Global Immigration Partners

Los Angeles Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

Immigration court crisis deepens

Most of our readers will recall the surge of immigrants coming across the southern U.S. border last summer. Experts say that influx of 68,500 unaccompanied children and family units, mostly from Central America, pushed the backlog in federal immigration courts to unprecedented heights.

More than 445,000 immigration cases are now pending in courts in Los Angeles and across the nation. That's about a 30 percent backlog increase in a little over a year, experts say.

Who qualifies for a family-based visa?

Here in the Los Angeles area, there are spouses who are separated from their partners in life by thousands of miles. As if that separation isn't painful enough, there are parents who endure day after day without their children at their side. Those lost days can never be recaptured or relived as a united family.

That's part of why it is so important to people dedicated to immigration law to work on uniting families separated not only by those miles, but also by the rules, regulations and paperwork of the U.S. immigration system.

California AG: "An undocumented immigrant is not a criminal"

California Attorney General Kamala Harris shook our portion of the world when she recently said in an interview that undocumented immigrants are not criminals. A few days later, she gave the state another shake when she refused to back down from the sentiment in an interview with a Los Angeles TV station.

“An undocumented immigrant is not a criminal,” she said again. She said that as a career prosecutor, she knows crime when she sees it. And she knows criminals when she sees them. And when she looks at an undocumented immigrant, she says she's not looking at someone who committed a crime by coming to the U.S.

California: Best state for undocumented immigrants

One of our city's finest institutions of higher learning -- the University of California at Los Angeles -- recently released a ranking based on which states do the most to keep undocumented immigrants healthy and allow them access to societal integration. At the very top of the list is our own state, California.

At the bottom of the UCLA list is a state that caught some residents there by surprise: Ohio.

Less blue-collar, more white-collar

The respected Pew Research Center has been tracking trends among U.S. citizens and immigrants since 1990. As a polling company that tracks trends, too, among Hispanic citizens and immigrants, it has been widely cited by Los Angeles and California leaders.

A recent poll by the organization shows that unauthorized immigrant workers today hold fewer blue-collar jobs -- a traditional immigrant employment stronghold -- and more white-collar jobs than they did before the Great Recession that began in 2007. The Pew Research Center notes, however, that "a solid majority still works in low-skilled service, construction and production occupations."

Achieving a green card goal

Although it might seem extravagant to Americans used to taking their citizenship for granted, it is not an overstatement to note that for millions of immigrants, LPR status (lawful permanent resident) is the dream of a lifetime. When they make their way through the bureaucracy's maze of regulations, forms and paperwork, they are given their green card, which must be carried with them at all times.

There are several paths for potential permanent residents to take, all of them leading to the same goal. It's important to choose not only the proper path, but also the proper guide to help you navigate the path. 

A Los Angeles voice of reason on immigration

One of the calm voices in the raging immigration debate is well-known to us here in Los Angeles: former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Rosario Marin. The first immigrant to serve in the position, Marin grew up in Huntington Park -- she lives there now with her husband.

The daughter of immigrants, Mexico-born Marin urges both sides of the issue to consider compromise on at least one aspect of immigration she says is important to continued growth of the U.S. economy: allowing more people into the country on employment visas.

Immigration paperwork tears mom from five kids

She sits behind bars. Her five children are back in her home country, waiting anxiously to be reunited with their mother. Her husband is a Los Angeles realtor and U.S. citizen who is working hard to untangle what he describes as a clerical error that has morphed into a nightmare for his family.

The husband became a U.S. citizen 15 years ago. He married his wife, a Russian citizen, back in 2008. She had a conditional green card, but a Los Angeles "immigration consultant" failed to get the paperwork for a permanent residency green card in on time.

What does it mean to be “paroled into the U.S.”?

For most Americans, the term “parole” refers to a prisoner who is granted an early release from incarceration. In the context of immigration, however, the term has an entirely different meaning.

Humanitarian parole is granted by the USCIS in certain circumstances involving emergencies (a funeral, illness of a relative, to obtain medical care, etc.). When a person paroled into the U.S., they are allowed to physically enter the country, but that does not mean they have been granted admission or residence. However, the USCIS will in some situations grant an adjustment of status to those who have been paroled into the U.S.

Can a family member get a green card, too?

Virtually everyone agrees that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ rules, regulations and laws are complex and often difficult to fully understand. So let’s take a look at an area of immigration law that enables green card holders to petition for certain family members to a green card so that they, too, can come and live in the United States.

If you are a permanent resident and hold a green card, your spouse and unmarried children (of any age) can be eligible to receive immigration visas. Because there are limits on the number of people who may immigrate in this “family preference category,” there is often a waiting list.