Monthly Archives - September 2019

5 Anti-Immigrant Extremists Groups that Are Now Active in United States

In the past, President Trump has called for sanctuary cities to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by “aliens.” Indeed, his entire immigration policy is based on the notion that immigrants are somehow victimizing innocent Americans with abandon. The unfortunate truth is that some Americans have taken it upon themselves to band together and victimize immigrants. Here is a list of just some of the more dangerous extremist groups that have done so.

  • Aryan Nations: In the 1980s and early 1990s neo-Nazis, racist skinhead and Klansmen were all allied with this group that has its origins in Idaho. This was the peak of the group’s influence. In 2000, the group was seriously weakened by a lawsuit filed against it by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
  • Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights (FOAK): FOAK has often been at the center of right-wing rallies and has made no qualms about advocating violence as a means of achieving their goals. In fact, its founder is a repeat felon himself.
  • Knights of the Ku Klux Klan: One of the oldest hate groups in America, the Klan can trace its origins back to the end of the civil war. And although it has gone through many transformations over the centuries, it still clings to its anti-immigrant, anti-black, anti-Catholic and Anti-Semitic doctrine. It also continues to threaten people who oppose its extremist ideology with violence.
  • Proud Boys: In addition to their anti-immigrant views, this group is also known for its anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric. Recently, they have appeared at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, where counter-protester Heather Danielle Heyer was killed. Donald Trump, as most people know, famously claimed that there were “fine people on both sides.”
  • Stormfront: Stormfront is a white nationalist, anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial group who have the distinction of having formed the Internet’s first hate site and forum. Moreover, according to the SLPC in the five years leading up to 2014, Stormfront members murdered nearly 100 people.

There are no groups who are more supportive of the First Amendment than attorneys such as me and journalists. However, the words one chooses to use do have consequences. This administration and many who echo its anti-immigrant rhetoric are inspiring throngs of people who use force and terror to make their point and don’t just stop at words. As an immigration lawyer from Oxnard I will continue to provide my clients with and immigration defense in Los Angeles.

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The Trump Administration Plans Changes to the Naturalization Exam

Starting sometime in 2020, people who wish to become U.S. citizens will face a new version of the Naturalization Exam. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will issue the new test for anyone who files an applcati8on to take the exam. This has many people concerned since the Trump administration, which has been notoriously anti-immigration, will be the ones making the changes to what some applicants say is already a challenging exam. Let’s look at some facts about the current exam and some reaction to the fact that the changes will be made by this administration.

The Exam

Section 312 of the INA requires naturalization applicants to pass an English and civics examination as part of the naturalization process. As part of this examination, applicants must demonstrate “…an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language…” and “…knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government, of the United States…” One applicant who famously spoke about the difficulty of the current test is actress Emily Blunt who was born in England. A study by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has shown that the majority of Americans would fail the exam in its current form.

The Reaction to the Announcement of Changes

As of this date, the Trump administration has not been specific about what changes will be made to the exam leaving many in the legal community concerned given the President’s actions on immigration since he took office. For example, back in July Trump proposed that asylum seekers seek refuge in others countries before seeking it here. Trump has also previously:

  • Implemented a travel ban that blocks people from Muslim countries
  • Proposed a new “merit” based immigration system
  • Implemented the public charge rule
  • Shut down the government briefly to fund a wall at the Southern border and the list goes on.trump

Also troubling is the fact that USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinell is a staunch supporter of Trump and his immigration policies. He has said of the reaction to planned changes, “…they’re going to be sorely disappointed when it just looks like another version of a civics exam. I mean that’s pretty much how it’s going to look.”

As an immigration lawyer in Van Nuys, It is my hope and the any revisions to the naturalization examination are reasonable and that they continue to give special consideration to applicants over the age of 65 and those who have already been living in the US for some time. I am attorney Erika Roman and I will continue to make sure that you are properly represented in the immigration system no matter what changes are made to it or who is in office.

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Separating Kids from Parents at the Border: The Long Term Impact on Children

This administration’s policy of separating children and parents caught illegally crossing the southern border of the United States has faced increased criticisms since it was first implemented and rightfully so. A tragic example of the consequences this policy has is demonstrated by the recent case of a Honduran woman whose daughter was pulled from her as she was breastfeeding. As harrowing at such actions are for adults, they are even more trauma inducing for children.

