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  1. Like
    Smiley-one got a reaction from Penguin_ie in Citizenship   
    In January 2011 we started our immigration journey. Today April 13, 2016 it came to an end as I became a US Citizen today. Thanks to everyone who helped make this journey easy to do without a lawyer.
  2. Like
    Smiley-one got a reaction from Cyberfx1024 in Citizenship   
    In January 2011 we started our immigration journey. Today April 13, 2016 it came to an end as I became a US Citizen today. Thanks to everyone who helped make this journey easy to do without a lawyer.
  3. Like
    Smiley-one got a reaction from cdneh in Citizenship   
    In January 2011 we started our immigration journey. Today April 13, 2016 it came to an end as I became a US Citizen today. Thanks to everyone who helped make this journey easy to do without a lawyer.
  4. Like
    Smiley-one got a reaction from Merrytooth in 'No papers, no fear': Illegal immigrants declare themselves on bus tour   
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- They are in the United States illegally, and they are tired of hiding.
    Over the past few weeks, a group of nearly 40 housekeepers, day laborers, students and immigration activists has been making its way across the country in a ragtag caravan, chanting “no papers, no fear” and proudly declaring “I’m undocumented” in public gatherings.
    The riders are not legally in the U.S., a point they want everyone they meet to know. They are on the bus tour, dubbed the “undocubus,” to highlight their plight and to challenge their anti-immigrant foes in the ongoing national debate on immigration.
    “We want to live in equality like everyone else, and that's why we have taken this risk. We have confronted fear of potentially being arrested, but we believe that it is worth fighting,” said El Salvadorean Jose Mangandi, a day laborer living in Los Angeles who is raising his 3-year-old son on his own after his wife was deported. “We have customs, we have cultures. We want to share this with this country, and those who criticize us and who hate us, we invite you to get to know us.”
    Mangandi was one of the group’s members who spoke at a press conference Thursday in a Nashville park across from the public library, where they had just finished hearing a talk on Civil Rights movement protests, such as the local lunch counter sit-ins that led to desegregation.
    Their tour, which began in Arizona, has made stops in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Along the way, the riders have met Civil Rights-era activists, some of them have been arrested during protests, and they’ve held talks with immigrant groups to exchange ideas on how to prevent deportation.
    “I think it’s important to create dialogue and when I say, ‘I’m undocumented,’ I’m also welcoming others to say their stories, too, and (to) not be afraid,” said Isela Mares, a 29-year-old Mexican living in Phoenix, who noted she was just becoming comfortable using the term “undocumented.” “I feel that it’s our responsibility … to let the people know what we are going through so that they also, you know, find that connection.”
    Though their flagship bus painted with the words, “No papers, no fear,” on it in Spanish and English broke down in New Orleans, they’ve carried on with vans and a minibus. They hope the bus will soon re-join the trip.
    Organizers came up with the concept of a bus tour in the spring. It was born out of the notions that “undocumented people can speak for themselves” and “undocumented people should be able to choose their own risks,” said Tania Unzueta Carrasco, 28, an organizer with the Immigrant Justice League helping to handle press relations on the trip.
    “I think that’s … a big change for a lot of us. I think for a long time immigrant rights organizations had been very protective of undocumented immigrants, just the whole idea of … ‘I will get arrested for you, I will take the risk for you,’” she said. “For a lot of us who are undocumented, it’s like, ‘I don’t want you to do anything for me … I want to be able to … choose for myself what I’m doing.’”
    The group has their opponents, though they haven’t been turning out in large numbers. One woman showed up at a Nashville event wearing an anti-immigration t-shirt, but she kept her distance, organizers say.
    “They’re illegal immigrants advertising the fact and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) needs to pull them over and detain them,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center of Immigration Studies, a think tank that supports tighter immigration controls. “I mean, it’s as simple as that. … you can’t arrest every illegal immigrant but it seems to me advertising your illegality ought to be reason enough for you to be detained and removed from the country as a priority and the fact that they’re not is outrageous.”
    The riders met with lawyers before they left to learn what the potential consequences of an arrest could be. For some, it could mean deportation. Eleazar Castellanos, who already was forced to leave the U.S. once before, shortly after he came here 16 years ago, thinks he would be forced out again.
