Tag Archives: citizenship

President Obama’s Inaugural Pledge for Immigration Reform

President Barack Obama runs along the Colonnade of the White House with Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough's children, Jan. 25, 2013. The President announced McDonough will become Chief of Staff, replacing Jack Lew, the nominee for Treasury Secretary. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama runs along the Colonnade of the White House with Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough’s children, Jan. 25, 2013. The President announced McDonough will become Chief of Staff, replacing Jack Lew, the nominee for Treasury Secretary. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Frosina was heartened by President Obama’s inaugural pledge for immigration reform during his next 4 years as president of the USA since “Millions of undocumented immigrants are locked of of higher learning. Their struggles continue, but in the meantime, there’s UoPeople, a tuition-free, online university open to any qualified student. Learn how to enroll at uopeople.org.”

Source: Parade Magazine, The Boston Sunday Globe, January 27, 2013

BOSTON: Immigration Advice

Immigration Advice
MONB Immigration Clinics

The Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians offers free immigration clinics where constituents meet privately with immigration attorneys to discuss their concerns regarding any aspect of the immigration process.

Location & Times
First and third Wednesdays of every month from 12-2pm
Boston City Hall, Room 804 (8th floor)
2012 Immigration Advice Schedule

Please note: Our volunteer attorneys can only offer advice. If an individual needs legal representation after having attended the consultation, the attorneys have been asked to provide a 15%-30% discount based on the constituent’s income.

The U.S. Department of Justice publishes this list of legal service providers that provide free and low-cost immigration legal services in Massachusetts.


Author: Tyler Moran of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

How Receipt of Benefits Can Affect Your Immigration Status 

  1. If I receive benefits, how will it affect my immigration status?
    When you apply for a Green Card, the INS considers a number of factors to decide whether you will be able to support yourself when you live in the U.S. (e.g. your age, health, income, family size, education and skills). If after considering your situation, the INS thinks that you cannot support yourself and that you will depend on benefits in the future, they can deny you a Green Card because you are considered a “public charge.” If you have used public benefits, you need to prove to the INS that you will be able to support yourself and that you will not rely on public benefits in the future.
  2. What kinds of benefits might cause a public charge problem?
    The INS is supposed to consider only programs meant for people who cannot support themselves, such as cash assistance, but the public charge decision will depend on your situation and your ability to support yourself. If you can support yourself or someone else can support you, receipt of WIC or Free Care* cannot make you a “public charge.”
  3. Can I be asked to pay back benefits that I used in the past?
    No. The INS cannot ask anyone to pay back benefits. If you are asked to pay back benefits, you should get legal help immediately. You only have to repay benefits if you received them improperly (for example, you did not tell your welfare worker about all of your income), and if the agency that gave you the benefits has actually asked you to repay them.
  4. If I used benefits in the past, will I be able to sponsor my family member to come to the U.S.?
    If you sponsor your family member to come to the U.S., you will have to sign a legal document, called an “Affidavit of Support,” that shows that you currently have enough money to support your household and the family members that you are sponsoring. If the INS does not think that you can support your family member in the future, then they can deny your family member a green card even if you met the income requirements and signed the Affidavit of Support.
  5. If I have a Green Card and receive benefits, will it prevent me from becoming a U.S. citizen?
    No, not unless you received benefits that you were not supposed to receive. If you illegally received public benefits, the INS may decide that you do not have “good moral character” and you could have trouble becoming a U.S. citizen.
  6. What should I do if I have any questions about using public benefits?
    Please call an immigration lawyer if you have any questions.

*WIC is a nutritional program for low income pregnant or breast-feeding women and children under five. Free Care is health care for those at 200%-400% of the federal poverty limit.

Frosina thanks Tyler Moran of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Boston, MA, for the above information.

Catholic Charities: Refugee and Immigration Services

Author: Claire A. Carroll

Refugee and Immigration Services (RIS) is the arm of Catholic Charities dedicated to supporting refugee families as they become fully participating members of their new communities in the United States. RIS offers an array of integrated services to help Albanian and other refugee newcomers achieve self-sufficiency including:

Resettlement Assistance
To ensure that newly arrived refugees have adequate housing, food, clothing and referral to employment and social services.

Citizenship Preparation
Civic classes and individualized counseling to prepare for the citizenship exam.

English as a Second Language (ESL)
Evening ESL classes at parishes and community-based sites throughout Greater Boston.

Interpreter Services
Training interpretation skills for bilingual individuals and direct services to agencies with non-English speaking constituents.

Employment Counseling and Placement
English language training that is needed before, during, and after placement in jobs. Job search activities are structured to address the particular needs of each refugee. At the same time, RIS develops leads with employers that match refugees’ interests and aptitude.

Immigration Legal Counseling
Information, assistance, representation and referral to immigrants of all nationalities.

For more information, please contact:

Catholic Charities/Greater Boston
Refugee and Immigration Services
270 Washington Street
Somerville, MA 02143
Tel: (617) 625-1920
Fax: (617) 629-5768

Frosina thanks Claire A. Carroll, Director of Refugee and Immigration Services, for providing the above information.

Questions and Answers About the DV-99 Visa Lottery Program

Author: Irish Immigration Center

Question: I submitted an application for the Diversity Visa (DV-99) Lottery Program in October, 1997. How long more until applicants will be notified and, if selected, will I be able to do the interview in the US?
Answer: The notification process for the DV-99 has already begun. Notices are currently being issued to applicants in Africa. These will be followed by Asia and then Europe. As in previous years, the State Department will be notifying 100,000 applicants that they have been successful in the lottery. As a receipt of notification does not guarantee a DV-99 visa and since there are only 50,000 visas available, people are encouraged to respond in a timely fashion. Applicants will receive, with the notification of success, instructions on how to proceed with the DV application. Lottery applicants who have not received a notice of success by mid-June can assume they have not been successful in the DV-99 lottery. It is too soon to determine how many successful applicants will be notified from each individual eligible country.

Because of changes in immigration legislation in recent years, those who have remained undocumented in the United States for a period of 180 days or more will not be eligible for a visa. Section 245 I of a previous act, which allowed undocumented applicants to interview and receive their permanent resident card (green card) in the US, expired on January 14, 1998. Successful DV applicants who are not in lawful nonimmigrant status will now have to return to their home country to interview for the green card. If an applicant has been undocumented in the US for 180 days, he/she faces a 3 year bar from returning to the US. If an applicant has been undocumented in the US for one year or more, he/she faces a 10 year bar from re-entering the US. Since a successful DV applicant has to take up residency in the US upon receiving a green card, this means those who face a bar have little chance of legalizing their status.

At the interview in the US Consular office overseas, green card applicants are being asked to document where they are living since April 1, 1997. Document applicants are being asked to present/include, but not limited to, tax returns, wage stubs, employers statement, air line boarding passes (to prove they departed from the US within valid visa time frame), old passports, medical records, school diplomas or transcripts, government assistance receipts, and utility bills.

Question: Is applicant required to take up residence in the US after receiving the green card?
Answer: You are required to take up residence in the US within two months of your interview.

Question: Upon arrival in the US, what do I need to do?
Answer: You will take your passport and visa stamp to your local Social Security Office where you will be issued a social security number and card. You can begin working in the US. Your green card will be mailed to you after a number of months depending on the backlogs at Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

Frosina thanks the Irish Immigration Center for this information and
Shkelqim Beqari for providing the Albanian version (Frosina Advisory IM628A).