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Know Your Rights – DACA Update

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On Friday December 4, 2020, a Federal Judge in New York issued an order restoring the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program to its status before the Trump administration attempted to end it in 2017.

This means that the government now must accept first-time requests for DACA from individuals eligible to enroll into the program, accept applications for advance parole, and restore the two-year renewal period for DACA protection and work permits.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
Current DACA Recipients
• Current DACA Recipients can continue to apply to renew their DACA. It is recommended that you submit your renewal between 150 and 120 days of the expiration date of your current DACA.
• DACA protections and benefits continue (e.g. deportation protection and work permits)
• Renewal period has been restored from one to two years
• Renewal fee remains $495

NEW DACA APPLICANTS
USCIS will accept initial applications for individuals who meet the following eligibility criteria:
• Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
• Came to the United States before reaching their 16th birthday;
• Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
• Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making their request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
• Had no lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012;
• Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate (or other State-authorized exam in the United States), or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
• Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

ADVANCE PAROLE
• Advance Parole applications for humanitarian or education travel outside of the United States will be accepted.
• IMPORTANT: Being granted Advance Parole does not guarantee that you will be allowed to reenter the U.S. It is important that you speak with an immigration attorney or Department of Justice Accredited Representative to understand your situation BEFORE traveling outside of the U.S.

FREE LEGAL HELP MAY BE AVAILABLE
All DACA eligible individuals should consult with a legal service provider for information about applying for DACA, renewing their existing DACA and/or getting screened for eligibility for other, more permanent immigration benefits. To make an appointment with Catholic Migration Services for free legal assistance, please call our office Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at (718) 236-3000 (Brooklyn office) or (347) 472-3500 (Queens office). For additional information, visit our website at www.catholicmigration.org and follow us on social media via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @CMSBQ. You can also obtain free legal advice by calling 311 and asking for “Action NYC.”

Download the Know Your Rights – DACA Update as a PDF.

December 10, 2020

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Expands Expedited Removal Program

On July 22, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice indicating its intention to expand a fast track deportation program called “Expedited Removal.” The expansion of this program means that certain individuals who have been living in the United States for less than two years are at risk of being deported from the United States without seeing an immigration judge.

Starting October 2020, this rapid deportation program can now be used anywhere in the United States (so not only 100 miles from the border). This program can be used to remove people who entered the United States without documentation who have not been properly admitted or paroled into the United States.

To ensure our community members and loved ones’ safety, it is important to understand what expedited removal is and how to protect ourselves and our loved ones best. For more information about expedited removal and how to get free legal advice if you have questions, click here.

Employment authorization for TPS holders from Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Nepal, and Sudan has been automatically extended through January 4, 2021.

On September 14, 2020, an earlier court order temporarily stopping USCIS from terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador was lifted. The lifting of this order does not allow the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediately revoke TPS for these countries; however, it may make it possible for USCIS to terminate TPS in the future. There is a separate lawsuit in which a court order has temporarily halted the termination of TPS for Haiti, and another lawsuit has temporarily blocked USCIS from terminating TPS for Honduras and Nepal. These orders related to Haiti, Honduras, and Nepal remain in effect at the moment.

The developments in these lawsuits do not require current TPS holders to take any action to maintain their status. These developments do not allow USCIS to immediately revoke TPS. All current TPS holders from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, and El Salvador should continue to have TPS and employment authorization until at least January 4, 2021. You do not need to apply for a new work authorization document if you do not want to. However, if you choose to, you will be able to by filing the proper application form with the appropriate fee.

We will continue to update our website with more information as it becomes available. If you have any questions, concerns, or to make an appointment, please call Catholic Migration Services Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at (718) 236-3000 (Brooklyn Office) or at (347) 472-3500 (Queens Office).

Download this update as a PDF.

Catholic Migration Services Files An Unfair Labor Practice Charge With the National Labor Relations Board Against Brooklyn-Based Company, Art to Frames

Catholic Migration Services Files An Unfair Labor Practice Charge With the National Labor Relations Board Against Brooklyn-Based Company, Art to Frames

Whistle Blower Employees Fired in Retaliation for Requesting Masks

Brooklyn, NY (September 21, 2020) – Catholic Migration Services filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (Region 29) against the Brooklyn-based employer, Art to Frames on Thursday, September 17th. The charge alleges that Art to Frames fired an estimated thirty-five workers after they collectively requested that their Employer provide masks to employees for protection from COVID-19.

“These workers only earned minimum wage at Art to Frames and after their termination, they have struggled to make ends meet and find other employment,” said Magdalena Barbosa, Managing Attorney – Workers’ Rights Program, Catholic Migration Services. “Many of these workers also contracted COVID-19 and suspect that they were exposed to the virus at work.”

The COVID-19 public health crisis is creating many challenges for immigrant workers and their families. An estimated six million immigrants are in essential jobs at the front lines of the response to this pandemic. Immigrants, women, and people of color disproportionately fill many of these low-wage jobs and find themselves at heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19 while at work.

Although New York has some of the strongest laws on the books to protect workers, these workers are NOT protected by New York’s current whistleblower statute, New York Labor Law Section 740,” said Miriam Clark, former president of the National Employment Lawyers Association/New York. “The current law fails to protect employees who blow the whistle on anything that is not both an actual violation of a law, rule or regulation and also creates and presents a substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety. These cramped provisions make New York an outlier among the states: employers can even fire whistleblowers who complain about coronavirus-related violations, unless the employee can prove that there is an actual violation of law, rule or regulation, which is rare.” Catholic Migration Services and the National Employment Lawyers Association/New York call on state lawmakers to amend New York Labor Law Section 740 to ensure that whistleblowers are protected

“I worked at Art to Frames for about two years,” said Luis Jacome, Former Employee, Art to Frames who was fired after joining his colleagues in requesting protective personal equipment while on the job. “When we began learning about COVID in early March, my co-workers and I became scared. People were coughing at work and we were afraid of getting sick. All we wanted was for our employer to protect us, but they took zero precautions. No masks, no safe distances – there wasn’t even soap in the bathroom. Instead, we were fired. A few days after my termination, I went to the hospital because I was very sick with COVID symptoms.”

“I’m a single mom and while I was devoted to my job, my kids have always been my number one priority,” recalled Digna Rivera, Fired Employee, Art to Frames. “I reported to work at Art to Frames every day for five years to provide for my family, not to bring home dangerous germs. All we asked for was for our employer to provide a safe environment to work, and simply for that we were fired! We seek justice and to send a message to Art to Frames that our safety and our lives are not expendable.

The Workers’ Rights Program at Catholic Migration Services works towards strengthening the enforcement of workers’ rights through affirmative litigation, policy reform, individual representation, and community education. In collaboration with workers’ centers and community-based organizations citywide, the Workers’ Rights Program provides advice and representation to hundreds of low-income and immigrant workers each year facing a range of problems.

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About Catholic Migration Services
Since 1971 Catholic Migration Services, an affiliate agency of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, has been providing quality legal services in Brooklyn and Queens, and currently provides free legal assistance and Know Your Rights education to low-income individuals in need of immigration, housing, and workers’ rights legal services. As the first office of its kind in the country, Catholic Migration Services has served tens of thousands of immigrants regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status.

Media Coverage
Catholic Migration Services Files Charges Against Art to Frames, for Firing Workers Denied PPE, Currents News, Monday, September 28, 2020