Texas judge issues order temporarily halting DAPA and expanded DACA programs included in President Obama’s Executive Action

On February 16, a U.S. District Court judge in Texas issued an order that temporarily halts the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that were included in President Obama’s Executive Action from last November. The White House will appeal this order today to the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The Irish International Immigrant Center and other immigrant organizations expect the order to be lifted, although until that happens, no one can apply for DAPA or the expanded DACA program.

IIIC’s managing attorney Jeannie Kain says, “We encourage everyone to stay informed about Executive Action and continue to prepare for the application process so they are ready to apply as soon as the order is lifted.”

Some details about these programs:

Expanded DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) for anyone brought to the U.S. before age 16, who has lived in the U.S. since January 1, 2010, and who meet certain other requirements related to education and lack of criminal history. This will also include employment authorization valid for 3 years and permission to travel under very limited circumstances. DAPA - deferred action for immigrants living in the U.S. since January 1, 2010 who are parents of U.S. Citizens and permanent residents – this will include employment authorization valid for 3 years and permission to travel under very limited circumstances.

“We hope that the moms, dads, and young men and women from Ireland, and from around the world who are eligible for these new programs will not be discouraged by this delay. There have been many turns in the road on this journey, and this latest development is just a bump in the road. As a community, let’s remain hopeful” said Ronnie Millar, Executive Director.

Immigration News


Q. I have just been granted permanent resident status in the US. Can you give a summary of my rights and responsibilities regarding such issues as travel abroad, reentering the US, losing my green card, and registering for service in the armed forces?

A. With your permanent resident status (‘green card”), you can live and work legally anywhere in the US. You can petition US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for green cards for your spouse and unmarried children. Generally, after living here for four years and nine months (two years and nine months if your status is based on the fact that your spouse is a US citizen and you are still living in marital union with him/her), you can apply to become a US citizen.

You can travel outside the US whenever you like. You must have your green card, along with a valid foreign passport, with you to present to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) when you reenter the US. You should keep a record of the dates each time you leave and return (backed up if possible with travel documents such as airline tickets and boarding cards), and it is important always to reenter the US legally by using a CBP border checkpoint, including brief trips over the border to Canada and Mexico.

When you travel abroad, you must be careful not to “abandon” your residence in the US. If you want to leave for more than 12 months, you must get a "reentry permit" from USCIS before you leave or CBP will presume that you have abandoned your status and may not readmit you. A reentry permit is granted at the discretion of USCIS for specific purposes, for example, going abroad to attend university, or going to your original home country to take care of an elderly or ill parent. In addition, if you leave for more than six months but less than a year, you are not automatically presumed to have abandoned your US permanent residence, but you can face scrutiny on this issue from CBP when you return. It is important to consult with us at IIIC or with your immigration lawyer before taking a trip out of the US lasting more than six months.

Even if you have a green card, the immigration authorities can prevent you from reentering the US, or deport you if you are in this country, because of a conviction for certain acts or crimes. Certain offenses that may not seem very serious could be viewed as grounds for deportation, or they could keep you from being readmitted if you leave the US, or from obtaining US citizenship. If you are charged with a crime, it is ESSENTIAL that you consult an immigration lawyer as well as a lawyer specializing in criminal cases, as the law involving the effect of criminal offenses on immigration issues is extremely complex.

If you are a male at least 18 years old and under 26 at the time when you got your green card, your responsibilities include registering with Selective Service (even though there is no military conscription in effect in the US at this time). If you do not register, you may be subject to criminal prosecution. If convicted, you could be deported. Failing to register may also prevent or delay you from becoming a US citizen. You can get the necessary form at any post office, or you can register online at www.sss.gov.

Other responsibilities of permanent residents include filing accurate federal and state tax returns annually and paying any taxes that you owe; reporting any change of address to USCIS within 10 days; and having your children who are permanent residents register with USCIS within 10 days of turning 14.

Your green card does not entitle you to vote in US elections or serve on juries – you must be a US citizen for that. Doing so as a legal permanent resident amounts to a false claim of US citizenship and can have very serious consequences.

