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The Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Certain Immigrants During the Recovery to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Presione aquí para la versión en Español

Who does the Presidential Proclamation impact?
The Proclamation Impacts Immigrants who are:

  1. Outside the U.S. on April 23, 2020 and 
  2. 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 
  3. Do not have travel document (advance parole, transportation letter, or boarding foil) valid on April 23, 2020 or issued after that date, and
  4. 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.

Questions?
Please contact Catholic Migration Services in Brooklyn at (718) 236-3000 or in Queens at (347) 472-3500.

Download this update as a PDF.

Update from Catholic Migration Services Regarding Office Operations and Assisting Clients During COVID-19

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.

Immigration
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.

Housing
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

Workers’ Rights
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!

Events
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.

Additional Information
For additional updates, please regularly visit the organization website and social media channels:
www.catholicmigration.org
www.Facebook.com/CMSBQ
www.Twitter.com/CMSBQ
www.Instagram.com/CMSBQ

Download this update as a PDF.

New York halts evictions indefinitely due to coronavirus pandemic

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

Immigration Update Pertaining to Recent Changes to the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (LRIFA) of 2019

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.

Meet José Miranda: A Second-Year Fellow Assigned to Catholic Migration Services

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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.”

 

 

Chinatown Dim Sum Workers Win Federal Lawsuit for Owed Wages

Plaintiff “Vincent” Cao at the Chinese Staff & Workers’ Association.

The Chinese Staff & Workers’ Association (“CSWA”), a partner organization in the CILEC consortium, contacted Catholic Migration Services in late 2018 with a request for legal assistance for a number of workers that they had been organizing who were owed significant sums of wages. The group had worked in a Chinatown dim sum restaurant and most were owed up to eight weeks of unpaid wages when the restaurant closed its doors in August 2018. Jin Ming “Vincent” Cao, an organizer with CSWA, is one of the many workers who was owed unpaid wages and decided to sue his former employers, Joy Luck Palace Restaurant, its owners and its general manager. Catholic Migration Services filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of 19 of those workers, most of whom were Chinese immigrants, employed by Joy Luck Palace restaurant for about two and a half years. The group of workers, consisting of captains, servers, and bussers, pleaded violations of federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws, state spread-of-hours laws, state notice and paystub provisions, and state laws governing the purchase and maintenance of uniforms. The employers failed to participate in the litigation, and, after reviewing the workers’ sworn testimony and employment records, the judge overseeing the case ordered the employers to pay the full amount of damages that the workers sought in the litigation, totaling approximately $950,000.

Although a win for Vincent and his former coworkers, the 19 employees have yet to collect on their owed wages. According to a NY Daily News article, Vincent believes that recovery of the workers’ wages will be an uphill battle, stating that “the restaurant’s owners and operators had plenty of time to hide their assets as the lawsuit ground a conclusion.” Thomas Power, an attorney with Catholic Migration Services who represented the 19 workers in that federal case shared Vincent’s concerns that judgment collection will likely be difficult sharing that  “it’s fair to suspect that [the defendants] have taken some steps to move their assets.” Power added that “there is a bill that was recently passed by the New York State legislature, which advocates refer to as the SWEAT Bill, that would give workers some extra tools to help their efforts in recovering unpaid wages.” As of the date of this posting, that new piece of legislation currently awaits Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature.

In fact, every year, workers in New York State are cheated out of an estimated $1 Billion that they earn but are not paid. Immigrant workers bear the brunt of this wage-theft, often toiling in low-wage industries where they don’t receive minimum wage or overtime, and sometimes receive no wages at all for days or weeks of work. To learn how you can help fight this epidemic, click here.

Read the full article in the NY Daily News: Workers in NYS are owed up to $1 billion in stolen wages: experts