Law Offices of George Giosmas

25 years of experience

Hollywood Florida Immigration Law Blog

Private prisons and immigration

As you may have already heard, President Trump is tough on immigration. From his pledge to build a wall on the shared border with Mexico, to ending the Dreamer program that protects young immigrants from deportation, Trump has made choices that negatively affect immigration. However, one decision that hasn’t received much news coverage is his reversal of Obama’s phasing out of private prisons. This decision will have a significant impact for immigrants.

A private prison is a for-profit prison run by a private company that is contracted by the U.S. government. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported that private prisons held nearly three-quarters of federal immigration detainees in 2016.

How to obtain a stay of removal

If an immigrant living in Florida is selected for removal from the United States, it may be possible to obtain a stay of that action. This may be done automatically if an appeal is filed in a timely manner. If an appeal is made, it will be reviewed by the Board of Immigration Appeals. If a stay is granted, it will be in effect until a final decision can be made on the case.

Automatic stays may also be granted if a case is appealed directly to a judge based on the merits of a case. This may also be the case if a judge made the decision to not reopen an immigration case because the defendant was not present when the ruling was made. In the event that an automatic stay is not possible, the BIA may still consider a stay if it has the authority to do so.

Efforts begin to keep undocumented student in the U.S.

Florida residents might like to know about one immigration case that is making headlines. A wrong turn around 20 miles east of San Diego meant that a UC Berkeley student and his girlfriend found themselves at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on Dec. 30. This was a problem because the 20-year-old student was an undocumented alien who arrived in the U.S. from Colombia on a visa when he was 11-years-old.

Stringent immigration enforcement has been a priority issue for the Donald Trump White House, and the Trump administration has begun deportation proceedings for many allegedly illegal immigrants, including young people who have been in the U.S. for a long time and those who are students.

Haitians In South Florida Face Deportation In 2019

When temporary protection status (TPS) runs out in 2019, approximately 24,000 Haitians that live in southern Florida face deportation. The Trump administration decided in November of 2017 that Haitians residing in the United States under TPS will have to leave in July 2019 to return to a country still reeling from disasters, political corruption, and disease.

Chaos In Haiti

Refugee figures fall sharply in 2017

Florida residents may not be surprised to learn that the number of refugees admitted to the United States plummeted during the first year of President Trump's administration. Trump vowed to tighten border controls and closely scrutinize those seeking entry into the country during a contentious election campaign, and figures from the Department of State indicate that the policies he put into place led to fewer refugees being admitted in 2017 than in any year since this data was first made available in 2002.

The State Department data reveals that 29,022 refugees were admitted into the United States between Trump's inauguration and the end of 2017. Refugee figures were as high as 217,000 under President Reagan and fluctuated between 70,000 and 80,000 under Presidents Bush and Obama. Things are not likely to improve for those fleeing persecution abroad in 2018 as Trump has chosen to reduce the annual refugee cap to 45,000 in the year ahead. This is the lowest figure since Congress created the program in 1980.

What happens if your immigrant visa sponsor dies?

It’s an unfortunate, unlucky situation. You’re in the process of immigrating to the U.S., but your visa sponsor suddenly passes away. On top of the grief you’re experiencing from losing a family member, all of the sudden your immigration status is in jeopardy.

What can you do in this situation? What happens next?

Plan to separate asylum-seeking families returns

Some people in Florida may have heard of a policy proposed in March by then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to separate families at the border who were applying for asylum. This was viewed as a way to reduce immigration. However, there was a public outcry against the idea, and immigration numbers were also relatively low at the time.

The number of immigrants crossing the border has risen again. In April, it was fewer than 12,000, but in November, there were more than 29,000. As a result, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has approved the plan to split up families as has the White House. Although even some immigration hard-liners are against it, the Trump administration supports it as the only way to reduce immigration numbers. The plan must be approved by Kirstjen Nielsen, the DHS secretary.

Guardianship plan may be needed for undocumented immigrants

New immigration policies heightening the detention of undocumented immigrants can lead to a new problem: caring for the children of those detained. With more than 5 million children of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., the problem could worsen in the coming years. For undocumented persons in the Florida area and elsewhere, some preventive measures may be in order.

One case illustrates the tragedy that can ensue after detention. Several years ago, an undocumented woman in Nebraska was arrested and detained. At the time, she was caring for an infant daughter and 7-year-old son. After a month in detention, she was deported back to Guatemala. The problem was that her children remained in the U.S. as wards of the State of Nebraska. She was not allowed to see her children before deportation.

Minor immigrants held without hearing are released

A recent class-action decision by a judge is considered a victory for detained immigrants. The decision may force law enforcement officers and ICE officials in Florida and across the country to revise their procedures.

In the case, the lead plaintiff was a high school-aged immigrant living in Miami. He was seen writing "503" on his notebook, and local law enforcement was contacted. "503" is a sign for an El Salvador gang, but it is also the international calling code for that country.

How new policy changes could create challenges for asylum seekers

There have been a lot of changes coming from the White House in the past year. We’ve heard about plans to build a wall and bans on immigrants with a certain nationality or religion. There have been a lot of efforts to tighten border security and reduce immigration. One policy change that hasn’t made many headlines, though, is a change that impacts the treatment of asylum seekers in the United States.

“Asylum” refers to a special circumstance under which a foreigner is granted entry into the U.S. If a person has fled their home country, where they have a legitimate fear of being tortured, persecuted or killed, they may be granted asylum—a place to legally live—in another country.