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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Chicago immigration attorneys

Posted on in Immigration

Chicago immigration attorneys, refugee status, refugee law, current immigration law, immigration statusIn September 2017, the federal administration began to float the idea of lowering the already-low refugee cap numbers for FY 2018, citing an allegedly insufficient vetting process, especially for those from countries which have historically sponsored terrorism. Given the somewhat frenetic pace of government in the eight months since the changeover, the story has somewhat gotten lost in the national media, but to those who have family members who might qualify for status, this is a very real concern. It is important to understand the truth of the situation and not fall prey to the misinformation that abounds.

The Process is Extremely Comprehensive

One of the most common misconceptions about refugee resettlement in the United States is that they are simply permitted to walk into the country, so to speak; the average layman is only familiar with standard visa vetting (if that), and often wrongly equates it with refugee processing.

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Posted on in Immigration

Chicago immigration attorneys, immigrants rights, undocumented immigrant, citizenshipIn the recent charged climate in the United States, there has been fierce debate over how to balance free speech rights with the rights of immigrants, especially the undocumented, to be free of harassment or governmental mistreatment. Some persist in the misconception that non-citizens have no Constitutional rights whatsoever, which could easily lead to a normalization of persecution of even those who have legal status in the country. Some simply are uncertain. Immigrants do have certain rights, even if undocumented, though, and it is important to be aware of them if you or a loved one is caught up in recent events.

Constitutional Basis

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is what grants the most important rights to all people within the borders of the United States, regardless of citizenship status. Its Equal Protection Clause states that no state may “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.” It does not specify citizens or immigrants with status; it says persons, and as such, this clause has been construed to apply to everyone present. The Equal Protection Clause itself essentially holds that no one may be discriminated against on the basis of certain immutable characteristics like race, gender or nationality, without a compelling state interest in doing so.

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sanctuary city, Trust Act, Chicago immigration attorneys,  immigration enforcement, Illinois immigrantsChicago is still a sanctuary city, and will remain so for the foreseeable future, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. However, this decision has not come without comment. The U.S. Attorney General has been highly critical of Chicago’s leadership, seeing fit to draw conclusions about the city’s crime rate versus that of Miami, ascribing the difference solely to Miami-Dade’s capitulation to the Justice Department’s request to honor immigration detainers. In what may be seen as a reaction to such talk, Gov. Bruce Rauner may be poised to sign off on the Trust Act, which could have a small but significant effect on Illinois’ immigrant population.

Is Chicago a Sanctuary City?

While there has been much ink spilled about what a true sanctuary city is, the term of art as it is understood is solely defined as a city which does not comply with federal immigration detainers. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) sends “detainers” to local police departments when they hear of someone they believe should be detained due to their immigration status. In most cities, local police comply with these “detainers,” holding the person for longer than they would otherwise be constitutionally authorized to do. 

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detained at the airport, Chicago immigration attorneys,  lawful permanent residents, green card holders, immigration statusSince late January 2017, various iterations of an executive order on immigration have been in force at all U.S. ports of entry, but have seen the most controversy at airports. The most recent permutation as of this writing, after input from the Supreme Court in the form of an unsigned opinion, excludes non-citizen nationals from seven majority Muslim countries—Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen—unless they can prove a “bona fide relationship” to any “person or entity” in the United States.

However, the opinion does not define such a standard, which means that the definition is largely being left up to immigration personnel on the ground. This can cause problems for travelers, even if you are not a national of one of the seven countries on the president’s “list.”

Initial Detention

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Chicago immigration attorneys, current immigration law, immigration attorney, undocumented immigrant, authorized immigrationOn August 2, 2017, the current administration unveiled a plan designed to convert the existing U.S. immigration system into a skill or merit-based structure, which would drastically curb documented immigration (as opposed to undocumented). While on paper, the plan merely appears to suggest mere procedural changes, conservative estimates show it would lead to a drop of approximately 50 percent in immigration overall, especially among those from non-English-speaking countries.

Uninformed pundits have been characterizing this as a positive, arguing that other immigrants will receive faster service than they would otherwise, and no one “undeserving” will be able to jump the proverbial queue. In reality, this is simply not how the U.S. immigration system works, and clearing up misconceptions like this can actually work in everyone’s favor—even citizens’.

Immigration is Not a Zero Sum Game

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