Summary of recent guidance of Trump’s immigration enforcement plans / Resumen de la reciente orientación de planes de ejecución de inmigración del Trump

The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security has released two separate documents providing additional guidance on President Trump’s immigration plans. One of the orders addresses the President’s plan to increase enforcement efforts in the interior of the United States. The other order addresses the President’s plan to increase detention and security at the U.S.-Mexico border.

El secretario del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional ha publicado dos documentos separados proporcionando orientación adicional sobre el Presidente Trump planes de inmigración. Una de las órdenes se aborda el plan del Presidente para aumentar las actividades de represión en el interior de los Estados Unidos. La otra orden se dirige sobre el plan del Presidente para aumentar la detención y la seguridad en la frontera entre México y los Estados Unidos.

Memo to implement the Interior Enforcement Executive Order, dated 2/20/17:

Memo al implementar la aplicación interior del Poder Ejecutivo Nacional, de fecha 2/20/17:

  • Rescinds all immigration enforcement policies and memorandum that conflict with the President’s new policies, including the 11/20/2014 enforcement priorities memo and the Secure Communities memo under President Obama.
  • Anula todas las policas de inmigración y el memorando que entran en conflicto con las nuevas políticas del Presidente, incluido el 11/20/2014 las prioridades de aplicación memo y el memo de Comunidades Seguras bajo la administración del presidente Obama.
  • The order does NOT rescind the DACA 2012 memo and DACA/DAPA 2014 memo. DACA is still alive, while DAPA is still stuck in a court battle.
  • La orden no anula la DACA 2012 memo y daca/DAPA 2014 memo. DACA sigue vivo, mientras DAPA todavía está atascado en una batalla judicial
  • States that DHS shall faithfully execute U.S. immigration laws against “all removable aliens.” Priorities are individuals with criminal convictions, charges or who have committed a crime without any charges, have committed fraud or misrepresentation to the government, have abused public benefits, have a final order of removal, or pose a national security threat.
  • Afirma que DHS deberá ejecutar fielmente las leyes de inmigración de Estados Unidos en contra de “todos los extranjeros removibles.” Las Prioridades son personas con condenas penales, cargos o que han cometido un delito sin ningún cargo en su contra, han cometido fraude o tergiversación del gobierno, han abusado de beneficios públicos, tienen una orden final de deportación, o que suponen una amenaza para la seguridad nacional.
  • It directs DHS personnel to arrest, apprehend, initiate enforcement actions, initiate removal proceedings against “any alien subject to removal under any provision of the INA” (would include any individual who is undocumented or overstayed) and refer appropriate cases for criminal prosecution.
  • Dirige el personal de DHS para arrestar, detener, iniciar acciones coercitivas, iniciar los trámites de expulsión contra “cualquier extranjero sujeto a la extracción bajo cualquier disposición de la INA” (incluiría cualquier individuo indocumentado o permaneció mas del tiempo debido) y remitir los casos pertinentes para su enjuiciamiento penal.
  • Restores Secure Communities program effective immediately.
  • Restaura el programa de Comunidades Seguras efectivo inmediatamente.
  • Directs department to cooperate with EOIR to initiate removal proceedings against incarcerated aliens
  • dirige el departamento para cooperar con la EOIR para iniciar los trámites de expulsión contra los extranjeros encarcelados
  • Directs ICE and CBP to expand 287(g) program, which is designed to give immigration enforcement powers to state and local law enforcement.
  • Dirige el ICE y el CBP para ampliar el programa 287(g), que está diseñado para proporcionar a la aplicación de las leyes de inmigración facultades para ejercer la ley estatal y local.
  • Orders DHS to replace the current detainer forms “to more effectively communicate” with law enforcement agencies. The detainer is a request for a jail to hold an individual until ICE is able to pick them up. In many cases the detainers are unconstitutional.
  • Ordena a DHS para reemplazar el actual retenedor formas “para comunicarse de forma más eficaz con los organismos encargados de hacer cumplir la ley. El retenedor es una petición de una cárcel de mantener a una persona hasta que ICE pueda recogerlos. En muchos casos los retenedor son inconstitucionales.
  • Prosecutorial Discretion is considered on a case by case basis. Since the November 20, 2014 priorities memo is rescinded, there are no specific guidelines for Prosecutorial Discretion.
  • A discreción del fiscal se considera caso por caso. Desde el 20 de noviembre de 2014 prioridades memo es revocado, no hay directrices específicas para la discreción del fiscal.
  • Directed ICE to hire 10,000 ICE agents and support and legal staff as necessary. Likely will need additional finding from Congress.
  • ICE dirigida a contratar a 10.000 agentes del ICE y de apoyo y personal jurídico según sea necesario. Probablemente necesitará encontrar adicional del Congreso.
  • Directs ICE, CBP, and USCIS to issue guidance and issue regulations to collect and assess fines and penalties from aliens and those who facilitate their unlawful presence.
  • Dirige a ICE, el CBP, y el USCIS emitir directrices y dictar reglamentos para recoger y evaluar las multas y sanciones de los extranjeros y aquellos que faciliten su presencia ilegal.
  • Rescinds January 7, 2009 DHS memo, “Privacy Policy Guidance Memorandum” and directs development of new privacy guidance.
  • Anula el DHS memo del 7 de enero de 2009, “Orientación Política de Privacidad Memorando” y dirige el desarrollo de nuevas directrices de privacidad.
  • Sets forth details on publication of regular reports on apprehensions and releases.
  • Se exponen los detalles sobre la publicación de informes periódicos sobre los temores y libera.
  • Establishes a Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office for assist victims of crimes committed to undocumented individuals. Directs any funding currently used to assist the undocumented to the new VOICE Office.
  • Establece un compromiso de las víctimas de los delitos de inmigración (VOICE), la oficina de asistencia a las víctimas de los crímenes cometidos a personas indocumentadas. Dirige cualquier financiación utilizados actualmente para ayudar a los indocumentados a la nueva Oficina de VOICE.

