. It just temporarily blocked a lower court’s ruling prohibiting Trump from doing that.

However, we can obviously infer from this that it will not get easier for certain asylum seekers. So, if you are a person seeking asylum protection and live in New York City (such as Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan or the Bronx), contact an experienced Immigration lawyer to discuss filing for asylum. Do not waste further time and wait for laws to possibly make it even more difficult. Be offensive and not defensive. This does not put an end to asylum seekers everywhere. Get the facts from an Immigration attorney that has nearly 20 years experience serving the New York City (such as Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan or the Bronx) area.


Immigration Court at 26 Federal Plaza, NYC (Manhattan)

President Trump has pledged to increase immigration enforcement.  What does this mean for the undocumented immigrant?  This likely means that you will have contact with ICE (Immigration DHS Agents).  When ICE makes contact, they will determine your custody status.  What does this  mean?  To put it simply, they will determine whether they will keep you locked up or release you.  They will need to determine whether you can be trusted to appear in Immigration Court (Executive Office for Immigration Review – EOIR).  Dont take any comfort in assuming that they will make a rational and reasonable decision in making a custody determination.  Most of their decisions lack a common sense approach.  All too often, I have clients with criminal records released by DHS and clients with no criminal record and strong ties to the U.S. (U.S .Citizen children, long length employment, etc) held without bond.  The moral of this blog?

  1. DONT ASSUME YOU WILL NOT HAVE ANY CONTACT WITH IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS. DONT ASSUME BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE U.S. FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME, THEY ILL NOT GET TO YOU.
  2. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR FREEDOM IN THE HANDS OF AN AGENCY THAT ALL TOO OFTEN MAKES THE WRONG DECISION.

Immigration laws are very complicated.  DHS uses these laws to deport people.  You can use them to obtain permanent residency.  Be proactive, not defensive.  Take the initiative and legalize your status.  The first step is to contact an experienced Immigration lawyer attorney.


Immigration ICE arrests in NYC (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island)

Is Immigration ICE after you or a loved one? What are your rights?

Let’s remember one thing about our beautiful country and the United States Constitution. Yes, it is this constitution that the President swears to uphold. Is also the same constitution for which our brave soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice.

I will answer just a few questions that many people ask me.

1. Do you have to open the door when immigration agents knock?

The answer is no. You can ask whether they have a warrant, whether a search or arrest warrant. If they claim they do have an arrest warrant, you may ask them to slip it under the door.

2. Do you have to answer questions?

You should not answer any questions or provide any statement. Obviously, we must be respectful with these agents. However that does not mean we have to acquiesce to everything they want. Tell them that you wish to speak with an attorney.

3. Can immigration come to your workplace?

Usually for agents to come to a workplace, they must be invited by the employer or allowed to enter.

Remember, we are in nation of laws. Immigration agents use these laws to enforce immigration laws and at times use them to deport people. However, never forget that these same laws can be used to your benefit as well in order to obtain legal status and/or fight deportation.


Anti-Immigration Hatred & Immigration Enforcement

By now, everyone has likely heard about the investigation of a hate hate crime in El Paso, Texas where someone allegedly killed over 20 people. Investigators claim that right before the shooting, the alleged shooter posted an anti- Immigration article that blamed Immigration for taking away jobs in the U.S.

Is there any rational basis for the belief that undocumented individuals take away jobs? How does someone obtain work authorization (employment authorization)?

The fact is that most of the jobs performed by undocumented immigrants are jobs the general American public would likely not accept anyway. Another observation is that undocumented immigrants do not comprise the bulk of public assistance recipients, presuming they are even eligible to receive such benefits.

As far as immigrants that have work authorization is concerned, the issue is similar. I will never be convinced that they threaten American jobs. Here’s what I’m struggling with… You mean to tell me an American should be threatened by an immigrant with work authorization who is new to the work force? Well, if that’s the case, so be it … If someone who newly entered the workforce can edge out an American, then that’s just fine in a capitalist economy. It’s about competition. Competition is and always will be great for business. I’ll have zero sympathy for the American who should have had the advantage over a newcomer. It appears to be reminiscent of how children behave. They don’t want something until someone else has it. It’s not convincing at all.

