Articles Posted in U.S. Citizenship

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Domestic abuse and violence charges and convictions can have very serious consequences when it comes to immigration proceedings. Pleading guilty or being found guilty of a domestic abuse or violence crime automatically makes any non-U.S. citizen deportable.

Furthermore, a domestic violence conviction can make you ineligible for an adjustment of status in the United States because domestic violence type crimes have been found by U.S. courts to be a “crime involving moral turpitude.”

My experience in immigration law has allowed me to work on cases and remove clients from mandatory detention. A recent case I worked on, I was able to remove my client from mandatory detention because the crime they were originally charged with was a domestic violence type crime, but the actual crime they plead guilty to was simply an ordinance violation. Had this gone unnoticed, the client would still be in detention facing deportation.

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The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has introduced a rule that would add a social media section to I-94W and Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) applications. According to a report from the British Broadcast Channel, the CBP plans to add a section to both applications asking applicants for social media platforms they use and for an account identifier, such as a user name.

According to CBP, the social media section would be optional and would be used for vetting purposes and contact information by the agency. A similar proposal was offered in 2014 but later abandoned for Visa applications. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has gone back and forth about vetting immigrant social media posts, particularly after the Department was criticized after the San Bernardino shooting.

The New York Times reports that a pilot social media screening program is already being utilized for fiancé visas and actually just ended its run this past June. Three other pilot programs are also being tested but details about those were not made available. While proponents point to additional information about potential immigrants as an advantage of screening social media, But opponents point to privacy concerns over having immigrants handover their social media information to the federal government.

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A recent Chicago Tribune article points out an ever growing issue in the United States. Under federal law, immigration authorities are prohibited from arresting and detaining United States citizens and are supposed to investigate the citizenship status of all detainees. But the Tribune articles points out that a growing number of American citizens that are being detained and sometimes even deported by ICE officials.

Since 2010, immigration advocates have represented over 11 United States citizens that have become entangled in legal battles with immigration officials despite being United States citizens. Once such case from New York involved an individual with disabilities that was mistakenly deported to Mexico. The ACLU sued the federal government and settled the case in 2011. Despite the eventual resolution in these cases, the problem still persists.

A Political Science professor that monitors immigration cases says that about 1% of all immigration court cases eventually get dismissed because the case involves a United States citizen. But the question remains as to why U.S. citizens are being detained. An immigration advocate says that the legal standards for ICE to stain someone are so low and woefully inadequate to protect United States citizens. ICE says that determining certain individual’s immigration status can be difficult and complicated at times which explains why some citizens may be detained. Until further protections are enacted, the possibility of U.S. citizens being detained by immigration officials remains a real threat for many citizens.

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The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case involving President Obama’s executive action on immigration, United States v. Texas. During oral arguments, it appeared from the questioning that the eight justices on the Supreme Court were divided among ideological lines, with the four liberal justices strongly questioning the twenty-six states challenging the President’s DACA and DAPA orders while the four conservative justices strongly questioned the government lawyers defending the President’s immigration orders.

In an extended oral argument session, each side laid out their case as to why the President’s expanded DACA/DAPA order should be upheld or struck down. Lawyers in favor of the President’s executive orders argued that Congress only gave the government so much money to deport alien’s unlawfully present in the United States so prioritization had to take place. Government lawyers argue that the President’s order simply grants Lawyers opposed to the President’s executive orders saw things differently, arguing that the President exceeded his discretion under the current immigration laws passed by Congress.

While it remains uncertain what the Supreme Court will do with the case, there are a number of scenarios that can play out. Firstly, a majority of justices might be able to agree on an opinion for the case, thus resolving the legal issues presented; however, most experts seem to agree that this outcome is unlikely. Secondly, the justices can decide to hold the case over to the next term for re-argument in the hopes that a new justice will be seated to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Thirdly, a divided Supreme Court can issue no opinion and let the decision of the lower court stand. If you remember back in August of 2015, the 5th Circuit affirmed the injunction against the President’s expanded DACA and DAPA executive orders, which would mean the President’s executive action, could still not be implemented.

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Today, the United States Supreme Court announced that it will hear an appeal that from the Obama Administration involving President Obama’s executive action on immigration. The case, while not scheduled for oral arguments yet, will be heard later this spring, likely in April, with a decision likely in June. Twenty-six states sued the federal government over President Obama’s plans to expand DACA and create DAPA. A federal district judge enjoined the Obama Administration from proceeding with implementing its new immigration plans while the lawsuit was heard in court. An appeals court upheld the injunction late this summer. The name of the case is United States v. Texas. For more information about this case, view our previous blog posts and be sure to monitor our blog for future updates.

If you have any questions of for more information you should contact an experienced immigration attorney.

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The term “anchor baby” has been in the news a lot recently. A lot of people are unfamiliar with the term and the fact that it is generally considered a derogatory word. Unfortunately, one again, there is a lot of misinformation being thrown around about the term. Hopefully this blog clears some of that up.

