Thank You to Our 2019 Summer Interns

Russell Immigration Law Firm would like to express gratitude to our interns for the 2019 summer. Both Dean and Netra always had smiling faces and tackled all tasks given to them efficiently and effectively. Thank you both for your hard work and dedication!

Netra Rastogi

Dean Farmer

During his summer internship, Dean worked diligently on multiple complex cases, including I-601A Waivers and Applications for Cancellation of Removal. He demonstrated excellent research abilities in foreign laws, country conditions, and criminal records searches. Dean provided valuable feedback on briefs, research, and hearings.

I was extremely fortunate to have worked with the incredible attorneys and paralegals at RILF throughout the past summer. I learned to understand the complex and rapidly changing U.S. immigration system, while also getting firsthand experience working on cases, communicating with clients, and attending court. Needless to say, I am tremendously grateful for the opportunities I was given at RILF.
— Dean Farmer

Netra spent her summer providing invaluable assistance throughout a range of cases at our firm. She is multilingual and used her talents to translate essential documents. Netra also completed research for I-601A waivers and court related cases, and helped complete online applications for immigrant visas.

I truly enjoyed my experience working with everyone at RILF. Being able to meet such amazing families and people, and actually be able to help them, was a truly life-changing experience. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn more about this complex field of the law while also getting to use my passions for good.
— Netra Rastogi

Insider Louisville Article - In ICE’s path: ‘When they first arrested me, I thought I was done’

Read about the efforts of immigration attorneys and the community to help undocumented people in our area, including the positive effects of the “Immigration Law Boot Camp” hosted by the Louisville Bar Association’s human rights section and the Louisville Urban League held in Louisville, KY last year. Ted Farrell and Duffy Trager were among several advocates interviewed for this story.

Beshear Warns of Widespread ‘Suspended’ Social Security Number Scam

FRANKFORT, KY. (March 6, 2019) – Following a warning to Kentuckians earlier this year about a surge in scams through tax season, Attorney General Andy Beshear said there are widespread reports of ‘suspended’ Social Security number scams.

“This tax season scammers are working overtime to steal Social Security numbers, identities and tax refunds,” said Beshear. “As the Social Security scam continues to spread and claim victims, I want Kentuckians to know they should never hesitate to hang up on a caller who asks for their Social Security number – no matter who they say they are.”

A Jefferson County resident recently received the scam call, which appeared to be from an actual Social Security Administration (SSA) phone number. The scammer claimed the victim’s Social Security number had been suspended due to suspicious activity and to use her Social Security number again she must verify it and other personal information or risk arrest.

Over the past six months Beshear’s office has received nearly 20 formal complaints of Social Security scams from Kentuckians in Boone, Breckenridge, Calloway, Campbell, Clark, Fayette, Hardin, Harrison, Henderson, Jefferson, Laurel, Letcher, Metcalfe, Spencer and Trigg counties.

The scam was also recently reported by the Muhlenberg County Sheriff’s Office.

Reports of the scam are also occurring across the country, including in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi and Ohio.

Beshear said the scam is so widespread that the Federal Trade Commission issued an alert after more than 35,000 people reported the scam last year with financial losses totaling more than $10 million, compared to $210,000 in 2017.

Beshear’s Office of Senior Protection and Mediation asks Kentuckians to follow these tips to help avoid Social Security scams, which can lead to identity and tax refund theft:

  • Hang up on anyone who calls you and asks for your Social Security number, bank account information or credit card number.

  • Know that the SSA is not suspending your Social Security number, nor will they call and threaten you or demand money.

  • Do not trust a caller ID, as scammers use technology to spoof valid phone numbers. To verify any suspicious call contact the real SSA at 1-800-772-1213.

Victims of a Social Security scam may also find out that the scammer used the information collected over the phone to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent refund. The victim only becomes aware of this crime when they are unable to file their own taxes because the scammer already used their Social Security number to file.

Kentuckians who have experienced tax-related identity theft should follow guidance provided on the IRS website, which includes filing a complaint at and placing fraud alerts on credit records.

To report scams to the Social Security Administration’s Fraud hotline dial 1-800-269-0271, and visit Beshear’s website to file an online consumer complaint.

One of Beshear’s top priorities is to protect Kentucky consumers, especially seniors, from scam phone calls.

