Friday, December 27, 2013

$136,000 Spent by ICE Detaining Immigrant for Three Years Before Releasing Him

If only the mainstream American public knew the lengths to which ICE/DHS will go to attempt to deport law-abiding, hard-working permanent residents based on years or even decades-old criminal convictions. Our tax dollars are being spent to detain immigrants alongside murderers and criminals.

Business Insider reported on the story of a man who was held for three years by ICE. He was previously deported but returned to the country in 1994, and was then convicted of a controlled substance offense. He was held for three years at York County Prison in York, Pennsylvania by ICE before being released. Based on the story's details, it sounds like he was released on what ICE terms "parole" and must still report to ICE authorities periodically.

 "Pierre's three-year nightmare signifies the Kafkaesque experience that some immigrants have when they're locked away with violent criminals while the U.S. government tries to deport them. Every day, thousands of legal immigrants are detained while the government tries to deport them for a past crime, according to the ACLU."
"Pierre's most recent serious crime was a 1996 drug conviction for which he had already served time. Pierre, a father of six kids, including two in the U.S. military, had paid his debt to U.S. society and put his life back together. It seems bizarre that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would try to detain him years after his 1997 release, but that practice is not unheard of."

Read more:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Aggravated Felonies in Removal Proceedings - Left with (almost) no relief

I recently spoke to a detained non-citizen who is being charged with removability from the United States in the Batavia Immigration Court at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility. He is charged on his "Notice to Appear" with having been convicted of an Aggravated Felony and therefore, he is removable from the United States.

So, what exactly is an Aggravated Felony?

It neither has to be a felony, nor does it have to be particularly "aggravated." It is a statutory definition that contains some serious crimes including murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, and drug trafficking crimes. It also contains some less serious crimes such as bribery, forgery or counterfeiting, or even failing to appear for sentencing. An “aggravated felony” is essentially any crime that Congress decided to label as such.

Non-citizens who have been convicted of "aggravated felonies" can be deported potentially without a removal hearing, can be held under "mandatory detention" with no bond while they wait for their case to be decided, are ineligible for asylum, cancellation of removal, or certain waivers of inadmissibility, and are ineligible for voluntary departure. They are also subject to a lifetime ban from re-entering the U.S. after deportation.

The only hope for someone convicted of an aggravated felony is to 1) use post-conviction relief to vacate the conviction and try to minimize the immigration impact of any new conviction, or 2) to apply for withholding of removal, if your home country's conditions are severe enough to make a case.

If you or a loved one has been convicted of an aggravated felony and are currently in removal proceedings, please call Mr. Borowski at 716-418-7431 to discuss your situation. Mr. Borowski represents clients in the Buffalo Immigration Court, Batavia Immigration Court and can handle cases for detained immigrants being held in the Pike County Prison in Pennsylvania, Moshannon Valley Correctional Center in Philipsburg, PA, York County Prison in York, PA, Lackawanna County Prison in Pennsylvania, Clinton County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania, Orange County Correctional Facility in Goshen, New York.  Mr. Borowski is also able to handle removal cases in Ohio and Michigan.

Can a TN Visa Holder Change Job Duties If They Remain With The Same Employer?

Canadians and Mexicans can live and work in the United States if they fall the category of "NAFTA Professionals." The non-citizen may qualify for a TN Visa if the following requirements are met:
  • The profession falls under the list of occupations recognized by NAFTA
  • The non-citizen possesses the specific criteria for that profession
  • The employer requires requires someone in that professional capacity
  • The Non-Citizen has a job offer, confirmed in writing, from a U.S. employer
However, what do you do if your job duties change? What if your original job duties fell under the list of NAFTA occupations but your new job duties are not covered? Can you remain in the U.S. and continue to work even though your job duties have significantly changed?

8 CFR 214.6(g) states that: "With a Form I-94. An alien may be readmitted to the United States in TN classification for the remainder of the authorized period of TN admission on Form I-94, without presentation of the letter or supporting documentation described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, and without the prescribed fee set forth in 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1) , provided that the original intended professional activities and employer(s) have not changed, and the Form I-94 has not expired. (Paragraph (g) revised 10/16/08; 73 FR 61332 )."

It appears, at the very least, that if your "original intended professional activities" have changed you must file an I-129 and update with your new job duties in order to be entitled to readmission. If you leave the U.S. during the course of your TN visa's validity and re-enter, and the job duties have changed such that the original TN visa no longer reflects the correct job duties, you may be found inadmissible.

The Borowski Immigration Law Office is located just five minutes from the Peace Bridge and less than thirty minutes from the Rainbow Bridge and Queenston-Lewiston Bridge. We are proud to represent and counsel Canadians with their U.S. Immigration Law issues. You can reach me at 716-418-7431 or by e-mail through my website at

Monday, November 25, 2013

Batavia Immigration Court Deportation Cases

Recently I have had a lot of calls from people with family members being held in the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility. These individuals have been placed in removal proceedings in the Batavia Immigration Court in Batavia, NY which is part of the detention facility. These family members want to know if there is any way to fight the deportation of their loved ones.

