Author - erikaadmin

Facts about The H-1B Visa Program and Where it Might be Headed

Over the two years of his presidency Donald Trump has either initiated or proposed sweeping changes to the nation’s immigration laws. One proposed change has many in the tech industry more than a little worried. The program that he is considering changing is the H-1B Visa program which allows educated, foreign born professionals to work in “specialty occupations” that require at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. Trump has announced that he is “reviewing” the program. Let’s take a look at the program and some basic facts about it that many Americans may not know.

What is the H-1B Visa?

As we have said, the H-1B Visa allows certain foreigners to say for a short period (3 – 6 years) and work in the employ of an American business. It was created in 1990 and is available for only about 65,000 people with B.S. degrees and an additional 20,000 additional visas for foreign professionals who graduate with a master’s degree or doctorate from a U.S. institution of higher learning. As a condition of being granted an H1-B Visa, the employer petitioning the government for this document must swear that hiring said foreign born worker will not adversely affect the jobs of native born Americans. Employers must also inform their native born employees of their intention to hire an H1-B worker.

Facts about the H-1B Visa

  • Since 2001, half of all H-1B Visas have been awarded to Indian nationals who went on to work in the tech industry.
  • Evidence shows that H-1B Visa workers do not drive down wages despite beliefs to the contrary
  • Since 2005, H-1B visas have been capped at 65,000 a year, plus an additional 20,000 visas for foreigners with a graduate degree from a U.S. academic institution.visa
  • More than half of all H-1B visa approvals in fiscal 2013 went to employers in four states. California (17.7%), New Jersey (14.0%), Texas (12.2%) and New York (7.2%)

Proposed Changes

All indications are that the current administration will adopt a zero tolerance policy for even small errors made during the application process. This is in keeping with the president’s attacks on immigrants, asylum seekers and other persons not born in the US. Because of these changes, immigration attorneys are expecting the rejection rate for H-1B Visas to sharply rise in the coming year. As someone who is a skilled immigration attorney in Van Nuys, I will continue to keep abreast of changes in the laws that could affect both documented and undocumented immigrants. Immigration rights in Los Angeles has grown to be particularly challenging over the past two years but my office is up to the challenge.

Read more...

Deportable Offenses for Green Card Holders

Green card holders can lose their permanent residency status for a number of reasons. For even though the card and the status grants the possessor to many of the rights of any other citizen, deportation is the one thing that green card holders can face that American citizens cannot. So, it is in the best interest of anyone who possesses a Green Card to know some of the reasons this card can be revoked.

  • Vote as a supposed US citizen: We’ve heard a lot in the news lately about voter fraud which actually happens less often than many people believe it does. However, as a Green Card holder you must be careful not to even represent that you can vote in US elections. When renewing your driver’s license, for example, be sure to let officials know that you cannot vote as a US citizen.
  • Commit a crime: There is a whole host of crime you cannot commit as a Green Card holder, including non-felonies that can cause you to lose your permanent resident status. Some of these offenses include smuggling, fraud, aggravate felonies, the possession or trafficking of controlled substances etc.ice
  • Conditional permanent residents: failure to meet conditions: As a green card holder you are required to meet certain conditions of your residency. If you fail to do so you can be deported.
  • Crimes of moral turpitude: According to US Immigration law these include but are not limited to murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, rape, spousal abuse, child abuse, incest, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated assault, mayhem, mayhem, animal fighting, etc.
  • Failure to complete a timely change of address form: When you change your address, you must report this change to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within ten days. This may seem like a very minor thing but it can lead to deportation just as quickly as major offenses can.

If you feel that your legal residency may be endangered at any point while you are in the US then you should call an attorney right away. If you are residing in Van Nuys you should call an immigration attorney in Van Nuys. I handle immigration rights in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas with discretion and can help to strengthen your case. Note: There is a process for renewing a Green Card after an arrest but you will definitely need an attorney to help you do this.

Read more...

