Monthly Archives - March 2019

Motion to Reopen: An Overview

An order of removal or deportation has a ring of finality to it. And often it does mean that the life one hoped to establish in this country has come to an end. However, if you have been received an order of removal or deportation all may not be lost. The solution to your immigration problem may be to file a motion to reopen the removal proceedings so you can get another day in court and one more chance to start a life in this country. Here is a brief overview of this request which is made to an immigration judge or the board of immigration appeals.

What is a Motion to Reopen?

As the name implies, a motion to reopen is an important statutory mechanism which asks that a judge or legal body consider material and previously unavailable evidence and to vacate an existing removal or deportation order. The Supreme Court has time and time again recognized this important safeguard to civil liberties in the following cases Kucana v. Holder, 558 U.S. 233, 242 (2010); Dada v. Mukasey, 554 U.S. 1, 18 (2008)). Also, See Reyes Mata v. Lynch, 135 S. Ct. 2150, 2153 (2015); regarding this right for non-citizens. An immigration attorney in Oxnard can file this very important document for you.

What are some Grounds for Filing a Motion to Reopen?

A motion to reopen must establish that there are new facts in the case in question and that the “evidence sought to be offered is material and was not available and could not have been discovered or presented at the former hearing.” 8 C.F.R. §§ 1003.2(c); 1003.23(b)(3). Common grounds for reopening include:

  • Ineffective assistance of prior counsel which prejudiced the case.
  • Changed conditions in the noncitizen’s home country that leads him or her to fear persecution there.immigration
  • Exceptional circumstances that caused the noncitizen not to appear for an immigration court hearing, etc.

How our immigration lawyers can help

Because a motion to reopen is such an intricate legal proceedings that carries with it grave consequences, we would not advise you to attempt to file one without the assistance of a qualified legal counsel. I am attorney Erika Roman and I can provide you with such counsel after speaking with you – for free – about your case. If you receive a notice of removal or deportation, we will help you determine whether a motion to reopen is your best option (there are others).

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All About Dual Citizenship

One of the more fascinating aspects of immigration law is ‘dual nationality’ or citizenship. Dual citizenship means that a person is a national of two countries at the same time. Why would someone want to claim citizenship in two countries? For one thing, people who have this status enjoy being able to travel back and forth freely between the two countries, vote and otherwise take advantage of the rights of citizens in both countries. For another, they may simple not wish to sever all ties to the country of their birth. Whatever the reason may be, some people choose to seek this status. Let’s look at the process of applying for dual citizenship and use three countries – Canada, Mexico and the Philippines – as examples.

Canada

You would think that because Canada and the United States share a common border and have been allies and trading partner for so long that each country grants special immigration rights to its citizenship regarding the other country. This is not so. Before applying for dual citizenship, Canadians must spend years here as a legal resident before they can apply for citizenship here as well. (You must also have demonstrated good moral character and not run afoul of the law.) However, if one of your parents was born here and the other in Canada, you may automatically qualify for dual citizenship. Check with an attorney if you are unsure.

Mexico

The process of naturalization in Mexico is managed by the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE). Obtaining dual Mexican citizenship is a complicated process. You must first check to see if you are from a country that even allows dual citizenship. Next, you must have permanent resident status in Mexico. Then, you must present your birth certificate and the birth certificate of your Mexican parents to the proper officials. (Yours should be translated and apostilled.) Again, it is very important to consult with an attorney first. If you are local resident you should could with an immigration lawyer in Van Nuys.dual

The Philippines

Just as is the case with Canada, one can be a dual citizen at birth if one parent was born in the United States and the other was born in the Philippines. If you seeking more information on whether a child qualifies in this way it is a good idea to check with an attorney and with the Philippine Embassy or Consulate. Otherwise you must first be a permanent resident of the Philippines and be able to prove this with the proper documentation before applying for dual citizenship.

In short, applying for dual citizenship can be rather complicated such is the case with much of immigration law. That is why you should never assume anything. If you are asking yourself where there is an immigration lawyer near me, then I can help you. I am Erika Roman.

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Immigration and Adoption

The many processes by which parents can adopt a child, and the laws that govern those processes, is complicated under ordinary circumstances. Usually, one must wait for an indefinite period of time, sign many forms and be vetted by the state and other parties before the adoption can be complete. These complicated procedures become even more involved when a native born American wishes to adopt a child from another country and bring him/her to the US. Here is some information for those who seek to adopt a child from another country.