Border Memo – 2/17/17 memo to implement border EO/ Memo – Frontera 2/17/17 memo a implementar frontera EO.

  • Says any individual arriving at the border will be detained pending a determination if they are eligible for any relief in the U.S. Will depend on the availability of judges, asylum officers and bed space near the border.
  • Dice que cualquier individuo que llegando a la frontera será detenido a la espera de una determinación si son elegibles para cualquier ayuda en los Estados Unidos dependerá de la disponibilidad de los Jueces, los oficiales de asilo y espacio de cama cerca de la frontera.
  • Orders Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire 5,000 additional agents and 500 Air & Marine Agents/Officers.
  • Ordena a los Servicio de Aduanas y Protección Fronteriza (CBP) para contratar a otros 5.000 agentes y 500 Air &Amp; Marina/agentes oficiales.
  • Expands the use of 287(g) Program at the border, which is intended to give immigration enforcement powers to state and local enforcement officers.
  • Amplía el uso de programa 287(g) en la frontera, cuyo objetivo es dar cumplimiento de las leyes de inmigración poderes estatales y locales de los funcionarios encargados de la observancia.
  • Commissions a comprehensive study of border security and calls for construction of additional border fencing.
  • Comisiones un estudio amplio de la seguridad en la frontera y reclama la construcción de vallas adicionales en la frontera
  • States DHS has authority to apply expedited (immediate) removal to anyone in the U.S. who hasn’t been present in the US for 2 years. Previously this was only applied to people found within 100 miles of the border. It appears DHS will take active steps to expand this to the interior of the U.S. and may issue new regulations on expedited removal procedures.
  • Miembros DHS tiene autoridad para aplicar (acelerado) Extracción inmediata a cualquier persona en los Estados Unidos que no han estado presentes en los Estados Unidos por 2 años. Anteriormente, esto sólo se aplica a personas encontradas dentro de las 100 millas de la frontera. Parece que el DHS tomará medidas activas para ampliar esta al interior de los Estados Unidos y podría emitir nuevas regulaciones sobre los procedimientos de eliminación acelerada.
  • States that individuals in immigration courts may be returned to a contiguous country (country that borders the U.S.) pending the outcome of their immigration court case if they are not a risk of illegal reentry. This has never been a practice before with immigration courts and we are not sure how this will be enforced.
  • Indica que los individuos en los tribunales de inmigración podrían ser devuelto a un país contiguo (país que hace frontera con los EE.UU.) a la espera del resultado de su caso de la corte de inmigración si no son un riesgo de reingreso ilegal. Esto nunca ha sido una práctica antes con los tribunales de inmigración y no estamos seguros de cómo se aplicará.
  • Creates new review standards for credible fear interviews.
  • Crea nuevas normas de revisión por temor creíble entrevistas.
  • Orders ICE and CBP to take “all necessary action and allocate all available resources to expand their detention capabilities and capacities near the border with Mexico.”
  • Ordena a ICE y el CBP para tomar “todas las medidas necesarias y asignar todos los recursos disponibles para ampliar sus capacidades y funciones de detención cerca de la frontera con México”.
  • USCIS, CBP, and ICE should issue guidance making sure employees only exercise parole on a case-by-case basis until new guidance is issued (it appears they plan to issue regulations on use of parole). Permits the release and parole of individuals who have been found to have a credible fear of harm.
  • El USCIS, el ICE y el CBP, debería publicar directrices asegurándose de que los empleados sólo ejercer la libertad condicional en un caso por caso hasta nueva orientación es emitido (parece que va a emitir los reglamentos sobre el uso de la libertad condicional). Permite la liberación y la libertad condicional a personas que han demostrado tener un temor creíble de daño.
  • Directs USCIS, CBP, and ICE to develop uniform written guidance/training on “proper” processing of UACs, “timely” adjudication of relief claims, and “safe” repatriation once proceedings are complete, if applicable. Should establish review procedures to make sure kids continue to meet the definition of a UAC throughout removal proceedings.
  • Dirige el USCIS, el ICE y el CBP, para desarrollar las orientaciones escritas uniforme/capacitación sobre procesamiento de “adecuado”, “oportuna” UACs adjudicación de reclamaciones, socorro y repatriación “segura” una vez que se completa el procedimiento, si procede. Debe establecer procedimientos de revisión para asegurarse de que los niños continúen cumplir la definición de UAC durante procedimientos de expulsión.
  • May place parents or guardians of unaccompanied minor children in immigration proceedings or refer them for criminal prosecution if the parents pay smugglers to bring their children to the U.S.
  • Puede colocar a los padres o tutores de los menores no acompañados en los trámites de inmigración o remitirlos a enjuiciamiento criminal si los padres pagan los contrabandistas para traer a sus hijos a los EE.UU.
  • Directs task forces on Transnational Criminal Organizations, especially those involved in human smuggling. Would also target people and organization that undermine border security or the integrity of the immigration system – including drug trafficking, illegal reentry, visa fraud, identity theft, unlawful possession or use of official docs, and acts of violence committed at or near the border
  • Dirige grupos de tareas sobre las organizaciones delictivas transnacionales, especialmente aquellos involucrados en el contrabando de seres humanos. También se dirigen a personas y organizaciones que socavan la seguridad de las fronteras o la integridad del sistema de inmigración – incluido el tráfico de drogas ilegales, la reentrada, visa fraude, robo de identidad, posesión o uso ilegal de documentos oficiales, y los actos de violencia cometidos en o cerca de la frontera
  • Develop a standard way to report data publicly – with uniform terminology and an easy-to-understand format. Includes: number of convicted criminals and nature of their offenses, prevalence of gang members “and prior immigration violators,” custody status of aliens, and – if released- the reason for release, number of aliens ordered removed and number physically removed.
  • Desarrollar un método estándar para los datos del informe públicamente – con terminología uniforme y un formato fácil de entender. Incluye: número de criminales convictos y la naturaleza de sus delitos, la prevalencia de los pandilleros “antes y aquellos que violan las leyes de inmigración”, la custodia y la condición jurídica de los extranjeros, – si se libera- la razón para la liberación, el número de extranjeros ordenó retirarse y número extraído físicamente.