    On the group's journey to Nashville from Memphis late Wednesday, Castellanos said he had been trying to find work as day laborer since losing his job putting in countertops years back. At times, he hasn’t even had enough money to get gas to look for work or to put food on the table, he said as he wiped away tears.
    Castellanos hid these struggles from his wife and 22-year-old daughter until four days before the trip, which was also the first time he told them he was going to be on the “undocubus.” They were shocked to learn of his decision, but eventually decided it was the right thing to do, despite the risks.
    "I don’t care, because anyway, every time I’m exposing myself (while) looking for work, and anytime the police can stop me or the immigration and they can deport me,” he said. “So in case that happens to me I want it to be for something good … I’m not afraid anymore. If I know my rights probably I have the chance to fight back and let the people know to come out of the shadows and not be afraid.”
    Nine of the riders are applying for the government's new "deferred action" policy, under which certain young immigrants in the country illegally can get a two-year work permit and a reprieve from deportation. While some are grateful for the initiative, seen as a bid by the president to provide some relief since the Dream Act -- immigration reform legislation -- stalled in Congress, others said it didn't go far enough.
    Their ride ends in Charlotte, N.C., at the Democratic National Convention, where they intend to convey this message.
    “I think it’s important for people within the undocumented community to find some kind of technique that can have some success in increasing the pressure on the political process and on Obama and on the Democrats,” said Gary Gerstle, a professor of American history and an expert in social movements at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “I think in order for more to happen there has to be more of an immigrant rights movement and there has to be more of a human rights movement in the U.S., and in thinking about how that might happen, I think the ‘undocubus’ is innovative and has a chance of making a difference and it fits within a broader history of non-violent peaceful protest.”
    Though there are more experienced activists in the group, a number of them are for the first time putting themselves out on the front line.
    One of them is Maria Cruz Ramirez, who brought her three children to the U.S. for better economic and education opportunities in 2001. Life has been difficult since the tighter immigration law in Arizona was passed, she said, with her husband narrowly evading an immigration raid in Phoenix.
    After she saw her two of her daughters get arrested protesting earlier this year, she decided she needed to act.
    “They stood up for themselves and fought for their own rights and dignity,” she said, at times wiping away tears. “I’m fighting for them and everyone else ... for the mothers who don’t want to or can’t or don’t know how to support their children. I want to represent all of those mothers and those young people.”
    Many spoke of their journey on the bus as creating a family. They share hugs and laughs, dance while some in the group play congas, and play sports together. They clap and cheer after the declarations of their legal status.
    “Sometimes, I feel a little nostalgic when I’m alone. But when I’m with the group, I laugh and my whole attitude changes ... because the group gives support and love,” Mangandi said after the press conference. “We know the bus is our house and what we share there is the family we have made.”
    ICE should be waiting for them and deport them all.
  5. Like
    Smiley-one got a reaction from KLS2010 in Part of the American Dream Act Begins Today   
    The ones like us that come to the US legally are the ones that will pay. The first approvals on EAD could come with in a month yet we wait 3 months or more. Why should we have to wait when we arrived here legally and have paid the big bucks and the illegal ones get a free ride on the tax payers of the Untied States.
  6. Like
    Smiley-one got a reaction from Harsh_77 in Part of the American Dream Act Begins Today   
    The ones like us that come to the US legally are the ones that will pay. The first approvals on EAD could come with in a month yet we wait 3 months or more. Why should we have to wait when we arrived here legally and have paid the big bucks and the illegal ones get a free ride on the tax payers of the Untied States.
  7. Like
    Smiley-one got a reaction from sciencenerd in Same-sex couple fights to stop deportation, gay marriage ban   
    A Filipino woman who married her American wife in 2008, when it was briefly legal to do so in the state of California, should not be denied immigration rights that heterosexual couples receive and should not be deported, her lawyers are arguing in a lawsuit.
    Jane DeLeon, who came to the U.S. in 1989, her son, Martin Aranas, and her spouse, Irma Rodriguez, are suing the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, among others, for their implementation of the Defense of Marriage Act. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division.
