On Tuesday, September 23, Attorney Theodore J. Murphy and Immigration Judge Charles Honeyman joined together for a continuing legal education class entitled “Introduction to Immigration Court Practice”. The event was sponsored by the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians and held at Cozen & O’Conner law firm in Philadelphia, PA.
Judge Honeyman discussed the history of immigration court and the processes involved in a typical immigration court case, as well as the forms of relief available in the immigration court.
Attorney Murphy discussed effective representation from initial consultation to representation in court and elaborated on the forms of relief available.
Central American Unaccompanied Minors
Those in attendance were attorneys with limited experience in immigration law, usually one to five years. Many were completely new to immigration but were interested in helping with the mass migration of unaccompanied minors coming across the border from the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
Attorney Murphy discussed his experiences representing these children and how to prepare their cases. Concerns for representing the unaccompanied minors include effective communication, counselling, and court preparation. Many of the children have trouble talking about their ordeals because of their age and personal experiences. In addition Spanish is often not their primary language. Many of these children speak indigenous Central American dialects and only learned Spanish in school, if they have even been to school at all. There are over 24 separate Mayan dialects just in Guatemala! Many of these children need psychological counselling due to trauma from witnessing violent crimes including rape, torture, and murder. These children have often been victims of violent crimes themselves.
The presentation was broadcast to audiences in Seattle, San Diego, and New Jersey via WebEx.
The August 7th publication of the Delaware Wave included an interview with attorney Theodore Murphy discussing the changes in child immigration from Central America in their article “Delaware immigration services feel the pressure”. The law firm has seen a large increase in the number of juveniles in removal proceedings. Most children come from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, where gang violence, poverty and government corruption has forced more than 40,000 children to flee their homes.
Read the full article.
On December 11, 2013, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that they had reached the statutory cap for U Visas for fiscal year 2014 which began October 1, 2013 and ends September 30, 2014.
The cap is currently set at 10,000 visas per year for the U Visa category for immigrants who are victims of certain types of crimes. The cap for fiscal year 2014 was reached in less than three months. Those who have applied for a U Visa and appear eligible, will be placed on a waiting list for when USCIS begins issuing U Visas in the next fiscal year starting October 1, 2014.
The visa cap for fiscal year 2103 was reached by September 7, 2013, just shy of the full fiscal year.
On Friday, September 27, Murphy Law Firm will be moving to a new location at 111 S. Bedford Street in Georgetown, DE. At the new, larger Georgetown location, appointments will be available on both Mondays and Fridays. We had simply outgrown our current location and began looking for a property with enough additional space for our staff to more easily handle our clients’ needs.
Attorney Murphy and the firm’s three additional attorneys will take turns meeting with clients in the new Georgetown location. The firm serves the local immigrant population representing many hispanics and other immigrants from around the globe.
Since immigration is governed by federal law, immigrants residing in Delaware who must see an immigration judge need to travel to federal immigration court in Philadelphia. “We attend court in Philadelphia on a nearly daily basis,” explains Murphy. “Until we opened our previous office in Georgetown in January of 2010, many of our clients were making a four-hour round-trip drive to our West Chester office. It just made sense to provide a location in Georgetown for meeting with our clients.”
The firm will continue Georgetown office hours on Fridays from 10:00 to 4:00 and will also be meeting with clients on Mondays from 10:00 to 5:00.