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Lancaster Immigration Law Blog

A citizenship application cannot be bought

Many immigrants arrive in Pennsylvania from other countries of origin after securing fiancee visas under the intentions of marrying U.S. citizens. This is a perfectly acceptable and legal means for obtaining legal residency in the United States. As with most immigration processes, however, there is always a chance that someone will attempt to corrupt the system or take advantage of an unsuspecting immigrant by offering to expedite a citizenship application or otherwise committing fraudulent acts.

A situation in another state has led to a man's criminal conviction. It is said that he entered a guilty plea regarding a fraudulent marriage scheme where he paid women to pose as potential wives for immigrants wishing to marry U.S. citizens. The man apparently arranged an entire setup where he would get immigrants to pay him to help them gain citizenship.

Woman learns of father's deportation while she's at work

A woman in another state was at work early one morning when her daughter called to give her some awful news. Pennsylvania immigrants may feel especially empathetic for the woman as some may currently be experiencing similar situations. In this case, the woman's daughter had called to inform her that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers were at her home for deportation reasons.

The woman's father was reportedly being taken away from the house in handcuffs. This upset the woman so much she asked a co-worker to drive her home to see if she could help. Her efforts were not timely enough it seems. By the time she arrived, her father was being led away by immigration officers.

Advocates say immigration detention centers should be shut down

A number of Pennsylvania immigrants are at risk for deportation. Some worry they will have to spend weeks or months in immigration detention centers that are filthy and unsafe. It may be a valid fear as immigrants in several other states have reported unclean living conditions and other serious problems related to their detention stays.

A man in another state suffered a fall off a high ladder while he was working. Sometime later, after receiving medical care, he was taken into custody to be deported. Since being detained, his injured arm has gotten much worse. When he was speaking with a reporter, he reportedly kept the arm held at the level of his heart to keep it from swelling.

Are you worried that a notice to appear will lead to deportation?

If you've been living and working in Pennsylvania as an undocumented immigrant, you are definitely not the only one to do so. Most immigrants without proper legal papers live in fear that their lives may be turned upside down at any given moment if immigration officials threaten them with deportation. If you've received a notice to appear (NTA) you may be feeling confused and afraid about possibly being taken away from your family and sent back to your country of origin.

Once you have been served with an NTA, the removal process has already begun. However, you do not have to go it alone at your hearing. You have every right to have an attorney act on your behalf. In certain circumstances, an attorney can file an appeal regarding an Immigration Court's rulings.

This man says his deportation shouldn't have happened

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act protects the legal status of many immigrants in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. One young man, age 23, is involved in a controversial situation regarding his deportation. He says it was completely unwarranted and left him with no choice but to re-enter the country illegally to try to resolve the issue.

The man says he was initially picked up on Feb. 18 by a border patrol officer riding a bicycle who supposedly made him  walk into Mexico. Immigration officials say the initial deportation alleged by the man never happened. They also say he was only arrested on Feb. 19 when he tried to sneak into the United States without valid papers, and that when he left the country the first time, he did so of his own accord.

Family immigration may be at risk with new proposals

In a city on the West Coast, Somali immigrants gathered on a recent Friday to discuss issues that affect their communities and other immigrants throughout the nation. Immigrants in Pennsylvania may have similar support networks in place to encourage and assist new arrivals, as well as those who have been living here for some time. A main topic of discussion at the recent gathering was whether newly proposed regulations would adversely affect family immigration.

It has been proposed that the number of immigrants allowed into the United States be cut in half. Beyond that, other proposed changes would shift the focus of the current family-based system to a more individualized program. The new system would give immigration preference to those with special job skills, no language barriers and post-secondary education degrees or certifications.

Heated immigration detention situation brewing in another state

Far west of Pennsylvania, a lawsuit has been filed against a regional jail. The reason for the lawsuit involves a complicated immigration detention situation. Plaintiffs assert that jail officials are in violation of a 1987 state law.

A spokesperson for the jail, however, says they are merely complying with U.S. immigration law and have done nothing wrong. Those who filed the lawsuit contend that state law prohibits the housing of immigration detainees who are not charged with nor have been convicted of crimes; in essence, their only alleged violations are being in the country, undocumented. The lawsuit further notes that state law prohibits use of local resources to house undocumented detainees in assistance to the federal government.

Can a person navigate the citizenship process without stress?

The reasons people leave their countries of origin to come to the United States are many. Some are business-minded individuals who have dreams of investing in the American economy. Others are fleeing areas wrought with poverty, violence and danger. No matter what prompts people to start new lives in Pennsylvania or another state, many immigrants dream of finalizing their stays by going through the citizenship process.

U.S. immigration law is highly complex. When language poses a barrier or other extenuating circumstances complicate matters, it can be quite challenging trying to understand exactly what needs done in order to attain lawful citizenship. Sometimes, the process takes years. There are also certain fees associated with application to become a U.S. citizen.

To become a U.S. citizen was apparently a promise made

A military enlistment contract for at least 1,000 immigrant service members, perhaps including some in Pennsylvania, promised to expedite their paths to citizenship. It seems each person participating in this particular recruitment program possessed much-needed medical and/or language skills and was told he or she would be placed on a fast track to become a U.S. citizen in exchange for military service. Word has it, however, the agreement may be canceled by the Pentagon.

Many of the service members in question do not hold legal residency statuses; thus, cancellation of the agreement would place them at risk for deportation. The Pentagon reportedly wrote a memo to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis saying the immigrants pose a potential security risk (even though they were asked to enlist in the military to share their knowledge and skills). More than 4,000 naturalized citizens serving in the military may now be facing enhanced screening processes.

Deportation situation causes upheaval of controversy

Many Pennsylvania immigrants may know someone currently facing a very stressful situation over immigration status. Approximately 200 immigrants were recently arrested and detained for possible deportation to Iraq. Some say the massive sweep was intended to force the hands of several other countries to take back nationals who were ordered to leave the United States.

Most of those arrested reportedly have serious criminal records. Crimes include kidnapping, murder, drug trafficking and other violent offenses. Close to 1,500 Iraqi nationals were ordered to be deported since March, but the government says only eight of those people have actually been removed from the United States.

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Law Office of Troy J. Mattes, P.C.
132 East Chestnut Street
Lancaster, PA 17602

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