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To Be Legal: Reasons for Being Denied US Citizenship (02-04-19)

To Be Legal: Reasons for Being Denied US Citizenship (02-04-19)

In This Episode:

Why USA citizens are getting their passports denied? Why citinzeship may be denied? Lawyer Andres Mejer talks about the latest news and the most important info about immigration.


Good morning. Welcome to the English version of our radio show para ser legal to be legal live because like I said get a sense somebody had ever had. There was a study by Syracuse University. They looked at all of the 10 of the cases where people were detained from the year from 2001 to 2019. So for the past 18 years I mean all 50 states and they provide some analysis and some interesting information that we get from that. But before we talk about the article I need you to understand what the process looks like. So what is an immigration bond. How do I get it. What are the factors that the judge is going to consider in giving you a bond. So first of all there’s two ways that you can find yourself a nice custody one you got arrested or jailed for whatever reason it might be a mistake.

You know they there was an order of arrest but it was for someone else not for you. And then it transferred you over Di’s custody or it could be that you were convicted of crime you served your jail sentence and during your jail sense or at the conclusion of your jail since you were transferred over to ICE custody. Secondly you could just find yourself in ICE custody it might be because you’re trying to re-enter the US and there was a problem and some criminal record or something and because of that you would you were put in removal proceedings or ICE came to your home to your job on the street and put you in removal proceedings. So those are the two common ways. Jail detention or direct contact with ice. Now once you are detained historically the ICE officer would first say OK you are aU.S. citizen are you not. What’s your status. Are you Are you here on a valid visa. Did you overstay a visa. Are you undocumented or illegal now. They do that analysis and then they say OK you’re illegal you overstayed your visa. That would’ve been my situation. Or like sell my clients entered without permission so never had legal status to begin with. Whatever the reason is today you’re undocumented. And ice puts you in removal proceedings. So now the ICE officer is going to look and say OK are you eligible for a bank. That’s number one if you’re not you’re subject to what’s called mandatory detention. When does that happen. Well if you’ve already been ordered removed or deported from the US you’re not eligible for a bond. If you have certain criminal record like an aggravated felony for example possessing drugs with intent to distribute or serious criminal charges that you were convicted of crime of moral turpitude. It could be a shoplifting in some cases so depending on what you criminal background is the officer will decide are you eligible for bond or are you not. If you are eligible the officer can either choose to release you on your own recognizance.

That means he just lets you go and expects that you’re going to appear to court on the date and time that they tell you to do so. And the last one the last option is they’re going to give you a bond. Now Bond is just a nice way of saying bail in the criminal world. It just means that you have to pay a certain amount because they fear you may not present yourself to court. So if you paid ten thousand fifty thousand twenty thousand dollars chances are you’re going to appear in court because you want that money back. It’s a security to your conforming to their expectations that you’re going to appear in court when you’re told to do so.

Now today ICE doesn’t really release you on your own cognizance ICE doesn’t even put up a bond amount anymore. Every one of those go to a judge and depending where you’re detained and when you’re detained you is demonstrated in Atlanta California New Jersey for example or Oregon it might take you anywhere from two to six to eight weeks before your first appearance with a judge. That’s the first opportunity the judge could have to make a decision on whether you’re entitled to bond or not and what happens if you’re not prepared to file for bond that day. The judge will adjourn it. You could be waiting another two to six weeks for your second appearance so you could be detained three months before you even have an. Before a judge could even decide are you eligible or not should you get bond or not.

Now when you make the application the judge’s principal concerns are what are you a danger to the community and to. Are you a flight risk so criminal record you’re a danger to the community not a lot of you know you just entered the US.

You don’t have family here you know long ties you might be it you might not present yourself to court so it may the judge may or may not give you bond. Now there’s about ten or eleven factors that the judge will typically consider to decide. Are you a danger or are you a flight risk. I’m going to go over some of them. There is no individual factor that outweighs all the rest. The judge will review the totality of the circumstances you may have some factors and not others and will decide Well are you eligible. And if so how much.

So and as you’ll see later in the program we met this to see this under the Trump administration a lot has changed.

Ironically the law hasn’t changed but the way it’s what it’s applied has because Trump has severely limited the discretion that immigration judges have.

They can’t close cases like they used to. They can’t remand cases back to immigration to make certain decisions. So everything is backed up there are more people in removal than ever before and the judges have less authority than ever before. So it’s. Challenging times to be an immigrant and in removal proceedings. Here are the factors. 1 you have a fixed address in the US. Are you moving every month or had you been in for 10 years in the last eight. We’re in the same address. How long have you lived in the US.

Can you just come into here into the US or have you been here for 5 10 years. What routes do you have you put down here. Do you have family in the US. There’s a big difference between the person who has wife kids siblings parents with legal status or without. Hopefully more with them without versus the person who’s here by himself. Not married no kids or his wife and kids are back in his home country and he’s here alone.

