TPS Extended Until October 2021!!

TPS EXTENDED UNTIL OCTOBER 2021!!

On December 7, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security announced the extension of Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for beneficiaries from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras, and Nepal. Originally set to end in January 2021, TPS will now be extended to October 4, 2021 allowing TPS holders to continue legally living and working in the U.S. without fear of being deported.

TPS was put in place to help those whose home countries are experiencing a temporary extraordinary event, such as natural disaster or armed civil wars. With Hurricanes Eta and Iota recently devastating Central American countries, including Honduras and El Salvador, the extension put in place is a great relief to TPS beneficiaries.

It is hoped the Biden administration will help pass a law to enable TPS beneficiaries to become legal permanent residents, and eventually, US citizens. We will continue to provide updates and information relating to any important changes to our immigration law.

Judge Orders DACA Program Opened to New Enrollees!

JUDGE ORDERS DACA PROGRAM OPENED TO NEW ENROLLEES!
DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO MAY QUALIFY FOR DACA?
                       By: George A. Terezakis, Esq.
If you are receiving this, it is because you or a family member, have been a client of our firm. We want to share this important news with you!
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was enacted by the Obama administration in 2012. It provides protection from deportation to non-citizens brought to this country as children; who have grown up here, yet lack legal status; and who enroll in this program. It provides legal status to participants, and so protects them from deportation-removal. It also allows them to receive employment authorization cards. DACA beneficiaries may also one day qualify to become lawful permanent residents, and eventually, U.S. citizens – something the incoming Biden administration has voiced support for.
In June of 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Trump administration’s efforts to terminate the DACA program were not in conformity with the law, and so continued to extend the protections of this program to registered beneficiaries.
Yesterday, Federal District Court Judge Nicholas Garufis, of the E.D.N.Y., ruled the Trump administration must accept new applications from DACCA enrollees who satisfy the requirements of the original program. To qualify, the applicant must have been born on or after June 16th, 1981; have come to the U.S. before their 16th birthday; have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15th, 2007; and not have a disqualifying criminal conviction. There are a few other requirements, but these are the central ones.
It is important that people who may qualify for the protections of this program, but who failed to register previously, take this opportunity to do so now. While the Trump administration will likely challenge this ruling, it is even more likely the Biden administration would abandon any such opposition. Those who did not know about this program, or who were too afraid to register initially, now have a second chance! The DACA program is relatively inexpensive to enroll in, and may one day offer a pathway to become a U.S. citizen.
If a family member, or someone you know, may qualify to register for DACA, please urge them to avoid the use of unethical “notarios” or “Multiservice” agencies who frequently victimize the unwary by fraudulently enrolling them in programs for which they do not qualify, or by absconding with their money. We have successfully helped many individuals enroll in, or renew their participation in, the DACA program.  Our bilingual, Spanish speaking, staff is here to help anyone who may have questions about their eligibility for DACA. We can also review an undocumented person’s immigration history to determine if they may be eligible to apply to become a lawful permanent resident.  Please, feel free to call us; we look forward to helping you!

The Terezakis Law Firm Wishes You a Happy Thanksgiving!

America took a beating on many fronts this year, but there are good reasons to believe 2021 will be better! Tomorrow we gather with our loved ones. We will mourn those we have lost; remember those who have sacrificed for us; and give thanks for the blessings we have received. Here’s to hoping next year we will celebrate, not simply with turkey and fine wine but gathered with our friends and family.

Federal Judge Calls Appointment of DHS Acting Secretary Unlawful, Challenging the Decision to Limit DACA

by Victoria Spagnolo

On Saturday, U.S District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis ruled that the appointment of Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was unlawful, challenging his authority to limit the DACA program which prevents the deportation of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

About a month after the Supreme Court held that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had improperly terminated DACA, Wolf issued a memorandum in July that drastically scaled back the DACA program. It cut short the validity of DACA permits from two (2) years to one (1) year and ordered DHS to stop accepting new DACA applications.

Judge Garaufis held that “DHS failed to follow the order of succession as it was lawfully designated” and that Wolf’s appointment is an attempt by the Trump Administration to circumvent the courts and punish “dreamers” and bypass legal hurdles by seating its desired officials in top positions.

The decision follows a report by the Government Accountability Office, a bipartisan congressional watchdog, asserting that Wolf was improperly serving and ineligible under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA). A federal judge in Maryland has also ruled that Wolf’s appointment was unlawful.

DHS continues to maintain that Wolf’s appointment was legal even without Senate confirmation. With inauguration day in less than two (2) months, there is a renewed push to get Wolf confirmed as Homeland Security Secretary.

