New York Immigration Lawyers Blog

The E visa is used by Italian companies and investors to bring Italian nationals to work in the United States. Although frequently referred to by Italians as the investor’s visa, the E visa actually has two types: the E-1 for treaty traders, and the E-2 for treaty investors.  The E-1 Treaty Trader visa is used by companies engaging in trade primarily between the United States and Italy. This can be trade in either goods or services.

The E-2 Treaty Investor visa is used when Italian companies or Italian Nationals have made a substantial investment in the United States. It is important to note that the actual investor is not the only person eligible for this type of visa. Companies can bring employees serving in managerial roles or those with essential skills.  In December 2011, E visa processing moved from the U.S consulate in Milan to the consulate in Rome. The E visa unit move marked the first of several changes in E visa processing in Italy, including the move to email filing, a page limitation on submissions, and the use of an online visa payment and appointment scheduling system. We have also seen processing times lengthen in 2014.

At this time the E visa unit is particularly focused on evidence demonstrating a real and operating enterprise. This has become increasingly important in 2014, and is the frequent source of requests for additional evidence. It is extremely important to ensure that you have well-qualified immigration counsel to properly prepare and file your E visa cases in order to ensure the most positive outcome. The attorneys with Pozo Goldstein’s business visa team are always available to answer any questions you may have about the E visa process and have extensive experience handling E visas in Italy.

chineseimmigrantsA new film by Martin Scorsese, entitled Revenge of the Green Dragons documents the true story of Chinese immigrants, who find themselves in the United States and become members of one of Chinatown’s most notorious gangs, the Green Dragons.   The gang, based in Queens, New York becomes involved with a range of illegal activities such as drug trafficking and smuggling illegal Chinese immigrants into the United States.

The actual story broke back in 1992, when the New Yorker magazine published an article by Fredric Dannen, entitled Revenge of the Green Dragons. The article chronicled the events surrounding immigrants from Asia who arrived in the 1980s and joined this dangerous gang. The article shares details about the gang member’s family members and stories surrounding some of the victims of their violent rampages. The new film is said to be based on the events detailed in the article.

The year after the story was first published, further attention was drawn to the Chinese illegal smuggling issue in 1993, when a cargo ship, the Golden Venture, crashed on a New York shore. Within the hull of that ship hundreds of illegal immigrants from China were found on board packed together in cramped and inhumane conditions, with the hope of safely entering the United States. This was just one of many cargo liners to smuggle people into the United States from Asia, orchestrated by Chinese-based gangs in the New York City area.

The time worn classic theme of indigent immigrants coming to the United States to make a better life for themselves is ever present in the film. The hope of these immigrants that they might have an opportunity for advancement which could never be achieved in their home country is the driving force that allows these individuals to pursue this dream by any means possible. They risk their health and even their lives to take a voyage to the United States that can last several months while they exist in dire conditions, just for that chance.

However, the unscrupulous human traffickers, called Snakeheads, who make their passage happen, charge these immigrants tens of thousands of dollars and upwards for their voyage. This poor immigrants have to work the rest of their lives in slave labor factories or in prostitution here in order to pay their debt. These immigrants are undocumented and for the most part uneducated. They are fearful and have no trust in government officials, therefore, they stay underground for the most part for fear of being placed in deportation proceedings.

The co-director of the film, Andrew Lau stated that he wanted to movie to speak to what happens to these Asian immigrants when they get to the United States and the life they wind up with is not what they imagined. To this end, he visited some of the sweat shops and labor factories surrounding Chinatown in New York City. Some of these individuals he interviewed, he wound up offering spots as extras in the film.

The one question the co-director asked these individuals repeatedly was, if it was worth what they went through to get here. He reported that unfortunately, overwhelmingly the answer was an unequivocal NO.

immigration-detention-transfersOn Thursday, October 2, 2014, the New York City Counsel announced a proposal that would stop honoring the requests of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies to detain immigrants without a warrant from a Federal judge.

The proposed bill goes further to say that only if an immigrant has been convicted of a “violent or serious crime” can United States immigration officials place a hold or detainer on that individual.

Under the new legislation that will be introduced next week, the Department of Corrections will not be allowed to use their information to enforce the Federal Immigration laws.   With the exception of information necessary in helping to enforce a legitimate detainer request.

Additionally, another bill introduced at the same time eliminate United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from being present at Rikers Island.   Presently, and for many year now, the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has kept a presence at Rikers with a full time, dedicated office located there.

