Immigration and firm news


Update 9/3/17 pm – No sooner did I post the article below, then rumors started coming out in the press that President Trump will end DACA in six months.  I will post more when there is a formal announcement and we know the details for sure. Nonetheless, my tips for being prepared below and continuing to fight remain the same. Don’t panic! Your calls and emails to Congress are essential and urgent.


President Trump has said he will make an announcement on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 about whether or not he plans to continue or end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Here are some likely scenarios. The President could:

  • allow DACA to sunset, meaning status will expire when documents expire. Status and work permits would not be renewable in the future once they expire.
  • end the program swiftly, making 800,000 DACAmented individuals immediately subject to deportation; in other words, appeal to his base. Note, “subject to” does not necessarily mean the person will be put into removal proceedings or that removal proceedings will end in a removal or deportation order. However, since immigration enforcement no longer lists people by priorities for who to scoop up into the deportation machine, in this situation, DACA holders would be at risk like anyone else, theoretically.
  • be “empathetic” or realistic by planning to keep the program or for a period of time; in other words, be courageous and do what’s right v. appeal to his shrinking base.
  • terminate the program once Congress comes up with legislation he is willing to sign enshrining DACA or some variation thereof into statute, or provided Congress passes a bill by a certain date. There are several DACA preservation statutes already sitting in Congress waiting for action. Contact Congress today and let your representatives and Senators know you want them to pass immigration reform legislation NOW to protect DACA. Phone calls and emails are best.

The media coverage about a looming “deadline” of September 5 is a fake deadline. It is actually a threat by several states to sue the Administration if President Trump does not end DACA. The President does not need to decide the issue on or before September 5,  However, if you live in one of the remaining 9 states planning to sue if the President keeps DACA, call or email your state’s attorney general today encouraging him or her NOT to sue over DACA and why. (Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Idaho, West Virginia.) Already, Tennessee backed out on Friday, September 1 due to the efforts by Dreamers! I would highlight that there are between 20,000 and 60,000 DACA recipients living in disaster torn Texas and Louisiana. Rescinding DACA during this time when people have lost their homes and all their possessions would be extremely cruel and heartless.

We’re in this mess not just because President Trump campaigned on a promise to end DACA, but because for decades, Congress has refused to take a vote on a reform bill.  In 2013, the Senate passed S.733 but it never reached the floor of the House for a vote, and nothing has been done since to deal with the issues of DREAMERS.

In the meantime, until we know for sure what will happen (rumors are already swirling around that DACA will end), DACA recipients should make preparations now and have backup plans. But, also, in the coming days and weeks, everyone needs to continue the pressure to do something positive for the Dreamers. Don’t give up!! There is the potential for litigation, for delays, for Congress to do something, and for all the employers, families and organizations to stand up and help Dreamers fight. I have been so impressed with the way Dreamers have organized themselves and have become top notch advocates.  In the meantime, do self-care – take care of your personal issues as described below:

  1. Set up a consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer or BIA accredited representative. Many DACA recipients filed their applications at group workshops or on their own without spending sufficient time one on one with an attorney who can spend more time evaluating all your options as well as that of your whole family. Learn about whether you have any other potential options in or outside of immigration court if DACA ends.
  2. If your case is, was, or could be in removal proceedings, find out what your options are in immigration court, especially if you have had a prior deportation order or problems at the border. The government has the burden of proving “alienage” (where you are from) “by clear and convincing evidence.” Then the burdens depend upon how you entered as to whether you prove you are admissible or were admitted or the government proves removeability.  You may have defenses to charges of removeability (deportation), for example motions to supress or US citizenship. And, even if you don’t have a specific defense, you may be eligible for relief from deportation. Examples include “cancellation of removal,” “asylum,” “withholding of removal,” “Convention Against Torture,” adjustment of status, waivers, claims to US citizenship, and other benefits. Every case is different and should be discussed with a qualified attorney. Your complete history will need to be assessed. If you haven’t done so already, your lawyer may want to run Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with various agencies as well as FBI and state records checks. Now would be a great time to get these going because it can take a long time to get results.
  3. Beware of international travel (inadvertently without a travel permit or with “advance parole,” a type of travel permit). If you are already outside the USA on advance parole, you should come home to the USA right away since the President’s announcement is imminent. If you have received advance parole but haven’t used it yet, consult with an attorney about the risks and benefits of using your advance parole.
  4. Beware of scams and legal advice from non-lawyers. Examples include promotion of “10-year green cards,” promises of all kinds, guarantees, work permits not associated with any application, and the filing of applications that you don’t understand or have not seen. Only certain people are authorized to give advice, prepare, and submit applications on your behalf to the government agencies and Immigration Court, including licensed attorneys (always verify licenses), Board of Immigration Appeals accredited organizations with accredited representatives, certain law students acting under supervision of a lawyer, and friends or neighbors who do not charge a fee but who must disclose they are preparers.
  5. Get a Social Security number if you haven’t done so already. If you have DACA and an EAD card, you can get a SSN number from that will always be good. Although, it will say limited to use with work authorization, and you must have a valid EAD to use it for work, the number will continue to be good for tax filing and other uses.
  6. Employment rights and issues: You have the right to work legally until your EAD expires. Employers may not ask how you obtained your EAD or demand a receipt.You are not obligated to inform your employer about the end of DACA. You can’t be fired/terminated or be put on leave of absence until your EAD expires.
  7. Get a drivers license or state ID if your state allows it. If you haven’t done so already, and you have valid DACA and an EAD card, obtain a drivers license or state ID if permitted in your state. (States vary as to their requirements.) Do NOT provide any false information, including about residence, to licensing authorities. (This information is turning up at green card interviews supporting fraud findings).
  8. Know your rights!
  • Don’t open doors for ICE, CBP or anyone else. A law enforcement agency must have a warrant to enter your house. If an officer says he/she has a warrant, have them slip it under your door.
  • You have the right to remain silent. As mentioned above, the government has the burden of proving alienage and deportability.
  • You have the right to a lawyer. You can tell a DHS officer that you will only speak to them with your attorney present. Ask to call your attorney before speaking.
  • Don’t sign anything without your attorney present, and most of all, don’t sign anything without a translation if you do not understand, read or write English.
  • Record the encounter if you can.
  • Report the encounter to 1-844-363-1423
  • Contact your attorney or BIA accredited representative right away to discuss your encounter and options.