Beshear, joining 53 of the nation’s attorneys general, sent a letter to the U.S. Senate yesterday to urge the passage of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. The attorneys general say the legislation would require voice service providers to participate in a call authentication framework to help block unwanted calls and create an interagency working group to take additional actions to reduce scam calls and hold telemarketers and robocallers accountable.

Since taking office, Beshear’s scam protection team has returned more than $2 million back to Kentuckians who were victimized by businesses or con artists.

Beshear encourages Kentuckians to use the National Do Not Call Registry provided by the FCC and to report scam calls via his office’s online form.

To help Kentuckians stay ahead of scammers Beshear launched Scam Alerts. To enroll in the scam warning system, text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV-311 (468-311) or online at and select text message or email alert.


Thank You to Our 2018 Summer Interns

Russell Immigration Law Firm would like to thank our Summer Interns for their hard work and the assistance they provided over the summer semester. 

Gianna Bennett

Gianna Bennett

Gianna recently graduated from Hanover College this May, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. This February 2019, Gianna will begin serving with the Peace Corps as an English Co-Teacher and Life Skills Facilitator in Panama. Her duties will include teaching English to elementary school students and organizing community programs promoting health consciousness, youth leadership, and success in professional and educational settings. While interning at Russell Immigration Law Firm, Gianna contributed to applications for asylum, waivers, residency, and citizenship as well as fiancé, marriage, and relative petitions for clients and their families. Gianna also helped with closing cases and completed research for open cases.

I feel honored to have learned from and worked alongside the passionate attorneys and paralegals at Russell Immigration Law Firm. My experiences observing court, contributing to cases, and attending meetings between attorneys, ICE, and USCIS allowed me to better understand some of the biggest issues immigration faces today. I am also grateful for the chance to improve my critical writing and reading skills, Spanish competency, and cultural awareness of immigrant and refugee communities. I am confident I can apply these experiences during my 27 months in Panama serving local schools and communities.
— Gianna Bennett
Sarah Simon

Sarah Simon

Sarah is starting her Senior year at the University of Louisville this fall, majoring in Political Science and Spanish. She hopes to attend Law School after graduation to pursue Immigration Law. While interning at Russell Immigration Law Firm, Sarah assisted with multiple applications for Provisional Waivers of Unlawful Presence, Immigrant Visa Applications, translating documents, and appointment reminders for clients. She also helped with research for asylum cases in El Salvador and Jordan.

Interning at RILF confirmed my desire to pursue immigration law; it was inspiring to be surrounded by such hardworking attorneys and paralegals that taught me a lot about the complexities of immigration law. I was motivated by the passion and diligence that everyone at RILF had during an increasingly tumultuous time for immigration.
— Sarah Simon

Thank You to Our Fall Intern

Russell Immigration Law Firm would like to thank our Fall Intern, Noah Hamant, for his hard work and great disposition.


Noah recently graduated from the University of Louisville as a Political Science major, with minors in Spanish and Philosophy. He plans to attend Law School this coming Fall. Congenial and always willing to help, Noah provided invaluable assistance in asylum cases for a Central American teenager and a Colombian human rights activist. Noah was also very helpful  during our transition to our new office building, ensuring our clients received notice of the move.  

During this chaotic time for immigration, I was glad to learn from and work with the passionate lawyers and paralegals at RILF. Through the internship I gained firsthand experience with this complex side of the law before law school and an understanding of the vigor it takes to go through the process of immigrating.
— Noah Hamant

ICE Plans a Dramatic Surge in Workplace Raids

On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan gave an unofficial talk to the conservative Heritage Foundation. ( In the talk, he said in 2018 ICE will increase workplace enforcement by four or five times over current levels. He also said any employees unlawfully present in the United States who are encountered during the enforcement actions (workplace raids), will be detained and processed for removal.

The Obama administration prioritized abusive employers who exploited workers and/or engaged in other serious criminal activity rather than workers themselves, and conducted workplace raids far less frequently than previous administrations.  Mr. Holman’s statement this week indicates the Trump administration will aggressively target both employers and workers.

Although this is an alarming policy change, ICE is limited by its current financial resources and amount of bed space in jails. The amount of detention space ICE currently has is far less than would be needed for large-scale raids and huge increases in the number of people detained.

