Posts Tagged ‘Refugee Act’

How to prepare for Immigration Reform

Friday, April 19th, 2013

A. There are no new laws yet and no “amnesty;” all we have is a bill in the Senate. We are still many months away – if not longer – from any new laws. You can call us at 800-566-7636 to check if the law has passed; we’ll be happy to answer your calls.This Senate bill is only the beginning of the conversation. There will be a long time before we know what the law looks like and before anyone can apply for anything.

B. In the meantime you should NOT give anyone money to any notarios, agencies, or lawyers to prepare an application or help them gather documents. Once we have a Comprehensive Immigration Reform law, there will be many reliable agencies that will help people at low cost and possibly for free. There is no need to pay thousands of dollars now.

C. What you can do is to start preparing on your own in the following ways:

i. Start a box of important documents, including:

1. Identity documents;

2. Evidence of when you came to the US and how long you have been here (the date in the Senate bill is December 31, 2011, but people who came to the US before they turned 16 and would qualify under the DREAM Act, should gather evidence for all those years that they have been living in the US);

3. Evidence of any trips outside the US after the first arrival (evidence of how long they were out of the US);

4. Evidence of work (particularly if you are an undocumented farm worker) or education in the US (particularly for DREAM Act-eligible kids);

5. Copies of any applications you already made to INS/USCIS;

6. If ever arrested, get the certificates of disposition, because those with certain serious convictions will not be eligible to apply, so you will need to show those conviction records to an attorney.

ii. Start learning English;

iii. US citizens who want to sponsor their siblings should talk to an attorney about starting the process now (the Senate bill proposes to eliminate visas for siblings of US citizens – but that can also change);

iv. Save money because there will be penalty fees (Senate bill says $2000, to be paid in stages) in addition to application fees.

Msgr. Sullivan Leaves for Washington D.C. for the Bipartisan Senate Bill Announcement

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Msgr. Sullivan meets with immigrants before leaving for D.C. for the presentation of the bi-partisan Senate immigration reform bill.

“We are hopeful that the filing of a bipartisan Senate bill on immigration seems, after many years, to make comprehensive immigration reform a real possibility. We appreciate the hard work of the group of Senators and others that has made this possible. We note with special pride and recognition the work of so many Catholic organizations and the leadership of the Bishops on this issue. While we are hopeful and supportive, the bill is complex and requires careful analysis.  There will be opposition.  We look forward to making suggestions for improving the bill to even better reflect our longstanding concerns for family unification, a fair, legal immigration system, protections for temporary workers, effective, yet humane border security and due process in enforcement.  We look forward to working in partnership with many to ensure that this reform happens for a straightforward reason—concern for the common good of the nation and the well-being of individual immigrants and their families.”

– Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York




Learn How Amadou Diallo, 17, Stood Up to Oppression and How Catholic Charities Attorney Mario Russell, Stood Up for Him

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Mario Russell, Senior Attorney for Catholic Charities Immigration

Guinea government forces arrested Amadou Diallo, then age 17, threw him in jail for ten days and warned him that they would continue to use him as bait to catch his father, a political activist who opposed this West African nation’s strong-arm tactics and corruption.

Yet after Mr. Diallo fled to the United States, an immigration judge along with the Board of Immigration Appeals denied his appeal for safe asylum.

Thanks to a federal appeal overseen by Mario Russell, Senior Attorney for the Catholic Charities Immigration Office and St. John’s University Law School professor, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed these earlier decisions on September 27, 2012.  It remanded the case for reconsideration, reaffirming the principle that children and family members who are attacked or persecuted because of the activities of other family members are to be protected under the Refugee Act.

This victory represents the latest in a string of legal successes achieved thanks to efforts by Mr. Russell and the St. John’s Law School students he supervises at the Immigrant and Refugee Rights Litigation Clinic.  The clinic offers students the opportunity to work on real life-and-death cases in a clinical setting under the supervision of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York.

“It’s a five-way win,” Mr. Russell said as he celebrated the victory.  “For Catholic Charities, for the students, for the judges and for St. Johns,” he said. “And, in particular, for Mr. Diallo, our client.”

What do you think about the Appeals Court decision?

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