Law Offices of George Giosmas

25 years of experience

Hollywood Florida Immigration Law Blog

Supreme Court ruling troubles immigrants with criminal records

A Supreme Court ruling has prompted concern among immigrants and their loved ones in Florida, especially if they are close to someone with a previous criminal conviction. According to the ruling, the government can detain immigrants with prior criminal records, even if years have since followed their release from criminal detention. They can be held in immigration detention without a bond hearing according to the 5-4 decision, split along common political lines.

The case hinged on the question of whether immigrants can be detained without a bond hearing only immediately after their release from criminal custody or if they can be subject to immigration detention without a bond hearing even months or years after they have returned to society. The text of the statute allows for immigration detention "when the alien is released" from criminal custody. A group of legal permanent residents in the United States with prior criminal convictions that could lead to their removal challenged the government's interpretation that this meant detention could happen any time after a release.

Ninth Circuit rules denied asylum seekers have appeal rights

A recent ruling in the Ninth Circuit might give hope to asylum seekers in Florida and throughout the US. The ruling dealt with asylum seekers who are denied refugee status by Customs and Border Patrol agents who find that they do not meet the credible fear test.

The case involved a Tamil man from Sri Lanka who entered the US in 2017 and requested asylum. The man claimed to have been beaten and tortured for supporting a political candidate in his home country. The Tamil people are an ethnic minority in Sri Lanka. The CBP agent found that the man did not have a credible fear of returning to his country and denied his request for asylum.

5 things you should know about immigration removal proceedings

Many people in Florida live in fear of deportation. If ICE has detained you or a loved one and you worry the government may deport you, this can be a very scary time for your family. In order to prepare for the road ahead, you need to understand what happens during a removal proceeding. Here are five things you should know:

Asylum-seekers travel across the country while they wait

Seeking asylum has been in the news in Florida and throughout the country for some time. Some people remain unaware that entering the U.S. to seek asylum is legal. People are allowed to present themselves to a border patrol agent and to ask for asylum. They are then interviewed, and if they meet the credible fear test, they are allowed to remain in the U.S. while their asylum cases are processed.

According to news sources, many asylum-seekers who are released from detention are given ankle monitors to track their movements and allowed to travel to the homes of relatives in the U.S. Many asylum-seekers take long bus rides on Greyhound buses to reach their destinations.

Report highlights problems in immigration detention system

For many immigrants in Florida, worries about detention may loom large. An increasing amount of attention has been drawn to detention and deportation due to the shifting immigration policies of the Trump administration, even as migrant justice advocates have been working for years to change the conditions and reduce the usage of detention for immigrants.

The California Department of Justice issued a report dealing with immigration detention facilities in its state and noted serious problems, including a lack of access to medical health care, especially mental health treatment, barriers to accessing legal counsel and major language problems and a lack of translation. Advocates noted that while immigration detention facilities are not prisons, their effect on the people held there can be essentially the same. In addition, barriers to securing legal representation can be particularly challenging as the immigration law system can be confusing.

Rapper 21 Savage released from immigration detention center

Florida readers might be interested to learn that rapper 21 Savage was released on bond from a Georgia immigration detention center on Feb. 12. The 26-year-old U.K. national was detained by officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Feb. 3 while on his way to a performance in Atlanta.

Savage, who was born She'yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, came to the United States legally when he was 7 years old. He visited the United Kingdom for one month in 2005 and returned to the U.S. under an H-4 visa in July of that year. However, that visa expired in 2006. According to his legal team, he is an innocent victim of the situation, left with an unfixable immigration status due to the way he was brought into the country as a child. They further claim he has made "extraordinary contributions" to society during his 20 years living in America and was waiting to be approved for a U visa at the time of his detainment.

University makes public letters written by asylum seekers

As part of a project sponsored by San Diego State University, volunteers wrote letters to asylum seekers detained by the United States government at a private detention center in Otay Mesa, California. In February 2019, the university released hundreds of letters written by the asylum seekers in response. The letters written by the detainees have been digitized and made available to the public online. Observers report that the letters serve to humanize the asylum seekers and, as a result, make the public more sympathetic to their plight and that of immigrants in Florida seeking to obtain permanent residency in the United States.

The university started the project as a way to educate the public regarding the conditions inside immigration detention centers. The American public has little access to information regarding the privately owned and operated center, at which refugees face hunger, forced labor and medical neglect. Another goal of the project was to humanize the detainees and inform the public regarding the desperate conditions from which the detainees were fleeing.

The history and uses of deportation orders

People in Florida may find themselves facing a deportation order after committing a crime or overstaying a visa. Both documented and undocumented immigrants may be deported from the United States.

Historically, people have been deported from their countries for a number of reasons. For example, until 1730, England sent people to the American colonies for religious reasons. In the past, criminals from England were deported to penal colonies in such places as Australia and the state of Georgia. When mass deportations occur, they are often at the order of a country's executive authority instead of the court system. In some cases, countries have used deportation to get rid of people the authorities considered politically undesirable.

Amendment introduced to reduce immigration detention

Immigrants in Florida who are seeking asylum might be less likely to be placed in detention if a budget amendment introduced in Congress is successful. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, introduced the amendment, which was approved by the House of Representatives in January.

The amendment would prohibit funds being transferred from the Coast Guard to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be used for construction and maintenance of facilities for detaining immigrants. More immigrants are imprisoned in the United States than in any other country, and the diversion of over $200 million from various agencies facilitated the detentions carried out by the Trump administration. Restricting the use of funds is one step toward ending this practice of detention.

How deportation could affect your children

If you have ever made friends with someone who immigrated to the United States, you probably recognize the richness he or she added to your life. Trying ethnic foods, learning new words and having exposure to different cultural norms likely helped expand your mind. As your friendship grew, you probably came to understand that though your backgrounds were different, you connected regardless.

While news reports have shown increasing numbers of people being deported, you may not grasp how detrimental that can be to someone who has worked to create a new life here in America. For some people facing deportation, remaining in the country might be possible. But for others, it could be life-altering in more ways than you may realize.