Immigration and recovering from Northern California fires

by | Oct 17, 2017 | Firm News |

As Northern Californians begin to recover from recent fires, many immigrants will face additional hurdles including losing important immigration documents and potentially missing vital appointments. While these problems may not be the same as the loss of life or a home, we have seen clients harmed tremendously by the loss of documents or failure to maintain a current address with immigration agencies. For immigrants who have lost their homes or been forced to relocate, here are some key things to know.

ICE has suspended regular enforcement activity

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has announced it is temporarily suspending regular enforcement activity in areas harmed by the fires, including shelters and evacuation centers. ICE made similar statements for areas impacted by recent hurricanes, and it appears it kept those commitments. Therefore, while we are generally skeptical of ICE, this announcement should be reliable.

Therefore, immigrants, even those who are undocumented, should reach out to local authorities or other resources for assistance in recovery efforts. This includes shelters for people who have been forced to evacuate.

Recovering lost documents

USCIS can replace most lost immigration documents. While most of the applications have filing fees, some applicants may qualify for a fee waiver. Forms to replace key immigration documents include:

– Naturalization Certificate- N-556

– Lawful Permanent Resident or “Green” Card- I-90

– Work Permit- I-765

– Fee Waiver- I-912

Copies of immigration files

In addition to getting new original documents, people can request copies of their immigration files from USCIS through a form G-639.

Updating addresses

While address requirements may seem like a minor issue for those who have been forced to evacuate, immigration authorities will generally hold people responsible for receiving documents sent to the most current address they have on file. Therefore, failing to update an address can have disastrous effects for those with pending immigration cases. Also, non-citizens are required to update USCIS within ten days of moving, and can use the form AR-11.

Those in removal proceedings must notify the immigration court within five days of moving, through the Form EOIR-33. This address change is especially important because the immigration court will order respondents deported if they fail to attend a hearing. The court will send hearing notices to the most recent address they have on file, and people who do not update their address can therefore be ordered deported for missing a hearing that was held without their knowledge.

For those with immigration cases pending before other agencies, including citizens who have filed visa petitions, it is a good idea to also send a change of address notice to the office which has their file because information on AR-11s is not always connected to every application before the agency.

Non-citizens with reporting requirements to ICE are usually required to maintain a current address, but it will depend on the circumstances of their cases, so please review any paperwork you have from ICE. If you have lost your documents with your ICE requirements, you can call the San Francisco office at 415 844-5512. To be clear, we only recommend calling the local ICE office if you are certain you have reporting requirements, are certain you are otherwise in compliance with any instructions from them, and have lost your paperwork. In other situations, reaching out to ICE can be very risky, and should only be done after discussion with an attorney.

Missed appointments

Missing USCIS, ICE, or immigration court appointments can have disastrous consequences. USCIS will often deny applications if people fail to attend interviews, and ICE can detain and revoke orders of supervision for those who miss interviews with them. Generally, however, people can contact the agency to explain why the appointment was missed and request it be rescheduled. While every case is different, often agencies will excuse a failure to attend an interview, but it is important to ask for rescheduling promptly. (Note- failing to comply with an interview for a deportation or voluntary departure order can have serious consequences, and be more complicated to resolve. While it is important to act quickly, people in this situation should consult with an attorney first.)

If you missed a USCIS appointment, such as a biometrics intake or interview, please contact USCIS quickly to request a new date. If you have the appointment notice, it will include instructions on how to request a rescheduling. If you have lost all of your paperwork, you can either make an in-person appointment at the local office through a system called “InfoPass”, or call 1 800-375-5283.

As discussed above, non-citizens in removal proceedings will be ordered deported in their absence if they fail to attend a hearing. It may, however, be possible to reopen a deportation order by demonstrating the failure to attend was due to “extraordinary circumstances”. If you missed a hearing due to the fires, you may be able to argue it was due to “extraordinary circumstances”. Please note, that motions to reopen must generally be filed within 90 days of the judge’s order.

