Ithacan Immigrant: Paul

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We interviewed Paul for this week’s Ithacan Immigrant who emigrated from Trinidad and Tobago to the US with his family when he was a teenager.  He went back to the Islands to live and study but eventually made the US his home.  Paul moved to Ithaca to obtain a degree in ag science and horticulture at Cornell.  A couple of years ago, he came to ISP to get assistance with becoming a US citizen and recently returned to inquire about our family based immigration services. 

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ISP: Why did you come to US?

I first came with my parents but didn’t stay.  I went home and studied my secondary education. 

ISP: Why did you decide to live in Ithaca?

I left Miami and came to NY and then decided to come back to school; it was something I wanted to do for the longest but in the Islands you don’t go to school after you are 25.  But I always knew I should I should go back to school.  I was at Queens Opportunity Center and when my daughter studied for her ACTs, I decided it would be a good thing for us to go back together. We both went to Morrisville and then after I finished, I transferred to Cornell. I fell in love with Ithaca and decided to stick around.

ISP: What was your first impression of Ithaca?

I liked it because in the Islands we grew up in the country – there were lots of trees and it kind of reminded me of that.  I was scared though to come to school as a non-traditional student.  But it worked out find. 

ISP: What is your favorite American food?

Oh gosh, the only place I eat is Macro Mama’s at the Farmers Market and Taste of Thai.  Otherwise I cook Island foods like beans and rice. 

ISP: Where is your favorite place to shop in Ithaca?

I shop at Green Star or Wegmans – I like the organic, whole foods kind of thing.

ISP: What is the biggest difference between Ithaca and your home town?

I find lots of similarities but I I have to think about the differences.  I guess the biggest would be the beaches and the weather.  There’s only cold weather here in the winter but in my country the temperature is always warm; it’s usually 95 – 100 degrees.  Back home we have the wet season or the dry season.

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The Ending of DACA: Lawsuits and Legislative Fantasies

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There has been a lot of response to the Trump administration ending DACA this past Tuesday including a lawsuit I saw on my Twitter feed last night from the National Immigration Law Center.   What caught my eye was what NILC wrote to introduce the lawsuit:

They’re ending #DACA?  Then we’re suing.

While legal advocates, the faith community, immigration advocates, and the Dreamers themselves look for ways to challenge the ending of DACA, it’s more important than ever to pressure Congress to pass a bill before approximately 785,000 Dreamers lose their benefits.  According to this NPR article, Congress already has several bills pending –  the DREAM Act, Recognizing America’s Children (ACT), the American Hope Act, and the Bridge Act.   However, it would almost take a legislative fantasy for one of them to get enacted before the 6 month deadline President Trump has imposed.

In order to make this legislative fantasy become a legislative solution, I would encourage people to carefully read NPR’s rundown on the 4 bills and then throw their support behind one or all of them.  Each bill has its pluses and minuses but I have been seeing mounting support from advocacy groups, such as the NYIC, who are backing the Bridge Act, and am also seeing growing bipartisan support for the DREAM Act 2017.  I would also encourage advocates to become better versed on what yesterday’s announcement on the rescinding of DACA means.  The Immigrant Legal Resource Center has put out this Community Advisory  and the immigration practice group at Ithaca’s local law firm, Miller Mayer, put together this article.

It’s time for action.  If you are in Tompkins County or the surrounding area, make a call to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, (202) 224-4451, Senator Charles Schumer, (202) 224-6542, and Representative Tom Reed, (202) 225-3161 and throw your support behind one of the bills going through Congress.  Implore them to work across the aisle.  Also, inform them if you are a registered voter and live in their district.    If you live in a different district, you can reach your Congressional Representatives and Senators by calling the US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.  Six months isn’t a long time so pressure needs to come quickly if we want Congress to act in a non-partisan way and come up with a legislative solution together.

Sue Chaffee

Accredited Rep

 

 

 

Family-based Immigration

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One of the most satisfying parts of providing legal immigration services is seeing immigrant clients (like the ones pictured above) reunify with their family members because of the family-based immigration services we provide at Catholic Charities. Recent arrivals to Ithaca include parents, minor children, adult children, siblings, and spouses who have successfully emigrated from various countries from all corners of the world.  In some instances, the family-based petitions took 5-10 years to process.

