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Maureen Sweeney, JD Rebecca Bowman-Rivas, LCSW-C.

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Presentation on theme: "Maureen Sweeney, JD Rebecca Bowman-Rivas, LCSW-C."— Presentation transcript:

1 Maureen Sweeney, JD Rebecca Bowman-Rivas, LCSW-C

2 University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law - Clinical Program Ranked 5th nationally (US News & World Report) States largest public interest law firm 20-25 clinical offerings each year Immigration Clinic Social workers provide services for clients of the Clinical Law Program, many are Immigration Clinic clients

3 Structure of Clinic Social workers and law students work together under the supervision of an attorney and licensed social worker. If it is determined that a client could benefit from social work services, a referral is made Law and social work students share a practice room Services are coordinated through individual meetings and bridge classes/grand rounds are conducted at least once per semester

4 Client Countries of Origin Americas/Caribbean: Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Jamaica, Barbados Africa: Algeria, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo/Brazzaville, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda Asia/Middle East: Palestinian Territories, Iran, Afghanistan, Ukraine

5 Types of Matters Deportation Proceedings (client may or may not be detained) Lack of status/expired visa/undocumented Permanent residents with criminal convictions Asylum – usually the clients who have been referred to the court due to problems with their USCIS interviews Political persecution Gender – FGM, honor killings, women's rights advocacy Ethnicity/tribal identity LGBT Religion U-Visas or T-Visas (for victims of crime or human trafficking)

6 Social Work Roles Consultant – provide information, including research relevant to an individuals circumstances Advise attorneys on coping with social, mental health issues Case manager: assist with discrete needs such as housing, food, English classes, medical and mental health care, benefits, airfare for family reunification, school enrollment, post-incarceration/-detention re-entry, etc. Counselor - assist clients through legal process Expert Witness – submit reports to the court and testify as needed

7 Common Issues Encountered PTSD – resulting from abuse, torture, rape, imprisonment, and immigration/separation from family Other mental health issues, including depression and anxiety Somatic issues related to PTSD or abuse, other medical Family separation Culture-shock, language barriers, loss of home/ belongings/ profession/ social status Lack of ID Dependence upon others Lack of basic necessities Discrimination


9 Alphabet Soup DHS – Department of Homeland Security ICE – Immigration & Customs Enforcement USCIS -- US Citizenship and Immigration Service EOIR -- Executive Office for Immigration Review = Immigration Court EAD – Employment Authorization Document LPR – Lawful Permanent Resident USC -- US citizen INA - Immigration & Nationality Act CAT – Convention Against Torture TPS – Temporary Protected Status CIMT – Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude

10 Non-Immigrants In US for a limited time for a specific purpose Students, tourists, business visitors, medical treatment, diplomats, employees, circus performers I-94 shows status and time limitations - date or D/S (duration of status)

11 Permanent Residents - LPRs "Green card" Indefinite right to remain and live in US Can travel and work Generally acquired through family, employer, or diversity "lottery" PERMANENT RESIDENCE IS NOT PERMANENT! Most often lost because of convictions - anything from murder to possession of marijuana to shoplifting Criminal defense attorneys now required to advise non citizens about immigration consequences

12 Refugees Under United States law, a refugee is an individual who: Is located outside of the United States Is of special humanitarian concern to the United States Cannot return to his/her country because s/he was persecuted or fears persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group Is not firmly resettled in another country Is admissible to the United States Has not persecuted others

13 Process for Refugee Status Must receive a referral to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), complete application & be interviewed abroad by a USCIS officer. May also include spouse, child (unmarried and under 21 years of age) There is no fee and information is not provided to home country. Must complete a medical exam, and a cultural orientation. Help with travel plans, and a loan for travel to the United States will be provided Upon arrival, refugees are eligible for medical and cash assistance. Refugees may work immediately upon arrival to the United States.

14 Asylees Asylum may be granted to people who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion. Asylum status is a form of protection available to people who: Meet the definition of refugee Are already in the United States Are seeking admission at a port of entry

15 Asylum Process To apply for Asylum, one must file a Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within one year of arrival to the United States. Exceptions to the one year limits are changed circumstances that materially affect eligibility for asylum OR extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing. An individual placed into removal proceedings may apply for asylum as a defense against removal. There is no fee to apply for asylum.

