Tag Archives: immigration

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.

BOSTON: Free Immigration Advice

Thomas M. Menino
Mayor of Boston

FREE
Immigration Advice
(2010 Schedule)

January 6 & 20
February 3 & 17
March 3 & 17
April 7 & 21
May 5 & 19
June 3 & 17

Room 804 in Boston City Hall
12:00 (noon) – 2:00 PM

For more information, please contact the
Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians
Boston City Hall Room 803
617-635-2980

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.

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.

IMMIGRANTS AND PUBLIC BENEFITS

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

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

Frosina thanks Tyler Moran of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Boston, MA, for the above information and Shkelqim Beqari for the Albanian language version of this Advisory.

Help Available for Eligible Boston Residents Studying for U.S. Citizenship

Author: Emily Rubenstein

Eligible Albanian immigrants and others who need help learning English and preparing for the U.S. citizenship test should contact the Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) of Greater Boston which is offering free classes to help immigrants and refugees with this challenge.The classes are open to low- and moderate-income Bostonians who need to brush up on their English skills while studying U.S. history and government for naturalization. There is a 4-1/2 year U.S. residency requirement for enrollment into the program.

The classes will be offered at two convenient locations, one in downtown Boston on West Street, and the other, in Coolidge Corner in Brookline. The twice-weekly classes will be held during daytime hours. There will be no charge for eligible students who must be 18 years or older.

Professional staff will help prepare the students for both the written and interview parts of the test. Practice tests will be given. In addition to preparing the student for the citizenship test, the language skills and cultural information acquired in these classes should be a boost to the students in their attempts to integrate into American society. The citizenship classes are part of the JVS Literacy and External Diploma Program, and are funded by the Massachusetts Department of Education.

For more information, please call TONY LY or EMILY RUBENSTEIN at (617) 542-1983.

Training Program – The Irish Immigration Center (Updated)

The Irish Immigration Center (IIC) is committed to providing individualized support, professional services, and dynamic programs to all immigrants in the Massachusetts area. It was established in1989 in response to a growing concern about the needs and welfare of immigrants.

IIC’s services are available to Albanian newcomers and other immigrants
via a network of experienced counselors and social workers.

EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

The IIC offers new and established immigrants the opportunity to pursue their job search in a friendly, supportive, and self-help environment. Its “One Stop” Center allows job-seekers access to computers and information on upcoming workshops and job fairs.

In-depth professional assistance is provided by an Employment Coordinator, including resume and cover letter writing, tips on interviewing techniques, and advice on networking and informational interviewing.

The In-house Jobs Board lists positions currently available. Consistent contacts with employers and employment agencies enables the Employment Coordinator to develop a wide range of employment opportunities for job seekers.

Drop-In Center

The Drop-In Center is a friendly, relaxed and comfortable space which hosts a wide array of professional services. People frequently come in just to check the job/housing notice boards (every day except Tuesday and Friday). Opening hours are:

Monday 10 – 4
Wednesday 10 – 6
Friday 10 – 4
Saturday 10 – 1

For additional information about employment possibilities, please contact:

Director of Employment Services
Irish Immigration Center
59 Temple Place
Boston, MA 02108
Tel: (617) 542-7654
Fax: (617) 542-7655
WebSite: www.iicenter.org