Most non-citizens living in upstate New York who are placed in removal proceedings (deportation cases) and detained by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) are taken to the immigration jail in Batavia, NY which is located about forty-five minutes east of Buffalo, NY.

Likewise, anyone arrested by ICE along the Canadian border with New York State is also taken to the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, NY to face deportation proceedings.

The Immigration Judges at this facility are Steven Connelly and John B. Reid. Immigration Court is held on most weekdays and the majority of the respondents are not represented by counsel. The Court is located at 4250 Federal Drive, Room F108, Batavia, New York 14020 and their phone number is 585-345-4300.

As a Buffalo Immigration Lawyer, my office is located near downtown Buffalo, NY but I handle immigration law matters in Batavia, NY on a regular basis. I am available to visit your family member, analyze their Notice to Appear (DHS form I-862) and determine if they are eligible for relief from removal. As a Batavia Immigration Lawyer I fight for your right to remain in the United States.

I can also file a motion for bond to get your family member out of BFDF and back home. When a detained non-citizen is released on bond from the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility, their case is transferred to the Buffalo Immigration Court. My office is located just five minutes from the Buffalo Immigration Court.

Matthew Borowski at Borowski Law is an immigration lawyer in Buffalo who can fight against deportation. Please call me at 716-418-7431 to discuss your immigration problem today.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NY's Highest Court Rules That Judges Must Inform Defendants of Possible Deportation as a Result of Criminal Guilty Pleas

Trial judges in New York must warn non-citizen defendants that they could be deported before accepting guilty pleas in felony cases, the state Court of Appeals has ruled. Defendants are entitled to be notified of such “a grave impact and frequent occurrence,” the Court of Appeals said. The majority cited increased deportations by immigration authorities under tougher US laws and enforcement policy.
Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam rejected the argument that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has considerable discretion in deciding whom to deport. The roughly 188,000 non-citizen convicts now deported annually, up from about 37,000 when the federal law was amended in 1996, “would probably beg to differ on the point, and rightly so."

"A majority of this Court, consisting of Chief Judge Lippman, Judges Graffeo, Read, Rivera and me, finds that deportation is a plea consequence of such tremendous importance, grave impact and frequent occurrence that a defendant is entitled to notice that it may ensue from a plea. We therefore hold that due process compels a trial court to apprise a defendant that, if the defendant is not an American citizen, he or she may be deported as a consequence of a guilty plea to a felony."

The decision was made in three separate cases where non-citizen defendants pleaded guilty to felonies without the court explaining that they could be deported.

This is a landmark decision which will have a broad impact on deportations in New York State. It goes further along the road paved by Padilla v Kentucky which requires that criminal defense counsel apprise their clients of the potential immigration consequences of a criminal conviction. Unfortunately, and likely due to misunderstandings about how the immigration laws work, the judges on the Court of Appeals have only held that the judge has a duty to apprise the defendant in felony matters. As any seasoned deportation defense practitioner knows, many misdemeanors can have consequences just as severe as felonies and indeed could be classified as "aggravated felonies" under the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA).

The cases are the People v. Juan Jose Peque, the People v. Robert Diaz and the People v. Michael Thomas, New York State Court of Appeals, Nos. 163-165.
The full decision is available here:

 I am sure we will be hearing a lot more about the impact of People v. Peque over the coming months. If you've pleaded guilty to, been convicted of, or charged with a New York felony and are facing potential deportation consequences, call my Buffalo Immigration Law Office immediately at (716) 418-7431 or visit the Buffalo Immigration Law firm of Matthew Borowski, Esq. at to discuss your removal defense options under this new case.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Matthew Borowski, Esq. Discusses the Importance of Retaining Counsel in Immigration Court Matters

Watch Buffalo Immigration Lawyer Matthew Borowski, Esq. speak about deportation defense (removal defense) in the Immigration Courts in Buffalo and Batavia, NY. He highlights the importance of hiring legal counsel to fight against deportation, and how he helps non-citizens in removal proceedings by offering legal services at an affordable rate. You can reach Matthew at  716-418-7431 or

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Former NYPD Police Chief Bernard Kerik: "Our Prison System Is Broken"

The NYPD Police Chief - a one-time Bush candidate for Secretary of Homeland Security - was sentenced to three years in federal prison for tax fraud and lying to the White House. Now, out of prison, he has some harsh criticism for the American system of criminal injustice.

5 grams of cocaine - the same weight as a five cent nickel - can land a man in federal prison for ten years. Kerik, the same man who used to run Rikers Island, calls that sort of policy "insane" and calls for fundamental changes to the U.S. system of incarceration.

Watch the video now

Friday, November 8, 2013

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Enrollment in a GED Program Is Enough to Satisfy the Education Requirement

Today I had a prospective client call me who was placed in removal proceedings in 2011 and has an upcoming Master Calendar Hearing. He inquired about his eligibility for deferred action. Deferred action for childhood arrivals was implemented in 2012 and is a form of prosecutorial discretion which allows those undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children to remain in the country, and work lawfully.  Deferred action is granted only for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

To qualify for deferred action, childhood arrivals must be "currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States."

