In California, attitudes shift on illegal immigration. Times change. Attitudes soften. People get to know each other and relax. Twenty-one years ago, 59% of California voters decided to deny public services for immigrants who came here illegally. That included refusing to educate children. The Courts tossed out most of Proposition 187, but they couldn't throw out the feelings of the people in favor of Prop 187.
Now we see a reversal of these feelings. In a new statewide poll, the Public Policy Institute of California reported that the vast majority of voters now favor providing a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here illegally.
Why have Californians changed their minds? According to the policy institute, so many Californians experience immigrants in their daily lives, and they have positive experiences. People consistently see immigrants as more of a benefit to the economy than a burden. They know the importance of citizenship. And they're at the point where they just want a solution. Californians are no longer bashing illegal immigration. Maybe it's not exactly welcomed. But it's tolerated and viewed realistically.
In November, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced Mr. Obama’s new deportation relief program, DAPA, for some parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, along with the expansion of an existing DACA program that allows some undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to stay and work temporarily. Those programs are currently on hold because of a court injunction. To prevent the deportation of non-criminal aliens, ICE agents have been instructed to continue basing deportations on certain priorities.
ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said that ICE officers, agents, and attorneys will continue to evaluate all cases on an individualized basis, to consider any factors that may avoid deportation.
Teleconference on I-601A Provisional Waivers
On 31 March, the office of the DHS Ombudsman held a teleconference on the topic of I-601A Provisional Waiver requests. These waivers require the applicant to show that his or her spouse or parent would experience extreme hardship if the alien did not receive a visa. One of Mr. Obama’s actions last November was to direct DHS and CIS to reconsider the requirements for showing extreme hardship.
Unfortunately, last week’s teleconference was not able to provide any information about when the relaxed requirements for extreme hardship would be available. Everything related to Mr. Obama’s November actions seems to be on hold now.
Exceptions to Free Speech in America
Speech is not totally free in America. There are exceptions, depending on people’s reactions to words or expressions. Speech is not free if it involves incitement, or if it is a false statement that damages other people.
At a high school in Morgan Hill, on Cinco de Mayo, some students arrived at school wearing American flag T-shirts. The assistant principal of the school told these students that their clothing could cause an incident and they would have to turn the T-shirts inside out. The students thought that this would disrespect the US flag, so they chose to leave the school.
School officials said they feared the showing of the American flag by some students at an event where other students were celebrating their Mexican heritage would incite fights between the two groups.
So the question was: “Displaying an American flag on Mexican holiday – is that free speech or is it an unnecessary provocation?” The 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco said it was reasonable for school officials to tell the students to remove their US flag T-shirts, in order to avoid a potentially violent disturbance.
To most Viet Kieu in America, the decision of the Court is incomprehensible. How could a US court say that a school can prevent students from wearing T-shirts that show the American flag?
Among Viet Kieu, the pre-1975 flag of Vietnam is the flag that they continue to honor and respect. State Sen. Lou Correa in Santa Ana said, “What the Vietnamese people feel for their flag is never-ending. It's something beautiful to behold."
A Vietnamese merchant in Westminster said, “This flag is what represents us as Vietnamese people. We are proud of who we are, and no one can take away our beliefs”.
A Vietnamese visitor to Orange County said, “The flag of our native country is as relevant today as it will always be". And a Vietnamese café worker in Los Angeles simply said, “We are faithful to what we love."There will be many tears shed at the end of this month as people remember the events of April 1975 and the following years. We hope that Vietnamese American children born in the US will be able to understand why their parents pay respect only to the red-striped gold flag of the Republic of Vietnam.
Q.1. Would K-1 visa holders be benefited from DAPA program? Will they have to leave US after their I-601A got approved?
A.1. Fiancée visa holders would not be able to benefit from the DAPA program unless they had a child born in the US. If they get an approved I-601A, they would still have to leave the States in order to have a visa interview in Vietnam.
Q.2. What can a petitioner do if he is not eligible to file an I-601 for his relative?
A.2. In some cases, the Consulate in Saigon has said that an I-601 must be done to overcome an applicant’s criminal activity. However, the I-601 requires evidence that the spouse or parent of the applicant will suffer extreme hardship if the visa is not approved. If the petitioner is a sibling of the applicant, the I-601 is not possible.
Q.3. Can a Naturalized US citizen be deported?
A.3. Yes it is possible if the US government learns a new fact has been discovered which, if known at the time of naturalization, would have prevented the alien from ever being naturalized. This usually involves that the person naturalized used a false identity or committed some other kind of fraud on the immigration service. Normally, Naturalized Citizens are not deported for crimes committed after they naturalize.