Immigration Law Blog


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.

The Traumatizing Effects of Immigrant Detention Centers

Immigration detention centers are often used in the United States to hold immigrants whose status is unknown or court dates are pending. Unfortunately, many reports details these detention centers as places that are not only uncomfortable, but downright traumatizing. If you or a family member is being held in a detention center and need legal help, the immigration attorneys at the Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C. can help.

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An Overview of the Different Types of Immigrant Visas

If you are an individual who is hoping to apply and be approved for a U.S. immigrant visa, it is important that you understand the multiple types of visas that are available, and which one you may qualify for. For help filing your visa application in an accurate and proficient manner, an immigration attorney is key.

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New Bill Proposed in Massachusetts Offers State Protections from Federal Requests

Illegal immigration activists in Massachusetts are at it again. This time, activists are pressing lawmakers in the state to pass a bill that would limit the authority that federal laws regarding detention requests have over local and state police officers. Specifically, the bill would bar Massachusetts’ police officers from legally being allowed to arrest an undocumented person once that person has been discharged from local custody. The bill would be considered a will for undocumented immigrants in the state, especially in light of anti-immigrant policies present throughout the rest of the country.

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What Do Americans Think About Illegal Immigration?

More than perhaps ever before in U.S. history, illegal immigration has become a hot—and highly controversial—topic. And with the presidential election quickly approaching, it seems as though everyone wants a piece of the illegal immigration opinion pie. Which leaves one pressing question: What do Americans really think about illegal immigration? Continue reading “What Do Americans Think About Illegal Immigration?”