The Current War against Legal Immigration

In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson began to set the framework for what would be known as “The War against Poverty”. Since and before then other Presidents have championed various initiatives using the resources of the United States. President Trump may well be remembered as the president who waged an out-of-control, savage war against immigration both legal and illegal. We’ve seen the manifestations of his war against illegal immigration but many people are unaware of his war against legal immigration. Here is what he is doing on that front.

  • The Immigration Ban: The starkest example of Trump’s War on Legal Immigration is his infamous travel ban for majority Muslim countries like Iran, Yemen, Syria, Libya and Somalia. Experts say that there has been an 81% drop in the number of legal immigrants arriving from those countries since, the end of the second fiscal year under Trump.
  • Trump or 200,000 Salvadorans to leave the U.S. At the beginning of this year, the Trump administration said it was ending its temporary residency permit program which gave 200,000 Salvadorans temporary legal immigration status.
  • Limiting asylum: There has long a distinction between immigrants and asylum seekers. In general, immigrants enter the country of their own volition even though they may be fleeing adverse economic conditions in their native countries. Asylum seekers are usually fleeing their country to avoid imprisonment or even the threat of death.
  • Refugee program: This administration has severely limited the admission of refugees from countries that are undergoing a surge in migration due to war. Trump managed to halt the Refugee Resettlement Program for seven months in 2017. Once it re-started the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would do extreme vetting for the people using the program.
  • Fewer Visas: During 2017, the U.S. approved 559,536 foreigners for legal permanent residence (known as a green card. This was a 9% drop from the previous year. The decline in the number of approved Visas continues.
  • The end of DACA: The Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program remains active only due to judges who have ruled against the current administration’s legal reasoning for ending it.immigration ban

To what lengths will this administration go in reducing legal immigration? That is for the courts to decide. It is also up to citizens to decide using the power of the vote. As an immigration attorney in Van Nuys, I will continue to fight on the side of immigrants and Americans who support the right of all people to seek a better life. For immigration rights in Los Angeles, I am here to empower these people.

Read more...

2018 ICE Raids: A Year in Review

The year 2018 is quickly coming to a close and people are gathering together their “year in review” lists for all kinds of topics. This being the case, we decided to look at a subject that has tested the resolve of immigration attorneys such as myself and stretched the very limits of our constitution – Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and its raids. Here are few of the more prominent raids ICE has conducted during the soon to be old year.

  • June 19, 2018 – ICE arrests 146 in Salem, Ohio: ICE can descend on a neighborhood like locusts and change the entire character of the local community when it does. In this case, ICE’s actions – which many are calling the largest raid of its type – caused local businesses to suffer. It caused churches and advocates to scramble in order to help immigrants who were affected by the militarized action. It has also lessened the strength of the local workforce by removing many who contributed to the community through their labors.
  • July 25, 2018 – ICE arrests 65 in New York City and Long Island: Sixty-five people were arrested over five days as a result of this raid for violating immigration laws. Arrestees included nationals from Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, and Ukraine
  • August 9, 2018 – ICE Apprehends 133 Foreign National Workers in Nebraska and Minnesota: This raid is one of the largest to have occurred last year and affected dozens of businesses and managers.
  • September 26, 2018 – ICE Arrests 98 Foreign Nationals in North Texas and Oklahoma Areas: This operation occurred over a 10 day period. Twenty-nine of those arrested illegally re-entered the United States after having been previously deported. This is felony.ice
  • December 7, 2018 – ICE Arrests 105 in New Jersey Enforcement Action: The individuals arrested in this raid were from the following countries: Brazil (6), Canada (1), Colombia (1), Costa Rica (1), Cuba (2), Dominican Republic (10), Ecuador (4), Egypt (1), El Salvador (8), Guatemala (13), Honduras (7), Jamaica (4), Korea (2), Mexico (28), Peru (4), Philippines (1), Poland (1), Russia (1), Serbia (1), Slovakia (2), Spain (1), Taiwan (1), Trinidad (1), and Venezuela (4)

This is just a small sample of the actions taken by ICE against immigrants this year. It is important to remember that although things seem dire for immigrants due to the current administration’s views on immigration, all is not lost. Even if you are detained by ICE, you still have rights. As an immigration attorney in Van Nuys, I represent people who find themselves confronted by this powerful machine. So if your immigration rights in Los Angeles are violated, you will be able to find help here or wherever you live.

