Leading Immigration Attorney Says Trump’s Latest Immigration Policy Plan Admits Talent into the Country at the Expense of Family Ties

Kerry Bretz
Kerry Bretz, Partner, Bretz & Coven, LLP

New York, New York — As part of a new immigration plan, President Donald J. Trump announced that he would grant more visas to immigrants coming into the country who meet certain job skills or employment opportunities, while reducing the number of immigrants who come in because their family member currently lives in the United States. Kerry Bretz, Partner, Bretz & Coven, LLP, says the president’s proposal has nothing to do with bringing in job talent overseas, but with breaking up families.

On May 16, President Trump announced a new plan to bring in more immigrants who can contribute to the U.S. workforce, provided they can show proficiency in the English language, have a strong educational background and pass a civics exam. Meanwhile, fewer noncitizens who are seeking to enter the country because their family member lives here would be admitted.

Mr. Bretz says he sees ethnically diverse neighborhoods such as Jackson Heights, Queens, in which immigrants, who have come into the country as the result of family reunification, become part of the neighborhood’s economy. “The innuendo from President Trump is that those uneducated and unskilled family members do nothing for the economy, but it isn’t true,” he says. “There are tons of neighborhoods in the U.S., like Jackson Heights, that would have a poorly performing economy if it weren’t for these unskilled and uneducated family members.”

President Trump’s proposal would offer 60 percent of visas to those seeking work in the U.S. Currently, only 12 percent receive such visas. Mr. Bretz says there is legislation that already exists for noncitizens seeking work visas. “What he wants to do is end family reunification,” he says. “The employment-based portion of our laws can be improved upon, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of family petitions.”

For more information, call (212) 267-2555 or visit www.bretzlaw.com.

Leading Immigration Attorney Comments on Supreme Court’s Decision Not to Honor Notices to Appear That Do Not Specify the Date and Time of Any Removal Hearings

Kerry Bretz
Kerry Bretz, Partner, Bretz & Coven, LLP

New York, New York — In a decision that can be considered a victory for non-citizens possibly facing removal, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that, if a notice to appear does not indicate a date and time when the person is supposed to attend removal proceedings, then it is defective and, therefore, cannot stop time for the physical presence requirement. Kerry Bretz, Partner, Bretz & Coven, LLP, says that eligible non-citizens who have been living in the U.S. and have received an incomplete notice to appear can now apply for 10-year cancellation of removal.

In Pereira v. Sessions, the plaintiff, a non-citizen who came from Brazil, was ordered removed in absentia when he did not answer a notice to appear. In 2006, the Department of Homeland Security issued the plaintiff a notice to appear for his initial hearing, but it did not provide him a date and time; instead, it ordered him to appear at a date and time to be determined. In 2007, the immigration court sent a notice to appear with the date and time, but it was sent to the wrong address and the notice was returned as undeliverable. The plaintiff claimed that he never received the notice to appear and argued that he was eligible for cancellation of removal because he lived in the U.S. continuously for 10 years. The immigration court and the Bureau of Immigration Appeals rejected the plaintiff’s argument.

On June 21, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of the plaintiff. “[A]n essential function of a ‘notice to appear’ is to provide non-citizens ‘notice’ of the information (i.e., the ‘time’ and ‘place’) that would enable them ‘to appear’ at the removal hearing in the first place,” the Court wrote. “Without conveying such information, the Government cannot reasonably expect non-citizens to appear for their removal proceedings.”

Under certain circumstances, non-citizens who have accumulated 10 years of continuous physical presence in the U.S. may be eligible to apply for 10-year cancellation of removal. However, once the government issues a notice to appear to the non-citizen, it triggers a “stop-time” rule and the individual is no longer able to accrue time towards the physical presence requirement. The Supreme Court’s recent decision allows non-citizens to continue to accumulate physical presence if the notice is considered to be defective because it does not provide a date and time for a hearing.

Mr. Bretz says the Pereira decision will be far-reaching beyond typical removal cases. He also noted the U.S. government admitted that almost none of the notices they sent out in the last three years provided a date and time for the hearing.

“This decision may impact a wide range of cases, including those who failed to appear in immigration court and were ordered removed and deported in absentia, those who have already been ordered removed and deported and those whose cases are pending or on appeal,” he says. “This is an indication that this Supreme Court — even with Trump appointees — is concerned about erosions of due process under the Trump administration.”

For more information, call (212) 267-2555.

Kerry Bretz Comments on Supreme Court’s Decision to Uphold DACA

New York, New York — One week before the March 5 deadline for Congress to come up with a bill to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Trump administration’s challenge to a federal court ruling to allow DACA to continue operating. Kerry Bretz, Partner, Bretz & Coven, LLP, says the ruling will allow the approximately 700,000 DACA recipients, known as “Dreamers,” to stay in the country.

On September 5, 2017, the Justice Department announced that the DACA program would end on March 5, 2018, and no new applications would be accepted. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions argued that DACA is unconstitutional, stating it provides across-the-board amnesty to those who entered the Obama-era program since 2012. A series of lawsuits were filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California against the Trump administration to prevent the end of DACA and, on January 9, 2018, a U.S. District Court judge in San Francisco ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and ordered the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to renew the permits of existing DACA recipients.

The Trump administration challenged the lower court’s ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court. On February 26, 2018, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, meaning the Court of Appeals’ decision stands.

