Attorney Mooradian presented in Spanish to a group of advocates from COSECHA Worcester, a nonprofit organization that promotes immigrants’ rights. Mooradian spoke about Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, which is an immigration benefit and path to citizenship that can also be used as a remedy to prevent deportation.
During the presentation, Mooradian advised the advocates and community members about the importance of social movements toward immigration reform. He noted that there are many needed reforms, particularly affecting quality of life of immigrants, and including needed legislative changes around drivers’ licenses. Mooradian noted that in the absence of a social change, there are limitations to the law that are impossible for attorneys to overcome. However, an awareness of the benefits and defenses available to vulnerable immigrant populations can be critical.
Mooradian spoke about several areas of immigration relief:
Aslyum: a defense to deportation and affirmative benefit for those who have a subjectively held and objectively reasonable fear of persecution in their home country, which is caused by the government or which the government is unable or unwilling to mitigate, and which is held on account of their race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
U Visas: a benefit and possible defense for those in removal who have assisted law enforcement in the prosecution of a crime of which they were themselves a victim.
T Visas: a benefit available for victims of serious human trafficking.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status: an immigration benefit and path to citizenship, as well as defense to deportation, for those who are under 21 years of age, who have been neglected, abused, or abandoned by one or both of their parents; who are unable to reunify with their parent; who are dependent on the court, who are unmarried; and whose best interests are served by remaining in the United States versus returning to their country of origin.
Mooradian noted that many of those who are actually working for the government, such as officials for ICE and the Department of Homeland Security, are surpassing the limits proscribed by law. Numerous instances of constitutional violations by government agencies have recently been reported by the media. Thus, it is important that immigrants and non-immigrants remain educated about immigrants’ rights and at the least aware of the defenses and benefits that might be available, as well as the limits of governmental authority.