Monthly Archives - May 2019

More Myths About Immigration Dispelled

Misinformation about immigrants and immigration comes out of the current administration in Washington faster than any person can keep track of. However, it is important that the facts about immigration reach fair minded Americans who can and often do make a difference. As an immigration lawyer in Van Nuys, I have a low tolerance for those who speak from a position of ignorance. I believe that ultimately the truth has a way of bouncing back from the battering that people on the right have given it. Here are some of the most pervasive myths about immigration.

Myth #1: Immigrants bring crime and violence to our cities and towns.

This myth was aided along by none other than the President when he was running for office. The candidate Trump called people aspiring to immigrate to the US “rapists and murderers.” The actual fact is that communities with high immigrant populations have lower crimes rates than many communities where there are relatively few immigrants. Moreover, immigrants make only a very small minority of people who are incarcerated in jails and prisons.

Myth #2: Immigrants hurt our country financially by taking jobs and services without paying taxes.

These are perhaps two of the most pervasive myth about immigrants of all. In fact, many immigrants have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and actually end up creating jobs in this country for fellow immigrants and native born citizens alike. The threat to American jobs from technology is much greater than the threat posed by immigrants. As for the issue of taxes, studies show that immigrants collectively pay between $90 and $140 billion each year in taxes. This helps support services that immigrants and non immigrants depend on in their daily lives.

Myth #3: Immigrants are bringing diseases into the U.S.

According to the World Health Organization many Southern and Central American countries have higher vaccination rates for 1 year old than the United States does. Moreover, immigrants to the US are usually screened for communicable diseases before they are allowed to enter the country.immigration

Myth #4: Terrorists are infiltrating the U.S. by coming across the border with Mexico.

There is no proof to back this claim whatsoever. Indeed, there are no international terrorist groups operating within our neighbor, Mexico. The majority of persons linked with terrorism of late have been US citizens many of whom are on the far right.

Myth #5: Hispanic immigrants don’t learn English and don’t assimilate into American culture?

The truth is that the children of immigrants often accelerate in learning English. This means that they are often bilingual whereas as the great majority of native born Americans are not.

Our country faces a great deal of challenges as we continue into the 21st century. The immigration is one of those problems that can only be challenged when the truth is known about the issue and people of good faith – and kind hearts – act together. As an immigration lawyer in Oxnard, I desire to be a force that enlightens and protects all Americans.

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How Immigration Court Works

During my initial free consultation with potential clients I have found that many of them are shocked to learn that judicial independence and freedom from political influence do not exist when it comes to immigration court. This is just one controversy that swirls around the current system and why I feel obligated to inform potential clients about how the immigration court system works. The following is a very basic summary. If your legal status is in jeopardy and you need detailed information on how things may go for you in immigration court contact my office.

What is the Immigration Court System?

The Immigration Court is an administrative court run by the U.S. Department of Justice. At present, there are more than 200 Immigration judges in 50 immigration courts nationwide. It is the duty of immigration judges to advise noncitizens of their legal rights, hear testimony, make rulings on the admissibility of evidence, entertain legal arguments, adjudicate waivers and applications for relief, make factual findings and legal rulings and issue final orders of removal.

How Immigration Trials Work

People can end up in immigration court for many reasons. Currently, the immigration system is highly congested meaning that a defendant can wait for years while his/her case is being ruled upon. When a person is compelled to appear in immigration court his/her case will be heard by one of approximately 330 immigration judges throughout the US. Additionally, immigration proceedings greatly resemble criminal trials. The difference here is that defendants do not have all the constitutional protections that a native born criminal suspect would have.court

The Administrative Appeals Process

Immigrants may appeal an immigration judge’s deportation order to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Unfortunately, the Board of Appeals can and often does issue decisions that “affirm without opinion. What this means is that it can confirm a deportation order without giving any reason for having done so. This is presumably done to expedite cases as the current system is overcrowded. Immigrants can also appeal decisions made by the Board to the US Courts of Appeals. (This Court is just below the US Supreme Court) However, few immigrants have the resources to do so.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Immigration Court?

To state the matter briefly – yes. The US government will be represented by lawyers who are familiar with every aspect of immigration law court so should you. You should not attempt to confront any legal challenge that may affect your immigration status without first conferring with an immigration attorney in Ventura County who has experience with the issues pertaining to your unique situation. That is why we give potential clients the opportunity to consult with us for free. I am attorney Erika Roman and I am ready to listen to you.

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What You Need to Know About the U.S. Citizenship Test

Back in 2015, Actress Emily Blunt appeared on The Jimmy Kimmel Show and cited the trouble she had taking the U.S. Citizenship Test. (Blunt – who is married to American actor John Krazinski – was born in Roehampton, England.) She described the test as being, “…the hardest test I ever had to take.” Ms. Blunt was referring to the second part of this test which quizzes each applicant’s knowledge of U.S. history and government. The first part of the test assesses and applicant’s ability to read, write and speak in the language. (Presumably, Ms. Blunt had no difficulty there.) Here is some information about the test that will hopefully prepare you.

