Episode 7: Welcome to our podcast dealing with issues related to immigrants and refugees. In today’s episode, Executive Director Kevin Uyisenga is joined by Louisville immigration attorney Davis Tyler to discuss immigration issues, including asylum and deportation issues.
Davis has offices in Louisville and Shelbyville, KY. He’s practiced immigration and criminal defense law for the past 15 years. He’s personally lived in South America and his wife is originally from Panama. Immigration is a very personal area of law for Davis and his family.
Deportation is a critical issue in the media and for some immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, it will be an issue they may face if they’ve been arrested. ICE may be contacted to deal with the individual with no identification or documentation. An immigration judge will make the final determination, in most cases. Davis Tyler often represents clients as a deportation defense attorney.
Some people come to the United States after having applied for a visa. Others may be designated as a refugee. There are actually several different paths to legally coming to the US.
Kevin discusses his journey, which we detailed in Episode 2. After surviving the genocide in Rwanda, he eventually secured a student visa, while living in an orphanage. After graduating from college, he began helping refugees and immigrants who were struggling to acclimate to life in our local community. This is why he eventually founded See Forward Ministries.
Davis comments that some of the larger organizations, such as Kentucky Refugee Ministries and Catholic Charities, are often overwhelmed. Kevin recognized the gap in services and founded the organization in an attempt to take care of the remaining needs of immigrants and refugees.
Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Davis provides a brief overview of the difference between refugees and asylum seekers, from a legal standpoint. People wishing to petition for asylum have to prove a reasonable fear of persecution in your home country. People who are refugees have already been designated as such and are allowed to come to the US and eventually apply for permanent residency.
Asylum seekers will apply with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) on an I-589 application and then wait for several years for an opportunity to interview for asylum. If the application is not approved, the individual will be referred to the immigration court. This is a second opportunity to prove the need for asylum.
Once CIS has received your application, the individual must wait another 180 days and then is eligible to receive a work permit (an Employment Authorization Card) and social security number. It’s during these long gaps that people often run into problems.
Kevin explains from his experiences that many people patiently work through the system but others may get anxious to get started. Sometimes, this leads to problems with law enforcement. Kevin believes that may people have good and genuine intentions. See Forward Ministries tries to work with individuals and families to ensure they are receiving legal support and other resources, such as English as a Second Language (ESL) training, via Newcomer Academy. The ministry also has a number of other programs to assist immigrants and refugees to adapt to this new culture.
Deportation Defense Attorney
A large part of Davis Tyler’s practice deals with deportation defense and criminal defense. If someone ends up in ICE custody, they may be able to pay a bond to get released until their court date. The immigration courts are also overwhelmed with cases. An individual may be able to apply for relief in immigration court, based on the merits of their case.
Interestingly, as Davis points out, even if someone is granted permanent residency, they may still be deported as a result of a criminal conviction.
Kevin often receives calls from people who here and trying to do the right thing. Unfortunately, the delays, challenges and frustration can build up over time. They are simply trying to survive. See Forward Ministries does its best to help them to navigate the process and to take advantage of other support programs available to them.
There’s Often More to the Story
Davis does his best to prepare a case to explain to the court that there’s often more to the story. The individual may have simply been in the wrong place at the right time. There may be other factors the court should consider before rendering its decision.
Kevin shares his recent experience involving a family whose teenage sons got arrested. The parents are working hard to make it in their new surroundings. Unfortunately, the sons are facing deportation. It’s a heart-breaking situation.
It’s not uncommon for the community around a family to come together to try to support the needs. This may mean making small donations to help the family to secure a bond(s). Kevin also believes most people are actually trying to be productive members of the community. It’s when these types of situations surface that we all remember the importance of passion and compassion for those families.
Do You Know Someone Who Needs to Contact Attorney Davis Tyler?
Phone: (502) 647-0082
We’d like to thank Louisville immigration attorney Davis Tyler for taking the time to speak with us. If you’re interested in helping with this effort, as Executive Director Kevin Uyisenga says, “Join Us!”
See Forward Ministries is a non-profit organization founded to be a bridge between those who are settling in our area and members of our community who may have an interest in getting involved, learning about different cultures and making this transition a little easier.
This podcast provides a platform for listeners to learn about this organization and the people who are involved with it. If you’ve ever thought about learning more about different cultures, this is an excellent opportunity. Please SUBSCRIBE to our podcast, so you get notifications each time a new episode is launched. Our plan is to launch a new one every 2 weeks.
Visit www.SeeForwardMinistry.com for more information. We’re also on various social media platforms. Let’s connect!