It’s estimated that more than 29 million immigrants are working or seeking employment in the United States, representing approximately 17 percent of the U.S. labor force.
7.6 million were undocumented workers in 2019 and the numbers of immigrants without their work permits are very high.
Different types of immigration relief have allowed millions of immigrants to obtain their work permits to find legal employment in the United States, from the DACA program, the Temporary Protected Status for selected countries such as TPS, or the Asylum are programs have ensured that vulnerable populations have access to fairer working conditions.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Work Permit If I Have A Criminal Record?
Dreamers who have an incident with the police or perhaps pending charges need to know what they can do and what options they have.
When someone is in the criminal process, the process is based on the fact that the prosecutors usually lay very big charges, they try to get the longest sentence they can, that’s the system.
The person who has been charged has an opportunity to negotiate or obtain an agreement with prosecutors about what they will not accept from that charge or sentence, and talk about what they can accept, such as Time Served or Deferred Disposition, many, many outcomes can be negotiated when you are in that process.
It would be a good idea for every non-U.S. citizen, whether they have a Green Card, work permit under DACA, VAWA, U Visa, T Visa, are undocumented or are in deportation proceedings, if they have a Green Card and have charges pending, it’s worth consulting with Lincoln-Goldfinch Law so that we can assist your criminal defense attorney in negotiating with prosecutors.
If they cannot enter into an agreement they will go to trial and the results of these events are a surprise to everyone.
You have an opportunity to get a deal and to have your situation discussed with the prosecutors because they don’t realize that if a charge of possession of a firearm is accepted, that person is going to lose their DACA, and that person has the scholarship to attend college in Texas, they’re going to say: Ok, let’s negotiate something different so that person can keep their status.
It is very important to understand the complications for immigrants who are in that type of process, in fact, we recently had a client share with a criminal defense attorney, he was talking to the judge and needed an answer in 30 minutes as to whether we could accept the offer or not because these cases cannot be handled by just one attorney.
We have daily examples of people who have been living in the United States since they were children, are undocumented, and did not have the necessary information about their immigration status, so they made the wrong decisions.
We as immigration lawyers have to think about how we can fix that situation, but when someone eligible for DACA wants to apply for DACA for the first time or is renewing their work permit, they cannot have a felony.
There’s something called a Significant Misdemeanor, and that is a definition that only exists for DACA and cannot be had in this immigration process.
A Significant Misdemeanor includes:
- Domestic Violence
- Sexual Abuse
- Possession of a Weapon
- Drug Sales
This is the list of crimes that are Misdemeanors that cancel DACA eligibility, but also any other Misdemeanor that leads to a sentence of more than 90 days in jail.
That is the election law for the DACA program only, it does not apply to VAWA, U Visa, T Visa, or Asylum, each immigration benefit has its list of criminal law consequences.
For DACA, a person who has charges pending for possession of a weapon needs to work with us and a criminal attorney to obtain an agreement that may allow you to remain eligible and remain in legal status.
When Is A Good Time To Tell Your Children About Their Immigration Status?
It’s a very difficult time because no one wants to hurt their children’s dreams, they want them to imagine they can be doctors or lawyers or whatever dream they have.
A child may not understand that there are options that laws can change, and that we can consult with an attorney to see if they qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile, which is a program for children under the age of 18 who have been abandoned or abused by a parent.
There are options for undocumented children, what we think is to say it in adolescence which is the time in children’s lives when they start to ask questions and want to find answers.
It would be best to schedule a consultation with attorneys you trust and investigate what options you have and what options may lie ahead for the immigrant community.
This program is for people who most likely entered the U.S. as infants, for example, if a single mother has two children and has never received help or contact with the father, they may qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile, which is not Asylum because we are not proving that the children will be persecuted in their own country.
It’s a process where we obtain a family court order and use it to apply for Green Cards and permanent residency for the children at the end of the day.
Many, many children qualify for this benefit and no one knows.
There is a deadline for this program because you have to get the family court order before they turn 18, so you have to hurry to get the information, and this is another reason why talking to children while they are young is quite important, so that you as a parent give them plans to apply for immigration benefits on time.
If My Work Permit Is About To Expire, When Is It A Good Time To Renew It?
We are seeing that DACA renewals are happening very quickly, about 3 months, but it is worth asking for a renewal 6 months before the permit expires so that you don’t have any time without an answer.
What Is A Combo Card?
Combo work permits are permits that come when someone is applying for permanent residency for a family case, adjustment of status or VAWA, and is applying for residency or has had their Visa for 3 years and is applying for residency.
When applying for the Green Card, the form we use is the I-485 and the fee that immigration pays for that form is the fee for the work permit and Advance Parole which is permission to travel outside the United States.
In 80 percent of our adjustment of status cases, we include the work permit to cover the waiting time, we also include the travel permit.
It is not possible to obtain a Combo Card for DACA cases, all applicants should consult with their attorney before traveling outside of the United States 100 percent of the time.
When someone has a Combo Card that does not mean that this person will be able to leave and return without problems, you should check with us if you are our client, to find out if even if you have this card, it’s safe to leave and return because normally, it’s not safe.
Is There A Way For The Work Permit To Arrive Faster?
The best way to do this is not to have mistakes in your package, because the immigration agency rejects the package because of a missing document and has to ask you for more evidence about the sponsor, for example.
It will take time before your work permit arrives because if they accept everything and say that all the required evidence is included, they pass the file to the office that schedules the appointment for fingerprinting and photos.
After that appointment is when the permit arrives, where if there are problems with the paperwork or the way they filled out the form, with the payment of the fee, or anything, it’s going to take longer before your permit arrives.
How Can Renewal Be Affected By A Criminal Record?
When you are negotiating with a judge or prosecutor, they will take into account your criminal history, and if they see that you have made the same mistake twice, they will think that you have not learned your lesson.
Are Work Permits Faster For Health Care Workers?
This is a new announcement for people, and we need to make sure it applies to all DACA cases.
At Lincoln-Goldfinch Law we had a client who had a traffic situation while under the influence of alcoholic beverages and was searched by the police.
Our lawyers were reviewing this case, and this person was working as an essential worker, so his situation applied for this type of work permit because his contract was still in force and valid.
In case you have additional questions about your DACA program, work permit, or specific case, you can contact us at (855) 502-0555. After a short 10-minute evaluation of your case over the phone, we will let you know what options you have. You can also follow us on our social networks so you won’t miss our weekly broadcasts via Facebook, YouTube & Twitch.