Author - erikaadmin

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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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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Where the Major Presidential Candidates Stand on Immigration

“Immigration has always been a strength in this country.” Kirsten Gillibrand ~ Sen-NY

Whoever becomes President in 2020 will face many challenges when it comes to the issue of immigration. The left, right and center have all agreed that the system as it exists is in need of reform but there is no consensus on what reform is needed and how those changes will be implemented. But where do the major Democratic candidates stand – and there are more than 20 of them – on the issue of immigration? Here is a brief look at where some of the major candidates stand on this thorny issue.

  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders: Sanders’ views on immigration are relatively progressive as you might imagine. He supports DACA and a path to US citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently residing within the United States. In the Senate, Sanders voted against defunding sanctuary cities and has called family separation at the border “heartless and cruel.”
  • California Sen. Kamala Harris: Harris, a former DA, has expressed support for DACA but has been criticized by some in her own party for saying that “ICE should exist.”
  • New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: Gillibrand has in the past voted to increase funding for ICE but has recently called for abolishing it. She is also a DACA supporter.
  • Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro: Castro – a second generation immigrant – supports a path to citizenship for law-abiding, undocumented immigrants, is against Trump’s border wall and regularly criticizes the President’s immigration policies. However, he does not support abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker: Booker supports the DREAM Act and has said that the UN has a moral obligation to aid Syrian refugees.
  • Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke: O’Rourke opposes a US-Mexican border wall and has even called for the existing border fence in El Paso to come down.
  • California Rep. Eric Swalwell: Swalwell has repeatedly stated his support for DACA and vehemently opposes family separation.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: The former Vice President is a mixed bag on immigration. On one hand he has supported the Violence Against Women Act. On the other hand, he voted twice for extra fencing to go along the US border with Mexico.
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Warren supports DACA, supports the abolishing of ICE and voted against Trump’s efforts to defund sanctuary cities.

Yes, whoever becomes the next President of the United State, he/she will face the challenges posed by immigration including problems that that the current President created himself. Whoever he/she may be as an immigration attorney in Van Nuys I will continue to fight for the rights of all people in the US regardless of their legal status. I am also an immigration attorney in Oxnard who will talk with you for free during an initial consultation.

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