USCIS has issued a pamphlet entitled “Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants.” This publication is available in fourteen languages at no cost to view or download from the USCIS web site, www.uscis.gov. It contains detailed information on your rights and responsibilities, as well as discussion of many practical issues facing new residents: finding jobs and accommodations, health care, education and childcare, taxes, learning English, and so on. This would be a good place for general orientation if you have questions in these areas. Keep in mind, however, that while the publication was current when it was last revised in 2007, laws and regulations are subject to change at any time and can vary significantly from state to state. In addition, no general publication can fully address the particulars of your individual situation

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

In Memoriam – Sheila Conneely

The staff of the IIIC was saddened to learn of the recent death of the mother of former IIIC Outreach Coordinator, Gobnait Conneely. Mrs. Sheila Conneely passed away on February 14 in Galway, Ireland at the age of 92. Sister Lena Deevy, Executive Director Emerita of the IIIC, attended the funeral and recalled her visit several years ago with Mrs. Conneely. “She was so proud of her family and her great legacy will continue in them and her grandchildren. She was a very warm and kind woman and I send my sincere and heartfelt condolences to Gobnait and to her family,” said Sister Lena. The IIIC staff and Gobnait’s many friends all share that sentiment.

IIIC Upcoming Events

Thursday, February 26th

U.S. Citizenship Clinic

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will honor Presidents Day by welcoming approximately 5,000 new U.S. citizens during nearly 40 naturalization ceremonies across the country. Similar ceremonies will be held around the Fourth of July. You could be one of these new citizens if you apply for naturalization now. Come to the IIIC clinic on February 26 to begin your U.S. naturalization application. For further details see ad below or contact Ambreen at 617-542-7654, Ext. 41.

Wednesday March 4th, 6pm – 8pm

IIIC Trivia Night at the Burren

The Burren | 247 Elm Street, Somerville

All you trivia buffs! Join the IIIC at the Burren in Davis Square, Somerville for a Trivia Showdown. Test your knowledge against Boston’s premier quizmaster, Neil Hurley. Prizes awarded but most of all, this is a chance to get together in a cozy pub to welcome the month of March. For more info contact Paul Pelan at [email protected] | 617-542-7654 ext. 16.

Thursday March 5th 5.30pm – 7.30pm

Open House at IIIC

IIIC | 100 Franklin Street LL-1, Boston, 02110 (Enter at 201 Devonshire)

Join us March 5th for an IIIC Open House (rescheduled from January 29). Meet staff, students, volunteers and board members and hear about our plans for 2015. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP by March 3rd to Mary Kerr at [email protected] or 617-695-1554.

Tuesday, March 24th 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Family Healing Workshops

Laboure Center, 275 West Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127

A four week Workshop Series learning about Alcohol/Substance Abuse and its impact on you, your family and our community. March 24th, 31st and April 7th and 14th. Contact Danielle Owen, 617-542-7654, ext.14 0r [email protected]

Thursday April 2nd 7.30am – 9am

6th Annual Business Leaders Breakfast

Boston Harbor Hotel | Rowes Wharf Boston

On Thursday, April 2, the Irish International Immigrant Center will hold our 6th annual Business Leaders Breakfast featuring guest speaker The Hon. Joseph P. Kennedy III. All proceeds support the legal, wellness and education services of the IIIC. Please contact Mary Kerr for more information at[email protected] | 617-695-1554.

Job Opportunity at the IIIC: Irish Outreach Program Coordinator

The IIIC is seeking an Irish Outreach Program Coordinator to reach out and connect with the Irish community, supporting Irish immigrants’ access to IIIC’s legal, wellness and career advancement services, and other support services. In addition, the Irish Outreach Program Coordinator will assist with the day-to-day operations of the J-1 Irish Work and Travel Program.

An understanding of the Irish immigrant community in the Greater Boston area preferred in that the work requires the building of relationships with employers as well as with pubs, restaurants, and health centers that serve the Irish community.

For a full job description and application submission instructions, see our website at iiicenter.org (Go to: Get Involved/Career Opportunities)

Quote of the Week

“February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March” – J.R. Stockton