DACA vs. Trump – 3rd Round

DACA vs. Trump – 3rd Round – DACA still standing
by José Enrique Perez

Phase out ordered by Trump, Congress negotiations, the Government Shutdown and now the Courts take over the fight. Certainly, the last few months have been a roller coaster for the Dreamers and DACA eligible immigrants.

In January, a court first ruled that DACA eligible immigrants could still apply to renew their status even if it has expired after Trump cancelled it. Then, another court ruled that ALL eligible DACA immigrants could apply to renew or apply as first time applicants. However, this case has not been decided in appeal yet. Then, the United States Supreme Court the last week of February decided not to take the DACA cases for review, which meant that the federal courts decisions maintaining DACA alive are the applicable law and Trump must follow it whether he likes it or not.

Specifically, on January 9, 2018, a federal judge in San Francisco, William Alsup, ruled in favor of the University of California and its president, former Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano. They sued to keep the program going after the Trump administration said in September that it would end it within six months. Alsup said Attorney General Jeff Sessions had wrongly concluded that DACA was put in place without proper legal authority. Trump’s Justice Department immediately said it would contest that ruling before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California. But government lawyers also asked the Supreme Court to take the highly unusual step of agreeing to hear the case, bypassing the appeals court.

The United States Supreme Court declined to bypass the appeals courts in order to take up a DACA case. The Supreme Court’s decision keeps in place lower court decisions that allow current DACA recipients to continue to apply for status renewals. Significantly, it may well mean that a final decision on the case will extend past next November’s midterm elections, meaning that if this Congress does not take long overdue action on the Dream Act, the next Congress will. While the Supreme Court’s denial gives Dreamers a breath of relief while the case works its way through lower courts, Congress must still act immediately to pass the Dream Act.

Under lower court orders that remain in effect, the Department of Homeland Security must continue to accept applications from the roughly 700,000 young people who are currently enrolled in the program. The Supreme Court now leaves the DACA challenge pending, expected to be taken up by the 2nd and 9th Circuit courts.

The lower court’s decision does not allow Dreamers to apply for DACA if they have never before applied for the initiative, including Dreamers who are aging into eligibility, couldn’t afford the filing fees, or are newly eligible for the initiative. These Dreamers remain at risk of deportation, as do the DACA recipients whose protections have expired while they wait for USCIS to process their renewal applications.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the current immigration issues and other immigration policies.

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at joseperez@joseperezyourlawyer.com. The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York 13202. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the April edition.

The shutdown, trump’s proposal, now what?

by José Enrique Perez

We all know that the federal government shut down for 3 days last month. Now, this month the government is in risk of shutting down again. DACA, the Dreamers, immigrants, were at the heart of the shutdown. They will be again.

In response to the shutdown, the President Trump presented (finally) his immigration plan. He supports a 10- to 12-year path to citizenship for not just the roughly 700,000 enrolled in the expiring DACA program but for other “DACA-eligible illegal immigrants” who are in the U.S. illegally and were brought to the country as children. The White House estimates that could cover up to 1.8 million people.

In exchange, the White House wants an immigration measure to include $25 billion for a border wall. However, based on the language of the proposal for the wall, it does not seem it is the coast-to-coast physical structure on the Southern border that Trump promised at campaign rallies, but, it “takes a combination of physical infrastructure, technology, personnel, and resources.”

Trump also wants changes to the legal immigration system, including policies that prioritize family members “to spouses and minor children only.” Finally, Trump wants to completely eliminate the visa lottery system, which the memo says “is riddled with fraud and abuse and does not serve the national interest.”

Immigrants and civil rights groups are shocked with this proposal. First of all, the DACA and Dreamers deserve a clean Dream Act not tied to any border enforcement or to be hostage in exchange of the elimination of family based immigration.

Starting with the wall and border security, all the experts agree (Except for Trump and his right wing allies) that expanding the border wall makes no sense, will harm the environment, and is counter to the desires of actual border communities. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has met and exceeded all previous “benchmarks for border security” proposed in bipartisan draft immigration legislation. According to DHS’s own reporting, it is more difficult to cross the southern border without authorization today than it has ever been before, with undocumented entries at their lowest since the early 1970s. Since DHS’s inception in 2003, its Customs and Border Protection (CBP) budget has more than doubled and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spending has grown 85%. The number of agents has ballooned. CBP and ICE’s budget is already 24% larger than the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Secret Service; and U.S. Marshals combined.

