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Lancaster Immigration Law Blog

Those facing deportation in another state glad about new law

Pennsylvania readers who regularly follow immigration news likely know how complex immigration laws are in the United States, as well as how often they change. It is challenging for those who have emigrated from other countries of origin to stay updated on such laws to make sure their legal statuses are not at risk. Although all immigration law is governed at the federal level, state lawmakers in another state have made changes to its criminal laws that may have significant impact on the immigrant population regarding deportation.

In the past, those who were convicted of misdemeanors that called for a possible 365-day jail sentence were automatically subject to deportation proceedings. The new law is called the "One Day Act" and has changed the maximum sentencing time to 364 days for Class A misdemeanors, meaning removal proceedings are no longer automatically activated.  Immigrant advocates say this may help 9,000 immigrants remain in the United States every year.

The citizenship process: Things to know in order to prepare

Arriving in Pennsylvania after emigrating from another country can be both exciting and stressful. If navigating the citizenship process is part of your ultimate plan, you will be going through extensive preparation. The more you know about what to expect and, also, where to seek legal support, if needed, the better able you might be to accomplish your immigration goals.

Becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen involves a lot more than filling out an application. That is merely a first step in a long series of events that will, at some point, include an official interview and several tests. Anyone planning on pursuing citizenship will want to first become fluent in reading, writing and speaking English.

Asylum may get harder if international immigration offices close

Individuals who are seeking refugee status and other forms of immigration help might soon experience fewer options and longer wait times. The United States government recently announced that it is considering closing dozens of its international U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices. For those seeking asylum or hoping to make Pennsylvania their home through immigration, this could seriously complicate matters.

International USCIS offices help relieve pressure on U.S.-based offices and also provide much-needed services abroad. Despite this, the government wants to close these international offices in order to save money in its budget. The projected closures could potentially save millions of dollars every year.

Employment immigration: What are the best jobs for immigrants?

In Pennsylvania and throughout the country, approximately 17 percent of the workforce is comprised of immigrants. Any worker, immigrant or not, typically encounters challenges when starting a new job. Immigrants, however, might struggle with certain employment immigration issues that non-immigrants don't usually have to worry about, such as language barriers. Many also have to endure a lengthy application process to gain entry to the United States to begin their new careers.

There are numerous jobs that often appeal to immigrants. Many choose to pursue the business industry as a means of seeking employment. However, it is best to learn to speak English fluently when considering this path.

Woman at custody hearing winds up in immigration detention

Many Pennsylvania residents are currently trying to resolve child custody issues with former spouses. Some of them may also happen to be immigrants. Sometimes, family law and U.S. immigration issues intersect, as reportedly happened a woman who lives in another state. She went from a courthouse to an immigration detention center in a matter of hours.

She and her ex husband disagree about where their 14-year-old daughter should go to school. The mother thinks it is best if her daughter continues going to school in the state where she currently goes to school. Her father, who recently relocated, wants the court to rule that his daughter should go to school in his new resident state. The mother recently attended a hearing regarding the matter and was shocked when Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers showed up and placed her under arrest.

Where to seek support when facing deportation dilemmas

Many Pennsylvania families are currently facing emotionally trying and legally challenging situations involving immigrant family members. Those facing deportation issues often feel overwhelmed and unsure where to turn for support as they try to figure out a way to help a spouse, parent or other loved one who has either been taken into custody or received written notice of a removal threat, personally or by mail. The good news is that there are often options available to challenge removal proceedings.

A main priority of experienced immigrant advocates is to help those facing deportation to minimize detention consequences and secure release of those taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. If you or your family member has already received a written Notice to Appear, then it's likely that removal proceedings have already been activated. You have the right to examine evidence and to file an appeal in a federal court.

U.S. citizen was locked up in immigration detention

Pennsylvania immigrants often encounter various challenges as they adapt to new lifestyles after emigrating from their countries of origin. In fact, sometimes, someone has been living and working in the United States for months (or even years) when a sudden legal problem regarding his or her status arises. It's stressful when such incidents occur. A recent situation was particularly egregious because the person who was locked up in an immigration detention center was a U.S. citizen and reportedly had the identification to prove it when he was taken into custody.

The young man not only is a citizen, born and raised in the U.S., he is a military veteran who served with the marine corps in Afghanistan. He suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. His family says that there have been numerous occasions where he has disappeared and had no idea where he'd been or what he'd done when he was located.

Removal hearing cancellations due to government shutdown

Many Pennsylvania immigrants are currently detained for various reasons. While some immigrant may have sought asylum and must reside in detention until their cases are fully processed, others may be scheduled for a removal hearing. The current, partial U.S. government shutdown is reportedly having a negative impact on many immigrants, especially those who were prepared to appear at interviews or hearings, who have since been told that their appointments are indefinitely postponed.

Those who follow immigration news on a state or national level may already know that there is a tremendous backlog of court cases, sometimes stretching into months or even years. In fact, one immigration judge who was willing to speak about the issue stated that the current caseload places a heavy burden on judges and the current shutdown may only exacerbate the problem. The judge also said that the focus should be on the overall immigration system, not just border security issues.

Officials say man faced deportation multiple times before arrest

Not everyone who emigrates from other countries of origin to Pennsylvania does so with all the proper paperwork in order. Many immigrants flee situations of violence or persecution, seeking asylum when they arrive at U.S. borders. Undocumented immigrants are undoubtedly at great risk for deportation.  

A man in another state was recently arrested and placed in detention. Local authorities say they believe he murdered one of his co-workers. However, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers say they also have a case against the man, claiming he has been deported from the United States on multiple occasions.   

Be prepared for an interview during the citizenship process

Many Pennsylvania immigrants dream of one day adjusting their statuses to become full-fledged citizens of the United States. It's the height of achievement in many immigrants' lives. However, it can be stressful, as well. There are several things that can be done to keep stress to a minimum during the citizenship process, especially regarding a naturalization interview.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department sends out a notice to appear when an immigrant has filed an application to become a U.S. citizen. It is critical to note the time and date of the interview and to make sure one attends because the USCIS will not send out reminders after the first notice has been mailed and will not send out further notices if a meeting has been missed. If someone is unable to meet the scheduled interview date and time, he or she should immediately notify immigration officials at the appropriate office as soon as possible.

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

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