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.
Presione aquí para la versión en Español
Who does the Presidential Proclamation impact?
The Proclamation Impacts Immigrants who are:
- Outside the U.S. on April 23, 2020 and
- Do not have an immigrant visa (meaning, had not had the consular interview and been approved to enter the United States) on or before April 23, 2020, and
- Do not have travel document (advance parole, transportation letter, or boarding foil) valid on April 23, 2020 or issued after that date, and
- Are trying to enter the U.S. as a step in the green card process in the next 60 days.
The Proclamation Does NOT Impact Immigrants Who:
- Were inside the United States on April 23, 2020, or
- Are already lawful permanent residents (green card holders), or
- Have an immigrant visa that was valid on April 23, 2020, or
- Have an official travel document (advance parole, transportation letter, or boarding foil) that is valid on April 23, 2020 or issued after that date, or
- Are the spouse or under-21 child of a U.S. Citizen, or
- Are healthcare workers, physicians, medical researchers, or other researchers combating the pandemic, or their spouse or unmarried, under-21 children, or
- Recognized as essential workers, their spouse and unmarried, under-21 children, or
- Have a student, temporary worker, or other non-immigrant visa, or
- Are a member of the U.S. military or their spouse and children, or
- Are seeking asylum, withholding of removal, protection under the Convention Against Torture, or refugee status, or
- Are entering on Special Immigrant Visas with SI or SQ classifications, or
- Are a prospective adoptee of a U.S. Citizen under the IR-4 or IH-4 classifications or
- Applying for a visa through the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program, or
- Are determined to be a person whose entry would further important law enforcement objectives, or
- Are determined to be entering “in the national interest”
What does the Proclamation say about non-immigrant visas?
For now, the Presidential Proclamation does not affect non-immigrant visas. However, the Proclamation hints that within the next 30 days, the Trump Administration will be considering whether to include non-immigrant visas in a similar executive action in the near future.
Does this really “temporarily suspend immigration into the United States” like the President said it would? Does it impact people who are already permanent residents?
No. There are many immigrants who will continue to be able to enter the United States. The Proclamation’s effect is small especially because many government offices had already closed or reduced operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It does not ban immigrants who are already permanent residents. For now, the Proclamation is set to last for only 60 days, although that period could be extended.
What is the purpose of this Proclamation?
In the Proclamation, the President says he thinks immigrants would compete with U.S. citizen workers for jobs during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the time immigrants do not compete with U.S. citizens for jobs, but instead increase job opportunities for citizens. According to the Small Business Administration, immigrants are 30% more likely to start a business. Businesses owned by immigrants hire workers. Immigrants put billions of dollars into our economy. The Presidential Proclamation is based on false and anti-immigrant beliefs. The Trump Administration seems to be trying to take advantage of the current crisis to cut immigration to the United States.
Please contact Catholic Migration Services in Brooklyn at (718) 236-3000 or in Queens at (347) 472-3500.
Download this update as a PDF.
Presione aquí para la versión en Español
Catholic Migration Services is continuing to assist existing and new clients during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. However, we have limited our office operations to reduce health risks to visitors, staff and volunteers. For the health and safety of all, please do not come to our offices unless instructed to do so by a staff member of Catholic Migration Services.
For Individuals with Scheduled Appointments
If you already have an appointment scheduled to meet with someone at Catholic Migration Services, a staff member from our office will contact you to discuss holding the appointment by phone or rescheduling for a later date.
For Individuals Seeking Legal Assistance for the First Time
If you do not have an appointment scheduled and are seeking assistance, please see below for information about how to obtain immigration, housing or employment legal services.
If you are not a client and are calling for immigration help, please call (718) 236-3000 in Brooklyn or (347) 472-3500 in Queens and leave a message. We will return your message and schedule a time for you to speak by phone with one of our attorneys or immigration counselors.
Please be advised that Housing Court has been closed since Tuesday, March 17th until further notice, except for emergencies such as illegal lockouts and emergency repairs. Please know that all evictions will be put on hold until further notice. If you are a Queens resident and have questions about evictions, rent or repair issues, please call (347) 472-3500 (Catholic Migration Services) or 311 (New York City help line).
