Tag Archives: immigrants

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.
Referrals

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

Are Immigration Arrests Unfair?

On Saturday, March 28th, there was an article in the Boston Globe titled Marchers Urge an end to Immigrants Jailing by Globe reporter Maria Sacchetti and in last Thursday’s Globe, Kevin Cullen’s column, Absence of Reason, explored the same subject recounting the story of how one immigrant family is torn apart because the father, who has been in the United States for seventeen years, has been incarcerated to be deported at any time. I reread both articles with deepening frustration as it brought to mind, a long forgotten incident in my life as a youngster.

I am also an immigrant brought to America from Albania when I was one year old. My family had immigrated legally under circumstances which at that time were a far more welcoming atmosphere than is present today.

I joined the U.S. Navy during WWII and served aboard a Destroyer Escort, the U.S. S. Chaffee, DE 230, that was on its way to Bayonne, New Jersey from Boston for outfitting before our assignment in Paciifc Ocean War Areas. Our crew knew that in a few moments, we would be passing the Statue of Liberty – an image I had seen many times in newspaper photos, school books, and in newsreels. But, now, it was about to happen. All members of the crew stood on the starboard side of the ship as we came in view of the Statue. We stood at attention as we cruised by the Statue in dead silence, and frankly, I am not ashamed to say there were tears in the eyes of many of my shipmates. For, here, before us, was this majestic symbol of America that our fathers and mothers had sailed by and gazed at with such hope for us, their children, many years before. I was not the only immigrant aboard my ship – there were other immigrants from Austria, Poland, France, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere in the world. Passing the Statue of Liberty doubled my pride, that as an immigrant from Albania, I was in the service of my adopted country in a time of war.

Kevin Cullen, in his April 2nd column, describes the story of an Honduran immigrant, Adalid Artega, who was working as a stone mason, paying his taxes and providing for his family. Now, he is in jail, leaving his family without income and due to be deported. He is a man with the same dreams our parents had when they came as immigrants to the United States. Kevin Cullen quotes Leah Artega as saying, ” My children will lose a father. I will lose a husband. We will lose our house, and what will this accomplish?” I defy any one to give a reasonable answer to that question!

Maria Sacchetti’s article described a demonstration by hundreds before Boston’s John F. Kennedy’s federal building to protest a surge in the number of immigrants who are jailed pending deportation. In New England, for example, immigrant detainees have tripled from an average of 1,365 a day a decade ago. I was extremely proud of the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Coalition (MIRA), Albanian-born Eva Millona, who exclaimed, “It is time for us to stand up and say enough,” and called on Congress to create a path to legal residency for the 11 million immigrants in the United States. I most passionately share Eva’s opinion!

Links to both of these articles are listed below.

I have given you my opinion, you have read Kevin Cullen’s and Eva Millona’s opinions, so please let me know what you think.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/28/marchers_urge_end_to_immigrants_jailing/

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/04/02/absence_of_reason/,

IMMIGRANTS AND PUBLIC BENEFITS

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.

Legal Definitions: What is an Immigrant? A Refugee?

In response to many inquiries from people seeking to understand the difference between “immigrant” and “refugee”, Frosina is pleased to provide the following explanations:

What is an immigrant?
An immigrant is a foreign-born individual who has been admitted to reside permanently in the United States as a lawful permanent resident (LPR).

How Do Immigrants Get Admitted to Permanently Reside Here?
Typically a foreign-born individual seeking to become an LPR can attain legal status in one of two ways:

  1. Through family-sponsored immigration, a U.S. citizen can sponsor her spouse, foreign-born parent (if the sponsor is over the age of 21), minor and adult children, and brothers and sisters. A lawful permanent resident can sponsor her spouse, minor children, and adult unmarried children.
  2. Through employment-based immigration, a U.S. employer can sponsor someone for a specific position where there is a demonstrated absence of U.S. workers. A small number of diversity visas are also awarded through a special lottery to individuals from specifically designated countries.

What is a refugee?

  1. A person outside of the United States who seeks protection on the grounds that he or she fears persecution in his or her homeland is a refugee. To attain regfugee status, the person must prove that he or she has a “well-founded fear of persecutuion” on the basis of at least one of five specifically enumerated, and internationally reconized, grounds. Those grounds include the person’s race, religion, membership in a social group, political opinion, or … national origin.
  2. A person who has already entered the United States, and who fears persecution if sent back to his country, may apply for asylum here. Once granted asylum, an asylum applicant must also prove that he has a “well-founded fear of persecutuion” based on the same enumerated grounds. Both refugees and asylees may apply to become LPR’s after one year.

What is an Undocumented Immigrant?
An undocumented immigrant is a person who is present in the United States without the permission of the U.S. government. Undocumented immmigrants enter the U.S. either:

  1. Illegally, without being inspected by an immigration officer, or by using false documents; or
  2. Legally, with a temporary visa, and then remain in the U.S. beyond the expiration date of the visa.

Four out of ten undocumented immigrants enter the U.S. legally.

What are Non-Immigrants?
Non-immigrants are individuals who are permitted to enter the U.S. for a period of limited duration, and are given only temporary visas. Some non-immigrant (temporary) visas are given to: students, tourists, temporary workers, business executives, and diplomats.

What is a Naturalized Citizen?
Lawful permanent residents are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship through a process called naturalization. To qualify to naturalize, applicants must reside in the U.S. for 5 years (3, if married to a U.S. citizen), demonstrate a knowledge of U.S. history and government, show they have paid taxes, have committed no serious crimes, be of “good moral character,” and demonstrate that they understand, speak, and write English.