Tag - law

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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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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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.

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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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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.

Background

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.

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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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