Monthly Archives:' April 2017

New Ninth Circuit Decision Affects TPS holders

Can TPS holders become permanent residents? It just became a lot easier for those who reside in the Ninth Circuit.

Temporary Protected Status is a designation for nationals of El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, and other countries.  Many people who qualify for TPS entered the United States without inspection. Typically, a person must be “admitted and inspected” to qualify for adjustment of status in the United States. This means that even though they are married to a US Citizen or have a US Citizen child over the age of 21, those who entered without inspection are not able to apply for adjustment of status (the process to obtain a green card.) Instead, many TPS holders who entered without inspection would have to apply for a waiver and return to their home country before obtaining a green card.

Previously, the BIA carved out a loophole when it found that if a TPS holder applied for Advance Parole and traveled to their home country, he would have a lawful admission upon his return which would allow for adjustment of status.  This meant that TPS holders who entered without inspection had to obtain a specific travel document, leave and return before they could legally adjust status here in the United States.

New Developments: Adjustment of Status becomes Easier

In late March 2017, the Ninth Circuit decided that being granted TPS was a “lawful admission” for purposes of adjustment of status.  What does that mean?  Lets take a look at the Ramirez v. Brown Case:

Jesus Ramirez, who came to the United States from El Salvador in 1999, was granted TPS in 2001 and has remained in that status to the present day. In 2012, he married Barbara Lopez, a U.S. citizen, and the couple sought lawful permanent resident status for Ramirez.

The court decided that obtaining TPS status DOES qualify as inspection and therefore a lawful admission.  Mr. Ramirez, therefore, was allowed to adjust status without leaving the United States.

Who can benefit from this promising decision?

First, the decision applies only to those residing in the Ninth Circuit (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington State).  Someone who was granted TPS and resides in one of those states who has a US Citizen immediate relative (spouse, child or parent) may be eligible.  They may have other inadmissibility issues such as criminal history, prior removal orders, etc., so it is always  best to consult with an attorney before initiating any paperwork.

What to do if detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?

What to do if someone you know is detained by ICE?

Things can move quickly once a person is detained.  ICE can arrest someone at their house, at their workplace, on the street, or they can place an “ICE hold” on those who are detained in a local jail for criminal or other proceedings.

If a person is being held by local authorities under an ICE hold, this typically means that once the criminal proceedings are complete, ICE will take them in to custody at a separate facility.  As soon as someone is placed under an ICE hold is the appropriate time to speak to an immigration lawyer and to start gathering documents.

Does the detained immigrant have a plan in place? Here is a good place to start with a preparedness plan.

What information do you need to gather?

  • The detained immigrant’s full name and date of birth
  • Where are they being held? The ICE detainee locator will help you find the person once in ICE custody.  But, before that, you will need to find out if they are in a local jail or facility and exactly where it is.
  • If the immigrant is already in ICE custody, see if they have an alien registration number (A#).

 

Information to prepare for a meeting with an immigration attorney

  • When did the immigrant come to the United States? How did he enter? Has he left?
  • What was the immigrant doing and where was he when he was detained?
  • Does the immigrant have a criminal history? If so, what are the dates and the convictions?
  • Has he or she ever been in immigration court before or were they ever detained at the border?
  • Has he or she ever been issued a removal order (deportation)?
  • Does the immigrant have any United States citizen or lawful permanent resident family members?
  • Has anyone ever filed a family petition for a relative?

Who decides whether a detained immigrant will be released?

ICE agents will make the first bond determination.  They can opt to release the immigrant on his own recognizance (no bond payment), they can set a bond, or they can deny bond.

If ICE denies bond, that is not the end of the road.  The detained immigrant may have an opportunity to request a bond from the Immigration Court.

How does the IJ decide whether or not to grant a bond?

The immigration judge is going to consider whether the immigrant is 1) a “flight risk,” meaning whether or not he is going to appear at future hearings or 2) a danger to the community.

 

What documents can you submit to show that the immigrant merits a bond?

  • Proof of US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or children (birth certificates, marriage certificate, etc.) and proof of hardship they will suffer without him.
  • Proof of long time residence in the United States
  • Proof of paying taxes
  • Letters from employers, church members, family, and friends attesting to the good moral character of Immigrant.
  • Proof of eligibility for any relief – for example a family petition receipt or approval notice

Does the detained immigrant need an attorney?

An attorney can facilitate communication with ICE, provide information about the immigrant’s options, and can advocate for the immigrant in a bond hearing with the Immigration Court.

Cristina M. Hughes handles bond cases and bond (custody) hearings for immigrants detained in California, Nevada, and at the border.  Please call 775.453.4451 or e-mail [email protected] to set up an appointment today.