Family reunification has held a revered spot in our immigration policy since the Immigration & Naturalization Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Johnson.  The 1965 Act ended an immigration-admissions policy based on race and ethnicity and replaced it with a system that would focus on both keeping immigrant families intact and attracting skilled labor to the US.   Since then, about two-thirds of immigrant visas have been family-based.  Unfortunately, the White House recently threw its support behind the RAISE Act which seems to give an unfair advantage to highly skilled immigrant workers and an unfair advantage to immigrants who hope to emigrate to the US to reunify with family members.

Everyone pretty much agrees that our immigration system is broken and needs to be modernized but it shouldn’t be done at the expense of reunifying immigrant families. For several years, economist/professor/author Harriet Duleep has been making compelling arguments in research and press articles, as well as in front of Congress that skilled immigrants have families too.  She contends family visas complement high-skilled visas – the two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.  Duleep also reasonably questions that when someone like an emigrating scientist is considering which country to move to, wouldn’t there be a preference to relocate to where family members, including siblings, parents, and adult children can also live, over a country where only certain family members are welcome?

Research shows that there are definite advantages when an immigrant family is allowed to reunify.  The newcomers can pool their resources with family members who emigrated before them so things like childcare and elderly care become less of a burden on the wage earners.  Families who are reunified can also support each other financially by increasing access to credit or referring a relative to a current employer for a job. These are tangible benefits that can lead the family toward upward mobility and integration.

The emotional well-being of immigrant families who are reunited after years of separation is another advantage that is often overlooked.  In my own work, I have seen the emotional supports that attribute to the well-being of family members who emigrated to the US first when family members arrive.  I have clients whose siblings have finally made it to the US after 10-15 years of separation relieving the stress and guilt of those who emigrated first.  Many arrived into the country as refugees and waited years to be reunited with family members who stayed behind in countries that remained war-torn, had no health care systems, or had to deal daily with food insecurity. This definitely took a huge toll on their emotional well-being.  Under the RAISE Act, siblings would no longer be afforded the opportunity to emigrate to the US.

Immigrant parents sometimes petition for their children one by one because the family doesn’t have the resources it needs to bring more than one child at a time. Sometimes the minor children left behind turn into young adults by the time the parents save the money needed to file a relative petition with USCIS.  Under the RAISE Act, adult children are another group who wouldn’t be able to come to the US even though as young adults their kinship ties are as strong as they were when they were still minors.

Although this proposed piece of legislation isn’t expected to garner the Congressional support it will need to be enacted into law, it does seem inevitable that there will continue to be a lot of advocating for some type of reform that will result in deep cuts made to the number of immigrants who receive family-based visas.  Hopefully the debate will shift and voices like Duleep’s, that are knowledgeable about the advantages of keeping immigrant families intact, will be taken into consideration. She and others have even called for raising the quotas for employment or skill based visas. With any luck, this thinking will prevail when the current immigration system gets overhauled instead of modernizing it at the expense of immigrants looking to reunify with their family members.

Sue Chaffee

Accredited Rep

 

 

Ithacan Immigrant: Leelia

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We interviewed Leelia for this week’s Ithacan Immigrant, who emigrated from Liberia to the US at the age of 16.  In 2012, Leelia and other family members came to ISP to get assistance in applying to become US citizens; all of them were successful in pursuing naturalization.  Five years later, Leelia has returned to Catholic Charities for legal immigration services so she can petition to bring her mother to come to the US as a permanent resident.

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ISP: Why did you come to the US?

My dad came to the US as a student at Cornell and became employed by them.  He then sent for me and my brothers to join him.

ISP: Why did you decide to live in Ithaca?

Because my Dad was already here.

 ISP: What was your first impression of Ithaca?

We came in the fall so I thought it was pretty.  But it was cold; I wasn’t expecting that so it was kind of a shock.  My first few months here were fine.  When I started school though I changed my mind because the kids were very mean.  Kids are so mean to immigrants, especially when you can’t speak English.  I felt like a newborn baby learning how to crawl and walk all over because I had to learn how to read and write.  Liberian English and American English are so different.

ISP: What is your favorite American food?

Pepperoni pizza.

ISP: Where is your favorite place to shop in Ithaca?

TJ Maxx – they have good deals.

ISP: What is the biggest difference between Ithaca and your home town?

Monrovia is crowded, everyone is on the street, it’s loud, people are selling food, clothes, everything.  Here it is quiet.  No one is on the street being loud and selling whatever they want.  There’s not a lot of cars or traffic in Monrovia but here there’s a lot of traffic.

