DISCLAIMER: Comments posted on this blog are NOT legal advice. Please seek counsel for your legal questions.

In yet another move to uphold a cantankerous campaign promise, the current administration has announced that the Department of Homeland Security will screen the social media of all immigrants entering the United States.

As required by law, the DHS has announced the policy publicly, here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/09/18/2017-19365/privacy-act-of-1974-system-of-records

Here's what you need to know:

  • The order takes effect October 18, 2017 - the date the administration's third travel ban is set to take effect.
  • It will collect - for the first time - "social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results" on an involuntary basis
  • It includes not just the entering immigrants, but the legal guardian of all disabled immigrants, as well as the immigration-appointed doctors who conduct medical exams
  • It also targets law enforcement agencies who certify U-Visas, who can now be questioned regarding applicants
  • green card holder and even naturalized citizens are also subject to this data collection, although the administration is unclear on the details regarding these immigrants
  • Keep in mind: these orders have been subject to numerous legal challenges and may be blocked by the courts, so check back for any updates!

Ultimately, we have another attempt by this administration to target immigration. Let's be clear: this is not about border security or national security. The immigrants subject to this new data collection have already undergone stringent background checks, fingerprint data collection, and interviews with law enforcement or immi...

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This year, the Ninth Circuit has made numerous decisions valuable to immigrants - including leading the stand against the current administration's Travel/Muslim ban. Perhaps one of the more unnoticed decisions was Ramirez v. Brown, a case which allows TPS holders to adjust status in the United States if they qualify for all the other requirements for a green card.

A bit of brief background to orient you about TPS and the green card process: with some exceptions, immigration law generally allows individuals who entered the U.S. lawfully upon inspection to apply for a green card in the United States. Anyone who enters without inspection generally has to leave the U.S. to obtain a green card, which can create all sorts of problems - anything...

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In another sad decision by the current administration, today the acting head of DHS has announced an end to DACA in 6 months unless new legislation is enacted. DACA is an Obama-era program that gave young immigrants work authorization and legal protection from deportation.

Specifically, September 5, 2017 will be the last day to submit initial DACA applications. DHS also announced that October 5, 2017 will be the last day to submit DACA renewal applications. Any applications submitted past these days will not be received by immigration services. Anybody whose DACA is currently pending will have their applications processed normally.

We recommend applying to renew DACA for all those whose benefits will expire between today September 5, 2017 ...

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Trump today issued his list of priorities for deportation. They include any person who has been convicted of "any" criminal offense, charged with "any" criminal offense, or committed "any" criminal act. Is he serious? Littering? Jaywalking? Driving without a license? What he really means is that anybody who comes in contact with law enforcement is a priority. In other parts of his plan he announced today he instructs the federal government to try to deputize local law enforcement to become immigration officers. This will lead to distrust with local communities and law enforcement.

The main thing is that criminal defenders must preserve client's eligibility to fight their case in immigration court. Immigration law is very technical....

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Are you a noncitizen in Santa Clara County? Do you have a conviction which puts you in danger of deportation or prevents you from getting a green card? Do you have a conviction which prevents you from naturalizing? Or, are you a permanent resident and are afraid to travel outside the country because of a conviction?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, call my office for a consultation. We have special experience in Santa Clara County Post-Conviction Relief for noncitizens. There are special procedures and policies in place. We can let you know if you have a reasonable chance of obtaining post-conviction relief.

The process is simple. First you consult with us about the case. We do a thorough intake. We also gather all the co...

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O.K., but who is a "criminal." If you have a misdemeanor driving without a license are you a criminal? Or, a misdemeanor littering? Or, are we talking about felons? He doesn't say, but he says there will be "zero tolerance."

Right now there is a Priority Enforcement Program policy of DHS. They are not going after undocumented aliens for minor traffic offenses or any misdemeanor conviction. The policy specifies which crimes make you a priority. The list includes any felony, any "aggravated felony"--which could be a misdemeanor, three misdemeanors other than minor traffic offenses and not arising out of the same incident, or a "significant misdemeanor" such as an offense of unlawful use or possession of a firearm, domestic violence offens...

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Are you an H1-b or F-1 visa holder? Have you had your visa revoked because of a DUI arrest. Let me help you.

Most other attorneys merely tell their clients in this situation that they don't have to leave the country now, that they still retain their status, but that when they go back to their country of origin for a visit or restamping of their passport, that they will face a medical interview. They then say that they may not pass the interview and that this will jeopardize their status.

If you phone me, I will give you proactive steps to pass the medical interview through legitimate means. I will tell you what you must do now to optimize your chances of success.

Call me if you have this problem and set up a consultation.

If you have been deported after successfully completing Deferred Entry of Judgment ("DEJ") in California, let me help you.

I helped draft the language of California Penal Code section 1203.43, effective Jan. 1, 2016, which allows a defendant to withdraw a plea of guilty or no contest required to get the benefit of DEJ in California since 1997. DEJ allows minor drug offenders to plead guilty to an offense, be referred to a drug program, and then get their case "dismissed" after successful completion. Defendants are told that they will get a clean slate: the guilty plea will not be used against them in the future to deny them any "benefit."

For noncitizens this is misinformation: they are routinely deported for DEJ even after their case i...

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Let me help you defend against adverse immigration consequences with a "Collateral Consequences" letter in criminal court.

District Attorneys frequently request "Collateral Consequences" letters, especially in Santa Clara County, from attorneys representing noncitizen defendants. I have written dozens of these letters for criminal defense counsel to use with district attorneys.

I first do a thorough interview with the client to determine immigration status, prior convictions, immigration consequences of a conviction, immigration relief, travel issues, and priorities. Then, I write a letter setting forth my qualification, immigration status of client, charge, prior convictions, immigration consequences, and recommendations.

I have found...

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The State Department has a new policy: if you get arrested (yes arrested--not even convicted!) for a DUI, the U.S. conulate in your country of origin will issue a "prudential revocation of your visa."

This does not mean that you are automatically out of status or have to leave the U.S. But, it does mean that when you return for a vacation or stamping of your passport you will not be allowed a renewal of your visa (or a change in your visa) until you attend a medical exam to determine if you are likely to commit any more DUI's.

Don't just ignore it. Don't assume you will easily pass the medical exam.

Call my office for a consultation (over the phone or in person) so I can assist you in taking the steps necessary to make sure you have a ...

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