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Fort Wayne and Elkhart Immigration Attorneys

Indiana’s Hispanic population around Fort Wayne and Elkhart continues growing. Information describing the population growth is shown in this article about Fort Wayne  and this one about Elkhart.  Many of these Spanish speaking residents face immigration and general legal issues.  The Goodin Abernathy LLP attorneys are experienced and take pride helping their Latino clients.

The attorneys at Goodin Abernathy LLP frequently visit the Fort Wayne and Elkhart, IN areas to meet with Latino clients.  Our experience shows many Hispanic clients qualify for immigration services including visas, work permits, residency and citizenship.  Since Immigration law is federal, we are also able to help clients living nearby in Illinois and Michigan and Ohio.  Our Spanish speaking attorneys consult with clients by telephone and in meeting with them in person to evaluate their best immigration options.

Frequently our clients throughout Fort Wayne, Auburn and Elkhart qualify for DACA, U Visas, TPS, naturalization, legal permanent residency and deportation protection.  Many of these clients have had contact with the police and law enforcement agencies and need their criminal court history.  But the Fort Wayne police and Sheriff’s department make it difficult for non-citizens to obtain their records.  We regularly send requests and work to collect the reports our clients need.  Our attorneys explain the fingerprinting process and prepare clients for their immigration interviews.  We translate documents and walk our clients through the process, start to finish.

The Spanish speaking attorneys at Goodin Abernathy LLP provide individual and focused attention to their immigration clients.  Visit our Spanish web site at http://www.legalmentehablandoindy.com.

Use our mobile phone site to immediately connect and speak with one of our attorneys.

Attorneys Browne and Mahern are connected to the Hispanic community by family, friends and their community work.  Attorney Browne’s mother is Mexican and Mahern’s husband is Mexican.  They speak Spanish and care about their clients.  Our Legalmente Hablando Indy attorneys provide clear explanations and arrange affordable payment programs.  If you do not currently qualify for an immigration opportunity, they will tell you – but they will also tell you how to plan your future and what to look for as the immigration laws change.

Hispanics Suffer Increased Work Fatalities

Labor statistics show an increasing number of Hispanic workers are suffering work fatalities and injuries. In Indiana, Bureau of Labor Statistics show a rising trend in Latino work fatalities.

Hispanic and Latino Workers – Occupational Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities” – www.in.gov brochure.

Most of Indiana’s Hispanic fatalities and injuries occur in the manufacturing and construction industries. Many Hispanic accidents affecting Hispanics involve motor vehicles and equipment. In construction projects, many Latinos are injured from fall accidents. Another significant cause of injuries to Latinos involves workplace violence.

The attorneys at Legalmente Hablando Indy and Goodin Abernathy LLP regularly represent injured Hispanic workers. We are located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Many of our clients live and work around Fort Wayne, Lafayette, Bloomington, Frankfort, Auburn, Crawfordsville and Richmond. We will travel to visit clients and appear in local courtrooms.

We handle construction accidents, motor vehicle collisions, factory injuries, explosions and burns. Often we give legal advice to Hispanics about work place harassment and violence. Many of our clients are concerned about racial discrimination and immigration issues. Our experience and research address these issues showing why injured Indiana Latinos have legal rights regardless of immigration status. We speak Spanish and fight for our Hispanic clients in Indiana worker’s compensation claims and injury cases.
Hispanics work on risky and dangerous jobs.

Immigrants Work in Riskier and More Dangerous Jobs in the United States” – PRB.org.

Employers often turn their backs on injured Latino workers because they do not respect their immigration status. The Legalmente Hablando Indy and Goodin Abernathy LLP Indianapolis attorneys open legal claims for both documented and undocumented immigrants. We explain the medical treatment options Indiana workers are owed when injured on the job. Most importantly, we care about our Hispanic clients and work to win the best recoveries the law allows.

Find more information about our Legalmente Hablando Indy at http://www.legalmentehablandoindy.com/ and check out our community involvement on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LegalmenteHablandoIndy.

