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Staten Island Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

New York law provides deportation defense for petty crimes

Petty crimes should not be the cause for removal from the United States. Immigrants who are charged with lesser crimes will now have more shelter under a new New York City law that allows police to charge them with lesser civil summonses versus criminal summonses. This law provides an important deportation defense. A recent news story covers the details of the new law.

Immigrants must keep a clean record or they can face deportation. By changing the classification for some crimes from criminal to civil, immigrants can avoid new criminal charges that could affect their immigration status. The law was passed in 2016 by the city council and later signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

Missing: New York immigration judges

Notices were posted in New York City's federal building about the unexpected absences of several immigration judges. Cases would be rescheduled, the notices said, though no information was given about why the judges were absent or where they had gone.

Officials refused to disclose the judges' whereabouts, so WNYC began digging. The public radio station soon learned that more than 25 percent of New York City's immigration judges had been redeployed to Texas and Louisiana to conduct hearings there. The move strikes some observers as strange, given that our immigration court is the busiest in the U.S. with a backlog of more than 80,000 cases.

Undocumented immigrant arrests on the rise in New York City

They say that elections have consequences. News that arrests in New York City of undocumented immigrants have risen by more than 30 percent since January makes the consequences of last year's election clear.

President Donald Trump took office in January after a contentious campaign that concluded with his election in November. During the campaign, he made a number of immigration-related promises, including construction of a border wall and vastly increasing enforcement.

Transit cop busted pretending to be immigration police

Anyone who rides the Staten Island Railway has seen conductors checking passengers to make sure everyone has paid their fare to ride. In Minneapolis, they have a similar train system and personnel with transit cops regularly boarding trains to check for tickets.

A recent viral video shows a transit cop there doing much more than asking for proof that a passenger had paid his fare. The cop was asking for proof of that the passenger is in the United States legally.

Naturalization ceremony makes dream come true

The ceremonies take place each week in New York City locations. Yet each time a naturalization ceremony is held, it is special. The procedure transforms citizens of countries from around the world into new U.S. citizens with all the privileges and rights that come with citizenship.

Those privileges and rights can include registering to vote (and then voting), serving on a jury, becoming a member of the U.S. military, applying for a U.S. passport, and yes, paying taxes and receiving benefits paid for with taxes.

New York prosecutor: fear of deportation helping criminals

This might be another case of unintended consequences in government. The phenomenon rears its ugly head virtually every time politicians try to fix a problem: the remedy brings with it new complications that no one saw coming.

In this case, it's the Trump administration's crackdown on illegal immigration. The intention is to rid the nation of undocumented immigrants, apparently, but an unintended consequence of the crackdown is that immigrants are now afraid to report crimes. So crimes go unreported and criminals proceed unimpeded to their next victims: probably not what officials intended when they ordered the crackdown.

Profiling New York City's La Marcha de Mayo organizer

Like so many activists these days, the organizer of tomorrow's La Marcha de Mayo in New York City is new to activism. Before she began work on the May 6 event, her civic participation was limited to voting.

But Ana Breton is like so many other Latinas: energized by immigration policies espoused by the Trump administration. She is herself an immigrant who came to the U.S. at 10 with her parents from Mexico.

Hard-line naturalization stance demeaning to value of citizenship

"Your argument is demeaning the priceless value of citizenship," said U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy during oral arguments Wednesday. "You're arguing for the government of the United States, talking about what citizenship is and ought to mean."

The Justice Department lawyer in charge or arguing Maslenjak v. United States had just admitted that even a completely unimportant omission of fact on a citizenship application could leave a naturalized citizen open to deportation forever.

New York City proactive on immigration laws

New York City has a long and proud history of welcoming immigrants. Perhaps no other American city is better known for helping immigrants make their dreams come true.

With more than a half-million undocumented immigrants living here, the City Council is working to ensure that they are safe from detention and deportation.

New York City gets a win in fight to protect immigrants

Late last year, two Staten Island members of the State Assembly sued New York City to stop it from destroying documents it had received to verify people's identities for the municipal ID program IDNYC. 

Now Staten Island Justice Philip G. Minardo of State Supreme Court has ruled that the city is free to dispose of the documents. The city wanted to destroy the documents to help protect undocumented immigrants. The two politicians who filed the suit claim that destruction of the papers poses a threat to national security.

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