Know Your Rights in Case of an ICE Raid / Conozca sus derechos en caso de una redada de ICE

Under the direction of President Trump’s Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reportedly plans to direct immigration officers to arrest and detain undocumented individuals throughout the U.S. Under the administration’s executive orders, many undocumented individuals could be considered priorities for arrest and detention. There are already reports of increased arrests and activity by ICE. Individuals with prior deportation orders, criminal convictions or even pending criminal cases are especially at risk of being arrested and detained. Based on the language from the current administration, we expect ICE raids at houses and work places to increase.

Bajo la dirección del nuevo Presidente Donald Trump, la Administración ,Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE) tienen planeado dirigir las funciones de inmigración para arrestar y detener a personas indocumentadas en todo los EE.UU. la administración de órdenes ejecutivas, muchos indocumentados podrían ser considerados prioritarios por arresto y la detenciones hay informes de un aumento de las detenciones y la actividad por el ice

If you or someone you know is undocumented, be prepared for these increased arrests and raids and understand your rights:

Si usted es indocumentado y tiene familiares y conocidos en la misma situación se les recomienda estar informados acerca de los nuevos arrestos y redadas de ICE. De igual manera usted debe saber sus derechos:

  • If officers come to your home, do not open the door. First, ask the officers (through the door) to show you their identification AND a warrant. If they do not have a warrant, do not open your door! Even if they say they have a warrant, do not open the door. Ask for the warrant to be slipped under the door for you to inspect. If there is a warrant, try to determine if it is a warrant for your arrest, or is a warrant to search your home. ICE is not allowed to enter your home without a search warrant, issued by a court. If they do not have a warrant, we recommend that you do NOT open your door, and do NOT give them permission to enter – if you let them enter without a warrant, you lose some of your rights.. If they do have a warrant that allows them to search your property, you must let them in; if they have an arrest warrant but not a search warrant, you may want to go outside to meet them – you do not have to let them into your home, and you do not have to let them search you or your homes
  • Si los oficiales vienen a su casa, no abra la puerta. En primer lugar, pedir los oficiales (a través de la puerta) que le muestre su identificación y una orden de detención. Si no tienen una orden, no abra la puerta! Incluso si dicen que tienen una orden, no abra la puerta. Pregunte por la orden y que se deslizó bajo de la puerta para que lo inspeccione. Si hay un mandamiento, intente determinar si es una orden para su arresto, o es una orden de allanamiento para su hogar. (ICE) no está permitido entrar en su casa sin una orden de cateo, dictada por un tribunal. Si ellos no tienen una autorización, le recomendamos que no abren la puerta de su casa, y no les dan permiso para entrar – si se les deja entrar sin una orden, usted pierde algunos de sus derechos. Si ellos tienen una autorización que les permite buscar su propiedad, hay que dejarlos ; si tienen una orden de arresto, pero no una orden de cateo, usted puede ir afuera a reunirse con ellos – usted no tiene que dejarlos entrar a su casa, y no tiene que dejar que ellos, buscan en su hogar o a usted.
  • You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to consult a lawyer before answering any questions or signing any documents. If you are arrested, recite this statement: “Pursuant to INA 292 and 8 C.F.R. 1240.42, I respectfully decline to answer any questions. I respectfully decline to sign any documents until I have spoken with my attorney.”
  • Usted tiene el derecho a permanecer en silencio. Usted tiene el derecho a consultar a un abogado antes de contestar preguntas o firmar cualquier documento. Si usted es arrestado, recite esta declaración: “de conformidad con la Ley INA 292 y 8 C.F.R. 1240.42, respetuosamente negarse a responder a cualquier pregunta. Yo respetuosamente declinó firmar ningún documento hasta que he hablado con mi abogado.”
  • Do not answer any questions. Do not tell them where you were born, or how/when you entered the United States. Do not sign any documents without consulting a lawyer first.
  • No contestar ninguna pregunta. No le diga donde naciste, o cómo/cuando entró en los Estados Unidos. No firme ningún documento sin consultar a un abogado.
  • Do not consent to letting any officer search you or your home.
  • No de su consentimiento para permitirles buscar usted o su hogar.
  • Do NOT show them any identification documents that show what country you are from, and NEVER show them false identification documents!
  • No demostrarles nigun documento de identificación que muestran qué país sois, y nunca mostrar documentos de identificación falsos!
  • Even if you do not have an immigration attorney, you have the right to contact one. Getting arrested by ICE does not mean the end of your case. Discuss this with your family and friends now, and make sure they have the numbers for good immigration lawyers that they can call in case you are arrested.
  • Incluso si usted no tiene un abogado de inmigración, usted tiene el derecho a ponerse en contacto con uno. De ser detenida por ICE no significa el final de su caso. Hable de esto con su familia y amigos, y asegúrese de que tengan los números de buenos abogados de inmigración que puedan llamar en caso de que sean detenidos.
  • Have a list of phone numbers written down so you can take them with you if you are arrested. You have a right to make one free telephone call after you are arrested.
  • Tenga una lista de números de teléfono escrito para que usted pueda llevarlos con usted si usted está detenido. Usted tiene derecho a hacer una llamada telefónica gratuita después de que son detenidos.
  • Keep records proving your presence in the U.S., including leases, pay stubs, bills, or any other documents with your name, date, and address in the U.S. These records should be kept in easily accessible place in your home. If you have been in the U.S. more than two years, be prepared to state when you entered the U.S.
  • Mantenga registros demostrando su presencia en los Estados Unidos, incluyendo arriendos, comprobantes de pago, facturas, o cualquier otro documento con su nombre, fecha y dirección en los EE.UU. Estos registros deben estar  en lugares accessible  en su hogar. Si  ha esta dentro de los EE.UU. más de dos años, debe de estar dispuesto a declarar cuando entró en los EE.UU.
  • If an order of deportation was entered against you in absentia (meaning the order was issued against you by an immigration judge without you being present) you may have the right to file a motion to reopen that order and possibly prevent deportation. Be sure to consult an immigration lawyer about this.
  • Si una orden de deportación fue introducido en rebeldía contra usted(es decir, la orden fue emitida contra usted por un juez de inmigración sin que usted se presente) usted puede tener el derecho a presentar una moción para reabrir esa orden y posiblemente prevenir la deportación. Asegúrese de consultar a un abogado de inmigración acerca de esto.
  • If you have a fear of being harmed in your home country, tell the immigration officers immediately. You may have the right to speak to an asylum officer to determine whether you qualify for asylum or withholding of removal.
  • Si usted tiene un temor de ser perjudicados en su país de origen, dígale a los funcionarios de inmigración inmediatamente. Usted puede tener el derecho de hablar con un funcionario de asilo para determinar si usted califica para asilo o la suspensión de la extracción.