16 Asylum Benefits Applicants may also file for a spouse or unmarried children under 21 already in the United States. They may apply for those outside of the US after asylum is granted One must wait at least 6 months to apply for permission to work (employment authorization) and might not get it until asylum is granted (up to 2 years); ineligible for any govt support during the process Authorized to work and stay indefinitely once asylum is granted Eligible for benefits for 8 months after grant of asylum

17 Temporary Protected Status (TPS) The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country's nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. A country may be designated for TPS due to the following temporary conditions in the country: Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war) An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane) Other extraordinary and temporary conditions

18 TPS - Continued During a designated period, eligible individuals: Are not removable from the United States Cannot be detained by DHS Can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) May apply for travel authorization Qualifying countries (as of 3/2012): El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan

19 Domestic Violence Survivors VAWA self-petition for spouse of abusive USC or LPR Cancellation of removal for spouse of abusive USC or LPR Removes very powerful source of control from the batterer - immigration status, threat of deportation

20 U & T Visas Designed to encourage victims of crime or human trafficking to cooperate with law enforcement Often used with domestic violence survivors, but applies to most violent crimes Must demonstrate reasonable cooperation with law enforcement For U visa, must get certification of helpfulness from law enforcement (prosecutor or police, generally) Can bring dependent spouse and children

21 Special Immigrant Juvenile Status For children unable to live with one or both parents because of abuse, neglect or abandonment Very useful for children in the social service system Requires an order from a family or juvenile court that deportation would not be in the child's best interests Must be completed before age 21 (sometimes must get into juvenile court system before age 18) Results in LPR status ("green card")

22 Undocumented Easy victims for abuse and exploitation – avoids contact with law enforcement Stress of not having status Often in families with mixed status - children may be USCs, some members with TPS, some undocumented Eligible for: Emergency room care Pre-natal Public schooling

23 Deportation/Removal Often there is no way to avoid removal Voluntary departure as alternative Family ties, medical needs, etc can be arguments for halting proceedings in some - but not all - cases where they are serious Fear of persecution or torture can be grounds for protection

24 Deportable convictions Several crimes result in the individual facing deportation in addition to any criminal sentence "Crimes involving moral turpitude", CIMT - any theft, fraud, deceit, intent to harm, disregard for human life Drug offenses - possession of drugs/paraphernalia, distribution Domestic violence, violation of protective order "Aggravated felonies" - from murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor to petty theft or any crime of violence (including simple assault) with a sentence of 1 yr (even if suspended), possession with intent to distribute, fraud with loss of $10K

25 Immigration Detention In jails and county detention centers, with criminal inmates Often not eligible for programs in jails Includes many asylum seekers Some people can bond out Mandatory detention during deportation proceedings: Anyone with most kinds of convictions - any drug offense or "aggravated felony" or 2 CIMTs

26 Deportation/Removal Proceedings Adversarial court proceedings - EOIR "Civil" not criminal – fewer protections No right to an attorney - but chances of success are much higher with a lawyer Long backlogs in the court system Hearings by video conference with detainees

27 Prosecutorial discretion Decision to prioritize deportation of recent entrants and those who pose a danger to the community Govt declines to take action against children, the elderly, veterans, people with physical/ mental illnesses, close US family, eventual relief Being unevenly and stingily applied at the local level Generally not of help to people with convictions Generally requires a formal request with documentation of equities - lack of legal representation is a problem


29 Many non-citizens do not qualify for any benefits.

30 Qualified Aliens Has permanent resident status Was granted parole for at least one year under §212(d)(5) of INA Admitted to the U. S. as a refugee under §207 of the INA Was granted asylum under §208 of the INA Is having deportation withheld under §243(h) of the INA as in effect prior to April 1, 1997; or §241(b)(3) of the INA, as amended Is a Cuban or Haitian entrant, as defined by §501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980

31 Was granted conditional entry under §203(a)(7) of the INA in effect before April 1, 1980 Is a child receiving federal payments for foster care or adoption assistance under Part B or E of Title IV of the Social Security Act, if the child's foster or adoptive parent is considered a citizen or qualified alien May qualify if a victim of a severe form of human trafficking, (T-visa) or battered or treated with extreme cruelty by his/her spouse (who is a U. S. citizen or permanent legal resident) or the spouses family living with them

32 Qualified Aliens are eligible for: Primary Adult Care (PAC) Temporary Cash Assistance Food Stamps Medical Assistance Medicare (after 5 years residency) Social Security Insurance (SSI) if over the age of 65 or if disabled and a permanent resident for at least five years (Limit of seven years for some individuals) Other Social Security benefits


34 Challenges to interdisciplinary collaboration Difference in ethical duties - reporting requirements Confidentiality Uncertainty about roles - not knowing what to ask for, what the other's expertise is Boundary confusion - taking on each other's roles Need for good communication among professionals

35 Advantages of interdisciplinary collaboration Playing to our strengths Teaching students professional roles Teaching students about complementary strengths of other professions Maximizing services for clients Mutual support for clients to improve functioning in both legal and social realms - improves legal case, social functioning Clients are able to move forward and re/build their lives more effectively and more quickly

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