If he’s here alone greater chance that he might not present himself the way the judge looks at it. If he has wife and kids more likely that he’s not just pick up and disappear for employment history. Yes we understand that those that are illegally here in the US or undocumented don’t have permission to work. But there’s a recognition that well if you’re living here yet that you have expenses you’ve got to pay for. Chances are you’re going to be working for it. So what’s your work history look like. Number one. Number two have you paid taxes. Very big deal for some judges. It really depends on the judge. For others taxes is just proof of the time that you that you’ve been here in the US for some. Well everyone has the obligation to pay taxes so you don’t get a benefit for doing so. But some judges view very negatively.

If you are not paying taxes particularly if you have children here and they’re getting benefits or assistance from the government they see that in a very negative light particularly now under this administration so what’s your employment history. Five. What’s your record of appearances in court. You know if you’ve been arrested five times and you never show up the court. A judge might look at that and say well if I release you what’s the chance that you’re going to show up to my court. What’s your criminal record were you arrested. Were you convicted. What were those convictions for. Is it so it may not automatically disqualify you but it might make you a danger to the community. For example if you have pending charges for sex abuse of a minor you can have a really hard time getting getting bonded out. You can have a really hard time for it for a judge to give you a bond of any amount What’s your history of immigration violations have you. Have you applied for some form of relief in the past. Have you lied to immigration official. How many times have you come to us. Were you ever caught for any of that how did you enter the US legally or illegally. Have you made attempts to flee prosecution meaning ran away to the police didn’t show up to court. What’s your relief from deportation. Meaning. Do you have a way to achieve legal status in the US. My wife’s aU.S. citizen you know all my girlfriends you a citizen we’ve been together a year and a half. We were planning on getting married. We were saving up money for it. We had already chosen the date. But before we already contracted the wedding hall. But before that can happen I was picked up by ICE OK so the plan is to get married. She is going to petition for me. That’s an avenue versus I don’t know Your Honor. Well judges don’t like to hear that because judges just giving order removal.

I became an attorney to give others the information that I didn’t have.

I want to know what their rights are. We’re immigrants for immigrants. Almost everyone that works for us is either an immigrant or a child of an immigrant. We believe that an educated mind is the best client. They should know what their rights are. Nothing compares to giving somebody legal status because their entire life.

Has now changed. We get you and we’re here for.

911 You know pay taxes. So no one factor. Is the deciding factor. But there are some that are important like family in the US criminal record. Relief from deportation. Judges really pay a lot of attention to those. And if you have relief and you have no criminal record and you have family in the US chances are you again.

You get a bond. How much really depends on where in the country and what Judge you have been talking about that. So immigration by now do you know what an immigration bond is. Now that you know how they get released from detention let’s talk about Syracuse University and the study that the day that they’ve conducted and are still conducting. So they looked at all deportation cases from 2001 to 2000 19 in all 50 states. They broke it down by state. They broke it down by ethnicity by country of origin. They looked at the information and said What can I conclude from this. And there was some interesting conclusions which let me explain. So first thing that caught my attention is they said Indians. And here I don’t mean Native Americans. I mean India from the country of India and Chinese immigrants get bond 80 percent of the time. So wow that’s that’s high that number really took my got my attention and they compared that to Mexicans that get.

Approximately 50 percent of the time get bonded out. Indians Chinese 80 percent Mexicans 50 percent. But what why is that. Well what they explained is when they looked at the cases is Indian and Chinese are here less time they’ve been in the US a shorter period of time. Well you would think they’ll be a negative but what they say is here shorter less likely to have a criminal record less likely to have been charged for anything like a DUI. Now immigrants historically commit crimes at a lower rate than than nativeU.S. born citizens that’s true. Study after study.

But despite that the longer somebody is here in the US the more likely they had contact with the police. Particularly if you’re driving without a license because like in New Jersey you can’t get a license if you’re undocumented and have no legal status.

So things like that cause interactions and those interactions sometimes result in convictions that can have negative consequences. Now they also showed that Indian and Chinese pay several thousand dollars more for each bond than Mexicans. And again the reason why they explain that is since they’re here less time they have less ties to theU.S. Chances are they don’t have a family. Maybe they had employment instead maybe they don’t but it’s a big difference someone’s been in for a year and a half as a student and this guy was accused of a crime and because of that now is in removal proceedings versus someone who’s Mexican and he’s been here for 15 years now. Why might focus on Mexicans. Because they are the single largest group but to be honest they’re not the largest group of immigrants coming in in the past 10 years. It’s Indian and Chinese Mexicans has dropped off dramatically. But those that are here I’ve been here for many many years lately in terms of Spanish speaking immigrants.

