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Blog Archives - Page 3 of 6 - Erika Roman


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.


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.


The President’s on Again off Again Flirtation with Mass Deportation

Last week President Trump announced that he would authorize ICE to conduct massive deportation raids that would target as many as 2,000 families across the US. Many of the targets of this latest attack on immigrants reside in 10 US cities, including Houston, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles. As we have pointed out before on this blog, the current administration makes no distinction between immigrants and asylum seekers whose return to their native countries could put their lives in peril. This action is further proof of that fact. For example, asylum seekers from countries like Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador say that they are here to escape deadly groups such as MS-13 who have targeted these refugees. The President made this announcement last week but now appears to be walking back his threat – a bit. On June 22, the President tweeted that he would delay the planned mass deportations for two weeks to give legislators time to discuss border solutions.

Cities in Defiance

However, just as attorneys such as me have taken a stand against the current administration’s immigration policies, so too have Mayors, officials of certain cities and even police departments. For example, the mayor of Chicago -Lori Lightfoot – has openly defied Trump’s deportation threat. She has stated that neither she, nor the Chicago Police Department will cooperate with ICE. (Illinois is one of the nation’s seven sanctuary states along with along with California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont.) Denver’s Mayor Michael B. Hancock tweeted on June 21st, “#Denver will always stand w/ families fleeing violence & do whatever we can to prevent the inhumane practice of family separation. We’re an inclusive, compassionate & welcoming city. Threats from this WH – which are only a distraction from its failures – won’t weaken our resolve.”

That is the good news amidst a climate of growing uncertainty and fear among those who only seek to escape persecution and who wish to share in the American dream. The other good news is that there is still a legal framework that immigrant can access. However, it takes experienced legal counsel to help people who face deportation. 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.trump


Immigration Bail Bond Facts and Myths

It can be heartbreaking when a friend or relative is detained over their immigration status especially given all that we hear and see in the media about how some detainees have actually died in custody. Thus, it becomes important to be able to sort fact from fiction when it comes to what happens when an immigrant is detained and how his/her release may be possible by posting bond. With this post I will attempt to explain some facts about the bond process and debunk some myths as well.

What is a bond?

A bond is what ICE asks for as a guarantee that the person they are temporarily releasing will appear for all hearings. When a bond is posted, you are promising that you will attend all hearings as scheduled and on time. In the case of immigration hearing – which is quite different from a regular bond hearing – you face the risk of deportation. If you miss a hearing, a warrant may be issued and you will likely be deported. In this case the bond will be forfeited.

Facts and Myths about Immigration Bonds

Myth: Aliens are relieved of their bond obligation after showing up at their first court date.

Fact: This is simply not true. A person released on an immigration bond is required to attend all subsequent immigration related proceedings.

Myth: All bonding companies are the same.

Fact: Posting a bond for an immigrant varies greatly from bond posted for a citizen. Therefore, you need someone who is knowledgeable about immigration bonds if you or a loved one has been detained. As an immigration attorney in Oxnard I have experience navigating the labyrinthine immigration system.bail bonds


Myth: Not showing up will prevent you from being deported.

Fact: The opposite may actually be true. It is never a good idea to skip a hearing for any reason. If there are special circumstances that may prevent or delay your appearance then you should discuss it with your attorney. Otherwise, you miss court hearings at your own risk.

In short, if you or a loved one has been detained you must act quickly. The immigration system is not designed to accommodate non citizens. Quite 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. I am Erika Roman and I am ready to listen to you.


More Myths About Immigration Dispelled

Misinformation about immigrants and immigration comes out of the current administration in Washington faster than any person can keep track of. However, it is important that the facts about immigration reach fair minded Americans who can and often do make a difference. As an immigration lawyer in Van Nuys, I have a low tolerance for those who speak from a position of ignorance. I believe that ultimately the truth has a way of bouncing back from the battering that people on the right have given it. Here are some of the most pervasive myths about immigration.

Myth #1: Immigrants bring crime and violence to our cities and towns.