The Trump administration is already moving to dramatically increase the amount of detention space. An internal White House memo leaked to the media in April 2017 declared that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had already located 33,000 additional detention spaces.  ICE is seeking 4,000 more detention spaces in Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, Salt Lake City and south Texas, and awarded a $457 million contract to the GEO Group, a company that runs private prisons across the country.

What can we do about this?

It is also of critical importance that we prepare ourselves and our community so we know what to do – and what our rights are – if caught up in a raid.

What is a workplace raid?

A workplace raid is when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) comes to a business where it believes people are working unlawfully. Since numerous ICE officers are present for these actions, a raid can cause chaos and panic.

Workplace raids are usually unpredictable, but sometimes ICE will give an employer notice. The officers may come with a warrant signed by a judge, or they may simply walk into the business.

ICE officers may ask to speak to one specific person – for example, a manager – just so they will be granted permission to enter the business. They usually claim to be looking for specific individuals, sometimes even claiming that those sought are dangerous criminals. Once inside, however, ICE will question (and potentially detain) everyone present who cannot demonstrate lawful immigration status.

What do I do if ICE comes to my workplace?

It is always important to be prepared and to have a plan in place in case you are present during a workplace raid. Here are some of our recommendations:

  1. Do not run – If you run to try to escape, the immigration officers will see this as you admitting that you have something to hide. Additionally, more ICE officers are usually waiting outside any exits and you will be immediately apprehended.
  2. Do not open the door – Just like if an officer came to your home, you do not have to open the business’s door unless you are in a public place or the officer has a warrant signed by a judge. Your boss may give the officer permission to come into the business.  
  3. Do not show any fake documents and do not lie!
  4. Don’t take your foreign ID with you when you go to work. (i.e. Matricula Consular)
  5. Remember: You have the right to remain silent and to speak with an attorney – Carry a “know your rights” card which you can give to the officers without speaking. Write the name and phone number of your lawyer on that card. If an officer continues to ask you questions, tell them, “I am exercising my right to be silent. I want to talk to my lawyer.”
  6. Do not sign any documents without talking to a lawyer – You are not required to sign any documents from ICE without discussing the consequences with an experienced immigration lawyer.
Know Your Rights.png

What are the rights and responsibilities of my employer?

  1. The National Immigration Law Center’s National Employment Law Project has some suggestions for how employers can prepare for raids:
  2. Make a written plan of action to prepare for a workplace raid.
  3. Provide a “Know Your Rights” training for your employees, which will train staff to:
    • Stay calm and not run away from the officers
    • Not to give ICE officers permission to enter the business unless they have a warrant signed by a judge
    • Stay silent and ask to speak with a lawyer
  4. Provide a list of local immigration lawyers, including low-cost immigration organizations.
  5. Exercise your right as an employer to remain silent and to ask to speak with an attorney.
  6. Clearly mark private areas of your business, such as kitchens, as PRIVATE, and refuse to allow officers into those areas without a warrant signed by a judge.
  7. Connect with an immigration response network in your area, like Alerta Roja in Louisville.



Thank You to Our Summer Interns

Russell Immigration Law Firm would like to thank our Summer Interns for their hard work and the assistance they provided over the summer semester. 


Samuel Lukens

Sam is starting his Senior year at Centre College this fall, majoring in Spanish and Politics. Upon graduation, Sam plans to attend Law School. While interning at Russell Immigration Law Firm, Sam demonstrated initiative and provided valuable assistance in preparing evidence packets for submission to USCIS, served as a translator, and assisted in filing several applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Sam also helped with text message reminders, closing cases, contacting clients to relay important messages and completed research for an asylum case.

The internship gave me valuable insight into immigration law and procedure, and the attorneys and paralegals guided me even further along my path to attending law school.
— Sam Lukens

Diana Rudic

A child of immigrant parents from the former Yugoslavia, Diana is now a Junior at the University of Louisville, majoring in Economics, Political Science and Psychology, with a minor in French. During her period at Russell Immigration Law Firm, Diana assisted with multiple applications for Provisional Waivers of Unlawful Presence, thus helping many immigrants in their path to legalization. Diana also completed research for an asylum case for a young teenager from Central America.

Interning at RILF not only provided me with valuable insight on the complexities and ever-changing nature of immigration law, it also allowed me to look beyond the legal scope and delve into the personal side of law. The perspective I gained throughout my experience— from the stories I heard to the people I met— was both humbling and emboldening, serving as a reminder of the importance of compassion, empathy, and conversation.
— Diana Rudic

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals 2017 Announcement

On Sept. 5, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiated the orderly phase out of the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DHS will provide a limited, six-month window during which it will consider certain requests for DACA and applications for work authorization, under specific parameters. Read the memorandum from Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke for details. 