More of them come from El Salvador Guatemala Honduras to make the Republic Ecuador did from Mexico proper but obviously those resemble their Nicaragua and do us cross through Mexico to enter the US predominant through the southern border.

So Indian Chinese here less time get bond at a higher amount and they pay higher bond amount. Let’s talk about New Jersey. From 2001 to 2019 there were fifty six thousand one hundred ninety four bond motions of those twenty nine thousand and 19 were granted. So just over 50 percent and twenty seven thousand one hundred twenty five were denied just under 50 percent. And when you look at groups where where are they from number one is Mexico seven with seven thousand five hundred eighty nine petitions. El Salvador came at number two with three thousand and twenty what Amandla two thousand five hundred eighty Honduras two thousand twenty one Dominican Republic what thousand ninety five in Ecuador one thousand eight hundred and seventy five. So Spanish speaking large percentage of the bond applications in the past 10 years. But even so that’s 10 13 15 16 17.

Honestly it’s it’s about a third in total now looking at it historically the the report showed compared what were the numbers in 2001 or the numbers in 2017 2018 and seventeen thousand ninety.

But since it’s too early 2019 I’m really ignoring that for now we are only a couple of months into the year not enough to determine any trend or any significant change 2001 the median bond. That’s not the average that’s just the median. So the median for those. Know my daughter is in sixth grade math so I’ve had to relearned what a median is.

But essentially they plot all the numbers. How what what were the amounts for each one. And they look at which are the ones that are closest to the middle. So 2001 median bond was five thousand. Remember minimum is fifteen hundred two thousand seventeen. Now on the Trump median bond is ten thousand two times as much in this program a couple weeks back. We talked about the detention of rapper twenty one Savage was born shot Shi’a Sharia. Benjamin Yosef Benyamin yourself. If I if I recall the name correctly. Born in UK grew up in Atlanta since he was 7. He was released on one hundred thousand dollar bond even though he had pending relief efforts. He filed for U visa before he was detained and he had no criminal record meaning he was arrested. I thought he was convicted of drug possession but those charges were dismissed.

Ultimately they were reopened and dismissed. So he had no convictions. And still hundred thousand dollar bond. Huge amount. Most clients can’t can’t pay that.

He could in 2001 the number of bonds was eight thousand seven hundred and forty eight in the entire year in 2018 thirteen thousand four. So not quite double the amount but the median amount clearly has doubled. Now. Yeah. That’s immediate. That means they’re dead. Look I’m seeing. Bond amounts of fifteen thousand twenty thousand thirty thousand. It is harder than ever. And unlike in the criminal context criminal context you can go to bail bondsman. You put down 10 percent bail bombing puts puts the rest 90 percent in the immigration context that’s not the case. You have to put 100 percent of the amount. There is no such thing as a 10 percent. So some people with a high bond can’t pay it they stay detained. Not fair but it’s the situation that we’re in today.

Now to illustrate the difference between 2001 and 2000 19 were red now.

I’m going to show I may give an example of two clients now I changed the names but the facts are the same of Eduardo and Roberto. They both entered within a couple of years of each other they’ve both been to the US more than ten years. They both qualify for cancellation of removal for non green card holders so they’re both seeking the same relief.

They both have criminal records. And I want to illustrate the difference. Before Trump and after Trump that you get a sense of how just how much things have really changed. Again the law of immigration has not changed the way it’s implemented has dramatically changed immigration courts are part of the executive branch which means the Department of Justice sets down rules and guidelines for immigration judges. Under Trump. Judges don’t have discretion to close cases what I mean is administratively closed a case to terminate proceedings. They don’t have the discretion that they used to have. They also very rarely will remain the case from court to immigration. For example let me give you the scenario Oh one more thing and any application that’s denied today. By Immigration results in removal proceedings. So let me give an example. I’m an immigrant. My wife’s the US citizen. We have two kids. She files for me at the interview. For whatever reason she can’t make it. Rather than the officer giving us a new date and giving us an opportunity to do that denies it that’s in his discretion. I don’t think it’s appropriate but let’s assume that I get a real chunk of an officer. He had a bad day and he says screw you I’m denying your petition. So now in place and removal proceedings I going go to an immigration judge in the past. I would say Your Honor I have this pending petition. You know the relationship has been approved. Please remain to immigration so that they can adjudicate my change of status. Judge say doesn’t have the authority. So instead we’re going to have a trial in front of a judge where he’s going to decide is my relationship legitimate and my admissible into the US now because of the dockets that could take two or three years. It’s not an efficient use of of the judge’s time or of the government’s time particularly since immigration makes those decisions every day. That’s what that’s what they’re used to doing. And now that they’re prevented from doing so. A silly scenario but I’ve seen it happen and that’s what’s going on now. So laws haven’t changed just how they’re applied.

