Articles Posted in Immigration Law

by
The Court of Appeal held that a period of supervision following deportation is impractical and inconsistent with the goals and purposes of the legislation that mandates imposition of split sentences. At the time of his sentencing, the trial court considered Arce's request for a split sentence and denied it. The trial court noted that upon his release from physical custody, defendant Jose Arce was subject to deportation proceedings initiated by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The trial court found that, given the risk Arce would be deported during the period of any mandatory supervision, and thus not be subject to the probation department's supervision or able to participate in the rehabilitative services offered by the department, a split sentence was not a realistic disposition. On appeal, Arce argued the trial court should have considered the possibility that he would be able to challenge his deportation and stay in this country either temporarily while his immigration status was litigated or, although unlikely, permanently. He noted that a number of other factors that show he was amenable to mandatory supervision, including the fact that he has been in this country lawfully since 2000, had no prior criminal record, was married to a United States citizen and had three children, all of whom were also United States citizens. Split sentences are the preferred disposition in eligible cases because they provide released prisoners with close supervision and supportive services designed to substantially reduce the risk of recidivism. As a practical matter, such supervision and services are not available after a prisoner has been deported. View "California v. Arce" on Justia Law

by
Federal law makes undocumented immigrants ineligible for state and local public benefits, but allows a state to “affirmatively provide[] for such eligibility” through “the enactment of a State law.” 8. U.S.C. 1621(d). Plaintiff, a California taxpayer, filed suit against the Regents, alleging that none of its policies qualifies under section 1621(d) as a "State law" making undocumented immigrants eligible for postsecondary education benefits. The trial court sustained the Regents' demurrer, concluding that the Regents' policies satisfy section 1621(d). At issue in this case is whether three California legislative “enactments” affirmatively provide “eligibility” under federal law for postsecondary education benefits to qualified undocumented immigrants who attend the University of California, even though the statutes require only the California State University and California community colleges to provide such benefits. These laws include (1) Assembly Bill No. 540 (2001-2002 Reg. Sess.) (A.B. 540), which makes qualified undocumented immigrants eligible for exemption from nonresident tuition (Stats. 2001, ch. 814, 1-2); (2) Assembly Bill No. 131 (2011-2012 Reg. Sess.) (A.B. 131), which makes qualified undocumented immigrants eligible for student financial aid programs (Stats. 2011, ch. 604, 3); and (3) Senate Bill No. 1210 (2013-2014 Reg. Sess.) (S.B. 1210), which makes qualified undocumented immigrants eligible for student loan benefits (Stats. 2014, ch. 754, 3). The court concluded that, even though the California Constitution may preclude the Legislature from actually conferring postsecondary education benefits on undocumented immigrants attending the University of California, the Legislature has made these students “eligible” for such benefits within the meaning of the federal statute. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "De Vries v. Regents of UC" on Justia Law

by
Petitioner, a 12-year-old child from Honduras who entered the United States without documentation, seeks to obtain "special immigrant juvenile" (SIJ) status under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(J). In this case, the family court refused to appoint a guardian ad litem for petitioner unless he gave his father notice of the application for a guardian ad litem. The court concluded that the family court erred in requiring parental notice before appointing a guardian ad litem where neither a statutory requirement nor procedure exists for providing notice to parents of the application for a guardian ad litem; decisional law does not require parental notice prior to appointment of a guardian ad litem; and due process does not require notice to parents before a guardian ad litem may be appointed. Accordingly, the court granted the petition. View "Alex R. v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law

by
Bianka, a 13-year-old girl from Honduras, hopes to avoid deportation by obtaining “special immigrant juvenile” (SIJ) status. Pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(J), SIJ status is a classification created by Congress to provide special immigration protection to undocumented, unaccompanied children entering the United States who have been the victims of parental abuse, neglect, abandonment or some similar circumstance. Bianka initiated a parentage action under the Uniform Parentage Act, Fam. Code, 7600 et seq., naming her mother as the respondent. Bianka also filed a pretrial request for order asking the court to place her in the sole legal and physical custody of her mother and to make the additional findings necessary to allow her to petition for SIJ status, namely that she cannot reunify with her father because he abandoned her and it is not in her best interest to return to Honduras. The trial court declined to make the requested finding. The court concluded that the UPA is the exclusive means by which unmarried adults may resolve disputes relating to rights and obligations arising out of the parent-child relationship, including child custody, visitation and support. In an action between natural, alleged and/or presumed parents, the parentage of each party to the action is squarely at issue and is adjudicated before issues of custody, visitation and support are considered. The court further concluded that under the circumstances present here, where Bianka’s father’s identity and whereabouts are known, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by requiring Bianka to join her father to the pending action. Finally, the court provided instructions to Bianka on the next steps in seeking a custody order and/or SIJ findings. View "Bianka M. v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law