This myth was aided along by none other than the President when he was running for office. The candidate Trump called people aspiring to immigrate to the US “rapists and murderers.” The actual fact is that communities with high immigrant populations have lower crimes rates than many communities where there are relatively few immigrants. Moreover, immigrants make only a very small minority of people who are incarcerated in jails and prisons.

Myth #2: Immigrants hurt our country financially by taking jobs and services without paying taxes.

These are perhaps two of the most pervasive myth about immigrants of all. In fact, many immigrants have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and actually end up creating jobs in this country for fellow immigrants and native born citizens alike. The threat to American jobs from technology is much greater than the threat posed by immigrants. As for the issue of taxes, studies show that immigrants collectively pay between $90 and $140 billion each year in taxes. This helps support services that immigrants and non immigrants depend on in their daily lives.

Myth #3: Immigrants are bringing diseases into the U.S.

According to the World Health Organization many Southern and Central American countries have higher vaccination rates for 1 year old than the United States does. Moreover, immigrants to the US are usually screened for communicable diseases before they are allowed to enter the country.immigration

Myth #4: Terrorists are infiltrating the U.S. by coming across the border with Mexico.

There is no proof to back this claim whatsoever. Indeed, there are no international terrorist groups operating within our neighbor, Mexico. The majority of persons linked with terrorism of late have been US citizens many of whom are on the far right.

Myth #5: Hispanic immigrants don’t learn English and don’t assimilate into American culture?

The truth is that the children of immigrants often accelerate in learning English. This means that they are often bilingual whereas as the great majority of native born Americans are not.

Our country faces a great deal of challenges as we continue into the 21st century. The immigration is one of those problems that can only be challenged when the truth is known about the issue and people of good faith – and kind hearts – act together. As an immigration lawyer in Oxnard, I desire to be a force that enlightens and protects all Americans.


How Immigration Court Works

During my initial free consultation with potential clients I have found that many of them are shocked to learn that judicial independence and freedom from political influence do not exist when it comes to immigration court. This is just one controversy that swirls around the current system and why I feel obligated to inform potential clients about how the immigration court system works. The following is a very basic summary. If your legal status is in jeopardy and you need detailed information on how things may go for you in immigration court contact my office.

What is the Immigration Court System?

The Immigration Court is an administrative court run by the U.S. Department of Justice. At present, there are more than 200 Immigration judges in 50 immigration courts nationwide. It is the duty of immigration judges to advise noncitizens of their legal rights, hear testimony, make rulings on the admissibility of evidence, entertain legal arguments, adjudicate waivers and applications for relief, make factual findings and legal rulings and issue final orders of removal.

How Immigration Trials Work

People can end up in immigration court for many reasons. Currently, the immigration system is highly congested meaning that a defendant can wait for years while his/her case is being ruled upon. When a person is compelled to appear in immigration court his/her case will be heard by one of approximately 330 immigration judges throughout the US. Additionally, immigration proceedings greatly resemble criminal trials. The difference here is that defendants do not have all the constitutional protections that a native born criminal suspect would have.court

The Administrative Appeals Process

Immigrants may appeal an immigration judge’s deportation order to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Unfortunately, the Board of Appeals can and often does issue decisions that “affirm without opinion. What this means is that it can confirm a deportation order without giving any reason for having done so. This is presumably done to expedite cases as the current system is overcrowded. Immigrants can also appeal decisions made by the Board to the US Courts of Appeals. (This Court is just below the US Supreme Court) However, few immigrants have the resources to do so.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Immigration Court?

To state the matter briefly – yes. The US government will be represented by lawyers who are familiar with every aspect of immigration law court so should you. You should not attempt to confront any legal challenge that may affect your immigration status without first conferring with an immigration attorney in Ventura County who has experience with the issues pertaining to your unique situation. That is why we give potential clients the opportunity to consult with us for free. I am attorney Erika Roman and I am ready to listen to you.


