Monday, July 6, 2020
Why Don’t Immigrants Apply for Citizenship?
Thousands of immigrants celebrated Independence Day this weekend by becoming U.S. citizens at naturalization ceremonies across the country. However, there are also millions of immigrants who want to become citizens of the United States but cannot just “apply for citizenship” because of our nation’s outdated immigration laws.
Many people wonder why all immigrants do not just come to the United States legally or simply apply for citizenship while living here without authorization. These suggestions miss the point: There is no line available for current unauthorized immigrants and the “regular channels” are largely not available to prospective immigrants who end up entering the country through unauthorized channels. Even though most unauthorized immigrants have lived in the United States for nearly 15 years, many could live out the rest of their lives without any opportunity to become legal residents of this country.
No “line” is available for the vast majority of unauthorized immigrants.
Immigration to the United States on a temporary or permanent basis is generally limited to three different routes: employment, family reunification, or humanitarian protection. Each of these possibilities is highly regulated and subject to numerical limitations and eligibility requirements. As a result, most unauthorized immigrants do not have the necessary family or employment relationships and often cannot access humanitarian protection, such as refugee or asylum status. This means that no matter how long they have been in the United States, most unauthorized immigrants have no path to legal status. Even those who pay taxes, work hard, and contribute to their communities, have no way to "get in line" unless Congress were to create a new path to legal status.
Monday, June 29, 2020
ICE and CBP Agents Were Deployed at Black Lives Matter Protests
People have taken to the streets across the country to protest the murder of George Floyd, who died at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department. This exercise of First Amendment rights has been met with a militarized response—including the deployment of Homeland Security personnel and technology.
The presence of immigration enforcement agencies at peaceful demonstrations protesting police brutality is deeply troubling.
According to a leaked internal government document, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deployed more than 700 personnel in the Washington, D.C. area alone. Most of the officers were from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). They provided “support” to other federal law enforcement bodies responding to protests in the city and near the White House.
The DHS memo lists over a dozen agencies that had personnel called or sent to cities across the country. Cities under surveillance included Houston, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; Spokane, Washington; Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Jacksonville, Florida, among others. In some cases, officers went to locations where protests were merely planned. The dispatched officers include those with tactical and military style training on special teams within CBP and ICE.
Some localities are responding to the protests by demanding accountability for Floyd’s death. The White House, by contrast, called in the cavalry.
Monday, June 22, 2020
What is DACA and Who Are the DREAMers?
On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in a 5-4 ruling. The ruling maintains the program and allows DACA recipients to renew membership, which offers them work authorization and temporary protection from deportation. The ruling leaves open the possibility that the Administration could still end DACA in the future if they give a proper justification.
In 2017, Trump Administration Orders End to DACA
On September 5, 2017, President Trump ordered an end to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program shields some young undocumented immigrants —who often arrived at a very young age in circumstances beyond their control—from deportation. In 2012, President Obama issued the DACA executive order after the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act did not pass in Congress several times. The young people impacted by DACA and the DREAM Act are often referred to as “Dreamers.”
In making the announcement, then Attorney General Sessions stated that the Trump Administration was ending the DACA program. This decision meant that over time, 800,000 young adults brought to the U.S. as children who qualify for the program, would become eligible for deportation and lose access to education and work visas. Attorney General Sessions asserted that “the executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch.”
Monday, June 15, 2020
The Dark History of “Gasoline Baths” at The Border
In 1917, American health officials in El Paso, Texas, launched a campaign to use toxic chemicals, including gasoline baths, to disinfect immigrants seeking to enter the United States through the US-Mexico border.
Only a few days after the alarming practice was launched at the border, one Mexican woman refused to go through it, sparking a protest of thousands of Mexicans at the El Paso border. Her name was Carmelita Torres; she was a 17-year-old maid from Juarez who crossed the border daily for work.
