Immigration Matters

Immigrants, Welfare and Taxes

Posted by on Mar 1, 2010 in Immigration Matters, Laws and Legislation | 0 comments

These are tough economic times, and tax season makes it even harder. Vitriolic talk and finger-pointing at alleged sources of our economic distress abound. Immigrants are a common target. “They,” say anti-immigration advocates, “have invaded our country, don’t pay taxes and collect welfare.” Is there any truth to such bold, inflammatory statements? Of course there is some truth, but so is there “some truth” in the scandal sheets that pass as news magazines. There will always be people who abuse the system – both American citizens and otherwise. But let me put the facts into perspective – albeit my own perspective – but colored by twenty-five years...

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Is Unifying Families Really an Immigration Priority?

Posted by on Feb 14, 2010 in Families and Young People, Immigration Matters | 0 comments

Most people who immigrate to the United States are able to do so because they have a close relative in the United States who petitions for them or because they have a job skill that is needed by a United States employer. The process, in either case, is a lengthy one, usually taking several years from start to finish. The wait is discouraging and impractical for prospective immigrants who are needed by United States employers; but for close family members, the wait is agonizing and, perhaps, impossible. In his State of the Union speech, President Obama reiterated that immigration reform is on his 2010 agenda. With the process of immigrating to join family members in the...

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Behind the Words

Posted by on Jan 1, 2010 in Immigration Matters | 0 comments

Widespread misunderstanding and misuse of immigration lingo makes intelligent debate of the immigration issue challenging. For example, the word “immigrant” is used incorrectly by many to describe anyone present in the United States who hails from another country. It carries negative connotations, too: many people blame our country’s woes – crime, poverty, high unemployment, etc. on immigrants. The dictionary definition of “immigrant” is much narrower and suggests relatively honorable conduct. Dictionary.com defines an immigrant as “a person who migrates to another country, usually for permanent residence.” Since migration, in today’s world,...

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Acceptance

Posted by on Dec 1, 2009 in Immigration Matters | 0 comments

“The Blind Side,” Sandra Bullock’s new movie, is the story of a Caucasian family that takes in, and befriends, an African-American teenager. Two things about the movie made it resonate for me: first, it is based on a true story; and second, it is about goodness, a subject not very popular these days. The movie is not about immigration, the usual topic of this column, but it is about acceptance of people who look different and have backgrounds different than our own. The movie caused me to reflect on the people from around the world whom I have represented and wonder whether they feel accepted by the United States. I don’t think that they feel accepted by...

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Applying for Naturalization and Naturalization: The Final and Greatest Reward

Posted by on Nov 1, 2009 in Immigration Matters | 0 comments

Many clients ask, “Is it hard to become an American citizen?” Applying for naturalization is not complicated, but it is not easy to become a United States citizen. Those of us who claim that status simply because we were born here tend to take our citizenship for granted. We shouldn’t. It is a gift for which we should be grateful; one that is coveted by people from every corner of the world. Applying for Naturalization – Is it hard to become an American citizen? What’s so tough about becoming a United States citizen? Applying for naturalization is not complicated, but getting to that point is complicated and lengthy. Nearly everyone who is...

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Immigration Law Affects Everyone

Posted by on Oct 1, 2009 in Immigration Matters, Laws and Legislation | 0 comments

There is a widely-held perception that only undocumented folks are affected by United States immigration law. I recently contacted an attorney friend about a personal injury legal matter involving my family. In an effort to support my immigration practice, she enthusiastically offered to refer potential clients to me, because, she said, “Even illegals get hurt.” I chose not to launch into a lecture about most of my clients being legally in the United States, but her comment continues to trouble me. This is why. There is a huge, intricate body of immigration law and regulations developed to control the movement of people into, and out of, the United States. These laws...

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