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Immigrants in Maine's Schools:  An Overview of Immigration Law and Other Issues Affecting Students and Families PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Immigrants in Maine's Schools:  An Overview of Immigration Law and Other Issues Affecting Students and Families. Beth Stickney, Esq. Executive Director, Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project November 22, 2010 Maine Department of Education ESL/Bilingual Programs

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Immigrants in Maine's Schools:  An Overview of Immigration Law and Other Issues Affecting Students and Families

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Immigrants in Maine's Schools:  An Overview of Immigration Law and Other Issues Affecting Students and Families

Beth Stickney, Esq.

Executive Director,

Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project

November 22, 2010

Maine Department of Education ESL/Bilingual Programs

Professional development online webinar


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IMMIGRATION LAW BASICSfor Educators


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  • ILAP is Maine’s only statewide nonprofit

    provider of free & low-fee comprehensive

    immigration law and related legal aid

  • Office is in Portland; satellite hours in

    Lewiston; toll-free access for Mainers far

    from Portland at 800-497-8505

  • Intake on Fridays 9 – 1. More information

    at www.ilapmaine.org


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Who Are Maine’s Immigrants?

  • Each year, ILAP serves immigrants from

    over 100 countries of origin, now living in

    all 16 Maine counties

  • Refugees are a small percentage of all

    immigrants in Maine

  • Maine likely has more Latin Americans

    than Africans

  • Census 2010 numbers will likely greatly

    undercount Maine’s immigrants


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Maine’s immigrant population - 2008

  • In 2008, 3.0 percent of Maine's total population were foreign-born (or immigrants), compared to 2.9 percent in 2000 and 3.0 percent in 1990.

    At the national level, the foreign-born population represented 12.5 percent of the total population in 2008, compared to 11.1 percent in 2000 and 7.9 percent in 1990.

  • Between 2000 and 2008, the foreign-born population (or immigrants) of Maine changed from 36,691 to 39,378, an increase of 7.3 percent.

    In comparison, between 1990 and 2000, the foreign-born population changed from 36,296 to 36,691, an increase of 1.1 percent.

    At the national level, between 1990 and 2000 the foreign-born population increased by 57.4 percent, and between 2000 and 2008 increased by 22.0 percent.

  • 56.7% of immigrants (or 22,315 people) in Maine were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2008—meaning that they are eligible to vote. More than four in five (or 84%) of children in Maine’s immigrant families were U.S. citizens in 2007.

    Migration Policy Institute/MPI Data Hub: MAINE Social & Demographic Characteristics

    http://www.migrationinformation.org/datahub/state.cfm?ID=ME

    Immigration Policy Center / American Immigration Council

    http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-pine-tree-state


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What Legal Statuses do Immigrantsin Maine have?

  • There are dozens upon dozens of

    immigration statuses

  • All children have the Constitutional

    right to attend K-12 public schools,

    regardless of immigration status

  • Just a few of the myriad immigration

    statuses will be described here


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Immigration Statuses

  • Undocumented (no visa, or violated visa)

  • Nonimmigrant (temporary visa)

  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

  • Application for permanent status pending

    (may have or be eligible for a “work permit”)

  • Petition for residency pending (no work permit)

  • Refugee or Asylee

  • Parolee

  • Permanent resident (2 or 10 year “green

    card”- residency card)

  • Naturalized U.S. citizen


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Undocumented

  • Includes persons who entered without a visa, with a

    fraudulent document, or with a nonimmigrant visa but

    then stayed too long, or otherwise didn’t comply

    w/visa. May or may not be in removal proceedings.

    Often in “mixed status” households – spouse is

    resident or citizen, has US citizen children, etc.

  • Concerns: How to get legal status / a work permit

  • Worry about being detected by Immigration

    Authorities (ICE/CBP)

  • Worry about getting employers, household members

    in trouble

  • If have children, worry that signing children up for

    benefits the children are entitled to will cause

    immigration problems (detection/denial of residency)


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Nonimmigrants

Includes tourists, students, temporary

workers. Concerns include:

  • How to extend their stay

  • How to get a work permit (unrestricted)

  • How to get permanent residency

  • F-1 students in public schools – can only attend one

    year, and must pay tuition. If host family takes

    guardianship so that student can attend w/o paying,

    student will be barred for 5 years from extending or

    receiving another visa (so could not, for example, get F-1

    to attend US university for 5 years)


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TPS Holders

TPS allows certain people to stay and work in the

U.S. due to natural or civil crises in their home

countries. Usually have work permits.

  • Concerns include: How to get family here

  • How to get permanent residency

  • Will receiving government benefits affect their

    ability to become permanent residents

  • Currently in Maine, many Hondurans,

    Salvadorans, and some Haitians, Somalis and

    Sudanese have TPS


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Applicants for permanent status

Includes persons applying for asylum, persons

applying for permanent residency. May be in

removal proceedings. Concerns include:

  • Whether their cases will be denied

  • Whether they have enough income to be

    approved for residency

  • Whether they are putting their US citizen or

    resident family members at risk

  • Whether their family members abroad are

    safe, and whether and when they’ll be able to

    be together again


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Petitions pending for residency

Includes spouses and children of permanent residents,

married or over 21 year old children, and siblings of

U.S. citizens. Also sometimes employees petitioned

for by their employers.

