The Wall – The Bone of Contention

by Jose Enrique Perez

For the last two months, we have been hearing about the shutdown and how employees of the federal government have not been receiving their paychecks. What is the reason? Trump’s wall.

President Trump has said that he wants the wall to control the illegal immigration flow. He decided to go into a shutdown of the federal government because he was not receiving the funding of the wall. However, he said more than 1,000 times that Mexico was going to pay for the wall. So, I am confused: Why we shut down the federal government for not getting the money for a wall that Mexico was going to pay?

Before Christmas, Trump decided not to reach an agreement with the democrats to keep the government open. However, on January 25, 2019, he caved, and the shutdown ended after 35 days. The agreement reached did not include one dime for Trump’s wall.

The fact that we are getting the government open and workers back to their jobs does not mean that this is over. The government has been reopened only until February 15, 2019. We are very likely to experience a new shutdown again on that day. The government is only reopening for three weeks and the fight over Trump’s wall is far from over.

Now, he has threatened to declare a national emergency to build his wall. Really? There is no national emergency at the border. All government agencies agree that the border is more secure than ever. Almost nobody is able to cross the border without detection.

President Trump spent 35 days pushing a million federal workers to the wall, but not his wall, and forced to go to Welfare and receive food stamps while not being able to receive paychecks for almost two months. He is forcing the nation to make us choose between federal workers and the immigrant communities. The government never needed to shut down, and the stress felt by federal workers, their families, and the fear of the immigrant communities was not necessary.

We have to make sure not to politicize the issue of immigration. It is not immigrant against the United States. It is not about nativists against people who look different. This is not about Republicans against Democrats. This is a nation of immigrants and it will always be despite Trump. We don’t need a wall. We need to continue fighting for a comprehensive immigration reform. We need a just, humane, legal approach to immigration and not a racist, divisive agenda.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the new immigration policies. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with representation before immigration courts, USCIS or ICE. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case or potential 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.

Drug Policy Doublethink

The great contradiction of our drug policy
by Maximilian Eyle

Whether or not one supports the disease model of addiction, it seems remarkable that the government is admitting in no uncertain terms that they are criminalizing the very people they claim are ill.

In the face of a growing opioid epidemic, the U.S. Government has defined its position on addiction. Visit the website for The National Institute of Health’s information service MedlinePlus and you will see that they define addiction as a medical problem; specifically, “a chronic disease”. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) seconds this analysis, stating:

“Many people don’t understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will.”1

The government’s language here is striking because despite these statements, the United States continues to treat drug use as a criminal issue, rather than as a public health issue. They agree that drug use is not a moral failing, yet there were over 1.6 million drug arrests in 2017. Make no mistake – more than 85% of these arrests were for possession alone. The idea that law enforcement is only targeting illegal drug manufacturers and dealers is a myth. Most victims of America’s War on Drugs are the users themselves, many of whom suffer from addiction.

There is a complex and ongoing debate as to whether drug addiction qualifies as a disease. Regardless of your position on that issue, both sides should be able to agree that the nation’s current drug policy landscape is fraught with contradictions. The policy of arresting people for drug offenses clearly has no impact on overdose prevention. On the contrary, The American Journal of Public Health reported that recently released inmates are 40 times more likely to die from an opioid overdose than the average person.2 When we compare the amount of annual drug arrests with the amount of annual drug overdose fatalities, we can clearly see that the incarceration of drug users is worsening the opioid epidemic – not helping it.

The contradiction between the rhetoric of the government and the actions of law enforcement must be rectified. If the U.S. Government truly regards the opioid epidemic as a public health concern, they should start investing their resources into public health resources and harm reduction initiatives rather than punitive measures.

Sources:
1. https://medlineplus.gov/opioidabuseandaddiction.html
2. https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2018.304514?journalCode=ajph
3. https://www.drugwarfacts.org/table/annual-drug-arrests

Maximilian Eyle is a native of Syracuse, NY and a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He works as a media consultant and writes each month about a variety of issues for Spanish-language papers across New York State. Maximilian has a love of Hispanic culture and learned Spanish while living in Spain where he studied and worked as an English teacher. He can be contacted at maxeyle@gmail.com.

