It’s Not Supposed to Work that Way

April 27, 2015 9:23 pm
by David Jakeman

Any time a state attempts to regulate something, there is always a chance that someone might try to find a loophole to get around the legislation. That’s one of the biggest challenges that would face Congress, if it were to actually get moving on immigration reform. Individual or collective efforts to use certain loopholes to get around immigration restrictions can have wide-reaching consequences. Such is the case with recent allegations of green-card fraud in Queens, New York.

Immigration Program Provisions
Before exploring the alleged green-card violations, it’s important to understand what program is in question. It has to do with a unique program that was instituted over 20 years ago that allows for young immigrants who have faced hardship, such as abuse or neglect, to apply for a green card. It grants what is known as special immigrant juvenile status. Because of this provision, thousands of young immigrants have been able to obtain legal immigration status in the country.

But all that might change, as federal officials are now taking a closer look at the program. The closer federal scrutiny comes from a local news report in New York of a possible immigration scheme taking place among the Sikh community. The news report says that some members of the Sikh community have been involved in helping hundreds of young people from Punjab, India, who arrive in the Queens County Family Court telling very similar stories.

The Court’s Role

For the family court, it’s up to the judge to decide if it is impossible for the youth to be reunited with a parent because of concerns for safety. If there are fears of abuse or neglect, then the youth is more likely to obtain the status. One of the challenges facing judges is that they do not have any real means of investigating the youth’s story. It can be difficult to make sure that the right decision is being made.

At this point, the Department of Homeland Security is looking into the matter to see if any laws have been broken or if the system is somehow being taken advantage of. Advocates for young immigrants facing the sort of difficult situations that the legal provisions were intended to protect are worried this further scrutiny might hurt other immigrants as well. The hope is that the many people in need won’t be punished for the crimes of a few.1

An Immigration Lawyer’s Take

A New York immigration lawyer would do well to pay attention to such developments, as they could impact certain clients facing immigration challenges. Immigration lawyers know how important it is to use every avenue possible to give their clients the desired outcome, as long as those methods taken are in line with the law.

For that reason, it’s important to seek out the best representation you can find. Unscrupulous lawyers might seem like they get better results, but if they skirt too close to the edge of the law, you could find yourself in big trouble down the line. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

1 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/01/nyregion/federal-scrutiny-of-a-youth-immigration-program-alarms-advocates.html