Here is an link to a National Immigration Law Center explaining your rights at home and work in case of an immigration raid: https://www.nilc.org/imm_enfrcmt_homework_rts_2008-05.html

Aquí hay un enlace a un National Immigration Law Center explica sus derechos en el hogar y el trabajo en caso de una redada de inmigración: https://www.nilc.org/imm_enfrcmt_homework_rts_sp_2008-05.html

Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law Announces New Focus on National Interest Waivers (NIW)

In addition to its other practice areas, Kansas City-based firm also will concentrate on clients who contribute to the national interest and may be eligible for permanent residence in the EB-2 immigrant visa preference category. 

Kansas City, MO (September 21, 2016)  Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law announces they have added a new focus to their immigration law practice. In addition to other areas, the firm also will concentrate on clients who may fall under the EB-2 immigrant visa preference category for U.S. employment-based permanent residency. The firm is well recognized for litigating complicated immigration cases, and often takes cases in which clients’ have unique situations and life stories. Given the heightened standards faced by those seeking residency through the National Interest Waiver process, the firm’s expertise in litigating complex cases places them in an unrivaled position to handle these cases.

“As trial lawyers, we’re different. We believe legal cases are about understanding people’s stories. We believe that decision makers need to understand the caliber of our clients, what they do to benefit the greater good, and how the law supports their cases,” explains Rekha Sharma-Crawford a principal in Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law, LLC.

The EB-2 immigrant visa preference category includes “members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent and individuals who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States, and whose services in the sciences, arts, professions, or business are sought by an employer in the United States,” as created by congress with the Immigration Act of 1990. EB-2 categories usually require the Labor Certification application followed by the employer-filed I-140.

The NIW petition, however, waives EB-2’s Labor Certification requirement, but a person must fulfill three requirements that demonstrate permanent residency is in the nation’s best interest: work in the U.S. has “substantial intrinsic merit,” is “national in scope,” and “waiving the labor certification requirement would benefit the national interests of the United States.” The term “national interest” does not have a statutory or regulatory definition, which is where it becomes essential to be able to help explain, in plain language, what it is that the person does and its wider impact.

There are many ways that an individual’s contributions can further a national interest. For example, does the work that the individual performs help the American economy? Does it improve health care? Are they on the verge of a cutting edge discovery that has the potential to change or even create an industry? Other possibilities may include things like:

  • Will it create affordable housing for the poor, elderly and children?
  • Will the environment and natural resources usage improve?
  • Will it unlock a medical mystery and help change the way medical matters are approached or handled in a particular field?

“When we began to think about expanding our services, we realized that we had a passion for innovation. We use it in the way we litigate and we understand the way creative thought can lead to profound change. Thus, visa cases for members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent and individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business and whose services in the sciences, arts, professions, or business are sought by an employer in the U.S. became our new passion. These cases appeal to our curiosity and unwavering need to understand and tell their stories in a way only trial lawyers can,” states Sharma-Crawford.

About Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law

Sharma-Crawford, Attorneys at Law is a nationally recognized firm specializing in the complexities of immigration litigation. Practice specialties include criminal or civil litigation in state, federal or immigration court. The attorneys of Sharma-Crawford also speak and educate peers and the community on issues pertaining to the complexities of immigration and immigration litigation. The firm is located on the border of Kansas City’s Westside and the Crossroads Arts District.

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How you can help us, help you: Wise words from our star Administrative Assistants

Everyone gets stressed by having to go to a professional’s office. Doctors, lawyers, counselors all are places where people go when they are in crisis. Medical issues, psychological and relationship issues, and legal issues can have a debilitating effect on a person’s life. A question was posed, though, that which of these professions are the most stressful for the provider? The answer to that question may come by way of a very simple understanding.

Visiting a doctor’s office in pain, may allow for the prescription of medicines to help alleviate the pain. But, the person who came for treatment leaves with his or her pain when they leave. But, people who come to a lawyer’s office often leave their troubles with the lawyer and the lawyer’s assistants. They are able to return back to their lives, with some sense of calm that their legal problems are being dealt with.

