City in Ohio Latest to Struggle with Immigration Policy

Confused young man in the car stopped by policemanCleveland Heights, a city in Ohio, is the latest among many who have found themselves struggling with how they will deal with undocumented immigrants. A proposed law is being considered that says that law enforcement officials will not typically contact federal officials when they come across someone suspected of being an undocumented immigrant.

The proposed ordinance has made its way through the first of three readings. It must be presented to city council twice more. In the new law, wording outlines how local law enforcement will handle suspected undocumented immigrants. Unless necessary for a criminal investigation, people will not be asked about their status. The proposed law also states that law enforcement will not voluntarily share information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unless a warrant is presented.

The mayor of the city says that her officers are not in the business of immigration enforcement. Without a legitimate reason, federal officials will not be contacted by anyone on her department. In order to gain access to the city’s facilities, ICE agents must have a warrant.

Immigration attorneys say that many undocumented immigrants come under federal scrutiny due to routine traffic stops by local police. In some cities, these people are held in custody until federal officials respond.

If you need assistance with immigration in Washington state or throughout the nation, contact our office. Our experienced attorneys will help you schedule a case evaluation and will advise you of your legal rights under current federal law.

Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act Introduced

Prisoners cellsThe Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act was introduced to Congress in an attempt to establish standards and accountability for detention centers in the United States. It also aims to phase out detention centers run by private corporations over the next three years, place all detention facilities under the management of the Department of Homeland Security, and reduce the overall number of detainees.

The amount that detaining immigrants costs taxpayers is staggering, with many people being held indefinitely due to their home country’s stance on accepting deportees. According to statistics, the number of beds Immigration and Customs Enforcement received funding for in 2008 was 27,500. In 2017, the House Appropriations Committee is seeking funding for 44,000 beds. Housing detainees is part of a $4.4 billion budget.

An ICE press secretary told news outlets that ICE houses detainees in a variety of facilities across the country in an attempt to save taxpayers as much money as possible. The agency declined to comment on the pending legislation. One company that operates a private detention facility, The GEO Group, said that the act will bring about transparency and dignity for those being detained and awaiting deportation.

If you are facing immigration issues in the United States, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Reach out to our office today to discuss your situation and learn more about your legal rights. We understand current laws and know what is on the horizon. We will offer you any assistance we can.

Immigrants’ Social Media Data to Be Collected

People Connecting and Sharing Social MediaYou may have been advised numerous times to be mindful of what you post on social media. This may not be more important for anyone more than it is for immigrants to the country. As part of what is being called more effective screening, social media data from immigrants entering the United States will be collected. Privacy advocates are concerned about what this could mean and believe that it will do little to protect the interest of national security.

Starting October 18, the Department of Homeland Security will begin to collect additional data on immigrants. Any green card holder, naturalized citizen or immigrant entering the country will have social media data collected and placed in their immigration file. It is not clear whether the collection will occur only during the application process or continue after papers have been issued.

The data collected, according to the agency, will be that which is publicly available on the Internet and commercial data providers — such as on social media. It will also be collected from public institutions, public records and interviewees. Proponents of this action expressed concern over how that information would be used. There is also concern that the data collected would include that of private citizens who confer with immigrants.

If you or a loved one need assistance with immigration issues in Washington or across the country, our experienced attorneys are here for you. Reach out to our team today to schedule a case evaluation. We will review the details of your case and advise you of your legal rights.

Immigrants Held Behind Bars Illegally

hands of prisoner holding black metal bars, criminal locked in jail waiting for releaseIt’s believed that immigrants are being held in custody illegally due, in part, to a national immigration policy that isn’t clear. Some advocates and attorneys are claiming that immigrants’ Fourth Amendment rights are being violated in Ohio.

According to reports, Hamilton and Brown Counties, both in Southern Ohio, held undocumented immigrants longer than the 48 hours that citizens are held for the same charges. This allowed the immigrants to be taken into custody by federal officers, who could then begin the deportation process.

The issue that has come to light is that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) asked local jails in the area to hold the undocumented immigrants for longer than 48 hours. Advocates met with Sheriff Jim Neil of Hamilton County to discuss the problems. An attorney who represents immigrants attended the meeting and said that employees of the sheriff’s department would receive training on the policy.

