Costa Mesa Criminal Defense And Immigration Law Blog

"Public charge" changes worry immigrants

Many immigrants who are living in California are concerned about the potential impacts of the latest announcement from the Trump administration on immigration policy. While the administration has defended previous harsh regulations in the interests of promoting legal entry to the country, this change affects legal immigrants who are seeking to adjust their status and become permanent residents or obtain a new visa status. On August 12, the administration made it easier to reject green card applications by vastly expanding the definition of what is considered a "public charge".

Public charge regulations allow immigrants' applications for green cards or new visas to be turned down if the government believes that they will be dependent on government benefits. This is shown by referencing past access to benefits programs. Historically, public charge has been understood as applying to cash benefits only, such as Temporary Aid to Needy Families or Supplemental Security Income. In the administration's announced regulation, however, the definition of public charge is expanded to include food stamps, many forms of Medicaid and Section 8-style housing vouchers. According to the administration, it could affect almost 400,000 people seeking to become permanent residents. Advocates warn that the administration's estimates are deceptively low and that the change could affect millions of people.

Authorities raid marijuana grow operation in California

The recreational use of marijuana became legal in California when voters in the Golden State passed Proposition 64 in 2016, but cultivation and distribution of the drug is tightly controlled. Criminal organizations including Mexican drug cartels are said to flout these rules and operate large marijuana cultivation centers in many parts of California, and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are determined to stop them.

One investigation led to a raid on a marijuana cultivation operation near Crocker Mountain in Plumas County on July 31. Deputies assigned to the Plumas County Sheriff's Office SWAT team were supported during the raid by agents from the U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Individuals representing the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting in Plumas County were also present. Community groups support law enforcement efforts to clamp down on illegal marijuana cultivation because these operations tend to use toxic chemicals to protect their crops and deprive local farmers of water.

Tips for the spousal immigration process

Some California residents may not realize how long the immigration process can be until they attempt to obtain a visa for a foreign spouse. Even the official time frames provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service can make it look as though the processing times are fairly reasonable. However, since getting permission for a spouse to live in the United States is generally a multi-step process, it can take longer.

A U.S. citizen uses an I-30 petition to sponsor a spouse, and this takes several months. Once this is in place, the spouse then has to either apply from outside the country to enter the United States or adjust the status to permanent residence. The entire process may take a year. A work permit can also take several months to obtain, and this can mean that one spouse is without income for several months.

Man sentenced to 15 years in prison for selling meth

On July 8, a California man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for possessing 14 packages of methamphetamine that had been disguised to look like burritos wrapped in foil. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $300 and serve five years of supervised release after he leaves prison.

According to prosecutors, on Feb. 3, 2018, the 48-year-old defendant was pulled over by officers from the Los Angeles Police Department after he was spotted driving his white Chevrolet Tahoe erratically and suspiciously in the Angelino Heights area. During the traffic stop, officers asked his permission to search the vehicle, and he granted it. While searching the floor behind the driver's seat, they found nearly 14 pounds of methamphetamine that had been wrapped up like burritos. The estimated street value of the drugs was believed to be between $27,000 and $40,000. Officers also found over $800 in cash and a loaded handgun in the SUV.

Supreme Court rules on immigrants unaware they are illegal

California immigrants may not face criminal liability if they are in the country illegally and commit an illegal act but do not realize it based on a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 21, the court ruled in a 7-2 decision that it is necessary for prosecutors to prove that an immigrant is aware that their status or behavior is illegal. Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas were the dissenting votes.

This case was brought on behalf of a man from the United Arab Emirates who was enrolled at the Florida Institute of Technology. The man's student visa required full-time enrollment in school. However, he was dismissed from the school twice for failing grades. Alito's opinion says the man was sent emails warning him that his visa could be terminated if he was not enrolled in classes.

Police arrest 4 on drug charges at California dog care facility

Media outlets have reported that police in California took three men and a woman into custody at an Orange County dog boarding facility on June 6. The four suspects face a number of narcotics charges including drug possession and drug paraphernalia possession. One of the apprehended individuals is said to be the owner of the facility. Police believe that the business provides a legitimate service to pet owners in the community but was also being used to distribute heroin and methamphetamine.

Undercover Fullerton Police Department detectives who were stationed outside the West Walnut Avenue facility moved in after allegedly observing an individual with an outstanding warrant enter the premises. Reports indicate that the business was under observation as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation. Detectives say a subsequent search revealed that the man was living in the facility and led to the discovery of 1.6 grams of methamphetamine and 28 grams of heroin. Police are also said to have found several items that suggested the seized drugs were intended for sale and not personal use.

Proposed immigration plan could kick people off waiting lists

Some California immigrants who have been on years-long waiting lists for green cards may be thrown off the lists entirely as part of a proposed Trump administration immigration policy. Immigrants would be required to re-apply under the new system, and while some might subsequently face a shorter wait time, others might not be eligible at all.

The new plan proposes a system of points and removing the categories for employment- and family-based immigration. It would also eliminate country caps. The more than 3.6 million people waiting for approval under family status would lose their place. However, it may go through changes after being written. It must also be approved by Congress, where Democrats are likely to oppose it.

Naturalization could help you bring family to US

For many around the world, coming to the United States and starting a new life is a dream. The U.S. is known as the land of opportunities. It’s promised that with hard work and dedication anyone can achieve success. And as part of that dream, people want to share the the experience with their loved ones.

For immigrants who become naturalized American citizens, family-based immigration provides opportunities to help spouses, children, siblings, parents or finances get permanent residency status in the U.S.

Crimes that could get an undocumented worker deported

Many immigrants come to the U.S. for economic opportunity and to achieve a better standard of living. America holds many different opportunities and has produced so many innovations in manufacturing, financial services, technology and other industries. This has attracted people from across the world. Undocumented workers have been a vital labor force for many sectors of the economy, including meat processing, agriculture and industrial trades.

Risks to immigrants

New BAC limit could mean trouble for California drivers

No one wants to see those flashing red and blue lights in the rear-view mirror, especially after a night out. This situation could soon become even more stressful if California lawmakers pass a new bill that would lower the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels.

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