Immigration Program

Center for New Americans offers help with immigration applications.

Some ways Center for New Americans can help:

  • Renew your green card
  • Bring family members to live in the US
  • Change from non-immigrant to immigrant status
  • Remove conditions on your status based on marriage
  • Change your address with USCIS
  • Guidance
  • Application Review
  • Legal Consultations and Referrals (Attorney Scott Clark holds information sessions at Center for New Americans in Northampton and works with Center for New Americans staff)​

For more information, contact Maureen at citizen@cnam.org

Center for New Americans is recognized by the Bureau of Immigration Affairs.  Maureen McMahon, Citizenship & Immigration Program Coordinator,  is accredited by the Office of Legal Access Programs.

Public Charge

The Trump Administration has proposed new rules for "public charge."  The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on October 12.

The new rule reverses longstanding public policy that draws a line between the nutrition, health, housing and other public benefits that may be used without causing public charge consequences, and those that may not. This rule dramatically expands the list of programs that could trigger a public charge determination with adverse immigration consequences. The Food Research & Action Center has produced a factsheet  to explain the potential impact.  The Immigration Advocates Network also has a helpful overview of the current public charge policy.

Many healthcare providers are concered that the new rule will increase poverty and harm health.  The Deadline for the public to submit comments is on or before December 10, 2018.

Immigrants can continue to access benefits now but should continue to check this website for updates with respect to the consequences of accessing these benefits.

Standard Driver's License/ REAL ID Driver's license 

To get a learner's permit, driver’s license, or Mass ID in Massachusetts, you need to provide proof of citizenship or lawful presence, a Social Security number, and Massachusetts residency. The documentation being required is more rigorous than previously required. Learn what documents you can use here. 

This is particularly important for people who have expired green cards. If your green card has expired, you need to renew your green card and then return to the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). It can take 5-8 months to get the new green card.  With the receipt notice, people can make an appointment with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to get their passport stamped. 

If you have the required documentation, you must decide between a Standard driver’s license/ID and a REAL ID driver’s license/ID. REAL ID is a federal ID that you can use, beginning October 2020, to fly within the United States or enter federal buildings. To get one, you need to provide additional documentation and come into an RMV service center. Learn more about REAL ID and whether or not you need one here.

 

Helpful App: An app has been developed to allow people who are detained to notify family and friends to care for children, call a lawyer.  Click here: https://notifica.us.

 

What to Do if ICE Comes to Your Door

Videos from Brooklyn Defender Services and the ACLU offer guidance on worst-case scenarios for undocumented people.

Article by VICE

The ACLU animated videos: We Have Rights March 2018

English versions with English captions

If ICE Arrests Us

In Our Streets

Inside Our Homes

When ICE is Outside Our Doors

Also versions narrated in six other languages—Spanish, Urdu, Arabic, Russian, Haitian Creole and Mandarin.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it is not extending TPS for nationals from Honduras, Nepal, El Salvador, Haiti, Sudan and Nicaragua.  People with TPS had permission to remain in the United States because their countries were deemed unsafe.  There are current court cases challenging these DHS determinations and rulings.  

Nationals of countries that are under temporary protected status as of September 2018 and the current end dates:

•   El Salvador — initiated in response to the 2001 El Salvador earthquakes; temporary protected status of 263,280 Salvadorans will end as of September 9, 2019. 

•   Haiti — initiated in response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake; temporary protected status will end as of July 22, 2019. 

•   Honduras — initiated in response to Hurricane Mitch in 1998; temporary protected status ends as of January 5, 2020. 

•     Nepal — as of June 25, 2015, in response to the conditions resulting from the devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015, and the subsequent aftershocks; terminates on June 24, 2019. 

•   Nicaragua — initiated in response to Hurricane Mitch in 1998; protection ends as of January 5, 2019. 

•   Somalia — since 2012, in response to the ongoing Somali Civil War; extended through March 17, 2020

•   South Sudan — since 2016, in response to the ongoing South Sudanese Civil War; extended through May 2, 2019

•   Sudan — since 2013, in response to the ongoing Sudanese conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile; protection ends as of November 2, 2018. 

•   Syria — as of March 29, 2012, in response to the ongoing Syrian Civil War; designated through September 30, 2019. 

•   Yemen — as of September 3, 2015, in response to ongoing conflict in the area as a result of the Yemeni Civil War; extended through March 3, 2020. 

As it stands, once TPS ends for their country, people with this status will lose any legal right to live and work in the United States.  The most serious concern is for anyone who has a current deportation order against them; DHS may detain or deport them. 

