* Dramatization
* Dramatization
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U.S. Immigration Agencies Report Significant Drop in Incidents Involving Border Crossings Made by Unaccompanied Immigrant MinorsEach year, the U.S. government has had to deal with a slew of immigration issues. There are a variety of concerns that U.S. government immigration agencies and undocumented immigrants are concerned with, one of them being incidents of border crossings. More often than not, immigrants who attempt to cross over into U.S. territory come from Central American countries. Immigrants who hail from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras account for a huge chunk of cases that are related to border crossings. A considerable amount of these cases involve minors who are often unaccompanied by their parents. These children are left with human smugglers as they try to enter the United States. The parents of these minors pay an exorbitant fee to have their children smuggled into U.S. territory. The annual tide of undocumented immigrant minors making border crossings is an issue that U.S. Homeland security has had to contend with for years. This year, however, the incidents of border crossings involving undocumented immigrant minors have decreased by a considerable margin.

During previous years, a spike of border crossings involving undocumented immigrant children was something that U.S. border patrol agents have had to deal with. An exponential drop in these cases for this year has been reported by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. While there are still cases that involve unaccompanied minors attempting to cross over into the U.S., the number of incidents pale in comparison to the figures that were reported in 2013 and 2014.

As of April 2015, there have been a total of 3,272 unaccompanied minors who have been caught in the attempt to cross over into U.S. territory. This statistic is a stark departure from the incidents that were recorded during the previous 2 years. In 2014 alone, 7,700 children were apprehended by U.S. border patrol agents along the country’s southwest border. A comparison between the figures reported in 2014 and the figures that were recorded this year yields a decrease of more than 50% in incidents involving attempted border crossings made by undocumented immigrant minors.

The numbers that are coming up seem to point towards the fact that the measures that are being implemented by President Obama’s administration are relatively effective when it comes to discouraging undocumented immigrants from attempting border crossings. One of the measures that the current administration has used to discourage immigrants from taking on such a risky strategy involves a public relations campaign that is broadcast in Central America. This tactic seems to be effective when it comes to dissuading immigrants from paying smugglers to transport their children into U.S. territory.

Cases involving the complexities of immigration law require the knowledge of a capable team of lawyers. If you or someone you know needs legal counsel regarding immigration issues such as border crossing incidents, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.

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Conservatives Oppose Amendment that Allows Immigrants to Serve in the U.S. MilitaryThere are a number of immigration reform proposals throughout President Obama’s administrative run that have drawn the ire of several conservatives. A sense of controversy always seems to follow immigration reform that is tailored to benefit undocumented immigrants. One of the biggest boons for undocumented immigrants is Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has allowed specific immigrant cases to receive employment authorization provided that they meet every criterion of eligibility. Undocumented immigrants who have been covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act entered the United States before they turned 16. It should be noted that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program does not automatically grant an immigrant permanent resident status. Several immigrants who are covered by the program are taking steps to lobby for a path to citizenship. For immigrants like Cesar Vargas, citizenship would allow them to fulfill their dream of joining the armed forces.

Vargas has made numerous trips to Washington to join other immigrants who are looking for a clear path to U.S. citizenship. The desire to serve as a military lawyer is the dream that fuels Vargas’ actions. The U.S. Senate is not blind to the concerns expressed by Vargas and countless other undocumented immigrants but when it comes to addressing the needs of these immigrants, a clear sense of disparity exists between varying camps of political opinion. Several representatives in the Senate support the desire of immigrants like Vargas to serve in the military but a huge chunk of the conservative sector balks at the prospect of having immigrants occupy positions that are traditionally reserved for U.S. citizens.

This time around, an amendment to a defense policy bill proves to be the focus of much political debate. The bill in question requires a broad amount of support from each political party to be passed. Representatives from the Republican sector have threatened to oppose the defense bill because one of the amendments contained in the bill includes language that could allow the Pentagon to consider allowing immigrants covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to serve in the military.

The political figures who vehemently oppose the passage of the defense bill have found the controversial amendment to be unconstitutional. Political leaders who have expressed support for the amendment in question have expressed varying degrees of confusion and disappointment to the marked amount of opposition. Politicians who back the amendment see the opposition as another attempt to expand the debate on political immigration issues into yet another arena. Some politicians who back the amendment have observed that the desire of immigrants like Vargas to serve in the armed forces stands in stark contrast to the lack of interest exhibited by some U.S. citizens. Republican representative Mike Coffman, a supporter of the amendment, noted that some of the representatives who oppose the prospect of having immigrants serve in the military have no desire to serve in the military themselves in spite of the privilege afforded to them.