Next Steps for Phasing Out DACA

All DACA benefits are provided on a two-year basis, so individuals who currently have DACA will be allowed to retain both DACA and their work authorizations (EADs) until they expire.

USCIS will adjudicate, on an individual, case by case basis:

  • Properly filed pending DACA initial requests and associated applications for employment authorization documents (EADs) that have been accepted as of Sept. 5, 2017.
  • Properly filed pending DACA renewal requests and associated applications for EADs from current beneficiaries that have been accepted as of the date of this memorandum, and from current beneficiaries whose benefits will expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 that have been accepted as of Oct. 5, 2017.

Individuals who have not submitted an application by Sept. 5, for an initial request under DACA may no longer apply. USCIS will reject all applications for initial requests received after Sept. 5.


For more information, please read the:



  1. If your current DACA status expires on or before March 5, 2018, you MUST file your renewal BEFORE October 5, 2017. Please contact an attorney immediately to begin processing your application.

  2. If you have a pending application for Advance Parole (AP) based on your DACA status, your AP application will be closed and your filing fees should be refunded. If you have an approved AP document, be sure to talk to an attorney BEFORE leaving the country to discuss the benefits and risks of doing so.

Please also see our previous blog post: What do I need to know if the DACA Program Ends? 


There are some reports that President Trump may end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program soon. At this time, we do not know when or if the DACA program will be terminated or what the end of the program may look like. For example, will those with DACA continue to be protected from deportation and able to use their work permits until they expire? Or will DACA approvals and work permits be revoked? While the DACA program remains in effect at this time, see the following links for some things to keep in mind should the program end. ENGLISH / SPANISH


Protecting Yourself and Keeping Your Loved Ones Safe

Although Russell Immigration Law Firm hopes that you will never be in a situation where you or your family feels insecure and afraid, we recommend taking steps to prepare yourself for the possibility of detention, deportation, or other immigration problems. Knowing your rights and making an emergency plan are two such steps that will take away part of the fear and stress about the future. In addition to these suggestions, the lawyers at Russell Immigration are here to help you find your legal solutions and move through the immigration system.

Do You Know Your Rights?

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”

The rights that a police officer announces to a person at the time of arrest are called the Miranda rights. When a person is questioned by a police officer, they can often feel frightened, intimidated, and/or nervous. When an officer reads you your Miranda rights, he or she is reminding you that, whether you are just questioned or taken into police custody, you are not powerless.

You have the right to remain silent, and you have the right to speak with your lawyer before you talk to the police. However, it is very important to be confident in your rights and stand up for them, because police and immigration officers often use strategies which make you feel like you have no options. Even if you clearly tell the police that you want to remain silent or speak with your lawyer, they may continue to ask you questions. You do NOT have to answer their questions. If you say, “I want to remain silent” or “I want to talk to my lawyer”, the police are required to stop questioning you. If they don’t stop, they are violating your rights, and you can later ask a judge to refuse to accept (“exclude”) any evidence they obtained this way. Even after you are arrested or detained, the judge is the only person who can order you to answer questions.

According to the US Constitution, you also have the right to be safe in your home against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” When police or immigration officers come to your home, you do NOT have to open the door or give them permission to come inside. In order to come into your house, an officer should show you a paper called a “search warrant” that is signed by a judge.

Finally, if you are not a US citizen, you also have the right to know how any criminal charges and convictions can affect your immigration status. This is extremely important if you are choosing whether to plead guilty to a crime in order to make a deal with the court (also known as a “plea bargain”). If your criminal lawyer does not know how accepting the prosecutor’s offer in a criminal case will affect your immigration status, then he or she MUST discuss this with an immigration attorney to in order to represent you correctly.

Rights in the Immigration System are NOT the Same as in the Criminal System

When the police tell you what your rights are, they are giving you a warning that anything you say after that point will be used against you in a CRIMINAL trial. However, at any time when you are speaking with police, especially immigration officers, any information that you give can be used in IMMIGRATION court or when applying for immigration benefits. It does not matter if they didn’t warn you. Therefore, it is VERY important that you KNOW your rights and that you USE them to protect yourself from negative immigration consequences. When you speak with police officers or any other government officials, DO NOT lie or give them fake documents, like a driver’s license or permanent resident card, because that information will be used against you later and may even cause you to receive additiojnal very serious criminal charges.