What You Need to Know About the U.S. Citizenship Test

Back in 2015, Actress Emily Blunt appeared on The Jimmy Kimmel Show and cited the trouble she had taking the U.S. Citizenship Test. (Blunt – who is married to American actor John Krazinski – was born in Roehampton, England.) She described the test as being, “…the hardest test I ever had to take.” Ms. Blunt was referring to the second part of this test which quizzes each applicant’s knowledge of U.S. history and government. The first part of the test assesses and applicant’s ability to read, write and speak in the language. (Presumably, Ms. Blunt had no difficulty there.) Here is some information about the test that will hopefully prepare you.

The English Component

This first component of the exam consists of a speaking part, a reading part and writing part. It is not necessary to have a perfect command of the English language but it does require that you demonstrate a mastery of basic grammar and vocabulary. Immigration officers administer this test and it is essential that you ask for clarification when you do not understand something. For the reading portion of the exam you must read one sentence out of three in a manner that suggest to the USCIS administrator that you understand it. For the writing portion of the exam you must write one sentence, out of three sentences. This sentence must be understandable to the USCIS administrator. Finally, the USCIS administrator will ask you questions in English to determine if you understand him/her.

The Civics Component

The civics portion of the Citizenship Exam assesses your knowledge of American government and history. It consists of a list of 100 questions from which a USCIS officer will draw 10 questions. You must answer 6 correctly out of the 10 questions he/she will ask. This portion of the US Citizenship Exam is the part some immigrants have trouble with and the part that Ms. Blunt complains was difficult. However, there are many sites online that provide flash cards that you can study prior to taking the exam. Finally, if you do not pass at first, you will be allowed to retake the test. (You will be asked different questions.) You will be able to take the test about 60 to 90 days (two to three months) from the date of your first exam appointmentunited states

If you are scheduled to take the Citizenship Test you should engage the help of an immigration attorney in Ventura County who will review all of your application materials and answer any questions you have. My office handles immigration rights in Los Angeles and has experience helping those who are seeking to become citizens of the United States.


R-1 Visa, Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers

R visas are a kind of non immigrant, temporary work visa whereby people who have been offered jobs as religious workers are allowed to remain in the United States. Ministers, monks, priests, rabbis and imams are just a few of the kinds of religious workers who may qualify under this kind of non-immigrant, short-term visa. Of course, if you feel that you may qualify for this special visa, you should consult with an attorney as you should in all matters related to immigration. There are special procedures that you must follow and deadlines that must be met. Here are few details about this program, how to qualify and the documents you may need.

What are the Requirements for an R-1 Visa?

The requirements for an R-1 visa are very specific. In order to qualify you must:

  • Be employed at least 20 hours per week
  • Be a member of a religious denomination and belong to a non-profit, tax exempt origination within the United States for at least 2 years.
  • Be coming to the U.S. expressly to begin a religious occupation.
  • Have been a member of a religious denomination for at least 2 years before applying for an R-1 visa.
  • Your job duties must pertain to carrying out the religious organization’s creed.

How to Apply

As we said, there are many complicated steps involved in applying for this special visa. Just one mistake from your employer – he or she must apply for this document – and your application can end up being rejected. However, these are the general steps for applying for the R-1 Visa:

  • Complete the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker:
  • Submit the Filing Fee(s):
  • Submit supporting documents:
  • Submit duplicate copies of the Form I-129:visa
  • Sign and File the Form I-129:

What Type of Documentation Will You Need to Provide?

The evidence that should be included with your R-1 Visa is as follows:


  • A letter from the IRS showing that the organization is a tax exempt religious body
  • Documentation establishing the religious nature and purpose of the organization
  • A religious denomination certification stating that the petitioning organization is affiliated with the religious denomination

You should consult with an immigration lawyer in Van Nuys to see what other documents you may need to help the USCIS make a determination. An immigration attorney in Ventura County will be able to make a personal analysis of your eligibility.


Suing USCIS over Delayed or Denied Immigration Cases

When it comes to issues involving immigration, delays and denials from USCIS can be inconvenient to say the least. Sometimes such delays and denials can even lead to tragic results depending on the particular case. Moreover, these kinds of negative outcomes can make applicants doubt the fairness of the U.S. justice system. Thankfully, there are various resources that are set in place by law that applicants whose cases have been delayed or rejected can use. One such course of action applicants can use – as odd as it may sound – is to file a lawsuit against USCIS. Yes, you heard right. Some people have taken action against USCIS by suing the agency. So, is this a good idea? Let’s look at why you may wish to file a lawsuit against USCIS and what happens after you file a lawsuit against the Immigration Service for delaying or denying your case.