#DACA #Dreamers #Immigration #DHS #Law #Supremecourt

A Milestone in Our Client’s Life!

A Milestone in Our Client’s Life!
Yesterday, following an interview, and after passing his citizenship test, our client’s application to become a U.S. citizen was approved. When I first met him at the detention center, he was a scared 16 year old facing deportation. We gained his freedom – release under bond. We defended him in his deportation proceedings, and helped him become a lawful permanent resident. Today he is steadily employed as an electrician; he has a wonderful wife and they recently purchased their own home in an upscale neighborhood on the North Shore. They are happy and building their lives together. His story is the story of many of the immigrants who help our nation flourish. Thanks to my office staff – everyday they make a difference in our clients’ lives. #Naturalization #Teamwork #KeepingFamiliesTogether #NassauDefender #ImmigrationMakesUsStronger

ANOTHER GREEN CARD WIN AFTER TRIAL!

Keeping families together is the best part of the work we do! Today our client received his green card! He is now a legal permanent resident! We won non-permanent resident cancellation of removal for him following a trial.  These cases are very difficult to win, because you must demonstrate the person would suffer:  “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” in order to win.  It is all about documenting the hardship, humanizing the  client and his family, and presenting a compelling case. Thanks Lorena & Fabiola for all of your help!  It’s all about teamwork!

Asylum Granted for Salvadoran National

After a trial before an Immigration Judge this week, our client, a Salvadoran national, was granted political asylum! Despite the Trump Administration’s efforts to gut the protections afforded to asylum seekers, there are still courageous Immigration Judges who follow the law. Not only will he never again be persecuted, but in a year, he will be able to apply to become a lawful permanent resident.

Court Allows Appeal to BIA Where Filing Deadline Missed!

The 2nd Circuit Federal Court of Appeals has ruled that immigrants who missed the 30 day deadline for filing their notice of appeal from an Immigration Judge’s order of deportation, may be able to have that deadline equitably tolled, and to have their appeal heard on the merits, rather than have it dismissed.   This decision offers hope to immigrants who have been ordered deported; who have otherwise meritorious appeals; and who missed the filing deadline despite their best efforts under the circumstances.

The Court’s decision in Attipoe v. Barr, involved an immigrant whose efforts to appeal his deportation order were frustrated by the Judge’s failure to provide him proper notice of  his right to appeal; by the fact his detention by ICE limited his efforts to retain an attorney; and by his attorney’s failure to file his notice of  appeal on time.  The Court  reversed  the Board of Immigration Appeals’ determination  that missing the 30 day filing deadline by even one day meant the appeal must be dismissed – even if the non-citizen had a winning legal argument, and even if the late filing was not the immigrant’s fault.

In Attipoe, the Court rejected the BIA’s use of such a strict deadline to dismiss an otherwise meritorious appeal.  The Court directed the Board to formulate standards to determine when a late filed appeal should be subject to “equitable tolling”.   The Court’s decision in Attipoe offers new hope for immigrants who diligently tried to appeal of their deportation order, but whose appeals were dismissed due to a missed deadline, and through no fault of their own.

If you, a family member, or a friend have been deprived of the chance to appeal a deportation order due to a missed filing deadline; and if the order was entered by a Judge sitting in an Immigration Court located in New York or Connecticut; then the Second Circuit’s decision in Attipoe may provide a way for that appeal to be heard,  even if the filing deadline was missed, provided you can show the non-citizen act diligently in pursuing his rights during the 30 day period for filing the appeal, and in the period after the deadline and until actually filing a motion to accept a late filed notice of appeal.  If you or someone you know has had their appeal dismissed through no fault of their own, contact our office to schedule a consultation so we may determine whether the protections of the Attipoe decision apply to you.

CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL: TWO TRIALS, TWO SECOND CHANCES!

For lawful “permanent” residents, a criminal conviction often means deportation, banishment from this country and permanent separation from their family and friends. Fortunately, the immigration laws provide the opportunity to seek a  “second chance” for long term permanent residents with certain convictions.  The first battle is to demonstrate our client’s eligibility for this relief; once that battle is won,  the client must have a trial: referred to as an “individual” or a “merits” hearing, before an Immigration Judge, with a prosecutor who represents ICE.

With certain narrow exceptions, a conviction for any controlled substance offense renders a non-citizen deportable.  As a result of the opioid epidemic, and the widespread use of marijuana, many permanent residents will be placed into deportation-removal proceedings as the result of mistakes made, often many years in their past.

