Attorney Mooradian spoke this weekend at St. Peter’s Church in Worcester regarding immigration benefits and warnings for those who might be thinking about applying for applications through notaries or non-attorneys.
Mooradian talked about three major immigration benefits before breaking off to conduct individualized consultations. First, he spoke about asylum, which is available for many undocumented individuals who fear return to their country of origin due to their race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Importantly, attorney noted, asylum is not available for those who cite generalized violence or desire for better economic opportunities. He also mentioned the one-year bar, and how failure to apply for asylum within one year of arriving to the United States might result in denial of that application.
Related to that issue, Mooradian discussed Cancellation of Removal, which has commonly been termed the “Ten Year Rule.” This rule allows an immigration judge to cancel or terminate removal from the United States if a respondent can demonstrate good moral character, an extreme hardship to a qualifying relative in his or her absence, and ten years of physical presence within the United States. However, many in the Salvadoran and other communities have been misled by notaries and some attorneys. They believe that, once they receive a work authorization, they will not face other consequences. Mooradian noted that for some, the 10 year rule can be a trap. In some ways, turning over all personal information to the immigration agency creates a more significant risk of immigration enforcement. At the same time, the extreme hardship standard can be difficult to prove, particularly if the given immigration judge is a difficult one. At the very least, Mooradian noted, clients should go in with open eyes about the fact that pursuing this type of relief will require them to face an immigration judge while in removal proceedings before the EOIR.
Finally, Mooradian spoke briefly about Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. This form of relief is available to immigrants under the age of 21 who have been neglected, abused, or abandoned by one or both parents, thus making reunification impossible. Indeed, these cases can be complex because they rely on work with the Probate and Family Courts, USCIS, and often, the immigration court. However, a large class of individuals is eligible for this relief. Often times, possible beneficiaries are not aware of these rights. Accordingly, public education in this area is essential.
Following the general presentation, Mooradian answered many individual questions, particularly with respect to TPS from El Salvador.
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