It is proven that Family-based immigration leads to successful, strong American families. Adult children, brothers, and sisters, help run small businesses, help each other as they integrate into America, and support each other’s child care needs. One reason our family-based immigration system has been so successful is that extended family members in the U.S. to help immigrants settle, find jobs and housing and integrate and become successful Americans. Under the so-called merit-based plan, many of us would not be here today, except African Americans and Native Americans, our ancestors came to the U.S. with little money, struggling for a better life.

The termination of the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, which is a small program that allows 50,000 individuals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to come to the United States each year. Winners of the lottery go through the same intensive screening that all aspiring immigrants to the United States face. The lottery brings a small number of immigrants to the United States, but serves a critical goal of contributing to the rich diversity that keeps the United States vibrant.

These realities lead us to one conclusion: Trump’s proposal must be rejected by Congress and the Senate and a new deal MUST be reached; otherwise, the federal government will shut down again on February 8, 2018.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the current immigration issues and other immigration policies.

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at joseperez@joseperezyourlawyer.com. The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York 13202. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the March edition.

What is left of TPS after Hurricane Trump?

Wow…..What a bad year for immigration was the year 2017! First, Trump; then, mass deportation; then, the end of DACA; then, TPS ending; then, family preferences? We will see! 2018 does not look promising, but we will stand firm to fight for the immigrant families.

Now, we have heard a lot of reports that TPS has come to an end. Most of it, in fact did. Honduras is the only designation for TPS still alive after Hurricane Trump devastated the whole concept.

Congress established Temporary Protected Status in 1990 to create a statutory mechanism for granting temporary relief to persons in the U.S. who are unable to return to their home countries due to armed conflicts, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. Currently, 10 countries were designated for TPS: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The power to make TPS designations rests with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which in essence means the President. Yes, unfortunately, President Trump.

Just before Christmas, the government of President Trump announced that Nicaragua TPS designation will end in January 2019. But, it was not all bad news as he also announced that Honduras was surviving his relentless attack on immigrant families.

Current beneficiaries of TPS under Honduras’ designation who want to maintain that status through the current expiration date of July 5, 2018, must re-register between Dec. 15, 2017 and Feb. 13, 2018. Re-registration procedures are similar to the ones in the past.

All applicants must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status and a completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

USCIS will issue Employment Authorization Documents with a July 5, 2018 expiration date to eligible Honduran TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for work permits with this extension.

Given the delays in processing and timeframes involved with processing TPS re-registration applications and other forms, however, the government recognizes that not all re-registrants will receive new work permits before their current expiration date on Jan. 5, 2018. Accordingly, the government has automatically extended the validity of the work permits issued under the TPS designation of Honduras for 180 days, through July 4, 2018.

In November, former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced that she was not making a determination on Honduras’ TPS designation at that time. By operation of the TPS statute, this postponement automatically extended the current TPS designation for Honduras for six months – through July 5, 2018. Duke concluded that additional time and information was necessary to make a determination on extension, redesignation, or termination of Honduras’ TPS designation.

During this six-month extension, individuals with TPS have been told to be “encouraged”: to prepare for their return to Honduras in the event Honduras’ designation is not extended again, including requesting updated travel documents from the government of Honduras.

At least 60 days before July 5, 2018, the Secretary will assess the country conditions in Honduras to determine whether to extend, redesignate, or terminate TPS for Honduras. Hondurans with TPS should determine whether they qualify for other types of relief in case termination becomes imminent. Notwithstanding how disastrous Hurricane Trump is, there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the current status of TPS and other immigration policies.

About the author Jose Enrique Perez – I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at joseperez@joseperezyourlawyer.com. The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York 13202. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the February edition.

I HAD A WORK ACCIDENT…..NOW WHAT? (Part I)

By José Enrique Perez

New York State has a workers’ compensation law dealing with accidents of workers and occupational diseases.  The workers’ compensation law sets forth the procedure for obtaining benefits when you are out of work because of a work-related accident or occupational disease.  The law requires almost all employers to have coverage for all workers.  Even if an employer, however, does not have workers’ compensation coverage for its workers, you will be still entitled to benefits under the workers’ compensation law because the Uninsured Employers Fund unit will step into the shoes of that employer.

You should know that workers’ compensation is a type of insurance.  Therefore, the employer or the insurance carrier, and not you, will pay for medical treatment, and the wages you lose because you are injured on the job and/or become ill because of your job.  The benefits paid pursuant to the workers’ compensation law are determined pursuant to various degrees of disability (which I will describe in the May edition).

The employer or its insurance carrier cannot discriminate based on race, national region, color, immigration status, sex, age, religion, disability and/or sexual preference when providing benefits to the workers.

