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From Civil War In El Salvador To American Community Leadership


“You’re not like them.”

What successful ethnic minority person in the United States has not heard that sentiment?

Perhaps it was a statement over a glass of wine at a company Christmas party. At lunch with co-workers. Or at a school function for their children.

As a Riverside immigration attorney, I’ve even heard similar expressions inside judicial chambers and lawyer meetings.

It’s often expressed in the third person.

“But Julio is not like other Salvadorans.”

This perspective has two major flaws.

[continue reading…]

Immigration LIVE, Episode 5: Joel Smith On Migrants In The Desert

The ordeal of migrants from Central and South America is a dangerous journey.

Yet, thousands make this trip every year, often with limited, if any food, clothes, money, or water.

Few really understand the ordeals they face like Joel Smith, Director of Operations at Human Borders, a Tucson, Arizona non- profit organization dedicated to taking death out of the immigration border equation. [continue reading…]

Immigration LIVE, Episode 4: Ellin Jimmerson On NAFTA

One of the toughest issues to understand is why would millions of Latin Americans leave their homes families to make an illegal, expensive, dangerous and sometimes deadly journey to the United States?

To the extent this issue is discussed in the public arena, it is usually explored at a surface level, without a deep exploration of the causes or consequences of such migration.

This lack of truth and honesty prompted Ellin Jimmerson, a minister and civil rights activist, with a Ph.D in History, to produce “The Second Cooler,” an award-winning documentary on the immigration problems caused by NAFTA. [continue reading…]

The Never Ending Battle To Protect Immigrants In Escondido


It was my first immigration law office in Escondido.

I was barely in my third year of private practice. After winning some complicated cases for North San Diego County clients, I decided to open a full time center for local residents.

About three months into my lease, the building manager stopped by to talk with me about co-tenant complaints.

They were upset because my clients “made the waiting room look like a bus stop.”

The word immigrants was not mentioned.

The meaning was clear. [continue reading…]

Central American Children Refugees: A Failure To Plan Ahead


Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Take the Central American refugee surge.

As an asylum and refugee lawyer, I noticed the youth refugee situation unfolding as far back as 2009.

Like most folks, I was surprised by the sharp increase of new arrivals last summer. But I was not shocked by the appearance of young children at our door steps. [continue reading…]

The Roots Of Immigration Reform: Think Global, Act Local


A few weeks ago, I endorsed the position that blindly voting for any political party is not in the best interests of immigrants seeking compassionate immigration reform.

I suggested a hybrid posture between not voting at all and voting as a political dunce. [continue reading…]

Landmark Asylum Decision Falls Short For Abused Immigrant Women

immigrant-domestic-violence-victims-seek-asylumWhen is a victory not a victory?

When the issues pertain to immigration law.

For instance, in Matter of A-R-C-G, the Board of Immigration Appeals recently held that abused immigrant women qualify for asylum in the U.S. under certain circumstances.

Media pundits and legal analysts applauded the decision as a landmark ruling.

They’re right.

However, the woman seeking protection has not yet won her case.

And many abused spouses were left out of the court’s sphere of protection. [continue reading…]

2010 Department of Homeland Security Report: Asylees And Refugees

As a green card attorney, I know winning asylum cases is not easy.

Over the past year, the Department of Homeland Security reports that 73,293 immigrants were admitted to the United States as refugees during 2009. Based on the 2009 DHS Report on Refugees and Asylees, this represents a decrease of 1.8% from 2009.

When it comes to understanding asylum law, however, this is only the beginning, not the end of the story for immigrants applying for asylum benefits from inside the United States. [continue reading…]

Riverside Launches Fight Against Human Trafficking In The Inland Empire


Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have documented a recent surge in human trafficking incidents throughout the Inland Empire.

Moreno Valley.  Perris.  Rubidoux.  Palm Desert. Riverside.

Beaumont. Rialto. Victorville. Yucaipa. San Bernardino.

The list goes on and on.

Many women and children are trapped in its web.

The problem of modern day slavery is global in nature.

Yet, experts assert that if you know the signs of modern day slavery, you would notice that it is closer to you than you ever imagined. [continue reading…]