 

TPS Extended

TPS has been extended for people from Yemen and Somalia.  People from those countries who already have TPS must re-register in order to maintain their protected status.  Yemenis must re-register by October 15, 2018.  Their status will be good until March 3, 2020.  Somalis must re-register by October 26, 2018.  Their status will be good until March 17, 2020.  

For more information you can check the following website:

https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status.  

 

My TPS Is Ending – What Can I Do?

You may choose to leave the U.S.  Maybe you have lived here for decades and have family here.  You may not want to leave.  There are options that will allow some people to obtain legal status and remain in the U.S.

Recommendations

1.  Verify whether there is a deportation order out for you.  TPS recipients can check by calling 1-800-898-7180 and entering your A number.  Enter option 1 to learn if you have a hearing date.  Enter option 3 to learn about any decisions that were made about your case. If there is no information about you then there is no deportation order for you.

2.  Get your records now.  Find out what information is in the government’s official files.  It is important to know if there is something you have forgotten about or is different from the way you remember it.  Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides access by anyone to government records.  The Privacy Act (PA) allows an individual to access his/her individual records from government.  

File Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)/Privacy Act (PA) requests with any of the following offices with which you have had contact:

• USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)

• ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

• CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

• EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review is an office of the U.S. Dept of Justice) 

There are different processes depending on which office has the records you want.  Check the websites for more information.

• USCIS   https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/freedom-information-and-privacy-act-foia/...

• ICE       https://www.ice.gov/foia/overview and  https://www.ice.gov/foia/request 

• CBP      https://www.cbp.gov/site-policy-notices/foia/faq-foia

• EOIR     https://www.justice.gov/eoir/freedom-information-act-foia and https://www.justice.gov/eoir/foia-submit%20a%20request 

3.  Make a list of all the contact you have had with those offices. Did they stop you, pick you up, detain you, or deport you?  Did you go to immigration court?  Did you apply for any immigration visas, refugee status or asylum?  Did anyone apply for you?  If you answer “Yes” to any of these questions, you should talk to an immigration professional.

4. See if you can get legal permanent residence (a green card).

There are limited ways to get permanent residence: family-based, employment-based, diversity visa, refugee/asylee, money to invest, extraordinary talent or being a victim of crime/violence.

• Family-based means you have a spouse, adult child, parent or sometimes a sibling who can petition for you.

• Employment-based is when an employer petitions for you, after proving that no one else who is able to do the job is available.

• Every year, there is a lottery for people who want to get green cards.  Interested people submit their applications and a few lucky people are allowed to get green cards.  In order to enter the lottery you have to be outside the US or here legally.  Many people would be eligible to apply for this.  https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/diversity-...

• People who enter the US already classified as refugees from persecution or who are granted asylum so they do not have to return to a country where they would be persecuted may apply for green cards after one year

• People who have a lot of money and plan to open a business that will provide employment to a certain number of people may be eligible to apply.

• People who have very unusual abilities may also apply, such as athletes, artists, and scientists.  

• People who were victims of certain crimes and cooperated with the police or were the spouse (child/stepchild) of someone through whom they got their immigration status who abused them. 

 

For more information you can check the following websites:

https://www.uscis.gov/greencard/eligibility-categories 

https://www.uscis.gov/non-uscis-forms (tourist visas, passports, etc.)

 

Public Charge

The Trump Administration is proposing stricter regulations with respect to immigrants who receive public benefits.  Those regulations will be published in the Federal Register and there will be a 60-day public comment period.  Several organizations will sue to prevent these regulations from going into effect.

Immigration Advocates Network has produced a helpful recap of the current regulations with respect to public charge.  We advise immigrants who receive public benefits to continue to receive them, but to continue to check back to see if the regulations have changed.

 

Standard Driver's License/ REAL ID Driver's license 

To get a learner's permit, driver’s license, or Mass ID in Massachusetts, you need to provide proof of citizenship or lawful presence, a Social Security number, and Massachusetts residency. The documentation being required is more rigorous than previously required. Learn what documents you can use here. 

This is particularly important for people who have expired green cards. If your green card has expired, you need to renew your green card and then return to the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). It can take 5-8 months to get the new green card.  With the receipt notice, people can make an appointment with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to get their passport stamped. 

If you have the required documentation, you must decide between a Standard driver’s license/ID and a REAL ID driver’s license/ID. REAL ID is a federal ID that you can use, beginning October 2020, to fly within the United States or enter federal buildings. To get one, you need to provide additional documentation and come into an RMV service center. Learn more about REAL ID and whether or not you need one here.

 

 

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