Immigration Updates

PUBLIC CHARGE

On October 11th, the Administration's proposed changes to the Rule of Public Charge, due to go into effect on October 15th, were blocked by federal judges in three states.  Read about their ruling here..

The proposed revisions reversed longstanding public policy that allowed nutrition, health, housing and other public benefits to be used without causing "public charge" consequences.  What this would have meant is that immigrants who enter the country legally and apply to become permanent residents risked being denied permanent resident status if they received government benefits, such as food stamps and subsidized housing.  Immigrants who do not apply for public benefits will be more likely to be granted permanent resident status.

Among students and clients served by Center for New Americans, many are low-income upon arrival and may accept some form of public benefits. For most of our constituents, this is a short-term aid which they give up as soon as they are proficient enough in English and secure enough in their job or jobs (often more than one).  Center for New Americans and most of our partner organizations have encouraged immigrants to continue to take advantage of the government benefits they currently receive.

 

Standard Driver's License vs 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.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON DACA

On February 26, 2018, the Supreme Court declined to hear the Trump Administration's appeal of a federal court's ruling on DACA.  The ruling effectively leaves the DACA program in place pending Congressional action.  U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services is not accepting new DACA applications.  Current DACA recipients can renew their applications.

~~ People should continue to avoid negative interaction with law enforcement. Something like a DUI or conviction related to drugs can have irreversible negative immigration consequences.

SCAM ALERTS

Latest Scam:

The Office of Attorney General Maura Healey warns of scammers promising mortgage debt or other debt relief to you and your family from mortgage debt or unpaid taxes! They ask you to sign a document.

​DO NOT proceed in this type of transaction!  Please call the Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division at 617-727-8400 for questions or concerns.

Learn how to Avoid Scams

 

Learn how to Avoid Scams

 

Update onTemporary Protected Status (TPS)

 TPS has been extended until January 2, 2020 for people from Sudan, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Haiti.  Work permits are automatically extended too. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  had announced that it was 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.)  The TPS extension to January 2020 is a result of court cases challenging this DHS ruling.

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. 

This Ruling is Now on Hold Thanks to a Court Ruling

The announcement by the Department of Homeland Security that it was ending Temporary Protected Status was challenged in court.  On October 3, 2018, a U.S. District Court in California ruled in  the case, Ramos v. Nielsen, that the Department of Homeland Security may not end Temporary Protected Status for residents of Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador while the case is being argued in court.

TPS Extended for Residents of Yemen and Somalia

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.)

 

Center for New Americans Program Sites​

Northampton

James House
42 Gothic Street 
Northampton, MA 01060
Telephone: 413-587-0084
Fax: 413-585-0908

Amherst

Bangs Community Center
70 Boltwood Walk 
Amherst, MA 01002
413-239-9550

Greenfield

278 Main Street, Suite 207 
Greenfield, MA 01301
413-772-0055

                                                                                                                       

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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