Tag - immigrants

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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GPS Tracking of Immigrants: Alternative to Detention or a Troubling Civil Rights Violation

By now most Americans – and indeed many people around the world – are familiar with the horrific scenes of immigrant children being snatched away from their parents and carted off to detention centers. Some of these children, it has been reported, may never be reunited with their parents as they and their parents await an uncertain future. Well, now the US government and ICE say that they have come up with a solution to the Trump administration’s policy which has become a humanitarian crisis and a PR disaster – the electronic monitoring of immigrants.

The Monitors

Ankle monitor have been used for some time to track the movement of people who have been confined to their home as a condition of their release from traditional incarceration. These monitors use a radio frequency signal to communicate back to a monitoring station and are designed to be tamper-proof. The monitors issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement are 5.5-once devices that are also called grillets, or electronic shackles. In July of this year the US government reportedly used about 9,300 ankle monitors at a time — 40% more than about six months ago.

What Proponents of Monitoring Say

The government argues that the monitors are more humane than incarcerating immigrants until they are scheduled to appear in court. Moreover, the government claims that the monitors are used on a case by case basis with the emphasis being placed on tracking serious criminal offenders. Finally, the government argues that monitoring immigrants and asylum seekers is less expensive than housing someone in a detention center.

What Opponents of Monitoring Say

The American Bar Association characterizes the monitoring of immigrants this way: It is a form of restriction on liberty similar to detention, rather than a meaningful alternative to detention.” Additionally, they argue, and the government concedes that they fail to work once deportation proceedings begin. Moreover, some experts argue that the devices are difficult but not impossible to remove and that people who are being tracked in this way routinely circumvent the shackles by breaking free of them. Finally, some people who have been tracked with these devices say that can easily set off false alarms when their batteries die, they bump into other objects, etc.immigrants

I say that human should not be placed into a catch and release kind of program. The real solution is real reform to the entire immigration system. Immigrant detention should not be replaced by a system that is ineffective, inhumane and violates the privacy rights of individuals. As an immigration lawyer in Van Nuys, I work with people who are trapped in this broken system. As an immigration attorney in Ventura County, I can help you find the best course of action for your unique set of circumstances.

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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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Thousands of Immigrants Allege Sexual Abuse While being Held in U.S. Detention Centers

Many people have heard about the crimes billionaire Jeffrey Epstein allegedly committed against teenage girls. If proven to be true in a court of law, these allegations of sexual assault and trafficking of minors demonstrates how powerful people are often able to casually disobey even the most serious laws of our land. Well, U.S. officials and customs enforcement officers have this same kind of nearly absolute power over immigrants. Many of these officials, it has been reported, have been accused of sexually abusing minors in their custody

The Evolution of the Problem

From late 2014 to July of last year, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a part of Health and Human Services, received 4,556 complaints of sexual assault committed upon the bodies of minors. Some of this conduct includes official watching minors while they bathed and showing pornographic videos to minors. Children in these centers have also stated that officials there fondled and kissed them on occasion and even raped them and forced minors to engage in sexual contact with each other.

What is Being Done

April 2017, the group Freedom for Immigrants, filed a federal complaint with the Office for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detailing these reports. They are calling for an investigation into these charges which officials at these centers deny. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., released data from the Health and Human Services Department detailing the allegations during a hearing on the Trump administration family separation policy. The online newspaper Axios – who first reported on the problem – as well as several other media outlets have also reported on and detailed the disturbing allegations.

Of all of the appalling things that have been reported about the detentions centers that have established near the border, sexual abuse of children is the most troubling to me personally. It is part and parcel of the heartless policy of family separation and the detention of people who seek nothing more than a better way of life. Some of the detainees in custody are fleeing from governments that may wish them harm or even death. As an immigration lawyer in Oxnard, I have committed my life to protecting the innocent. As an immigration attorney in Ventura County, I vow to continue to protect the vulnerable against those who casually flaunt the mores of our society and speak for those who cannot defend themselves.