I became an attorney to give others the information that I didn’t have.

I want to know what their rights are. We’re immigrants for immigrants. Almost everyone that works for us is either an immigrant or a child of an immigrant. We believe that an educated mind is the best crime. They should know what their rights are. Nothing compares to giving somebody legal status because their entire life.

Has now changed. We get you and we’re here for.

Now let’s talk about Eduardo. So Eduardo entered the US around 2004. He was caught at the border. He was sent back not deported. Just released. Married to a lawful permanent resident green card older but they’re separated. They have oneU.S. citizen child together but since the separation around two thousand eleven he really has no contact with her. He also has. Three or four wives. I say three or four because immigration judge thought he had a fourth one and he says it wasn’t him. So he believes three judge thought for now.

In 2011 when he was getting separated from his wife he was pulled over twice for DUI in the same town. Within a month he hired an attorney the attorney told him Look you’re going to be convicted.

You’ve got to be really wasn’t a good attorney but you’ve got a court. You got to be convicted and you got to go to jail and the sentence six months. So Eduardo here in now decided I want to go to jail so I’m not gonna go to court. So the judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest. 2016 comes around. He’s a passenger in a vehicle.

Police officer pulls over the driver of the vehicle asks for names of everybody in the car and discovers that Eduardo has an order of arrest. Arrest him. He then goes and pleads guilty to to those two D.

He’s jailed for six months and then he gets in ICE custody.

He files for for bond. And so. Remember what I said. 2011 charged 2016. Pled guilty. He failed to appear for five years and he has three DUI. Judge thought he had four. What happened at the bail hearing. Judge gave him a ten thousand dollar bond. I mean that is a success story.

By any accounts even in 2016. That’s a big deal. Getting 10000 bond with with that number of convictions and having already not appeared for five years so not every judge would do would have done it. Sixteen. This particular judge did. Now let’s talk about Roberto.

Roberto entered the US 2004. He has a United StatesU.S. citizen daughter. He’s not married but he’s been arrested eight times. Jenny 2005 when he presented a fake documentU.S charged with that. It was it was reduced to a municipal audit which is a civil matter not criminal. June 2005 he was arrested for possessing a knife. It was downgraded to a municipal ordinance also again not criminal convictions not criminal. May 2006 domestic violence assault charges dismissed. Fourth arrest February 2013 domestic violence assault charge dismissed December 2016 entering property without permission was reduced to a local ordinance in conjunction with that was an assault for domestic violence that was dismissed in September 2017 assault.

All right. So in December 2016 right.

That was yourself in September 2017. Another charge for assault which was dismissed. But this time he got transferred to ICE custody. So add ice custody. We filed for a bond for him at that time. He was arrested seven times. Six of them did not result in a conviction. The seventh was pending at the time and had not been adjudicated yet. Judge gave him a fifty thousand dollar bond the government’s attorney appealed it. Six months later the Board of Immigration Appeals sustain the appeal meaning they overturned the judge who granted bond. They said listen he has a pattern of violence. He didn’t provide any affidavits from any victims saying to the contrary he’s a dangerous person. He needs to be detained. He doesn’t deserve to be released and they revoked the bond. Now he wasn’t detained right away this September 2017 assault charge. We got dismissed January 2019. He gets arrested again for domestic violence and today it is much harder for him to get bond. But look at Roberto and look at Eduardo. Eduardo failed to appear for five years according the judge for DUI convictions. Ten thousand dollar bond. Roberto arrested seven times seven zero convictions. Fifteen thousand dollar bond.

In the end the appellate court overturned it saying he’s a danger that arrests alone are sufficient to determined that he’s a danger to the community.

No. I 100 percent disagree with that decision. But we were not retained to do the appeal. We did not fight the appeal. The client never never responded to the appeal. So the court really only heard one of the heard the government’s case but even still the court had more than enough information to deny the appeal and should have.

But the point is here we are today somebody with zero convictions but a lot of arrests and courts saying he’s not entitled to a bond whereas somebody with for DUI is just a year before got 10000 Taliban. That’s to give you an understanding of how difficult it is today. If you’re charged with a crime and you’re an immigrant you’ve got to talk to the immigration attorney. You need to review your options before you plead guilty or found guilty. So thank you for the program. My name is on this. If you want more information. Our number is 8 8 8 8 8 8 0 3 0 7. If you want a copy or a book to be legal just contact us at Trump at 8 8 8 8 8 8 0 3 0 7. Or on Facebook. Andrés Mejer or on our blog. Thank you for this to the program. Please like our Facebook page and share this video with anybody you think it would be of help to. Thanks again. The next time. I leave because like. I. Get a sense.

Somehow. Oh God that is my head.

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