Read more...

How to Know Whether or Not you Need an Immigration Attorney

Immigration laws are some of the most complex laws on the book. What’s more, these laws are fluid and change on a regular basis as old laws are challenged and new ones come into effect. If you need legal representation you should consider how long it takes an expert to be able to navigate the morass of immigration laws. You should consider what may be at stake should you wave your right to have an advocate on our side. But how do you know when you need an attorney? Here are some examples of when retaining an attorney is the right idea.

  • Looking for a green card: The rules regarding applying for and receiving a green card are complex. What’s more is there are deadlines involved that an attorney would know more about than a lay person.
  • US citizen application: Although the process of applying for citizen is fairly straightforward and does not necessarily require an attorney’s help, complications can arise. For example, if you are applying for citizenship shortly after receiving a green card through marriage, problems with child support or alimony, or quitting your job shortly after receiving your green card through work you may wish to consult an attorney.
  • Travel visa application: There is paperwork, language barriers and special circumstances that some applicants face can be challenging when applying for a visa. It is therefore a good idea to consult with an attorney who can handle the red tape.
  • Notice of deportation receipt: In this case, you should definitely consult with and seek the legal representation of an immigration attorney. An attorney will be able to determine which motions he/she can file to delay or reverse the deportation order.
  • Investigation of resident status: You should not take this move by the government lightly especially in view of how stringent immigration laws have become in the last few years. If you or someone you love are the subject of such an investigation don’t take any chances. Hire an attorney. He/she will be able to protect your rights and explain to you in detail what is happening.immigration

In all of the above instances and others, you may wish to consult with an immigration attorney if you feel that your rights are being violated or that actions by governmental officials could negatively impact your status as a resident of the United States. Don’t let immigration officials or the police talk you out of getting legal help if you feel that a lot is at stake. They do not represent your best interest. We do. As an immigration attorney in Van Nuys, I can take you through the process, help you fill out paperwork, file motions and gather together any evidence you need to make your case before the government. Immigration rights in Los Angeles are best served when people like you consult with experts who have the experience and compassion needed to navigate the system.

Read more...

The Rights You Have if Stopped by ICE or the Police

Whether you are an undocumented immigrant or a US citizen being stopped by the police is always unnerving. Law enforcement officials are trained to control and subjugate the people they encounter so naturally many of us mistakenly assume that we are powerless when they stop us. That is incorrect. Whether you are an immigrant or US citizen, you have power in your encounters with the police. That power is called the US Constitution. Here is a list of the basic rights you are allowed to exercise when stopped by the police, ICE or other law enforcement.

  • You are not required to carry ID: Although it is a good idea to carry ID for a number of reasons, there is no national law requiring you to do so. The exception is, of course, if you are driving a vehicle. Also, if you are being detained for reasonable suspicion of criminal activity then you may be required to produce ID if you have it. Otherwise, the police cannot arrest you simply because you do not possess ID.
  • You do not have to sign anything you don’t understand: Here is where some immigrants get into trouble. Because they feel intimidated by law enforcement and may be told that signing certain documents will help, some immigrants sign papers they don’t understand. Never do this.
  • You have the right to refuse to consent to a search: You should be polite but clear in asserting to officers that they do not have your permission to search you. If you are being arrested then they may search you for their own safety. Otherwise, as the 4th Amendment clearly points out, you have a right to be secure in your home, your papers and your personal effects from search and seizure.
  • You have a right to remain silent: If you are stopped by ICE or other immigration officials, you may be asked about your immigration status. You do not and should not answer this question. Tell the officer out loud that you wish to exercise your right to remain silent. ICE police
  • You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested: Although it may take some time, you have the right to legal representation in all criminal matters. (You do not have the right to free legal representation in civil matters.)

This having all been said, if you are stopped by ICE or even by local police you should remain calm and remember every detail of the encounter including the officer’s badge number, his name and department or agency he/she works for. Finally, if you need more information about immigration rights in Los Angeles or if you need an immigration attorney in Van Nuys contact Erika Roman Attorney at Law.

