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Staten Island Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

Employment immigration: Bill seeks to end threats of deportation

Those people who come to this country as undocumented often find employment with various businesses. Some of these companies exploit those undocumented workers by paying them less money than what would be considered acceptable by the standards of most American workers. The workers can feel as though they have no way to report their employers, as doing so may make them vulnerable to deportation. However, new legislation here in New York related to employment immigration seeks to remedy that, by clarifying an existing law to include protections for undocumented workers.

The current law prevents employers from firing, threatening, penalizing or discriminating against employees who report companies for wage violations. New York's Attorney General Letitia James wishes to include threats relating to a worker's immigration status within the scope of that law. The Department of Labor reports that it has investigated at least 30 cases over the last three years that concern threats to a worker's immigration status. Punishments for violations will not change, which can be up to three years in prison and a fine of $20,000.

Rapper 21 Savage facing immigration charges

Reports of undocumented immigration are all over the New York news these days, with many people on both sides of the debate. The assumption is often that those who enter the United States unlawfully frequently come through the southern border, but that is not always the case. Grammy-nominated rapper 21 Savage was recently arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and authorities say he is originally from the United Kingdom. He is facing immigration charges that claims he is not in the country legally.

The well-known rapper was targeted in a sting operation according to an ICE spokesperson. Authorities say that he legally entered the United States back in 2005 when he was still a minor. His visa expired the next year, but he reportedly failed to leave the country. He is now facing potential removal proceedings in federal court.

Permanent resident: Immigrants mean economic benefit for NY

Immigration is a highly contentious issue across the nation right now. Advocates of immigration have long touted the benefits of allowing foreign-born people to come to the United States. The state of New York in particular has done a great deal to assist immigrants from all parts of the world and in encouraging each one to become a permanent resident. Those who support immigration are pointing to a new study that indicates that New York has seen significant positive economic impact from its immigrant population.

A recent study conducted by WalletHub examined the economic impact made by immigrants in each state. Their findings showed that New York's economy sees the second highest impact. The study compared four different rankings to arrive at the list. They were workforce, socioeconomic contribution, brain gain and innovation, and international students. New York saw the greatest amount of international students and was second in the category of brain gain and innovation.

Deportation defense not enough for FBI informant

Many people who come to this country are not just hoping for a better life, but to save their lives. Whether they are escaping a natural disaster, civil unrest, or direct threats of violence, they come to the United States believing they can improve their circumstances, and often that of their family's as well. Sadly, many of them face deportation once they arrive. That is the problem for one young man who was deported from New York recently. His deportation defense garnered sympathy from the judge in his case, but it was not enough to save him.

The man is originally from El Salvador. When he was very young, he was forced to join MS-13, a violent gang that forced him to kill a rival gang member as part of his initiation. Raised by his grandmother, he eventually fled to New York where his parents were living. MS-13 gang members in Long Island recognized him and threatened him with violence if he didn't join them there as well. Desperate to change his life, he became an FBI informant.

White House policy may have affected more in family immigration

This country may have been founded as a nation of immigrants, but in today's world, there are disagreements about how immigration should be managed. The current presidential administration has been known for taking a hard-line stance on immigration of which some support and others do not. In New York, where there are several sanctuary cities, many current residents risked a great deal to get here, hoping to complete the process of family immigration. Along the southern U.S. border, where the center of the immigration debate seems to have settled, many children were separated from their families when they arrived. Experts are now saying that the old policy may have affected more people than previously thought.

The ACLU was originally representing over 2,700 children in a class action lawsuit that challenged the policy of family separation. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now says that there may have been many more children affected. They were unable to keep accurate records due to what the Office of Refugee Resettlement says were limited resources, and thus an exact number is not known.

Employment immigration may see changes proposed by White House

Immigration has been a divisive issue in our country, including right here in New York. Those who support immigration say that it makes the United States better in many ways, while there are critics who say that abuses of our immigration system run rampant. President Trump recently mentioned potential changes to the H-1B program that grants temporary visas related to employment immigration. Many people on both sides of the debate are wondering exactly what those proposed changes will mean.

H-1B visas are frequently used by companies here in the U.S. to hire workers in specialty fields like mathematics, medicine or technology. These graduate-level, temporary employees can be sponsored for legal permanent residency by their employer, which can lead to full citizenship. The program is not without its opponents, who say that foreign outsourcing companies are misusing them.

Citizenship fees paid by state of New York for 700+ immigrants

People from other countries often come to the United States in search of a better life. New York's history as a state that welcomes immigrants is still seen today, particularly in an initiative promoted by Governor Andrew Cuomo known as NaturalizeNY to help those in need obtain citizenship. The program paid the naturalization fees of more than 700 immigrants last year, and the governor has indicated that it may continue beyond the three years it has existed.

NaturalizeNY is a program that seeks to pay the naturalization application fee, by offering a lottery for qualified immigrants. A quarter of New Yorker's were not born in the United States, according to recent statistics. Supporters say that immigrants who become citizens contribute to the state economy due to the higher wages they can earn, resulting in more tax revenue and less need for public assistance. Governor Cuomo has made it clear that the state welcomes those from other countries and that he stands in direct opposition to the current presidential administration, which has been accused of being anti-immigration.

TPS immigrants hopeful they can gain permanent legal status

Many people come to the United States in the hopes of improving their lives. Several of them have come from countries where there is political unrest or that have been destroyed by a natural disaster, and therefore, they have little hope of returning. Several immigrants have been living in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), but the current administration is seeking to end this program, potentially putting hundreds of thousands of people's lives in limbo, including many right here in New York.

TPS gives temporary legal status to those immigrants who have come to the United States because of dangerous conditions in their homeland, such as war or weather events like earthquakes. The current administration is seeking to end the TPS program, arguing that these countries -- places like El Salvador, Haiti, and Sudan -- have seen improvements that would allow TPS immigrants to return. This would potentially affect over 300,000 people, many of whom have lived in this country since they were children. Courts have temporarily upheld TPS for certain countries, but many immigrants are still worried, fearing the program could end at any time.

Back-and-forth continues on changes to asylum, immigration law

Numerous laws surround immigration, and many of those laws are in place with good reason. However, the desire to crack down on illegal immigration efforts and immigration issues as a whole has resulted in proposed changes to those laws that many individuals find questionable. As of late, changes to asylum procedures have been at the forefront.

It is no secret to New York residents and those elsewhere that the current presidential administration is seeking changes to asylum laws. In fact, a presidential proclamation was issued last month with the intention of banning asylum seekers from pursuing protection if they did not come through official ports of entry when coming into the United States across the southern border. However, a temporary restraining order was placed on that ban by a federal district court judge because the ban does not adhere to current immigration law.

Woman reaches goal of completing naturalization process

Becoming a citizen of the United States is not easy for immigrants. The naturalization process can be long and difficult to complete, and it is not unusual for applicants to face setbacks along the way. However, when individuals in New York and across the country are able to reach their goals of citizenship, they often feel overjoyed.

It was recently reported that one woman in another state obtained citizenship after living in the United States for approximately 13 years. The woman stated that she felt it was time to update her immigration status. As part of the process, the woman had to meet the eligibility requirements and go through a series of steps, including background checks, interviews and testing. Before taking the test, the woman was given 100 questions about U.S. history and government to look over in order to prepare for the official test.

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