What Should You Do If You Are Injured On The Job?   The first thing you should do is to seek medical treatment for your injuries.  Thereafter, you should notify your employer about your injury (and you should do so preferably in writing) as soon as practicable, but no later than thirty days after the injury.  If you fail to notify your employer within thirty days of your injury, the employer may be able to raise a failure to notify and/or lack of notice defense which may affect your claim.  After you notify your employer, you should file a claim for compensation benefits as soon as practicable.  Remember that the workers’ compensation law sets a statute of limitation of two years.  The statute of limitation means that if you do not notify the Workers’ Compensation Board of your case and/or injury within two years after the accident, you will not be able to claim benefits under the workers’ compensation law.  The Workers’ Compensation Board is a New York State agency that oversees all claims for compensation under the workers’ compensation law.

How Do You File A Claim With The Workers’ Compensation Board?  You can ask your employer for a form C-3, Employee’s Claim for Compensation.  If your employer does not have the form C-3, you can do any of the following:

  • Call the Workers’ Compensation Board at (866) 396-8314 and ask the Board representative to complete it with you over the telephone;
  • Go online to www.wcb.state.ny.us/ and complete the form electronically;
  • Go online to www.wcb.state.ny.us/ and download form C-3, complete it, and mail it to the nearest Workers’ Compensation Board office;
  • Go to the nearest Workers’ Compensation Board office and ask a Board representative to help you complete the form. Please note that the employer will complete a similar form called C-2, Employer’s Report of Work-Related Injury/Illness, as soon as you notify it of your injury.
  • Who Is Covered Under The Workers’ Compensation Law?  Almost all workers are covered and may receive medical treatment and wages for time lost because of the injury and/or illness with only a few exceptions.  If you have any doubt about your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits, you should still file the C-3 and contact either the Workers’ Compensation Board or an attorney to discuss your case.

    What Injuries Are Covered Under The Workers’ Compensation Law?  There are two types of coverage under the workers’ compensation law:

    On the job injuries:   All injuries sustained while working for an employer or in the course of employment are covered with only one exception:  If you sustain an injury as a result of your use of illegal drugs and/or alcohol, or from trying to self-inflict an injury or inflict an injury to someone else, you may lose the right to benefits under the workers’ compensation law.

    Occupational disease:   If you do not sustain an injury on the job or in the course of employment for the employer, and you, nonetheless, become ill, you may still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  This is called occupational disease.  An occupational disease is contracted as a result of your work.  An occupational disease arises from a specific aspect of the work you do.  A typical example is a person who works with computers and develops carpal tunnel syndrome.  It is important you tell your doctor what your work involves because you may not even know you have an occupational disease.  Occupational disease guidelines and timeframes are complex and different from a regular on-the-job injury.  Therefore, you should notify your employer as soon as you learn about it and file a workers’ compensation claim.  You are entitled to the same benefits you would have if you had sustained an on-the-job injury.  However, you may not even know you are suffering an occupational disease because either you have not lost time from work or you think it’s unrelated to your work.  Therefore, you should talk to your doctor not only about your symptoms, but also about your job activities.

    What Benefits Are You Entitled To Under The Workers’ Compensation Law?

    Under the Workers’ Compensation law, you may be entitled to: wages; medical treatment; reduced earnings; rehabilitation and social work;  reinstatement;  disability benefits in case the employer and/or insurance carrier objects to your claim; death benefits; etc.  Please see the May edition for a full description of these benefits, and much more. (i.e., employer’s objections to your claim;  degrees of disability;  discrimination;  etc.)

    You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about potential workers’ compensation accidents.  Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with an accident.  Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

    I represent individuals in workers’ compensation cases.  If you have any questions or concerns about an accident, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at joseperez@joseperezyourlawyer.com. The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York 13202. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the May edition.

    The Persecution of Latinos

    by Maximilian Eyle

    According to the ACLU, black and Latino people are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than their white counterparts. In New York City, 87% of those arrested for marijuana were black or Latino. This is particularly shocking given that marijuana use among blacks, Latinos, and whites is approximately equal. As Michelle Alexander wrote in her book The New Jim Crow (2010), these laws are part of a system of institutional discrimination that greatly affects minority communities throughout America.

    To understand the significance of these statistics we have to consider what the impact of a marijuana arrest is. Many people experiment with marijuana as youths, but those who are arrested for it will experience the consequences of this arrest for the rest of their lives. The overwhelming majority of those arrested for marijuana are under the age of 30. Consider the 18 year old who is convicted of a marijuana charge. Even if he does not go to prison, he will have this on his criminal record. Anyone who has filled out a job application knows that they ask if you have been convicted of a crime. For the rest of his life, this person will now have a great barrier to finding employment and leading a productive life. Depending on the level of the conviction, a marijuana charge can disqualify the person from being eligible for college loans, public housing, and many other opportunities. The system of marijuana prohibition has made it nearly impossible for this youth to move on with his life. Instead of rehabilitating him, these restrictions will encourage him to enter a life of crime.