Imagine an office full of files, each representing someone’s legal problems. Each demands attention, demands answers and demands assurances. We have always said that we, at Sharma-Crawford Attorney’s at Law and The Clinic have the most caring, diligent and loyal administrative assistants (AA) there are. They are as fearless as the attorneys. We sat down with them to ask them what they consider are top ways you can help in the resolution of your legal case.  Here are their top suggestions:

  1. Please provide your full name. This means all names. First, middle, last, second last, nickname, alias, etc. If we can’t find you in our system, it takes longer to get anything done.
  2. If you have a case for you and a spouse, pick one of you to call us, and then communicate with one another. You have one case; we have many so please pick a spokesperson for the family. We want to answer all your questions and make sure every case gets our full attention. This helps us balance both these issues.
  3. If necessary, take notes during your appointment. Immigration law is complex. Write the answers to your questions down because we understand that there is a lot of information given and it can be overwhelming. When you call and say “what did the lawyer tell me”, we don’t know where to start.
  4. Please know which attorney you are working with and the type of case you have. Sometimes it isn’t your lawyer’s assistant who picks up the phone, so if you say, “I have the man attorney”, that just narrows it down to 50%. If you call and say, “its about my case”, and we ask more questions, we really are trying to help.
  5. If you came in for a consultation but have not hired our office to do anything else, we are waiting on you to decide what you would like to do. If you are hiring our office, everyone must sign the representation agreement before you are considered a client. Till then, you are responsible for your case and must make sure all deadlines are met.
  6. We know you are often panicked and overwhelmed when you call. But, we are not going to be able to give you legal advice. The attorneys will also not give you advice without talking to you directly and looking at all of your documents. So, please understand when we stop you from explaining your entire case. You’ll have to do it all over again when you come for your appointment, so it is best to just tell the attorneys. If you need an appointment, we can totally help you with that.
  7. We know you are anxious about your case. We want to make sure we are fully focused on your case when we are working on something. Our office will always send you client copies of everything for your records. If you would like us to let you know when something specific is done, let us know. We promise to let you as soon as we are done with it.
  8. Sometimes we have to leave you a voice message when we call you. Could we ask you to please check it before you call us? It may either have the answers you need or the name of the person who called you. This helps us make sure you get to the right person, right away.  
  9. We all want to make sure that every visit to our office is pleasant and quick. Please bring all your documents when you come in for a consultation. We know how frustrating it can be when appointments have to be rescheduled because of missing documents, but we don’t want to take any chances.  We think your case should not be based on just a guess.
  10. Did you know that the USCIS Website provided updates on your case? It is even possible to sign up for instant notifications that allow you to know what occurred, even before we know!
  11. We understand that when you move, your lawyer’s office is the last thing on your mind. But, we need to know when you change contact information. It is really important because it allows us to keep you updated on your case without delay. It also helps us to let the Court and USCIS know where you are, so you don’t miss anything.
  12. Our office works really hard to make sure you always understand what is being done on your case. But it can get confusing because some of the processes are really long. If you are confused or just forgot what needed to happen, just come in and talk to the attorneys or us. We always say in our office “knowledge is power”.
  13. We know you are scared and your friends are trying to help, but your cases are not the same. It never happens like that. And while there is a lot of good information on the internet, there is also a LOT of bad information.
  14. We promise we will never tell you something that is not true, we only ask that you do the same for us.
  15. We know doing forms is no fun. It is like sitting at the airport waiting for your flight, but that flight is important, right? Really important. But you don’t want to wait all day and then get on the wrong plane, so please, before signing forms, check them all carefully for any changes or errors.
  16. Dealing with the federal government is frustrating. Trust us, we know. But we don’t know why dreamstime_xs_52767940they do what they do or exactly how long they are going to take to do it. If we knew that answer, it would make our jobs so much easier!
  17. Did you know our office has an app?  You can download it for free.  It has all kinds of cool and helpful links to help you stay informed.  You should try it!
  18. Speaking of, we also have a very active Facebook page.  We use our page to keep folks informed, share victories and stories and sometimes, include something just to make you laugh.  Laughter is great for stress. We love it when you make us laugh and we try to do the same.  Staying well is always something we strive to achieve and encourage. But, please understand if we don’t answer case specific questions on FB.  We don’t want to share your information with everyone, so just give us a call instead.
  19. Believe it or, while we love what we do, when we go home, we like to take a break from it.  It helps us stay balanced.  So, if you try and friend us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., we will probably not accept.  We are not trying to be mean, we just want to help us keep our work and home lives separate. Plus, do you really want us to see what all you have been doing?!
  20. Everyone in our office is passionate about the work we do and the people we help. We work hard and we play hard. But most of all, we’re glad you’re here.

 

National Immigration Law Center Sues to Force Kansas to Disclose Information about Discriminatory Treatment of Refugees

KANSAS City, MO. & LOS ANGELES, CA., (April 5, 2016) – Kansas may not keep its unlawful discrimination against Syrian refugees a secret, according to a lawsuit filed by the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and co-counsel Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law, LLC, under the Kansas Open Records Act. The suit, filed after more than two months of requests and appeals, seeks to learn more about how officials are implementing Gov. Sam Brownback’s unconstitutional instruction to state agencies not to assist in the resettlement of certain individuals designated by the federal government as refugees.

Last November, Brownback issued an executive order instructing state officials to engage in discriminatory practices to make it difficult for Syrian refugees to begin new lives in Kansas. He has since issued a more ambiguous order that could have the same pernicious effect.

“Syrian refugees have fled unspeakable violence, undergone years of background checks and want nothing more than to begin their lives anew in America,” said Melissa Keaney, attorney for the NILC. “Through his order, Gov. Brownback may be pushing his state agencies to make their new lives in America even more difficult, if not impossible—and he has done so in secret. We filed this lawsuit today because the public has a right to know if the state is engaging in discriminatory, unconstitutional behavior.”

“Gov. Brownback’s latest executive order leaves out way more than it includes,” said Justin Cox, cooperating attorney with the NILC. “Nowhere does it explain the circumstances under which the state would conclude that a particular refugee is a security risk, who within the state would make that determination or if it has already been made. For all that’s known publicly, Kansas could be barring refugees from the state solely because of their religion or country of birth.”

More than ten weeks ago, NILC requested information under the Kansas Open Records Act from the governor’s office and two agencies involved in administering federally funded benefits to refugees: the Kansas Department for Women and Children and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Under the law, state officials have three business days to act on a request for public records.

“This lawsuit demonstrates what is all too common: public officials routinely violate the Kansas Open Records Act, making a mockery of the law’s promise of governmental transparency,” said Rekha Sharma-Crawford, who is serving as co-counsel on the case. “Usually the public officials get away with ignoring the law, but not this time.”