Trump Invites Legal Permanent Residents to Vote

Donald Trump, a new presidential candidate, made various controversial statements about Mexicans this week. Trump said things like – “Mexico is not our friend . . . FIGHT!” So how might his views impact, or rather invigorate, potential U.S. voters?

Consider this: There are about 13.3 million Legal Permanent Residents (LPR’s) living in the U.S. – and 8.8 million of them are eligible to become U.S. citizens. www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/ois_lpr_pe_2012.pdf

A significant portion of LPR’s are Mexican or Central American. The Department of Homeland Security reports that in the year 2013, 779,929 LPR’s became citizens. www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-and-immigration-united-states

If you are a LPR, you may be eligible to naturalize in time for the upcoming elections. Goodin Abernathy LLP and the attorneys at Legalmente Hablando Indy regularly help clients with immigration cases. Our services include guiding Hispanic immigrants through the naturalization process where LPR’s become voting U.S. citizens.

If you are a Legal Permanent Resident, to qualify for naturalization, you must be at least 18 years old; and you must have been a resident for 5 years (3 years if you are married to a US citizen and meet other requirements). Usually, you must pass an English and civics exam, but there are some exceptions. You also have to be a person of good moral character, which includes considerations about criminal history, payments of child support, registration for selective service (males only), and other factors we can discuss. You also must have been physically present and had your primary residence in the US for certain periods of time prior to your application.

LPR’s are not required to speak perfect English to naturalize. Yes, you must pass a test given in English, but the questions are straight-forward. Plus, spelling and grammar do not count against you on the written portion. We can provide names of various service organizations that prepare you for the citizenship exam. The services teach the English necessary for the tests.

If you are a Mexican national and want to keep your Mexican citizenship, it is possible for you to retain both your Mexican citizenship and become a U.S. citizen. This is called dual citizenship. Mexico recognizes dual citizenship. Other Latin American countries have different rules regarding dual citizenship we can review those with you.

If you want your voice to be heard in U.S. elections, contact Goodin Abernathy LLP to discuss your options!

Does Indiana Have a Right to Sue Over DAPA?

It looks like good news could be coming for the new immigration plans! In the United States, the legal process has two systems. We have separate state and federal governments. If the states want to sue the federal government they must meet certain requirements under the U.S. Constitution. That is why federal courts are now ruling the state lawsuits filed to block newer immigration programs are “illegal.”

So many people have been waiting for so long for immigration relief. That is why the President’s announcement of the new DAPA program for parents of US Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents, and the expansion of DACA was so exciting for many of us. However, that excitement has been on hold since February when a Federal Court Judge in Texas put the program on hold while a lawsuit filed by several States, including Indiana, works its way through the courts. The US Department of Justice has appealed the decision to halt the program to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Department of Justice argues, among other things, that the States who brought the lawsuit lack “standing” to bring such a claim. In simple terms, they challenge that the States have the right to bring such a lawsuit against the Federal government under the US Constitution. We will have to wait and see what the Appeals Court judges decide, but a decision issued on April 7, 2015 by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals gives us an idea of what might happen in the DAPA case.

The decision addressed whether the lawsuit brought by the State of Mississippi against the original 2012 DACA program lacks “standing.” The Court of Appeals found that Mississippi couldn’t bring such a case because the state failed to show that it would suffer harm if the program were implemented. The court held that based on the evidence presented any injury to the state was “purely speculative.” The court stated that in order to be able to move forward with its case Mississippi needed to show that it would have suffered an injury “fairly traceable” to DACA—instead Mississippi presented evidence that it incurs costs providing social benefits to—in the courts words—“illegal immigrants.” In other words, Mississippi couldn’t show that the DACA program would cause the state any increased burden or costs over and above the costs that immigration already places on the state.