Getting Around Ithaca

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Last month, Nga was referred to ISP for services since she had recently emigrated  from Vietnam to the US and needed assistance in getting enrolled in ESL classes, applying for health insurance and obtaining a social security number.  Nga’s husband, a former Vietnamese refugee who resettled in the US in the mid 1980’s, accompanied her to the appointment.

During our first meeting, the couple asked if we could help them get bicycles; the day was hot and after walking across town, they felt wiped out.  Nga’s husband explained how “it’s hard for us to get around Ithaca so we want to ride bikes.” He continued, “everyone in Vietnam rides bikes – that’s what we’re used to.  No one can afford to buy a car, we all ride bikes.”  It’s true, motorbikes are so popular in Vietnam, that the city of Hanoi actually hopes to ban them by 2030.  The couple didn’t want motorbikes though, they were looking to pedal.

In order to see if we could find them some bikes, we reached out to Emily, a volunteer with Ithaca Welcomes Refugees who is great at helping us out with our random requests. Emily then reached out to the folks at RIBs – Recycle Ithaca’s Bicycles – a program run by Southside Community Center that refurbishes and redistributes bikes in Ithaca.  As a result, Nga and her husband received the bikes and helmets pictured above, free of charge.  Now the couple can be seen biking on one of Ithaca’s designated bicycle boulevards as they run errands around town.  On behalf of Nga and her husband, we wanted to extend a heartfelt thanks to both Emily from IWR and the folks at RIBs.

Ithacan Immigrant: Marie Jose

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This week’s Ithacan Immigrant features Mary Jose, a native of Costa Rica, who moved to the US with her siblings through family reunification.  This fall, she will be leaving the Ithaca area so she can study at Temple University in Philadelphia.  Her aspirations include returning to Costa Rica and opening a non-profit for low income people who are diagnosed with cancer.  Mary Jose came to ISP to get help applying to become a U.S. citizen.  The picture below was taken last week at Tompkins County’s Supreme Court after she received her citizenship certificate. 

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ISP: Why did you come to US?

I came here to study and have a better future so I can open a non-profit back in Costa Rica.

ISP: Why did you decide to live in Ithaca?

My father decided to live here and I joined him later.

ISP: What was your first impression of Ithaca?

It was beautiful.  I came here in the summer and my brother used to take me on bike rides and I remember thinking it was really green.

ISP: What is your favorite American food?

Last year was the first American Thanksgiving that I had so I can say that was my favorite American food.

ISP: Where is your favorite place to shop in Ithaca?

Ithaca Bakery – I like the chicken noodle soup and their French vanilla coffee.

ISP: What is the biggest difference between Ithaca and your home town?

The buildings.  I grew up in the city and there were a lot of buildings.  Ithaca has a lot of trees.  The people in Ithaca are friendlier- people always say good morning and hi.  When I first got here, I wondered why people were always saying hi to me.

 

Disrupting and Dismantling Immigrant Families

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The Trump administration has found yet another way to torment immigrant families who are undocumented. A new surge initiative is being carried out by ICE and is supposed to result in “disrupting and dismantling” smuggling and human trafficking rings.  On the surface this sounds like something immigration advocates would welcome and embrace.  But with closer scrutiny, it becomes clear this new initiative is also geared to disrupt and dismantle immigrant families as ICE agents have been given a new priority – to arrest and detain immigrant parents who pay for their children to be brought across the US border. Instead of only targeting the profiteers – the smuggling operations, coyotes, and human trafficking rings –  ICE has orders to also go after the parents.

The young children and adolescents crossing the border are considered to be unaccompanied minors once they are detained by Customs & Border Patrol.  Most of them are fleeing Central America; they are leaving countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala where they are vulnerable to gang violence and high rates of homicide. Admittedly, most often they are likely brought into the US by someone paid off by their parents – after all, it’s not like there are a whole lot of other options. Despite this, the Obama administration did the humane thing and allowed these families to reunite by releasing the children into the custody of their parents while asylum or deportation cases played out in immigration court. After all, unaccompanied minors are often traumatized and housing them with a caring parent seems like the most sensible thing to do.

However, last February a memorandum was released by DHS Secretary Kelly indicating Obama’s humane policy was about to end.  This memo, being issued to implement two of President Trump’s executive orders, included directives that raised red flags among immigration advocacy groups.  It laid out how new policies would be implemented that would target for deportation anyone who directly or indirectly facilitated the illegal smuggling or trafficking of an alien child into the United States. Through this memo, a warning shot was fired by the new administration that disrupting and dismantling human trafficking rings wasn’t their only priority; parents who were reunified with their unaccompanied minor children as a result of the previous administration’s policies were also in the crosshairs.