Cases involving the complexities of immigration law require the knowledge of a capable team of lawyers. If you or someone you know needs legal counsel regarding immigration issues, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.

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Ruling by Arizona Judge Qualifies Immigrants to Pay In-State TuitionWhile opinion continues to be split when it comes to the controversial topic of immigration reform, there are a number of welcoming developments that prove to be encouraging for undocumented immigrants. One of the positive developments that impacts immigrants involves a recent ruling that has been made in favor of the individuals who are covered by the DREAM act. The Development, Relief, and Education for alien minors act is a legislative proposal that grants conditional residency status to undocumented immigrants who entered the United States before they reached the age of 16. Undocumented immigrants who fall under this category must live in the country for a minimum of 5 years, graduate from a U.S. high school or obtain a GED, demonstrate good moral character, and pass a series of background checks and reviews before they can transition from a conditional residency status to permanent residency under the DREAM act. Now, a judge in Arizona has ruled that the immigrants who came to the United States as children will be able to pay the same tuition fee in state schools as other Arizona residents do.

The decision comes as a satisfying conclusion to a case that involved the Maricopa Community College system. Shortly after President Obama unveiled his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Maricopa Community College system began offering in – state tuition to immigrants who qualified for the DREAM act. The decision attracted the attention of Attorney General Tom Horne who felt that the dreamers did not have sufficient rights to qualify for paying in – state tuition. Horne cited Proposition 300 as the basis for his case. Proposition 300 requires students who are not permanent residents to pay nonresident tuition. Nonresident tuition more than doubles the rate of in – state tuition.

In response to Horne’s assertions, Arizona judge Arthur Anderson ruled that the dreamers do qualify for in – state tuition given the fact that Obama’s DACA program allows them to apply for work permits. Anderson states that the work permit issued for these undocumented immigrants is enough documentation to prove that their presence in the country is legal, contrary to Horne’s assertions. Anderson solidified his decision by asserting that the federal government is the sole entity that gets to decide whether an immigrant’s presence in the United States is legal or otherwise. For years, a number of states (Arizona being one of them) have tried to weigh in on the legal status of undocumented immigrants. Now, Anderson’s decision squarely places the responsibility on the federal government’s shoulders.

Cases involving the rights of undocumented immigrants require the knowledge of a capable team of lawyers. If you or someone you know needs legal counsel regarding immigration issues, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.

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Backlog in Immigration Cases Poses Consequences for ImmigrantsThe field of immigration law is rife with numerous complications. The need for extensive immigration reform is clear given the scope of the challenges that undocumented immigrants face. One of the areas where immigration reform is needed can be found in the cases that pile up in U.S. immigration court. For immigrants who are trying to legalize their status as U.S. residents, the massive backlog of cases that the U.S. legal system is struggling with is a clear deterrent to their aspirations.  The backlog of cases has reached problematic proportions. Worst case scenarios have immigrants with pending cases waiting for resolutions three years after their cases have been filed.

The delays in legal resolutions yield drastic consequences for immigrants. Cases that are stuck in legal limbo can prevent undocumented immigrants from supporting themselves while they wait for a definitive conclusion to their legal woes. While an immigrant waits for a case to go to court, he is not allowed to legally work within the U.S. Without the necessary legal means to look for gainful employment, undocumented immigrants cannot produce an income that looks after their basic needs. Statistically, the state with the most amount of backlog in terms of immigration cases is California. The city of Los Angeles has the most amount of pending cases in the state with San Francisco coming in second.

For immigrants who fear the prospect of deportation, these legal delays add a deeper layer of anxiety. Given the volume of cases that they need to deal with, U.S. immigration judges tend to deal with cases involving deportation with a sense of haste. The tendency for judges to deliver snap judgments could prove to have terrifying consequences for immigrants who fear persecution once they’re deported back to their country of origin. In a very real way, a huge chunk of these immigration cases carry a foreboding sense of death once the verdict of removal is delivered.

While immigration judges work on these cases, the backlog continues to increase as each year passes.  In 2006, there were an estimated 168,827 immigration cases pending in U.S. courts. Now, that number has increased to 441,939 cases. The backlog has resulted in a few interesting side effects for undocumented immigrants with pending cases in immigration courts. Undocumented immigrants who do not have grievous charges brought against them tend to benefit from the delay. They are able to stay within the U.S. for years until their cases are brought to court. Immigrants who are charged with more serious cases find themselves dealing with punitive conditions. Long delays spell an increase in expenses as these immigrants continue to keep up with legal counsel fees for years. Time could also compromise the strength of an immigrant’s case as important pieces of evidence deteriorate and witnesses disappear.

