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Boulder Colorado Immigration And Naturalization Legal Blog

Trump administration makes asylum rules more restrictive

On July 15, the Trump administration drastically changed the U.S. asylum policy for immigrants moving through multiple countries to reach the southern border of the United States, making most families fleeing violence in Central America ineligible to enter California or other border states. A representative of the American Civil Liberties Union called the move "patently unlawful".

The policy change was published in the federal register and is scheduled to take effect on July 16. It states that most migrant adults and children traveling alone who attempt to enter the U.S. over its southern border without first applying for asylum in any other countries they may have passed through en route are ineligible to apply for asylum in the U.S. However, the new rule also states that asylum is a "discretionary immigration benefit" that can be "generally" declared by immigrants who physically present themselves in the United States. In a statement, Attorney General William Barr said the rule changes are meant to stop immigrants from abusing the system.

Culture shock stress: Legal issues can make it worse

When you stepped onto U.S. soil and traveled to Colorado, you knew you were leaving behind everything and everyone with which you were familiar in your country of origin. Still, you had plans and dreams of starting afresh and building a new life and memories for yourself and perhaps your loved ones, if they traveled with you.

Culture shock is definitely a reality for many immigrants. Especially if you encounter significant challenges regarding a language barrier, you might have a difficult time adjusting to your new surroundings. There are several ways to help alleviate culture shock stress. However, if you also happen to run into legal problems, perhaps regarding your or a loved one's immigration status, it can make matters even worse. That's why it's important to know where to seek additional support, as needed.

Judge rules in favor of immigrants regarding detention policies

Migrants who are in custody after seeking asylum in the United States have the right to seek bail according to a federal judge. The ruling goes against an order from Attorney General William Barr to not grant bail for asylum seekers even after they have passed a credible fear review. The judge ruled that the directive violated the Constitution as it deprived those individuals of their right to due process.

The judge further ordered that those who request a hearing must get one within seven days. If a hearing is not scheduled within seven days, the detainee must be released. A variety of immigrant rights groups had taken legal action to defend what some claimed to be already settled law. However, a statement from the White House press secretary's office was critical of the ruling.

Perhaps the most important test for which you'll ever study

Moving to Colorado from another country can be exciting and stressful at the same time. As an immigrant, you may experience a significant learning curve. You have to learn to speak, write and read English. You may also struggle to adjust to certain cultural norms. However, millions of other people can relate to your struggle and have been able to carve out happy, successful lives for themselves in the United States.

If your ultimate goal is to become a naturalized citizen, you definitely have your work cut out for you. It's true that many legal obstacles can arise to threaten your legal status or impede your ability to achieve your goals. In fact, some issues are serious enough to warrant deportation. To avoid such problems, it's always best to make sure you clearly understand the requirements associated with citizenship and that you fulfill each one.

Sunset period for non-minister religious worker visas

Over the years, many religious workers have come to California through a special immigrant visa program designed for exactly this purpose. Ministers and non-ministers have been eligible to immigrate to the United States or adjust their status to permanent residency under the employment-based, fourth-preference visa program of EB-4. This has been particularly important for religious institutions primarily serving immigrant communities. While there is no annual cap on the number of ministers who can receive these visas every year, non-ministers have been restricted in the past to only 5,000 approved visas every year.

This program is seeing significant changes, however. The non-minister visa program was set to expire completely but received an extension on Feb. 15, 2019, when President Donald Trump signed a bill that included a prolongation of the visa category. This change only delayed the sunset period to Sept. 30; religious workers who want to take advantage of the opportunity must fully complete their applications before that time. Ministers and their spouses will not see any change to their eligibility for the visas, but the non-minister program will expire with the sunset period.

Conditions for temporary protective status

U.S. immigration law is so complex, it can be confusing to understand, even if you are well-versed in this type of law. For the average immigrant family who may be residing in Colorado, numerous issues or situations may prompt legal status problems. If you don't know your rights or where to seek support to help protect them, you could land in a heap of trouble.

In certain situations, you may be able to stay in the United States on a temporary basis under protection of the U.S. government. Temporary Protected Status isn't available to everyone. However, if you are a national who meets the requirements, you might be eligible for protection. It's helpful to ask someone familiar with the process to help you navigate the system.

Supreme Court decides on awareness of illegal status

In a June decision by the Supreme Court, justices voted 7-2 that prosecutors need to prove that defendants, illegal immigrants with firearms violations, are aware they are committing a crime in order to be found guilty. The majority stated that lawmakers likely didn't intend to punish violators who were simply ignorant of their status, while the two dissenters say that this ruling sets a dangerous precedent. The decision will affect many immigrant defendants in California and throughout the country.

The case decided by the Supreme Court involved a student from the United Arab Emirates who's student visa was revoked when he flunked out of a university in Florida. After leaving school, the defendant regularly went to a firing range and stayed at a hotel near the airport. Federal law enforcement arrested the man after participating in these activities for 53 days. During the defendant's trial, the judge told the jury that the government did not need to prove that the defendant was aware of his illegal status in the country.

President Trump wants changes to asylum policy

Individuals who are looking to seek asylum typically need only be present in the United States and qualify as a refugee. That means that a person could cross the border from Mexico into California and ask for protection. However, President Trump wants migrants to ask for asylum in another country first before they decide to do so in the United States. This could be problematic for many different reasons.

One of the problems that a migrant could face is that it may not be possible to seek asylum in another country. This is because there may be no formal asylum process to go through. Another issue is that a person may not be safe in any other country other than the United States. Additionally, some countries in Central America may not have the resources to handle an influx of immigrants from neighboring nations.

House passes new DREAM Act

On June 5, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed the most recent version of the DREAM Act, which would offer millions of young undocumented individuals in California and elsewhere a pathway to United States citizenship. The bill will now head to the Republican-led Senate, where it is expected to languish.

The DREAM and Promise Act of 2019 was approved by a vote of 237 to 187 with 230 Democrats voting in favor of the measure. Seven Republicans also crossed the aisle to support the proposal. If it was signed into law, the bill would let certain undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children obtain permanent US residency. The bill would also cover young people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, those with Temporary Protected Status and Liberian immigrants shielded by the Deferred Enforced Departure program. To qualify for the DREAM Act program, immigrants must have been under 18 years of age when they entered the US, lived in the country for the past four years and earned a high school diploma or the equivalent. They must also have a clean criminal record and pass a background check.

Visas: Immigrant or non-immigrant? Which do you need?

Colorado is home to many people who traveled to the United States from other countries of origin. You may have plans of your own to apply for a visa that brings you one step closer to legally entering the U.S., either on a temporary or permanent basis. Determining which type of visa you need and learning more about the legal processes involved can help you avoid complications that may impede you from achieving your goals.

There are eligibility requirements you must first fulfill before applying for a visa. It's critical that you understand the differences between the types of visas available, so that you know which one best fits your particular needs and ultimate immigration travel goals. You'll also want to remember that obtaining a visa doesn't guarantee entry to the United States. It simply means immigration officials have deemed you eligible. If a legal status problem arises, you'll want to know where to turn for guidance and support.

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