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Courtroom Etiquette: Tips on How to Conduct Yourself Court

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

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

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

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5 Facts about Migrant Agricultural Workers

Most economic experts say that without migrant agricultural workers the US economy would take a major hit. In fact, in acknowledgment of this reality bipartisan members of Congress have worked together to forge a bill called The Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security (AgJOBS) Act. This bill has been designed to be a blueprint for comprehensive immigration reform as it relates to agricultural workers. It deals with reforming the H-2A temporary foreign agricultural worker program. Here are a few facts about the migrant agricultural workers and the critical role they play in the nation’s economy.

Fact: Agricultural workers support the $985 billion agricultural industry.

Some studies show that the agricultural workers contribute $23.3 million to the economy of Michigan alone. Their financial impact on the US economy as a whole runs into the billions.

Fact: Most farm workers are not authorized to work legally in the U.S

In a National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) conducted in 2002, 53% of all seasonal agricultural workers admitted they were not authorized to work in the U.S. However, presently it is believed that as many 75% of agricultural workers are undocumented.

Fact: A large unauthorized workforce is bad for workers and for growers.

Intermittent worksite raids, immigration audits and investigations, Social Security Administration (SSA) “No-Match” letters, and other immigration-enforcement activities slow down production at farms. This is bad for both growers and workers. The solution lies in legislation such as the (AgJOBS) Act.agriculture

Fact: Continued “deportation-only” policies without meaningful reform will cripple the agricultural sector:

According to the Farm Credit Associations of New York, a severe and prolonged disruption in labor would be the result of enhanced “deport only” policies. Additionally, more than 800 farms in New York alone would be out of business if this policy was fully implemented.

Fact: Native-born workers are not filling agricultural jobs:

As the native-born population in the US is growing older and better educated, few people aspire to work on farms. Moreover, studies show that immigrants who do work on farm usually have several years of experience in the area. Thus, there is no learning curve for them to overcome.

Migrant workers face risks to their fundamental freedoms on a daily basis. However, this does not stop many of them from seeking to support their dream of becoming citizens by doing hard, grueling work on the farms and in fields. As an immigration attorney in Ventura County, I use my experience and skills to make this dream a reality for many on a daily basis. Immigrant rights in Los Angeles is my passion and my specialty. Call me if you wish to speak to someone about your case.

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Things you can do to Help Your Immigration Attorney with Your Case

When you hire an immigration attorney like me, you are essentially entering into a partnership. I will use all my knowledge and experience to help you achieve the outcome you desire but you will also have to play a critical role in the success of your case. As I – Erika Roman, immigration lawyer – listen to and agree to take your case I will need you to aid me in the following ways:

  • Be upfront and honest: When you first meet with an attorney she will ask you detailed information about your case. And although you may not understand why she is asking you certain questions, every bit of information you give your attorney could potentially be useful. Finally, remember that all communications between an attorney and her client is protected by attorney-client privilege laws.
  • Bring all documents related to your case: This includes letters and other correspondence, forms, etc., that in any way relate to your case. Failing to provide your lawyer with this information can seriously impair her ability to represent you.
  • Tell her your goals: A good attorney will always try to make sure that she and her client are on the same page as far as what the client is trying to accomplish. In order to do this, you must be clear about what your objectives are.
  • Stay in contact with your lawyer: Make sure that your lawyer has your contact information and can reach you when she needs to. You should also feel free to contact your lawyer if you think of additional information that is pertinent to your case. Remember, this is your case and no one has a higher stake in its outcome that you.
  • Be on time for appointments and court hearings: This will not only make a favorable impression on the judge but it will also help give you time to prepare for your hearing.
  • Do not talk to anyone about your case except for your attorney: If someone should try to contact you about your case then let your attorney know immediately.lawyer
  • Trust your lawyer: One of the reasons an initial consultation is so important is that it lets you know if the attorney is right for you. You should never let yourself be represented by a lawyer who you do not trust or who you are uneasy with.

In short, working with your lawyer to prepare your immigration case is important. After all, you and your lawyer must agree on a strategy and must be able to trust each other. This can only happen when you view your relationship as a partnership. I am Erika Roman, immigration lawyer and I specialize in immigration rights in Los Angeles. I will prove you with a vigorous and well thought out defense as part of our potential partnership.

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Question to Ask Your Immigration Attorney about Bail Bonds

There are vast differences between immigration bail bonds and normal bail bonds. For this reason, it will be of little value for you to seek out an attorney who is not familiar with the differences. In fact, it could cause things to turn out horribly for you if you do. This is the value of the free consultation my office offers all potential clients. Here are some questions to ask your attorney to help you prepare for your bail bond hearing.

What is an Immigration Bond Hearing?

An immigration hearing is proceedings in front of an immigration judge. The outcome of this hearing will determine the eligibility of an individual for bond and establish the amount of the bond. Just as is the case with a normal bond hearing you have the right to be represented by an attorney. This attorney should always be an immigration attorney.

How long have you been helping families with immigration bonds issues?

Experience is a great teacher. In fact, many people believe that it is the best teacher. Before you seek out an attorney who can help you prepare for your bond hearing, make sure that he or she is experienced in this field and that they have a proven track record of success.

What happens if the immigrant fails to show up for court?

As an attorney I strongly advise you to obey all laws that you are compelled to follow. For example, if you do not show up for court a warrant may be issued for your arrest which could lead to your being deported from the country. Thus, it is always best to show up for court on time no matter how much you may fear the outcome.

How much do you charge?

Finding out how much an attorney charges is one of the most important things you should know from the start. In deciding whether you can meet your financial obligation to the attorney you should consider that most attorneys will work to make out a payment schedule with potential clients. Also, know that what is at stake when it comes to immigration proceedings can be far costlier than any monetary expense. As someone who knows immigration rights in Los Angeles, the initial consultation is always free.

How will a consultation help me?

A consultation is of value to you in a number of ways. First, it lets a professional gauge the strength (and weaknesses) of your case. Second, it lets you know if the attorney is right for you. Lastly, it helps you prepare for subsequent legal proceedings.

No matter what your situation is you should always come to your consultation with a list of questions you wish to ask the attorney. Otherwise, the consultation will be of little value to you and he/she will not be able to determine whether or not you and he/she are compatible. So, if you are asking where I can find an immigration lawyer near me, look no further that my firm.

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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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