    The suit joins several others targeting DOMA, the federal law banning same-sex marriages, including one filed by binational gay couples in New York. The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to take up two of those cases: one originating in Massachusetts and another in California, according to scotusblog.
    “ … [T]the lawsuit alleges that the Administration has refused to implement a nationwide program to place same sex marriage immigration cases on hold while the courts determine DOMA’s constitutionality,” the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the family along with others, said in a statement, echoing complaints made by other same-sex marriage immigration groups.
    While the Administration has stated that it would review gay marriage cases on a ‘case-by-case’ individual basis, the plaintiffs claim that many immigrants cannot afford to retain lawyers to prepare the materials needed for an individualized discretionary case-by-case determination, and in any event many immigrants are afraid to come forward and expose themselves to detention or deportation,” the statement continued. In this case, “DeLeon was not offered a ‘case-by-case’ determination but instead had her temporary status automatically revoked and was told to leave the country.”
    DeLeon, 47, came to the U.S. with her common-law husband. She met Rodriguez in 1992, and they have lived together ever since.
    Authorities approved her employer’s application for permanent resident status for her in May 2006, and she had temporary lawful status until April 2011, when immigration officials told her she was inadmissible to the country. They said she had misrepresented her name and marital status because she had entered the U.S. under the last name of her former spouse, even though they were not legally married, according to the lawsuit.
    The couple attempted to get a waiver based upon the hardship that deportation would impose upon them and DeLeon’s 25-year-old son, whose immigration status would also be affected if his mother was deported, but it was denied last November. Authorities, the lawsuit said, did not reject the request because the couple failed to prove the hardship claim, but solely because under the federal marriage law she was married to someone of the same sex who was not recognized as a relative.
    The denial states that under DOMA, DeLeon’s spouse did "not qualify as a relative for purposes of establishing hardship,” the lawsuit said.
    Peter Boogaard, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman, said immigration services won’t comment on pending litigation.
    "In general, pursuant to the attorney general’s guidance, the Defense of Marriage Act remains in effect and the executive branch, including the Department of Homeland Security, will continue to enforce it unless and until Congress repeals it, or there a final judicial determination that it is unconstitutional,” he said in an email.
    For some gay couples, fight goes on to marry — and stay in the US
    Appeals court: Denying federal benefits to same-sex couples is unconstitutional
    Conservatives target Republicans who back gay marriage
    Illinois same-sex couples sue for right to marry
    Obama: 'I think same-sex couples should be able to get married'
    DOMA, enacted by Congress in 1996, blocks federal recognition of same-sex marriage, thereby denying various benefits given to heterosexual couples, such as the right to immigrate.
    The lawsuit alleges that the federal marriage law denies due process and equal protection under the law in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The couple is asking the court to grant their request to give class action status to the lawsuit since their challenge affects innumerable others in their situation.
    “Irma and I have committed to each other for the rest of our lives. We now face being forced to move to the Philippines or breaking up our family only because we are legally married women,” DeLeon said, noting the couple could face persecution in her home country because they are lesbians. “We pray that the administration will change its mind and grant me and those similarly situated around the country the right to remain here temporarily until the courts decide whether our constitutional lawsuit has merit.”
    There are an estimated 36,000 binational gay couples in the U.S. Lavi Soloway, a lawyer representing same-sex couples, whose law practice – Masliah & Soloway – created Stop The Deportations: The DOMA project, said the case highlights the need to put such pending green card cases on hold until a judicial resolution has been reached.
    “Thousands of gay and lesbian Americans struggle every day with the crisis of expiring visas, separation, exile, and deportation caused solely by DOMA," he said in an email. "This can end now if the Obama administration uses the power of the executive branch to implement remedies to protect our families until DOMA is gone.”
  8. Like
    Smiley-one got a reaction from Lise+Michael in HAPPY CANADA IN THE US   
    Happy Canada Day to all the Canadians living in the US :dance:
  9. Like
    Smiley-one got a reaction from TheFantastics09 in HAPPY CANADA IN THE US   
    Happy Canada Day to all the Canadians living in the US :dance:
  10. Like
    Smiley-one got a reaction from JohnR! in California bar: Illegal immigrant should get law license   
    By Miranda Leitsinger, msnbc.com
    An illegal immigrant applying for a law license in California should be allowed to receive it, the State Bar of California argues in a filing to the state Supreme Court.
