Blog

Top Immigration Stories of 2019

It has been an eventful year in immigration news. The world has witnessed this shining beacon of Democracy continue to grow dimmer as this Administration has cast a dark shadow over the immigrant population of the US. Let’s look back at some of the most significant immigration new stories of 2019 to see where we are and where we may be headed.

Shooting of Mexican Immigrants in El Paso:

In August of this year a white gunman in El Paso, Texas walked into a Wal-Mart and tried to shoot as many Latinos as possible before surrendering to the police in that state. Twenty people died and many more were injured as a result of this hate-filled rampage. Later the police said that the man had a manifesto that stated “this attack is in response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Many pointed out that Trump himself has used similar language to describe the immigration crisis.

Immigration in the Supreme Court:

The Trump administration continued to cause many immigration cases to reach the Supreme Court. One of the cases currently before the Supreme Court may decide the future of Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. This is just one of many immigration cases that sits before this increasingly conservative court.

The Flores Settlement

The Flores settlement governs the detention of migrant children barring them from extended confinement. All throughout 2019, the Trump Administration has sought to abrogate this agreement which was adopted under the Clinton Administration. The battle will no doubt continue into 2020.

Shooter in New Zealand Targets Immigrants and Muslims:

On March 15, 2019, an Australian man killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed shock and outrage at the tragedy stating that this act was not what the people of New Zealand were about. Her government eventually achieved what the U.S. government has failed to do after countless mass shooting – a ban against the sell and possession automatic weapons.

Deaths in Detention and at the Border:

The biggest tragedy here in the U.S. has been the “zero tolerance policy” this administration has taken towards immigration. The policy has resulted in the multiple deaths and detentions at the U.S. border. In June of 2019 NBC reported that at least 24 immigrants had died at the border.

Public Charge

Earlier this year, The Trump administration proposed a new, stricter approach to the public charge exclusion. This proposed change would make it difficult for low income immigrants to come to the United States as it would take account into their likelihood to apply for public assistance.

This is just a small sample of the developments that have occurred on the subject of immigration. The many challenges that we face are sometimes vertiginous but as an immigration attorney in Ventura County it is my duty to keep fighting for the rights of all people. If you need an immigration attorney in Oxnard, I will listen to your case for free.

Read more...

Pete Buttigieg on how he would Restructure the Immigration System

A few weeks ago, Democratic candidate for President and former mayor of South bend, Indiana, Buttigieg promoted his solutions for America’s immigration challenges to coincide with his rise in the polls among a still crowded field of Democratic challengers for the office of President. Buttigieg says that his plan stresses the importance of immigration to the economy and explained why his positions would make the system fairer at the same time. “We must recognize the great contributions of immigrants and create an immigration system that meets the needs of our nation now and in the years ahead,” he told NBC news. Let’s look at the where he stands various aspects of immigration policy.

  • Border crossings: Buttigieg says that crossing the U.S./Mexican border into this country should still be illegal but that it should be a matter handled under civil law. He further says that the emphasis of a Buttigieg Administration would be on immigration reform in general.
  • Child separation: The former mayor of Indiana believes that child separation is wrong and that it is the outcome of the “zero tolerance,” policies of the current administration.
  • Path to citizenship: Part of Buttigieg’s plan would create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants within the first 100 days of his administration. Additionally, the Democratic candidate for President and former mayor says that he would restore temporary protections of undocumented immigrants as part of his plan.
  • The asylum process: Buttigieg’s plan would remove asylum-seekers and migrants in facilities run by Customs and Border Protection from their custody and set up new facilities run by HHS. Here, staff would be trained in health, trauma-informed and age appropriate care.
  • The border wall: Buttigieg’s plan calls for an end to construction on the wall. Furthermore, he says he would take the $1 billion to $2 billion used to build the wall and reinvest it into technologically-driven border solutions.
  • DACA: Buttigieg supports the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA and says he would like to see a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants who were brought to this country illegally but have been here a while. Moreover, Buttigieg says he opposes the current administration’s “zero tolerance” stance on immigration.