Concerns include:

  • Can they get work permit

  • Will they be found and deported before they can

    immigrate

  • Whether they are putting their US citizen or resident

    family members at risk

  • Will they have complications once they are eligible to

    start the final paperwork to immigrate – including,

    does their family earn enough money – must earn

    125% of the federal poverty guidelines.


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Refugees and Asylees

Refugees apply for protection from outside the

U.S. Asylees do so from inside the U.S.

Concerns include:

  • For refugees and asylees: how to be reunited

    with/safety of, family members abroad

  • For asylees: can they get work permit

  • For asylees: will their application be denied

  • For both: how to get residency

  • For both: how to be reunited w/ spouses,

    children, other family members

  • For asylees: what happens if there’s divorce

    before residency granted


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Parolees

“Parolees” are people who don’t qualify for other

visas but are let in for humanitarian or national

interest reasons. Parolees in Maine sometimes

have status similar to refugees, or another status

altogether, but in any case can stay here as long

as parole status is unexpired and no other laws

are violated. Concerns include:

  • how to get residency

  • concerns for family members left behind

  • public benefits eligibility (some are paroled in for

    medical treatment, but need to survive between

    treatments)


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Permanent residents

May have gained residency through a variety of

ways. Concerns include:

  • How to get other immediate family members

    here

  • Will public benefits affect ability to help family

    immigrate, or to become a US citizen

  • How to become a citizen

  • If permanent resident through marriage to a

    US citizen, what impact will separation or

    divorce have on status (especially immigrants

    in domestic violence situations)


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Naturalized U.S. citizens

Generally, a person is eligible to apply for

naturalization to U.S. citizenship if s/he:

  • Is over 18

  • has had residency for 5 years

  • has good moral character

  • can speak, read and write English

  • can pass a test of understanding of US history

    and civics

  • some exceptions are available for the

    English/history requirement.


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How do people immigrate?

There are 4 general ways that people can

immigrate (get permanent residency) to the U.S.:

  • Through a grant of refugee or asylee status

  • Through immediate family members (residents can file

    for spouses and unmarried offspring; citizens can

    additionally file for married offspring, parents and

    siblings) – long waiting lists apply for most relatives

  • Through employers (professional level employment)

  • Through the “Visa Lottery” – 50,000 visas each year

    available to individuals with at least a high school

    education or skilled trade – one computerized entry

    allowed each year.


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Barriers to immigration

  • Endless background checks

  • Law is biased against low-income people

    (threshold income must be proven by U.S.

    citizens or residents who want their

    spouses/children etc. to immigrate)

  • Lack of documents to prove relationships (for

    example, no birth certificates are available from

    Somalia to prove a parent/child relationship)

  • Lack of money to pay for air fare to bring family

    from abroad

  • Many others


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Global Concerns for Immigrant Families

  • Family reunification

  • Jobs, school, living conditions, money,

    supporting family abroad etc.

  • Impact of contact with the criminal justice

    system on immigration status (especially

    parents concerned about their children

    getting into trouble)

  • Domestic violence issues

  • Public benefits eligibility – accessing benefits

    during hard times; not being cut off due to

    welfare reform laws


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Special Concerns for Immigrant Students

  • If undocumented: How attend college? (legal status not

    required to attend, but can’t qualify for federal financial

    aid if undocumented)

  • Racial profiling: In Maine, people of color are frequently

    stopped by police and asked for their immigration papers

  • Students should be encouraged to take charge of their

    own immigration status – if they are in a status that

    leads to citizenship eligibility, usually much easier for

    them to become citizens than their parents because they

    learn English more quickly etc. (but should NOT file

    anything with Immigration if they’ve ever been had

    contact with Police, until they’ve consulted an

    immigration lawyer)


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Tips for K-12 Educators

  • Never ask for immigration status (unless

    there’s a grant that requires it)

  • Never exclude an immigrant child from

    school based on concern about

    immigration status (unconstitutional)

  • Cont’d…


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Tips for K-12 Educators, cont’d

  • If a host family of a foreign exchange student asks whether the

    student could attend for free if they take legal guardianship of the

    student, advise them to consult with an experienced immigration

    lawyer immediately (they could seriously prejudice the student by

    doing this)

  • Do not fill out immigration forms for immigrant parents or students,

    even if you have become close to a family. Immigration applications

    are far more complicated than just the questions on the forms

    themselves.

  • Refer families with immigration issues or questions to ILAP (our

    services are free or low-fee depending on income). If a family is

    above ILAP’s income guidelines, we can refer to competent

    attorneys. See www.ilapmaine.org for our intake hours.

  • If a family wants you to talk to us about them, have them sign a

    release giving us permission to talk with you about them. We will

    need you to fax this to us for our records.


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CONTACT

  • with any questions about immigration or

    related issues

  • ILAP www.ilapmaine.org

    309 Cumberland Avenue, Suite 201

    PO Box 17917, Portland, ME 04112

    780-1593 or 800-947-8505

    Intake of new clients: Fridays 9:00-1:00,

    In-person or by phone.


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Thank you

www.maine.gov/education/esl/webinars/index.html


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