Immigration Law Blog


Man Convicted For Unlawful Procurement of Citizenship

A Pakistani man who now resides in Columbus, Ohio, was convicted last month (in January of 2016) of unlawful procurement of U.S. citizenship by a United States District Court jury. The charges assessed accused the man, one Maqsood Haroon, age 41, of making false statements throughout the naturalization process.

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L.A. Religious Groups Reach Out to Immigrants

In many religions, such as Catholicism, offering sanctuary to those in need is a key tenet. Now, religious groups throughout the United States are offering aid and sanctuary to recent immigrants from Central America. This is in response to the current wave of anti-undocumented immigrant sentiment sweeping through the United States accompanied by federal raids conducted by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) meant to crack down on undocumented immigrant populations inside the United States.

These raids often result in individuals being swiftly deported without proper trials or legal representation. Thus far, 120 people have been ordered to leave the United States in these federal raids. This type of raid and deportation can be terrifying and can break a family apart. If you are a recent immigrant or a family member of somebody who has recently come to the United States, it is important that you know your rights regarding deportation. Work with an experienced Los Angeles immigration attorney to ensure that you fully understand these rights and can protect yourself if issues related to staying in the country arise.

The Scope of America’s Undocumented Immigrant Population

Since 2014, more than 100,000 people from Central America have entered the United States. These individuals come here for a variety of reasons, such as the following:

  • Escaping violence;
  • Leaving communities and nations corrupt with drug trafficking;
  • Seeking better economic opportunities for their families; and
  • Coming to be with family members who have already entered the United States.

How Do Religious Groups Help Immigrants?

Religious groups in Los Angeles and throughout the United States have a long history of backing progressive immigration law reform and providing aid for individuals and families who come to this country fleeing violence and seeking more stable lives. An example of this is the Sanctuary Movement, through which a network of United States border area churches offered safe places for refugees fleeing wars and oppressive regimes in South and Central America in the 1980s. This movement eventually led to pressure on the Reagan administration to pass the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which granted new rights to America’s immigrant population.

Today, churches and other faith centers in Los Angeles are working similarly to pass pro-immigrant legislation like the DREAM Act. Even groups that traditionally back conservative legislation, like evangelical Christian groups, support such acts in the name of moral righteousness. Some of the ways these groups help the people they work with, aside from supporting progressive legislation, include welcoming them into their congregations, providing food, clothing, and basic necessities for them, and aiding them with assimilation to life in America.

Work with an Experienced Los Angeles Immigration Attorney

When you need help with one of the many legal issues that recent and not-so-recent immigrants face, seek guidance from an experienced immigration attorney. At The Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C., we are dedicated to working with recent immigrants to smooth out the naturalization process and resolve any issues they face. Contact our firm today to set up your initial legal consultation.

Central American Families Rounded Up By ICE Agents

The wave of immigration into the United States, particularly from Central American countries, has come to a head: after a national enforcement action to target minors was issued, 121 Central American adults and children were tracked down and rounded up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents the first weekend of January 2016, made ready to be shipped back to their home countries.

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Ted Cruz and Immigration: What to Expect if He Wins the Election

If there is one topic that Ted Cruz has flip-flopped on, it is that of immigration. Despite his extremely conservative ways, immigration is one issue that Mr. Cruz has always held a softer position on. In fact, the Texan has been a long-time advocate for expanding avenues for legal immigration into the United States, particularly for high-skilled workers.

But his once open stance on legal immigration into the U.S., including making more visas available for eligible immigrants, may have come to an end; Ted Cruz is now pushing for a halt on immigration, legal and otherwise.

Once an Advocate for Legal Immigration

Ted Cruz has been one of the few conservative republicans who has continuously advocated for immigrants’ rights over the course of his tenure. While never once using the word “amnesty,” Cruz’s political history includes him continuously saying that he wanted to expand legal immigration, and he even told reporters, quoted by CNN News, that he thinks “legal immigration is a fundamental pillar of our country,” and that he believes we should remain a nation that “”doesn’t just welcome, but celebrates legal immigrants around this table.” In the past, Cruz has also supported expansion of temporary guest workers permitted to come into the United States, as well as expansion of the number of green cards available.

