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Know Your Rights – DACA Update

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Peze la pou tradui nan Kreyol Ayisyen

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

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.

Immigration Update: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Issues Memorandum Partially Rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

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On July 28, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a memorandum partially rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. This memorandum was in response to the June 18, 2020, Supreme Court decision, which found that the Trump administration’s initial attempt to rescind the DACA program was done improperly. USCIS was then ordered to restore all aspects of the DACA program, including accepting first-time applications and advance parole requests. 

USCIS’ July 28 memorandum rescinds portions of the DACA program and lays the groundwork for rescission of the entire initiative. The memorandum announced the following changes to the DACA program:

  • USCIS will reject all first-time applications for DACA. This includes any first-time applications currently pending as of July 28, 2020 or filed in the future. Any USCIS fees submitted with first-time applications will be refunded to the applicant.
  • Previously, those eligible to renew their DACA received two-year renewals. USCIS will now issue only one-year DACA renewals to eligible applicants. The application fee to renew DACA will remain $495 despite the shortened renewal period. The memorandum does not appear to change the eligibility requirements for renewal applicants. It also states that USCIS will continue to comply with its policy of refusing to share information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for enforcement activities. 
  • USCIS will deny virtually all applications for advance parole based on DACA. Any such advance parole applications currently pending will be denied and any USCIS fees paid will be refunded. USCIS has left open the possibility that it will approve advance parole applications in “exceptional circumstances”. The memorandum does not describe what qualifies as exceptional circumstances. Any advance parole approvals issued before the July 28 memorandum will remain valid.

The July 28, 2020 memorandum is almost certainly the Trump administration’s first step in attempting to rescind the entire DACA program. This partial rescission will likely be challenged in court. However, unless and until a judge decides that this memorandum is unlawful, it will remain in effect. For now, those who previously had DACA and remain eligible to renew may still do so.

All DACA eligible individuals should consult with a legal service provider for information about, 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 renewing DACA, 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).

Download this update as a PDF.

 

Immigration Update: The Supreme Court of the United States on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program

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On June 18, 2020 the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Trump Administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2017 was unlawful, thus allowing almost 800,000 DACAmented community members, including 45,000 residents of New York, who call the United States of America home to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the program has not been eliminated and continues to stand.

What does the decision mean?

  • The Supreme Court’s decision specifically takes issue with the way the Trump administration ended the program in 2017. The Court held that the way the program was terminated was improper. It did not hold that DACA was lawful or good policy.
  • The Supreme Court’s decision means that the DACA program should be restored completely, which means that first time applicants should be able to apply. It is unclear when the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin taking on new applications. Individuals currently with DACA continue to remain eligible to renew their DACA for two more years.
  • It is possible that Advance Parole may again allow DACA recipients to travel outside the United States and return. However, details of this are still unclear, and the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may limit the ability to travel.
  • All DACA eligible individuals should consult with a legal service provider for information about applying for DACA for the first time, renewing their existing DACA, and/or getting screened for eligibility for other, more permanent immigration options.

This decision is an enormous victory for our immigrant communities and their allies who mobilized to protect the DACA program. However, it is important to keep in mind that the Trump administration can again attempt to end the program through other means, and that only an act of Congress can afford DACAmented community members true permanent status in the United States.

We will continue to update our website with more information as it becomes known.

To make an appointment with Catholic Migration Services for free legal assistance applying for or renewing DACA, call us at (718) 236-3000 (Brooklyn office) or (347) 472-3500 (Queens office).

Download this update as a PDF.

Virtual Immigration Town Hall

Last week Catholic Migration Services and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest hosted a Virtual Immigration Town Hall via Facebook Live. Panelists discussed how COVID-19 is impacting tenants and workers, shared helpful resources with the immigrant community during this difficult time, and took questions from the audience. If you missed it, view the video below.

*The Virtual Immigration Town Hall begins at 00:09:00

Join Catholic Migration Services and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest for an Virtual Immigration Town Hall on…

Posted by Catholic Migration Services on Thursday, May 7, 2020

Legal Services NYC Sues NYC Immigration Courts for Refusing to Postpone Filing Deadlines Amid COVID-19, Putting Countless Lives at Risk

On April 29, 2020 Legal Services NYC and Catholic Migration Services as an organizational plaintiff – filed a lawsuit before the Southern District of New York against the Executive Office for Immigration Review, AKA “immigration court” (EOIR) challenging the EOIR’s requirement that all litigants with cases currently pending before it continue to meet previously established filing deadlines even in the face of a global pandemic.

What this means practically is that if a legal worker practicing before the immigration court had a filing due at any time during this COVID-19 pandemic and gubernatorial shelter-in-place, they are still required to meet that deadline or risk running afoul of a court order and more importantly causing potentially irreparable harm to their clients and their case. This case seeks to force the agency to enjoin the enforcement of all immigration court deadlines until 45 days after all shelter in place orders are lifted.

Read the full press release from Legal Services NYC: Legal Services NYC Sues NYC Immigration Courts for Refusing to Postpone Filing Deadlines Amid COVID-19, Putting Countless Lives at Risk

Click here to download the full complaint.