The April 7 decision does not change the current status of the DAPA program, but it does offer a preview of the type of analysis the Fifth Circuit will be undertaking in that case later this month. For now we wait –the Fifth Circuit is set to hear oral arguments in the DAPA case next week—April 17.

DACA – DAPA – Decision of the Judge in Texas

Yesterday Judge Hanen of the Federal Court for the Southern District of Texas in Brownsville, Texas entered an order that has temporarily halted the implementation of the expansion of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program and the new DAPA (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability) program. So the question–

What does this order for families here in Indiana?

Here are five important facts about it:

1. Judge Hanen has not made a final decision in the case-this order delays expansion of the DACA and DAPA programs temporarily while the case against these programs continues in court.
2. Legal experts think there is great possibility that the Federal Court of Appeal will reject the order so that DACA and DAPA programs can move forward.
3. This does not affect people in Indiana who already have their DACA or are in the process of obtaining or renewing their DACA. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services will still be accepting applications for DACA under the requirements announced on June 15, 2012.
4. For people who only qualify under the enlargement of DACA (those older than 31 on June 15, 2012, for example) will have to wait to submit their applications. While the order is in force Judge Hanen, USCIS will not accept applications for the expansion of DACA–these people should stay informed to see when they will be able to submit their applications.
5. Hoosiers who qualify for the new DAPA program (for parents of citizens or residents), the program is also paused; however they should continue gathering evidence and documents to prepare. We hope it will not delay the expected date on which applications for DAPA will be accepted –the end of May.

So, do not despair because of the order, as it’s just a temporary pause in the progress of the DAPA program and the expansion of DACA. We await the resolution of this issue and the beginning of these programs. Meanwhile, keep well-informed.

If you have questions about DACA, expanded DACA or DAPA do not hesitate to contact us!

Use An Immigration Attorney – Not A Coyote

Use An Immigration Attorney – Not A Coyote

Thousands of migrants die each year crossing the U.S. border – sometimes even before reaching it. The deserts, seas and criminal activity cause most of the deaths, leaving family and friends on each side of the border grieving their loved ones. [Read more here from the NY Times.]

AP Migration Spotlights Mexican Coyote Smuggers

Image courtesy of Associated Press

Frequently Latinos pay “Coyotes,” rather than an Immigration Attorney, thousands of dollars for the dangerous trips, risking life and legal penalties for undocumented crossings. The Coyotes don’t guarantee the trips, so if they fail, the migrant must pay the Coyote thousands of dollars to try again. [AP – Migration Spotlights Mexican “Coyote” Smugglers]

But there may be better ways to cross the border. Safer and more cost-efficient ways, recognized by U.S. immigration laws. Goodin Abernathy LLP provides cost effective immigration services. Contact us for a free telephone or in person immigration consultation – in Spanish or English.

Goodin Abernathy regularly handles I-130 applications where U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents may sponsor relatives for family immigrant visas. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services I-130 petition process permits documented U.S. immigrants to request lawful immigration for their loved ones – avoiding the risks posed by Coyotes or undocumented crossing.

Goodin Abernathy also helps immigrants with the U-visa. Individuals who previously lived in the United States and were victims of certain crimes and helped in the investigation of those crimes may qualify for the U-visa although they no longer live in the United States. Applying for the U-visa while abroad allows the crime-victim to re-enter the United States with legal status which can lead to legal permanent residency and eventually citizenship.

Many undocumented immigrants face Human Trafficking problems where, as part of the assistance offered for illegal entry, they are then bound to ongoing work or criminal activity. The U.S. government recognizes severe forms of Human Trafficking as: 1- sex trafficking where commercial sex acts are induced by force, fraud or coercion, or where a people under that age of 18 are forced to perform sex acts; 2 – the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining a person for labor services through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjecting humans to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.

Goodin Abernathy’s immigration attorneys carefully review opportunities of all sorts – working to identify the best, safest and most cost efficient plan for opening the doors to a future living in the U.S. Call and speak directly with attorneys Jim Browne and Emma Mahern with your immigration questions!