Having unaccompanied minors and their parents being targeted in the above mentioned memo was so troubling that attorneys from Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) prepared a practice advisory  in order to assist legal practitioners who  represent child clients in removal proceedings and to help them advise family members of such children.  It cannot be understated how important it is for legal advocacy groups to quickly respond with effective strategies when these types of laws are put into place. While I do not represent unaccompanied minors or have any of their parents as clients, I have many colleagues who do and am fully aware of what they are experiencing as the Trump administration targets yet another cohort of immigrants they view as a priority to put into deportation proceedings.

To date, there are reports of ICE agents visiting the homes of unaccompanied minors after they are released to start deportation proceedings against their parents.  There are other reports of parents being arrested and detained by ICE as they accompany their children to scheduled ICE appointments.  As I write this, Secretary Kelly has been reassigned and no longer heads the Department of Homeland Security.  It is unknown who his predecessor will be but I long for the days when DHS was led by someone like former Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson who held the position under President Obama.

Sue Chaffee

Accredited Rep

Travel Ban Back in Effect – With Rules As Stable As Quicksand

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Here’s where we stand for now with the travel ban:

Nationals from six majority Muslim countries are barred for 90 days.  Those countries include Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iran, and Libya.

Refugees from anywhere are barred from entering the US for 120 days, and absent special circumstances, the total number of refugees is capped at 50,000. That number is half of what it was last year, and has already been reached.

There is one exception, however: the ban does not apply to someone who has a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity” in the United States.  Standard immigration rules and procedures apply in that situation.

Things did not always look this way.  The underlying Executive Order issued on January 25 has gone through two White House revisions, multiple agency interpretations, and a constant volley of legal challenges played out in courts across the country.  And we’re still not done.  The Supreme Court addressed the ban twice already, but won’t decide whether it is constitutional until next term.

This uncertainty is holding an untold number of people hostage to the possibility they’ll forever be separated from their families in the US, or denied the new life they were promised, far from the deprivations of a refugee camp or the ravages of a war zone.

Seven months have passed since the original Executive Order went into effect, and a final ruling on its constitutionality might come as late as next May.  In the meantime, background checks will expire. Travel windows will close.  Indeed, many already have.  In the end, many people will have their right to enter the US affirmed, but will have lost the opportunity to do so.

Here’s a quick snapshot of how we got from A to B.

The original Executive Order temporarily barred entry for all refugees, and nationals of seven Muslim countries – the six countries mentioned above, plus Iraq.  It banned refugees from Syria indefinitely.  The ban applied equally to US Permanent Residents, visa holders, and visa applicants. “Religious minorities” were exempt though, which in practice meant that Christians could come in, but Muslims could not.  The ban went into effect immediately, without customary advance notice to consulates abroad or customs and immigration officials at US ports of entry.  Upon receiving word for the Order, the State Department immediately cancelled tens of thousands of visas.

Overnight, US airports became a holding ground for foreign travelers who learned upon landing that the law had changed mid-flight.  Among them were Iraq and Afghan nationals admitted under a special visa program aiding people who worked for the US military during the wars in their home country.  A grandmother from Iran was detained at LAX, even though she held a travel visa to visit her children, who happen to be US citizens.  Two brothers, US permanent residents originally from Yemen, hoped to reunite with their father, a US citizen living in Michigan.  Instead, they were handcuffed at Dulles, and forced to surrender their immigration documents before being put on a plane to Ethiopia.

Lawyers were initially prevented from even speaking to people who needed their help, but eventually secured relief in some of these cases.  The fate of other travelers who were turned back remains unknown.

Those first days were marked by chaos and uncertainty, because who stayed and who went back turned for the most part on where and when the plane landed. Emergency orders in Massachusetts and New York stayed parts of the Executive Order, but only in their respective jurisdictions.  Plus, each case produced different outcomes, depending on exactly what happened and who was involved.  Courts would eventually have to address whether the Constitution’s executive authority allowed the President to target Muslims at the border, but the question until then was simply whether people being detained or turned back experienced an “immediate and irreparable harm.”

On February 3, a judge in Seattle, Washington halted the entire Executive Order nationwide.  US gateways resumed normal operations, and Consulates abroad continued processing visa applications from affected countries.  Refugee agencies authorized by the Department of State to resettle new arrivals reaffirmed their readiness and commitment.  It was an unquestionable victory, yet anyone hoping to enter the US was advised to board a plane and get through the gate fast.  The ruling re-set the status quo, but everyone feared it would be reversed on appeal.

