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California proposes immigrant health care

People in California who are not United States citizens or who may have friends or family members who are not U.S. citizens know all too well how uncertain their future in the country may feel since the new president and administration came into office. Talk of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, the potential deportation of millions of immigrants and more all contribute to this situation.

While the federal government's future actions are unknown, the state of California is attempting to take at least some matters into its own hands. U.S. News and World Reports indicates that the state is attempting to at least provide health care to all of its residents regardless of citizenship status. This is not actually a completely new effort as California made a step toward this by ensuring that all children had access to health care since 2015.

4 steps for getting a J-1 visa

If you want to research, teach or receive training in the United States, you may want to consider applying for the J-1 visa. This exchange visitor visa promotes cultural and educational exchanges between America and countries around the globe. According to the U.S. Department of State, approximately 300,000 visitors get J-1 visas per year.

However, not everyone who applies will get the visa. If you have an interest in this exchange program, here are some basics you should know about it.

ACLU accuses border authorities of abusing unaccompanied children

Escaping violence and oppression in one’s homeland can be terrifying for an adult, let alone a child. It is a tragic and common occurrence for many children to attempt to gain access into California and elsewhere in the United States without parents or other adults to protect and guide them. The fear and uncertainty these children may experience while seeking safety in an unfamiliar country can seem impossible to imagine. Ideally, unaccompanied minors would be offered adequate shelter and food, as well as compassionate care, when they come into the country, but new reports suggest otherwise.

According to CBS News, the American Civil Liberties Union is accusing agents of the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection of a wide range of abuses and injustices committed against unaccompanied children, as well as failing to address, investigate and protect these vulnerable foreigners. Reportedly, the ACLU gained access to 30,000 pages of records that describe the neglect and abuse in chilling detail. Between 2009 and 2014, unaccompanied children that came into the U.S. along the southern border have reported instances of verbal abuse, including name-calling, insults and threats to harm, sexually assault or kill the young immigrants. The reports also include children saying they were punched, kicked, stomped on, tased and struck by border agents’ vehicles. They have said they were subjected to unsanitary and freezing conditions without decent food or water.

President Trump orders end of TPS program

For hundreds of thousands of people fleeing their home countries because of natural and humanitarian disasters, Temporary Protected Status has served as their means of achieving a new life in the United States. This program has been in place for upwards of 30 years, offering sanctuary to people mostly from Central America and the Caribbean, although people from Nepal and Sudan also have come under its protection.

Now, however, President Trump seeks to end the TPS program. The Department of Homeland Security already rescinded TPS benefits for nearly 293,000 of the program’s 300,000 participants. With the loss of their TPS status, these immigrants only have until September of next year to somehow change their immigration status or return to their home countries. Some of them have lived here for decades, and while both White House chief of staff John Kelly and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen favor a path to citizenship for them, Congress has yet to pass a bill to this effect.

Latest DHS illegal border crossing policy separates families

President Trump came to office in January 2017 promising, among other things, to “crack down” on illegal immigration and build a fence along America’s entire southern border with Mexico. The fence has yet to materialize, but the crackdown against undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. has made headlines for months.

As of this week, the focus of the administration’s crackdown shifted from Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials arresting undocumented workers across the country and deporting them to their home country to the way in which Department of Homeland Security officials will now handle individuals and families crossing the border illegally. The new DHS policy is to refer all persons caught illegally crossing the border for federal prosecution, whether or not they are asylum seekers. In addition, the policy includes separating children from the adults they are accompanying until the DHS establishes a family relationship between each child and his or her adult, usually the mother.

Dual citizenship: advantages and disadvantages

Permanent residents of California who were born in another country have three options when it comes to citizenship: 1) retention of their native citizenship; 2) naturalization to become a U.S. citizen; and 3) dual citizenship to gain U.S. citizenship while retaining citizenship in their native country.

Many immigrants fall in love with our culture and way of life and wish to assimilate into it. Others prefer to retain their own cultural identity, language and other aspects of their home country. Still others decide to take the middle ground and apply for dual citizenship.

Tips for finding a job in the U.S. as an immigrant

Immigration is a topic full of debate in the political world. But despite the arguments surrounding the issue, in most cases, immigrants just want better lives for themselves and their families. If you are an immigrant looking for a job in the United States, you may feel fearful and uncertain.

Thankfully, there are opportunities for you here. It is often possible to get a work visa and start building a stable life in America. Here are some tips for finding work as an immigrant.

How difficult is the naturalization test?

If you are an immigrant living in California, you may wish to apply for U.S. citizenship at some point. You receive many benefits from becoming a naturalized citizen, not the least of which is that you no longer need worry about your immigration status or if all your papers are up-to-date and otherwise in order. As the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explain, however, in order to become an American citizen, you must successfully pass a naturalization test.

The first step you must take in your naturalization process is to interview with a USCIS officer. (S)he will ask you questions about your background and your naturalization application which you must answer truthfully. Under most circumstances this interview will be in English, so you need to have a basic command of the English language so as to be able to understand the questions and respond appropriately. Then you must take both an English test and a civics test. To prepare for these tests, you can attend naturalization classes and/or study the numerous study materials available.

Will DACA changes impact employment?

There is a lot in the news about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which you may know better as DACA. This program has helped countless people who were brought into this country illegally as children to remain in the country. According to Business Insider, DACAs main purpose is to help them be able to legally work despite their illegal status. If you are working in California under the program, you have a right to be concerned about your employment future.

President Trump has been very clear that he is ending DACA. However, there has been work to replace the program, so you can continue to reap its benefits. There is still concern. It has been a very volatile situation in Congress over this program. There have been many delays and arguments.

What is adjustment of status?

Whether you have moved to the United States to pursue your dream or you want to move closer to family, there are several methods you can use to gain permanent resident status in the country. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you may go through the adjustment of status process if you are already in the United States. Consular processing must be used if you are currently located outside the country. Before you can apply, however, you must determine if you qualify under one of the green card eligibility categories.

Once you know you are eligible, you must fill out a green card application and have a sponsor fill out an immigrant petition. These forms often depend on the eligibility category you qualify under. Then make sure that a visa is available in the category in which you are applying. To initiate the adjustment of status process, you can file a Form I-485. The Application Support Center will then send you a notice for an appointment. The USCIS will evaluate each case and issue you notice if your situation requires an interview. Keep in mind, the sponsor who filled out the immigration petition will need to join you at the meeting.

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