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Lancaster Immigration Law Blog

Are you eligible to become a US citizen?

If you are one of many immigrants in Pennsylvania who hope to one day obtain full citizenship, there are several factors you'll want to consider and steps to take along the way that can help you achieve your goals. To become a U.S. citizen, you must first prove that you are eligible. If you do not have a green card, you are not eligible, so obtaining one would be the first logical step to take to work toward your goal.

Possessing a green card is in itself not enough to create eligibility for citizenship. Before you can apply to become a U.S. citizen, you must be a lawful resident of the United States for at least five years. An exception to that rule would be if you obtained your green card by marrying a U.S. citizen, in which case, you can apply for citizenship after living with your spouse for three years.

Immigration detention: Mother says her child almost died

Like many mothers who immigrate to Pennsylvania, a woman with three children in tow says she fled her life in another country because she feared continued violence from her husband. She and her children traveled for several weeks by bus before being apprehended at a U.S. border and placed in a detention center. The woman says the immigration detention experience almost caused her daughter's death.

The 5-year-old child began complaining that she did not feel well not long after their arrival at the facility. Her mother initially thought it was due to a few bites of food she had been given. However, the woman says it soon became clear there was a much more serious problem at hand, and she asked officials to help her obtain medical attention for her child.

Immigration detention center under investigation

Many families in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are currently worried about loved ones whose immigration legal statuses have been called into question. Other families in the nation can relate to the fear and high stress levels that often accompany such situations. Immigration detention centers can be scary places and allegedly dangerous as well, as a recent tragedy shows. A mother has lost a child, and so far, no one has given her concrete answers as to the cause of her child's death.

The situation happened in another state, sparking an official investigation. Attorneys are offering support to a woman whose toddler-age child died just after being released from the facility. There seems to be evidence to suggest that substandard sanitation and neglect are causal factors in the child's death. It would definitely not be the first time such claims have been made after an immigrant has died during or shortly after detainment.

Man granted defensive asylum after arriving in US in 1992

A man who crossed a U.S. border more than 25 years ago has been granted legal status protection. He was reportedly arrested in May of last year for public drunkenness. The man said he used to live in Mexico but fled circumstances there when he was unable to find gainful employment to sustain himself. He has now been granted defensive asylum, which is a protective status sometimes given to political refugees in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, who arrive in the United States without their paperwork in order.  

Of more than 120,000 immigrants who applied for defensive asylums in 2017, only 6,995 were granted protection. Those who were, like the 64-year-old man mentioned here, are likely relieved they are no longer targeted for deportation. As opposed to defensive asylums, which are processed by the U.S. Department of Justice, affirmative asylums are granted through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  

Father of 3 hoping to avoid deportation in another state

There are currently many Pennsylvania immigrants being held in detention. Each situation is unique, but many share common issues as well. A man in another state can relate to those who are husbands and fathers who are facing possible deportation.

This particular man entered the U.S. some 14 years ago. He later sent for his wife. The two built a life in the United States that includes the three young children they have together. The man describes himself as a hard worker who is willing to do jobs no one else is willing to do. He says he has lived, worked and paid taxes to the Internal Revenue Service all these years and is hoping his good standing in his community adds to his favor in court.

Many Pennsylvania immigrants thingking about citizenship process

Becoming a U.S. citizen is a main goal of many Pennsylvania immigrants. No two life stories are exactly the same, and different people encounter various types of challenges as they navigate the citizenship process. For some, a language barrier poses great difficulty, causing them to worry that they will not be able to pass their citizenship test.

There are several things a person must do when applying for citizenship. Filling out an application is just one of those things. However, before a particular person can apply, he or she must be a green card holder for at least five years. Any attempt to falsify documents or otherwise thwart the system is punishable by law and may place an immigrant at immediate risk for deportation.

Attention: Pennsylvania families facing asylum problems

It's no secret that debates continue throughout the United States regarding U.S. immigration laws. These laws are complex and often change, leaving many Pennsylvania immigrants and their families frustrated, confused and worried that they may suffer negative consequences due to legal status problems. Family separations at U.S. borders has been a top issue in news headlines as of late. Some parents have understandably said they'd rather give up their requests for asylum than be kept from the children. 

President Donald Trump recently issued an executive order that states that parents seeking asylum at U.S. borders are no longer subject to being housed in immigration detention centers apart from their children. The problem, however, is that there are already more than 2,000 children being held in immigration facilities throughout the nation without their parents. A civil rights attorney recently spoke to reporters, saying it is morally wrong that parents should have to consider giving up their asylum cases in the hope of expediting the process of being reunited with their children.  

Worker in another state facing immigration detention problems

Many working fathers in Pennsylvania are immigrants who came to the United States from other countries of origin. Some, like one man who works as a pizza deliveryman in another state, married U.S. citizens. Unfortunately, even going through the process to obtain green cards does not always prevent immigration detention problems from occurring as made evident by the pizza shop worker's situation.  

The man lives with his wife and two daughters, all of whom are U.S. citizens. He was recently delivering pizza to a local military base as he has apparently done many times in the past. In fact, he says he went through the same process he always does, including showing his ID at the gate; however, this time, instead of being allowed to carry out his duties as usual, Immigration Customs and Enforcement agents were summoned. They took him into custody and requested his immediate removal.  

Some say they'd rather die than face immigration detention

Many Pennsylvania households include residents who emigrated from other countries of origin. Such journeys often include significant challenges, especially if an immigrant's paperwork is not in order. In fact, thousands of people are apprehended at various U.S. border stations, and then placed in immigration detention centers while they await final decisions regarding their requests to enter the United States.

Sadly, the conditions in many detention facilities are said to be dangerous to the physical health and well-being of their inhabitants. One woman said that she and all those being held in detention with her have thought on occasion that suicide would be better than enduring more time in detention. Protests from detainees have often carried serious repercussions.

Possible ways to avoid deportation

It's understandable that an immigrant and his or her family would feel intimidated if immigration officials take the individual into custody for a removal investigation.  Any number of immigration issues can result in deportation proceedings. Those facing these issues in Pennsylvania typically benefit by seeking the help of an attorney experienced in this complicated area of the law.

Although it's difficult to stay calm in such circumstances, those facing such problems can remain hopeful because there are often several options available for seeking relief. It's critical that a detained immigrant be well aware of his or her rights and also where to seek support to increase the chances of obtaining a positive outcome. Ultimate discretion to decide a deportation case lies with the immigration judge.  

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

Toll Free: 800-574-5563
Phone: 717-208-2481
Fax: 717-299-1535
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