U.S. Law Center

Corona California Immigration Law Blog

New standards set for how Border Patrol must treat detainees

A recent ruling sets new constitutional standards for how detainees in California and across the nation must be treated. Judge David C. Bury ruled that the U.S Border Patrol's Tucson detention facility must give all detainees a bed with a blanket, drinkable water, food, showers and medical assessment. The detainees also may not be held longer than 48 hours. The same judge had previously ruled that people who were being held longer than 12 hours had a physiological need to lie down and must be given a sleeping pad and a mylar blanket as well as a shower or body wipe.

The facilities are used to house people who are picked up by Border Patrol and held for transfer to another agency for removal, deportation, voluntary departure or another outcome. This ruling comes after a seven-day trial in January. People who had been held in the facility testified that they had been forced to sleep next to the toilet, a situation the judge found particularly offensive as it is degrading and unsanitary for those sleeping in the toilet area as well as those needing to use the toilet. Witnesses also testified to being denied food, medical care and showers.

The US government often grants asylum for these reasons

If you arrive at a U.S. border, hoping to gain asylum so that you can enter California or another state, you rely on immigration officials to acknowledge and grant your need for protection. Because the U.S. government denies many requests for protected legal status, it's important to know ahead of time what types of issues immigration officials are likely to consider the most legitimate reasons for granting a request.

While you might think it's logical to assume that, if you have fled persecution, violence or poverty, you will be able to enter and stay in the United States, things don't always work out as you might hope. In fact, there are a number of legal obstacles that might arise that might extend the time you have to spend in detention or even place you at immediate risk for removal.

California immigrants often face these types of challenges

When you decided to emigrate to California from another country of origin, you may have felt both excitement and anxiety. Especially if you had never before been to the United States, you might have even felt a bit afraid, not knowing what to expect about the people or culture in this country.

Then again, even if you prepared for years for your immigration journey, the reality of the trip might still be stressful. Perhaps, you studied English and learned as much as you could about the so-called "American" way of life. It doesn't necessarily mean you won't struggle during the typical adjustment period as you settle into a new lifestyle.

Lawsuit challenges policy returning asylum seekers to Mexico

Many people in California are very concerned about changing federal immigration policy, especially if they or someone they love are directly involved in the system or awaiting a decision on asylum, permanent residence or another status change. In particular, the Trump administration's policy of requiring asylum seekers at the southern border to wait in Mexico for their claims to be addressed by a U.S. immigration judge has sparked serious concerns. A number of families have been separated as part of this policy, while other advocates have noted that asylum seekers, already on the run from violence and persecution, may continue to face severe risks in Mexico.

The administration has justified the policy change by claiming that U.S. facilities were overwhelmed by the number of people seeking asylum at the southern border. However, according to court documents, many holding cells on the border were less than half-full. At 18 of the 24 border crossing points with Mexico between 2018 and 2019, these cells reached no more than half-capacity. In some smaller crossings, they were actually frequently empty. Therefore, some immigration advocates say that the administration was using claims of overcrowding as an excuse to deter refugees from seeking asylum.

Hiring a foreign nurse in the United States

A California resident who wants to hire a foreign registered nurse to work in the U.S. might be able to sponsor them for permanent residence. In most cases, this process moves more quickly when the nurse already resides in the U.S. It is possible to launch the immigration process for a nurse from abroad as well, but it can be completed within six months for people already in the country. Nurses in the U.S. can take the national RN licensing exam in any state, where it is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

After passing the examination, the potential employer must submit an immigrant visa petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The nurse must show a successful exam or a full and unrestricted registered nursing license in their state of potential employment. The nurse can then also apply, with their family members, for an adjustment of status, travel permits or work permits. To make the green card application, a nurse in the U.S. does not need to have a VisaScreen certificate issued by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools. However, the certificate must be issued in order for the application to be approved.

New travel restrictions threaten over 12,000 visa applications

Continuing its practice of imposing travel and immigration bans on specific countries, the Trump administration announced that the government would bar immigrant visas for people from Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Eritrea. An additional two countries, Sudan and Tanzania, have been removed from the diversity visa program that randomly grants green cards to people from certain countries. California residents who were hoping to secure visas for relatives from these countries could now face extra roadblocks or outright denials. According to government estimates, the latest round of restrictions could affect about 12,400 current visa applications.

The Department of Homeland Security said that the six countries now facing travel and immigration restrictions are unable to meet the government's security and information-sharing standards. A DHS spokesperson told reporters that the countries were either unable or unwilling to share information, manage identities, or meet other criteria for national security and public safety.

Trump administration's expanded public charge rule upheld

Immigrants in California need to be aware of a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled that the Trump administration's public charge rule can go into effect. Immigrants' rights groups had opposed the law and had filed a lawsuit against the government to prevent it from becoming effective.

The public charge rule allows people who apply to become naturalized U.S. citizens to be denied if they are deemed to be likely to become public charges. Historically, this rule had been interpreted to include people who had received cash assistance or have had long stays in hospitals. The Trump administration changed the public charge rule to include people who have had food stamps or who have received Medicaid.

About 78,000 applications for naturalization are denied each year

About 650,000 green card holders in California and around the country are waiting for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to respond to their applications for naturalization, and many of them are likely to be disappointed when their paperwork is processed. Between 2009 and 2018, immigration authorities denied approximately 78,000 applications for naturalization each year. Applications are routinely denied because immigrants are unable to pass a civics test, they do not possess basic English language skills, or background checks uncover grounds for refusing U.S. citizenship.

Those who submit applications for naturalization can expect a long wait. Immigration offices around the country report waiting times of between 6 and 18 months to process N-400 Applications for Naturalization. In addition to completing the application form, those hoping to be granted U.S. citizenship must pay a $640 fee and an additional $85 to be fingerprinted and have their photograph taken. The Trump administration has proposed increasing the application fee to $1,170.

Is family-based visas an important topic to you?

It often takes years for those who are immigrants in California or elsewhere in the United States to ensure that their closest family members and relatives will be able to come join them in this country. The U.S. government offers family-based visas in a variety of circumstances. If you recall navigating the U.S. immigration system when you emigrated from another country, you likely remember what a complex system it can be.

It can also be quite stressful trying to keep all your paperwork straight, comply with notices to appear at official hearings or interviews, and to do everything you need to do to adhere to U.S. immigration laws, regulations and policies. Perhaps, you were a lawful permanent resident (LPR) who filed a petition to sponsor a family member's journey to the United States.

Asylum seekers face difficulties in Mexico, immigration courts

Many people in California are deeply concerned about the changes made by the Trump administration to the asylum process at the southern border, especially those with friends or family members seeking protection in the United States. Rather than being granted parole into the United States, as was common in the past, many asylum seekers are forced to remain on the Mexican side of the border while they wait for their cases to be heard. They can be ordered to stay in Mexico even if they have family in the U.S. who are willing to host and vouch for them, a process that the administration claims is an attempt to crack down on people who overstay illegally.

Asylum seekers can wait months for a hearing before an immigration judge while remaining in Mexico. Under the government's program, over 55,000 migrants have been forced to remain in Mexico for their day in immigration court. In some cases, the outcomes can be particularly confusing. One man received withholding of removal, a type of deportation protection, in immigration court, only to be sent back to Mexico for their cases to continue. In at least 17 cases, people granted a form of protection against deportation were once again removed.

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