It can help to carry a “know-your-rights” card that you can give to the police as soon as they stop you. The card tells police that you want to remain silent and will not answer their questions until your lawyer is present.

The biggest difference between the immigration system and the criminal justice system is that, in the criminal system, you have the right to a free lawyer if you cannot afford to hire one yourself. While you have to right to be represented by an attorney in the immigration system, you DO NOT have the right to a free lawyer if you cannot afford to pay to hire one.  If you are detained by immigration, you still have the right to have a lawyer with you and the right to talk with an attorney before you sign any documents. If you can’t afford to hire one, there are many who are willing to provide some immigration representation “pro-bono” (at no cost to you). Russell Immigration Law Firm maintains a list of some of these attorneys. If you are detained by ICE and are not already working with one of the attorneys from our office, we may be able to connect you with a pro-bono attorney who can help you seek a bond (or a bond reduction).

Make an Emergency Plan

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In addition to knowing your rights, many negative consequences can be avoided through careful emergency planning. You should create a plan to protect your family and possessions (like your car or home). Preparing for the worst scenario can help you to feel more in control, less afraid of what might happen, and stronger in the face of pressure from an ICE officer.

  • Memorize phone numbers for anyone you may want to call if you are detained, because the police or ICE may not let you use your phone after you are arrested.
  • Keep all important papers together in one place and tell someone that you trust where to find them. Important documents will include: birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, immigration documents/paperwork, papers related to criminal matters, medical records, and instructions for medicine.
  • Have an emergency fund that can be used to pay bills and other expenses in your absence.
  • If you have children who are less than 18 years old, choose someone that you really trust to take care of them. Memorize that person’s phone number.  An attorney can help you prepare and sign a document called a “power of attorney” to give that person temporary legal power to make decisions for your children’s school and well-being in the event you are unable to care for them.
  • Don’t forget to make plans for a neighbor to care for your pets.
  • Choose someone who will be in charge of telling your employer that you will not be at work.

Reach Out to Community Organizations

With all of the news about President Trump’s agenda and recent reports of higher numbers of people being arrested and deported, you might feel worried about the risk of immigration problems for yourself and your family. You are not alone! Louisville has a great network of support for the immigrant, noncitizen, and refugee community, including organizations such as La Casita Center, Doors to Hope, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, and the Americana Community Center. Please also reach out to your neighbors, especially if they don’t seem to have a strong support network. Your help might make all the difference to someone!

In difficult times, we all should reach out to others for mutual assistance and support. Remember, “the people, united, will never be defeated.”

(General) Know Your Rights [ENGLISH/SPANISH]: This flyer has basic information about your rights when being investigated or detained by the police.

(Extended Version) Know Your Rights: This flyer includes helpful information about what to do if you or a loved one is detained by immigration. [ENGLISH/SPANISH])


Will DACA be ended by the courts?

Readers may remember that Texas and 25 other states sued the federal government in 2015 to stop its implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA, programs announced by President Obama in 2014. The federal judge in Texas, where the case began, issued a nationwide injunction preventing the federal government from moving forward. The injunction was appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which deadlocked 4-4 – allowing the injunction to remain in place.

Because the 2015 lawsuit only challenged the 2014 expansion of DACA, it did not affect the original 2012 DACA, and many have been able to obtain DACA or renew previous DACA grants under that program even while that lawsuit was going forward.

Unfortunately, leaders in some of those states want the original 2012 DACA ended as well, and believed President Trump would end the program when he took office. Since he has (so far) refused to do so, the Texas State Attorney General (AG) and nine other Republican State Attorney Generals are now threatening to add the original 2012 DACA program to the 2015 lawsuit if President Trump does not end the program by September 5, 2017.  President Trump has chosen to continue DACA up to this point, but it is impossible to say what he will do in the future. If he does not at least indicate by September 5th that he will end the DACA program, it is likely that the above-listed states will follow through on their threat soon thereafter.