The Processes

United States immigration law provides two different processes through which someone may immigrate on the basis of an intercountry adoption by a US citizen.

  • Hague Process: This applies to children who reside in a country that is a party to The Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention. This conference was held in 1993. Its objectives were to govern international adoption and to help prevent child laundering, and child trafficking, etc. The steps that are required in order to adopt a child under this process are that you must (a) choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider, (b) apply to be eligible to apply to adopt, (c) be referred to a child by USCIS, (d) apply for the child to be found eligible to immigrate to the United States, (e) adopt the child in order to gain legal custody, (f) obtain a visa for the child to enter the United States. At all steps during this process USCIS is deeply involved.children
  • The Orphan Process: The second way an adult may adopt a child and bring him/her to the United is via the “orphan process” which is a non-Hague way to adopt. Under this process, the child must be an orphan as defined by U.S. immigration law. U.S. immigration law defines an orphan as foreign-born child who was made an orphan death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from, both parents. You must then choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider. After it has been confirmed that the child is an orphan by U.S. immigration law, parents must verify that they have obtained a valid adoption or grant of custody. Parents must also address whether the child has any illnesses or disabilities that are not described in the petition for adoption. Again, USCIS is involved in this process as well. With both processes care must be taken every step of the way and one should use an attorney who is familiar with the laws governing the adoption of a foreign born child.

If you have questions about adopting a foreign born child or about any other subject related to immigration rights in Los Angeles you can consult with my office for free. I am an immigration attorney in Ventura County who will fight to protect your rights under the constitution and who will make sure that you do not face the immigration system alone.

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Common Immigration Marriage Questions

There have been several movies and TV shows based on the premise that a legal resident of the US marries an immigrant so that person can obtain US citizenship. Many of these depictions have been comedic. However, the US government does not take the issue of marriage fraud lightly. Indeed, it levies some stiff penalties against those who practice it. The pertinent law – Immigration and Nationality Act § 275(c); 8 U.S. Code § 1325(c)) – states that perpetrators of marriage fraud can face prison, a fine or both. The exact text of this law reads:

“Any individual who knowingly enters into a marriage for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws shall be imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or fined not more than $250,000, or both.”

Here are some facts about the immigration laws as they relate to marriage and citizenship and some sample questions you and your spouse may be asked during your marriage interview.

What is a Marriage-Based Green Card?

There are legal mechanisms in place that can grant your spouse legal status in the US if your marriage is legitimate. (It is never a good idea to lie to or defraud the government and my office cannot represent anyone with knowledge that this has occurred.) Married couples can apply for a marriage-based green card for example. A marriage based green card gives your immigrant spouse special priority in the immigration system. The card grants him/her permanent residency in the US allowing him/her to work, live and study here legally. The card also grants the spouse the right to travel in and out of the U.S., to obtain a driver’s license and to apply for social security. The card must be carried on the person of the immigrant spouse at all times and is valid for 10 years but is renewable.

Documents an Immigrant Spouse will Need to Apply for Citizenship.

  • Here is a comprehensive list of the items required to apply for a green card:
  • Petition for Alien Relative (USCIS Form I-130)
  • Application to Register Permanent Residence (USCIS Form I-485)
  • Biographic Information (USCIS Form G-325A)
  • Affidavit of Support (USCIS Form I-864)
  • Permission for Work Authorization (Optional) (USCIS Form I-765)
  • Medical Examination Results (USCIS Form I-693)
  • Request for Travel Documents (Optional) (USCIS Form I-131)
  • The appropriate supporting documents

Questions you May be Asked

marriage

  • Where did you meet?
  • Where did you go on your first date?
  • Were you introduced to each other’s friends?
  • When did you realize you loved your spouse?
  • Who proposed to whom?
  • How did they propose?
  • Who gets up first?
  • How many alarms do you set?
  • Who sleeps on what side of the bed?
  • What do you each eat for breakfast?
  • Who is your spouse’s employer?

As we said, it is best to be forthright about the nature of your relationship. You should never engage in any kind of fraud against the government including marriage fraud. I am attorney Erika Roman and if you need an immigration lawyer in Oxnard my office will speak to for free about your case.