One example cited was an undocumented immigrant who had been arrested for driving without a valid license. He was held in custody on an ICE detainer even though his bail had been posted. He was then eventually deported to Guatemala. Advocates say that if the man had been released as policy dictates, he may have been able to hire an attorney and avoid deportation.

If you need assistance with immigration issues, reach out to our team of experienced attorneys. We will review your case and advise you of your legal rights. We understand current national policy and we know how to protect you. Call our office today.

California Expands Protection for Immigrants

California State Capitol BuildingOn September 16, 2017, lawmakers in California passed a law making it a “sanctuary state.” The law’s aim is to protect immigrants who don’t have legal residency in the United States from deportation. The bill was written and introduced by Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles).

The law will limit local and state law enforcement agencies’ communications with federal immigration agents. It will also prevent officers from holding and questioning people for immigration violations. There was debate in the Legislature and opposition from Republicans. Despite threats from the President’s administration against sanctuary cities, the law was passed with a 27-11 vote.

The Bill that was passed into law was a watered-down version of what was originally introduced after debates and talks between the parties. Though some call the amendments to the original bill disappointing, many are pleased that it was made into law. Those in opposition to the making of California a sanctuary for immigrants pointed to the opposition by local sheriffs’ organizations. Supporters say that painting all immigrants with the same brush is a problem.

The federal government has promised to slash funding to any cities or states who pass sanctuary laws. How the passage of the law will impact California remains to be seen.

If you or a loved one is dealing with immigration issues, reach out to our office. Our experienced attorneys will put their knowledge to work for you and assist you in any way we can. Call today to schedule an appointment for a case evaluation.

Trump Administration Ends Protection for DREAMers

The word daca on an american map immigration concept 3D illustrationEarly in September, President Donald Trump announced an official end to an Obama-era program that had offered protection to young, undocumented immigrants, nicknamed “DREAMers.” The Trump administration called the program unconstitutional. The decision struck fear among the close to 800,000 immigrants who have resided in the country illegally since they were children.

The President said that he was given no choice outside of ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. He claimed it to be an abuse of executive power by the former President. He also said that the program was unlikely to survive a legal challenge. The administration asked lawmakers to determine the fate of DREAMers, emphasizing that work permits currently held would not be revoked for at least six more months.

Several politicians, business executives and civic leaders quickly became opponents of the move. Some have promised to pursue action to protect these illegal immigrants. Although the future of those currently in the United States under DACA is under consideration, the administration did say that no new applications would be accepted. Those holding two-year work permits will be permitted to apply for renewal once their current permits expire in 2018.

Those who support the program voiced concern that the applications for renewal would not be approved by an administration that has taken a hard line against immigration.

If you are a DREAMer or other illegal immigrant and are approached by ICE, use these tips provided by United We Dream to protect your rights:

  • Don’t open your door for them to come in.
  • Remain silent.
  • Don’t sign anything.
  • Record the event, and report it.
  • Call an attorney immediately.

If you need assistance with immigration issues, please reach out to our experienced team of attorneys. We understand the current laws and we can offer you the help you need. We are here for you and your family. Call today to schedule an appointment.

ICE Impersonators Target Harvey Victims

an aerial view of Houston showing the extent of flooding caused by Hurricane HarveyThe Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency is warning the public in Houston of people impersonating its agents. These imposters are targeting victims of Hurricane Harvey, telling people to evacuate their homes. Once evacuated, the homes stand empty and ready to be stolen from.

ICE, FEMA and officials in the city of Houston told people last week that no one would be asked for identification or citizenship papers when seeking shelter from the ravages of the storm. It is a worry that people are avoiding seeking shelter due to their immigration status, putting themselves in danger.

ICE officials released a statement that said, in part:

“Members of the public who receive such visitors should ask to see these properly labeled badges, and their credentials. In addition, these officers and special agents would be conducting hurricane relief operations with other local law enforcement agencies. Also note that during Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is not conducting immigration enforcement operations in the affected area.”

