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Riverside & Orange County Immigration Law Blog

3 differences between refugees and asylum seekers

Countless people enter the United States each year in search of better opportunities and living conditions, and many have the common goal of escaping danger and violence in their home countries. The government typically classifies immigrants with such motives either as refugees or asylum seekers, but the two terms are not interchangeable.

What is the difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker, and why does it matter? There are several differentiations that are important for legal considerations. Here are three for immigrants to keep in mind. 

Understanding child separation at the border

The story that has dominated headlines over the last week involves the United States government separating families at the border. Despite the fact many of these immigrants come to the country seeking asylum status, many end up losing contact with their children, and the American public has recently learned of the conditions these children are in. 

Although unfair conditions for immigrants have been around for a while, the policy of separating children from their parents began in April of this year. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions implemented a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who crosses the border illegally, which includes both adults and children. This policy is unique to the Trump administration, and as of this writing, lawmakers have done nothing to stop the practice.

3 things to know about getting a nonimmigrant work visa

Immigration is continually in the news, and the media may make it seem as if it is becoming increasingly impossible for immigrants to obtain a visa to work legally in the United States. However, the truth is that US Citizenship and Immigration Services runs a robust program of nonimmigrant work visas that are available for a variety of professional positions.

There are several legal avenues to temporary work in the United States if you have the right skills and an employer who is willing to sponsor your application. Here are three things you should know about the nonimmigrant visa program in the United States and how you may be able to access it.

DACA still exists despite congressional impasse

If you are one of the California enrollees in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, you probably know that DACA did not expire in March as it was scheduled to do. You may, however, be unclear as to the current status of this program and how worried you should be about your immigration status relative to the possibility of your being arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Given the extraordinary number of undocumented immigrants deported so far this year, particularly from California, your fears are well-founded. Nevertheless, as a DACA enrollee, you are relatively safe, at least for the rest of this year.

ICE arrested 150 Californians in three-day sweep

California is home to many sanctuary cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. However, despite living within a sanctuary city, many immigrants have had to contend with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In fact, in one three-day sweep that occurred in northern California, ICE arrested over 150 people. While half of the people arrested had criminal records, that still leaves a sizable portion of people whom ICE arrested for only violating immigration law. 

3 ways to seek relief from the removal process

If a judge has recently determined that you have broken immigration laws, he or she may have ordered deportation. Now, you are facing separation from family members, employment or education. 

Is there anything you can do? Maybe. Here are three tactics that may result in relief from removal.

New employer rule may make following federal law a crime

Illegal immigration continues to be a hot issue in the United States, and California is often front and center of the debate. Of late, California employers are in the hot seat, torn between federal obligations and newly enacted state legislation that may be at odds.

Most recently, as reported by Fox News, the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra warned California employers that should they comply with federal law, they may be subject to charges. With regard to illegal or undocumented workers or other immigration violations, the employers cannot comply with federal obligations without inviting state trouble. The AG will use a newer California law to prosecute and punish them.

Answers to common questions about Donald Trump's travel ban

On December 4, 2017, the Supreme Court ruled to let the Donald Trump travel ban go forward. You probably hear about these travel restrictions and how the Trump administration wants to change immigration policy in the U.S., but you may not be aware of some important details.

If you have questions about the travel ban, you are not alone. Read below to find out what you need to know about the measure.

What are sanctuary cities?

California is particularly susceptible to new changes in immigration law. Approximately 222,800 Dreamers live in the state, and their livelihoods are at risk with a potential repeal of DACA. 

With the changing political landscape, there has been a lot of talk recently about sanctuary cities. The definition classifies these as cities that limit their overall cooperation with the federal government in terms of enforcing immigration law. Sanctuary cities can be a type of safe haven for immigrants who simply want to go to school or earn a living without fear of deportation. Many cities and counties within California are sanctuaries, and there is a lot for immigrants to benefit from. 

Can I renew my work authorization?

One goal many immigrants in California who came to the United States years ago as children have is employment. Many of them find that the biggest hurdle to achieving this goal is work eligibility. Certain DACA individuals can renew their authorizations by filling out forms I-765 and I-821D on paper or online. 

Some foreign nationals wait too long to renew their work permits. What many of them do not realize is that the renewal process is not short and easy to navigate. If they qualify and do not get their renewal applications in and processed on time, they could lose the right to work legally in the United States. Here is a brief overview of the DACA work permit renewal process. 

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