Articles Posted in Avoiding Deportation

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designates certain foreign countries for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in extreme cases of war, natural disasters, and epidemics.  A country can be TPS designated for any type of disaster that could potentially prevent its citizens from returning, but the decision to assign TPS is cVenezuela-300x200ompletely at the discretion of the U.S. government. TPS allows certain citizens who are currently in the United States to stay because their countries have been deemed unsafe for return.  It does not, however, grant permanent legal residency in the United States. Under TPS, people can temporarily remain, live, and work in the United States until DHS ends the designated period.

Recently, using “fast track” congressional procedures, Congress considered but ultimately voted against extending TPS to Venezuelans, with the bill facing significant Republican opposition. Venezuela has been entrenched in an economic and humanitarian crisis that has since worsened under its current president, Nicolas Maduro. Many Venezuelans see Maduro’s rule as illegitimate because of an allegedly rigged election in May 2018 and have taken to the streets in protest.  Leading the opposition is politician Juan Guaido, who claims he is the rightful president of Venezuela.  The Trump administration has condemned Maduro and his socialist government and formally recognized Guaido as the only legitimate Venezuelan ruler, but the House Republican’s refusal to grant TPS tells a different story.  Republicans voiced concerns that if granted TPS, Venezuelans would be allowed to stay in the United States for years while relying solely on welfare programs (although there is no evidence to support this).  Condemning Maduro’s rule while refusing to grant Venezuelans TPS in the United States shows the Trump administration’s hypocritical stance towards Venezuela and ultimately reveals a persistent anti-immigrant sentiment.

TPS initially emerged in response to the ongoing civil war in El Salvador during the 1990’s (a war that pitted the communist guerrilla insurgents against the U.S. backed Salvadoran government).  El Salvador has been designated since 2001 because of various natural disasters, and Salvadorans now constitute the largest number of TPS beneficiaries living in the United States.  TPS recipients have been in the United States for over 10 years, an issue that Republicans fear will happen to Venezuelans granted TPS.

kumar-and-weed-300x166I was having lunch with a former client who had flown in and out of LAX the other day.  We were celebrating that after a long journey involving his moving from California to Washington, the government had granted his application for lawful permanent residence.  Knowing that California had legalized the recreational use of marijuana, he mentioned that he was surprised that he didn’t see any “amnesty boxes” at the airport.

As of November 2018, 10 states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and 33 states allow the use of medical marijuana.  However, federal immigration law has not changed:  marijuana is still a “controlled substance.”  And the consequences can be severe.

Canadians who have admitted to taking a puff in the past or who are involved in the cannabis industry can be turned away at the border and possibly banned from future travel into the United States.  CBP officers have stated:  “Anytime somebody plans on entering the United States to involve themselves in the distribution, proliferation, possession of any form of marijuana, that could lead to them being found inadmissible.”  

IMG-2235-e1542224158367-225x300In my third year of law school, I had a small bit part in a talent show skit that parodied the lyrics of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.”  The gist of the skit was that Professor Lucy Williams’s Federal Courts course was the most difficult class on the schedule.  So brutally rigorous that it reduced the 2L and 3L students into feeling “like a first year.”

Why this trip into Romben’s law school past?  Although the course had a textbook, the not-so-secret-supplemental-hornbook-that-you-had-to-read-if-you-wanted-any-chance-of-passing was “Federal Jurisdiction” written by one Professor Erwin Chemerinsky . . . who is now Dean Chemerinsky at UC Berkeley School of Law.

Dean Chemerinsky recently wrote an op-ed praising now-former Attorney General Jefferson Sessions’ upholding the rule of law by recusing himself from the Mueller investigation and allowing it to continue. 

Many people call the Coachella Valley immigration lawyers at Fong & Aquino LLP in a panic because their green cards are about to expire and they are concerned that the card’s expiration will subject them to deportation by the Trump administration.

A common misconception is that when a green card expires, that person’s protections as a lawful permanent resident also expire. The benefits of having a green card (such as being able to return to the United States after brief periods of international travel, and having current proof of the ability to work) may terminate when a card expires. However, one does not simply lose the status of being a lawful permanent resident when the card expires.