The young man who called me this morning was only enrolled in a GED program, but had not yet completed the requirements for the certificate. He wasn't enrolled in a traditional school or university.

I was able to give him some good news - according to USCIS, to be considered “currently in school” under the guidelines, you must be enrolled in:
  • a public or private elementary school, junior high or middle school, high school, or secondary school;
  • an education, literacy, or career training program (including vocational training) that is designed to lead to placement in postsecondary education, job training, or employment and where you are working toward such placement; or
  • an education program assisting students either in obtaining a regular high school diploma or its recognized equivalent under state law (including a certificate of completion, certificate of attendance, or alternate award), or in passing a General Educational Development (GED) exam or other equivalent state-authorized exam.
A GED Program, as it turns out, is sufficient to qualify a childhood arrival for deferred action. The young man I spoke with is currently in removal proceedings, but that doesn't disqualify someone from deferred action.

While the deferred action program is clearly a compromise and does not lead to permanent residency, it's a much needed departure from the way things were before -- with families being torn apart and children being sent back to countries where they have nothing and no one to return to.

If you think you or a loved one may be eligible for deferred action, or you need help with any other immigration problem, please contact the law office at (716) 418-7431 to discuss your case.

Friday, September 27, 2013

DHS exposed for using a non-existent Mexican law to deport the supposedly "illegitimate" children of U.S. citizen fathers and Mexican women

The ABA Journal reports that the U.S. federal government has been wrongly citing a Mexican law that doesn't exist in claiming that Mexicans born to a U.S. father out of wedlock are not "legitimized" under Mexican law and thus are not U.S. citizens. See the full article.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the purported Mexican constitutional provision doesn't exist in the opinion in Iracheta v. Holder, released on September 11, 2013.

The "phantom" Mexican constitutional provision was being cited for 35 years by INS/DHS and nobody successfully challenged its application. The article states that "Most such cases are never appealed, because those affected don't have the money to retain counsel."

This is yet another example of the tragedy of those in removal proceedings not having access to affordable counsel.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Removal of 190,000 Sought in US Immigration Courts in FY 2013

According to the Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), "in fiscal year 2013 the U.S. government will file actions in Immigration Court seeking to remove over 190,000 individuals from the country, according to the latest data extending through the end of August 2013."

Nationally, Immigration Judges ordered deportations on 53.1 percent of those immigrants in removal proceedings.

On the bright side, New York state doesn't fall into the top ten states for percentage of immigrants in removal proceedings who were ultimately ordered removed.

More details can be found at

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Changing Venue in Immigration Court: Transferring Your Case To Another Immigration Court

Non-Citizen Travelers Served With a "Notice to Appear"  at the Canadian Border or in Upstate New York Face Difficulty Traveling to Buffalo for Immigration Court Hearings

Non-citizens who are in removal proceedings (deportation proceedings) often ask whether they can move their deportation cases to a different immigration court. For example, a non-citizen may have gone on vacation in Niagara Falls and was arrested by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) when they crossed the border from Canada back into the United States. They may have been served with a Notice to Appear (NTA) or even held in detention at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, NY. They could be hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their homes elsewhere in the United States.

If a non-citizen is released on bond, or served with an NTA without being arrested, they will often return to their homes but must now travel back to the Buffalo area to appear in immigration court for their Master Calendar hearing. They may find it difficult to take time off work to travel to the area, and witnesses and family members may have difficulty traveling to the area with them.

In some cases, it doesn't make sense to change venue. Where the NTA is defective or the non-citizen has a simple form of relief available, it may make sense to keep the case in the original immigration court, whether that is the Buffalo Immigration Court, Batavia Immigration Court, or elsewhere.

However, where a non-citizen decides to seek discretionary relief, such as cancellation of removal, 212(c) relief, or asylum, it often requires the testimony of family members and friends to help establish the facts. In those cases, it may be difficult or impossible for witnesses to travel to the original immigration court. In these situations, a Motion for Change of Venue may be filed with the immigration court.

A Motion for Change of Venue is granted at the discretion of the judge, and will only be granted if the judge is convinced that a transfer to a different immigration court is warranted. The motion must be filed at least 15 days before the scheduled hearing. The Immigration Judge will also demand that pleadings be made before the motion to change venue is considered. For this reason, it is critical that you consult with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer in the Buffalo area well in advance of your Master Calendar hearing date.

It can be difficult to find an immigration lawyer who is willing to competently pursue a motion to change venue, as they would, in effect, be asking the judge to transfer their case away and they would no longer make money. Presumably, once the motion is granted, the non-citizen would find a new immigration lawyer close to home to handle the case. Indeed, most of these motions I have seen filed in immigration court were filed by lawyers from the other city, asking the judge to transfer venue to the immigration court near them.

If you or a loved one have been served with a Notice to Appear ("NTA") and are facing a hearing in the Buffalo Immigration Court or Batavia Immigration Court, you should immediately contact us at (716) 418-7431 for a consultation to discuss your case and the best strategies moving forward.