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NYC Immigration Law Blog

Stressed about upcoming green card interview?

When you are told to prepare for a meeting with an official from the Bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, it's enough to make your blood pressure soar. Like most immigrants in New York, you likely understand that such meetings often determine the ultimate fate of residency for those who have arrived here from other countries of origin. If the purpose of your impending meeting is to gain approval for green card application, you have every reason to want to make as good an impression as possible.

With that in mind, there are definitely a few things you don't want to do, such as show up a half hour late for your appointment or walk in wearing a dirt-stained shirt. A key factor in achieving success when meeting with a USCIS official is to look your best and act as though you realize the importance of the matter at hand.

Immigration law has been point of contention for some time

In the modern era, the United States, including the state of New York, is experiencing a wide range of phenomena, including economic inequality, technological revolution and rapid globalization. Still, one of the biggest ones is the huge influx of people coming to the country from around the world. However, not everyone is on the same page when it comes to immigration law.

Starting in the 1900s, a variety of immigrants started to arrive in the United States. In fact, the number of immigrants who entered the country then is comparable to the number entering the nation now. The newcomers sparked a backlash among some members of the American population.

Immigration law officials planning to increase number of jails

The government is planning to boost the number of federal immigration jails throughout the country, which may impact immigrants in New York who lack the proper paperwork. This is being done so that the government can hold the thousands of extra immigrants being arrested by agents. It is all part of federal immigration law efforts aimed at curbing the influx of immigrants who do not have the necessary paperwork.

During the past few weeks, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agency officials has sent out requests to jail sites that are privately run in several cities throughout the United States. Apparently, government officials are planning to house an additional 4,000 detainees in these locations. Between January and September of this year, the agency already arrested more than 97,000 people whom they suspected were not legally in the country.

Several in New York arrested as part of ICE immigration law raid

U.S. Immigrants and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, recently arrested a total of 45 immigrants in the New York City area. These arrests under immigration law took place during an operation targeting sanctuary cities nationwide. The operation is known as Safe City and lasted four days.

The Safe City operation resulted in 498 arrests throughout the United States. Officials focused specifically on sanctuary cities, or areas where local officials have agreed not to hold immigrants lacking the proper paperwork and turn them in to ICE officials. It is said that these cities are drawing large numbers of immigrants who do not have the necessary paperwork.

Immigration law enforcers collecting social media information

The federal government recently acknowledged that it plans to maintain files on immigrants' social media activity. This has sparked concern among immigrant rights groups throughout the United States, including in New York, who have complained that this is a new level of intrusion and surveillance that is being promoted in an effort to enforce immigration law. However, according to the Department of Homeland Security, this move is actually nothing new.

Officials with Homeland Security said that the government has already been collecting immigrants' publicly available social media details for years now. This is reportedly being done to protect the country. The policy for doing this was adopted back in 2017.

Immigration law court is currently backlogged

The rates of deportation of immigrants who lack the proper paperwork have gone up at the federal level for the first time within the past eight years. The increase in deportation rates shows that federal officials are indeed serious about expelling large numbers of immigrants, including those in New York, under immigration law. However, the problem is that the Immigration Court is currently backlogged, so some hearings are not scheduled to take place until July 2022.

The lengthy delays are taking place because immigration courtrooms do not have enough judges. There are a little over 300 judges for a whopping 617,000 backlogged cases. In addition, resources are scant. Right now, the average amount of time to finish a deportation case has increased from just over 230 days in 2009 to a whopping 525 days in 2017.

You may be eligible for a self-petitioned green card

Many immigrants who come to New York to live arrive with green cards they obtained when family members or employers sponsored them. Perhaps you are already in the United States but are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident -- there are certain situations where you could file your own petition for a green card. Unfortunately, the main issue that generally creates eligibility in this area is domestic violence. If you're a victim, you may be able to request permanent residency or U Visa protection.

The Violence Against Women Act includes a provision that allows you to self-petition rather than acquire a sponsor for a green card. Even if you're not currently staying in the United States, but were here when the abuse took place and suffered abuse at the hands of a U.S. citizen, you may still be eligible.

Why the latest DACA news may affect you if you're Asian

If you are "one" in the statistic showing that one out of seven Asian immigrants in New York and throughout the United States are undocumented, then you might also be among those who are deeply troubled regarding recent updates on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. News that President Donald Trump discontinued DACA has many immigrants on edge, worried that they will be next in line as a target for removal. Perhaps you're only a few semesters away from receiving your college degree or have plans to start a business.

More than 800,000 DACA recipients are now worried that their plans (many of which may be similar to yours) will be ruined. If your parents brought you to the United States as a young child or infant, you may be completely unfamiliar with your country of origin. The thought of being forced to leave your home in the United States and start all over again in a place that essentially is a foreign country to you is no doubt quite disconcerting.

Immigration law executive order in New York protects immigrants

An executive order from the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, recently banned the state's agencies from requesting information about someone's immigration status in the majority of cases. Likewise, the state's police cannot ask about or disclose such information. This move was made in an effort to curb the federal government's attempts to clamp down on the immigration of those who lack the proper paperwork according to immigration law.

Cuomo said that politicians are continuing to fight about creating immigration policy that makes sense. In the meantime, he wanted to safeguard everyone in New York from being a federal government target. Based on the executive order, state police and agencies cannot ask about someone's immigration status unless it is required to determine whether he or she is eligible for a service or benefit.

Immigration law debate involves noncitizens' voting rights

Efforts have been growing to expand voting rights for immigrants who lack the proper paperwork. In fact, several cities in some states already permit noncitizens to vote in their local elections. However, this trend goes against the anti-immigration push felt in many parts of the country, including New York, based on immigration law.

Supporters of the trend have stated that they simply feel that residents of towns and cities -- even if they are not officially citizens -- should be able to have a say in the way their governments operate. For this reason, some cities have pushed and approved for voting rights not only for immigrants who lack the necessary documents but also for residents who have green cards and student visa holders. The matters on which they would vote do not include national or statewide policy.

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