Author - erikaadmin

5 Icons Who You Might Not Know Were Immigrants

Since the country’s founding, immigration has been one of the most divisive issues we have faced as a nation. This is ironic indeed since – with the exception of Native and African Americans – nearly every American who is alive today is the descendant of immigrants in one form or another. And since the current administration seems to be woefully ignorant of this fact, I would like to list some iconic Americans who were themselves immigrants. It is my intent to continue acknowledging these men and women who have made the development of this great nation possible.

  • Albert Einstein, Germany: This Nobel Prize–winning theoretical physicist who developed the general theory of relativity is not only an example of the contributions that immigrants have made to the country and indeed the world, his story is also an example of the dangerous effects of what prejudice can lead to. As a German Jew, Einstein fled Nazi regime just years before the Holocaust began.
  • Levi Strauss, Germany: Unlike Albert Einstein, Levi Strauss is perhaps more famous for his first name than for his last. Yes, Strauss famously founded the company Levis and to this day there is hardly a wardrobe in America that does not contain a pair of his ubiquitous jeans.
  • Patrick Ewing, Jamaica: Ewing moved to the U.S. from Jamaica at the age of 13 and learned to play basketball in high school. He was named outstanding player in 1984 when Georgetown won the NCAA and was a member of the U.S. Olympic team that won in 1984. Since then he has gone on to be named one of the top 50 players in the history of the NBA.
  • Bob Hope, England: Yes, arguably the most legendary American comedian of all time -Leslie Townes Hope – was actually born Eltham, County of London in 1903. Hope and his family emigrated from England when he was 17 years of age. For nearly a century, Hope had a distinguished career in radio, television, on Broadway and in movies. bob hope
  • Oscar de la Renta, Dominican Republic: This world famous fashion designer has dressed notables such as Jackie Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Penelope Cruz and Taylor Swift to name just a few.
  • Rita Moreno: This EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) winner was born in Puerto Rico. She immigrated to the mainland with her seamstress mother as a child and has gone on to win just about every entertainment award that can be earned.

It is somewhat frightening to think of how much our culture would be diminished without the contribution of the above individuals and many others whose talents helped to shape this nation. As an immigration lawyer from Ventura County, I recognize the contributions that all people can make to this country regardless of where they were born. I am immigration lawyer Erika Roman and I will speak to you about your case for free.

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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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Ways Immigrant Help Build the Economy

One of the things that the Trump administration fails to consider is the long range economic impact that mass deportations and other policies meant to curtail both legal and illegal immigration will have on this country. In fact, many studies conclude that a number of industries as well as many states rely on immigrant labor to stay afloat and to succeed. How do immigrants strengthen the U.S. economy? Below is my top 4 list of ways immigrants help to grow the American economy.

  • Undocumented immigrants are paying taxes: If all undocumented immigrants were ejected from the country the result would be a huge loss in tax revenues. In fact, by some estimates undocumented immigrants pay an average of $11.64 billion in state and local taxes a year.
  • Immigrants are helping to sustain the Social Security Trust Fund: There has and continues to be a great deal of concern about the future of the Social Security program. According to the New York Times, immigrants have contributed upwards of $300 billion to the Social Security Trust Fund. Thus, without their contribution to this fund – which so many rely on in the country – it would quickly become insolvent. In fact, many believe the fund would simply shrivel up by 2037 without this influx of money.
  • Immigrants contribute to job creation: Contrary to the popular canard that immigrants take away American jobs, many do just the opposite. There has long been an entrepreneurial spirit among new arrivals and these new arrivals often start businesses that hire native-born Americans. Moreover, a study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, concludes that the average immigrant-owned business hires 11 employees. This adds up to between 3.7 million and 5.2 million jobs being added to the economy.economy
  • Immigrants boost demand for local consumer goods: Immigrants have huge purchasing power. In fact, according to some estimates the purchasing power of Latino and Asian immigrants is anywhere between $775 billion and $1.5 trillion 2015.

Industries that Rely Heavily on Immigrants

Here a just a few of the industries that might simply collapse were it not for both documented and undocumented workers.

