Discussion Points for Punto Legal- January 6, 2016

  1. There is a disturbance in the Force. The news is ICE has begun making raids-- again. Let's talk about this news. The first thing you should know is that these raids are targeted at asylum seekers from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras who have orders of deportation. Recall that thousands of unaccompanied minor children from these Northern Triangle countries-- and children with mothers-- went to southern border in 2014 and surrendered themselves. The unaccompanied minor children were put in immigration court, but released. Approximately 55 percent of them never showed up in immigration court. If you don't show up in immigration court, you get a deportation order. ICE is now trying to round these people up to send a message to Northern Triangle countries to stay home.

    If you have a clean criminal history and even an old deportation order, you should not be affected by these raids.

    Let's review the ICE Enforcement guidance issued on November 20, 2015:
    Priority 1 for ICE enforcement are immigrants with felony convictions.
    Priority 2 are immigrants with one or more DUI or domestic violence convictions.
    Priority 3 are immigrants with recent deportation orders, that is, deportation orders issued after 1 January 2014.

    If you are not a priority, the guidance is you SHALL NOT BE REMOVED FROM THE United States.

    Now, if you are unlucky enough to have ICE pounding on your door at an inconvenient hour, what should you do?

    First, do not open the door. Don't let anybody else open the door. Second, demand a warrant signed by a federal judge. Generally, ICE does not get warrants from judges, so they can't go into your house without the consent of an occupant. Third, if ICE claims they have a warrant signed by a judge, have them slip it under the door and check it.

  2. I have often said the most important thing an immigration attorney can do for you is to screen your case for bars to entry. These bars to entry will blow up your immigration case at the worst possible time- at the end of the case-after you have paid your filing fees and paid your attorney.

    To help you know and understand the most common bars to entry, we have posted a short video on our website. I want each of you to watch the video. There is one in Spanish and one in English. To find the video, go to www.tedhess.com , then click the tab for video center and play the Spanish or English video as your prefer.

  3. Earlier I talked about the visa bulletin. The cut-off date for skilled and unskilled workers from Mexico for permanent residence is 1 October 2015! This means a visa is almost immediately available for workers whose employer files a labor certification for them right now.

    If you are an undocumented worker from Mexico-- and are a valuable employee--and you are a grandfathered alien, you may be able to get a green card for you and your family. I want you to call me today if you want to discuss fixing your papers as "alien worker." This is a complicated process, but it can and does work in the right cases. I am going to discuss some of the basic features of petitioning for alien workers. It has to be started by an employer. The employer has to start the process by seeking a labor certification from the United States Department of Labor. There are three major steps for an employer to immigrate a worker. First, the employer has to get a labor certification from the United States Department of Labor. Second, the employer has to file an I-140 petition for an alien worker. Finally, the worker fixes his papers in the United States as a grandfathered alien.

    The boss (the employer) has to pay the up-front cost of the case. For example, if the boss hires a lawyer, he pays for the lawyer. The boss also pays for the petition for the alien worker.

    You may wonder why I said the target audience is grandfathered aliens. Remember that grandfathered aliens are immigrants who are beneficiaries of family petitions or labor certifications filed before 1 May 2001. The benefit of grandfathering is that you can fix your papers in the United States, even if you entered illegally, or worked without authorization, or fell out of status.

    If you do not have the right to fix your papers in the United States, the law forces you to fix your papers in Ciudad Juarez. If you have to depart the United States to fix your papers, most undocumented immigrants trigger a 10-year bar to entry and would not have the United States-citizen spouse or parent needed for a waiver.