The new proposals place New York City on an ever increasing list of other cities who have chosen the humanitarian approach of treating the immigrant population by refusing to fully cooperate with United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s request for information on non-criminal immigrants.

The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio made a public statement last week, supporting the proposed legislation. He said that the bill was “thoughtful and progressive,” and believed it to be important in a city of immigrants, like New York. He added that the dignity of individuals and right to due process should be protected.

Of course, United States Immigration officials reacted by supporting their view that Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s reason for placing detainers on arrested individuals is to protect the public from potentially dangerous criminals. Immigration officials also pledged to work together with New York City law enforcement to detect dangerous individuals and deport them from the United States.

The Immigration agency cited a few cases where individuals, who had a detainer or immigration hold, were released by local law enforcement and went on to commit other serious crimes. When asked to provide statics or concrete examples, the agency was not able to provide any numbers but cited two cases. The first occurred this year when a man killed his girlfriend, after being released in 2011 and the second in 2012 when a man was released but driving drunk, struck and killed a skateboarder.

The City Council in recent years has taken a keen interest in New York City’s involvement in the enforcement of the federal immigration laws. Legislation has already been passed that limits the city’s law enforcement agencies cooperation with these federal agencies.   The current protocol is that if an individual is accused of a felony or certain misdemeanors they will honor the request for a detainer even without a judge’s warrant.

Immigration officials issue detainers asking state and local law enforcement agencies to hold immigrant detainees for up to two days after being released from their custody. Many times these individuals end up transferred into Immigration detention facilities and face deportation at the hands of a federal immigration judge.

Because federal detainer requests are voluntary, federal judge’s offices have noted that they may be violating the Constitution. This year, state courts in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island decided that detainers do not amount to probably cause enough to keep an individual detained.

Statistics from the Department of Correction show that more than 3,000 individuals were transferred to federal immigration custody due to a “detainer” from October 2012 to September 2013.

The New York Civil Liberties Union said the changes would send a message that Rikers Island would no longer serve as a co-conspirator for immigration officials.

ice-raidThere is an interesting policy that is not commonly know about. This policy states that United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents may not arrest an undocumented individual or a person with an order of removal or deportation, while they physically remain on property owned by a religious entity. Recently, such property has served as a safe haven to several families in Tuscon, Arizona.   The only caveat to this policy that would allow ICE agents to proceed and take an individual into custody, is when it is believed the arrest is based on an imminent harm or threat.

Recently, a Mexican immigrant, Francisco Cordova has remained safely inside of an Arizona church where has been seeking protection for over a week now. With the help and support of the religious leaders in his community, he remains inside the church, in direct disregard for the order of removal or deportation that the government has filed against him.   The community refuses to surrender Mr. Cordova to the government officials, so that the Department of Homeland Security ICE officers can deport him back to his home country of Mexico.  Mr. Cordova has children who are born in the United States and are thereby citizens of this country by virtue of their birthright. He has refused to comply with the order of removal on account of those children. He stated earlier in the week, that he desired a better opportunity and life for his children. His wish and hope is that his children will have more opportunities than he had been given, being born into an impoverished family in Mexico.

All across the country, many religious organization have come together to help their members who have a similar order of removal or deportation from the United States, by offering them a safe haven from the long arm of the Department of Homeland Security. By utilizing this policy, they are legally able to allow members at risk of deportation, shelter within the walls of the church building.  In North Texas a group calling themselves, the Coalition of Faiths, is vigorously attempting to recruit additional religious organizations of all denominations to help in their cause by offering places of shelter and sanctuary to individuals in need.  One of the areas the Coalition is targeting next is the large city of Dallas. The group feels that when the larger cities are reached and begin to participate, their presence and cause will be heard and felt with greater veracity.

The group’s mission is to keep families together. There thousands of many families who have United States citizen children, born here, whose parents may be undocumented and under current orders of removal and deportation.   This goal of family unity is a measure to provide safe haven while the nation awaits with hopeful expectation, the possibility of Comprehensive Immigration Reform becoming a reality. These brave religious leaders who are standing up for what they believe is the right thing to do, are heeding the laws of human kind and not necessarily those of the United States government.

law and orderIn recent months, the United States has seen a surge in the immigrant population crossing over the border from Mexico in the Southwest United States. This large increase stems from the increased gang violence and ever growing poverty in Central America.  Because of the increased influx of these impoverished and largely unrepresented immigrants, a group called the New York Immigration Coalition, held a two day seminar at the New York Law School that helped individuals, both attorneys and laypersons, learn how to represent these unaccompanied minors in Federal Immigration Court.   The training also helped these people, most whom are volunteers, become eligible to appear before the New York City Immigration Court in removal proceedings, which is located near City Hall, in the Federal Building at 26 Federal Plaza. The New York City immigration court is one of the largest and courts with the most immigration judges and largest dockets in the entire country.