NILC and Sharma-Crawford Attorneys hope that the lawsuit will compel the state to provide more information about how it is implementing the executive order in order to shine a public light on the state’s potentially unconstitutional, discriminatory actions.

The petition for declaratory and injunctive relief is available at www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/NILC-v-Brownback-KORA-2016-03-30.pdf.

About Sharma-Crawford Attorneys At Law
Sharma-Crawford, Attorneys at Law specializes in the complexities of immigration litigation. Practice specialties include criminal or civil litigation in state, federal or immigration court. The attorneys of Sharma-Crawford also speak and educate peers and the community on issues pertaining to the complexities of immigration and immigration litigation. The firm is located on the border of Kansas City’s Westside and the Crossroads Arts District.

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Legal Representation Crucial for Refugee Children

The stories below are based off real client experiences. However, all names and specific details have been altered as a matter of privacy and confidentiality.

Juana was 11 years old when she came to the U.S. from Honduras. She lived with her grandparents, but they could not protect her from the violence engulfing their country. A cousin helped her make the treacherous journey from Honduras to the U.S. She got across the southern border in to Texas, but she was quickly apprehended by border patrol officers. The border patrol officers explained her rights to her including her right to make a phone call, her right to be represented by an attorney and her right to see an immigration judge. The problem was that the officer read these rights to her in English. She only spoke Spanish. She unwittingly nodded her head, and she was transferred to a facility with other children who came into the U.S. without their parents. She was ultimately released to her mother in Kansas.

Unknown to her, and her mother, she also was placed in immigration proceedings and given an immigration hearing. She had no idea how the immigration legal system worked and neither did her mom. Juana was just excited to be reunited with her mother. Unfortunately, neither understood Juana’s obligation to go to court to see an immigration judge. Juana did not attend her hearing and was ordered deported from the U.S. She now faces the daunting task of trying to reopen her case and see if she is eligible for some sort of relief or get deported to the violent country she fled. At this point, the difference between having an attorney and not having an attorney could be the difference between protection in the U.S. or potential persecution or death in Honduras.

For the past two years, women and children refugees from three Central American countries, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, have come to the U.S. in record numbers due to significant violence and failing police systems in their countries. Many of the women and children who come to the U.S. are eligible for asylum. According to the Asylum Office, part of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, close to 90% of families who have come to the U.S. have shown a credible fear of persecution or torture. Legally, this means that the Asylum Office has determined that they have a significant possibility to be granted asylum in the U.S.

Unfortunately, just having shown a credible fear of persecution does not protect all of these refugees. After these refugees are found to have a credible fear they are placed in immigration court before and immigration judge. If the refugees are unaccompanied minors, they do not have to show a credible fear of persecution at the border. However, they are still placed in immigration court. For both groups of refugees, the presence of an attorney can be the difference between getting asylum in the U.S. and getting deported to the country they fled.

According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, almost 50 percent of unaccompanied children are unrepresented at immigration proceedings. Of all the deportation orders issued by immigration judges against children in 2014 and 2015, almost 90 percent of them were unrepresented. The number of deportation orders against children for failing to appear in court (also called in absentia orders) were even higher at almost 97 percent. These numbers were similar for families. 86 percent of families ordered removed were unrepresented and almost 97 percent of families order deported in absentia were unrepresented.

These striking numbers show the absolute necessity for representation of these refugees. When they come to the U.S., they have no idea how to navigate the treacherous maze of immigration law, they do not speak the language, and often they have limited education and little money. For unaccompanied children, particularly younger children, they have no ability to speak for or defend themselves in court or the asylum office, if they even make it to court or the asylum office.

When I tell acquaintances unfamiliar with immigration law that immigrants, even child refugees from Central America, are not appointed attorneys, many are shocked. Criminal defendants are required to have representation because of the implication of prison time or other deprivation of liberty. Despite the grave consequences of immigration proceedings, particularly for these refugees, immigration cases are considered civil. There is no requirement for appointment of counsel.

However, Senator Harry Reid recently introduced a bill to require appointment of counsel, even at the cost of the government if necessary, for unaccompanied children, disabled individuals, and victims of abuse, torture or violence. The bill would also permit the immigration court to appoint attorneys for any person in immigration court, although it is not required. This is a step in the right direction. Although there is little hope it will pass as a bill, the importance of representation must be acknowledged, as highlighted by the statistics from TRAC. No refugee or child should be ordered deported without representation from competent attorneys.


 

DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice. If you are in removal proceedings or need legal advice on your immigration case, please contact an immigration attorney.

Know Your Rights in Case of an ICE Raid in Your Home / Conozca sus derechos en caso de una redada de ICE en su casa

Numerous news outlets are reporting that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under the direction of the Obama Administration, plans to round up  and swiftly deport adults and children, mainly from Central America, who were ordered deported any time after January 1, 2014, and who have remained in the U.S. ICE reportedly plans to start the raids as early as January 2016, despite the fact that being deported puts many of these individuals at significant risk of harm or death.

Numerosas empresas de noticias están informando que el Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE), bajo la dirección del presidente Obama, planes para redondear la familias centroamericanas que han emitido una orden final de deportación en cualquier momento después del 1 de enero de 2014. ICE planea detener a estas personas mediante el uso de los allanamientos. ICE planea iniciar estas redadas tan pronto como enero de 2016, a pesar del hecho de que la deportación de personas enfrentan una gran posibilidad de daño o muerte.