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Why it May get Harder for People to Legally Immigrate to the US

The Trump administration has long made it clear that it desires to limit legal immigration to the US – especially among certain groups – just as much as it desires to curtail illegal entry into the US. This was proven once again when the President announced recently that there will be changes in how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) interprets and implements who is ineligible for admission or for a visa or green card. This new law targets those who have modest financial resources and are – according to the government – likely to become “charges” of the US. That is, those who are likely to depend on entitlement programs at any time, e.g., SNAP, welfare, etc,

The possible effect of the new policy – which takes place in less than 60 days – will be that many poor immigrants will be denied legal green cards since they may be likely to use food stamps, subsidized housing and the like. This policy will more than likely not affect wealthier immigrants who will be able obtain green cards and visas easier than immigrants with limited financial resources. According to the 837 page rule, the policy seeks to ensure “the availability of public benefits not constitute an incentive for immigration to the United States.”

The Reaction

As you can imagine, the reaction to this new rule has been swift. Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke responded by saying that the Trump has blurred the distinction between, “Legal immigrants, undocumented persons, refugees and asylum seekers.” National Immigration Law Center executive director Marielena Hincapié responded by saying this change in policy we be the most far reaching of all the changes proposed by this administration. Then there are the legal challenges that will follow. Already back in 2018 Democracy Forward sued President Donald Trump during his first attempt to change this law. More legal challenges will follow. I, attorney Erika Roman, will also fight to make sure that sanity and compassion are returned to our immigration system. If are asking yourself where can I find an “immigration lawyer near me,” look no further. I will speak to you for free as one who proudly joins my colleagues in the fight against the arbitrary changes that fly in the face of what America has long stood for.

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Fact about Immigrants and Public Benefits

The Trump administration unveiled a new rule this month that could deny visas and permanent residency to hundreds of thousands of people because they may at some point apply for public benefits. To support this move, Trump and his supporters have propagated the idea that immigrants are burdensome to public assistance programs. Here are some facts concerning immigrants and public assistance.

Fact: Immigrants actually use fewer public benefits.

This is primarily because many are ineligible to receive them. Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for welfare except in extreme cases where a person’s health is involved. Moreover, even legal immigrants cannot receive welfare for their first five years of residency.

Fact: Most immigrants are driven here by the desire to work not to receive public assistance:

More often than not immigrants are motivated to come to this country due to lack of economic opportunities in their own countries. The rest are usually fleeing from persecution – sometimes even the threat of death – the drug war, etc.

Fact: Both documented and undocumented immigrants pay more into public benefit programs than they take out.

Undocumented immigrants contribute an estimated $11.74 billion to state and local economies each year. This means that undocumented immigrants often contribute more to public assistance programs than they get from them. Moreover, their tax dollars often go to support program for which they are sometimes ineligible.

Fact: Undocumented immigrants are ineligible federal public benefit programs with few exceptions:

Mostly undocumented immigrants are ineligible to receive federal benefits. However, they may be eligible for a handful of benefits that are necessary to protect their lives and safety in dire situations such as emergency Medicaid, access to emergency rooms etc. In these cases, denying immigrants from receiving benefits could not only put them at risk, it could also endanger the health and welfare of the general public.

Fact: Immigrants are nearly 50 percent less likely to receive Social Security benefits than native-born American adults.money

The net effect of this is that immigrants put much less of a strain on the Social Security system than native born citizens and indeed help support it.

In short, this effort to penalize immigrants’ use of public assistance is predicated on misconceptions about immigrants and public assistance. It is a part of this administration’s overall efforts to curtail both legal and illegal immigration to this country. Part of my responsibilities as an immigration attorney in Oxnard is to push back against this kind of misinformation. The other part is to protect the rights of every human regardless of their legal status. As an immigration attorney in Van Nuys, I can assure you that these policies will continue to be challenged by me and my colleagues.

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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.

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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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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.

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