    In addition to the social costs of persecuting these young members of the black and Latino communities, marijuana prohibition creates great fiscal costs for the government. In New York State, it costs $60,000 per year to keep an inmate in prison. In New York City, the figure is three times that. Is it worth spending so many of our tax dollars keeping a marijuana user in prison when our roads and bridges are falling apart? Especially since these laws have done nothing to lower the use of marijuana? States like Colorado and Washington that have legalized, regulated, and taxed marijuana for adult use have avoided these social problems and financial costs while also raising money for their state through marijuana taxation. In the State of New York, we could raise an estimated $650 million dollars in tax revenue per year off of legal marijuana sales and create as many as 100,000 new jobs. Ending marijuana arrests would also save us over $1 billion per year in criminal justice costs. We should consider this more productive approach to drug policy instead of filling our prisons and wasting our tax dollars.

    Maximilian Eyle is a native of Syracuse, NY and a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He has experience working in the drug policy field and writes about it every month for CNY Latino. Maximilian learned Spanish while living in Spain where he studied and worked as an English teacher. He can be contacted at maxeyle@gmail.com.

    Unpacking the Gateway Drug Theory

    by Maximilian Eyle

    The Gateway Drug Theory suggests that people who start using marijuana will go on to use more dangerous drugs. The argument that marijuana is a “Gateway Drug” is probably the most popular argument against the legalization of marijuana.

    The gateway theory argues that because heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine users often used marijuana before graduating on to harder drugs, it must be a “gateway” to harder drug use. This theory suggests that marijuana infects people with a desire to take harder drugs.

    There is absolutely no evidence that this is true but yet marijuana prohibitionists trot it out regularly. Even the DEA has come to admit that, “Little evidence supports the hypothesis that initiation of marijuana use leads to an abuse disorder with other illicit substances.”

    The reason that it sounds believable to many people is that people don’t always understand the difference between “correlation” and “causation”. Sure most heroin addicts used to smoke marijuana… but they also used to smoke cigarettes, eat bread, and drink alcohol. The more important statistic is the proportion of marijuana users who later went on to use heroin, and this number is very low. Just because one thing comes before another does not mean it caused it. As the scientific axiom states: correlation does not imply causation.

    In fact, the research shows the opposite: the vast majority of marijuana users do not go on to use hard drugs. Even the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences wrote: “There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs”. The “Gateway Theory” is raised again and again, even the Governor recently cited it as a reason for maintaining marijuana prohibition.

    In addition to the gateway theory having been debunked, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that opioid overdose deaths had gone down by an average of 25% in states where marijuana was legally available. This is because those people at risk for opioid abuse had a safer alternative available to them. This suggests an effect that some call the “reverse gateway”, where increased availability of marijuana prevents people from using more dangerous drugs.


    Maximilian Eyle is a native of Syracuse, NY and a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He has experience working in the drug policy field and writes about it every month for CNY Latino. Maximilian learned Spanish while living in Spain where he studied and worked as an English teacher.

    Open Season to hunt immigrants?

    Just a few days ago, President Donald J. Trump took office as the new President of the United States of America. It took him only two days to shake the immigration tree.

    On January 25, 2017, President Trump issued two executive orders involving immigration. One dealing with border security and another with immigration enforcement. Among other items, the President announced that he was ordering DHS to construct a southern border wall, increase the size of the enforcement agencies, require that states and localities engage in immigration enforcement to supplement federal efforts and take away federal funding from sanctuary cities.

    It is expected other immigration executive orders coming down soon:

    • Freeze the U.S. refugee program for 120 days, cut the current refugee quota by more than 50%, and take steps to initiate a “Muslim Ban”—targeting and banning immigration from upward of seven Muslim-majority countries.
    • Call for a brutal immigration crackdown, including a likely acceleration of mass deportations and an effort to cut funding for sanctuary cities.
    • End the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which has protected over 740,000 undocumented individuals from deportations. People who are already protected under DACA will be unable to renew their protections.

    Civil rights organizations and human rights advocates have branded President Trump’s actions as opening a season for hunting down immigrants to incarcerate and deport them. Many are concerned that the federal government will now resuscitate Secured Communities and expanding 287(g) agreements. Both programs designed to detect and detain immigrants by local law enforcement agencies and be transferred to immigration.

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