As an immigration lawyer in Van Nuys I can tell you that I and my colleagues will not give up the fight until the immigration system is fairer and more compassionate regardless of who sits in the White House in 2020. I am attorney Erika Roman and I will talk with you for free.

Read more...

Returning to the US after Deportation: Is it Possible?

First of all, if you have been deported from the country I do not advocate that you attempt to re-enter it illegally. All may appear to be hopeless but indeed they may not be. Re-entry into the country after you have been deported is difficult but it is not impossible depending on the reason(s) you were removed in the first place. In most cases, an alien may not return to the United States after she/he has been ordered removed for a period of 10 years. Let’s look at the reasons you may be deported and the process for legally re-entering the country.

Before an immigrant is allowed to re-enter the country after he or she has been deported he/she needs to file an I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal. Only if this waiver is approved may the deported person be allowed to re-enter the U.S. In some cases, however, if someone is deported in absentia that person may file a motion to rescind the in absentia order even if they are out of the United States. If the motion is approved, the individual may then return to the United States to begin newly reopened deportation proceedings.

Typical Reasons People Get Deported

  • The alien violated the terms of his or her immigration status.
  • The alien was charged with any of various criminal offenses that result in deportability
  • The alien failed to register with the immigration authorities when required
  • The alien falsified documents
  • The alien appears to be a threat to U.S. security.

Who is Eligible to Submit a Form I-212 request?

  • Only certain categories of people can apply for the I-212. This includes:
  • People who were previously removed from the U.S. or ordered removed but voluntarily left the country,
  • People who have entered the U.S. unlawfully after a prior removal order or deportation
  • People who were present in the U.S. for at least one year without authorization

Things USCIS Considers when Determining Whether an I-212 Should be Approved

  1. The basis for deportation
  2. Recency of deportation
  3. Length of residence in the U.S.
  4. Moral character of the applicant
  5. His respect for law and order
  6. Evidence of reformation and rehabilitation
  7. Family responsibilities of applicant
  8. Inadmissibility to the U.S. under other sections of law
  9. Hardship involved to himself and others
  10. The need for his services in the U.S.

Of course, the wisest strategy is to avoid deportation at all costs. Generally, this is less difficult that attempting to re-enter the country once you have been deported. Therefore, if you have a deportation order and are facing removal from the country then you will need an immigration attorney in Van Nuys who can help you. You can attempt to do so yourself but you shouldn’t. My years of experience with immigration rights in Los Angeles can help you push back against a system that is overcomplicated.

Read more...

The Case for Why We Need More Immigration, Not Less

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg recently said while speaking at a Mexican restaurant that despite the efforts to curtail immigration that the current administration has undertaken, more immigration is needed not less. “We need immigrants to take all the different kinds of jobs that the country needs — improve our culture, our cuisine, our religion, our dialogue and certainly improve our economy.” And while this view has not been echoed by many other politicians, there are some who believe as Mayor Bloomberg does – more immigration to the US is needed, not less. Here are some of the arguments for why more immigration to the US is needed.

  • Immigrants tend to be highly productive: According to the Hoover Institution, people who immigrant to the U.S. from poor countries are two to eight times more productive than they were in their native countries. In fact, many immigrants hold down more than one job which contributes to the economy.
  • Immigration supports a younger work force: Many demographers and economists are warning that the population of aging baby-boomers is beginning to surpass the number of working-age adults in the work force. Thus, many people believe that since immigrants tend to be young, working-age individuals, their infusion of energy can help reverse this trend.
  • Immigrants support social safety net programs: Even immigrants who use illegal social security cards fund many of the social safety net through the taxes they pay. In fact, IRS data shows that in 2015 alone immigrants paid 6 billion in taxes.
  • Immigrants help to increase the Gross domestic product (GDP): The total value of goods produced and services provided in a country during one year increases as immigrants help by producing more goods in their adopted country. This can benefit the GDP of the immigrant’s new country and contribute to the world GDP overall.
  • Immigration can help stabilize falling birthrates: American birthrates are dropping as the population is aging. In fact, according to Census data, from 2015 to 2035, the number of working-age Americans with domestic-born parents is expected to fall by eight million. Immigration could help halt this decline.