For those who would like to obtain a new green card, fret not! The process is rather easy and can be done online here.   Shortly after the application is filed, USCIS will issue a biometrics appointment and you will need to appear in order to have your fingerprints taken.

Just recently, at the immigration panel sponsored by the Philippine American Bar Association and the Southwest19983783_10156399026806040_2359524460906285725_o-300x300ern Law School Asian Pacific American Law Student Association.

YOU:  Audience member listening with rapt attention to the four excellent speakers gathered for the event.

ME:  The speaker who had the unfortunate task of informing everyone that under President Trump’s new enforcement directives, just about every non-US-citizen inside the United States faces the risk of being deemed a “risk to public safety or national security” at the sole discretion of an immigration enforcement officer.

This week, the United States Supreme Court issued decisions in not one, but two (!!) immigration cases for the immigration lawyers at Fong & Aquino LLP claire-anderson-60670-300x200to chat about.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Maslenjak case.  During oral arguments, the justices seemed extremely skeptical regarding the government’s position that ANY misrepresentation could lead to an individual being stripped of citizenship.  The justices — in a 9-0 smackdown — decided that the lie “must have somehow contributed to the obtaining of citizenship.”  The justices acknowledged that sometimes folks tell minor falsehoods out of “embarrassment, fear, or a desire for privacy.”  The Supreme Court left it to the lower courts to craft rules regarding the effects of lies in the naturalization process, but opined that adopting the government’s rule would give “prosecutors nearly limitless leverage — and afford newly naturalized Americans precious little security.”

In Lee v. United States, the Supreme Court overturned a conviction for an individual facing deportation.  Jae Lee, who immigrated to the United States as a teenager, was told by his criminal defense attorney that accepting a plea deal would not jeopardize his lawful permanent resident status.  Lee discovered that his attorney was “dead wrong” when the government immediately began removal proceedings.  This does not mean that Lee is in the clear: he will need to either negotiate a new plea deal, or go to trial.

This week, the Trump Administration summed up its policy on undocumented immigrants inside the United States as follows:  “We are coming after you!”  The immigration lawyers at Fong & Aquino LLP have a response:  “What do we say to the four horsemen of deportation?  Not today.”

not-today-300x168
At a Congressional hearing, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said “If you’re in this country illegally and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable.  . . . You should look over your shoulder, and you need to be worried.”

As further evidence that the Administration seeks to make life more difficult for undocumented immigrants — even those who have lived in the country for many years and have children who are United States citizens, the Administration formally terminated the program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (or DAPA).  Although the program had been on hold due to a lawsuit, the Secretary of Homeland Security has rescinded the memorandum and will no longer seek its implementation.

StockSnap_VGRTZ3SVU1-183x300Not too long ago, the immigration attorneys at Fong & Aquino opined that Immigration and Customs Enforcement would be seeking to arrest more people due to immigration violations.

Folks, this is no longer a remote possibility.  It is happening and with increasing frequency.  As noted in the article:

At the current rate, arrests under Trump are set to outpace the peak number made under Obama, according to the New York Times’ analysis published last week.

Benefits for Immigrants - Covered California

Legal US immigrants have rights to benefits

If you are here legally, you may be missing out on benefits you are entitled to receive

Many legal immigrants (whether they are lawful permanent residents or naturalized U.S. citizens) do not apply for benefits for which they are eligible because they fear that they will tip off the authorities about any undocumented members of their families. However, one agency is working with community groups to ensure that people who apply for health insurance are reassured that their family members are safe.

Continue reading

U.S. Supreme Court Building

Are there limits to the government’s powers in expulsion of non-citizens and controlling its borders?

The United States Supreme Court recently decided to consider appeals regarding two very different immigration scenarios. One involves a judge’s order of deportation issued inside the United States; the other involves a decision made by a U.S. consulate in a foreign country. However, both cases have a common thread: what is the permissible extent of the government’s powers?
Continue reading