It is estimated that there are currently more than 50,000 cases pending at the New York City immigration court. The United States Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review is limited in budgeting and therefore the number of immigration judges employed within that agency are not sufficient to cover the current case load. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) employ the trial attorneys or Assistant Chief Counsels. The number of these attorneys has diminished due to attrition and there have not been any new attorneys hired in the past several years due to a lack in funding, resulting in a hiring freeze.  The delay in having their cases heard, are often a benefit for new immigrants who wish to remain in the United States for safety and economic reasons. The wait time is also an advantage for the minor children, who will have the opportunity of remaining in the United States for an extended period of time.

This training is very essential to this immigration population. These immigrants need guidance to navigate them through the process of the Immigration Court and its procedures, where the Court’s objective is to deport or remove them from the United States. Most of these children, if counseled correctly, will have an avenue of relief that they may apply for in order to remain safely in the United States. Without this help, these children will have no idea of what to do to protect themselves.  Some of the laypersons who took this training went through their own immigration horrors and now want to give back by helping those who have recently arrived.   Others see it as their civic obligation or their human rights and duty. One of the trainees, an advocate for HIV-positive clients, took the training to help her clients avoid deportation. Keeping these individuals in the United States is often literally a matter of life or death, as many countries cannot provide the medication to help combat the virus.

Whatever reason that people are reaching out and helping this ever increasing immigrant population, it is certainly a sign of good will. It is also something that will continue to be needed as the stream of newly arrived immigrants cross the border into the United States and are processed through the United States immigration system.

thZRQORDPJOne of the major obstacles for individuals who are present in the United States without immigration benefits is the inability to drive lawfully. Having a driver’s license, for most Americans is a freedom enjoyed by the majority adults that is hardly contemplated. In order to drive to work, transport children to and from school and get to the grocery, in most areas of the United States, people need to drive.

At the present time, there are 11 states, in addition to Puerto Rico and the District of Colombia, who do not discriminate or require immigration status in the United States in order to obtain a state driver’s license. These states are; Washington State, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, Maryland, Rhode Island and Vermont.  According to a recent poll conducted in the State of New Jersey, there are approximately 525,000 undocumented individuals living there. The study also showed that nearly 464,000 of these individuals would be at a great advantage if they were permitted to drive lawfully in the state. The survey estimated that between 153,000 and 278,000 of the undocumented individuals would take advantage of this proposed policy and apply for their driver’s license within the first three years.

That number is significant as it would bring additional and much needed revenue to the state of New Jersey. The change would also benefit the American population by increasing the number of insured and lawfully licensed drivers on the road. A major issue from the standpoint of an American citizen, residing there, would be the added safety factor on the road, as the requirements for licensing mandate written as well as roadside testing.  The benefit for the undocumented individuals is even greater. The flexibility of having the option to drive to their place of employment, rather than taking public transportation is enormous. The quality of live for these individuals could increase tremendously as they could seek employment in areas previously unavailable to them. Their quality of life for these adults and their children could improve with additional options in employment opportunities.

The ACLU of New Jersey fully supports the proposed change to allow undocumented individuals to obtain their driver’s license. The executive director, Udi Offer added that undocumented immigrants can suffer greatly by making decisions daily that may fail to meet their basic needs such as buying food or taking their child to the doctor. Presently, doing so, they run the risk of arrest and possible deportation.   He also added that the state of New Jersey relies on these workers for the continued “functioning and vitality of New Jersey.”

Annette Quijano, Assemblywoman for the State of New Jersey recently introduced a bill for the 2014-2015 legislative session that would offer driving privilege cards to undocumented New Jersey residents. She contends that this would be a great step forward for the state. She also relied on the argument that the added benefit to the public would be the safety issues on the road, having regulated drivers, in addition to the added insurance, these drivers would be obligated to maintain.   Proposed policies such as these continue to serve the undocumented community, while the nation awaits a Comprehensive Immigration Policy that would serve the entire nation.

Immigration-09357President Obama stands on the precipice of making history not unlike President Lincoln did when he considered the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves. Like the slaves, the undocumented living in the United States are treated like second hand citizens. Of course, the undocumented arrived here on their own seeking a better life while the slaves were forced against their will.