  • Agriculture: Indeed, immigrants make up 77% of agricultural workers in California alone.
  • Transportation (taxi driver and limo drivers)
  • Apparel
  • Construction
  • Housekeeping

In short undocumented immigrants make economic contributions to this country. They purchase goods and services, work, and live across the country. Policies that seek to remove immigrants en masse or that make it more difficult to immigrate to this country legally ignore this fact. As an immigration attorney in Ventura County, I know the potential contributions many undocumented persons make or desire to make to this country. I am attorney Erika Roman. If you wish to talk about your case, contact me and I will listen.

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GPS Tracking of Immigrants: Alternative to Detention or a Troubling Civil Rights Violation

By now most Americans – and indeed many people around the world – are familiar with the horrific scenes of immigrant children being snatched away from their parents and carted off to detention centers. Some of these children, it has been reported, may never be reunited with their parents as they and their parents await an uncertain future. Well, now the US government and ICE say that they have come up with a solution to the Trump administration’s policy which has become a humanitarian crisis and a PR disaster – the electronic monitoring of immigrants.

The Monitors

Ankle monitor have been used for some time to track the movement of people who have been confined to their home as a condition of their release from traditional incarceration. These monitors use a radio frequency signal to communicate back to a monitoring station and are designed to be tamper-proof. The monitors issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement are 5.5-once devices that are also called grillets, or electronic shackles. In July of this year the US government reportedly used about 9,300 ankle monitors at a time — 40% more than about six months ago.

What Proponents of Monitoring Say

The government argues that the monitors are more humane than incarcerating immigrants until they are scheduled to appear in court. Moreover, the government claims that the monitors are used on a case by case basis with the emphasis being placed on tracking serious criminal offenders. Finally, the government argues that monitoring immigrants and asylum seekers is less expensive than housing someone in a detention center.

What Opponents of Monitoring Say

The American Bar Association characterizes the monitoring of immigrants this way: It is a form of restriction on liberty similar to detention, rather than a meaningful alternative to detention.” Additionally, they argue, and the government concedes that they fail to work once deportation proceedings begin. Moreover, some experts argue that the devices are difficult but not impossible to remove and that people who are being tracked in this way routinely circumvent the shackles by breaking free of them. Finally, some people who have been tracked with these devices say that can easily set off false alarms when their batteries die, they bump into other objects, etc.immigrants

I say that human should not be placed into a catch and release kind of program. The real solution is real reform to the entire immigration system. Immigrant detention should not be replaced by a system that is ineffective, inhumane and violates the privacy rights of individuals. As an immigration lawyer in Van Nuys, I work with people who are trapped in this broken system. As an immigration attorney in Ventura County, I can help you find the best course of action for your unique set of circumstances.

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5 Immigrant Advocacy Organizations to Donate to if You Support Immigrant’s Rights

One of Newton’s Laws – the third – states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Similarly, as the nation’s immigration laws become more Draconian, there will always be those who stand in opposition to these arbitrary policies that have made it more difficult for people to seek asylum, imprisoned those who seek freedom in this country and separates children from their parents and parents from their children in some cases permanently. The following nonprofit organizations are defending immigrants’ legal and human rights. I invite anyone who is interested in preserving the rights of all people to support any of the following organizations in this critical time of need.

  • American Civil Liberties Union (Northern California): This nonprofit organization’s stated mission is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” It has constantly challenged nearly every edict on immigration that has come from this administration. During the Trump presidency the organization has seen a steep rise in membership and in donations. However, one can never give too much support to an organization that has been such a staunch defender of civil and human rights.
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): This is the largest organization in the US advocating for the rights of Muslims.
  • Families for Freedom: Families for Freedom are made up of former immigrant prisoners and their loved ones who have gathered together to fight the family separation policy the Trump administration has chosen to use as a deterrent to immigration.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: National Immigration Law Center: Established in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is dedicated to defending the rights of low income immigrants. It does so by coordinating its efforts with local and national civil rights organizations and by educating policy makers on the plight of low income immigrants.
  • Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights: The plight of immigrant children has been in the news quite a bit lately including the heartbreaking image of the little girl whose father was caught up in an ICE raid in Mississippi recently. The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights champions the right of unaccompanied immigrant children in this country. They attempt to influence immigration policy and by directly lending them assistance starting from the moment they enter the country.

