Interview: When a lawyer is talking about immigration news rules

Immigration was the talking point of The African Immigrant’s Commission of New York and Connecticut as it has organized in February 2, 2020 ,  in partnership with Brewster Law Firm a workshop on that matter. The African Journal has interviewed the two organizations, which gave us interested and   insightful information not only about   the workshop but also and particularly about  immigration  news rules that everyone needs to know.

African Journal ( AJ) : The African Immigrant’s Commission of NY & CT  in partnership with Brewster law Firm has organized in February 2, 2020 a workshop that was  focused on immigration. How a workshop like this one, can benefit African community in New York and Connecticut?

Mory Kouyate ( MK): A workshop as such is highly important and it greatly benefited those of our community that attended. We receive invitations all the time to go on community – based radio stations to answer immigration related questions. We always do what we can. However, with our new partnership with Brewster Law Firm, this was a unique opportunity for the community to learn about the new proposed rules, have all their questions answered by a lawyer , and secure a lawyer on the spot for their next court date. We cannot underestimate the importance of this workshop.

AJ : As an organization, which is championing for African community in New York and Connecticut, what kind of immigration’s issues African community encounter in these two States?

MK:  Some of the immigration different types of  issues that the African community is encountering in these two states and elsewhere are; deportations cases, asylum seekers, people looking to reunite their families. To our surprise, we have seen an increasing number of African immigrants crossing the boarding through Mexico. They are taking the plane from their respective countries to a South American country like Brazil or Mexican, then attempt to cross from there. Some of them make it to the US. However, many others get arrested and jailed in Mexico. We have heard many horrible stories that these people have to endure. We hope that their basic human rights are being respected. 

AJ: One of the themes of the workshop was asylum and immigrant juvenile. Why do you  focus   specifically on juvenile?

MK:  As you know , the US immigration laws are vast. We just decided to simply zero in on these few themes for this particular workshop. We intend to conduct more immigration law workshops in the future that will focus on other themes. 

AJ:  After a workshop on immigration what would be the next topic for the next workshop?

MK: As part of our stated mission, we bring government or other important resources to our community. Having these workshops are one of the many different manners to bring resources to our community. We have done Social Services 101, Financial Literacy workshop, Nko 2020 Census Round table and Immigration Law Workshop. Since it is Black History Month, we intend to do an event soon before the month is out to celebrate black history, after that we will see which workshop, we will do next. 

AJ: This is a new year. Do you have any wish for African community in New York and Connecticut?

MK: We are very optimistic for our community in this new year 2020. We are not a new organization anymore. We have a track record, and we intend to build on what worked last year and avoid what did not work. We wish our community a very productive year 2020. If any of your readers wish to be a partner or to join the African Immigrants’ Commission of New York and Connecticut incorporated, they can contact me Mory Kouyate, Chairman at (917)500-5440 or Email: Thank you, African Journal, for covering our events. Your newspaper has been extremely important to our community and we encourage everyone to support the journal by advertising in it. 

               Brewster Law Firm

African Journal ( AJ) : Can you  introduce yourselves and tell us briefly about Brewster Law Firm?

Brewster Law Firm  ( BLF) : Brewster Law is boutique law firm located in Manhattan by Bowling Green. The firm was established in 2013 by me the principal Oliver Brewster Esq. The firm practices, immigration law, family law, real estate law and business formation. Our goal is to work closely with the African diaspora to increase our communities knowledge in these 4 practice areas.

AJ : Your organization in partnership with  the African Immigrant’s Commission of New York and Connecticut Inc. has organized a workshop on asylum with a focus on immigrants’ juvenile status. What do you mean by immigrant juvenile status?  

BLF : Actually, the main focus of the workshop was asylum applications but I also dedicated the second segment of the workshop to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) which is a pathway to a green card whereby a minor currently in the United States can adjust status to that of Lawful Permanent Resident despite unauthorized entry or unlawful presence in the United States. The main requirement for SIJS is either abuse, neglect, or abandonment by one or both parents. If members of the community think SIJS might be beneficial to a minor they know they can reach out directly to the law firm.

AJ : You talked during the workshop  about new immigration rules: what are these rules?

 BLF: The main new decision I mentioned in the workshop is that the Supreme Court recently handed down a decision that will allow the Trump administration to implement a new “wealth test” rules which will make it easier to deny immigrants residency or admission to the United States because they have used or might use public-assistance programs. The new decision will further allow potential immigrants from poor countries to potentially be rejected admission based on the assumption by an immigration officer during the counselor processing that the intended immigrant could become a public charge.

AJ: After a workshop on immigration what would be the next topic for the next workshop?

BLF:  Difficult to say at this moment what the next workshop would be on. I think the best approach is to speak with Mory along with some of the other organizers as well as the community to get an idea about what topics would be most beneficial to the community.

AJ: One of the problems African immigrants are facing now is the immigration police ( ICE) who are targeting illegal immigrants. What is your advice for immigrants who are in this dire situation?

BLF :  For immigrants in this dire situation I would suggest that if you have documents being processed by immigration you should walk with a copy of the notice of filing for your petition as proof that you are in the process of being properly documented. If you are currently still out of status with no application currently being filed, I would suggest to follow the laws and stay out of trouble and contact an immigration lawyer to see if there is any avenues available to you that you might not be aware of.

AJ: When and why should I contact immigration lawyer?

BLF:  I think it is always a great idea to contact an immigration lawyer if you are in the United States illegally to get consultation if anything can be done about your situation. If you are already in removal proceedings, then you should contact an immigration lawyer immediately. If you are looking to adjust status an immigration lawyer could also assist you in completing and filling your documents to USCIS.

AJ: What a specific message do you have for African community regarding immigration law?

BLF : Stay abreast of the immigration laws and be cognizant of the impending changes. It is also best to have your immigration case handled by an attorney instead of someone who is not an actual attorney as it could save you a lot of money and your freedom to be with your family.

By Bazona Barnabe Bado



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