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Discussion Points for Punto Legal –April 01, 2020

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1. COVID-19.

Ted Hess and Associates is open. Some of us are coming to work; others are working from home. We are all working and getting all types of immigration cases out the door. At the same time, we are trying to do our work through the buzon on the front door; through email; through the internet; and through the mail. If you need to renew your DACA or want to fix your papers through marriage to a U.S. citizen, we are open.

2. Unemployment Insurance.

I want to talk about unemployment insurance. I’m not an expert on unemployment insurance, but I have looked at Colorado law and found some interesting things. But know this first: The first requirement for unemployment insurance is you have to lose a job through no fault of your own. And many of you have lost jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a permanent resident, you are eligible for unemployment insurance. If you have work authorization, you may be able to get unemployment insurance. If you have deferred action as a result of DACA or from the U visa program, you should be able to get unemployment insurance. Finally, if you have been granted asylum, you should be able to get unemployment insurance. You can apply of unemployment insurance on line: Type Colorado Unemployment in a search engine.

3. Cancellation of Removal.

This week I read a bad cancellation of removal case out of the Board of Immigration Appeals. The Board of Immigration Appeals is where you to if you lose in immigration court.

The immigrant was a man from Guatemala. He had six qualifying relatives- his five United States citizen children and his lawful permanent resident mother. At the time of the hearing, his four oldest children were 12, 11, 8, and 5 years of age, and his youngest was 2 months old. I have to tell you that I thought anyone with five or more qualifying relatives was a shoo-in for cancellation of removal.

The immigrant testified that his children would remain in the United States if he were deported. However his wife and mother of his children, testified that the children would relocate to Guatemala and indicated that she would also accompany him.

The immigrant’s 8-year-old daughter had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, a condition she has had since birth. She requires regular medication to treat this condition. The medical costs of the respondent’s children are covered by State benefits. The immigrant claimed that he would be unable to afford medication to treat his daughter’s hypothyroidism in Guatemala. His wife stated that the medication costs $1,100 there, indicating that she obtained this information from the internet. However, the immigrant’s mother testified that she had received medical care in Guatemala free of charge and believes that it is still provided for free in that country.

The Board of Immigration Appeals said an immigrant needs to establish that the relative has a serious medical condition and, if he or she is accompanying the applicant to the country of removal, that adequate medical care for the claimed condition is not reasonably available in that country. The immigrant failed to show that adequate medical care is not reasonably available in the country of deportation.

What went wrong in this case is a lack of preparation of the family for the immigration court hearing.

4. COVID-19 Closures.

· As a result of the corona virus, the immigration court in downtown Denver is shut down and all hearings have been postponed. The immigration court in ICE jail in Aurora is hearing immigration bond cases. The immigration service in Denver and the application support centers in Grand Junction and Aurora are also closed. If you have an interview, it will be rescheduled. If you need to renew your work authorization, the immigration service will not require you to get new biometrics. They will use your old photo.

· U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and all U.S. consulates in Mexico have suspended routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services until further notice.

· The border with Mexico is closed for routine border crossing.

· ICE enforcement has been curtailed.

· In the Eagle courts, all appearances and hearings have been postponed. There is an exception for bail hearings and hearings necessary for public safety. In Garfield County, it is business as usual unless you have flu-like symptoms, in which case you are asked to call the court.

5. Spanish-speaking criminal defense lawyer.

We have a Spanish-speaking criminal defense lawyer in our office. His name is Brian Roche. Brian lives in Eagle County. Brian saw a lot of criminal cases as a public defender in Denver. And he served as prosecutor in Eagle County. We would like you to hire us for criminal cases in Eagle County and Garfield County. If we go to trial, both Brian and I handle the case in front of a jury. Now you can hire a lawyers who are ready to defend you and explain everything to you in Spanish.

6. Tips for New Year.

Number 1. If you can fix you papers in the United States, that is, adjust your status to lawful permanent resident, do it quickly. You may be able to beat the $1000 fee increase. Number 2. If you have DACA, renew your DACA for another two years to stay ahead of a Supreme Court decision allowing President Trump to end DACA. If you have El Salvador TPS and a citizen spouse or 21-year-old child, travel to El Salvador with an advance travel permit so that you can fix your papers in the United States.