Law Offices of Jan Joseph Bejar A P.L.C.
Resolving Immigration Problems In An Honest & Responsible Manner

San Diego Immigration Law Blog

Denaturalization petitions are scary to face

The path to becoming an American citizen is one that is often challenging. If you are in the country legally and are trying to become naturalized, you need to ensure that you understand what it means. This can help you once you are ready to file to get the process started.

It is important to note that you do have many of the same rights as citizens who were born here, but there is an exception. For the first five to 10 years after you are naturalized, you can face the risk of a petition for denaturalization being filed against you if you don't comply with certain guidelines. One of these is that you must comply with requests to testify before congressional committees related to specific matters. This requirement is in force for the first 10 years after your naturalization.

Alternatives to immigrant detention are possible

Immigration is a hot topic in the news right now. Many people don't realize that the issue of undocumented immigrants in this country isn't as serious as what some are trying to make it seem. In fact, the number of undocumented is currently estimated to be the lowest it has been in 12 years. As of 2016, there are an estimated 10.7 million undocumented immigrants, which is much lower than the 12.2 million estimated in 2007.

Immigration detention is one of the tools that the country is using to try to combat illegal immigration; however, the conditions in these facilities are being called into question. The media highlights some pretty troublesome methods related to this, including locking children in cages and having some people live in tent cities. Around 70 percent of people who are in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody in this country are housed in for-profit, private prisons.

Family-based immigration provides a valuable opportunity for some

People who are naturalized citizens and lawful permanent residents might choose to bring their family members to live with them in the United States. Family-based immigration is a program that allows you to do this as long as the person meets specific requirements set forth by the United States government. If you are in this position, you need to ensure you do things properly.

We know that you might have some questions about what you need to do and what the process entails. We can help you get the answers you need so that you can get your family member to the States to live with you.

You have the right to a defense prior to deportation

People find themselves facing deportation for a wide range of reasons. In some cases, an individual may have made a mistake on paperwork related to their visa or immigration status. Simply missing a deadline can be enough of a reason to initiate deportation.

Other times, someone may have intentionally or accidentally violated laws in the United States. Many different crimes can impact your eligibility for residency or citizenship. Facing criminal charges can often mean facing deportation as well. If you wind up convicted of certain offenses, that can result in changes to your legal immigration status in the United States.

Protect yourself as you go through the naturalization process

Immigrants who are pursuing citizenship in the United States have a long process before them. For many, the process they will go through is naturalization. This means that the person applies to become a citizen. They will then move through a formal process that ensures they are a good candidate and that they understand their responsibilities and rights as a citizen.

In order to become a naturalized citizen, you have to be a legal permanent resident. On top of this, you have to have lived in the country for a specific time. During this time, which is usually three to five years, you can't get into legal troubles.

Is there anywhere ICE won't arrest me?

If you're an undocumented immigrant in the United States, you're probably concerned about your immigration status and whether you'll be able to stay in the country. You may even be concerned that if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents stop you, that you could be arrested, sent to a detention center and later deported. If you're facing a situation like this, your concerns are well-founded.

As long as you are inside the borders of the United States as an undocumented immigrant, you are at risk of arrest. That said, there are some places where it's less likely that ICE agents will actually arrest you. These potential "safe zones" include the following:

  • Schools, including pre-school to high school and even colleges and universities
  • Hospitals
  • Churches and places of worship
  • Funeral, wedding and religious ceremony sites
  • Sites of public demonstrations, rallies, parades and marches

Can I help my sister come live with me in the United States?

Imagine you're the lucky sibling -- the one who was born in the United States, so you have citizenship. Your sister, on the other hand, is still living in your home country under harsh conditions and it breaks your heart to see her separated from you like this. Can you do something, as a United States citizen, to help her come to live with you?

If you're a United States citizen and you're 21 years of age or older, you can file a petition to bring your sister into the country. If you're a green card holder and have yet to acquire citizenship, however, the following method does not apply.

Who oversees immigration detention centers around the world?

Considering how many immigrants are being arrested and detained around the world right now -- and the fact that many of them have been unlawfully detained -- it's frightening to think how little oversight there is over the facilities where detained immigrants are housed. In some parts of the world, there is absolutely no oversight of the living conditions in these centers.

Due to the lack of oversight, it's not unheard of for human rights violations to happen at an immigration center. This can result in devastating psychological and physical problems for the immigrants who are detained. Especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment are women and children. Because of these dangers, some people who find themselves detained at an immigration center -- even for a short period of time -- may suffer from life-long mental health complications.

New immigrant caravan headed to United States

There is no doubt that it is a scary time to be an immigrant from Latin America today in the United States. Recent news reports of a crackdown on Honduran emigres who are currently in a caravan heading for Mexico's northern border offer no encouragement to those fleeing violence and oppression in their homelands.

Pressure from the U.S. president has led to Mexico sending their own troops to seal off their southern borders. This week, two planeloads of riot gear-wearing Mexican federal agents arrived in Tapachula, which borders Guatemala. The city has become a major spot to cross over into Mexico and head north to the US.

Never do this during your immigration interview

As a part of your U.S. immigration process, you may need to appear for an interview. It can be stressful going into the Bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for one of these interviews. You may be unfamiliar about how to act and whether you're giving the best responses.

To help you stay on the right track regarding how to comport yourself and answer USCIS officers' questions, here is a vital "do not do" list:

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