    Sergio Garcia, 35, of Chico, Calif., has met the rules for admission, including passing the bar exam and the moral character review, and his lack of legal status in the United States should not automatically disqualify him, the Committee of Bar Examiners said Monday.
    “ … Mr. Garcia’s status in the United States, should not, ipso facto, be grounds for excluding him from law licensure. He has met all of the prescribed qualifications and there is no reason to believe he cannot take the oath and faithfully uphold his duties as an attorney,” the bar said.
    Garcia's father is a naturalized citizen, according to the bar, and Garcia is waiting for a visa that would give him legal permanent residency. His application for a law license is being weighed by the court because his case is unprecedented in the state, the bar committee said.
    A similar case is being heard in Florida for a bar applicant in that state, Jose Godinez-Samperio, who came from Mexico to the United States as a child with his parents and overstayed a tourist visa. How justices rule in the cases in California and Florida could affect other illegal immigrants who hope to follow in their footsteps.
    Some 11.5 million “unauthorized immigrants,” as the Department of Homeland Security calls illegal immigrants, lived in the United States as of January 2011. Of that, 6.8 million were from Mexico, like Garcia, according to the department’s Office of Immigration Statistics. On Friday, President Barack Obama announced that some of the immigrants who came to the country as children – and met other requirements -- would be able to get two-year work permits. He also called on immigration officials to halt deportation proceedings against them.
    Obama administration won't seek deportation of young illegal immigrants
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    Garcia, who attended law school and college in California, does not fit in that group because he is over the age limit of 30, but he is nonetheless overjoyed for those who do. He has been waiting nearly 18 years for a visa, though his petition for it was approved in 1995, the bar said.
    “That’s the state of our immigration system … our immigration system is broken,” Garcia told msnbc.com, estimating he will have to wait another five years for the visa. “It’s really painful.”
    A decision on his bar application could still be at least months away for Garcia. Others now have one month to submit their own legal filings in the case, and then the state bar would have another month to reply to those, the court said.
    “I have always been an eternal optimist so this (bar recommendation) does give me hope,” Garcia, who submitted his application to the bar in 2009, told msnbc.com. “I have faith that my dream of being an attorney will be realized sooner rather than later.”
    In the filing, the bar committee said it was not aware of any statute, regulation or authority that would preclude his admission. It noted that Garcia’s employability in the U.S. should not determine whether he gets a license, citing the cases of foreign students who can get admitted to the California bar but may not stay in the country to practice law afterward.
    “ … the grant of a law license provides no guarantee of a pathway to lawful employment in the United States for these individuals,” the bar committee said. “What Mr. Garcia, or any other foreign applicant, does with his license after licensure must comport with federal regulations and that is a matter strictly between him and the federal government.”
    Former Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, who supports Garcia’s application, said that the court was the ultimate authority on attorney admissions in the state and would likely establish a rule in this case that would apply to similar ones in the future. But the possibility that undocumented immigrants could receive law licenses doesn’t sit well with some.
    “I know what the policy ought to be, which is that … someone who doesn’t have the right to be in the United States shouldn’t be admitted to the bar, period,” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington think tank that supports tighter immigration controls, told msnbc.com in late April.
    “This is trying to steal a base. In other words, they’re trying to skip over the debate over whether people in his situation should get legalized,” he added. “It’s one more way of trying to create a de facto legalization.”
  11. Like
    Smiley-one got a reaction from UK_Fan in KY driver's license with just EAD   
    I was able to get my license in Virginia for 1 year. All I had to show was my current license from Ontario, Canada, bank statement, SSN, marriage license, passport with unexpired I-94. That was all that was required in Virginia. Once I get my Green Card I will be able to get a drivers license for a longer period of time. I found this out by going into the DMV in Virginia. You may need to go into your local Circuit Court Clerk's office to find out what identification is required.
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