Olmos & Barhoum APC is dedicated to defending your rights in immigration and family law proceedings. With over a decade of experience and a proven track record of successful cases, we provide strategic legal solutions to obtain immigration relief before the Immigration Court, the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (“USCIS”), and the Board of Immigration Appeals. We also provide representation in complex divorce and child custody matters in Family Court. The attorneys and staff at Olmos & Barhoum APC are vigorously committed to helping you obtain legal immigration status in the U.S. and protecting your spousal and parental rights.
We represent clients throughout Northern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Central Coast. Our lawyers and staff are fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. We offer in-person consultations at our office or via telephone, Zoom, Webex, or Microsoft Teams. Please call us to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.
Immigration News & Trends
Trump’s Recent Executive Orders on Immigration: A New Era of Fear and Discrimination
After only one week into his presidency, Trump passed an executive order to ban the travel of all immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries, including Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen, to the United States. The ban included people with a valid visa (e.g. student visa, tourist visa, immigrant visa), all refugees who had already undergone 2-3 years of vetting (background checks), and even lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders) of the United States. Those who arrived to the U.S. immediately after the executive order had passed were detained at airports all over the country and were denied admission. Many people were detained for over 24 hours and separated from their children. Green Card holders who were visiting family abroad or simply on vacation were suddenly unable to return home.
Lawsuits were immediately filed with the Federal Courts and the travel ban was suspended. Last week, in a 3-0 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit effectively refused to reinstate the travel ban and this executive order will remain suspended unless the U.S. Supreme Court decides otherwise. However, Trump will most likely not appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Rather, he is likely to pass a new executive order to restrict the travel of immigrants from these seven majority-Muslim countries.
In addition to his discriminatory action toward Muslim immigrants, Trump is instilling widespread fear among Hispanic immigrants through an increased number of raids at people’s homes and places of employment carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. Huge round-ups have been reported in Southern California during a five-day sweep, as well as in other places across the U.S., such as Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Texas, and North Carolina. These raids are in response to Trump’s new executive order that replaced Obama’s 2014 prosecutorial discretion policy with a much harsher enforcement priority guidance. The new order identifies as an enforcement priority an individual who is unlawfully present in the United States and has been: 1) convicted of any criminal offense; 2) charged with any criminal offense, even if the charge was dismissed; 3) committed “acts” that constitute a chargeable criminal offense even if no charges were actually filed against the person; 4) subject to any final order of removal, no matter how long ago the order of removal was issued; and other harsh grounds. The order also includes the hiring of 10,000 new ICE agents and 5,000 Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents, and imposes penalties (restriction of federal grants) for states and localities that refuse to comply with his new order.
The Trump administration will use a number of major enforcement tactics in connection with his new executive order, such as the following:
- Increasing ICE presence at jails and use of detainers;
- Giving permission to police department officers to act as immigration agents;
- Expanding immigration detention facilities and keeping people detained throughout their deportation proceedings to make it more difficult to fight their deportation in the Immigration Court;
- Increasing the number of home raids, workplace raids, and vehicular checks to target people with final orders of removal and any criminal record.
Additionally, nationals from countries of Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen will face more scrutiny as international students or as individuals applying for any U.S. immigration benefit, such as a Green Card.
Criminalizing immigrants and restricting the immigration of people from majority-Muslim countries is a serious racial justice issue, and we must come together during this repressive era to fight for the due process and equal protection rights of immigrants.
We urge all immigrants to know their rights by accessing our Resources Page and creating a safety plan to defend themselves against a possible ICE raid.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status is available to 18-20 year olds thanks to recent California state law
Federal law allows undocumented children in the U.S. who have been victims of abuse, abandonment, or neglect by a parent to apply for humanitarian protection under the Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJS) program. SIJS-eligible children must first be placed under the custody of an individual or entity appointed by a state court and such court must make a finding that reunification with one or both parents is not viable. Once the state court process is complete, the child can petition for SIJS with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and obtain permanent residency in the United States. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status was originally available only to children under 18 years old.
In 2014 and 2015, more than 9,500 unaccompanied immigrant children and youth who arrived to the U.S. border were released to family members and other adults in the state of California. Due to this ongoing surge of children arriving in the United States, the California legislature became concerned with assisting newcomer youth who had experienced parental abuse, neglect or abandonment in adjusting to life in the United States.
In response, the California legislature passed the AB-900 law, which took effect on January 1, 2016 and was implemented in the probate courts by July 2016. This new law gives probate courts in California jurisdiction to appoint legal guardians for youth ages 18-20 and thereby allows such youths to become eligible for SIJS. Under prior law, guardianships were not available for children over 18 years old. Now, guardianships in California can be filed in probate court by a relative or other adult, or even by the proposed ward, for youth under 21 years old. Federal law also raised the age limit requirement for SIJS and currently allows petitions to be filed by applicants who are 18-20 years old.
Immigrant youth in the United States were truly blessed to have the law recognize that 18 is not an appropriate age to end child welfare services for youth who have experienced trauma, and whose brains are still developing well beyond that age. Due to the particular vulnerabilities of this class of youth, such as special language and educational needs, mental health issues, and medical issues, having a custodial relationship with a responsible adult beyond the age of 18 is extremely important.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: WHAT TO DO IF IMMIGRATION AGENTS COME TO YOUR DOOR
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are currently performing a high number of raids on a daily basis under Trump’s new executive order. The targets of these raids are people with final orders of deportation or any arrest record; however, many undocumented immigrants with no criminal record are also being detained in the process.