Cases involving the complexities of immigration law require the knowledge of a capable team of lawyers. If you or someone you know needs legal counsel regarding immigration issues, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.

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woman-594465_1280Over recent years, there has been a lot of debate surrounding the subject of immigration reform. President Obama’s administration was the focus of much heated controversy because several of its proposals for immigration reform did not sit well with other government officials. The conservative sector, in particular, has adopted a hard line stance when it comes to the implementation of extensive immigration reform. Should Obama’s proposals become law, the move would save millions of undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation. A federal judge from Texas has prevented the immigration reform proposals from being implemented. While this is a development that has stymied the Obama administration’s efforts for the time being, there are positive indicators that the conditions of undocumented immigrants are improving under the President’s tenure.

One of the bigger indicators that Obama’s tenure as President has resulted in improved conditions for immigrants manifests itself in lower rates of deportation. A close look at the incidents of deportation for the past 10 years gives undocumented immigrants a good idea of the steady decrease of removal incidents under President Obama’s administration. Concrete statistical data gives everyone a more detailed picture of the numbers involved. As of April 20 this year, there have been 127,378 incidents involving immigrant removals. Historically, this is the lowest reported rate of removals since the middle of previous US President George W. Bush’s second term.

There are a lot of variables involved in this estimation. . If the figure mentioned above is any indicator, the government averages about 19,730 removal proceedings each month. If things stay on this track, the incidents in removals should come up to 236,000 by September of this year.  This would still be the lowest reported figure in terms of deportations since 2006. Homeland security officials have directed their efforts towards prioritizing removal proceedings for criminals and immigrants who have entered the US through border crossings

2012 had the highest deportation rate in the US when Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported a record of 409,849 removals. Over the past few years, that number has drastically reduced. One of the factors that play a significant role in this trend is Homeland Security’s renewed efforts to remove undocumented immigrants who prove to be a threat to national security. Programs that have protected young immigrants from deportation also contribute to the reduced removal rates. Still, some officials who aren’t keen on Obama’s immigration reform attempts see this trend as a negative. Conservatives have been quick to tag dwindling removal rates as a sign that immigration officials no longer have the drive or the inclination to rigidly enforce immigration laws.

The details involved in removal proceedings require the knowledge of a capable team of lawyers. If you or someone you know needs legal counsel regarding cases of removability brought about by immigration issues, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.

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airport-519020_1280Few things can prove to be more troublesome to undocumented immigrants than the prospect of removability. Under immigration law, an immigrant charged with removability can be deported to the country of his origin after the legal proceedings if enough evidence is brought against the defendant. Removal proceedings are a complex matter and require the services of a competent legal team. The presence of legal counsel can mean the difference between deportation and reprieve. There are a few conditions that virtually ensure deportation. If the defendant is found guilty of an aggravated felony, the prospect of deportation is virtually guaranteed. However, some cases have elements that may prevent this from coming to pass.  It is essential for the defendant to contract the services of a legal team who is well versed in the complexities of immigration law to stand a decent chance of avoiding deportation.

The narrow escape from deportation of Freddy Villanueva is a classic example of the role that a competent legal team plays in removability proceedings. Villanueva, a native of El Salvador was living in the United States when he was slapped with removability charges. Villanueva sought reprieve from the charge of removability by asking the authorities involved to review an early denial of possible Temporary Protection Status during previous legal proceedings that the defendant went through.

At first, the immigration judge in charge of Villanueva’s case denied him the possibility of petitioning for Temporary Protection Status. The immigration judge based his ruling on the fact that the defendant was convicted of an aggravated felony in 2006. Under the regulations of the Temporary Protection Status, a non-US citizen cannot apply for TPS if he has been convicted of an aggravated felony. In Villanueva’s case, the aggravated felony referred to an altercation that the defendant had on January 2006.

The immigration judge presiding over Villanueva’s removal proceedings found him to be ineligible for TPS and the decision was affirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals. Villanueva’s legal team contested this ruling with the argument that the BIA was wrong in determining that his 2006 conviction fell under the purview of an aggravated felony. After reviewing the defendant’s appeal, authorities found the BIA’s decision to be erroneous. Consequently, the charge of ineligibility from TPS was lifted.