For those with upcoming immigration court hearings who have been displaced or otherwise harmed by the fire, it may be possible to request your hearing be postponed. If the court has not given you a hearing date, however, you should make every effort to attend the hearing, even if it is very difficult.

Free consultation for those harmed by the fires

As explained above, some people harmed by the fires should consult with an experienced immigration attorney. Therefore, until the end of November, we are offering free consultations to address immigration issues resulting from the fires. Depending on the situation, we may also reduce our legal fee for work on those cases. While it may be difficult for some displaced by the fires to come to Oakland, we offer appointments by phone and video-conference as well. Those seeking a free consultation should be sure to say that they are calling about an issue related to the fires.

Bean, Lloyd, Mukherji, & Taylor is an immigration law firm in Oakland, California

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Big News- Firm Merger and Consolidation to Oakland!

Bean + Lloyd, LLP and Park & Taylor has formed Bean, Lloyd, Mukherji, & Taylor, LLP

San Francisco Office has Moved to Join Oakland Office

We are thrilled to announce the merger of Bean + Lloyd, LLP and Park & Taylor, two highly respected Bay Area immigration law firms, which took place in April 2021. The new firm, Bean, Lloyd, Mukherji, & Taylor, LLP, combines decades of immigration experience in the subfields of family-based immigration, removal defense, asylum, humanitarian visas, and criminal immigration.

Additionally, the former Park & Taylor office in San Francisco has moved to join the Oakland office at 110 11th Street, Oakland, CA 94607. While the office is temporarily closed to the public due to COVID-19, our staff is still available by phone, email, and text message, and all consultations and client appointments will continue by phone or video. We look forward to physically reopening our expanded and improved Oakland office when it is safe to do so.

Partners Jesse Lloyd and Anita Mukherji, both certified specialists in immigration and nationality law by the California State Bar, lead the firm. Karyn Taylor has joined as Of Counsel, and Angela Bean remains as partner and Anna von Herrmann as Of Counsel. The Park & Taylor staff have brought their two decades of experience to the team.

Please contact us at (510) 433-1900 or with any inquiries.

¡Anuncio importante- Unión y Consolidación de Dos Bufetes! Bean + Lloyd, LLP y Park & Taylor han Formado Bean, Lloyd, Mukherji, & Taylor, LLP

La oficina de Park & Taylor se ha mudado para unirse a la oficina de Oakland

Estamos emocionados de anunciar la unión entre Bean + Lloyd, LLP y Park & Taylor, dos bufetes de inmigración muy respetados en el Área de la Bahía, lo cual ocurrió en abril del 2021. El bufete nuevo, Bean, Lloyd, Mukherji, & Taylor, LLP, combina décadas de experiencia en inmigración familiar, defensa de deportación, asilo, visas humanitarias, e inmigración criminal.

Además, la antigua oficina de Park & Taylor en San Francisco se ha mudado para unirse a la oficina de Oakland en 110 11th Street, Oakland, CA 94607. Nuestra oficina está temporalmente cerrada al público debido a COVID-19. Nuestro personal seguirá estando disponible por teléfono, correo electrónico y texto. Todas las consultas y citas de clientes, continuarán por teléfono o videollamada. Estamos emocionados para reabrir físicamente nuestra ampliada y mejorada oficina de Oakland cuando sea seguro hacerlo.

Los socios Jesse Lloyd y Anita Mukherji, dos especialistas certificados en ley de inmigración y nacionalidad por la Barra del Estado de California, dirigen el bufete. Karyn Taylor es abogada retirada pero se ha unido al bufete, Angela Bean permanece como socia y Anna von Herrmann sigue siendo parte del bufete. El personal de Park & Taylor ha compartido sus dos décadas de experiencia con el equipo.

Por favor contáctenos al (510) 433-1900 o con sus preguntas.

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