Monthly Archives - July 2019

Fact about Immigrants and Public Benefits

The Trump administration unveiled a new rule this month that could deny visas and permanent residency to hundreds of thousands of people because they may at some point apply for public benefits. To support this move, Trump and his supporters have propagated the idea that immigrants are burdensome to public assistance programs. Here are some facts concerning immigrants and public assistance.

Fact: Immigrants actually use fewer public benefits.

This is primarily because many are ineligible to receive them. Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for welfare except in extreme cases where a person’s health is involved. Moreover, even legal immigrants cannot receive welfare for their first five years of residency.

Fact: Most immigrants are driven here by the desire to work not to receive public assistance:

More often than not immigrants are motivated to come to this country due to lack of economic opportunities in their own countries. The rest are usually fleeing from persecution – sometimes even the threat of death – the drug war, etc.

Fact: Both documented and undocumented immigrants pay more into public benefit programs than they take out.

Undocumented immigrants contribute an estimated $11.74 billion to state and local economies each year. This means that undocumented immigrants often contribute more to public assistance programs than they get from them. Moreover, their tax dollars often go to support program for which they are sometimes ineligible.

Fact: Undocumented immigrants are ineligible federal public benefit programs with few exceptions:

Mostly undocumented immigrants are ineligible to receive federal benefits. However, they may be eligible for a handful of benefits that are necessary to protect their lives and safety in dire situations such as emergency Medicaid, access to emergency rooms etc. In these cases, denying immigrants from receiving benefits could not only put them at risk, it could also endanger the health and welfare of the general public.

Fact: Immigrants are nearly 50 percent less likely to receive Social Security benefits than native-born American adults.money

The net effect of this is that immigrants put much less of a strain on the Social Security system than native born citizens and indeed help support it.

In short, this effort to penalize immigrants’ use of public assistance is predicated on misconceptions about immigrants and public assistance. It is a part of this administration’s overall efforts to curtail both legal and illegal immigration to this country. Part of my responsibilities as an immigration attorney in Oxnard is to push back against this kind of misinformation. The other part is to protect the rights of every human regardless of their legal status. As an immigration attorney in Van Nuys, I can assure you that these policies will continue to be challenged by me and my colleagues.

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What Health Risks Do Undocumented Immigrants Pose?

For many decades now people who are opposed to immigration have raised concerns about the diseases that immigrants may carry into the country. However, dangerous viruses and bacteria are uninterested in whether a person is native born or not. Infectious diseases don’t care whether someone has crossed the border illegally or that person has gone through the prescribed steps to become a citizen of the US. Yes, aided by nativists and people who are simply uninformed, the myth that undocumented alien will make the US susceptible to some nationwide outbreak of TB or some other diseases continues. With this post I will try to show why this idea has little to no merit. 

Things to know about the Health of Refugees and Migrants

Conservative commentators and even the President have tried to associate disease with immigrants as closely as they have tried to connect them with crime. As an immigration attorney in Ventura County, I feel that it my duty to push back at some the untruths that have been spread by the President and other. Some facts about the health of immigration are:

  1. Immigrants who do make it t the US are screened vigorously for diseases such as tuberculosis, measles, etc. The individuals must undergo a physical examination including chest X-rays, blood samples, etc.
  2. Migrants and refugees are likely to be healthy in general. When migrants have fallen ill it has often come about as a result of the conditions in which they are confined. For example, there has been much concern about sanitary conditions at detention centers in the US. As most people know, diseases can quickly form and spread in conditions like these.
  3. In 2007, 47.6 percent of immigrants and their U.S.-born children were either uninsured or on Medicaid compared to 25 percent of natives and their children
  4. Studies show that international migrants are less likely than people in their host countries to die of heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and other ills.

Solutions

In addition to educating the public about immigration and health issues, we should try to make health systems refugee and migrant-friendly. (Immigrants are often afraid to access publicly available healthcare for fear that they may be turned over to ICE.) We should try to make sure that undocumented immigrants have access to health insurance and that healthcare professionals are informed about issues related to this growing population. This may actually reduce the few health risks immigrant do pose. Additionally, we have to make sure that the detention centers that have become a blight on our nation are more humane and sanitary. I am attorney Erika Roman and I will always work on behalf of all who wish to share in the American dream.

