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Staten Island Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

Legal resident film director may face deportation

People who come to the New York from another country often do so believing that they will improve their lives. This is often what happens for them in the land of opportunity. There are frequent debates around the nation regarding the legal status of immigrants, and those who are legal residents may feel more of a sense of security than those who are undocumented. Unfortunately, even some legal residents of the United States can be subject to deportation, which is just the case for one out-of-state filmmaker.

The man came to the United States 16 years ago from Ecuador and has no criminal history. He has won several Emmys for his work as a film director and producer. When his first marriage ended, Immigration and Customs Enforcement accused him of fraud and warned that he could be deported. Though the man was eventually cleared of that charge, ICE ordered his deportation before the ruling was handed down.

US immigration law: Change to law may help protect immigrants

Being an undocumented immigrant can be difficult in today's world. Many struggle to provide for their families, which can sometimes lead a person to break the law. Those offenses sometimes connect to U.S. immigration law. In the past, undocumented immigrants who commit certain crimes in New York were subject to deportation. Governor Andrew Cuomo has changed a key portion of the state's Penal Law, which he says will save thousands of people from the threat of deportation.

Previously, the law stated that an undocumented immigrant who was sentenced to a year or more in jail could be deported. Governor Cuomo decided to change the maximum jail sentence for certain, less serious offenses. Those offenses in question are defined as Class A misdemeanors and include crimes such as shoplifting, false advertising and writing bad checks. The governor changed the maximum sentence for these crimes from serving 365 days in jail to just 364 days.

US immigration law: Liberians see humanitarian program extended

There are many groups of people who come to this country because they are in fear for their lives. To them, the United States offers a chance to improve their situation, care for their families, and not just survive but thrive. One such group that falls into this category includes several thousand people from Liberia who relocated to several different states, including New York. They were fleeing great turmoil in their home country and hoping U.S. immigration law would allow them to stay. Though the humanitarian program that allowed them to stay was set to expire, the presidential administration has decided to extend the program another year.

Advocates say that the Liberians came to the United States due to several environmental disasters, war and the outbreak of the Ebola virus. The immigrants were given protected status back in 2007, and the program was about to expire after the current presidential administration announced last year that it would come to an end. After pressure from several sources, the choice was made to extend the program another year.

President Bush welcomes new citizens in naturalization ceremony

For many people who were not born in this country, their naturalization ceremony is one of the greatest days of their life. Becoming a U.S. citizen here in New York, or anywhere in the country, can be the end of an important process for those who want to make a new start in a new part of the world. At a recent naturalization ceremony, former President George W. Bush and his wife, former First Lady Laura Bush, welcomed nearly 50 new American citizens to the country with words of encouragement and warmth. They mentioned their hopes for the future of not just the immigrants who became citizens but for the United States as a whole.

The Bushes hosted the ceremony that naturalized 49 immigrants from 22 countries. They stressed the beauty of the gift that immigration can be for the people coming to this country as well as for the country itself. Laura Bush pointed out that many treasured American values, such as hard work and reaching for one's dreams, are held by people around the world.

Governor Cuomo plans to pardon man in immigration detention

Though many people in this country disagree on issues surrounding undocumented immigrants, there are still many who come to New York and other states in search of a better life. Though many of these immigrants become law-abiding citizens, some of them feel forced to make ends meet in ways that are technically illegal. Advocates for immigrants say that each case is unique and deportation should not be applied to low-level offenders. Governor Andrew Cuomo apparently agrees, as he says he will issue a pardon to one immigrant who has been in immigration detention since early this year.

The man in question came from Gambia over 25 years ago. He sought to escape his father and came to the United States wanting to work. He was not allowed to obtain traditional employment, so he began selling clothes and other goods to support himself. He was arrested and charged with multiple misdemeanors, but never served longer than 15 days in jail for any crime. Immigration and Customs Enforcement eventually gave him a work authorization and the man has worked as a building porter ever since.

US Immigration Law: Should immigrants have driver's licenses?

All across the state of New York, communities are debating whether it is a good idea to issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. Supporters say that doing so would allow immigrants to legally drive, thereby strengthening their ability to be a part of their community. One city held a recent forum to discuss this potential piece of U.S. immigration law, highlighting how issuing driver's licenses regardless of legal status can benefit everyone.

One young boy spoke about his fear that his parents could get pulled over while driving. The boy's uncle had that exact thing happen to him while driving to work, and now the uncle is in jail. The family does not know when the man will be released, and they are afraid that the same fate could await other family members.

Backlog of applications for US Citizenship worsens

When people decide to become citizens of the United States, they generally do so with optimism and a sense of excitement. Though they understand that legal processes must be followed, they may feel anxious to start the new chapter of their lives. Unfortunately, many cities across the country, including some here in New York, are reporting that unprocessed citizenship applications are piling up and not being processed as quickly as they have been in the past.

Officials are saying that the wait time to have a citizenship application processed has doubled from about five months to ten. In some cities around the country, the wait is even longer, with some reporting a 31-month wait. Almost nine million immigrants qualify for citizenship, but many decide to renew their legal residence rather than pay the steep application fee or take the necessary tests. The backlog is attributed partly to a sharp rise in citizenship applications over the last few years. Immigration advocates claim that spikes in applications have happened during previous administrations and agencies were always able to catch up fairly quickly, but that this is no longer the case.

Report shows sharp increase in immigration charges in NYC

Immigrants are a vital part of New York. Even so, undocumented people have faced a great deal of scrutiny in recent years. A recent report filed by the New York City comptroller reports there has been a rapid increase in the activities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He wants to see greater protections for immigrants and fewer immigration charges.

Comptroller Scott Stringer says his report shows an increase in arrests, deportations and immigration court proceedings when comparing the last year of the previous presidential administration to the first two years of the current administration. He believes that immigrants should have more legal services made available to them by the city in support of their defense efforts. He also promoted the Immigrant Freedom Fund, which assists immigrants in paying bond when they are detained for the duration of their case. Stringer also called for new laws that would prevent ICE agents from arresting immigrants in or near courthouses.

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.

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