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San Diego Immigration Law Blog

California immigration: How detention is hurting families

Sadly, it is pretty common practice to place California immigrants in detention centers while they await deportation hearings and/or decisions. To immigration authorities this is often deemed as necessary. Unfortunately, this practice isolates detainees from their families. It also leaves these individuals feeling that they have no right to seek legal assistance -- which is not the case.

A researcher at University of California Davis conducted a survey of nearly 500 immigrants who were detained for six or more months. They were held in detention centers that included jails, a private facility and a for-profit campus. It was found that, those held at the private center were less likely to see their families during their stays.

Citizenship and naturalization: Applying for naturalization

Foreign nationals who would like to obtain citizenship in the United States must fulfill very specific requirements. Unfortunately, nothing about the citizenship and naturalization process is simple. There is a lot that one must go through in order to complete the process. How do immigrants residing in California or elsewhere apply for naturalization?

The process which a foreign national must go through to achieve citizenship in the United States is called naturalization. A formal application for naturalization must be submitted and an interview may be required. Before this can be done, though, those who wish to go through this process generally must meet certain residency requirements and pass the necessary exams.

Need and employment visa? Things to know

Obtaining the appropriate visa for work purposes would seem like a fairly simple task; however, it actually can be quite challenging. When one needs an employment visa, there are a lot of steps involved in the process, which can make the whole thing rather confusing. This column will try to address some of the things immigrants who are looking to come to California or elsewhere in the United States for work may need to know about employment-based immigration.

It is believed that approximately 140,000 employment-based immigration visas are made available every fiscal year. These visas are given to those who qualify under one of five preference categories: E-1 through E-5. In some cases, spouses and children may also be granted visas as well.

Removal of conditional residence status based on marriage

When granted residency status in the United States, one's status may be considered permanent or conditional. One's initial residency is generally considered conditional until all requirements for permanent residency have been met. It is possible, though, for immigrants in California and elsewhere to get a removal of conditional residence status. One way to do this is through marriage.

To remove conditions on residency status one must meet certain eligibility requirements. For those wanting to remove these conditions based on marriage, the most important requirement is the ability to prove that the marriage was not entered into simply to work around the immigration system. In order to do this, one must be married to the same U.S. Citizen or permanent resident for a minimum of two years. However, if one's spouse passes away or the marriage ends in divorce, it may still be possible to apply to have conditions removed.

Arrested immigrants may face deportation and removal proceedings

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents recently arrested 112 immigrants in Southern California. These arrests came as part of a four-day sweep, arranged to round up ex-convicts to be put through deportation and removal proceedings. Many of these individuals have already been released from jail, but some are being held to go before immigration judges.

According to a recent report, from July 19 through July 22, ICE agents focused on arresting immigrants with criminal backgrounds. Some of the individuals arrested are residing in the country legally, while many of the others are believed to be undocumented. Those who have already attained legal statuses could lose those statuses -- as is common following certain criminal convictions.

Beware of unlicensed immigration service centers

Throughout California, numerous agencies can be found that claim to specialize in issues affecting immigrants. Unfortunately, some of these companies, upon closer investigation, have been found to not hold the required licenses required under state law to perform the services they claim to offer. The owner and an employee of one such immigration services business in the northern part of the state were recently arrested on fraud charges, although the business still remained opened after their arrests.

The owner of Al Sanchez Bookkeeping and Tax -- a 56-year-old male -- and a staff member -- a 46-year-old female -- were arrested in mid-July. Both of these individuals are accused of illegally running an immigration consulting business, as the company does not have the proper clearance. A day after their arrests, the business was still up and running, although, it was closed by the end of that same week.

How can an attorney help with deportation defense and appeals?

Unfortunately, there are numerous immigrants in California who are facing deportation or have failed to receive the immigration status for which they have applied. These individuals may be disheartened and feel that they have few options left in fighting to remain in the country. Whether needing a deportation defense or wanting to appeal an immigration decision, an experienced attorney may be able to help.

No one likes to feel like his or her status is uncertain. It is normal to want to feel secure in where one is and what one is doing. Unfortunately, many immigrants live with a degree of worry or even fear that everything they are working toward can quickly be taken from them. Unfortunately, if the right steps are not taken, this worry can swiftly become a reality.

How does one get Foreign Labor Certification?

When foreign nationals want to come to the United States for work purposes, they must obtain the appropriate visas for their specific jobs. Before this is even possible, in many cases, employers must obtain what is called Foreign Labor Certification in order to show the government the need to hire immigrant workers. How do employers in California and elsewhere apply for Foreign Labor Certification?

When an employer wishes to hire non-U.S. workers, he or she must provide evidence that there are no qualified U.S. workers for their needs. The process of labor certification is in place for this purpose. Depending on employment type, the way in which one might obtain labor certification may vary. An immigration attorney and the Department of Labor can both offer further details about the steps that must be taken for one's specific needs.

Immigrants seeking dual citizenship and naturalization

Numerous immigrants currently residing in California are interested in becoming U.S. citizens but also have the desire to keep citizenship in their native countries. It is possible for these individuals to go through the citizenship and naturalization process in an effort to seek what is known as dual citizenship. How can this be accomplished?

The legal considerations involved in having dual citizenship can be somewhat complicated, such as certain tax obligations. However, there certainly are advantages to keeping one's native citizenship after U.S. citizenship is achieved. Some of these include easy residency and access to government funded programs.

More Venezuelans seek asylum in the United States

The crisis in Venezuela continues to escalate, and more of its citizens are looking to flee the country. Because of this, the United States is seeing more Venezuelans applying for asylum. This can be a difficult process. Those individuals entering the country in California or elsewhere can seek legal assistance in their search for relief and peace.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as of March 2016, individuals from Venezuela seeking asylum reached an all time high with over 1,300 applications submitted. The only country with more citizens applying for asylum in the United States that same month was China. Venezuela has been considered one of the top 10 asylum-seeking nations since early 2014. It is believed, though, that many of the asylum applicants are among Venezuela's middle class, meaning they do not necessarily qualify for refugee status.

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