If the AGs follow through on their threat, the fate of DACA may be sealed and it will likely eventually be ended by the courts.  That is because every court where the suit would proceed (US District Court in Texas, US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and U.S Supreme Court), is dominated by conservatives who would likely rule against the program the same way they ruled against the 2014 expansion.  Even pro-immigration legal scholars concur in this analysis.

This strategy was successful for the AGs when they fought against the DAPA and DACA expansion programs in 2015, and the courts that allowed the injunction to stand in that case are the same courts that would now hear the arguments against the original 2012 DACA.

When could DACA end?

That is hard to predict exactly. It is possible, even likely, that DACA filings could end soon after the suit is filed.  That is because it would be filed with the same US District Court judge who issued the first injunction, and it is highly likely that he would issue one for the original 2012 DACA program as well. That would prohibit the federal government from processing DACA applications while the case proceeds through the courts – a process likely to take at least several years.  However, if the judge does not issue a new injunction, the program could continue for many months, or a year or more, before the US Supreme Court finally decides against continuing DACA.

Should someone file a new DACA application, file to renew DACA, or file an application to travel abroad (an application for Advance Parole)?

 In each case the person should contact an experienced immigration attorney to advise on the pros and cons of filing each application based on the facts of their individual case and the status and progress of the court suit. 

In the case of filing an application for Advance Parole, the future benefit of traveling and reentering on Advance Parole is very significant, but only if the person originally entered the United States illegally.  That is because the person would now have a legal entry into the U.S. 

Why is this important? It is important because having entered the U.S. legally gives a person more options if that person later has a way to obtain permanent resident status. For example, if at some time in the future a person were to marry a U.S citizen, the legal reentry on Advance Parole could allow the person to apply for permanent resident status inside the U.S. instead of having to travel abroad to apply for an immigrant visa (also permanent resident status), which would very likely also require the person to ask for a waiver of inadmissibility. Applying for permanent residency without leaving the U.S. means the person would likely not need the waiver, which makes the process faster, less expensive, and less risky.  

Again, you should NOT move forward with filing any of the above applications until AFTER consulting with an experienced immigration attorney.


USCIS Releases Study App

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a new app called "USCIS: Civics Test Study Tools." The press release reads as follows: 

Our app, “USCIS: Civics Test Study Tools,” is now available on the iTunes and Google Play app stores. The app helps you prepare for the civics test during the naturalization interview. It also has a game to challenge your civics knowledge, reminder notifications, and review of past tests. You can also switch between English and Spanish.
Be sure you get our official app! Follow the links above or search for “USCIS" or "USCIS civics.” Then, check that USCIS is the developer.

Additional study materials for the English and Civics tests can be found for free at the USCIS website. You can also find a practice Civics test there.


As you probably already heard or noticed, there has been a significant increase in arrests of undocumented immigrants across the United States. In the three months between January 22nd and April 29th, 2017, those arrests increased by 40%, compared to the same time frame last year.

Although most of those arrested had criminal convictions, both ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly state that ICE will arrest any undocumented person, regardless of criminal history.

As such, it is critically important that you know your rights and know how to protect yourself.

Click on the “protect yourself” tag below or type in “protect” in the search box on the right to read articles which thoroughly describe how you can protect yourself.

See article published by ICE here.

Scam Alert: DHS OIG Hotline Telephone Number Used in Scam to Obtain Personal Information

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a fraud alert on April 19, 2017, to warn the public about a scam using the DHS OIG hotline telephone number. Scammers have identified themselves as “U.S. Immigration” employees and have altered their caller ID to seem like the call is coming from the DHS OIG hotline (1-800-323-8603). They then demand that the individual provide or verify personally identifiable information, often by telling individuals that they are victims of identity theft.

Read the DHS OIG fraud alert for more details.

If a Scammer Calls You

If you receive a call demanding personal information or payment, hang up immediately. If you want to verify whether a call is from USCIS, you may:

* Call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 to ask if you need to do anything about your case or immigration status,

* Make an InfoPass appointment at, or

* Use myUSCIS to find up-to-date information about your application.

Remember, USCIS officials will never threaten you or ask for payment over the phone or in an email. If we need payment, we will mail a letter on official stationery requesting payment. Do not give payment over the phone to anyone who claims to be a USCIS official. In general, we encourage you to protect your personal information and not to provide details about your immigration application in any public area.

