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GLF Articles

Letter of Appeal to Secretary of Homeland Security to Grant Filipinos in the U.S. TPS or “temporary protected status” due to Super Typhoon Haiyan

November 11th, 2013

Today, I wrote a letter of appeal to acting Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers to designate the Philippines and undocumented or overstays Filipinos in the U.S.  Temporary Protected Status due to the effects of Super Typhoon Haiyan. As a matter of background, it is within the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate a country whose nationals are here in the U.S. (they would be eligible to get work permits and reprieve from deportation for a specific period of time) who are unable to return safely to their homeland because of the effects of natural disasters of extraordinary proportions such as Super Typhoon Haiyan. Below is a copy of that letter:

November 11, 2013

 

 

The Honorable Rand Beers

 

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security

 

Washington, D.C. 20528

 

 

Re: Appeal to Designate the Philippine for Temporary Protected Status due to natural disasters of extraordinary condition caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan

 

 

Dear Secretary Beers:

 

 

As you may have seen in the news in the last few days, the central part of the Philippines was devastated by Super Typhoon or Cyclone Haiyan – deemed to be the world’s most powerful storm to hit land at more than 200 miles creating a path of destruction and tremendous loss of life in the islands of Leyte and Samar in the Eastern Visayas region and the islands of Iloilo and Negros in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines (10,000 estimated deaths according to  today’s New York Times article).

 

 

The New York Times article also cited a United Nations disaster assessment team that visited the area on Saturday and quoted Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, the head of the team in his statement: “The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami,” referring to the 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of Indonesia and other countries. “This is destruction on a massive scale.”

 

Super Typhoon Haiyan further devastated the already fragile central part of the Philippines not even a month after the island of Bohol was struck with a major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 on October 14 destroying one of the country’s old churches at the town of Baclayon on Bohol island and causing the deaths of 144 Filipinos.

 

 

I am appealing to your office (though I am not sure if one letter writer can be of any influence and as a matter of full disclosure, I am an immigration lawyer in Woodside, Queens, NY – dubbed as the Filipino-town of New York) to look into the effects of this natural disaster of extraordinary proportions which prevents Filipinos from returning safely to their homeland.

 

With the hope that this appeal would merit your kind consideration, I remain

 

 

Very truly yours,

Sid Garbanzos, Esq.

 Attorney SID GARBANZOS is a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law and is admitted to practice in New York and Washington, D.C. Practice areas include: Commercial Litigation, Landlord-Tenant, RN & Medical Profession License Defense and Immigration. Please note that this article is written for a gratuitous purpose only and no attorney-client relationship is created in this publication. This article is not, nor intended to be legal advice. The reader should consult with a reputable lawyer based on his or her individual circumstances. Please call Garbanzos Law Firm at (718)725-7324 if you have any questions about this article.

 

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PRESIDENT OBAMA TO GRANT WORK PERMITS TO 5 MILLION UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS

November 22nd, 2014

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced 10 areas where his Administration will modify immigration policy. In general, these reforms fall into three categories: (i) changes to immigration enforcement policy; (ii) deferred action expansion; and (iii) changes to our legal immigration system. This Fact Sheet will focus exclusively on the expansion of deferred action, memorialized in a Memorandum by Jeh Johnson entitled Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children and with Respect to Certain Individuals Whose Parents are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents (“Deferred Action Memo”).
Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA)
Deferred action is a temporary protection from deportation. Through it, a person is authorized to remain in the United States temporarily and to receive employment authorization. A grant of deferred action does not provide a path to lawful permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship.
The Deferred Action Memo calls on USCIS to establish a process, similar to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, for granting deferred action to individuals who:
Have, as of November 20, 2014, a son or daughter of any age, who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
Have continuously resided in the United States since before January 1, 2010;
Are physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014, and at the time of making a DAPA request;
Have no lawful status on November 20, 2014;
Are not an enforcement priority, defined as: people suspected of terrorism, gang associations, or visa abusers, unlawful border crossers, and people convicted of felonies, aggravated felonies, significant misdemeanors, or three or more misdemeanors; and
Present no other factors that would cause USCIS to deny the request in its exercise of discretion.
The DAPA process shall be available to people with final orders of removal who meet the above criteria. Applicants must pay a $465 filing fee and submit to biometrics. As with DACA, there will be a very limited fee exemption and no fee waivers. Those who receive deferred action under the DAPA program will receive employment authorization for a three-year period. USCIS will begin accepting applications for DAPA by May 19, 2015.
The Deferred Action Memo applies to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Those agencies are instructed to exercise discretion for individuals who meet the DAPA criteria, including individuals in immigration custody, in removal proceedings, or whom ICE or CBP encounters.

Expansion of DACA
The Deferred Action Memo makes three major modifications to the DACA program:
It removes the age cap. The Deferred Action Memo eliminates the requirement that an individual be under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012.
The start date for the continuous residence period is advanced from June 15, 2007 to January 1, 2010. At this time, to be eligible for DACA an individual must have resided in the United States continuously from January 1, 2010 up to the present.
DACA grants will now last three years instead of two. Effective November 24, 2014, all first-time DACA approvals as well as all DACA renewals shall be effective for three years instead of two.
USCIS will begin accepting applications under the new criteria by February 18, 2015.

