The U.S. Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) lottery grants immigrant visas to 50,000 people from countries with historically low rates of immigrantion to the U.S. This year, two applicants from Iran and two from Yemen were among the randomly selected winners of that lottery, which was supposed to allow them and their families to move to the U.S. and become lawful permanent residents.
Companies in California and the rest of the nation have come under further scrutiny by Immigration and Customs Enforcement auditors. ICE audited more companies than ever in 2012, searching for employed illegal immigrants. Over the span of five years, the number of I-9 forms rose from 250 to over 3,000, and fines increased by $12 million. With a work visa sometimes being difficult to obtain, many immigrants become frustrated when trying to bring in enough income to support their families, sometimes leading them to seek whatever employment they can find.
Many immigrants living in California and throughout the country know how difficult it can be obtain U.S. citizenship. But it can seem unfair to have the threat of deportation constantly hovering over your head if you work, pay taxes and follow the laws. Some California lawmakers have recognized this and are working to have a new bill put on the November ballot across the state. The proposal, if passed, could affect deportation and removal proceedings for many in our state.
Immigration issues have increased since the legalization of same-sex marriage in a number of states. Gay rights advocates argue that a same-sex marriage should allow an individual the opportunity to apply for a green card just like someone from a heterosexual marriage. One problem is that, while states such as California permit gay marriage, other states do not. Contention arises when a gay individual, who may be subject immigration proceedings, becomes legally married in one state, and later moves to a state that does not yet recognize same-sex unions.
Undocumented immigrants in California often face intense scrutiny and discrimination. And never has the debate of immigration been more heated than it has been this summer. Given the upheaval in the undocumented immigrant community, it can be refreshing for those affected by the immigration debate to know they aren't alone.