How to Report a Call from a Scammer

If you receive a scam email or phone call, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at If you are not sure if it is a scam, forward the suspicious email to the USCIS webmaster at USCIS will review the emails received and share with law enforcement agencies as appropriate. Visit the Avoid Scams Initiative at for more information on common scams and other important tips.

SOURCE: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (


Louisville Bar Association Human Rights Section's 2nd Immigration Bootcamp

The Louisville Bar Association Human Rights Section's 2nd Immigration Bootcamp for attorneys, legal professionals, and community advocates will be held at La Casita Center on Friday, March 10th from 12:30-3:30. Ted Farrell and Rachel Carmona will provide an in-depth bond hearing training for detained individuals, so bring your laptops! We will also review sanctuary places, other legal avenues to help those affected by the Executive Orders, and updates since the last session. Lunch provided, and session will begin promptly at 1pm. 50 people max. Register with Mildred Menchu-Johnson at: or call (502) 693-5730. The address is 223 E. Magnolia Avenue, Louisville, KY 40208.

Expedited Removals To Begin Soon

This past Saturday evening, on February 18, 2017, the new Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly, issued a Memo to implement the new Executive Order on Border Enforcement that was signed on January 25, 2017.  One of the most shocking and harmful of the changes in the Memo was the announcement that Expedited Removals, previously issued only at airports, border points of entry, and against undocumented individuals who were caught within 100 miles of the border, will now be applied throughout the United States.  This is an unprecedented expansion of the law that will hopefully be challenged in federal courts.  This new Memo will potentially allow very fast deportations of millions of undocumented individuals from the United States.


What is an Expedited Removal Order?

An Expedited Removal Order is an order of deportation, with similar legal effect as an order of removal by an immigration judge.  But the Expedited Removal order is not issued by an immigration judge, it is issued by the immigration officer soon after arrest of the person.  More importantly, the arrested person has no right to speak to an attorney, no right to a bond or a bond hearing, and no right to a hearing before an immigration judge where you can apply for a benefit, such as Cancellation of Removal. All due process rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and in the Immigration and Nationality Act (i.e., right to a bond, right to obtain an attorney, right to a hearing before an immigration judge and to apply for a status, such as permanent residency) are denied.  After the order is given the person is removed from the U.S. as soon as possible. If the person is from a border country such as Mexico, the removal is quickly arranged.  If from another country such as in Central America, or Africa, the removal will take longer to arrange because it is by plane. 

What Is The Reason For Expanding Expedited Removal Order To The Interior of The US?

The Memo clearly explains the government’s reason for the expansion.  The Memo states that immigration courts are seriously backlogged with over 500,000 cases in immigration court.  And that many court cases take years to be heard by an immigration judge. Therefore, the government wants to deport people without allowing hearings in immigration courts, to avoid deportation, and remain in the US. The reason for the court backlog lies with Congress because for over 20 years they refused to properly increase funding to expand the immigration courts to handle the backlog of cases.  It is wrong to blame immigrants for the inaction of Congress.

Can Undocumented Individuals Do Anything to Stop An Expedited Removal Order From the US?

YES!  Nearly all undocumented individuals can stop an immigration officer from issuing an Expedited Removal order.  First, undocumented individuals must ALWAYS carry in their possession, proof of continuous physical presence in the U.S. for at least the past TWO years.  The two years of documentation must be updated every month to prove your continuous physical presence. You must have the documentation in your possession at all times, especially whenever you leave the house (even to go outside to empty the garbage, or go to work, church, or school).  It should ALWAYS be in your possession no matter where you go or what you are doing.  And besides updating your documentation every month, you should have an extra copy at home. This could allow a documented family member or friend to present proof of your continuous physical presence for the past two years to the immigration officer at the local ICE office.  Since this may not be allowed, the best way to avoid an Expedited Removal Order is to always carry the documentation with you. 

Also, international treaties, signed and recognized by our government, allow every foreign national to speak to someone at their own consulate after arrest in the U.S.  This is a right that must be recognized by all government officials when demanded by any foreign national.  Asserting this right can be helpful if you face an immigration officer who refuses to recognize your proof of two years of continuous physical presence in the U.S.  You can ask the consulate to intervene by helping you to get an attorney to argue against expedited removal and remain in the U.S.

Finally, if you are afraid to return to your home country, you should clearly and consistently state you are afraid to return, to every immigration officer you come in contact with.  Once you express a credible fear of persecution you will be allowed to have an interview by an asylum officer.  However, your fear to the officer must be done in a way that is recognized under our immigration laws.  For example, if you have a fear of harm by cartel or gang members in your community back home, your fear will not be considered important under our law. 

