Immigration & Citizenship
Immigration Counselor: Maryann Casavant
Phone: 617.265.5300 Ext 20
Immigration, Detention and U.S. Citizenship services
Here at the Irish Pastoral Centre we provide information and referral on a wide variety of immigration issues. Hundreds of Irish immigrants receive assistance each year from this very important service. We also cater for the needs of non-Irish immigrants-in line with our inclusive open-door policy. Working with some of Boston’s best immigration lawyers who offer their time pro bono, IPC - Boston holds two legal clinics every month in Dorchester and Quincy where immigrants can have confidential consultations. Attorneys Chris Lavery, Dan Harrington, and Maura Kelly provide a professional response to their crisis, helping them navigate the legal quagmire in which they find themselves. This free and confidential service is an extremely valuable resource for the community. We also distribute wallet-sized 'Know Your Rights' cards to advise members of the community on their rights if approached by ICE.
If readers would like a free 1:1 consultation with an experienced immigration attorney, they can attend one of our monthly immigration clinics . Our clinic consultations are free, however, we greatly appreciate donations to help offer these services
Services available through the IPC Immigration and U.S. Citizenship Program:
- U.S. work and study visa information
- Family and Fiancé based visa petitions
- Information on how to file for adjustment of status to that of permanent resident in the U.S. following marriage to a U.S. citizen.
- Information and assistance on removal of conditional status on Legal Permanent Residency (LPR) cards.
- Information and assistance on filing for U.S. citizenship.
- Preparation for LPR and U.S. citizenship interviews.
- Information and assistance on expiring, old, or lost legal permanent residency cards
- Diversity Visa Lottery applications.
- Information and referral on 1 year J-1 graduate visa program
- Notary Public Services.
We provide assistance to immigrants who are detained and incarcerated in U.S. prisons. Working closely with Chaplain, the immigration counselor ensures that prisoners have access to counsel, and both work closely with the Irish Consulate on such cases. We can arrange to have volunteers visit with prisoners.
U.S. Citizenship Assistance
Since our foundation decades ago, we continue to encourage eligible legal permanent residents to become U.S. citizens. The IPC was a leader during Boston’s Catch the Spirit citizenship campaign during the 1990s when thousands of Irish Donnelly and Morrison visa holders applied for and became U.S. citizens. Today we continue this work on our hotline, via email, and with final review by attorneys at our monthly clinics. Below is a list of reminders on why you should consider becoming a U.S. citizen. Ireland allows you to have dual citizenship with the U.S.
If you are ever convicted of a crime, there is a risk of being deported or excluded. Today, following passage of the 1996 IIRIRA legislation, even less serious offenses may be deportable. Once you become a Citizen, you are no longer deportable assuming you got your U.S. citizenship lawfully.
Guaranteed U.S. status
Permanent residents (green card holders) are always at risk of losing their green cards if they spend long periods of time outside the U.S.
Immigration for family members
U.S. citizens receive priority treatment when it comes to claiming in family members. Green card holders, for example, cannot sponsor parents or siblings, and the length of time it takes to bring in children and spouses is much longer than for U.S. citizens.
Certain types of jobs with government agencies require U.S. citizenship. This is especially true for jobs in energy, national security and defense sectors.
U.S. Citizens and permanent residents are not always treated the same for tax purposes. This is particularly true for estate taxes-the estate of a person who dies as a legal resident may pay a lot more money in taxes than if the person died a U.S. Citizen. You should consult your accountant for more information on this matter.
Federal Grant aid
While some federal grants are available to permanent residents, many grants may only be available to U.S. citizen applicants. Immigrants are reminded that a false claim to U.S. citizenship to obtain a benefit under INA, federal or state law may render a legal immigrant space deportable.
Running for public office:
If you have any aspirations to run for public office, U.S. citizenship is a big issue because many elected positions require the officeholder to be a U.S. citizen.
Warning Scams –The Diversity Visa :
Readers need to be aware of widespread scams on the internet. The U.S. Department of State has issued warnings on a number of websites regarding the Diversity Visa (DV) program. They state there have been instances of fraudulent websites offering help at a fee to the public to apply to the DV Program. There have been instances of fraudulent websites posing as official U.S. Government sites. Some companies posing as the U.S. Government have sought money in order to "complete" applications. It should be noted that applicants selected in the DV Program by random drawing, are notified by the Department of State, Kentucky Consular Center, to proceed to the next steps in visa processing. No other organization or office is authorized by the Department of State to notify DV program applicants. When in doubt, or asked for money, call us here at the IPC before you become the victim of a scam.
Disclaimer: Please note that the information contained herein is provided to inform generally, and is not intended as a substitute for individual advice. Immigration law is subject to frequent changes and individual circumstances can affect the application of certain legal provisions. For individual legal advice, please contact the Irish Pastoral Centre directly regarding upcoming legal clinics or consultation with an immigration attorney.