Although Torres and the riots briefly shut down the border, the campaign would continue for decades and even go on to inspire Nazi scientists. In this video, we trace the dangerous policies that lasted well into the 1960s, from the forced kerosene baths to the use of the poisonous gas Zyklon B to the fumigations of migrant workers in the “Bracero program” using the pesticide DDT. Watch the video to learn more about this long history of toxic chemicals at the border.
Monday, June 8, 2020
ICE has been testing migrants before deportation.
But how it’s doing so is problematic.
The Department of Homeland Security is only testing a sample of the detainees it is removing from the United States and using a 15-minute rapid test to determine if they have the coronavirus.
The response by DHS to a Miami Herald inquiry comes as immigration advocates continue to call for an end to deportations amid surging COVID-19 infections in Latin America and the Caribbean and as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns about the accuracy of the test being used, called the Abbott ID NOW.
Earlier this month, the FDA cautioned that early data “suggests potential inaccurate results from using the Abbott ID NOW point-of-care test to diagnose COVID-19. Specifically, the test may return false negative results.”
Made by Abbott Laboratories, the test, promoted by the Trump administration, is said to provide inaccurate results that could have patients falsely believing they are not infected with the coronavirus.
Monday, June 1, 2020
Unemployment Benefits for Green Card Holders and Other Immigrants
It’s happening to millions of Americans. And immigrants are no different. The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent stay-at-home orders have shut down the economy and left many people unemployed. What’s more, many immigrants are left wondering if it is safe to apply for unemployment benefits. Unemployment insurance (UI) rules are complicated. And the Trump administration’s new public charge rule has created a level of fear that just adds to the anxiety of having no job. The good news is that there are unemployment benefits for green card holders and certain other immigrants. Here’s what you need to know.
Unemployment Insurance Explained:
Unemployment insurance (UI) provides payments to certain workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. An employee who quits a job is generally not eligible. However, those that have been laid off or fired are typically eligible to receive benefits. The amount that workers receive depends on the wages that worker earned during a “base period.” The base period varies by state, but it generally covers the past 12 to 18 months of employment.
The purpose of unemployment insurance is to help you while you’re between jobs. It provides temporary financial support with the expectation that you will actively search for a new job.
UI Eligibility for Immigrants:
There are three basic requirements for unemployment insurance eligibility. Applicants must meet all of the following requirements:
Be unemployed “through no fault of their own”
If you were laid off due to the coronavirus outbreak, you meet this requirement. If you quit a job, this generally will disqualify you from UI.
Have enough wages earned or hours worked in their “base period” to establish a claim
If you worked full-time over the last 18 months, you almost certainly meet this requirement. Each state has a different base period. Your benefit is likely reduced if you did not work full-time or did not work the entire base period.
Be “able and available” to work
If you were authorized to work in the United States, you generally meet this requirement. Anyone with a valid green card or work permit is authorized.
For more info contact: www.legitigo.com
Monday, May 25, 2020
Exchange Visitor Program Faces Uncertainty as US Opens but Embassies Remain Closed
The coronavirus pandemic has affected day-to-day life for everyone, including foreign nationals who planned to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program. These programs use on-the-job training and are often planned months in advanced.
Many large organizations and companies that sponsor and host exchange visitors—who come to the United States on J-1 visas—have been left wondering if their programs will happen at all this year.
In response to the ongoing pandemic, the State Department released guidance that recommended pausing exchange programs for 60 days starting on March 12. The department said it would reevaluate every 30 days after that.
Soon after the pause in programs, the State Department announced there would be an ongoing suspension of routine visa services worldwide. Since then the agency has not provided further guidance on how or whether embassies and consulates will reopen in the near future.
This has impacted those host organizations and companies who believed that their exchange visitors would be arriving shortly after May 11, when the State Department pause was due to expire.
Programs that were set to start in May, June, and July are still facing uncertainty. Individuals who had embassy appointments have had to delay their arrival. Others who received their visas before the embassy closures are still not able to travel due to the continued restrictions on arrivals from certain countries. In other cases, countries have implemented their own strict lockdowns, which have prevented people from being able to leave their own country.