Law Office of Valdez & Monarrez
The American Dream Has No Borders

The Law Office of Valdez & Monarrez helps families in the Rio Grande Valley & Houston area with immigration, citizenship, naturalization, deportation defense & visas. We can also help with cases involving criminal defense, injuries, divorce or other legal matters.

McAllen Texas Immigration Law Blog

E-Verify can be a flawed system

The E-Verify system is designed to determine if an immigrant living in Texas or anywhere else has the right to get a job in the United States. However, both Democratic and Republican politicians say that there are flaws with the system. One of the most commonly cited flaws is that it still allows undocumented immigrants to find employment in the country.

The system works by verifying that documents provided by an immigrant to an employer are legitimate. According to a member of the CATO Institute, that is the fatal flaw with E-Verify. While it could be improved using DNA or other biometric data, that would probably be beyond the power of the government. Others say that the problem with E-Verify is that it places a burden on smaller companies.

Is Mexico becoming the new “land of opportunity”?

With so many undocumented Mexican immigrants returning to their cultural homeland, many find new opportunities upon arrival. Being forced to return to a country that many adults have little to no experience living is difficult enough. However, some Mexican based programs are offering “ex-dreamers” the opportunity to bring English skills into tech school environments.

A coding school located in Mexico City offers students a livable stipend while enrolled. The program is aimed at helping returning immigrants integrate into Mexico with viable career options. The program also encourages the integration of experience these ex-immigrants have while living for years and even decades in North America.

Trump administration proposes expanded public charge rule

Immigrants in Texas and around the country who are in the country legally could find obtaining visas and green cards far more difficult under a rule change proposed by the Trump administration on Sept. 22. The United States has had rules in place that allow entry to be denied to those who could become burdens on society since the nineteenth century. The proposed change to what is known as the public charge rule would apply to immigrants receiving benefits such as medical assistance, housing allowances and food stamps.

The proposal does not go as far as earlier calls from the Trump administration to toughen the public charge rule. In August, media outlets reported that the White House planned to expand the rule so that it could be used to deny green cards or citizenship to immigrants who used certain tax credits or obtained medical care under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

House passes bill to clarify deportation requirements

Immigrants who commit a violent crime while in Texas or any other state are required to be sent out of the country. However, what constituted such a crime was considered to be vague. A piece of legislation passed by the House of Representatives has clarified what a violent crime is. Murder, assault and sexual violence are specifically considered to meet this criteria, and other actions such as robbery and the unauthorized use of a weapon were also on the list.

Government officials including the president applauded the bill's passage while those in the minority party were not as enthusiastic about it. Democrats said that the bill was rushed and shouldn't have been voted on without a hearing. Ultimately, it will still need to be passed by the Senate, and there is no guarantee that this will happen. It is not scheduled to be voted on at any point in 2018.

Dance companies report more visa rejections

Changes in immigration law are affecting the ability of many people to come to the United States and work, including artists from other countries. This generally requires what are known as O-1B or P-1B visas, but increasingly, there are reports that cumbersome requirements are creating a backlog and resulting in more visas being denied. The O-1B visa is issued to individuals. The P-1B is for groups of two or more artists. There is a third type of visa as well for what is known as the "culturally unique" artist, the P3.

One dance company reported having to make last-minute replacements after two Paris-based dancers' visas were denied. The executive director said that this had only happened one other time in 25 years, and that person had a passport issue. Visas were also denied for members of the Bolshoi Ballet, and a performance by a dance company from South Korea had to be cancelled.

Judge becomes irate over immigrant plaintiffs' deportation

Texas residents who follow the news are likely aware that the Trump administration's immigration policies are facing a number of court challenges. One of these cases, which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of eight immigrants facing deportation, does not seem to be going well for the government. According to a number of media outlets, the federal judge hearing the case became visibly agitated and had trouble composing himself when he learned on Aug. 8 that two of the immigrants named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit had been deported despite his strict instructions to the contrary.

Government attorneys are said to have assured the judge on Aug. 7 that none of the plaintiffs would be deported while the case was still being litigated, which may explain the judge's dismay at finding out less than 24 hours later that two of them, a woman and her daughter, had been put on a plane to El Salvador. The judge then made it very clear that government figures including Attorney General Jeff Sessions could face contempt charges if the woman and girl were not returned without delay.

Problems arise in uniting immigrant parents, children

On July 23, the Trump administration filed papers in court relating to its separation of immigrant parents and their children. According to the papers, more than 800 parents have been reunited with their children. Reunification is supposed to be cleared for more than 500 more, some of whom may be in Texas. The cases of another 463 parents are being reviewed.

The 463 are among a total of more than 900 whose eligibility for a reunion is unclear. Some parents have been deported or may have issues such as criminal records or communicable diseases. However, the American Civil Liberties Union is asking for more information on parents with criminal records to ensure that it is genuinely in the best interests of the child that the reunion does not happen.

Judge rules minors to be transferred from detention facility

Minors housed at the Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Manvel, Texas, will be leaving the facility after allegations of abuse and mistreatment surfaced. The children at the facility entered the country with their parents illegally and were separated or had arrived on their own.

U.S District Judge Dolly Gee says the facility violated a 1997 court settlement on how children must be cared for while under the supervision of the United States Government. 

Judge orders temporary halt to deportations of reunited families

On July 16, a federal judge overseeing the reunification process of migrant children forcibly taken from their parents ruled that the Trump administration cannot immediately deport families once they are reunited. Instead, he ordered that recently reunited families must be given a week to file asylum requests from within the United States.

The ruling was in response to a motion filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The organization claimed that the U.S. government is under an obligation to allow detained families the right to consider asylum. It further claimed that parents could not properly consider asylum when their children were detained at a separate location until it was too late for them to file an application. The judge agreed and issued a temporary stay on deportations of reunited families. He also ordered that U.S. attorneys meet with the ACLU to arrange a notification system for charity groups that are coordinating the reunification of children with their parents.

Be prepared when encountering ICE

Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) has made headlines in the past few months for their aggressive enforcement of immigration law. This has, understandably, made immigrants from all over the country extremely nervous.

If you are worried about being targeted by ICE for questioning, here are a few things you can do to prepare:

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