Tag - law groups

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...