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.
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.
2018 was an incredibly difficult year for immigrants, immigrant family members, immigrant rights advocates, and immigration lawyers.
So what might 2019 hold? Will immigration affairs remain bleak or will daylight start to shine again?
How should immigrants play their cards?
One hour, 10.5 minutes.
That’s how much time, on the average, an immigration judge has to dedicate to an immigrant’s case at the Los Angeles immigration court per year.
If you’re one of the thousands of Angelinos, who has been summoned to 606 South Olive, in overcrowded Los Angeles, to an overcrowded court, consider yourself lucky.
Immigration judges nationwide get less time to review similar matters.
The Supreme Court has spoken.
Immigration officers can no longer place someone in immigration court hearings to face removal charges without telling them where and when to appear.
Like many immigrants who visit my office, Danny had run into problems when he tried to enter the United States.
It wasn’t the lack of entry documents.
It wasn’t due to an expired visa.
It wasn’t the result of a criminal history.
Rather, it was the lack of his ability to speak English fluently.
According to Kim Anderson, former President of American Families United, “U.S. citizens are the most neglected constituency in the immigration debate.”
Hyperbole aside, Anderson raises a critically significant issue that is grossly undervalued by many pro-immigrant advocates.
Simply stated, U.S. citizen spouses are far too minimized in immigration reform discourse.
I was not surprised when Jose lost.
Even though his case had some complicated twists, it was not unwinnable.
What was his fatal mistake?
Editor’s Note: If you would like to read immigration predictions for 2019, see this article: Five Immigrant Rights Activists Share Their Predictions For 2019.
By Chasity Alvarez
As 2018 begins, there are several issues which all immigrants and their families will need to face in the coming year.
Before jumping in, I would first like to address a point raised by President Trump last year.
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.
Take the current situation facing Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries.
Over 300,000 individuals who have TPS status are at risk for deportation if the Trump Administration scraps the program in the near future.
Rumors abound such a decision will be abruptly made, with limited, if any, advance warning.
Such an ignominious ending would be no surprise.