Deported Immigrant Veterans And The Failed Promises Of Military Citizenship
When it comes to immigration, quite often, the more things change, the more they remain the same.
For instance, over ten years ago, in my capacity as a citizenship and naturalization lawyer, I wrote a series of articles that explained why Congress should pass legislation approving waivers for immigrant veterans who committed certain offenses, related to mental illnesses caused by their military service, making them subject to automatic deportation.
I was shocked to learn about the number of immigrant veterans, facing removal, who were incarcerated at the El Centro, California Dentention Facility, alongside individuals whom I represented. Thus, I endeavored to tell their story, the story of expedited citizenship which never materialized for them.
Obama was president then. Trump is president now.
The issue persists. [continue reading…]
The USCIS Citizenship Backlog: Causes And Consequences
My father became a naturalized citizen in 1951. From start to finish, the paperwork took less than six months for the government to process.
His journey to the United States, the prelude to naturalization, was fraught with danger and discrimination, neither of which deterred him from his mission to provide a modest level of financial support for his mother and siblings living abroad in poverty.
When he was sworn in, he had no idea that one day he would vote in the presidential elections for John F. Kennedy. [continue reading…]
Why Permanent Residents Should Become Naturalized Citizens
What’s the number one cause of the breakup of immigrant families when the immigrant parent is a permanent resident?
Aggravated felonies ?
Failure to naturalize?
When I’ve posed this question at public forums, critics attempt to undermine its importance by suggesting it asks the immigration equivalence of whether the chicken or the egg came first.
Actually, it’s doesn’t.
Rather, their knee jerk response reflects a reckless indifference towards the failure of lawful permanent residents to take actions to ensure family unity. [continue reading…]
Citizenship And Midwives: A Government Witch Hunt?
A few months ago, two twin brothers in the mid-60s came to my Riverside immigration law office to discuss a letter they had received in the mail a few days before.
They had been scheduled for an appointment at the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office to provide proof that they were really born on American soil.
They had been U.S. citizens since their birth over six decades ago. They had no arrests or convictions. They had faithfully paid their taxes each year and owned homes. They were married with adult children.
They now faced possible deportation.
They were born in a Texas border town with the assistance of a midwife. [continue reading…]
Citizenship, Immigrants And Voting: Political Triad For Reform
When I learned about the Obama plan to begin citizenship drives across the nation a few weeks ago, I had mixed feelings.
On the one hand, I wanted to cheer from the top of my lungs.
On the other, I suspected the current effort to push the merits of naturalization was driven by self-serving Democratic Party manipulation. [continue reading…]
Immigration Looney Tunes: The Anchor Babies Myth
For months, the signs were clear.
A revival of an anchor baby attack was on the way.
Most colleagues scoffed at my warnings. They claimed the battle against xenophobic terminology had been won. The era of using mean-spirited terms, like anchor babies, for political purposes had passed.
I was a town crier, a few said, over-reacting to isolated news events.
Sure, just like the building of new detention cells is unrelated to future arrests and deportations.
Alarmist or not, here’s what I saw. [continue reading…]
Citizenship, War Criminals, And Immigration Fraud
There are no winners in wars.
It’s just a matter of degree.
Both sides lose. One side loses less. [continue reading…]
Why American Samoans Should Be Granted Birthright Citizenship
I was warned.
About the darkness.
My client’s first master calendar was scheduled for early November. As I walked from my hotel room to the immigration court, it was not only cold, but also pitch black.
It seemed like 9:00 p.m.
It was only 9:00 a.m.
Later that morning, as I sat in the Anchorage immigration court waiting for our case to be called, I noticed about two-thirds of the matters involved Samoans.
In each case the judge inquired about the specific area of their birth. “Samoa or America Samoa?”
Each time the question was asked, the darkness – a legal darkness – seemed to engulf the room.
I was warned. [continue reading…]
The Callous Politics Of Deporting Immigrant Military Veterans
Immigration reform is not a zero-sum game.
Despite the delirious ranting from those opposed to all forms of immigration reform, fixing our dysfunctional immigration system is possible.
And it’s possible in a manner which benefits U.S. citizens, as well as legal residents.
To resolve our immigration concerns requires at least one consensus: allowing some immigrants to become lawful permanent residents. [continue reading…]
Immigration Policy Based On Fear: The Erosion Of Due Process For Middle Eastern Immigrants
Her immigration history seemed spotless.
No arrests. No convictions.
A native of Afghanistan, Jawan had lawfully entered the U.S. to study. She met and fell in love with Tony, a naturalized citizen from Egypt, in an economics course.
After their marriage, he filed to immigrate Jawan. She became a legal resident in the early 1980s. [continue reading…]