What we Know about how this Kind of Separation Impacts Mental Health

There are volumes of data that show traumatic events such as divorce, separation from parents, sexual abuse, etc, may have a cumulative effect on the developing brains of children. In fact, data gathered from studies conducted by the CDC from 1995 to 1998 have concluded that such events put a young child’s mind into a fight or flight response and may manifest itself in behaviors that reach far into adulthood. Experiences like these may also have long-lasting health impacts on children such as:

  • Toxic Stress: Parents act as a buffer against all kinds of situations that would otherwise frighten and confuse children. Without the presence of their parents, children’s developing brains are exposed to stress inducing hormones that many permanently affect their developing brains.
  • Behavioral and Emotional Issues: Some studies suggest that children who have been forcefully separated from their parents may begin demonstrate behaviors such as increased aggression, depression, etc.
  • Parent Safety: Children who are separated from their parent may continue to worry about the safety of their parents even after they have been reunited.kids
  • Fear of Future Separation: Children who are reunited with their parents may go on to worry that they may be separated again.

As of the beginning of this year, an estimated 2,300 children have been separated from their parents as a result of this administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy on immigration. And while much emphasis has been placed on reuniting families, it is not at all clear that where reunions have been possible that permanent psychological damage has not already been done. The best way to protect families in the future is for people of goodwill to continue to fight against policies that inflict such psychological trauma on children. I am Erika Roman, immigration lawyer. I fight for immigration rights in Los Angeles to protect families that are caught up in our outdated immigration system. Contact me for a free consultation about your case.

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How Trump’s Immigrant Detention Policy is a Boon for Private Companies

One of the most disturbing aspects of a system that is already needlessly cruel is the news that some private companies are profiting from the mass detention of immigrants which is now the hallmark of this administration’s immigration policy. Here, is a look at this troubling development and a look at some of the key players who are profiting off of the misery of others.

Quick Facts about Immigrant Detention

  • It costs taxpayers in the state of California $144.35 per day for the government to maintain these facilities.
  • 60 percent of people are held in privately-run immigrant prisons. So much of the above money goes to private individuals and corporation who have seized upon the Trump administration’s cruel policies.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uses a number of private contractors to build and maintain these facilities including GEO Corporation who in 2017 received a $184 million contract from the government. GEO Group – Florida-based company specializing in privatized corrections, detention, and mental health treatment – is currently the subject of a lawsuit that alleges that they treated inmates at these facilities inhumanly.
  • According to government itself, the average length of stay at any one immigrant prison or jail is was 34 days.
  • The average number of children in care of HHS has ranged from 11,151 to 14,226 so far in fiscal year 2019, according to HHS. Some of these children have allegedly been the victims of sexual abuse at the hands or their captors.

Private Companies that are Profiting from the Mass Detention of Immigrants

So what are some of the private companies that are profiting from deportation centers? The following are ICE contractors who profit in one way or another off from the mass detention of immigrants.

GEO Group and CoreCivic: These companies, as it so happens, donated nearly half a million dollars to Trump’s inaugural committee and to a Trump Super Pac in 2016, according to The Observer.

BCFS: This company has received $179 million in federal contracts since 2015.

General Dynamics: This defense contractor lobbied lawmakers to the tune of 11 million dollars last year to secure choice contracts including with ICE.trump

Johns Hopkins University: The Baltimore-based university has three contracts with ICE to provide “emergency medical training” to these facilities. Students there have protested the university’s links to ICE.

Microsoft: This tech giant handles ICE date processing for these facilities.

Thomson Reuters Special Services: This company has a $4.7 million contract with ICE.

The list goes on and on.

The good news is that there are people who are committed to shining a spotlight on these companies and the role they play in the mistreatment of their fellow human beings. As an immigration lawyer in Van Nuys I can tell you that I and many of my colleagues will not give up the fight until the immigration system is fairer and more compassionate despite the President’s efforts to make it otherwise. I am attorney Erika Roman and I will talk with you for free.

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