If you or someone you know has an order of deportation from January 1, 2014 or later, be prepared for these raids and understand your rights:

Si usted o alguien que usted conoce tiene una orden de deportación desde el 1 de enero de 2014 o posteriormente, estar preparado para estas redadas y entender sus derechos

  • If officers come to your home, do not open the door. First, ask the officers (through the door) to show you their identification AND a warrant. If they do not have a warrant, do not open your door! Even if they say they have a warrant, do not open the door. Ask for the warrant to be slipped under the door for you to inspect. If there is a warrant, try to determine if it is a warrant for your arrest, or is a warrant to search your home. ICE is not allowed to enter your home without a search warrant, issued by a court. If they do not have a warrant, we recommend that you do NOT open your door, and do NOT give them permission to enter – if you let them enter without a warrant, you lose some of your rights.. If they do have a warrant that allows them to search your property, you must let them in; if they have an arrest warrant but not a search warrant, you may want to go outside to meet them – you do not have to let them into your home, and you do not have to let them search you or your home.
  • Si los oficiales vienen a su casa, no abra la puerta. En primer lugar, pedir los oficiales (a través de la puerta) que le muestre su identificación y una orden de detención. Si no tienen una orden, no abra la puerta! Incluso si dicen que tienen una orden, no abra la puerta. Pregunte por la orden y que se deslizó bajo de la puerta para que lo inspeccione. Si hay un mandamiento, intente determinar si es una orden para su arresto, o es una orden de allanamiento para su hogar. (ICE) no está permitido entrar en su casa sin una orden de cateo, dictada por un tribunal. Si ellos no tienen una autorización, le recomendamos que no abren la puerta de su casa, y no les dan permiso para entrar – si se les deja entrar sin una orden, usted pierde algunos de sus derechos. Si ellos tienen una autorización que les permite buscar su propiedad, hay que dejarlos ; si tienen una orden de arresto, pero no una orden de cateo, usted puede ir afuera a reunirse con ellos – usted no tiene que dejarlos entrar a su casa, y no tiene que dejar que ellos, buscan en su hogar o a usted.
  • You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to consult a lawyer before answering any questions or signing any documents. If you are arrested, recite this statement: “Pursuant to INA 292 and 8 C.F.R. 1240.42, I respectfully decline to answer any questions. I respectfully decline to sign any documents until I have spoken with my attorney.”
  • Usted tiene el derecho a permanecer en silencio. Usted tiene el derecho a consultar a un abogado antes de contestar preguntas o firmar cualquier documento. Si usted es arrestado, recite esta declaración: “de conformidad con la Ley INA 292 y 8 C.F.R. 1240.42, respetuosamente negarse a responder a cualquier pregunta. Yo respetuosamente declinó firmar ningún documento hasta que he hablado con mi abogado.”
  • Do not answer any questions. Do not tell them where you were born, or how/when you entered the United States. Do not sign any documents without consulting a lawyer first.
  • No contestar ninguna pregunta. No le diga donde naciste, o cómo/cuando entró en los Estados Unidos. No firme ningún documento sin consultar a un abogado.
  • Do not consent to letting them search you or your home.
  • No de su consentimiento para permitirles buscar usted o su hogar.
  • Do NOT show them any identification documents that show what country you are from, and NEVER show them false identification documents!
  • No demostrarles nigun documento de identificación que muestran qué país sois, y nunca mostrar documentos de identificación falsos!
  • Even if you do not have an immigration attorney, you have the right to contact one. Getting arrested by ICE does not mean the end of your case. Discuss this with your family and friends now, and make sure they have the numbers for good immigration lawyers that they can call in case you are arrested.
  • Incluso si usted no tiene un abogado de inmigración, usted tiene el derecho a ponerse en contacto con uno. De ser detenida por ICE no significa el final de su caso. Hable de esto con su familia y amigos, y asegúrese de que tengan los números de buenos abogados de inmigración que puedan llamar en caso de que sean detenidos.
  • Have a list of phone numbers written down so you can take them with you if you are arrested. You have a right to make one free telephone call after you are arrested.
  • Tenga una lista de números de teléfono escrito para que usted pueda llevarlos con usted si usted está detenido. Usted tiene derecho a hacer una llamada telefónica gratuita después de que son detenidos.
  • If an order of deportation was entered against you in absentia(meaning the order was issued against you by an immigration judge without you being present) you may have the right to file a motion to reopen that order and possibly prevent deportation. Be sure to consult an immigration lawyer about this.
  • Si una orden de deportación fue introducido en rebeldía contra usted(es decir, la orden fue emitida contra usted por un juez de inmigración sin que usted se presente) usted puede tener el derecho a presentar una moción para reabrir esa orden y posiblemente prevenir la deportación. Asegúrese de consultar a un abogado de inmigración acerca de esto.
  • If you have a fear of being harmed in your home country, tell the immigration officers immediately. You may have the right to speak to an asylum officer to determine whether you qualify for asylum or withholding of removal.
  • Si usted tiene un temor de ser perjudicados en su país de origen, dígale a los funcionarios de inmigración inmediatamente. Usted puede tener el derecho de hablar con un funcionario de asilo para determinar si usted califica para asilo o la suspensión de la extracción.

Here is an link to a National Immigration Law Center explaining your rights at home and work in case of an immigration raid: https://www.nilc.org/imm_enfrcmt_homework_rts_2008-05.html

Aquí hay un enlace a un National Immigration Law Center explica sus derechos en el hogar y el trabajo en caso de una redada de inmigración: https://www.nilc.org/imm_enfrcmt_homework_rts_sp_2008-05.html

 

Shining the Light on Immigrant Contributions: Stories from a Kansas City Immigration Attorney

The stories below are based off real client experiences. However, all names and specific details have been altered as a matter of privacy and confidentiality.

This holiday season has not been bright or merry for many immigrants across the country. Politicians and TV personalities have used fear to stoke discrimination and hatred against non-citizens, particularly Muslims and people of color. This dark and stormy rhetoric has clouded the stories of immigrants who contribute every day to the safety and vitality of the U.S.

I want to take some time to shed light on non-citizens who have contributed positively to the U.S. They are the stories that too often are not told and are not heard.

Tom

Tom came to the U.S. 15 years ago from northern Africa, fleeing his oppressive family. He initially came to the U.S. for business opportunities. However, he fell in love and stayed in the U.S. He started a successful business and got married. The marriage did not last, however and neither did the business. Tom was not deterred though, despite some obstacles. He continued his quest for his American Dream. He re-married, had a child and started another business.

