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Janet Napolitano - Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

“Dream Act” – Do you Qualify?

Janet Napolitano - Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, issues a memorandum regarding visas for undocumented workers that meet certain criteria.

 

Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, issued a memorandum on June 15, 2012 that is likely to result in the issuance of thousands of work “visas” to certain categories undocumented persons.

In a nutshell, the executive branch has decided not to fully enforce federal immigration laws against individuals who:

  • Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of June 15, 2012 and are present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
  • Are currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a GED, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  • Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offense, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and
  • Are not above the age of thirty.

The specific application is to be published in the coming weeks, but early indications are that the above-described individuals will be issued permission to be in the United States for the next two years and may also apply for permission to work. This memo can be found at www.dhs.gov and it describes other categories of individuals who may also be eligible. Napolitano is careful to point out that this process called “deferred action” does not confer any permanent immigration rights to the individual. In other words, only Congress may pass a law regarding immigration status, but the executive branch may choose how to enforce or not to enforce the law.

Applicants and their employers must understand that since this is not a law, it could be subject to change in the near future, especially if we have a new president. People who were brought into the United States without permission as children are loosely referred to as “dreamers” after the proposed legislation called the “Dream Act” which failed to pass in recent years. Dreamers and their employers should realize though, that it is also possible that the policy may expand and improve from the perspective of a dreamer or it may become more restrictive. Mit Romney has not been too specific about whether he would terminate the deferred action program if he were elected, but he has indicated that he would seek to push comprehensive immigration reform through Congress. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla), has been an outspoken opponent of the Obama Administration’s deferred action policy calling it a short-term answer to a long-term problem. Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, is pushing for a legislative solution that will strike a balance between helping dreamers and not encouraging future illegal immigration.

Even though there seems to be an air of compromise emerging from Washington regarding dreamers, if employers want to hire and train dreamers, one would be wise to pay attention to politics in such a fluid situation. Nonetheless, the new policy will be a welcome relief for thousands of dreamers who want to work legally but choose to risk using false social security numbers to work (which can cause problems for the real owner of the number or, in some cases, improve a credit rating), or are paid under the table, or do not work at all.

If you believe that you qualify under the “Dream Act” contact the Law Office of Gonzales and Poirier and ask to speak to Matt Poirier, Esq. or Jake at 928-774-5400 Se habla espanol.

The “Dream Act” is constantly being updated, for the most upto date information see Department of Homeland Security and search for the term “deferred action”.

Matt Poirier, Esq.

Illegal Immigrant Under Arrest

Immigration Law-Results

Illegal Immigrant Under Arrest

The attorney’s and staff at the Law Office of Gonzales and Poirier are dedicated in assisting people in obtaining visa’s to legally live and work in the USA.

 

We are a results orientated law firm and as an example we recently obtained for our clients two “U-Visas” under the Victims of Crimes and Violence Against Woman Act. Under the Victims of Crimes and Violence Against Woman Act the United States Government provides visas for person who are victims of crimes and who cooperate with police and the county attorney’s office in prosecuting their case. This is particularly important for victims of domestic violence who may feel reluctant to contact police because they are in the US without permission and fear deportation.

If you believe that you may qualify for a “U-Visa” call the Law Office of Gonzales and Poirier and 928-774-5400 and ask to speak with Matt, Tony or Jake.

Woman Holding Not an Alien Sign

Show Me Your Papers-SB1070

Woman Holding Not an Alien Sign

Officers required to inquire into a person’s legal status if they have reasonable suspicion that the individual is an illegal alien after being stopped.


The Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Arizona v. United States, 567 U.S. __ (2012) upheld a provision in S.B. 1070 requiring an officer, if practical to do so, to contact Immigration, Custom and Enforcement (ICE) to determine if a person’s immigration status if the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe an individual already stopped, detained or arrested is in the county illegally.

In plain English, S.B. 1070 requires an officer to inquire into a person’s legal status if they have reasonable suspicion that the person is not in the country legally after the person has been stopped, detained or arrested for a crime or traffic violation. However, S.B. 1070 does not authorize officers to racially profile, i.e. they cannot just stop an individual based solely on their race, color, or national origin. If an officer develops reasonable suspicion that a person committed a crime or traffic violation they may stop, detain or arrest that person. During the stop, detention or arrest for a crime/traffic stop if the officer develops reasonable suspicions to believe the person is in the country illegally, S.B. 1070 requires the officer to contact ICE to determine of the person is in the country illegally. The Supreme Court did not determine what evidence constitutes reasonable suspicion to believe a person is in the country illegally, allowing fears of racial profiling. However, an officer can state he believes a person was in the country illegally because they did not have a drivers license, identification, valid address and officer could not find information about the individual in the national database.

Flagstaff Police Department Chief Kevin Treadway recently spoke to the Arizona Daily Sun about S.B. 1070 and how the Flagstaff Police Department will enforce the law. Chief Treadway stated:

“Officers will not be stopping or detaining persons based solely on their immigration status, and the Flagstaff Police Department will not tolerate officers stopping an individual based upon their race, color or national original, in other words, racially profiling.”

“Officers will not detain a person any longer than it would take to normally complete the stop or investigation, which means if ICE does not respond in that amount of time, the individual will be released if probable cause has not been developed to believe they have committed a crime other than an immigration violation. Officers will not be investigating the immigration status of individuals who are witnesses or victims of a crime, or who have contacted the police department to file a complaint.”

Read the complete article here.

The Flagstaff Police Department will enforce S.B. 1070 but according to Chief Treadway the Flagstaff Police Department will not tolerate racial profiling and will not detain a person any longer to complete an investigation even if they suspect they are in the country illegally. Finally, Chief Treadway reiterated multiple times that officers have been trained to not investigate the immigration status of witnesses, victims of crimes, or individuals who contact the police department to file a complaint. The Flagstaff Police Department wants the public to be aware that if you are a victim or witness of crime and you are contacted by the police, the officer will not inquire into your immigration status.

The Law Office of Gonzlaes and Poirier is a law firm committed to fighting for the civil rights of all people. If you believe your rights have been violated or you have questions about immigration law or if you qualify for a visa under the Dream Act call us at 928-774-5400.

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