It is important to have an experienced criminal-immigration attorney defending these types of cases. Many immigration attorneys know how to prepare family based petitions, but lack trial experience. They feel nervous in the courtroom and are unfamiliar with how to try a case.  Others may have experience in Immigration Court, but have no foundation in criminal law and so do not understand the complex interplay between criminal and immigration law. Only an advocate experienced in both criminal and immigration law can guide you through these troubled waters. The Terezakis Law Firm has this expertise. Last week we won 2 trials in 3 days and brought our clients home.  Most importantly, we convinced the government to accept the Judges’ decisions as final, and so our clients were spared the expense and uncertainty of an appeal.

In the first case, our client stumbled into a major narcotics conspiracy after doing a friend “a favor” by buying him some cocaine.  He was one of 20 persons named in a  36 count indictment, which appeared to charge each defendant as a “Major Narcotics Trafficker”.  Careful review of the 100 paragraphs which described the criminal conduct in the single count which named our client, revealed he was never charged as a “Major Trafficker”, and  that only 2 paragraphs even referenced him: one involved his call to arrange the purchase, and the other, the purchase.   Had we not clarified the minor and tangential involvement of our client at the outset of the hearing,  it is unlikely the Judge would have ever considered the favorable evidence: our client’s history of working on the books and paying his taxes; his close and supportive relationship with his U.S. citizen children; his ties to his community; his modest lifestyle; his good moral character and his genuine remorse for his misconduct.

Our second client, also a permanent resident, was nearly rendered ineligible for cancellation of removal after his prior attorney negotiated a plea to an offense which would have been classified as a drug trafficking aggravated felony. Our client sought our counsel after pleading guilty to possession of a controlled substance, because he feared he might be deported.  He had pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine, but was advised the specific subdivision involved possession with intent to sell – which would be considered a drug trafficking aggravated felony. Our review of his plea minutes established he never admitted any intent to sell, and so we were able to vacate his guilty plea.  Our client ultimately re-pleaded to simple possession, as a felony, which preserved his eligibility for cancellation of removal.

By the time of his deportation hearing, 10 years had passed since his misconduct, and he never again violated the law.  We submitted proof of his successful completion of a drug treatment program shortly after his arrest, as well as the results of six months of recent drug testing which confirmed he had indeed stopped using any drugs.  We also documented his severe disability, due to a work related accident, with medical records and post-operative reports. In the end, his extensive family ties, the evidence of his rehabilitation, the severity of his disability, and his continued need for medical treatment in the U.S., tipped the balance and convinced the Judge and government attorney he deserved a grant of cancellation of removal. If his initial plea had not been vacated, however, he certainly would have been deported.

In each case, our client accepted responsibility for his actions; he pleaded guilty and served his sentence. Most importantly, we were able to demonstrate that on balance, our client deserved a second chance. At the Terezakis Law Firm,  our experience in criminal-immigration law, and in trying these hardest of cases, ensures our clients have the best possible chance of being granted a second chance to remain in the United States. After all, what is more American than a second chance for someone who deserves it?

The Most Meaningful Award I have Ever Received….

Yesterday, one of my clients stopped by my office and presented me with a framed award she had made for me herself!  When I met her, she was being held in detention and faced imminent deportation.  First we were able to vacate her in absentia removal order; next we applied for  an immigrant visa on her behalf through her U.S. citizen husband; then we had her deportation proceedings closed so we could apply for a provisional, 601(A),  waiver of her unlawful presence in the U.S., required before she could become a lawful permanent resident. After showing her husband would suffer the requisite hardship, she was granted the waiver, and then we were able to terminate her deportation proceedings.  We prepared her for her consular interview, and then she made the leap of faith and returned to El Salvador where, at the U.S. Embassy, she passed the final stage of the proceedings and was granted status as a lawful permanent resident. She  was able to return to this country to live with her husband and children as a permanent resident. After many years of uncertainty and fear, she finally has peace of mind!   Yesterday she stopped by our office, and she personally thanked me and the members of our office staff who made this possible for her. She presented me with this framed award she had made for me – words from her heart – the most meaningful award that I have ever received.

 

Translation:

“Dear George A. Terezakis, I extend these words of gratitude for the excellent work, thanks to God, and to you my esteemed attorney George, who with the vocation, endeavor and the efforts made every day….in three years, you were able to stop the deportation order I had pending …..and you made my dream a reality: to remain with my family in the United States,  and to achieve becoming a permanent resident of the United States, on September 14th, 2018. They say miracles can happen, and yes, they do! Without you we would not have succeeded.

My family and I will always be very grateful. May God bless you, your family, and your excellent staff who always treated me with great respect and always gave me the best answers to my concerns.

With great affection:

Elsy and Nelson”

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Terezakis Law Firm
170 Old Country Rd.
Suite 508
Mineola, NY 11501
Call Us 516-742-3838
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