Ultimately, though, that decision was upheld, and nationwide, the number of strikes against the Executive Order piled up.  As doubts about the constitutionality of the ban came into focus, the Trump Administration announced that it would work on a revision instead of appeal to the Supreme Court.  This meant more uncertainty for travelers and family members while they waited for fate to unfold.

The second Executive Order did provide some relief.  Iraq was removed from the list of targeted countries, as were restrictions on Permanent Residents and current visa holders.  But the Administration insisted on barring nationals from the remaining six Muslim countries, despite thin objective support for the “national security” rationale it offered.

Moreover, Syrian refugees wound not be singled out permanently, but would now face the same 120 day ban as refugees from other countries.  But that didn’t answer the question of why refugees were even targeted in the name of national security when they are the most vetted category of travelers in the world.  Finally, the exception for “minority religions” that favored Christians was removed, but that just broadened the scope of an already overly-expansive ban, and looked like a pre-text for answering claims that anti-Muslim bias poisoned the over-arching scheme.

The modified Executive Order was blocked before it even went into effect, but the Supreme Court revived it three months later subject to the “bona fide” US relationship exception the Court itself invented.  A later decision clarified that extended family members (such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins) were exempt, contrary to the Administration’s narrower take, but declined to clarify where Resettlement Agencies fit.  Whether their work on behalf of refugees is enough to establish a “bona fide relationship” is now before a lower court.  In the meantime, however, the answer is no.

This legal back and forth is emotionally devastating to people trying to figure out if they are affected by the ban or not.  One day they’re admissible, the next day they are not.

It’s also difficult for community organizations and lawyers to advocate on their behalf when the rules are constantly changing, or written in a way that is nearly impossible to understand.

Take refugees, for example.  We know from the latest round of judicial decisions that a formal assurance of assistance from an authorized Resettlement Agency does not exempt refugees from the travel ban.  Prior to that, however, here’s how the State Department explained the “bona fide relationship” exception:

A refugee who has a relationship with an entity in the United States that is formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course will be considered to have a credible claim to a bona fide relationship with that entity upon presentation of sufficient documentation or other verifiable information supporting that claim.  The fact that a resettlement agency in the United States has provided a formal assurance for a refugee seeking admission, however, it not sufficient in and of itself to establish a qualifying relationship for that refugee with an entity in the United States.

By way of background, I am a lawyer, with decades of experience making sense of arcane legal jargon.  I know what certain words and expressions mean in context, and can figure out the law’s reach based on how it evolves over time.  But I was stumped.

What’s the difference, I thought, between a relationship that is “‘formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course,” and one based on a “‘formal assurance?”  Refugees signed plenty of paperwork, so maybe that’s what exempted them from the ban – something they signed for the Resettlement Agency.

But the forms are typically signed well after a refugee enters the US and settles into a new home – sometimes days later, during a process called “orientation.”  But to sidestep the ban, the “bona fide relationship” had to be established before arriving, so straining to figure out exactly when the paperwork was signed after arriving didn’t make sense.  Nothing is signed between the refugee and Resettlement agency before the plane lands.

On the other hand, maybe the regulations meant to distinguish, not the nature of a Resettlement Agency’s relationship to a refugee, but whether some other entity besides the Resettlement Agency was involved – an entity that offered more than “formal assurances,” when the refugee was still being processed abroad.  None of this was clear from a plain reading of the guidance, and if I couldn’t make sense of it as an American lawyer, how could a refugee from another country understand.

As of today, we know that a refugee will not be granted admission to the US based on the assurance of an authorized Refugee Resettlement agency.  But the State Department faces continuing pressure to revise its guidelines, and more litigation is expected until they do.  Nothing is certain until the Supreme Court decides the case next term.  It’s all as stable as quicksand.

-Kathy  Bergin

Ithacan Immigrant: Zar

~8958845This week’s Ithacan Immigrant features Zar, a Burmese national, who came to the U.S. through the refugee admissions program in 2011.  Prior to resettling in Ithaca, Zar and her family lived in a refugee camp on the Thai/Burmese border for over 20 years.  She and her husband initially came to ISP when the family was eligible to adjust their statuses in the U.S. from refugees to legal permanent residents.  Zar and her husband then returned to ISP to get help in applying for citizenship.  We want to thank Tompkins Learning Partners for providing Zar and other citizenship applicants in our community with the tutoring needed to prepare for their citizenship interviews.

