Monthly Archives - November 2019

Should States Provide Access to Driver’s Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants?

Arguments in support of and against providing licenses to undocumented residents

Last month, the immigration spotlight was briefly on several county clerks in the state of New York. These clerks demonstrated their opposition to a change in the law that allows undocumented residents to apply for and obtain a driver’s license. Said one of these clerks: “If you come into my facility and you have done something illegal, it is my obligation to report you to the appropriate authorities, whether you’re a citizen or not.” In this post, I will look the arguments for and against providing licenses to undocumented residents.

Currently, 14 states including  California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington—issue a license if an applicant provides certain documentation such as a foreign birth certificate. Several other states are debating whether or not to change their laws to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Arguments in Support of Providing Licenses to Undocumented Residents

Proponents of this policy argue that allowing undocumented resident to obtain driver’s licenses will lead to increased revenue for the Department of Motor Vehicles in the statures that have instituted this change in the law. These revues come in the way of taxes – which every motorist is familiar with – and aid in the building and maintenance of roads and other infrastructure. Next, proponents argue that the law will decrease the number of unlicensed drivers on the road. Moreover, because undocumented residents have to go through the same training that native born residents do, they will be better trained in the rules and regulations of the road. Finally, some proponents of the policy argue that it will lead to normalized relations between the police and immigrant communities.

Arguments against Providing Licenses to Undocumented Residents

On the other hand, opponents of the policy assert that it could lead to increased voter fraud, ID fraud and even bank fraud. Further, they argue that granting licenses to undocumented residents takes away their incentive to follow immigration laws.

There are few issues surrounding the topic of immigration that don’t’ not spark fierce debate. It has become the issue of our times. However, the ability to obtain a license affects a person’s job opportunities and a person’s ability to perform all kinds of tasks that are an essential part of life. I am attorney Erika Roman. I can help you by reviewing your case and answering any immigration related matters you have. I provide and effective immigration defense in Van Nuys and am ready to be your advocate.


More Tips for Documented and Undocumented Immigrants

Undocumented immigrants in America are in a very precarious situation that is often accompanied with a sense of fear and uncertainty. Many documented immigrants – particularly older ones – sometimes feel the same level apprehension with being in this country. Who to trust? What to do if confronted by ICE or other agent (s) of the country? Thus, I have prepared some general tips that undocumented and documented immigrants should know. (It might even be worth writing some of these rules down and carrying them with you on your person.)

  • File your tax return every year: As long as you worked at all during the prior year, you should be diligent about filing your tax returns. If you do not it could come back and affect any legal action you may be involved in over your status.
  • Notify USCIS of address changes: All immigrants who are in this country for more than 30 days must notify USCIS of any address change. You must notify this agency within 10 days of your moving. Again, if you do not this could result in the government taking a number of actions against you including deportation.
  • Do not violate any immigration visa provisions or laws: If you are documented and are here on a visa, it is very important to not give the government an excuse to cancel it. Learn any and every law that might violate your visa and memorize them. The future of your stay in this country may depend upon it.
  • Remember that you do still rights: If you are the victim of spousal abuse, have suffered from a medical emergency or are the victim of a crime, do not hesitate asking someone for help. As an immigrant you still have basic human rights. I, attorney Erika Roman have pledged my life to protecting these rights. documents
  • Know where to look for help: Immigrants to the U.S. face a unique set of challenges that native born citizens do not. And though you may feel alone at time – especially if you are undocumented – you are not. There are many agencies that have deviated themselves to helping immigrants adjust to life in this country.
  • Keep copies of everything USCIS sends you: First, the government may lose a form or letter it has sent you. Second, if you ever need legal help your attorney will need any and all correspondence the government has sent you regarding your status here.

These tips are just general guidelines. Each immigration case is different. If you need help about a specific matter, contact me. If you are asking yourself, “where can I find and immigration lawyer near me,” look no further.


4 Things to Expect from Your Free Initial Consultation

Consulting with an attorney is not something that the average person does on a regular basis. Therefore, it may be helpful to know exactly what happens and what will be discussed during an initial consultation with an attorney. What follows is a guide covering the basics of an initial free consultation. Knowing this will help guide you in your decision on whether or not you will choose me to represent you in any and all legal proceedings.

What is the Purpose of a Legal Consultation?

The purpose of a legal consultation is for the attorney to get to know you, know more about your case and whether he/she can competently represent you. At this point in your discussion with the attorney she is not yet your representative. This does not occur until you have signed a contract between you and her and she has notified the court that she now represents you. Moreover, the attorney will not give you specific advice yet until you have retained him or her. The reason for this is that the attorney must avoid malpractice charges.

