Discussion Points for Punto Legal –April 10, 2019
1. President Trump is on the war path on immigration again.
Today he said there is only one person in charge of his immigration policy: Him.
After firing the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Trump is trying to push out other high ranking immigration officials because he wants tougher immigration policies.
He is particularly incensed about all the refugees from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. He said today he would be directing additional members of the military to the border and contended that residents of border states are living in tremendous danger and that nobody has any idea how bad the problem is.
Make no mistake about this issue. The crush of refugees at the border could be managed legally and humanely. This is all about firing up Trump supporters for his re-election campaign in 2020.
2. This morning I was preparing for cancellation of removal case in Denver.
Our client is a 48-year-old coal miner from Mazatlán, Sinaloa whose has been in the United States since 1992. Five nights a week he goes 3 ½ miles into a coal mine and uses a robot to extract coal. He is a caring father of 15-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, who are U.S. citizens by birth. His daughter has autism and a variety of other mental problems. She is getting a lot of help and is getting better and needs to stay in the U.S. In order to win a cancellation of removal case, you have to prove a very, very high level of hardship to the citizen children. His case was getting better and better. If he were deported, he would leave his family in the U.S. and return to Los Mochis. His wife had had two of her childhood friends killed by gunshots in the last 4 months. His wife did not work but he was making $31 per hour in the coal mines, taking home $2,200 every two weeks. If he were deported, his family would be unable to support itself. But, he had an old domestic violence conviction for throwing a TV remote at his first wife. He did not even hit her. This old conviction was probably going to make him ineligible for cancellation of removal under ever changing immigration legal standards.
Because of the blizzard predicted in Denver, I called the immigration court. I found out that the immigration court had scheduled the case for a TV hearing with an immigration judge in Texas. I sure did not like that. I did some quick legal research and discovered they can’t give you an individual hearing over TV over our objection. I told the court we objected to a TV hearing, and they cancelled the hearing.
Now we are going to try to attack that old conviction.
I had a question this week about the immigration medical exam for an immigrant fixing his papers in the U.S. He had received a letter from the USCIS telling him he had not submitted a medical exam with his applications and would have to do submit a medical exam at some point in the future.
Almost all applicants for adjustment of status must submit a medical exam at some point in the immigration process. The primary purpose of the exam is to screen immigrants for TB and sexually-transmitted diseases. It also requires that you get certain vaccinations up to date. The medical exam is now valid for 2 years. Now you have three options for submitted the medical exam. First, you can send it in with your application to fix your papers. Second, you can take it to the interview and give it to the interview officer. Or, you can submit it after the interview when you get a request for evidence.
4. Adam Walsh Act.
When I talk to people who want to become permanent residents, I ask them about their criminal history because certain crimes can require waivers or prevent you from immigrating. Sometimes the U.S. relative who is petitioning for his spouse or children wants to know if his criminal history is relevant to the process. I tell them that we have fixed papers even where a citizen -petitioner was in prison. But there is one exception to this rule. A law entitled the Adam Walsh Act, which was passed in 2006. It imposes immigration penalties on U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are convicted of certain crimes against minors. A U.S. citizen who is convicted of a “specified offense against a minor” may be prevented from filing a visa petition on behalf of a close family member. The law provides an exception only if the immigration service makes a discretionary decision that the citizen or permanent resident petitioner does not pose a risk to the petitioned relative despite the conviction. Here is an example: Hector is a U.S. citizen who pled guilty in 2005 to soliciting a 17-year-old girl to engage in sexual conduct. In 2017 he submits a visa petition on behalf of his immigrant wife. Immigration authorities will run a background check on his name to discover the prior conviction. His visa petition will be denied, unless he is able to obtain a waiver based on proving that he is not a danger to his wife. “Specified offense against a minor” includes offenses that are not extremely serious, such as false imprisonment. It is defined as an offense against a victim who has not attained the age of 18 years, which involves any kind of sexual activity with a child.