Let’s get back to the following question. How do I obtain work authorization (employment authorization) in NYC (for example)? For the most part, to obtain employment authorization or work authorization, you must have an underlying application. It is usually provided during the pendency of a permanent residence (green card) application or asylum. It is issued before the green card application or asylum application is decided because those applications cab take some time to be approved or decided.


Immigration Enforcement

I’m sure by now, many have heard widespread news coverage of the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement efforts. There have been immigration raids throughout many cities.

If Immigration agents (Immigration Customs Enforcement) (DHS) show up at your door, what can you do?

Will you be “deported”?

What happens when Immigration takes away a loved one?

Many of these questions are often asked.

As with anything else, preparedness is essential and can make a world of a difference. Don’t assume it won’t happen to you. You know what they say, the best defense is a great offense. But, what does that mean in terms of someone who has no immigration status. What can they actually do to help them before an immigration agent even knocks on their door.

There are actually many steps that a client can take in advance.

To begin with, don’t assume it won’t happen to you. That type of comfort is quite foolish.

Be prepared…..How?

To begin with educate yourself on immigration law and avenues of relief (meaning what are you eligible to file to obtain immigration status). How do you do that? Well, although the internet is a great resource, it can also cause great confusion. I can tell you from personal experience, this should never be the primary source of information. There have been many times when I was inflicted with health issues and after researching the internet for similar symptoms, I almost always diagnosed myself with some form of terminal illness. I’m exaggerating a bit of course, but I will hold steadfast to my feelings about the internet. Get your information from a licensed and experienced immigration lawyer serving the jurisdiction where you reside, whether it’s looking for an experienced immigration lawyer in Brooklyn, New York City (NYC), or elsewhere. The interpretation of laws may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Another important way to prepare yourself is to make sure you are ready for the questioning by federal immigration agents. You never want to be in a position where you lie or are dishonest. Lying to federal agents is a big NO NO.. So, speak with an experienced immigration attorney about your unique factual background to prepare yourself.

Of course, there are many other ways to get ahead and minimize any adverse or bad immigration consequences. However, every case is unique, so speak to an immigration counselor in Brooklyn, NYC or your jurisdiction.

Remember, we are a nation of laws. Know the law… And use it to your advantage.


Immigration Application Case Denied! What’s next?

So you received a denial from DHS/USCIS/Immigration of your application for a visa, greencard, removal of conditions on greencard (I-751; Application on a marriage based case after receiving your 2 year greencard), naturalization/citizenship? What’s next for you? Well, if this question was asked to me a few years ago, I would have likely been comfortable stating that immigration (deportation) enforcement does not directly and/or automatically follow a denial. However, a lot has changed with the Trump administration and it’s immigration policies, particularly it’s immigration enforcement policies. I have seen a tremendous increase in immigration enforcement (immigration arrests/detention/deportation) as a result of the denial of an immigration application case filed with DHS/USCIS/Immigration. It appears now that in many cases, when an immigration application case is denied, the file is sent to immigration enforcement officers, also sometimes known as ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement). So, I have found that it is at least more prudent, if not absolutely necessary that you contact an immigration attorney after receiving an immigration application case denial. There may be actions available through an experienced immigration attorney which may minimize the chance that your case is sent to immigration enforcement after a denial. It is always advisable to be proactive (meaning don’t wait for something negative to happen to you before speaking to an experienced immigration attorney). Many times there may be options available which may overcome the denial, such as an appeal, motion to reopen and many other avenues. What you never want to do these days is ignore the denial and hope that immigration doesn’t come knocking on your door. At a minimum, take the time out to get concrete information pertaining to your particular case (even after a denial). This may be the difference between you being taken into custody/arrested by immigration and continuing to live with your family.


Immigration Consequences of a Criminal Arrest/Conviction

In today’s climate, immigration enforcement of individuals with criminal convictions is at an all time high. Whether you live in New York City (Brooklyn, Staten Island, Bronx, Manhattan or Queens) or New Jersey, you will see stepped up immigration enforcement. Take no comfort in the fact that immigration (DHS) has not reached out to you for a convictions perhaps 20 years old. All too often, we have clients who enter and or appear at JFK airport where DHS/Immigration discovers/finds a criminal conviction from many years ago. People are often puzzled as to why immigration officials make an issue of this now despite countless travels in and out of the country. As such, if you have a criminal conviction, we strongly recommend that you immediately contact an immigration attorney serving New York City (Brooklyn, Staten Island, Bronx, Manhattan or Queens) and New Jersey. You must be proactive and not wait for immigration to appear at your door. If you do nothing and they come to you, you may possibly be taken into custody and stay in detention. Some detainees may have to stay in custody without bond and wait for an immigration judge to take on your case. Be ready. Be diligent. Contact an experienced immigration attorney.


