Adventures of a Forced Migrant Contact Me
Update: Grandparents are no longer banned.
Reuters has published a leaked State Department cable outlining who cannot get a visa to the U.S. under the new Muslim ban.
In particular, refugee admission from the six countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) has been suspended for the next 120 days. “Close family” has been defined to exclude the following: grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other “extended” family members.
The ban takes effect tomorrow.
Donald Trump signed an Executive Order on Friday, purporting to suspend the U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days, with certain exceptions; suspend the admission of Syrian refugees for an undefined period; and suspend entry of lawful permanent residents, refugees, and non-immigrants, such as visitors and students, from certain Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Somalia) for at least 90 days.
Since then, thousands of protestors, upon hearing about the detention of travelers to the United States, have taken to occupying airports, while lawyers are working overtime to get legal help for people detained at airports. Below, I share some travel tips for people, and families of those from designated countries.
1. If detained at a CA airport under Executive Order, call local ACLU hotline:
2. A federal district judge in New York has stayed the Executive Order. The stay is temporary but effective immediately and nationwide, and is an order to CBP to not remove people under the Executive Order (and should also extend to those who are trying to enter the U.S.). If your non-citizen family or friends are traveling from countries that have been designated on the list (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen), tell them to print out a copy of the stay order and carry it on them: http://documents.latimes.com/deportations-stay-trump/.
If non-citizens continue to be harassed, detained, interrogated, tell them to make copious notes and get names and details of how long they waited, what happened, who they spoke to and precisely what was said. Keep demanding access to counsel and not sign anything.
Lawyers for other families who are detained can use the pleadings filed in the New York case so they do not need to reinvent the wheel.
Additional orders issued by judges:
3. Anyone who holds a passport from a designated country is considered as being “from” the designated country. This includes dual citizens who hold passports from a designated country, as well as a non-designated country.
4. For lawful permanent residents, DHS is admitting people on a case by case basis, following additional and invasive screenings. Any green card holders from designated countries should make sure not to sign the I-407/ Record of abandonment of lawful permanent residence. CBP officers often coerce and deceive people into doing this as a condition of release from detention. If detained for extended periods, people should similarly, take notes, take names, ask for their lawyer, ask to speak to the Congressional representative, and demand to see an immigration judge.
5. People from designated countries, even dual nationals, should try to not travel abroad at this time, unless one absolutely must. Reports indicate that people abroad are not being allowed to board airplanes (even with visas) and even visa interviews for citizens of these countries have been canceled (with the exception of those who hold diplomatic visas).
If you know who your representative is but you are unable to contact them using their contact form, the Clerk of the House maintains addresses and phone numbers of all House members and Committees, or you may call (202)225-3121 for the U.S. House switchboard operator.
7. For those persecuted in their home countries or fear of persecution in countries CBP would return them to, individuals should speak to their lawyers to discuss claims to asylum and demand a credible fear interview at ports of entry.
8. There are some rumors that USCIS will stop processing applications for naturalization, work permits, travel permits, green card renewals, and other immigration benefits for people from these designated countries. We are waiting for an official announcement. This is very clearly outside the scope of Presidential authority and the executive order, and will lead to many more lawsuits.
NY Times. If you have been impacted by this Executive Order, willing to share your story with the media and public, the New York Times is asking for those stories to be shared with them via email to email@example.com.
There are many other outlets looking for stories of people who have been impacted.
10. For everyone else, see you at the airports!
All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current and is subject to change without notice.
In These Times reached out to me shortly after the election for a thought piece on how Donald Trump’s election will impact immigrant rights organizing. The piece was a cover article for the magazine’s December 2016 issue, and can be found online now:
First, lets try to make sure your renewal is not delayed. Apply at least 6 months in advance and use the mailer that you received with your last work permit for the renewal for a more speedy turn-around.
However, if you do everything right, and your renewal is still delayed, here is what you can do:
1. Check your case status online at USCIS – You will need to enter the receipt number for either your DACA application or your employment authorization application.
2. Initiate a service request at USCIS – Call USCIS National Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 and request to use the Service Request Management Tool (SRMT) to request expedited processing of your case and ask for an interim EAD, if your DACA renewal application was filed 120 days in advance. In most cases, you have to ask to speak to a supervisor. In any case, write down any number they provide you.
Be prepared to provide your name, alien number, and receipt numbers to the customer service center. In some limited cases, applicants who have had their initial DACA denied, can also use this tool as an appeal to inform USCIS that the denial based on an administrative error.
3. Elevate your case status: After making the initial service request, contact the USCIS Headquarters Office of Service Center Operations by email at: SCOPSSCATA@dhs.gov. You should receive a response within 10 days.
4. Seek assistance from the USCIS Ombudsman – Open a case assistance request with the USCIS Ombudsman by filing DHS-7001. Make sure to state any reason why you need your DACA to be renewed ASAP such as employment opportunity or travel abroad or financial detriment.
Once you have completed and submitted the online form, you should be issued an Ombudsman-specific case number. Then you can contact, by email, one of these Ombudsman staff people, and request them to look into your case:
5. Contact your Congressional Representative: If the matter continues to be unresolved and there is a lapse in your work authorization, contact your individual Congressional representative for assistance. You can find your representative here.
6. Contact the Service Center that is processing your case:
- California Service Center: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vermont Service Center: email@example.com
- Nebraska Service Center: NSCFollowup.NCSC@uscis.dhs.gov
- Texas Service Center: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you do not receive a response within 21 days of emailing the service center, you may email the USCIS Headquarters Office of Service Center Operations at SCOPSSCATA@dhs.gov
I see delayed renewals quite a bit these days so while I am not certain that the steps above will work in all cases, it is worth a try and better than waiting around for a response.
As a final note, applicants renewing their DACA should make sure to file 180-150 days before the expiry date listed on their Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Applicants who anticipate traveling abroad while their DACA renewal is due should always file earlier than the 150 mark. Filing less than 120 days in advance may lead to delays in lapses of work authorization, and accruing of unlawful presence.