Yes, It is Legal to Ask for Asylum

Rio Grande
The Rio Grande River near McAllen, TX

We all watched in horror and sadness as we saw families being separated at our southern border. The recordings of children crying in detention facilities brought tears to our eyes and sent chills down our spines. Understandably, though, there was, and still is, a lot of confusion around what was going on. Are laws being broken?  Does federal law require this? Why can’t they come “legally”?

Let’s try to break this down as easily as possible:  Continue reading “Yes, It is Legal to Ask for Asylum”

Get to Know Dreamers

On September 5, President Trump rescinded the DACA program. If congress fails to act, thousands of individuals will lose their jobs, their ability to go to school, and may be deported to places they have never known. Watch these two videos from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to learn about who DREAMers are, and then contact your representatives urging them to act now on a clean DREAM act.

DREAMer — Itzayana’s Story from Cooperative Baptist Fellowship on Vimeo.

DREAMer — Jemima’s Story from Cooperative Baptist Fellowship on Vimeo.


Legislation for Dreamers

Since President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), there have been several bills introduced in the US House and Senate attempting to provide legal relief for young people who were brought to the United States as children, also known as Dreamers. The multitude of options can become confusing quickly, so below is a brief breakdown of the bills, starting with the most conservative and ending with the most liberal.

  1. The SUCCEED Act: Would give conditional residence to those who were brought here under the age of 15. That conditional residence would last 5 years, could be renewed once, and then after 10 years they could apply for legal permanent residence. One stipulation in this bill is that these recipients cannot petition for family members. After 5 more years, they could petition to become US Citizens. This bill will be paired with border security legislation.
  2. The RAC Act: Like the SUCCEED Act, this bill would give 5 year conditional residency, and recipients would have to renew that conditional residency. The difference is that once renewed, they can immediately apply for permanent residence. There are also no stipulations against petitioning for family members once they have legal permanent residency.
  3. The DREAM Act: This bill would give an eight year conditional residency to qualifying individuals who were 17 or younger when they were brought to the United States. Once an individual completes higher education, three-years of work experience, or two-years of military service, they can apply for permanent legal residence.
  4. The American Hope Act: Like the DREAM act, this bill would give an 8-year conditional residence to those brought here at age 17 or younger. After 3 years, they could apply to remove those conditions. If a current DACA recipient applies, their time with DACA will count towards those three years.

There is also the BRIDGE Act, but since it does not provide a permanent solution, it has not been included above.

The DREAM Act is, by far, the most bipartisan of the solutions. It provides a temporary fix in the way of conditional residence, and then a way for individuals to move from conditional to permanent residence once they have completed higher education or work or military experience.

Contact your senators and representative today to ask them to support a clean legislative solution for dreamers. If you don’t know who your representative is you can find out who it is here. If you don’t know who your senators are you can find out here.

Sanctuary Cities / Ciudades Santuarios

En español abajo

Since the November election, a lot press has been given to sanctuary cities. Most recently, South Carolina’s Attorney General joined others in arguing for a state’s right to oppose sanctuary cities. They say, “[Sanctuary Cities] defy the rule of law and deprive law enforcement of the tools necessary for effective civil and criminal enforcement.” So it’s helpful to ask ourselves, what are sanctuary cities, are they a danger to our communities, and are they a good or a bad thing. Continue reading “Sanctuary Cities / Ciudades Santuarios”

What is TPS?

You may have heard about TPS in the news lately, and perhaps you’ve wondered what it is. It’s one of those things you don’t expect to be in the news, but with the heightened focus on immigrants and immigration, any immigration matter gets press. So, what is TPS?

TPS, or Temporary Protected Status, is part of the legal immigration system that permits the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to temporarily protect nationals present in the United States from having to return to their countries of origin. Why would they protect people from these countries? The most common reasons that the department of homeland security protects certain nationals is due to warfare or natural disaster that makes their home countries unsafe for their return.

It’s important, now, to debunk A few myths about TPS. Continue reading “What is TPS?”

DACA: The time to renew is now

The DACA program will end March 5, 2018. If you currently have DACA, and your work authorization will expire on or before March 5, you need to apply before the October 5 deadline.

We can help you do that, and we will do it for free if it is a simple case (no new criminal record). US Customs and Immigration Services will accept renewals up until October 5, so it is imperative that you come in as soon as you can, so that we can submit before the end of the month.

If you have any questions or concerns, us the contact form below or call us at (803)386-9442