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Discussion Points for Punto Legal- May 10, 2017

contextual

1. June 2017 Visa Bulletin.

The June 2017 visa bulletin is out. The cut-off date for spouses and children of residents from Mexico is July 22, 2015. Last month it was June 22, 2015. The cut-off date for brothers and sisters of citizens from Mexico is July 15, 1997. Last month it was July 1, 1997.

2. Mentally Disabled Petitioners.

Two weeks ago, I got a call from a listener who wanted to know if a mentally disabled U.S.-citizen child could petition for his mother. The answer is yes. In fact, the U.S.-citizen child could file an immigrant petition for both parents and his brothers and sisters. The child would have to have a guardian appointed by the state court to make decisions for him. The guardian would also sign the immigrant petition. Getting a guardian appointed is a fairly simple process in Colorado courts.

3. DACA.

Two weeks ago, President Trump said that undocumented immigrants who were brought illegally to the U.S. as children should “rest easy” and not fear deportation under his administration’s efforts to ramp up immigration enforcement.

If you have been putting off applying for DACA or renewing your DACA, you should apply.

If you have DACA and want to travel with advance permission, do it.

I still run into young immigrants who qualify for DACA who don’t know they can apply for DACA even if they do not have a high school diploma. You can make yourself eligible for DACA simply by enrolling in a GED program at Colorado Mountain College. All you have to do is enroll in a GED program.

4. DUI’s and DACA.

As most of you know, a DUI disqualifies you from DACA. Colorado has a lesser offense called DWAI-Driving While Ability Impaired. A DWAI also disqualifies you from DACA. But what if you get a deferred sentence to a DUI or DWAI? You may be able to get or keep your DACA if you have deferred sentence to a DUI. In immigration law, ordinarily a deferred sentence is treated just like a straight conviction. But under a special DACA rule, it is treated as an expungement if you successfully complete the deferred sentence. In a deferred sentence arrangement, you plead guilty to an offense. There are things you have to do and conditions you have to meet. If you successfully complete the deferred sentence, the charge is dismissed for the purpose of Colorado law. Once you complete the deferred sentence, you may ask for DACA. The immigration service says it will look at deferred sentences on case-by- case basis. We have handle three of these cases and been successful each time.

1. ICE and Immigration Enforcement

Imagine this scenario: Two girls are trying to get home from a late-night party. The owner of the car is letting her friend drive because she thinks the friend is less drunk than she is. They get stopped for a DUI on I-70 in Eagle County. The driver-friend gets arrested for a DUI. The car owner appears to be too drunk to drive her car home, so the cops take her to a gas station so she can call her family. The cops then impound the car. During the inventory of the car, the cops discover 10 ounces or 283 grams of cocaine—wrapped in plastic—in the trunk of the car. This—by this way—is a Drug Felony 1. If convicted, there is mandatory minimum sentence of 8 to 32 years in prison.

Both girls are arrested and jailed. A bail bond is set at $50,000.00 for each. ICE submits an ICE hold. One of the deputies at the jail tells them they are going to get turned over to ICE if they post a State bond.

First, they are not going to get turned over to ICE on the ICE hold. Jails are run by county sheriffs. And—like most sheriffs in Colorado, the Eagle County sheriff does not honor ICE holds. Also he will not call ICE to tell them when you are being released on bond.

Second, ICE will learn about the arrest and charges. If ICE chooses to do so, they can try to pick you up at court, or they can look for you at or near your home.

Third, suppose ICE arrests the young women near their homes one week after they posted the State bond. The girls would go to the big ICE jail in Aurora. There, they would get to see an immigration judge who could give them an immigration bond. Notice they will have to put up two bonds: one for the State criminal charges and one for immigration.

Suppose the immigration judge gives the girls $15,000 immigration bonds. The family decides to post the immigration bonds. Where do they pay the bonds to ICE? Starting on May 18, you pay immigration bonds at the ICE detention facility in Aurora. In the past, you went to the big ICE office in Centennial to post immigration bonds.

2. DACA.

Fifteen House Republicans have signed on to a discharge petition filed today that is intended to force votes on a series of immigration measures — including legislation to protect so-called Dreamers.

The discharge petition would lead to a floor vote, if 218 House members sign on to it. Democrats have been pressing for an immigration vote in the House and would be expected to back the petition. If all House Democrats sign it, it would need only 10 more Republican signatories to force a vote.

The discharge petition would specifically force a vote on a series of competing immigration proposals. Whichever measure won the most votes would be the legislation approved by the House.

But each immigration proposal would have a legislative replacement for DACA.