Author Archive:

May Day

May 2, international Workers’ Day

Laborers around the world stormed the streets for May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day, in celebration of the working-class and in pursuit of related social and economic legislation. Among the most important issues was the rights of immigrant workers. In Milwaukee specifically, more than 4,000 people assembled, organized by Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant worker’s rights group based in Wisconsin’s largest city. The march was the first of a two-day series of “Days Without Latinxs & Immigrants” actions, held in 18 states around the country.

The group specifically targeted Republican Senator Ron Johnson, who was a main reason immigration reform did not pass on the federal level last year. They also called on President Biden to expand protections for immigrant workers. Milwaukee’s mayor was present at the march, and expressed his support for the group’s efforts, and immigrant rights more broadly.

While much media coverage was centered in Milwaukee — since this was the epicenter of the movement and the homebase of its organizer — similar demonstrations occurred around the country, emphasizing the centrality of immigrant workers in the American economy and the importance of protections for this group.

If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of couples traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well.  Call 617-714-4375 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

The End of Title 42

The End of Title 42

The Biden Administration will be ending a Trump-era public emergency health order (Title 42) that allowed immigration authorities to turn away migrants at the border. This previous restriction had included those seeking asylum. Title 42 was instituted by the Trump administration in May of 2020 as a result of the pandemic. It was very likely driven by political motivations. President Biden then continued these restrictions into his presidency. The order will be lifted May 23rd, 2022, a full two years after its institution. Title 42 will still be enforced until this date. However, once it is lifted, regular Title 8 will still be in effect, and migrants may still be turned away without asylum claims.

 

If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of couples traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well.  Call 617-714-4375 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch..

Immigrant Archive Project

Immigrant Archive ProjectThe Immigrant Archive Project was founded by Tony Hernandez and Gustavo Pombo in 2008 to document the stories of the United States’ immigrant communities. Now, the visual history project will take its place in the Library of Congress. The Immigrant Archive Project will be included in the Handbook of Latin American Studies Web Archive, a larger collection of culturally significant sites preserved by the Library.

These stories encapsulate a variety of experiences and perspectives. It began with a focus on the Latino narrative, eventually moving to include immigrants of all backgrounds. The archive has been used by educators and television broadcasters alike. The project is still open and accepting stories, continuing to share the rich history of immigrants in this country.

 

Learn more about the project at https://immigrantarchiveproject.org/about-us/

If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of couples traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well. Call 617-714-4375 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

Rights Activist Settles Lawsuit

Immigrant Rights Activist Settles LawsuitNew York city rights activist Ravi Ragbir, an immigrant recently settled a lawsuit with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He argued in court that he was targeted for deportation because of his outspoken criticism of the organization and the larger immigration system. The rights activist has received a three year reprieve from deportation from winning the case, according to The Intercept news.

The decision takes an important place in a larger legal battle regarding the government’s ability to target specific people because of their political speech. It also confirms First Amendment rights for immigrants, something that must be protected for all.

If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of couples traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well. Call 617-714-4375 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

New Pilot Program Launched by a Private Prison Company

A private prison company is launching a new pilot program that would place migrants caught crossing the border under house arrest. BI Incorporated, the group responsible, is a subset of the private prison company GEO Group. Immigrants enrolled in this new pilot program “home curfew” would be confined to their place of residence in the United States for 12 hours a day, from 8pm until 8am, until their court hearing. The system relies on electronic monitoring.

The program is a product of Biden administration efforts to lessen the number of immigrants in detention. Currently about 164,000 immigrants are in “alternative-to-detention” programs. BI Incorporated received a $2.2 billion dollar federal contract in 2020 for purposes such as this. However, the program does not address the Biden administration’s supposed goal productively and progressively, instead unjustly furthering the surveillance of immigrants and expanding the power of a profit-driven detention group.

If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of couples traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well.  Call 617-714-4375 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

Migrant Protection Protocols Program To Be Reinstated

The Biden administration recently announced plans to resume a Trump-era practice that returns asylum seekers to Mexico while they await a court hearing in the United States. This “Migrant Protection Protocols” policy will be reinstated mid-November, provided the Mexican government agrees to accept their return. Contracts have already been signed to reopen tent courts, from which asylum seekers will appear for hearings through videoconference.

The decision comes after the Supreme Court upheld an order from a U.S. Federal District Court judge in Texas. The judge found the White House at fault for ending the program improperly, and called for it to be restarted. President Biden, who previously tried to end the policy and described it as inhumane, now must commit to its reinstatement.

The future of the program now rests on Mexico. The court acknowledged that reinstatement was dependent on the agreement of the other involved government. The nation has previously expressed concerns about how the Migrant Protection Protocols program has been implemented. Biden administration officials have said they will be taking steps to address former issues, including the provision of better legal counsel and more exceptions for vulnerable individuals.

The legal world is united in their disapproval of this program. A day after the plan was publicized, several immigrant leaders staged a virtual walk-out during an online meeting with the White House. It is an unsafe and unjust policy, and its past implementation has proven this.

If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of couples traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well.  Call 617-744-7919 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

Medical Advisors Visit ICE Facilities

Medical Advisors Visit ICE Facilities – The number of active COVID cases in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers recently hit a new record. Infections have surged 848% since the start of the year to 2673 cases. This composes 12% of the detainee population and is a figure far beyond the previous peak experienced in May 2021.