Immigration cases that deal with the removal proceedings require the knowledge of a capable team of lawyers. If you or someone you know needs legal counsel regarding cases of removability brought about by immigration issues, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.

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5EA2FE752FIssues related to immigration make headlines in major news outlets on a constant basis. For the most part, these stories involve methods that some undocumented immigrants use to enter the United States. When the methods used to enter the United States lie outside the boundaries of the law, the sense of concern could be justified. The controversy begins to surface when pundits and government officials question legal immigration methods. One of the most relevant examples of this incident involves Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker. Walker’s stance when it comes to immigration concerns has been subjected to speculation because of his tendency to shift from one stance to another.

Governor Walker can now be counted as one of the government officials who have suddenly adopted a negative stance when it comes to the prospect of legal immigration. Recent statements issued by Walker clearly depict his stance on the immigration debate. Walker says that the government needs to direct its efforts towards protecting American workers and their professional prospects. As far as Walker is concerned, legal immigration methods are detrimental to these aspirations. This development is perplexing for several observers because of Walker’s history on issues related to immigration. In the past, Walker has expressed favorable views when it comes to legal immigration so the sudden shift from one stream of thought to its polar opposite makes his motives questionable.

In the past, the thought that legal immigration methods pose a threat to the economic growth of the United States has been constantly debunked by several sectors. Studies have found that the knowledge, technical skills, and sense of diversity brought in by immigrants actually boost the economy’s growth. These same studies also invalidate claims that immigrants take job opportunities away from other Americans. Pro immigration representatives even go as far as to state that the influx of skilled immigrants increase the availability of job opportunities in the United States. This argument is based on the fact that Immigrants have started businesses within the United States that contribute to healthy economic growth rates.

By choosing to base his approach to immigration on labor protection, Walker has confounded political observers. Several pro – immigration officials have not suffered in terms of public opinion in spite of the stance that they have adopted. It could even be argued that Walker’s sudden change of heart can severely derail his political chances if he continues to pursue this line of thinking. An aggressive stance against immigrants could result in a loss of support for Walker from registered voters who are sympathetic to the plight of undocumented immigrants.

The recent developments in immigration issues might be confusing. It would be best for undocumented immigrants to contract the service of a capable team of lawyers to make sense of it all. If you or someone you know needs legal counsel regarding immigration issues, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.

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B96BAFD61AFor undocumented immigrants who are seeking asylum in the United States, a sense of consistency needs to be present. One of the most important portions that are involved in the process of seeking asylum deals with the Convention Against Torture. If you are an immigrant who has reason to fear torture from the country that you originate from, it is essential for you to apply for protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. The requirements involved in the application for protection under the CAT are very specific. You can easily be disqualified for protection because of inconsistencies in your accounts or for some other violation related to immigration. The case of Gonchigsharav Nadmid clearly illustrates the need for consistency if an undocumented immigrant wants to benefit from the protective measures that are made available through the CAT.

Nadmid’s story starts in 2007 when he entered the United States through the use of a visitor’s visa. Nadmid is a native of Mongolia and stayed in the United States from 2003 to 2007. Nadmid had a brief run in with the law when he was charged with a DUI in 2007. Following these events, Nadmid chose to return to his country of origin to start a business.

Nadmid entered the United States again in 2009 using his visitor’s visa. Once Nadmid reached the Chicago O’Hare International Airport, he was detained by a customs officer and was subjected to two interviews. During the first interview, Nadmid stated that he was there to visit his daughter who was a U.S. green card holder. The officer interviewing Nadmid asked him if he had any reason to fear a possible return to Mongolia. Nadmid answered no to this question. After the first interview, Nadmid had a conversation with his daughter. After Nadmid’s conversation, he headed for his second interview where he delivered an account that contradicted his previous statement.

During the second interview with the same official, Nadmid claimed that he feared a possible return to his country because of threats that he had received from a mining operation that was based there. Nadmid claimed that he rejected the mining operation’s extortion offers and was subjected to ominous threats as a result. A month after his second interview, Nadmid had a meeting with an asylum officer. During this interview, the asylum officer determined that Nadmid did have credible reason to fear persecution upon his return to Mongolia.

In spite of this development, an immigration judge did not grant Nadmid’s pleas for asylum and protection under the CAT. The immigration judge found the contradictory accounts that Nadmid delivered during his two airport interviews too difficult to ignore and promptly rejected the Mongolian’s bid for asylum. Cases involving asylum and protection against torture require the assistance of a capable team of lawyers. If you or someone you know needs legal counsel regarding immigration issues, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.