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ISP: Why did you come to US?

I wanted freedom.

ISP: Why did you decide to live in Ithaca?

We had friends in Ithaca so we came here through the refugee program.

ISP: What was your first impression of Ithaca?

I liked it because it was quiet.  I visit other places and there are a lot of people and I like it quiet better.

ISP: What is your favorite American food?

I can’t think of any.  I don’t like American food.

ISP: Where is your favorite place to shop in Ithaca?

I like Wegman’s.  I like how the food is fresh.

ISP: What is the biggest difference between Ithaca and your home town?

In my country the soldiers were no good.  In this country they are good.

Carrying Documents in the 100 Mile Border Zone and Beyond

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A former client was recently riding on a bus through Rochester and was asked to produce his green card by Customs and Border Patrol.   This isn’t surprising since Rochester is located within the “Government’s 100 Mile Border Zone.” The Border Zone, which is an area that is up to 100 miles from any external U.S. border, is an area that the Supreme Court has deemed a “reasonable distance” in which it is lawful to engage in border security operations, including warrantless searches.  It allows for CBP to briefly detain travelers in order to ask them a brief question or two and possibly produce a document evidencing a right to be in the U.S.

Many immigrants, such as my former client, have legal status to be in the U.S. but fail to carry their documents.  In his case, he was a refugee who had adjusted his status to legal permanent resident (LPR) several years ago but didn’t carry his green card in his wallet.  Fortunately, he was only given a stiff warning about violating the law and was told he must carry his green card from that point on or be fined.  Over the years, there have been numerous accounts of incidences where immigrants traveling in cities north of Ithaca (Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester) were stopped resulting in various outcomes ranging from receiving a warning or feeling intimidated to being detained for further questioning or even arrested.  Given the era we are now living in where border security and anti-immigrant rhetoric seem to be part of the federal government’s discourse, it’s important more than ever for immigrants who travel through or anywhere near the border zone to be prepared to produce some ID regarding their admission into the U.S.

The law that the CBP agent was referring to when questioning my former client is very specific in stating every foreign national, age 18 or older, has to carry documentation of their immigration in the U.S.  This pertains to ALL foreign nationals, age 18 or older.  In other words, it doesn’t only pertain to those traveling in the 100 Mile Border Zone.

Since President Trump and his administration have serious intentions in shaking up the status quo when it comes to anything or anyone immigrant-related, it is advisable for foreign nationals who are in the U.S. to comply with the law in regards to carrying their documents.  There are many variables since foreign nationals enter the U.S. on all types of Visas as immigrants and non immigrants but the bottom line is they need to prove they have been inspected at the border and their length of stay hasn’t expired.  Here is some practical advice for those who are here as LPRs and those who are inspected and admitted but do not have LPR status.

  • LPRs need to carry their actual green card. For those who have entered the country with an I-551 stamp on their passport and are waiting for their green cards to be produced, they need to carry their passport.  For those who have expired green cards, Form I-90 needs to be filed with USCIS to get the card renewed, and once a receipt for filing is obtained, the local USCIS office can provide a sticker onto the expired card that shows the green card is valid for an additional year.  For lost green cards, form I-90 can also be filed to replace the green card and once a receipt is received, a temporary ID can be made again at the local USCIS office.
  • Foreign nationals inspected and admitted into the U.S. who do not have legal permanent residency also need to carry documentation regarding their immigration status. Immigrants enter the U.S. for a myriad of reasons including tourism, work, study, research, or seeking asylum.  They also may enter as refugees or have been granted temporary protected status.  Whatever the case may be, the documents made available upon arrival or after they have applied for some type of immigration benefit need to be carried since this is required by law.  Examples of this would be carrying a copy of a valid, unexpired I-94 admission record, Form I-551, a valid, unexpired employment authorization document (work permit), or a foreign passport showing a valid CBP admission stamp.

One more thought about the 100 Mile Border Zone.  Since becoming naturalized as a U.S. citizen doesn’t provide immunity from being checked by CBP and being questioned about U.S. citizenry, it is advised that naturalized citizens also carry some form of proof of becoming U.S. citizens.  The most convenient proof would be a U.S. passport card.

Given the high cost to replace a stolen or lost green card, foreign passport, or work permit, it is understandable why people carry a photo copy in their wallet and keep their original safely stored at home.  But it is the law, and not having the proper documentation available at all times can result in a misdemeanor with real consequences.

Sue Chaffee

Accredited Rep