by
Defendant, a citizen of Eritrea, has been a lawful U.S. permanent resident since 1981. In 1988, police witnessed a hand-to-hand exchange involving defendant. As the men ran away, an officer saw defendant reach into his waistband and drop a loaded handgun and throw a plastic baggie that contained rocks of cocaine base, weighing a total of 2.34 grams. An officer found a glass pipe with cocaine residue on top of defendant’s wallet, which did not contain a large amount of cash. Defendant pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine base for sale and admitted the firearm allegation. He was not advised of the immigration consequences. In 1992, defendant admitted violating probation by failing to maintain contact with his probation officer and testing positive for cocaine. In 2004, defendant returned to the U.S. after an overseas trip and was “not admitted” based on the conviction, but was allowed to remain in the U.S. Defendant was detained in 2013. Defendant filed an unsuccessful Penal Code 1016.5 motion to vacate the convictions and to withdraw his pleas. The court found that he “had failed to show prejudice.” The court of appeal remanded for determination of whether defendant made the required showing of reasonable diligence. View "People v. Asghedom" on Justia Law

by
Christian, age 16, was arrested for selling cocaine base. A wardship petition was filed. Immigration officials were notified. An Immigration Detainer was faxed to the juvenile hall from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stating that Christian had a prior felony conviction or had been charged with a felony offense, that he had illegally re-entered after a previous removal, and there was an order of deportation. The detainer requested that juvenile hall maintain custody of the minor to allow DHS to take custody of him, with an attached “Warrant of Removal/Deportation.” Christian admitted that he had possessed a controlled substance as alleged. Christian’s counsel indicated that she was satisfied he understood the immigration consequences of his admission. Christian stated he had traveled from Honduras to the U.S. 10 months earlier without his mother’s permission. The dispositional order required him to reside with his mother in Honduras. The court of appeal reversed. The court may have proceeded under the erroneous premise that it was compelled to transfer custody to federal authorities. The court expressly determined that it was not in Christian’s best interests to return to Honduras because he had been abandoned by his biological father who has never provided assistance or support and that his mother is unable to provide support. The conflicting findings cannot be reconciled View "In re Christian H." on Justia Law

by
Petitioner Eddie E., an undocumented immigrant, sought a writ of mandate to overturn the trial court's refusal to make favorable findings under the Immigration and Nationality Act, title 8 of the United States Code section 1101(a)(27)(J) which were a prerequisite to him applying for special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status (a path to citizenship). The trial court found that even though his mother abandoned him, he was living with his father and thus reunification was possible with his father. It also held that mother's subsequent death meant petitioner's inability to reunify with her was due to death, not abandonment. It further found that a "fresh start" in Mexico would be good for petitioner, and thus returning him to Mexico was in petitioner's best interest. The Court of Appeal disagreed: "[One] or both" is disjunctive, and petitioner proved he was abandoned by his mother, satisfying that condition. True, mother died, but that only made the abandonment permanent. [. . .] The evidence shows beyond dispute that it is not in petitioner's best interest to return to Mexico." Accordingly, the Court granted the petition and issued the writ. View "Eddie E. v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

by
Israel was born in Mexico in 1999 and is not a U.S. citizen. He came to the U.S. with his mother in 2005 and has no contact with his father in Mexico He was adjudged a ward of the juvenile court as a result of admitting to misdemeanor receiving of stolen property. Israel requested that the court make findings that would qualify him for special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status under federal law (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(J), which would allow Israel to pursue regularization of his immigration status. The juvenile court declined to make findings that reunification “with one or both” parents was not viable due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment; that Israel was a dependent of a juvenile court or committed or placed with a state agency; and that it was not in his “best interest” to be returned to Mexco. The court of appeal remanded. USCIS currently interprets and applies section 1101(a)(27)(J) to include, as “SIJ eligible children” those who may be living in this country “with a foster family, an appointed guardian, or the non-abusive parent” and the trial court did not make a finding on whether it is in Israel’s best interest to return to Mexico. View "In re Israel O." on Justia Law