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prisonThere are a number of immigration issues that grip the United States. The scope of each case that comes under scrutiny may vary but some of the more harrowing consequences that stem from immigration issues may jeopardize the well – being of undocumented immigrants. One of the great fears that undocumented immigrants harbor as far as immigration law is concerned is the threat of incarceration. An untold amount of immigrants come into the US in an annual basis. Some of these entries are achieved through the use of nonimmigrant visas while other undocumented immigrants resort to other compromising tactics. One of the more glaring issues that face undocumented immigrants post incarceration is the inability to post parole because of exorbitant bond rates. The case of Honduran native, Maria Sandra Rivera, outlines the details of this issue in an effective manner.

In 2014, Maria Sandra Rivera was jailed in an immigration prison as a result of an illegal entry into the US. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement slapped Rivera with a $7,500 bond before she could post for parole. Given the lack of resources at Rivera’s disposal, the plaintiff decided to pursue a custody redetermination hearing. The results that came out of that hearing did not do Rivera any favors. The judge that presided over the custody redetermination hearing tagged Rivera as a possible flight risk and reduced the bond to $3,500 dollars. The decision didn’t help Rivera’s case in the slightest given the still steep amount that was needed for her to post parole. Consequently, Rivera was sentenced to prison for 5 months.

The conditions that Rivera faced spurred her to sue the Justice Department. The case fell under a federal class action suit and tagged the officials of the Justice Department’s Executive Office of Immigration Review, the Northwest Detention Center, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Seattle Ice Field office as defendants. Rivera’s line of reasoning stated that the judges in Seattle and Tacoma did not allow for conditional parole requests and used incarceration as a method to resolve cases similar to Rivera’s.

In response, the defendants of the case stated that Rivera did not have enough grounds to file the federal class action suit. They cited the fact that Rivera’s case did not fall under the classification of a “prolonged detention” given the fact that she was only incarcerated for 5 months, one month shy before the government was obliged to give her a bond hearing. The defendants’ claims were summarily vetoed by U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik. Lasnik stated that states should consider granting conditional parole over exorbitant bonds to give some sense of reprieve to undocumented immigrants who are facing similar cases.

Cases involving incarceration require the knowledge of a capable team of lawyers. If you or someone you know needs legal counsel regarding cases of incarceration brought about by immigration issues, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.

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deportationWhen it comes to seeking asylum, undocumented immigrants need to be aware of the complexities inherent in the law before they can pursue the possibility seriously. If you intend to apply for asylum, it is essential for you to apply for protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture as well. This is extremely important if you have an established reason for fearing the possibility of torture from the country that you hail from. There may be cases when asylum won’t be granted especially if the applicant in question has a history that involves criminal felonies. The details that are involved in cases like this is best illustrated by the experiences of Maria C. Lugo.

Lugo is a citizen of Venezuela who entered the United States in 1996. Lugo was able to gain entry into the US through the use of a non immigrant visa. Lugo’s problems started once she exceeded the authorized staying period stipulated on her nonimmigrant B-2 visa. Lugo’s problems compounded when she had a run in with the law on 2005. Lugo was charged with concealing a felony during this period. The details of the felony involved Lugo’s boyfriend who was trafficking heroin which, consequently, placed Lugo in a compromising situation with elements of the law.

As a result of the felony charge, Lugo obtained legal counsel. On the advice of her lawyer, Lugo decided to plead guilty to one count of misprision of a felony. Lugo’s decision to plead guilty to the charge was spurred by the alternative of facing up to five years of incarceration. Lugo was sentenced to serving time and paying a fine. The case took on a complex turn because of Lugo’s immigrant status. Under immigration law, Lugo’s status as an undocumented immigrant jeopardized her stay in the US. Lugo was caught unawares by this development, asserting that her attorney did not inform her that a guilty plea could compromise her status.

Lugo’s case devolved from being a charge of misprision of a felony to a full blown case of removal from the US. As a response to the charges, Lugo decided to apply for cancellation of removal on the grounds that the move would yield consequences for her child. Lugo’s child is a U.S. citizen. Lugo also invoked the protection under the UN’s Convention Against Torture. The immigration judge presiding over Lugo’s case junked her appeal. The immigration judge found that Lugo was not eligible for the cancellation of removal because of the moral grounds that were involved in the felony charges that were raised against her and her boyfriend. As a consequence, Lugo was deported to Venezuela.

The complexities associated with immigration cases require the presence of legal counsel. If you or someone you know needs legal counsel regarding immigration issues, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.