Tag - border

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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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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5 Immigrant Advocacy Organizations to Donate to if You Support Immigrant’s Rights

One of Newton’s Laws – the third – states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Similarly, as the nation’s immigration laws become more Draconian, there will always be those who stand in opposition to these arbitrary policies that have made it more difficult for people to seek asylum, imprisoned those who seek freedom in this country and separates children from their parents and parents from their children in some cases permanently. The following nonprofit organizations are defending immigrants’ legal and human rights. I invite anyone who is interested in preserving the rights of all people to support any of the following organizations in this critical time of need.

  • American Civil Liberties Union (Northern California): This nonprofit organization’s stated mission is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” It has constantly challenged nearly every edict on immigration that has come from this administration. During the Trump presidency the organization has seen a steep rise in membership and in donations. However, one can never give too much support to an organization that has been such a staunch defender of civil and human rights.
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): This is the largest organization in the US advocating for the rights of Muslims.
  • Families for Freedom: Families for Freedom are made up of former immigrant prisoners and their loved ones who have gathered together to fight the family separation policy the Trump administration has chosen to use as a deterrent to immigration.
  • The National Immigration Law Center: National Immigration Law Center: Established in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is dedicated to defending the rights of low income immigrants. It does so by coordinating its efforts with local and national civil rights organizations and by educating policy makers on the plight of low income immigrants.
  • Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights: The plight of immigrant children has been in the news quite a bit lately including the heartbreaking image of the little girl whose father was caught up in an ICE raid in Mississippi recently. The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights champions the right of unaccompanied immigrant children in this country. They attempt to influence immigration policy and by directly lending them assistance starting from the moment they enter the country.

This is just a small sample of the organizations that are taking the fight for fair and human immigration system directly to lawmakers and who are helping immigrants on the ground. I am an immigration rights Los Angeles who shares the goals of these organizations. So, if you are asking yourself “where can I find an immigration lawyer near me,” reach out to me on my site.

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Costs Involved in Becoming a US Citizen

Lately, we have all heard about the price that some people pay in blood, sweat and tears to become US citizens. Daily, some people even pay the ultimate price – their lives. However, there is also a financial cost involved in becoming or in attempting to become a US citizen. This cost can be rather expensive and even prohibitive to some without the guidance of an immigration attorney in Ventura County. Here is a look at the major steps and the accompanying costs of becoming a US citizen.

  • Attorney Fees ($1,500 to $2,000): Obviously, attorney’s fees vary greatly depending on the experience and location of the attorney. If you do hire an attorney and the price seems to be prohibitive know that many attorneys are willing to work out a fee payment schedule to fit your means. Also, know that an attorney may end up saving you in the long run by informing you of your options if you cannot afford certain fees.
  • Government Filing Fees ($725): This varies too depending on the type of form you are filing. For example, “Petition for Alien Relative” currently cost of $535. An “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status” costs $1,140. And I–90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card cost $365. An “I–526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” – the most expensive form to file – cost $1,500, etc. For a full filing fee schedule you can go to the USCIS website.
  • Document preparation, translations, etc… ($100 to $400): There are also usually miscellaneous fees involved in becoming a US citizen. For example you have to provide copies of certain documents and translations where applicable.

Exceptions and Special Circumstances

Not everyone pays the same amount for these fees. There are special exceptions and circumstances that can lower or eliminate some of these costs. For example, you can apply for certain fee reductions and waivers if you have limited means. This is why it is essential that you contact an attorney who specializes in immigration rights in Los Angeles. By attempting to go it on your own you risk being denied citizenship and you also risk losing a great deal of money. Moreover, immigration is becoming more difficult even when people are well prepared and go about it by following all the rules. My firm keeps track of all changes in the current immigration laws.

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Where the Major Presidential Candidates Stand on Immigration

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

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

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

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

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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.

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States Sue to Stop Border Wall Funding

“Build the Wall!” “Build the Wall!” This was the infamous slogan at the center of the Trump presidential campaign. Now, more than two years into Donald Trump’s presidency, the POTUS has – out of desperation – finally devised a scheme to fund his multi-billion dollar pipe dream. After a thorough trouncing by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the president has actually declared a national emergency in order to secure funds for his wall. However, as we have said on this blog, attorneys like me – as well as states attorneys general have played a vital role in resisting the president’s wrongheaded policies on immigration. Let’s take a look at his latest attack on both legal and illegal immigration and what the outcome may be.

The President’s Last Ditch Effort

As I have already said, the president declared a “state of emergency” on February 15, 2019. He did so claiming that the United States was practically being overrun with murderers, kidnappers and other violent offenders from foreign countries. We have, in the past, shown that immigration is actually on the decline and that undocumented immigrants commit fewer crimes and have lower incarceration rates than native born Americans. Finally, most experts have determined that most illegal drugs entering the US come through “legal” ports of entry. Still, the president evoked the National Emergency Act which was enacted on September 14, 1976. So, what is this Act and what does it allow the president to do?

National Emergency Powers Explained

The National Emergency Act allows the president to pronounce a national emergency when he considers it appropriate. However, the law does not specifically define what an “emergency” is. It presumes that the president – whoever he or she may be – would not do so in non-emergency situations. The Act gives the president access to certain funds and resources that he would otherwise not have. The important thing to remember is that the president’s declaration can be and has been challenged.wall

What Happens Next

Sixteen states have sued the president saying that the declaration was unnecessary. Many have cited the president’s own words when he publicly declared that he “did not have to do this.” The states suing the president are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia. (These lawsuits could stall actual building efforts until after the 2020 election.) In addition to these lawsuits, Congress itself could vote to override the declaration although the vote would likely fall along party lines.

As you can see, the administration’s attacks on all forms of immigration are not going unanswered. I – attorney Erika Roman – am proud to join in the defense of the constitution and the rights of documented and undocumented immigrants. If you have an issue that needs to be resolved Erika Roman, immigration lawyer can help you.

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