The English Component

This first component of the exam consists of a speaking part, a reading part and writing part. It is not necessary to have a perfect command of the English language but it does require that you demonstrate a mastery of basic grammar and vocabulary. Immigration officers administer this test and it is essential that you ask for clarification when you do not understand something. For the reading portion of the exam you must read one sentence out of three in a manner that suggest to the USCIS administrator that you understand it. For the writing portion of the exam you must write one sentence, out of three sentences. This sentence must be understandable to the USCIS administrator. Finally, the USCIS administrator will ask you questions in English to determine if you understand him/her.

The Civics Component

The civics portion of the Citizenship Exam assesses your knowledge of American government and history. It consists of a list of 100 questions from which a USCIS officer will draw 10 questions. You must answer 6 correctly out of the 10 questions he/she will ask. This portion of the US Citizenship Exam is the part some immigrants have trouble with and the part that Ms. Blunt complains was difficult. However, there are many sites online that provide flash cards that you can study prior to taking the exam. Finally, if you do not pass at first, you will be allowed to retake the test. (You will be asked different questions.) You will be able to take the test about 60 to 90 days (two to three months) from the date of your first exam appointmentunited states

If you are scheduled to take the Citizenship Test you should engage the help of an immigration attorney in Ventura County who will review all of your application materials and answer any questions you have. My office handles immigration rights in Los Angeles and has experience helping those who are seeking to become citizens of the United States.

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R-1 Visa, Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers

R visas are a kind of non immigrant, temporary work visa whereby people who have been offered jobs as religious workers are allowed to remain in the United States. Ministers, monks, priests, rabbis and imams are just a few of the kinds of religious workers who may qualify under this kind of non-immigrant, short-term visa. Of course, if you feel that you may qualify for this special visa, you should consult with an attorney as you should in all matters related to immigration. There are special procedures that you must follow and deadlines that must be met. Here are few details about this program, how to qualify and the documents you may need.

What are the Requirements for an R-1 Visa?

The requirements for an R-1 visa are very specific. In order to qualify you must:

  • Be employed at least 20 hours per week
  • Be a member of a religious denomination and belong to a non-profit, tax exempt origination within the United States for at least 2 years.
  • Be coming to the U.S. expressly to begin a religious occupation.
  • Have been a member of a religious denomination for at least 2 years before applying for an R-1 visa.
  • Your job duties must pertain to carrying out the religious organization’s creed.

How to Apply

As we said, there are many complicated steps involved in applying for this special visa. Just one mistake from your employer – he or she must apply for this document – and your application can end up being rejected. However, these are the general steps for applying for the R-1 Visa:

  • Complete the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker:
  • Submit the Filing Fee(s):
  • Submit supporting documents:
  • Submit duplicate copies of the Form I-129:visa
  • Sign and File the Form I-129:

What Type of Documentation Will You Need to Provide?

The evidence that should be included with your R-1 Visa is as follows:

 

  • A letter from the IRS showing that the organization is a tax exempt religious body
  • Documentation establishing the religious nature and purpose of the organization
  • A religious denomination certification stating that the petitioning organization is affiliated with the religious denomination

You should consult with an immigration lawyer in Van Nuys to see what other documents you may need to help the USCIS make a determination. An immigration attorney in Ventura County will be able to make a personal analysis of your eligibility.

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Suing USCIS over Delayed or Denied Immigration Cases

When it comes to issues involving immigration, delays and denials from USCIS can be inconvenient to say the least. Sometimes such delays and denials can even lead to tragic results depending on the particular case. Moreover, these kinds of negative outcomes can make applicants doubt the fairness of the U.S. justice system. Thankfully, there are various resources that are set in place by law that applicants whose cases have been delayed or rejected can use. One such course of action applicants can use – as odd as it may sound – is to file a lawsuit against USCIS. Yes, you heard right. Some people have taken action against USCIS by suing the agency. So, is this a good idea? Let’s look at why you may wish to file a lawsuit against USCIS and what happens after you file a lawsuit against the Immigration Service for delaying or denying your case.

Reasons you may wish consider Suing USCIS

Suing USCIS is not as outlandish as it seems and it will not necessarily have a negative impact on your case. Many attorneys have sued USICS and some have successfully had their cases expedited as a result of their legal action. Still, there is no guarantee that suing USCIS will result in success but it is a course you should consider when all other legal avenues have been exhausted. Here are some reasons why you may wish to consider suing USCIS.

  1. The court will take another look at the initial filing you made and ask for the evidence that you submitted to USCIS.
  2. A lawsuit may be effective in getting movement on your case if it has been delayed for an unreasonable period of time.
  3. Your case gets more scrutiny and is taken more seriously by USCIS when they determine that you are willing to fight in open court.

What Happens after you File a Lawsuit against the Immigration Service?uscis

First, an attorney will draft your complaint and you would pay a filing fee. Currently, it is $400 for federal court. Afterwards, the court would issue a summons to the relevant agencies. Next, the defendants – in this case the government – will have 60 days to file their response to the complaint. Then, an Assistant US Attorney or Department of Justice attorney is chosen to defend the lawsuit. This attorney would then contact the agency to learn the specifics of the case and determine if they wish to proceed.

We can make an assessment of your case during your free consultation with our attorneys. We handle immigration rights in Los Angeles and can tell you what the best course of action is for your case. As an immigration attorney in Van Nuys, we can guarantee that we will find the best solution for your particular set of circumstances.

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