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The Pushback against Sanctuary Cities

One of the most contested issues to have arisen from the Trump administration’s immigration policies is that of “sanctuary cities.” Trump and his supporters have targeted these places that offer support and some semblance of security to migrants who face deportation at the hands of ICE. They have targeted these cities – which includes Los Angeles, CA, Arapahoe County, CO, Hartford, Connecticut, Iowa City, Iowa, Clay County, Florida and too many others to list here – with various legal actions many of which have failed. However, there are many actions that are still underway to eliminate these bastions of hope. Here are states that have pushed back against sanctuary cities.

  • Florida: Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, signed a bill into law earlier this month banning sanctuary cities. The law compels law enforcement and other city officials to cooperate with immigration officials who are seeking to apprehend and deport migrants.
  • Arkansas: In April of this year, Governor Asa Hutchinson – a former Department of Homeland Security official – signed a bill that allows law enforcement officers to stop people and question them about their immigration status.
  • Mississippi: Mississippi is currently not a state that contains sanctuary cities and lawmakers there wish to keep it that way. (The states that are currently include California, California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont.) Yet, it passed a law back in 2017 that preemptively bans them from that state. The law restricts city officials “from creating, planning, implementing, assisting, participating in, or enabling a sanctuary policy.”
  • Missouri: Back in 2008 the show-me state passed a law that cut off funding for sanctuary cities. One of the bill’s authors is former Chairman of the Kansas Republican Party Kris Korbach who it has been revealed may have aligned himself with White Supremacists groups.
  • Other states: According to the National Conference of State legislatures, as least 21 other states are flirting with laws that would ban or defund sanctuary cities.

Legal Challenges

Of course, the administration has tried on several occasions to destroy sanctuary cities either by defunding law enforcement in these cities as it sought to do in City and County of San Francisco v. Jefferson B. Sessions III and other cases. (The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California squashed the Administration’s efforts to place immigration related conditions on grants meant for law enforcement there.)

Ultimately, the pushback against sanctuary cities will continue across the nation and so will efforts by attorneys and other people to bring justice and hope to migrants. As an immigration attorney in Ventura County, I can assure you that the challenges to sanctuary cities will not go unanswered by the men and women of my profession. If you are seeking a compassionate and experienced immigration attorney in Oxnard look no further.

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Costs Involved in Becoming a US Citizen

Lately, we have all heard about the price that some people pay in blood, sweat and tears to become US citizens. Daily, some people even pay the ultimate price – their lives. However, there is also a financial cost involved in becoming or in attempting to become a US citizen. This cost can be rather expensive and even prohibitive to some without the guidance of an immigration attorney in Ventura County. Here is a look at the major steps and the accompanying costs of becoming a US citizen.

  • Attorney Fees ($1,500 to $2,000): Obviously, attorney’s fees vary greatly depending on the experience and location of the attorney. If you do hire an attorney and the price seems to be prohibitive know that many attorneys are willing to work out a fee payment schedule to fit your means. Also, know that an attorney may end up saving you in the long run by informing you of your options if you cannot afford certain fees.
  • Government Filing Fees ($725): This varies too depending on the type of form you are filing. For example, “Petition for Alien Relative” currently cost of $535. An “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status” costs $1,140. And I–90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card cost $365. An “I–526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” – the most expensive form to file – cost $1,500, etc. For a full filing fee schedule you can go to the USCIS website.
  • Document preparation, translations, etc… ($100 to $400): There are also usually miscellaneous fees involved in becoming a US citizen. For example you have to provide copies of certain documents and translations where applicable.

Exceptions and Special Circumstances

Not everyone pays the same amount for these fees. There are special exceptions and circumstances that can lower or eliminate some of these costs. For example, you can apply for certain fee reductions and waivers if you have limited means. This is why it is essential that you contact an attorney who specializes in immigration rights in Los Angeles. By attempting to go it on your own you risk being denied citizenship and you also risk losing a great deal of money. Moreover, immigration is becoming more difficult even when people are well prepared and go about it by following all the rules. My firm keeps track of all changes in the current immigration laws.

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