What does it mean?

The term anchor baby has been around for years. In fact, one of my first blogs was about this very subject. Anchor babies, as defined by the American Heritage dictionary, is an offensive term used despairingly to describe “a child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially when the child’s birthplace is thought to have been chosen in order to improve the mother’s or other relatives’ chances of securing eventual citizenship.” The idea behind the term is that mothers cross into the United States to give birth to their child, granting the child automatic U.S. citizenship, and thus the child can then apply for its parents and other relatives to come to the United States.

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China and India have surpassed Mexico for the first time as the top sending countries of immigrants to the United States, according to research conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. While the debate over immigration reform in the United States often focuses on Mexican immigrants to the United States, data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the number of Mexicans immigrating to the United States has been on the decline since 2004.

As the chart from the U.S. Census Bureau shows, Mexican immigrants to the U.S. peaked in 2000 when over 400,000 immigrants from Mexico came to the U.S. That number has dwindled to 125,000 in 2013, well behind China’s 147,000 and India’s 129,000 immigrants to the United States. NBC News reported that in 2000, “41.2 percent of all foreign-born immigrants were Hispanic, but by 2009, that number had fallen to 30.1 percent, while the rate of immigration for non-Hispanic Asian, foreign-born grew to 34.7 percent.” Asians now represent the fastest growing minority group in the United States, a title Hispanics have held for years, with a growth rate of 2.9%, according to Census data.

Hispanics remain the largest minority group in the United States; however, Census data shows that a slowing birth rate coupled with an increase in the number of immigrants from other countries, mainly China and India, have eclipsed Hispanic’s growth rate in the United States. While Hispanic growth in the United States may how slowed, the Census Bureau projects the Hispanic population in the United States to more than double from 53 million in 2012 to 129 million in 2060. Additionally, Mexican immigrants remain the most apprehended immigrants in the United States, accounting for nearly 65% of immigration apprehensions in the United States during Fiscal Year 2013, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

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An earlier blog highlighted a Democratic candidate for President’s views on immigration reform and to keep the conversation going, this blog will highlight a Republican’s views on immigration reform.

Jeb Bush, the former two-term Governor of Florida, is notably the most pro-immigration reform Republican running for President in 2016. Bush has long called for the Republican Party to embrace policies that would show Republicans welcome immigrants. Bush has put forth several immigration reform proposals. As Governor, Bush supported letting undocumented immigrants receive a driver’s license and their children receive in-state tuition at state universities. More recently, in his book Immigration Wars, Bush wrote that there should be a pathway to legal status for adult immigrants that are undocumented.

Bush proposes a path to permanent legal resident status for those who entered the country undocumented and have committed no additional crimes of significance. The next step under Bush’s plan would be to come forward and admit to undocumented entry into the United States and pay fines and/or community service. Anyone that does not fulfill this obligation would then face deportation.

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Both Congress and the President are weighing in on different ways to resolve the ongoing situation involving unaccompanied minors attempting to enter the US illegally. According to the Wall Street Journal, some House Republicans have discussed a proposal that would repeal the 2008 law signed by President Bush that guarantees unaccompanied minors aprehended in the US an asylum hearing as long as they came from a country that does not share a border with the United States. Several Democrats as well as immigration rights activist oppose this plan. Opponents point out that this law was created to protect children from human trafficking, which has become a large problem in many Central American countries.

The President proposed last week a change to that 2008 law that would allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to wave the requirement for an asylum hearing but would not eliminate the requirement all together. This would speed up the deportation process for many of the children aprehended but still leave the possibility for an asylum hearing if deemed necessary. Even the President’s proposal is being opposed by some Democrats and immigration rights activists who say that the process should remain the same but should be made more efficient. The President has also requested an addition $3.7 billion for resources to handle the situation along the border. The President also continues to use this situation to hammer Republicans, especially in the House of Representatives, for not passing comprehensive immigration reform this year.

Stay tuned to this blog for further developments regarding this story.

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Andrew Golota, a well-known Chicago boxer, legal permanent resident and Polish immigrant, is now in removal proceedings and facing deportation. Golota is a perfect example of why I recommend to all my clients that they file for naturalization as soon as they are eligible, assuming they have a clean record and do not have other issues that trigger removability. Only a naturalized citizen enjoys the full protection of U.S. law and can live without worrying about facing deportation proceedings.

Two years ago, Golota filed his paperwork with USCIS to become a naturalized U.S. Citizen. This triggered a background check that revealed two misdemeanors from his past. Upon discovering these misdemeanors, USCIS initiated removal proceedings and now Golota is fighting to stay in America, where he has lived for more than two decades.

Legal permanent residents are eligible to apply for naturalization after living in the U.S. for 5 years, or 3 years if they are married to a U.S. Citizen spouse. After filing, USCIS examines your history and criminal background to determine if you are eligible to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. Any blemishes on your record can come back to haunt you.

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