     9. Protect your family and assets. Have a plan in place!

Empower others to inquire about your case – have a G28 Notice of Appearance form signed and ready from your attorney or a privacy release from a Congressional representative (see and and each representative’s federal agency or constituent services webpages.) (Note, most attorneys will expect that you have a contractual relationship with them before signing a G28.)

Have the following available to your family and maybe posted on your refrigerator and in your phone addressbook:

  • ICE Detainee locator  (You will need your “A” number on the “Notice to Appear” or “Order to Show Cause” or other immigration paperwork in order to locate the whereabouts of you or your relative in ICE custody, if applicable.) (See also, Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA here.)
  • EOIR Immigration Court case status phone number –(You will also need the “A number”) 1-800-898-7180

Have a folder of documents ready at home that shows the following information:

  • Ties to the USA (list of legal family members with copies of their green cards, US birth certificates, passports or other evidence of status), evidence of  job history, residence history, school history  – All of this is useful for a bond hearing;
  • List of potential witnesses to testify in court in a bond hearing to show you are not a flight risk and will attend all future hearings;
  • Additional evidence of your residence in the USA for at least two years, and preferably 10 years. (Two years to avoid “expedited removal” and 10 years in case you are eligible for cancellation of removal.) Examples: tax returns/transcripts, employment and school records, medical records, insurance of all types, leases and mortgages, utility bills.
  • Plans for your children’s care in case you are detained or deported – examples include temporary guardianships, powers of attorney for medical care
  • Phone tree (friends, relatives, schools, attorney in case you are picked up by ICE)
  • Powers of attorney so your bills can get paid, etc.

     10.  Resources and Updates

      11. Crimes and staying out of trouble

If you have been arrested, cited, or merely charged with a crime, even if not convicted, gather up all your records and consult with an immigration attorney. Some offenses do not require convictions to have immigration consequences. Some older convictions may be overturned based on constitutional issues including ineffective assistance of counsel, so there may be some “post-conviction relief” available. Always meet with an immigration attorney who understands the consequences of crimes and/or with a criminal lawyer who understands the immigration consequences of crimes. And, do not delay. It is better to resolve these issues early.

Be on your best behavior! The most frequent criminal problems for DACA youth includes drunk driving and related public offenses (intoxication in public, assault, etc). Simply put, DO NOT DRINK IRRESPONSIBLY AND DO NOT DRIVE WHILE INTOXICATED! DACA can be taken away for almost anything or you can jeopardize your future right to a green card or citizenship.

If you live in a state where marijuana use has been legalized, including medical marijuana, do NOT use marijuana or any drugs as this can have severe consequences on your immigration status for which there may be no waivers available. Also, do not work for or invest in any legal marijuana business or operation. Unfortunately, federal immigration law does not play nicely with the states that have legalized marijuana use, and that includes all other related offenses (possession, distribution, or intent to sell.)

     12. Register for the Selective Service if you are a male between 18 and 26.

All men in the USA, regardless of status, must register for the US Selective Service at between the ages of 18 and 26.  Registering for Selective Service does not mean you are enlisting in the military. Rather, the registration requirement goes toward building the pool of POTENTIAL draft recruits IF ever there was a draft.  The US currently has a volunteer only military and people are not required to enlist. But, men between 18 and 26 are required to register.  Two different things!