Sources: USCIS official website, Immigration Legal Resource Network, The New York Times.
Attorney SID GARBANZOS is a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law and is admitted to practice in New York and Washington, D.C. Practice areas include: Commercial Litigation, Landlord-Tenant, RN & Medical Profession License Defense and Immigration. Please note that this article is written for a gratuitous purpose only and no attorney-client relationship is created in this publication. This article is not, nor intended to be legal advice. The reader should consult with a reputable lawyer based on his or her individual circumstances. Please call Garbanzos Law Firm at (718)725-7324 if you have any questions about this article.

 

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NEW YORK CITY TO ISSUE MUNICIPAL ID CARDS TO UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS

July 3rd, 2014

A long-sought initiative that would provide municipal identification cards to all New Yorkers, including those without legal immigration status, has been approved by the New York City Council on June 26, 2014.
Undocumented immigrants could use the cards as proof of residence, and to check out library books, sign leases and open bank accounts, among other benefits.
New York City will launch the largest local ID program in the nation, which will also grant ID cards to transgender, homeless and elderly people who don’t have driver’s licenses. The ID will display the bearer’s name, picture, date of birth, and — as an option — their gender. Other cities like San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Washington, DC and New Haven have a similar program.

The cards will be accepted by city agencies, let parents enter school buildings and provide proof of identity for people stopped by police — which could mean the difference between spending a night in jail and being released.
Private institutions will not be legally required to accept the ID, but the city hopes banks and landlords will take it from people trying to open bank accounts or sign leases.
To get an ID, an applicant will have to prove his or her identity with documents such as a birth certificate or passport from any country, and prove they live in New York through utility bills, pay stubs or other documents. Other acceptable city residency documents include document stating the person has a child enrolled in public school and similar evidence of New York City residency.
Proof of identity includes a photo ID from another country, a foreign driver’s license, a passport, and similar documents.
The ID will display the bearer’s name, picture, date of birth, and — optionally — the gender they choose to list.
New York City is expected to launch this program which is the largest in the country in January of 2015 which will benefit an estimate of 500,000 undocumented immigrants living in the city.

Sources: New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, New York Daily News and Wall Street Journal
Attorney SID GARBANZOS is a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law and is admitted to practice in New York and Washington, D.C. Practice areas include: Commercial Litigation, Landlord-Tenant, RN & Medical Profession License Defense and Immigration. Please note that this article is written for a gratuitous purpose only and no attorney-client relationship is created in this publication. This article is not, nor intended to be legal advice. The reader should consult with a reputable lawyer based on his or her individual circumstances. Please call Garbanzos Law Firm at (718)725-7324 if you have any questions about this article.

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DEPENDENTS OF H1B WORKERS WILL BE GIVEN WORK PERMITS

May 9th, 2014

The Department of Homeland Security announced proposed rule changes this week to allow the spouses of some highly skilled temporary workers to hold jobs in the United States, and to remove some of the obstacles that make it difficult for some groups of highly skilled workers to remain here.

That’s very good news for some of the tens of thousands of temporary immigrants, particularly those from China, India and the Philippines, who come to work in science, engineering and related fields under the H1B visa program. In many cases these workers’ spouses have similar educations and skills, but under current law they are forbidden to hold jobs themselves. That makes living in the United States harder on these families, and allows the spouses’ technical skills and career prospects to languish.

The proposal for work permission is limited, however, representing just a modest adjustment in the direction of common sense. It’s only for spouses of H1B workers who have already begun the (often obscenely long) process of seeking permanent residency, or green cards.

Meanwhile, of course, the global race for highly skilled workers continues. Countries with far more generous visa policies, such as Canada and Australia, continue with the proverbial eating of America’s lunch.

This raises the question of why the United States isn’t doing more. An immigration lawyer and blogger, Angelo Paparelli, told The Times that the rules changes were “a rather miserly grant,” given that America’s competitors were “clamoring to get the best and the brightest.” Why not let every spouse of an H1B worker, not just those on the green-card track, have work authorization?

That bolder idea is actually a component of the ambitious immigration bill — but it’s comatose in Congress right now because of staunch Republican opposition. President Obama’s modest changes to the H1B program are an attempt to use his executive powers to repair the inefficient immigration system around the edges. Republicans, naturally, condemned it this week.

The country has to do a lot more to attract immigrants at all skill levels, to reunite families, to be a place where entrepreneurs and innovators the world over want to come, contribute and put down roots. President Obama gets it. Republicans talk about competitiveness, too, but too often they stand in the way.

Sources: New York Times, US Department of Homeland Security

Attorney SID GARBANZOS is a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law and is admitted to practice in New York and Washington, D.C. Practice areas include: Commercial Litigation, Landlord-Tenant, RN & Medical Profession License Defense and Immigration. Please note that this article is written for a gratuitous purpose only and no attorney-client relationship is created in this publication. This article is not, nor intended to be legal advice. The reader should consult with a reputable lawyer based on his or her individual circumstances. Please call Garbanzos Law Firm at (718)725-7324 if you have any questions about this article.

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