Discussion Points for Punto Legal –May 08, 2019
1. Colorado lawmakers have done some good things for the immigrant community this year. Right now, if you have committed a Colorado Class 2 misdemeanor, you cannot get cancellation of removal in immigration court and if you have been a resident for less than five years, you can be deported. The reason is Colorado Class 2 misdemeanors carry a maximum jail sentence of one year. And when you fit Colorado law with immigration law, the result is not good. So Colorado lawmakers decided to out-fox immigration authorities. They lowered the maximum punishment for Class 2 misdemeanors and municipal court offenses to 364 days jail. This bill has been signed by the Governor.
Colorado lawmakers also passed a bill limiting official cooperation with ICE.
· The bill prohibits any state official including local police from using any public resources to assist in the enforcement of federal civil immigration laws.
· The bill prohibits a law enforcement officer from arresting or detaining an individual solely on the basis of an ICE hold.
· The bill prohibits ICE access to the secure areas of any city or county jail investigative interviews.
· The bill prohibits probation officers from giving information about you to ICE. This is big because some probation officers, especially in Denver and Grand Junction, have told ICE where you are going to be so ICE can arrest you. For example, suppose you had to go to an alcohol evaluation for a DUI. Some probation officers would inform ICE so they could pick you up.
· The bill requires immigrant inmates to be advised in writing that they do not have to talk to ICE.
This bill has not been signed by the Governor.
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.
3. 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.