People in the affected area who may not have legal status as citizens in the United States should not fear seeking help as Houstonians remedy themselves and the city following the hurricane.

If you are an immigrant in need of legal assistance, please reach out to our office. We have in-depth knowledge of immigration law as it currently stands in the country and are prepared to help you with the issues you face. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a case evaluation and learn more about your legal rights.

Immigrants Stranded by ICE as Hurricane Rolled In

big tourist buses on parkingU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is under fire for reportedly leaving 50 women and children in a bus station in downtown San Antonio as Hurricane Harvey rolled in. The agency is defending its actions, saying that the women and children were given bus tickets and itineraries.

ICE is saying that it maintained contact with officials to ensure buses would be available despite the mounting weather. Bus transportation was confirmed when the immigrants were left at the station, according to ICE. Ultimately, the families were stranded when buses were canceled. They were taken to a local church to await the restoration of Greyhound services.

It is being reported that State Representative Lloyd Doggett contacted ICE officials, telling them not to drop the immigrant families off. It is said that ICE assured the government official that the immigrants would not be left alone for long. ICE did not tell reporters whether or not they knew the buses had been canceled when they left the families behind.

An official speaking on the terms of anonymity said that ICE has no control over immigrants when they are dropped off. Those families could have altered or canceled their bus trips altogether. The agency considers that the people are no longer in custody once they are dropped off and handed tickets.

If you need assistance with an immigration issue, reach out to our attorneys. We have knowledge and experience that we are ready to put to use for you and your family. Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers.

Immigration Motivates March, Not Statues

Isolated photo of Robert E. Lee, the commander of the Confederate forces at GettysburgJust weeks ago, a march took place in Charlottesville that made national headlines. It quickly became apparent that people, mostly Caucasians, were angry over the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee. News outlets reported that protesters were upset about the removal of a piece of the city’s history, and showed counter-protestors clashing with those who held the belief that history should be preserved. But that wasn’t the whole story.

The organizer of the march, Jason Kessler, is an activist and known anti-immigration writer. He most recently fought against the city’s status as a sanctuary city. Immigration has emerged as the real motivation for the march and protest — not the removal of a statue.

Kessler is the organizer of a group called Unity and Security for America. The goal of the group is to determine and fight the effects of immigration on white United States citizens. The group’s focus is lobbying for laws restricting legal and illegal immigration. In an article, Kessler was reported as stating that white people are becoming a minority and that they need to advocate for themselves before they go extinct.

While many are certainly angered over the removal of what they consider to be the history of this nation, the real reason for the recent march may not be so cut and dry. Many, including the organizer of the march, want to ban immigrants from the country and are eager to make their opinion heard.

If you or a loved one are having issues with immigration in Washington State, please reach out to our experienced team of attorneys. We understand that current laws and we know how to assist you. Call today to schedule an appointment.

Study Finds That Trump’s Immigration Plan Will Hurt Economy

Stairs leading up to the United States Capitol Building in Washington DCThe University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School published a report on August 10, 2017 that detailed findings that President Donald Trump’s immigration plan, commonly known as the RAISE Act, will ultimately hurt the United States’ economy. If put into action, it is estimated that over four and a half million jobs will be lost by 2040.

David Perdue and Tom Cotton, Republicans, drafted the bill that gained the support of the President. The bill would like to see legal immigration to the country cut in half within 10 years. A part of the research team pointed out that with fewer workers, there is less economic growth. According to the statistics, the country relies on more foreign workers as Baby Boomers retire at a rapid pace. The number of people retiring is outpacing the number of people entering the workforce.

Last year alone, there were 27 million foreign-born people employed in the United States. The government said that the study had major faults and assumed economic gains that ultimately come at an expense to workers who are American citizens.

The RAISE Act attempts to limit the number of immigrants who will gain permanent residency, restricts those who can be sponsored for visas, and establish a point system that will be utilized to award employee-based visas. Another study has reported that not allowing immigrants to stay and work in the country could have a negative impact on small businesses.

If you need assistance with immigration law in Washington State, reach out to our office. We will help you schedule a time to talk with an experienced attorney on our team and help you determine your best options.