Discussion Points for Punto Legal –March 13, 2019
1. New immigration bill.
Last week, the Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced the Dream and Promise Act. This bill combines the longstanding DREAM Act with a proposal to allow immigrants with temporary protected status to become resident.
If passed, HR 6 would represent the most generous immigration bill since the Reagan "amnesty" of 1986. The bill is extremely likely to pass the House without major changes, but it is not going to pass the Republican Senate – or be signed by Trump – in its current form. So don’t get your hopes up.
Still, the bill matters because it’s a statement of the Democratic consensus on immigration. It may come into play if Congress is spurred into action again by the threat of an end to DACA or the pressures of the next Presidential campaign.
2. Immigration Officer in Grand Junction.
The immigration service has stationed on full-time officer in Grand Junction. His name is officer Parks. He is a former U.S. Marine. His office is at the application support center, but he does citizenship and adjustment of status interviews one week each month at the Grand Junction library. If you live in Garfield County, you are likely to have your citizenship or adjustment interview in Grand Junction. Officer Parks has to have each of his cases reviewed by a supervisor in Denver, but he is a welcome addition to the immigration world.
3. 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.
4. 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.