Discussion Points for Punto Legal –February 27, 2019
1. Public Charge.
Immigration law assumes that new immigrants to the U.S. will need public assistance benefits to support themselves. While this is not true, it is a presumption in the law. To overcome the presumption, affidavits of financial support were developed. All petitioners have to complete a Form I-864affidavit of support for their beneficiaries. This document is a contract between the sponsor and the Government that the sponsor will reimburse the Government for public assistance benefits. When the sponsor does not make enough money, the immigrant can get a joint sponsor. Last year the Trump Administration began to attack this system. It encouraged officers at CDJ and around the world to question the affidavits of support. For example, we had a client who had a sponsor and joint sponsor. The joint sponsor was a cousin. The officer in CDJ questioned whether the cousin could be relied upon to financially support the immigrant. In this case, the U.S. officer allowed us to bolster our financial support case by supplying additional income information and information about the relationship between the immigrant and joint sponsor. If you know of an immigrant in this situation, don’t give up. Collect more information and give it to U.S. officials.
2. Adam Walsh Act.
When I talk to people who want to become permanent residents, I ask them about their criminal history because certain crimes can require waivers or prevent you from immigrating. Sometimes the U.S. relative who is petitioning for his spouse or children wants to know if his criminal history is relevant to the process. I tell them that we have fixed papers even where a citizen -petitioner was in prison. But there is one exception to this rule. A law entitled the Adam Walsh Act, which was passed in 2006. It imposes immigration penalties on U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are convicted of certain crimes against minors. A U.S. citizen who is convicted of a "specified offense against a minor" may be prevented from filing a visa petition on behalf of a close family member. The law provides an exception only if the immigration service makes a discretionary decision that the citizen or permanent resident petitioner does not pose a risk to the petitioned relative despite the conviction. Here is an example: Hector is a U.S. citizen who pled guilty in 2005 to soliciting a 17-year-old girl to engage in sexual conduct. In 2017 he submits a visa petition on behalf of his immigrant wife. Immigration authorities will run a background check on his name to discover the prior conviction. His visa petition will be denied, unless he is able to obtain a waiver based on proving that he is not a danger to his wife. "Specified offense against a minor" includes offenses that are not extremely serious, such as false imprisonment. It is defined as an offense against a victim who has not attained the age of 18 years, which involves any kind of sexual activity with a child.
3. Criminal Practice at Ted Hess & Associates.
We have a criminal defense attorney who speaks Spanish! His name is Sam Crary. Sam is busy in the criminal cases in Eagle County and Glenwood Springs. He is handling a variety of criminal cases from DUI cases to sexual assault cases. He also understands immigration law. Now, you don’t have hire an American attorney-who can’t speak Spanish and does not understand immigration law. You can hire a criminal defense attorney who will (1) defend you in court, (2) know immigration law and (3) explain everything in Spanish.