Why nations fail?

by Juan Carlos “Pocho” Salcedo, Internacionalista

There is a question that we often ask ourselves that in some way by origin or by the language we are connected with Latin America.

Today we will try to answer a question that we have inevitably asked many times because some countries are poor and others are rich, and it will be like in the case of Latin America because our background in which we were born as a nation was after Spanish colonialism? Moreover, on the other hand, the United States developed from an early age under the colonial system of Great Britain, and that favored them? Maybe we just became poor because others became rich at the expense of us and our resources? Are we condemned to a system of perpetual underdeveloped t? How to get out of that almost infinite walk? What is in the fabric of our nations that has not allowed us a higher level of influence and wealth in the concert of nations? What are the origins of Power, prosperity, and poverty?

To answer these and other questions, we have invited Dr. Daron Acemoglu one of the 110 most quoted economists in the world; this was our recent dialogue.

Click here for the video

All Immigrants in New York have Right to Trial by Jury

by Jose Enrique Perez

Just last month, the New York State’s highest court said that the U.S. Constitution guarantees jury trials to non-citizens charged with crimes that could subject them to deportation. It is very likely that the case will go to the United States Supreme Court for final determination.

The Court of Appeals rejected an argument by Bronx county prosecutors that deportation is merely a civil consequence of criminal convictions, and the Sixth Amendment did not require jury trials for defendants charged with minor yet deportable crimes.

The court found that “It is now beyond cavil that the penalty of deportation is among the most extreme and that it may, in some circumstances, rival incarceration in its loss of liberty.”

The decision means non-citizens will be entitled to jury trials even if their alleged deportable crimes carry maximum prison terms of six months or less.

The risk for deportation of a non-U.S. citizen accused of a low-level crime is enough to guarantee that individual have a trial by jury rather than a bench trial.

The Bronx District Attorney said the decision addressed the “harsh realities” of possible deportation, but also threatened “serious backlogs and disparities in the administration of justice” in state courts and conflicted with Supreme Court precedents. She said she may appeal to that body.

The decision, over Sixth Amendment fair trial rights under the U.S. Constitution for persons facing deportation, was one of first impression for the Court of Appeals. It was brought before the court by Saylor Suazo, a non-citizen who was found guilty in a bench trial on various charges related to an alleged assault. He had over stayed his visa.

Because of the importance of the case and its consequences, the Bronx District Attorney said she was considering taking an appeal on the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court since it was decided on federal constitutional grounds.

The key issue in the case was the gradation of the criminal charge Suazo had been tried upon. The Criminal Law in New York allows a defendant to be denied a trial by jury in New York City if the maximum penalty of a charge is less than six months in jail. The same rule does not apply outside New York City.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the new immigration policies. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with the filing of applications with USCIS. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case or potential 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 January edition. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2019!

Trump announces no more Citizenship by Birth – Really?

by Jose Enrique Perez

Not really. Just another lie, or just words, or just his racist rhetoric. However, you want to put it, it is nearly impossible.

The 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution provides:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

During the campaign for the mid-term elections of this month, President Trump said that we were the only country where the citizenship is given to the persons born in the United States. He also said that it was because of the flaws of the immigration laws that the citizenship is obtained that way. First of all, there are more than 30 countries providing for that same privilege. Secondly, the 14th Amendment has nothing to do with immigration. In point of fact, there were no immigration laws back in 1800s. Furthermore, the citizenship cannot be conditioned or modified by immigration laws as this is a Constitutional mandate. The privilege of becoming a citizen of the United States by birth or naturalization cannot be changed by the President or his racist agenda.

Altering the Constitution consists of proposing an amendment or amendments and subsequent ratification. Amendments may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a convention of states called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures.