Still, both are similar in the long standing debate over the fundamental rights of human beings. Will President Obama be compared to Lincoln as a liberator? Obama is considering giving the parents of U.S. citizens and others who arrived here and were later granted Deferred Action under DACA, a deferred action of their own. This deferred action would include work permits and the ability to obtain state driver’s licenses.

Clearly, President Obama cannot convey citizenship to anyone as Congress controls naturalization, but he can extend prosecutorial discretion and expand deferred action. Although opponents of immigration reform plan to challenge any executive action Obama takes on immigration, there is probably little they can do to stop it.

Most likely those who have committed crimes in the United States will be unable to take advantage of the programs President Obama comes up with. Still, millions of people who have been living in the shadows will be able to come out and contribute to our economy without fear of being arrested by the immigration authorities.

To read the article this blog is based on, click HERE.

childrenThe immigration debate of whether Congress will act on comprehensive immigration reform or whether President Obama will take executive action to change immigration law has taken a dramatic turn with the sudden surge of undocumented children crossing the southern border into the United States.

Now, a President who once wished to take action to provide a path to legalization to the millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States, has now promised to quickly deport the people who are crossing our borders in great numbers from Central America.

Before this surge, illegal border crossings had actually been dropping. The lower numbers were the result of stricter enforcement and more border patrol agents along the border. An interesting point regarding the children crossing the border is that they are taking advantage of an immigration law that Congress passed in 2008, when George Bush was President. The law provides protection for children to ensure that they are not victims of trafficking. These children are permitted to have their case heard before an Immigration Judge, many of them asking for political asylum.

The sudden surge in children and families from countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras is due, largely in part, to poverty, gang violence, and parents’ desire to send their children to a safe haven. Children are being recruited by gangs, killed, and raped and worse in these Central American countries.

Opponents of President Obama, however, blame him for this surge in border crossings based on his executive action that created legal status for some early childhood arrivals in the form of deferred action known as DACA. What these opponents fail to recognize or admit is that the children currently crossing the border do not qualify for DACA because one of the requirements are that they were present in the United States in 2007 before they were 16 years old.

President Obama has asked Congress to authorize 3.7 billion in spending to help with this immigration crisis. Part of the money would be used to help deport people back to their countries. There is also a call to change the 2008 law to deal with minors from these Central American countries like those from Mexico who are sent back to their country much quicker. Part of the change called for is to add more immigration judges and to allow more applications for refugee status to be processed in the Central American countries. As it stands now, the Department of Homeland Security is processing these recent arrivals ahead of an otherwise overwhelmed immigration court system so that it may show others thinking of making the dangerous border crossing that their efforts will be futile.

Of course, any change in the 2008 law would have to result from an agreement of members of Congress which is unlikely since they have not to date shown that they can come to consensus when it comes to immigration.

imagesThe city council of the state of New York has decided to vote this month on two plans which would essentially aid immigrants. The first plan includes providing all New York residents with a municipal identification card, regardless of their legal status. This plan is in great debate since this identification card would technically allow undocumented immigrants to use the cards as proof of residence to open bank accounts, sign leases, as well as other perks that come to those who are legal residents.

Supporters of the bill are determined to make sure the card would be identifiable by New York police officials in order to avoid a problem if someone is stopped by law enforcement. Another concern is the increased risk for potential documentation fraud. The council plans to find a viable way to alleviate these concerns and implement the program in 2015.

The city council will also be discussing a separate plan, which includes financial assistance for immigrants who are in need of legal representation by providing them with an immigration attorney. If approved, this plan would provide “pro bono” legal assistance to all undocumented immigrants residing in New York, aiding them in their fight against detainment, deportation or removal proceedings.

It has been recorded that these public defenders would be representing approximately 1,380 detained, and/or poor New Yorkers who are facing deportation. This would make New York the first and only area in the United States to have a fully covered public defender system in order to specifically assist poor immigrants in removal proceedings.

If both of these plans are approved, New York will continue to be the most accommodating state in the U.S. for immigrants. City Councilman Carlos Menchaca, has stated that he hopes these measures will inspire other cities and states to help their residents. As a result, Los Angeles, New Haven, and San Francisco are also taking measures to assist immigrants within their vicinities as well.

Check out our YELP page.  As more and more people use their smart phones to search for services, providers like YELP are at the fore front of assisting consumers.  Here at Pozo Goldstein, we want to ensure that our Business Visa Services and Deportation Defense are available to anyone who searches for these services on-line either by desktop, laptop, or smart phone.  Adding a YELP page is another way we can offer our services.