Tom’s quest took a negative turn, however, when immigration officers determined that he withheld information about his family on his previous application for permanent status in the U.S. Fortunately, Tom was allowed to apply for relief that would waive his mistake based on his family in the U.S. An immigration judge agreed that Tom should stay in the U.S. as a permanent resident because of his family and his many contributions to the U.S. Tom is one of many immigrant entrepreneurs. Despite making up less than 13 percent of the population, immigrants are responsible for creating a quarter of new businesses in the U.S. and are twice as likely to take the risk to start a business than natural-born citizens.

Marcos

Marcos settled in Kansas after coming from Mexico more than 20 years ago. He worked hard to provide for his family in the U.S. and Mexico. He never had children of his own, but he married a woman with two sons. He treated those children as his own and taught them how to work hard and show respect. Both young men joined the U.S. Armed Forces after high school. They have been successful because of their parent’s support and guidance.

One night, Marcos was pulled over for a broken tail light. He did not have a license and the police arrested him. Immigration officers determined that he did not have any legal status in the U.S., and he was placed in immigration court proceedings. Marcos was married to a U.S. citizen but because he came to the U.S. with permission, he would have to leave the U.S. before he could return as a permanent resident. However, because Marcos had no criminal history and his step-sons were members of the Armed Forces, under a program called Parole in Place, immigration officials agreed to treat Marcos as if he came to the U.S. with permission. He could adjust status in the U.S. without having to leave his wife alone in a country their children risked their lives to protect.


 

DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice. If you are in removal proceedings or need legal advice on your immigration case, please contact an immigration attorney.

Building Safer Communities Through Mutual Trust, U and L.E.O.

In many places in the world, the police and the public are anything but friends. Each remains suspicious of the other. These fears and mistrust often come packed in the bags of immigrants and take up residence in their new homes in the US.

It may have been to help bridge an understanding, that the US Congress authorized certain visas to help make communities safer while building a relationship between a vulnerable society and those who swear to protect it.

With the creation of the U visa, which was first included in the 2000 Violence Against Women’s Act, Congress hoped that by taking away the fear of deportation, those who had been wronged would courageously join with law enforcement in the pursuit of justice. So keen was Congress in making communities safer and trust greater, that they allowed great latitude in the U visa program. In so doing, Congress recognized that law enforcement included not only the police, but also the courts, and the various governmental agencies that are responsible for protecting individuals. This meant that the foster care system, the Department of Labor as well as local, state, and federal prosecutors could also participate in the process of trust building. The compact being that victims of crime and law enforcement would become each other’s ally. With trust and truth as cornerstones, communities would mend broken alliances and create a safe-haven.

A key component of the U visa is a law-enforcement certification. This certification verifies for USCIS that the victim and law enforcement are actively furthering the visa’s purpose. By issuing the certification, law enforcement tells USCIS that there has been a recognized crime against a noncitizen and that the person has cooperated with them in the investigation, detention or prosecution of that offense. Since state laws differ, Congress created categories of offenses which are recognized for U visa cases. This method allows states to include a broad range of offenses which have no real one to one comparison under federal law. Why would Congress do this? Because it understood that each crime is different and that all crimes are based on the facts and individual state laws. By using this method of characterization, it allowed for crime victims to be treated with greater care.

Even though these visas were created in 2000, the rules by which they would be evaluated did not come about until 2008. This caused a bit of a problem because it meant that those who were victimized before USCIS set out all of the rules, were at risk of not being able to apply of this protection. Congress of course did not want such a unintended result. The way this type of result was avoided was by not placing date restrictions on the issuance of the certification. What that allows is that even if the offense occurred years before, if the victimized individual met all the other criteria, they could still ask USCIS to review their applications for eligibility.

There are ground rules for eligibility . Victims of certain offenses must stand with law enforcement, show that the injury (mental, physical, emotional or psychological) was substantial and come clean about any and all past indiscretions, including prior criminal conduct and prior immigration violations. Armed with all of the factors, USCIS would then evaluate the applications to decide if the person should be granted a U visa.

  • Have a certification from law enforcement (or another certifying agency) that establishes that that you have been helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful in the investigation, detection or prosecution of one of the U visa crime categories
  • Show that you have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse or injury as the result of the offense
  • Continue to cooperate with law enforcement, as requested, in the investigation, detection, or prosecution of the offense
  • Show that you are deserving of a waiver of any ground of inadmissibility based on humanitarian and public interest grounds

Much like all other immigration visas, U visas have recently come under greater scrutiny. This is because there are always those who try and use the system to take advantage of others or people who, desperate to find a solution to their immigration limbo, try to stretch the system to include things it clearly does not. But the truth is, this kind of behavior is more harmful than not. It does exactly what the U visa was not designed to do, create rather than defeat, mistrust. A result that threatens the existence of the U visa process itself. Seeking the help of a competent immigration attorney can help avoid such a tragic occurrence.

Congress’ intent to build relationships are compromised by not only those who try to manipulate the system, but it is also equally threatened by law enforcement that fails to recognize the power that issuing valid certifications creates. There are some agencies that refuse to issue the certification because they feel that they are somehow helping someone who is not lawfully in the U.S. The truth is law enforcement is losing an opportunity when they refuse to participate in the certification process. This is because the communities they swore to serve and protect continue to feel like they can not trust the police for the fear that their immigration status would become an issue. The Department of Homeland Security is so committed to ensuring the success of the U visa program, that they have have established special offices that help law enforcement overcome their concerns with the process and help educate them about the reason U visas can help heal not only the victim, but also the community.

Trust creates trust and mistrust creates mistrust. That is just how things always turn out. With gun violence and police altercations in the daily news, something is going to have to help turn the conversations around. U visas can go a long toward rebuilding trust on both sides. And that is a win-win for everyone.