“I am glad to see the U.S. Supreme Court allow the judicial process to take place,” Mr. Bretz says. “Those who have been in this country under the protection of DACA should continue to stay here. I believe the president overplayed his hand in trying to challenge the lower court’s decision while the Court of Appeals continued to review the case. Any DACA recipient who needs assistance with their permit renewals should meet with an immigration law attorney immediately.”

For more information, call (212) 267-2555 or visit www.bretzlaw.com.

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About Bretz & Coven, LLP

Bretz & Coven, LLP is an immigration law firm located in New York, New York and Clark, New Jersey. The firm serves clients in and around the tri-state area, including Brooklyn, New York City, the Bronx, Queens, Kings County and Richmond County. Its team of dedicated attorneys is known for taking on cases that other lawyers turn down. Bretz & Coven assists individuals and their families understand the process of obtaining citizenship, New York residency or a green card and offer them a full range of options, including adjustment of status, asylum, available types of visas, waivers, removal defense and special programs and treaties. The attorneys can also help immigrants avoid deportation. For more information, call (212) 267-2555 or visit www.bretzlaw.com.

Kerry Bretz Comments on Trump Administration’s Decision to Expel Salvadoran Immigrants from the United States

New York, New York — After staying in the United States for more than 15 years, 200,000 Salvadoran non-citizens, who were granted Temporary Protected Status when they came to this country after earthquakes damaged their houses back home, have been told they must leave the U.S. Kerry Bretz, Partner, Bretz & Coven, LLP, says this directive by President Donald J. Trump will hurt these protected individuals who have since contributed to this country.

In 2001, two earthquakes hit El Salvador, killing approximately 1,000 people and destroying more than 100,000 homes. Those Salvadorans who came to the U.S. were granted Temporary Protected Status by then-President George W. Bush. Both he and his successor, then-President Barack Obama, renewed the Salvadorans’ status every 18 months, citing the Central American country had still not stabilized yet from the disasters and ongoing violence from the drug cartels.

On January 8, 2018, President Trump announced that he is ending Temporary Protected Status for these non-citizens effective September 2019. He stated that, if they stay beyond the deadline, they will be considered illegal immigrants and face deportation. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the country has since rebuilt from the earthquakes and it is no longer considered to be in a state of emergency.

“This measure affects thousands of Salvadoran non-citizens living on Long Island and the New York metropolitan area,” Mr. Bretz says. “Some may be eligible for other forms of relief, like the cancellation of removal or political asylum, but others already have final orders of removal. None of them have criminal histories, as it would have made them ineligible for the program. Temporary Protected Status has allowed them to work legally and pay taxes, as so many have done.”

For more information, call (212) 267-2555 or visit www.bretzlaw.com.

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About Bretz & Coven, LLP

Bretz & Coven, LLP is an immigration law firm located in New York, New York and Clark, New Jersey. The firm serves clients in and around the tri-state area, including Brooklyn, New York City, the Bronx, Queens, Kings County and Richmond County. Its team of dedicated attorneys is known for taking on cases that other lawyers turn down. Bretz & Coven assists individuals and their families understand the process of obtaining citizenship, New York residency or a green card and offer them a full range of options, including adjustment of status, asylum, available types of visas, waivers, removal defense and special programs and treaties. The attorneys can also help immigrants avoid deportation. For more information, call (212) 267-2555 or visit www.bretzlaw.com.

Kerry Bretz Comments on President Trump’s Reversal of His Decision to Deport “Dreamers”

Kerry Bretz
Kerry Bretz, Partner, Bretz & Coven, LLP

New York, New York — After campaigning on the promise to round up and deport the 11 million non-citizens covered under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) living in the United States, President Donald J. Trump announced today that he has endorsed a deal with Congressional Republicans and Democrats to provide those non-citizens known as “Dreamers” a pathway to citizenship. Kerry Bretz, Partner, Bretz & Coven, LLP, says the president’s reversal on his immigration stance is welcome and will allow non-citizens who came to the United States as children to live and work in the U.S.

President Trump announced that he is backing an immigration deal that would codify the protections under DACA. This would prevent 700,000-800,000 young immigrants, known as “Dreamers,” from being deported. However, as part of the deal, the president wants Congress to provide funding for the wall to be built along the U.S.-Mexico border, end “chain migration” — which allows those to enter the country because their relatives reside in the U.S. — and cancel the diversity visa lottery program. The announcement preceded a decision from a federal judge in San Francisco to block the Trump administration from ending DACA.

“I am pleased to see President Trump change his mind on DACA,” Mr. Bretz says. “If the president holds true to his decision about DACA, Dreamers may be able to continue to live and work in this country without fear. However, lack of agreement on the other issues — the border wall and ending ‘chain migration’ and the diversity visa lottery — might sink the deal.”

For more information, call (212) 267-2555 or visit www.bretzlaw.com.

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About Bretz & Coven, LLP

Bretz & Coven, LLP is an immigration law firm located in New York, New York and Clark, New Jersey. The firm serves clients in and around the tri-state area, including Brooklyn, New York City, the Bronx, Queens, Kings County and Richmond County. Its team of dedicated attorneys is known for taking on cases that other lawyers turn down. Bretz & Coven assists individuals and their families understand the process of obtaining citizenship, New York residency or a green card and offer them a full range of options, including adjustment of status, asylum, available types of visas, waivers, removal defense and special programs and treaties. The attorneys can also help immigrants avoid deportation. For more information, call (212) 267-2555 or visit www.bretzlaw.com.