Reasons you may wish consider Suing USCIS

Suing USCIS is not as outlandish as it seems and it will not necessarily have a negative impact on your case. Many attorneys have sued USICS and some have successfully had their cases expedited as a result of their legal action. Still, there is no guarantee that suing USCIS will result in success but it is a course you should consider when all other legal avenues have been exhausted. Here are some reasons why you may wish to consider suing USCIS.

  1. The court will take another look at the initial filing you made and ask for the evidence that you submitted to USCIS.
  2. A lawsuit may be effective in getting movement on your case if it has been delayed for an unreasonable period of time.
  3. Your case gets more scrutiny and is taken more seriously by USCIS when they determine that you are willing to fight in open court.

What Happens after you File a Lawsuit against the Immigration Service?uscis

First, an attorney will draft your complaint and you would pay a filing fee. Currently, it is $400 for federal court. Afterwards, the court would issue a summons to the relevant agencies. Next, the defendants – in this case the government – will have 60 days to file their response to the complaint. Then, an Assistant US Attorney or Department of Justice attorney is chosen to defend the lawsuit. This attorney would then contact the agency to learn the specifics of the case and determine if they wish to proceed.

We can make an assessment of your case during your free consultation with our attorneys. We handle immigration rights in Los Angeles and can tell you what the best course of action is for your case. As an immigration attorney in Van Nuys, we can guarantee that we will find the best solution for your particular set of circumstances.


All About the Conrad J-1 Visa Waiver Program

In 1994, Senator Kent Conrad wanted to address the problem that many areas of the country have in trying to gain access to qualified health care professionals to serve the public. Thus, he created the Conrad J1 visa waiver program to do just that. And although the details of this annual program differ by state, the J-1 Visa Waiver Program is still an excellent way for healthcare facilities throughout the country to recruit and retain highly-qualified foreign physicians in certain disadvantaged areas. Here is more information about the program.


All 50 states offer the Conrad 30 program as a way to serve areas of the country that have a problem recruiting healthcare professionals to serve the public. These areas are often rural and the populations close to or at the poverty line. Specifically, the program seeks to allow doctors who have had residency training in family medicine, general obstetrics, general pediatrics, general internal medicine, and general psychiatry serve the public. Moreover, each state’s Department of Health can sponsor up to 30 international medical graduates (IMGs) a year.

J1 Visa Application Process

There are several steps that must be followed in order to obtain J1 Visa Waiver application status. These steps are as follows:

  • Choose an Exchange Visitor Program –There are several kinds of exchange programs including camp counselor, intern, physician, specialist, teacher, professor and research scholar and many others.
  • Determine Eligibility – Anyone applying for the J1 Visa Waiver program must be proficient in English and purchase J1 insurance. Applicants must also undergo an interview.
  • Find a Sponsor- Once the above steps are completed, applicants must find a state department approved sponsor who is authorized to supervise the application process
  • Complete Form DS-2019 – After receiving and application from a program sponsor, the applicant is provided with a DS-2019 form. This form contains information such as sponsor identification, category of exchange, duration of stay including the start and end dates of program, etc.
  • Pay Application Fees – A J1 applicant must pay several fees associated with the process including a program fee, a SEVIS fee and a visa fee.

Required Documentsamerica

An applicant for the J1 Visa Waiver must also submit the following documents as part of the application progress:

  • DS-2019 Form, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status.
  • Form DS-7002
  • Form DS-160
  • Passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the end date of the applicant’s intended stay in the US.
  • A current photograph

Finally, if you have any questions about the J1 Visa Waiver program contact me, attorney Erika Roman. The office of Erika Roman immigration lawyer handles all related issues and offers a free consultation to all who believe they may need my services.