Cruz Makes a Shift

While Cruz may have once been a proponent for bringing immigrants into the country, those views seem to have been tabled for now. In November, Cruz issued his immigration plan, which is even more conservative than legislation that has been proposed—and that Cruz has stood up against—in the past. To be sure, Cruz’s plan would:

  • Halt legal immigration until the rate of unemployment in the United States decreases;
  • End birthright citizenship – those born in the United States would no longer be considered U.S. citizens;
  • Suspend the H-1B visa program (visas for foreign workers) for 180 days with the intent of investigating allegations of abuse within the program.

The plan, to put it simply, is not one that lends much hope to immigrants—both documented and otherwise—living within the country, nor immigrants hoping to make the journey to the U.S.

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help You

If you are an undocumented immigrant currently living within the United States, you may have fears and questions about what your future holds, and what the future of U.S. immigration policy is. While both are unclear, the immigrations attorneys at the Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C. can advocate for you and for your right to remain within the country. For a case consultation where we can discuss your immigration status and how your right to remain here may be protected, call us today at 323-484-907.

The Rights of (Transgender) Persons When Held in Immigration Detention Facilities Often Overlooked

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, transgender women who are held in detention facilities suffer from sexual assault at approximately nine to 10 times the rate of other detained persons. In fact, transgender persons comprise one out of every five cases of sexual abuse while in Immigration Customs & Enforcement (ICE) Custody. Transgender women detainees are currently housed amongst male detainees, rather than amongst females or privately.

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Californians View Immigrants As a Positive Force on Society

The state of California has one of the biggest immigrant populations in the county. In fact, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, California has more immigrants than any other state, and is the home of more than 10 million immigrants. Of these immigrants, about 47 percent are naturalized citizens, and 26 percent have some sort of legal status. This means that 27 percent of immigrants in California, or 2.7 million people, are within the state illegally.

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Immigrants & Medi-Cal

Given the recent influx of immigrants into California, it is understandable that there are some misconceptions about benefits and Medi-Cal, and what arriving immigrants are able to receive. Most immigrants must comply with the same regulations as those born and raised in the United States, and will receive identical or comparable benefits after they do so.

Which Plans Are Available?

Lawfully present immigrants are not immune to the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that states that everyone must carry health coverage if they do not qualify for an exemption. Even certain nonimmigrant visa holders, such as F and J visa recipients, must carry coverage, as they are among the lawfully present in the country. Anyone who is lawfully present in the United States may purchase a plan either under Covered California or Medi-Cal, while the undocumented may only obtain coverage under Medi-Cal.

Unlike the lawfully present, the undocumented are not required to carry health insurance coverage, but they are also not subject to the shared responsibility payment if they lack it. Immigrants should be aware of the fact that unscrupulous tax preparers are prone to prey on those who are unaware of this fact. Undocumented immigrants are able to apply for Medi-Cal, but are not able to obtain full-scope Medi-Cal unless they adjust to a satisfactory immigration status (in other words, until they obtain legal status). In the meantime, they may receive emergency and pregnancy care, as well as long-term care if necessary. There has been some support for full-scope Medi-Cal to be extended to the undocumented, but as of this writing nothing has come to fruition.

Special Issues For The Undocumented

Many current undocumented immigrants may wonder about their financial ability to obtain insurance – after all, many jobs are not open to them. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify, but even that may give some pause: many immigration statuses require that an individual not become a “public charge” – in other words, become dependent on governmental assistance. If an individual does become a public charge, they may become subject to deportation. However, Covered California explicitly states that requiring financial assistance in order to obtain insurance may not be counted against you or your family for immigration purposes.