Article Five of the United States Constitution describes the process whereby the Constitution, the nation’s frame of government, may be altered. To become part of the Constitution, an amendment must be ratified by either—as determined by Congress—the legislatures of three-quarters of the states or state ratifying conventions in three-quarters of the states. The vote of each state (to either ratify or reject a proposed amendment) carries equal weight, regardless of a state’s population or length of time in the Union.

In conclusion, it is nearly impossible for President Trump or his administration to take away the citizenship right. He cannot do by executive order or decree.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the new immigration policies. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with the filing of applications with USCIS. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case or potential 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 December edition.

USCIS – The New Deportation Machine?

by José Enrique Perez

Yes. Starting October 1, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin a Estados Unidos phased implementation of its June 28, 2018 Notice to Appear (NTA) Memorandum, which directs agency adjudicators to initiate removal proceedings against a broader group of foreign nationals.

An NTA is a document that instructs an individual to appear before an immigration judge. This is the first step in starting removal proceedings against them.

If applicants are no longer in a period of authorized stay, and do not depart the United States, USCIS may issue an NTA.

Before this memorandum, USCIS did not have this power. In point of fact, any foreign national who made an application before the Trump administration was safe even if the application was denied by the USCIS. This is not the case anymore.

According to the USCIS’s announcement issued last month, USCIS will apply the policy to Form I-485 permanent residence applicants and to Form I-539 applicants to extend or change nonimmigrant status. Employment-based petitions – including H-1B, L-1, E and O petitions – will not be subject to the enforcement policy at this time. Humanitarian application and petitions are allegedly also exempted.

USCIS first announced the NTA policy in July of this year, but deferred implementation while it developed internal guidance.

USCIS is soon expected to provide further information on how the NTA policy will be implemented. It is anticipated that a foreign national whose I-485 or I-539 application is denied and who has no underlying valid immigration status would receive a notice to depart the United States. Those who do not depart timely could be issued a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge, who would determine whether the foreign national should be removed from the United States or is entitled to legal relief that permits him or her to remain.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the new immigration policies. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with the filing of applications with USCIS. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case or potential 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 November edition.

Is Somalia TPS still alive?

Is Somalia TPS still alive?
by Jose Enrique Perez

Yes, last month Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced that the statutory conditions supporting Somalia’s TPS designation on the basis of ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary conditions continue to exist and that the designation should be extended by 18 months. Secretary Nielsen made her decision after reviewing country conditions and consulting with appropriate U.S. government agencies. As a result, Somalia’s TPS designation has been extended through March 17, 2020.

President Trump has made it a mission to take away every right an immigrant has in this country and he stripped away most countries of TPS, including but not limited to, Central American countries.

As you may recall, TPS is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of a country (in this case Somalia) or persons without nationality who last resided in Somalia designated for TPS under the Immigration & Naturalization Act. During the period for which a country is designated TPS, TPS beneficiaries are eligible to remain in the U.S. and may obtain work authorization. However, once the designation is terminated, the beneficiaries return to the same immigration status they maintained before the TPS or any other status they might have obtained while registered for TPS. Therefore, people from Somalia do not get any other status (i.e., permanent resident status) based on the TPS. However, recent case developments have been authorizing adjustment of status for TPS holders when they have obtained a parole, have left and returned to the United States.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that current beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status under Somalia’s designation who want to maintain their status through the 18-month extension period ending on March 17, 2020, must re-register between Aug. 27, 2018, and Oct. 26, 2018.

All applicants must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Applicants may also request an Employment Authorization Cards by submitting, at the time they file Form I-821, Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, or separately at a later date. The fees are approximately $450.

USCIS will issue new Employment Authorization cards with a March 17, 2020 expiration date to eligible Somalia TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for the work permits. But even if you are not able to get the work permit on time before it expires, USCIS have automatically extended the validity of those cards for 180 days, through March 16, 2019.

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

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case or potential 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 October edition.