Read more...

What Rights (if any) Do Undocumented Immigrants have?

The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution grants every “person” in the US certain rights. Yes, the 14th Amendment clearly uses the word “person” not citizen. It does not suggest in any way that human rights be limited to native born Americans. Yet, this is the way some people have chosen to parse this very important protection when it comes to undocumented persons residing in the US. I am Erika Roman an immigration attorney in Van Nuys and at Elrlaw Group we believe that every person is entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is not a minority belief. It is the chief principal upon which this country was founded. The belief that human and civil rights apply to non-citizens is also a belief that has been consistently upheld by the Supreme Court. Examples of these rulings include:

  • Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886)

·         Wong Wing v. U.S. (1896)

·         Plyler v. Doe (1982)

  • Zadvydas v. Davis (2001)

The Rights You Do have as an Undocumented Immigrant

Often, both citizens and non-citizens are confused as to which rights they do have under the constitution. Make no doubt about it, you do have certain rights even if you are undocumented and we are willing to fight for them. The rights that all persons who are in the United States have are based on the concept of Equal Protection. Here are several of these rights.

  • The right to a trial by jury
  • The right to a Miranda warning
  • The right to defend yourself against charges and deportation
  • The right to representation in criminal court
  • The right to protection against unlawful search and seizure
  • The right to protection against self-incrimination\
  • The right to file civil lawsuits
  • The right to be paid for work performed
  • The right to a healthy and safe work environment
  • The right to organize or form a union
  • The right to a free K-12 education

This list of your rights as an undocumented person is by no means exhaustive. You also have the right to receive healthcare and other programs that keep you safe and ensure your well being e.g., fire, police services, etc. In final analysis, the courts have ruled that, persons residing within the borders of the United States – undocumented immigrants immigrationincluded – are granted the same fundamental, undeniable constitutional rights granted to all Americans. If you have questions about immigration rights in Los Angeles, contact my office.

Read more...

The Long Term Effects of Family Separation on Children

It is in the very nature of children, especially young ones, to see parents as invincible, immortal and able to protect them from any danger. Children derive a sense of stability, permanence and well being from them as well. It is quite a shock when they learn that the center of their world can seismically shift at any moment tearing them from the protective grasp and watchful eyes of loving parents. This is what is and has happened as a result of the current immigration policy which seeks to punish immigrants (and asylum seekers). For adults can more readily adapt to change, can better handle what might traumatize a still developing mind and ego. Children are not so equipped. That is why it is important to look carefully at what the current policy of family separation is having on the most vulnerable members of any society.

  • Physical as well as emotional harm: It’s easy for even those who support family separation to accept that such a policy is not good for small children psychologically. However, what many people don’t realize is that family separation can take a long term toll on the health of a child. Adverse Childhood Experiences – (ACEs) as they are called – can lead to survivors suffering from anxiety and depression throughout adulthood.
  • Can cause a form of PTSD: Studies conducted during the Second World War, (Pesonen & Räikkönen, 2012; Rusby & Tasker, 2009; Mitrani, Santisteban, & Muir, 2004), suggest that since children have less powerful coping mechanisms than adults, they can suffer from their own form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) long after the triggering events is over.
  • Removes a child’s emotional buffer from life’s traumas: Parents serve as a way to buffer and in a sense absorb some of life’s stresses that children are not able to handle. Removing this from a child in his/her formative years can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and behavior problems. None of us should be deprived from our primary support system.2018-09-27_1311

In short, in many ways the damage has already been done by the “zero tolerance” separation policy. However, that does not mean that we should resign ourselves to accepting the current situation as it stands. We must fight to protect immigrants and asylum seekers. We must do so for ourselves and our children and because we are better than this. My firm fights for Immigration rights in Los Angeles for them and for society as a whole. As an immigration attorney in Van Nuys, I fight for families who have been wrenched apart and housed in (ICE)-run detention centers as their welcome to this land.

Read more...