This is just a small sample of the organizations that are taking the fight for fair and human immigration system directly to lawmakers and who are helping immigrants on the ground. I am an immigration rights Los Angeles who shares the goals of these organizations. So, if you are asking yourself “where can I find an immigration lawyer near me,” reach out to me on my site.

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Thousands of Immigrants Allege Sexual Abuse While being Held in U.S. Detention Centers

Many people have heard about the crimes billionaire Jeffrey Epstein allegedly committed against teenage girls. If proven to be true in a court of law, these allegations of sexual assault and trafficking of minors demonstrates how powerful people are often able to casually disobey even the most serious laws of our land. Well, U.S. officials and customs enforcement officers have this same kind of nearly absolute power over immigrants. Many of these officials, it has been reported, have been accused of sexually abusing minors in their custody

The Evolution of the Problem

From late 2014 to July of last year, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a part of Health and Human Services, received 4,556 complaints of sexual assault committed upon the bodies of minors. Some of this conduct includes official watching minors while they bathed and showing pornographic videos to minors. Children in these centers have also stated that officials there fondled and kissed them on occasion and even raped them and forced minors to engage in sexual contact with each other.

What is Being Done

April 2017, the group Freedom for Immigrants, filed a federal complaint with the Office for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detailing these reports. They are calling for an investigation into these charges which officials at these centers deny. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., released data from the Health and Human Services Department detailing the allegations during a hearing on the Trump administration family separation policy. The online newspaper Axios – who first reported on the problem – as well as several other media outlets have also reported on and detailed the disturbing allegations.

Of all of the appalling things that have been reported about the detentions centers that have established near the border, sexual abuse of children is the most troubling to me personally. It is part and parcel of the heartless policy of family separation and the detention of people who seek nothing more than a better way of life. Some of the detainees in custody are fleeing from governments that may wish them harm or even death. As an immigration lawyer in Oxnard, I have committed my life to protecting the innocent. As an immigration attorney in Ventura County, I vow to continue to protect the vulnerable against those who casually flaunt the mores of our society and speak for those who cannot defend themselves.

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Why it May get Harder for People to Legally Immigrate to the US

The Trump administration has long made it clear that it desires to limit legal immigration to the US – especially among certain groups – just as much as it desires to curtail illegal entry into the US. This was proven once again when the President announced recently that there will be changes in how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) interprets and implements who is ineligible for admission or for a visa or green card. This new law targets those who have modest financial resources and are – according to the government – likely to become “charges” of the US. That is, those who are likely to depend on entitlement programs at any time, e.g., SNAP, welfare, etc,

The possible effect of the new policy – which takes place in less than 60 days – will be that many poor immigrants will be denied legal green cards since they may be likely to use food stamps, subsidized housing and the like. This policy will more than likely not affect wealthier immigrants who will be able obtain green cards and visas easier than immigrants with limited financial resources. According to the 837 page rule, the policy seeks to ensure “the availability of public benefits not constitute an incentive for immigration to the United States.”

The Reaction

As you can imagine, the reaction to this new rule has been swift. Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke responded by saying that the Trump has blurred the distinction between, “Legal immigrants, undocumented persons, refugees and asylum seekers.” National Immigration Law Center executive director Marielena Hincapié responded by saying this change in policy we be the most far reaching of all the changes proposed by this administration. Then there are the legal challenges that will follow. Already back in 2018 Democracy Forward sued President Donald Trump during his first attempt to change this law. More legal challenges will follow. I, attorney Erika Roman, will also fight to make sure that sanity and compassion are returned to our immigration system. If are asking yourself where can I find an “immigration lawyer near me,” look no further. I will speak to you for free as one who proudly joins my colleagues in the fight against the arbitrary changes that fly in the face of what America has long stood for.

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