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Thursday, February 28, 2013

LGBT, Native Americans Are Protected by VAWA

      The Violence Against Women Act finally cleared in Congress and will be signed by President Obama shortly.  An article in Huff Post Politics details the political fight that resulted in this law which protects victims of domestic violence.
      The two new groups that will be protected under the law include Native Americans and members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community.  Immigrant men and women will also receive protections under VAWA, as before. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Long Wait Time to Asylum Decision

      Asylum cases are often resolved (favorably) by Immigration Judges at individual court hearings.  Sadly, however, applicants must wait an average of TWENTY months before their case is solved according to a recent article in The Washington Post.  That's 20 months without seeing family members left behind in the homeland and 20 months without knowing whether the future involves buying a home or moving to another country.
Clock Face Time Stock Image      Reducing the wait time is one part of the comprehensive immigration reform package which will be proposed this year.  In the meantime, I urge applicants to wisely use the wait time to gather evidence such as affidavits from persons abroad or homeland newspaper articles about others who experienced similar harm.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Read About Approvals on Facebook

     This blog provides information about how the law protects foreigners throughout the United States.  It includes news articles about immigration judges and problems in other countries.
      When our clients win asylum, however, those victories are immediately posted on Blandon Law's Facebook page.  Anonymously, of course. 
      Like the page if you want to know about our experience.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Detention IS Persecution

       In order to win an asylum case, foreigners must prove that they were harmed on account of specific grounds.  Surprisingly, not all harm qualifies.  The harm must rise to a level known as PERSECUTION.  Because that term is not neatly defined in the law, immigration judges and asylum officers can interpret it differently.
     The Eleventh Circuit, which controls cases in Florida, held several years ago that attempted murder (someone shooting at foreigners) was persecution.  This month, the Eleventh Circuit expanded the definition of persecution even more.  BY LAW, foreigners who are detained against their will, slapped and threatened with other abuse are persecuted and eligible for asylum.
Handcuff Royalty Free Stock Photos

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Florida Driver's Licenses for Asylum Applicants

     The web site of the Florida's Division of Motor Vehicles has a lengthy table of documents required by foreigners wishing to get a drivers license in the state.  Those who are APPLYING for asylum need to take their valid passport, I-94 showing entry date, and the receipt (I-797) issued by Immigration showing that the application was received.
      Those granted asylum by an immigration judge need to take the original (and a copy) of the order.  Asylees are considered immigrants and generally have an easier time renewing their license when it expires. 
      Family members who entered as refugees (including spouses or children of those granted asylum) need to show their valid passport and I-94 card with refugee stamp.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Journalists Threatened in Venezuela

     Human Rights Watch posted an article recently about how the government of President Hugo Chavez is persecuting journalists and other media professionals.  The administration is trying to halt public speech concerning his failing health and the irregularities of his inauguration. 
      Because publication of opposing viewpoints is an example of political opinion, journalists can apply for asylum in the United States if they fear harm in Venezuela.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Increasing number of LGBT foreigners win asylum

     This article in the Advocate confirms what I am seeing.  More and more approvals of asylum cases for LGBT persons who are persecuted in their home countries because of their sexual identity.

  Rainbow Flag Waves in Sun against Blue Sky

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