For additional housing assistance, please contact:
Andrew Lehrer, Esq. – ext. 1026
Amy Collado, Tenant Organizer – ext. 1021
Ahren Lahvis, Paralegal – ext. 1027
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on workers. While our offices remain physically closed, Catholic Migration Services continues to provide critical legal services to low-wage and immigrant workers. In addition to providing advice and legal representation on general employment matters, such as wage theft, we are now also providing advice to workers directly impacted by this pandemic, including those with workplace health and safety concerns and those who have recently lost their jobs. Our hotline is open! To speak with an attorney, please call (877) 52-LABOR (52267) Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ¡Hablamos Español!
The safety of our community is our priority at all times. As a result, Catholic Migration Services has suspended all events and outreach activities including our monthly community meetings at St. Sebastian Parish in Woodside. We encourage vulnerable individuals to exercise caution and stay safe. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this health emergency.
For additional updates, please regularly visit the organization website and social media channels:
Download this update as a PDF.
On Monday, March 16th at 5:00 p.m., an eviction moratorium went into effect for New York tenants (both residential and commercial) after advocates with the Right to Counsel New York City Coalition and Housing Justice for All petitioned local leaders to call for a moratorium during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis. As a result, Housing Court will be closed as of Tuesday, March 17th until further notice, except for emergencies such as illegal lockouts and emergency repairs.
Read the full story in Curbed NY: New York halts evictions indefinitely due to corona pandemic
On December 20, 2019 the United States Congress passed a new law as part of the Liberian Refugee Immigration Act (LRIFA) in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that allows certain Liberian nationals the opportunity to file for permanent residence in the United States.
The deadline for eligible individuals to apply is December 20, 2020.
Who is Eligible to Apply?
Liberian nationals who have been “continuously present” in the United States from November 20, 2014 up to the date of submitting an application, or the spouses, children, unmarried sons or daughters of such a person. Applicants must meet the following requirements in order to apply:
- Be a national of Liberia;
- Be continuously physically present in the United States from November 20, 2014 to the date of the filing of their application (Note: this physical presence requirement does not apply to spouses, children, or unmarried sons or daughters of the principal applicant) ;
- Be eligible for an immigrant visa; and
- Be admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief.
A licensed immigration attorney or accredited immigration counselor can explain these eligibility requirements and whether you may be eligible to apply.
If you believe you may be eligible to apply for residency under this act, please contact Catholic Migration Services to schedule an appointment in Brooklyn at (718) 236-3000 or in Queens at (347) 472-3500.
Catholic Migration Services will continue to update information in the near future to reflect any further changes. All are encouraged to visit our website for future updates, training sessions and workshops.
Download this immigration update as a PDF.
Camilo and Jose Miranda at the Office of Catholic Migration Services. Photo: Immigrant Justice Corps
José Miranda, an Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) second-year fellow was assigned to Catholic Migration Services during the Fall of 2018. Now a Staff Attorney for the Removal Defense Project with the Immigration Program, José was recently profiled by IJC and recalled his first client experience at Catholic Migration Services, a Nicaguaran family in need of immigration assistance assigned to the “FAMU” (family unit) docket.
Camilo and his family arrived at the U.S. southern border in August of 2018 seeking safety and protection after being targeted by the Frente Sandinista Liberación Nacional (FSLN) who wanted to use their home as a shelter for confrontations with the anti-Sandinista student protesters and as a place to store weapons. The family refused and death threats against their lives steadily increased. After a near kidnapping of their son, the family fled Nicaragua and journeyed to the US. border seeking asylum.
After a dangerous trip, they soon reached the U.S. where Camilo, his wife, and two children were detained in a privately-run detention center in Texas for six days and later released after passing their credible fear hearing. On their way to New York, they sought assistance from Catholic Migration Services where they met José. Through the representation of Catholic Migration Services, José advocated on behalf of Camilo and his family during an expedited case in immigration court which led to a successful outcome for our client.
Read the full write-up by Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC): “You can say happy but the word isn’t enough.”