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States Sue to Stop Border Wall Funding

“Build the Wall!” “Build the Wall!” This was the infamous slogan at the center of the Trump presidential campaign. Now, more than two years into Donald Trump’s presidency, the POTUS has – out of desperation – finally devised a scheme to fund his multi-billion dollar pipe dream. After a thorough trouncing by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the president has actually declared a national emergency in order to secure funds for his wall. However, as we have said on this blog, attorneys like me – as well as states attorneys general have played a vital role in resisting the president’s wrongheaded policies on immigration. Let’s take a look at his latest attack on both legal and illegal immigration and what the outcome may be.

The President’s Last Ditch Effort

As I have already said, the president declared a “state of emergency” on February 15, 2019. He did so claiming that the United States was practically being overrun with murderers, kidnappers and other violent offenders from foreign countries. We have, in the past, shown that immigration is actually on the decline and that undocumented immigrants commit fewer crimes and have lower incarceration rates than native born Americans. Finally, most experts have determined that most illegal drugs entering the US come through “legal” ports of entry. Still, the president evoked the National Emergency Act which was enacted on September 14, 1976. So, what is this Act and what does it allow the president to do?

National Emergency Powers Explained

The National Emergency Act allows the president to pronounce a national emergency when he considers it appropriate. However, the law does not specifically define what an “emergency” is. It presumes that the president – whoever he or she may be – would not do so in non-emergency situations. The Act gives the president access to certain funds and resources that he would otherwise not have. The important thing to remember is that the president’s declaration can be and has been challenged.wall

What Happens Next

Sixteen states have sued the president saying that the declaration was unnecessary. Many have cited the president’s own words when he publicly declared that he “did not have to do this.” The states suing the president are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia. (These lawsuits could stall actual building efforts until after the 2020 election.) In addition to these lawsuits, Congress itself could vote to override the declaration although the vote would likely fall along party lines.

As you can see, the administration’s attacks on all forms of immigration are not going unanswered. I – attorney Erika Roman – am proud to join in the defense of the constitution and the rights of documented and undocumented immigrants. If you have an issue that needs to be resolved Erika Roman, immigration lawyer can help you.

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What is Asylum and How Does it Work?

For more than two years, President Donald Trump has been as openly critical of asylum seekers as he has been toward regular migrants. This has been demonstrated in the blizzard of tweets he has sent on the subject each one doing a disservice to people who are legitimately in some form of jeopardy from their country of origin. Make no mistake about it – the president and his supporters do know that there is a distinction between the two classes of immigrants. Here are some facts about the asylum process, how it works and how one applies for it.

What Is Asylum?

Asylum is meant to serve as a way to provide humanitarian protection from those who may be under threat of some severe form of harassment, beatings, torture, unjust arrest or imprisonment, or other type of harm from their native country. Additionally, the grounds for an asylum claim can be several such as:

Religion

Race

Nationality

Political opinion, or

Membership in a particular social group.

The United Nations passed a declaration of human rights in 1948 that recognized asylum as a way for immigrants to escape persecution in their own country. Also, the U.S. participated in the UN’s Refugee Convention of 1951. This convention established the legal framework for protecting such persons. Since then, asylum seekers have been protected by laws that grant them admittance into member countries if they meet certain criteria.

How Can You Apply?

Whether or not someone is granted asylum can mean the difference between imprisonment and freedom or between life and death. It is therefore important for asylum seekers to know something about the asylum process. First, asylum seekers must seek asylum in a timely manner. They must do so within one year of entering the United States. (Asylum seekers may be granted an extension by the USCIS.) Next, asylum seekers should fill out USCIS Form I-589, and afterwards send it in by mail.

How Has Asylum Changed Under The Trump Administration?asylum

The Trump administration is in the process of making a deal with the Mexican government that would further weaken the U.S. asylum practice. This would force migrants to stay in their country of origin until a decision was reached on their asylum claim. More famously, Trump has spoken negatively about Syrian refugees and the efforts by other countries to provide them with shelter.

Why You Need an Attorney

Whether you are an asylum seeker and need help navigating the tricky and ever-changing immigration system or know someone who is, you will almost certainly need a lawyer. I am attorney Erika Roman and I can help you with your case due to my extensive knowledge in the area of immigration and because of my practical experience with the system. If you are asking yourself “where is there an immigration lawyer near me” look no further than my office. Come in for a free consultation. Coming in will cost you nothing but failing to do so could cost you a great deal.

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