IIIC Welcomes Summer Interns

The IIIC welcomes aboard our new interns to assist the IIIC staff throughout the summer with our programs and services including Wellness, Legal, Education and Learning Exchange. Pictured above are Marielle Riveros, Sophie Kazis, Ashley Wagner, Stephanie Toronto, Adam Ladhani and Rachel Quinn.

Intern and volunteer positions offer wonderful opportunities for someone interested in immigration or social justice to become part of a team of people dedicated to helping newcomers to this country. We are currently accepting applications for the fall including positions in the Finance and Legal Services departments. College students; retired people, parents, and people in the workforce have all made an impact as volunteers. Anyone can help at the IIIC!

For additional information, contact Blair Kahn at 617-542-7654, Ext. 18 or email: volunteering@iiicenter.org

Immigration News


Q: I am a US permanent resident, but I’ve been staying in Ireland for the past nine months and I’m concerned that I may have a problem getting back into the US. I didn’t intend to stay here so long, but after I arrived home, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and I needed to take care of her. Could I have difficulty returning to the US as a permanent resident?

A: There are several ways in which a lawful permanent resident (LPR) can lose US immigration status, and leaving the US for extended periods is one. Once lost, LPR status can be regained only by beginning the LPR application process all over again.

The rule of thumb for permanent residents is that you should spend more time in the US than outside, and you should make no trips that last 180 days (6 months) or longer. When returning from a trip abroad, you must demonstrate that your trip outside the US was temporary and that you have not abandoned your primary residence in the US.

If you remain outside the US for over six months or engage in activities that indicate that your permanent residence is no longer in the US, US border patrol may decide that you have voluntarily abandoned your permanent residence. If this happens, either you will be asked to sign a document that formally acknowledges that you abandoned your residence, or you will be placed in removal proceedings and asked to prove to an Immigration Judge that you have not abandoned your residence.

Many people believe that they can retain their LPR status simply by making brief trips into the US each year. That is not correct. If your actual permanent residence is not in the US, you have abandoned your US immigration status. U.S. border patrol looks at not only lengthy absences but also frequent absences in deciding if you have abandoned your status.

The factors that may determine the temporary nature of trips outside the US include :

· Are your actual home and place of employment still in the US?

· Did you have a definite temporary reason to travel abroad, such as study or a short-term employment assignment?

· Did you expect to return to the US within a relatively short time?

· Are you returning to the US when expected? If not, what circumstances caused you to spend additional time abroad? Were these circumstances within your control?

· Where are your family ties, property, business affiliations, etc.?

· Have you filed US tax returns as a resident of the US?

In your particular case, it seems you did not intend to abandon your US LPR status. Obtain evidence of your mother’s diagnosis to illustrate to US immigration inspectors why you remained away for nine months. Evidence could include letters from her doctors and records from the hospital. You also should assemble evidence to address the points outlined above. Return to the US as a LPR sooner rather than later and within a year of your departure. An absence from the US of a year or longer likely would cause the loss of your permanent residence status.

As a final note, if you anticipate a prolonged absence from the US, apply for a reentry permit, which preserves your residence for up to 2 years. This application must be filed prior to your departure. (See reentry permit application Form I-131 at www.uscis.gov).

Disclaimer: These articles are published to inform generally, not to advise in individual cases. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services and US Department of State frequently amend regulations and alter processing and filing procedures. For legal advice, seek the assistance of IIIC immigration legal staff.

Your Voice Counts!

John, a former citizenship client, dropped by the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC) last week. John, originally from Ireland, lived in the U.S.as a permanent resident for a long time until he became a U.S. citizen earlier this year. He told us that he had just come from a job interview, which he thought went extremely well. The last question the interviewer asked was “You are authorized to work, aren’t you?” He replied proudly, “I sure am. I’m an American citizen!”

John is enjoying a lot of “firsts” this year. This was his first Independence Day holiday as a citizen and he is eagerly looking forward to his first opportunity to vote in the fall elections.

Up on Beacon Hill, lawmakers are continuing consideration of several proposed bills that could have a beneficial impact on the immigrant community in Massachusetts. Among these are the Higher Education Equity bill and the Safe Driving bill. Like politicians everywhere, our legislators respond to the voices they hear from their constituents. There is no better advocacy than making yourself heard! The Earned Sick Time legislation, which took effect on July 1, became law as the direct result of a voter referendum in last November’s General Election.

Maybe, like John, you have been in the U.S. for a long time and never really got around to applying for naturalization. It is never too to decide if it is time to take that final step. Remember, as a member of the community, your opinions count but they would count a lot more if you’ve got the right to vote behind your voice.

If you decide to move forward, the IIIC is here to help. On Tuesdays (11 AM-1 PM) and Thursdays (2-5 PM), we have open hours at our Downtown Crossing office for U.S. citizenship inquiries and assistance. Get your questions answered and obtain information about our six-week Citizenship Preparation class beginning in September. For additional details, contact Ambreen at 617-542-7654, Ext. 41 or email: aahmad@iicenter.org

Like our friend John, you might be starting out the coming year with many “firsts” in your life!

Support Affordable College Education for Immigrant Students

Join the IIIC in supporting higher education for all. The Joint Committee on Higher Education will hold a public hearing on the Higher Education Equity Bill on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 10:30 AM at the State House, Room B-2 (by Sen Chang-Diaz, S.654 and Rep Provost, H.1061). Show your support by signing and sharing this petition: http://chn.ge/1BJkVsa and attend the hearing if you can.

Quote of the Week

“I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.” – James Joyce