What to Expect During the Initial Consultation

  • Seek to understand your case: The first things an attorney will solicit from you are the details of your case. In this, they will need as many documents from you related to your case as you can produce. This will help her to determine the nature of your legal issue, your legal options, whether or not she can help you and your prospects for success.
  • Explain the legal process: The legal process is very complicated for most lay people. It is one of the reasons why the study of law is so complicated. During the initial consultation, the attorney will try to break down the legal process in a way you can understand.
  • Explain to you their fee: All initial consultations include a discussion of the attorney’s legal fees. She will discuss how, when and how much they will be paid. Attorney fee arrangements may be based on a contingency fee, a flat fee, or hourly fee basis.
  • Establish a communication process: If you and your attorney agree that she can help you and you have decided to retain her then you must be able to contact each other when needed. Expect her to get from you your contact information. Having given him/her this information, you should make yourself available for further communications;

The choice of an attorney is an important one. It will help determine your chances at success. Hopefully, this guide will help you know what to expect from your initial free consultation. I am attorney Erika Roman. I am an immigration attorney in Oxnard who is ready to speak to your about your case.


DNA Testing of Immigrants: The Growing Controversy

Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced that it will expand its plan to collect DNA samples from immigration detainees. The plan was formulated by the Justice Department after border officials failed to collect DNA samples from detainees who had criminal records. Many of my colleagues question the necessity of these tests since it has been revealed that they are being conducted even on immigrants whose papers are in order and who have not suspected of having committed a crime. Moreover, the tests have been criticized due to their expense and how much they may delay what is already a painfully slow immigration process.

The Background of DNA Collection

In 2005, Congress passed the Fingerprint Law. It authorized the collection of DNA data but the law granted an exemption for immigrants. This new process is much more expansive than the previous policy and critics say that it criminalizes undocumented immigrants and is an invasion of privacy.

The Case against Mass DNA Testing of Immigrants

Even the ALCU has argued that DNA testing may be necessary in some cases involving immigration such as when the goal is to help reunite families that have been separated by the government in its “zero tolerance” policy. However, the organization also acknowledges how worrisome the expanded policy is. “Forced DNA collection raises serious privacy and civil liberties concerns and lacks justification, especially when DHS is already using less intrusive identification methods like fingerprinting,” says Vera Eidelman, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.’ I and my colleagues are also concerned about what may be done with this data and the possibility that it could be lost or stolen.dna

The Case for DNA Testing of Immigrants

ICE officials have said that DNA collecting is merely one investigative tool among many in fighting the ‘fraudulent family phenomenon”. This is the idea that there are people who are immigrating across the border claiming to be related to each other when they are not. ICE officials have said that DNA testing has already been successful in exposing some people who were falsely claiming to be related. Also, the FBI’s website, says that DNA collecting is a “tool for linking violent crimes,” to perpetrators who may have entered the America from another country.

The solution to the immigration crisis must be more comprehensive than the mass testing of DNA from immigrants. We should not seek to criminalize people who are simply trying to improve their lives and in some cases are fleeing from the real threat of physical violence. This DNA testing policy is even being directed towards asylum seekers who are a different class of people trying to enter the US. As an immigration attorney in Ventura County, I will continue to support reasonable solutions to our immigration crisis. I am attorney Erika Roman. I will speak to you for free about your case.


Courtroom Etiquette: Tips on How to Conduct Yourself Court

We attorneys spend much of our working hours in court. Thus, an environment that seems completely strange and intimidating to most people is very familiar to us. However, non-attorneys should know that certain standards of conduct are expected and even demanded from litigants when they are in court. Here are some of the most basic rules about how you should conduct yourself in court:

  • Dress appropriately: You should always dress conservatively when appearing in court. This means that you will most likely want to wear what would be considered to be business formal in an office setting. Men should wear a suit, a nice shirt, dress shoes and slacks. Women should wear a conservative dress, pants suit or business suit and avoid clothes that are revealing or provocative.
  • Arrive early: Judges consider tardiness as a sign of disrespect towards the court. Therefore, you should make every effort to not only attend your hearing on time, but you should try to be early if you can. First, your attorney may wish to go over a few things with you before your hearing begins. Second, you will need to allow time for parking if you have a car or to get public transportation.
  • Address the judge properly: When addressing the judge always address him/her as “your honor”. “Sir” or “ma’am” is usually acceptable as well.
  • Treat everyone you encounter with respect: Remember to be polite and to treat everyone at your hearing with respect. You do not want to prejudice the judge or other people present at your hearing by behaving in an inappropriate manner or by using inappropriate language.
  • Wait quietly during the hearing until you are directed to speak: This helps keep the courtroom procedures flowing in an orderly and efficient manner. Additionally, you do not want to let your attention wander or engage in idle conservations with others while your case is being heard.
  • Stand up when it is your turn to speak: Always stand and speak loudly and clearly when addressing the court. Also, you do want to use slang terms or profanity while making a statement or when answering questions.

This is just a small sample of how you should conduct yourself during your immigration hearing and during all appearances in court. The entire process may seem foreign to you but this will not work as an excuse when you are in court. As an immigration attorney in Van Nuys, I will help you prepare for court by going over these rules and others. As an immigration attorney in Oxnard, I can never guarantee the outcome of your case but I can guarantee that I will use all of my education and experience to advocate for you.