Asylum Transferred to Immigration Court

You filed a case for asylum and you appeared for your asylum interview. Although you seemed optimistic about the results, when you picked up your decision, you found out that your case was transferred to immigration court. When a case is transferred to immigration court, a person receives a Notice to Appear (NTA). DHS will issue a Notice to Appear and if you live within the jurisdiction of the New York City Immigration Court, you will be commanded to appear at the Immigration Court located at 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY. If you live within the jurisdiction at the Newark Immigration Court, you will be commanded to appear at the Immigration Court located at 970 Broad Street, Newark, NJ. Statistics show that the majority of cases heard by the asylum office in Bethpage, NY or at the asylum office at Lyndhurst, NJ, are transferred to the immigration court. You will have an opportunity to present your asylum case in front of an immigration judge in New York City or an immigration judge in Newark, NJ (if you live within those courts’ jurisdictions). Unlike your experience at the asylum office in the Department of Homeland Security, your experience in immigration court will be entirely different. In the immigration court, immigration court rules will apply. You should find experienced and competent representation through an experienced immigration lawyer serving New York City and/or an immigration lawyer serving Newark, NJ. The decisions you make very early on after receipt of the Notice to Appear will likely be one of the most important decisions in your life. Despite what you have heard out there and despite what you may have heard about the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement, our immigration courts will provide you with a fair opportunity to present your case. Although hiring an experienced immigration lawyer includes financial costs, consider these costs an investment in your future. Make no mistake about it, if proper decisions are not made early on, fixing any mistakes (presuming they are even fixable) will be a lot more costly


Loved One/Family Member Arrested by Immigration (ICE, DHS)

What do you do when this happens? Many people are panicked because immigration officers/ICE/DHS/Immigration Police do not give family members any information. It is no secret that the Trump administration is stepping up all immigration enforcement and deportation efforts. Many people without any status are being arrested in New York City (Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, New York), Long Island, Yonkers and Westchester. These arrests include individuals who may be here illegally, may have violated their status, may have violated their authorized stay or have been arrested or convicted of a crime (whether drugs, assault, burglary, DWI, etc). Some of these family members have been told that nothing can be done for somebody in that situation. Please be weary of individuals giving that type of advice. Here is a news flash, it may in fact be that in deportation proceedings you may actually be able to file for a greencard (permanent residency) when in fact you couldn’t have filed before deportation. There are also situations where a greencard holder (permanent resident) is put into deportation. In those cases, you may also be able to apply for applications that would allow you to be forgiven (waiver) to those criminal convictions. But you must act quick. You must act fast. There are situations where immigration will take somebody arrested in New York and ship them all the way across the country. If you act fast and work with an experienced immigration attorney, you may be able to stop the transfer of a loved one from your state to a very distant state. The immigration laws are one of the most complicated laws of the United States. Do not attempt to take action on your own. Speak to an experienced immigration attorney serving New York City (Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, New York), Long Island, Yonkers and Westchester. Our office has been providing immigration legal services for nearly 20 years.


High Interest Credit Card Making You Feel Hopeless

Let’s face it, most people are burdened with high balances on credit cards and high interest rates. Not matter how much you seem to pay and how often, your balances never seem to be reduced. Is there a way to legally get rid of credit card debt without ruining your credit? Is there a way to get rid of credit card debt but still be able to get new credit cards with a credit line? You will be surprised to find out that the answer is yes. Banks want you to think that the solution known as bankruptcy would be the death of your credit. However, this is absolutely wrong. In most cases, people are able to file for bankruptcy and legally get rid of all their credit card debt while being able to keep all their assets (if covered by an exemption). In fact, after filing bankruptcy most people will see not only an increase in their credit report, over time, but will also begin to receive credit card offers shortly. Do not be fooled by the banks. If you are troubled by credit card debt and are having financial difficulties, do not wait. Speak to an experienced bankruptcy attorney in New York City (Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, New York), Long Island, Yonkers and Westchester.