Lately there have been well-publicized raids in Minnesota and other parts of the country, in which immigration authorities have been cracking down on Somali immigrants who were granted asylum but then may have committed a crime and are now subject to deportation.
Full story can be read at http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/sd-me-somalia-flight-20170127-story.html. See also http://www.newsweek.com/4000-somalis-deportation-us-ambassador-581498 and https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/9kdda3/somalis-say-they-were-shackled-and-beaten-on-aborted-ice-deportation-flight
Is there anything they can do?
The answer is yes. If you have been granted asylum but have not yet applied for your green card, or you are afraid to apply for your green card because many years ago you might have committed a crime but now have turned your life around, you can apply for the green card with a 209(c) waiver.
Unlike other waivers, this waiver is only available to people who came as refugees or who were granted asylum. The waiver is broader than other waivers, and will pardon most crimes except for crimes involving national security or drug trafficking, violent and dangerous crimes, and particularly serious crimes.
The waiver is granted if there is a humanitarian purpose, or for family unity, or is otherwise in the public interest. Documents that need to be filed include proof of family in the United States who have legal status, proof that the family would suffer hardship if the person applying for the waiver is deported, proof of the person’s work history, and ties to the community.
A waiver is also in the public interest of the United States if granting the waiver allows the United States to uphold its international commitments and foreign relations.
The procedure is complicated and should be filed only with an asylum attorney working with asylees and refugees. However, if successful, the applicant will have a green card and will be eligible for citizenship.
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