This dramatic increase has alarmed health experts. Two DHS medical advisors recently raised concerns about the US government’s COVID response in immigrant detention centers. Scott Allen and Josiah Rich penned a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas detailing their personal inspections of ICE facilities, in which they noted “inconsistent enforcement of mask use,” “inconsistent testing and surveillance,” and “failure to develop facility level infection control plans.” They urged Mayorkas to ensure that detained immigrants receive their vaccinations within two weeks of detention, as required by ICE protocols and to ensure that detained immigrants have access to booster shots, N95 masks, antiviral medicine, and monoclonal antibodies.

This is not the first time officials raised concerns about the Department of Homeland Security’s COVID response in ICE facilities. The DHS inspector general previously documented loose enforcement of COVID protocols in a lengthy report published in September 2021. To the date, ICE has reported 36,000 COVID cases, and the number may be even higher. ICE must commit itself to following the advice of scientific, medical, and public health experts to protect ICE detainees, ICE employees, and the United States.

New York City Voting Law

New York City Voting Law – New York City Mayor Eric Adams  allowed an important bill to become law last Sunday – legislation that would grant more than 800,000 non-citizens the right to vote in municipal elections. This applies to DACA recipients as well as those who have been lawful permanent residents of the city for at least 30 days. The Board of Elections will draw up an implementation plan by July, and the legislation will take effect January 9th, 2023. 

New York City is the first major U.S. city to grant municipal voting rights to noncitizens, even though dozens of small communities around the country have done the same. This voting law is a positive step, allowing individuals affected by the political processes of their community to finally take part in them. Democracy has been made stronger by the decision, and hopefully more cities will follow this lead in granting immigrants the political power they deserve. 

If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of couples traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well.  Call 617-714-4375 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

Immigrant Communities Face Challenges of the Pandemic

Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a serious threat to immigrant communities around the country. According to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, 6 million immigrants work frontline occupations, placing them at heightened risk of exposure. The United States Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that the infection risk was almost double that of native-born citizens.

Before 2020, Trump’s policy set the stage for noncitizens being at higher risk for COVID-exposure and the severe consequences of COVID. In 2019, Trump changed decades-long policy regarding noncitizens ability to use public health benefits without fear of negative impact upon their immigration status. That is, Trump’s rule penalized noncitizens if they used certain public health benefits, considering it grounds for inadmissibility (ineligibility for “green cards” or visas). This policy change created great confusion and damaged trust in government among immigrant communities. Then, with the arrival of the COVID pandemic, many members of the immigrant communities were fearful of seeking healthcare for COVID and later for vaccinations and boosters.

Also, as COVID relief policies were established, many noncitizens were left out of benefits, despite their long and crucial contributions to the US workforce and economy. Without financial benefits available to citizens, many noncitizens were forced to continue working in unsafe conditions or were left without financial support if they lost or left their jobs due to the dangers of COVID.

As vaccines rolled out, undocumented immigrants faced identification barriers. Certain vaccination sites requested documentation such as licenses, healthcare cards, or social security numbers, even though such measures were not mandated by state or federal governments. While the government ensured that the request for documentation only applied to those who already possess it, few states communicated this clearly, leaving many immigrants with anxieties. Recently, we have learned that some noncitizens temporary visas were canceled if they obtained COVID vaccinations in the US that were fully or partially paid for by government subsidies.

Now, new problems have arisen with the Omicron variant. In immigrants in detention centers, vaccine access is limited, and sanitation measures are lacking. The infection rate within these centers is three times higher than the national average. Non-detained noncitizen are also at heightened risk for reasons including their overrepresentation in essential jobs that do not allow for remote work.

As they have been for centuries, immigrants are the backbones of our communities, our workforce, and our economy. Yet, immigrant communities  face life-threatening discriminations at all turns. The Biden Administration must take up the plight of noncitizens, create equal protections for them, and provide pathways for healthy, productive, and peaceful futures for them through major immigration law reform.

Changing Terminology

Changing TerminologyLanguage is a powerful tool. Certain words carry harmful connotations, and their use has major political ramifications. In recognition of this, several states have begun changing terminology and drop the use of dehumanizing words like “alien” from state laws. The term –– dating back to the enactment of the country’s first naturalization law in 1798 –– implies an unjust idea of “otherness.” Colorado took action earlier this year, focusing on eliminating the use of “illegal alien” in public service contracts. The bill was first introduced in February of 2020 and entered law in April of 2020. California passed a similar law in September of this year. The decision echoed previous California laws from 2015 and 2016 that removed the term from state labor and education codes. In total, seven states have considered making the change, many in response to Biden’s related policy initiative. Under the Biden administration, “alien” was changed to “noncitizen” in the terminology of federal agencies, and officials have been discouraged from using the word “illegal” in reference to undocumented immigrants. Libraries and media companies have also been leading a movement towards similar changes around the country.

However, in some places, things are not moving as quickly. A similar proposal  recently failed in Texas. The two states that have made these changes in language are small compared to the larger whole of the country. Furthermore, as progressive as these changes are, they must be accompanied by strong policy plans that will help immigrants in more tangible ways.