Articles Posted in Immigration

Talk about the Trump Administration ending Parole in Place (PIP) for military families is a hot topic and creating a lot of buzz in the immigration world. But, lets break it down. What is PIP and how will the end of it affect those who are swept under its protective umbrella?

What is PIP?

Parole in Place was established by USCIS to help eligible family members of past or current U.S. citizen members of the U.S. military to attain lawful permanent residence.

DACA and Advanced Parole

Maria knew someday she would receive this phone call.  Like all bad news, you never think today will be the day.  But, today was Maria’s day. Her dad is terminally ill with cancer and today’s phone call revealed her father had taken a turn for the worst and time was of the essence.

Only once had she met her father face to face at Friendship Park. Their encounter was through steel bars and they connected by a light brush of their fingertips.  

After her divorce, Maria’s mom had moved to the U.S from Mexico.  Maria was just a baby and her older brother Gustavo was a toddler at the time.  Although Maria nearly lived her entire life in the U.S., she is an undocumented immigrant. A spark of hope ignited in Maria when President Obama instituted the DACA program.  Maria learned of a nonprofit immigration legal service provider through a referral program at her high school in Bronx, NY that helped her apply for DACA. Before long she had a social security number and got a job.

Family Based Immigration Petition

Imagine this: You get to see your mom every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm and only your fingertips can touch through the steel fence. Is she imprisoned? No, actually friends tell you that you are one of the lucky ones to be able to see your mom at Friendship Park on the weekends. Friendship Park is a bi-national beach park, located on the US-Mexico border in San Diego-Tijuana. Families who are separated due to immigration issues are known to travel long distances to meet at Friendship Park to see loved ones.

Living in the United States as an undocumented immigrant is a risk that approximately 11 million people take daily. Why do people take this risk? While reasons vary, one contributing factor is that before President Trump took office, ICE agents generally would not deport an individual unless they had a criminal record, posing a threat to society. However, 2017 has seen an aggressive change to deportations resulting in many being deported who have no criminal record. 

What is the process an individual can take to change his or her status to avoid the situation families who meet at Friendship Park find themselves in? One possible solution is to apply for a Green Card.

Fork in the Road. You know your destination, or where you need to be, but are taking an unfamiliar path to get there. Suddenly you stop. “What now?” you ask yourself as you ponder the fork in the path. “Right or left?” “Will both paths lead to the same endpoint, or do they go in two different directions?” “Which one will take me to where I need to go?”

Similar to the literal “fork in the road” are the two paths that lead to the same treasure of Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), more commonly known as a Green Card. The path you will travel is predetermined by where you live and your current U.S. immigration status, or lack thereof. What does this mean? Simply put, there are two ways to get a greencard, and the path you need to take depends on your circumstance.

 Staring down that figurative fork, to the left is what is known as the Visa Processing or Consular Process. To the right, is Adjustment of Status. However, both processes require a petition to be filed on behalf of the immigrant.

Imagine yourself for a moment planning a night out with someone special. Instead of the night turning out how you had planned, the evening ends with you being forced to walk across the border into Mexico with nothing – just the clothes on your back. On top of that, you are mugged and beaten. 

This is what 23-year-old Juan Montes claims happened to him.  He says that after a date with his girlfriend, he had a bite to eat with a friend, and accidentally left his wallet in their car.  As he was waiting for his ride, CBP agents picked him up. They did not allow him to get his wallet, which contained documentation he is under active protection from DACA through 2018. After being taken to a detention center, he was walked across the border.    

Details to Juan’s story are still transpiring as his activist lawyers battle his case. The government says this is not the correct record of events.  We can only trust with time the truth comes out and all is made well. 

On April 13, 2013, governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Sheila Abdus-Salaam to the Court of Appeals. She made history as the first female African American appointed to the highest New York court. Her legacy will forever be etched in the words she spoke from the bench she earned an appointment to. In 2016 she handed down a landmark decision in which she granted a non-biological parent from a same sex partnership custody and visitation rights. Re Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A. C.C, commonly known as the “same-sex partnership child custody case”.


Sheila Abdus-Salaam ruling is so important because it is consistent with the times. For example, prior to 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) did not acknowledge same sex spouse petitions and applications. However, in July 2013 that changed when the Secretary of Homeland Security issued a statement that USCIS would, effective immediately, recognize same sex spouse immigration and visa petitions in the same manner and with the same privileges as couples engaged in a heterosexual marriage. The 2013 acceptance of same sex marriages applies to asylum, employment-based petitions and other types of applications and petitions.