The movement to decrease immigration is generally supported by people who are operating with a lack of facts or who are motivated mainly by fear and ignorance. I – attorney Erika Roman – help to fight such fear and ignorance on daily basis. I will support you in your efforts to confront this overcomplicated and often impersonal immigration system that nearly everyone agrees is in need of reform. I am Erika Roman immigration lawyer. I will speak to you about your case for free.

Read more...

Immigration Reform: 5 Proposals to Fix American’s Broken Immigration System

Ever since Donald Trump took office in 2016, immigration has dominated the national conversation more than it has in all of the nation’s history. However, the measures that Trump and his supporters taken have been piecemeal and designed to reduce immigration as a whole to the US. The idea of comprehensive reform has been given short shrift. Still, the US immigration system does need to be reformed and there are those out there who have some bold ideas on how to do so. Here are five proposals for reforming the portly design immigration system to meet the needs of the 21st century.

  • Expand temporary visa programs for both high- and low-skilled workers: This would help meet the evolving demands of the US labor market and economy especially as the population of the U.S. ages.
  • Abolish ICE. Many critics – including several prominent politicians – have long proposed abolishing the controversial agency that was created in the wake of 9/11. They argue that the agency is heavy-handed to the point where governors in major cities across the US have even refused to cooperate with them in their “round-ups.” american flag
  • Expand the green card lottery. The Green Card Lottery stemmed from the Immigration Act of 1990. Its purpose is to give people from countries with low immigration rates the chance to move to the USA.
  • Construct a visa system based on demonstrated need. Some have proposed that employers’ needs for foreign workers should be the deciding factor in how many immigrants receive visas not some bureaucratic cap set by politicians. Further, they suggest that employers should have to certify that first they tried to hire American citizens and that they provide proof of this.
  • Border security aims should be refocused: Some suggest that border security should be primarily focused on apprehending serious criminal activity, especially terrorists, human traffickers and drug smugglers instead of on intercepting immigrants. With this proposal, governors of Border States would be more in charge of what should happen with people who attempt to enter into this country.

This is just a small sample of several proposals that are out there to reform the immigration system. The immigration system must be designed to meet the needs of the economy and it should be fair and just. Now, the opposite is true. It can be unfriendly and difficult to navigate without experienced counsel. So if you are asking yourself “where can I find an immigration lawyer near me,” look no further than my firm. I handle immigrant rights in Los Angeles and will strive to help you.

Read more...

ESL Resources for Immigrants

New immigrants who arrive in the United States often face language barriers that impede them in a great number of ways not the least of which is in securing employment. However, by taking ESL classes newly arrived immigrants can increase their chance of securing gainful employment, get better involved in their children’s education and can become a powerful voice in the community. Here are a few resources (some free) that can help newly arrived immigrants gain competency with the English language.

  • Classes on the Internet: The Internet is a place where you can learn about practically any subject. Once online you can find sites that give English tutorials – some for free – and exercises that will help you be able to converse with native English speakers. Many of these resources are for beginning and intermediate speakers but all have the advantage of being accessible on a schedule that best suits the individual. To participate in any of these free ESL online courses all you need is a fast broadband Internet connection, speakers or headphones and a sound card. That’s it!
  • Colleges and Schools: Of course you can go the traditional route and attend ESL courses in person if you desire. The advantage here is that you can interact with others who are trying to master the language. And with nearly 1,200 junior and community college campuses around the United States, it should not be difficult to find free or low-cost ESL courses near you. A final advantage to taking ESL courses in person is that you gain immediate feedback from teachers.
  • Labor, Career and Resource Centers: Many non-profits, in partnership with local governments, offer free English classes for immigrants. Some of these resources also teach computer classes for those who prefer to study online and conduct citizenship classes as well.

In short, of all the barriers that are placed in the way of immigrants to this country, language does not have to be one of them. Immigrants can retain their own culture and respect their heritage and gain competency with the English language at the same time. If you desire to improve your English speaking abilities then the following resources will be able to help you. If you need the help of an immigration attorney in Oxnard, I can answer any questions you have. My office handles immigration rights in Van Nuys, Los Angeles and other parts of California.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...