Another major concern is the information required by the application. Many fear that any admission of a lack of lawful status will be forwarded to Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) and lead to summary deportation. While following that path would not, in theory, be against the law, California has shown no inclination to try. Medi-Cal states that identifying information is only used to assess eligibility, and there is no evidence to show that it is being used any other way. The state also explicitly states that mixed families should still apply under their respective programs.

Contact An Experienced Los Angeles Refugee Attorney

Navigating health insurance law can be an extremely difficult endeavor at the best of times, when one does not have to contend with immigration questions. In this situation, seeking the advice of an experienced Los Angeles immigration attorney can help clear up confusion and get you and your family on the right path. The Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C. boasts attorneys with years of experience in this area, and the knowledge and patience to help you clarify your options. Contact our office today to set up a initial consultation.

Donald Trump Calls for a Ban on Immigration to the U.S. For All Muslims

Donald Trump recently made a statement that has shocked even conservatives, including his republican running opponents. His claim that all Muslims should be temporarily banned from entering or immigrating the U.S., due to the fact that “our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life,” is not only disturbing, but also telling of the deep racism and fear that is associated with beliefs about immigrants.

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Immigrants in California: Republicans Soften Their Views

Immigrants in California: As Republicans Soften Their Views, Will Immigrants Have Brighter Futures?

There is no question that the stance that many conservatives in the United States have taken against immigrants has been tough at best. Others would call it calculated, cold, and inhumane. Regardless of how it is labeled, though, a change among the republican party’s attitude towards immigrants, at least in California, has occurred. Be it genuine or to get voters out to the polls this election season, the California Republican Party has voted to soften its stance on immigration.

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Refugee vs. Immigrant: Differences & Similarities

In recent months, the topic of refugee rights has appeared in the news many times. There is misinformation being circulated about the legal definition of a refugee, and about the requirements they must comply with in order to be granted admission to the United States. Many are under the impression that a refugee must simply fit the requirements for any immigrant, and this is not the case. It is imperative to understand the differences, so that you apply for the status that works best for you.

What Is A Refugee?

United States immigration law defines a refugee in the same manner as the 1951 United Nations Convention & Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (usually referred to as the Geneva Convention). According to the convention, a refugee is someone who is “unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.” In order to apply for refugee status, a person must be outside the United States, and meet all other admission criteria – in other words, they must be able to be found admissible even if they were not a potential refugee.

These requirements, contrary to what many might think, actually make it more difficult in many respects to gain admittance to the United States. Showing a well-founded fear of persecution is quite difficult, especially when coming from countries where records are not kept or have been destroyed. In order to establish a pattern of persecution or the likely possibility of future persecution, one cannot simply testify to a few isolated occurrences or a general climate of terror; one must be able to cite specifics, with corroboration.

After Admission

The other question that many people have regarding refugee status is whether or not they receive ‘special treatment’ once they are admitted to the United States. The answer is technically yes, at least by California law, but there are practical considerations underlying each type of assistance many refugees are able to receive.

For example, if a refugee is able to obtain status in the U.S., they are then able to work, without having to apply for an Employment Authorization Document. It is reasonable to assume that the overwhelming majority of refugees had to flee their homes with very few assets, and thus, the ability to work and provide for one’s family is more integral to them than it is to many immigrants, who may arrive with assets and other comforts. Opponents of this measure argue that it means fewer jobs for Americans, but only 1 percent of refugees at any given time are eligible to resettle, and of that number, fewer even try to enter the United States.

Another example is training in English as a second language (ESL). The California Refugee Resettlement Program provides English language training to refugees, though a portion of it is financed with money from the federal Refugee Social Services program, rather than the state’s coffers. The rationale is that while many immigrants may arrive with their families or friends, refugees likely have no support network in which to learn English. English language skills are also very important in many fields, which increases employment prospects.

An Immigration Attorney Can Help

Immigration law can be quite complex, and very often, the help of a professional can make a difference between confusion and confidence.The Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C. is an immigration law firm with offices in Boston and Los Angeles. We have years of experience navigating difficult immigration and refugee rights cases. Contact us today for a initial consultation.