What rights does this statement provide for individuals in same-sex relationships? It opens many doors. For example, a United States citizen engaged to a foreign national can file a fiance petition. The petition will provide a much easier way for same sex couples to arrange a marriage requiring overseas travel. Also, a US citizen married to a foreign national can sponsor their spouse for a family based immigrant visa. Even if a married couple resides in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage, a US citizen is still legally eligible to file for a federal immigrant visa for their spouse.

Earlier this year, Rosa Ortega, a permanent US resident from Fort Worth Texas was sentenced to 8 years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and faces deportation to Mexico. For what? Illegal voting, voter fraud. Current laws state that you must be a citizen to cast a ballot in national, state, or local elections. Rosa violated this law when she checked that she was a citizen on her Tarrant County voter’s application, thus committing fraud.   Green Card and Voting

 Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick, of Illinois, is also currently facing deportation to Peru for voting illegally in two U.S. elections. In her 2007 Citizenship application, Margarita freely admitted to voting. Both women are out on appeal, after serving one month, and one day, respectively.

 During the 2016 Presidential election, then candidate Donald Trump alleged that there were millions of illegal voters such as Rosa Ortega and Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick. Are there millions of illegal voters and what is the cause of these unfortunate situations? Although the allegations were broadcast loudly, there is no evidence or data to support the claim millions of illegal voters exist. So how do these situations transpire?

As she stared at the computer screen she could not believe her eyes. Her shock changed to tears of joy that poured down her face and clouded her vision. Imagine, Natasha from RussWinning the immigration lotteryia living in Westchester, New York! This fantasy just became a reality as Natasha struggled to comprehend that she was one of the lucky Green Card Lottery winners! Next stop, law school at Pace Law School in White Plains, NY.

Holding the winning lotto ticket is the ultimate American Dream and thought to be the key to making all your dreams come true. In May, 50,000 individuals will be winners of a different type of lottery: the Green Card Lottery, or Diversity Visa Program. True to its name, the purpose of this lottery is to ensure that the individuals who immigrate to the U.S. represent various countries. Countries eligible to participate in the Green Card Lottery are chosen based on data that is calculated for the past five years; and natives from countries that have low immigration numbers qualify for the lottery. The qualifications are simple. An applicant:

  • must apply during specified dates, usually in October;

Even before running for President of the United States, Donald Trump was known to be controversial and unpredictable. Mr. Trump’s unpredictability and controversial nature became more evident during his presidency campaign and even more so with actions taken under his capacity as U.S. President. One of his radical and/or unexpected actions as POTUS (President of the United States) includes the ban on Muslim countries, and most recently, the sweeping dismissal of 46 U.S. attorneys.

One such attorney was Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), appointed by President Obama in 2009. Mr. Bharara was good at his job, being described as the Zeus of the SDNY. Cases he prosecuted involved terrorism, international crime networks, drug traffickers, cybercrime, financial crimes, including Ponzi schemes, and insider trading. As such, people might question the decision to “dismiss” Mr. Bharara and similar United States Attorneys.

However, a new presidential administration requesting resignation of US Attorneys is common, and has happened in our nation’s history previously. Yet, it has to be asked whether there is a method to madness by the Trump administration.

President Trump’s administration recently released a new set of immigration orders that has sparked concerns of massive deportation. This is a legitimate concern given drastic and unexpected effect of Donald Trump’s first executive order in which he banned travel and entry into the United States from seven majority-Muslim countries. However, the new executive order is claimed to be a tighter version of the first one and massive deportations is not its goal, stated White House press secretary, Sean Spicer when plainly asked that question. In fact, it is said that Trump’s new immigration order will not impact green card holders. Really??

Recent events show otherwise. Recent events show that anyone is fair game and that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are everywhere and cracking down on both documented and undocumented immigrants. I.C.E. has 20,000 employees and has hundreds of offices across the U.S. and the Trump administration has called to add an additional 10,000 employees.

The crackdown. Consider some examples of the unstable and volatile immigration atmosphere. In Virginia, ICE agents waited for illegal immigrants to exit a church who had gone inside to stay warm from the cold weather. In Colorado and Texas undocumented foreigners were hunted down when I.C.E. agents actively went into courthouses looking for such individuals who were there for unrelated hearings. Trump’s massive immigration round up is unbiased and has resulted in the detainment of 161 people with felony and misdemeanor convictions and those with no criminal history.

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