However, if your fear is also based on the targeting of family members back home by cartel or gang members, you may be part of a protected social group of family members and your claim may be successful.  Or if you are afraid to return home because you will be harmed by a violent ex-partner, spouse or former spouse in your home country, your claim will more likely be recognized because it is based on a protected social group of battered ex-spouses or partners.  You must also be specific in the type of harm you fear (physical attack, murder, etc.), and who will inflict the harm on you.  But this type of defense to an Expedited Removal order is more difficult to establish to an immigration officer.  It will always be best to present two years of documentation of continuous physical presence in the U.S. to avoid an Expedited Removal order, and only assert a fear of persecution if the fear is real and you have no other choice.

What Type Of Documents Should I Carry to Show My Continuous Physical Presence For the Past Two Years?

There are many types of documents or combinations of documents that can show continuous physical presence:  monthly bank statements, monthly car payments, monthly cell phone bills, monthly house payments or rent receipts.  Every monthly document must clearly have your name on the document.  Basically, any monthly bills and payments with your name on them should be acceptable.  If you do not have monthly receipts, other documents such as proof of doctors visits for yourself, or your children, showing you took your child to the appointments, or school activities such as parent teacher conferences you attended can prove physical presence. 

A letter from your church minister, pastor, priest or deacon, showing attendance at church gatherings can be very helpful.  But these letters must be on church stationary and signed and dated by the minister, pastor, priest or deacon. The letters must also specifically and clearly explain your participation in the church, and how often you attend or participate in the church activity.  This type of letter can be used for both parents, and even undocumented children, if all attend the church activities.  You can make copies and use a copy for each person.  If church letterhead is not available, the letter must be signed and dated by the pastor, etc., before a Notary Public.  A copy of a photo ID of the person writing the letter (driver’s license, for example) should be attached to the letter.   There may be other types of documents one can use to establish continuous physical presence.  Just make sure the documents are clear and readable, with your name and date on the document and make a readable, duplicate copy.

Will The Expansion of Expedited Removal Be Challenged in Court?

We think so.  This is a very unprecedented and massive expansion of Expedited Removal.  And it is clearly done to deny due process rights to millions of undocumented individuals, many, if not most, of whom are to eligible to avoid deportation and even successfully apply for and obtain permanent resident status.  So legal challenges will likely be made and possibly be successful to overcome this unprecedented and unlawful application of law. But even if these changes are successful, it could take months or longer to get a positive court decision.  So it is best to always carry proof of your continuous physical presence wherever you go.

Can Other Challenges Be Made to Stop the Expansion of Expedited Removal?

Yes.  Many immigrant communities and their allies are getting organized to stop this unprecedented and unlawful expansion of law from deporting hundreds of thousands of undocumented, thereby destroying immigrant families in our communities.  Many of these families contain U.S. citizen and permanent resident family members.   Such organizing include: presentations to immigrant communities about using documentation to stop issuance of Expedited Removal Orders; marches, rallies, strikes, and protests to stop the government deportations from destroying our immigrant communities and harming thousands of businesses that rely on immigrants to survive and succeed.  Some church communities, based on their strongly-held religious beliefs of providing safe refuge to those facing harm, are preparing to house immigrants who face imminent deportation.  Other communities are organizing alerts and planning ways to respond by protesting when raids are taking place.  We can and must oppose, in as many ways as legally possible, government efforts to deny due process rights that are guaranteed to every person in the U.S., even undocumented persons, who are equally protected by the U.S. Constitution, in addition to the rights and protections under the Immigration and Nationality Act.  As the great African American anti-slavery leader Frederick Douglas stated: “Power concedes nothing without a demand, it never did and it never will.”

 ¡Sí Se Puede!

Ron Russell, Rachel Mendoza-Newton, Ted Farrell and Duffy Trager of the Russell Immigration Law Firm

WARNING: Immigration Scams

"Today New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued an urgent fraud alert, warning immigrant communities of potential scams in light of recent reports that fraudsters have been posing as Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents scams and demanding money in order to avoid deportation. The Attorney General’s office has received an increased number of reported scams along these lines following the ICE deportation raids that have taken place over the last few days." 

See the full message here.