DOMA ruled Unconstitutional

By | Houston Immigration, Immigration Policy | No Comments

Edith Windsor was in a relationship for a long time, and was married in Canada in 2009. She is 83 and lived in New York. When her spouse died the federal Government levied a tax of $363,000/- that would not be ordinarily levied on a widow.  Why? Because Edith was a lesbian, and the marriage was same sex.
The IRS looks to a State law in determining whether the person is married. New York recognized gay marriages in 2011. But the couple was married in 2009. Under the Federal Law Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) , the word spouse is defined as a person of the opposite sex. The second circuit yesterday became the second federal court to rule that DOMA is unconstitutional. It takes away the rights of same sex couples that are inherent in heterosexual couples.
Although this case is a tax case, it has humongous impact on Immigration. Many long term same sex couples cannot get the immigration benefits from being married to their long time spouse.  They are actually penalized more heavily than even Edith Windsor.  Many times they are forced to live illegally, with no immigration benefits, but simply because of the love for their partners. If that partner dies, they cannot gain anything monetarily.
Same sex marriage is legal in 6 states and the District of Columbia. 5 more States allow Civil union. 4  States are voting on the issue in November.  Hopefully the tides will turn and we can actually become a land that guarantees “liberty and Justice for all.”
Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information.

Everyone's Shame: Alabama's HB56 and The War on Immigrants

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A report generated by the number of calls to a hotline hosted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, was released by the National Immigration Law Center, listing complaints of bullying, discrimination, and racial profiling in Alabama. The report, Alabama’s Shame: HB56 and the War on Immigrants, lists more than 6,000 calls over the past 10 months.

Alabama’s immigration law, HB 56, instructs law officers to check an individual’s immigration status if the officer cites a “reasonable suspicion” that the detained person is not a legal immigrant. Unfortunately, a number of Latino residents of Alabama have found that HB 56 has given some people carte blanche to question them, and in some cases, behave discriminatorily toward them.

“Scores of Latinos called to report that they suspected they had been stopped by police, after the HB 56 provisions became enforceable, mainly because they look Latino — so that officers could question them about their immigration status,” states the report.

Included are stories such a couple who called police to report damage to a building they rent, and being questioned about their immigration status, and a man and two coworkers being stopped by police officers while walking and being asked to show papers, with no additional reason for being detained. Additionally, some complaints tell of children being taunted in school, and requests for proof of legal citizenship while purchasing retail items.

Opponents of HB 56 were concerned that such a provision could incite xenophobia. “The people in this report are the mothers, fathers and children living under a law that has given a nod and a wink to the worst prejudices harbored by some residents,” said author of the report and SPLC Legal Director Mary Bauer. “If lawmakers are unwilling to repeal HB 56 – knowing this is the type of misery they have created – we can only assume they intended to inflict this cruelty all along.”

According to the AFL-CIO, HB 56 has negatively impacted Latina women in particular, compounding the issues of domestic abuse by applying a chilling factor to asking for help or seeking refuge. A female victim of domestic violence went to the courthouse, according to their report, to seek a “protection from abuse”, but was asked about her legal status and was informed by a clerk that she would be reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Backers of HB 56 have stated that its purpose is to ensure that individuals who work and reside in Alabama do so legally. According to The Southern law Poverty Center, undocumented immigrants comprise just 2.5 percent of the population.

A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at

Documentation for the Undocumented

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President Obama decreed that students and those who at least graduated high school, has a clean record, and had arrived here illegally as a minor through no fault of their own would not be deported and can get temporary work permits.  The children had to have arrived before 2007,  before the age of 16, and have been present continuously present in the country and been here on June 15, 2012. This sounds good, and many people qualify.  But the problem for many kids is getting the documents.  If they were registered in school since 2007 to present, then school records should suffice.  But the problem comes in where the children graduated from high school before June 2012.
After they graduate, many children simply live with their parents.  They dont have lease, or utility bills under their name.
They work illegally for cash. Their employers dont want to say that to the government, and understandably so.  Since they deal in cash, they dont have receipts, bank accounts or credit cards.
They are generally in good health and don’t visit doctors or hospitals.
Although they attend church regularly, what United States Citizenship and Immigration Office is looking for is baptism, first communion or wedding records. Just letters from pastors stating that he has seen them attend church may not be enough.
Some of the other evidence would be maybe Facebook records or phone records for texting, or maybe internet postings.  But not all children are computer savvy enough to get this from 2007. And  many may not have Facebook accounts in 2007, and many may not have kept their MySpace accounts from 2007.  Also those records must somehow establish that the children were in the United States. These children certainly did not think, let me post, “Beautiful day in Houston” in 2007, in the hope that maybe sometime in the distant future this would establish that they were living in Houston since 2007.
Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

Immigrations Policies Continue to Vary From State To State

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In July, a self-proclaimed “immigration enforcement activist” D.A. King filed a complaint with the Georgia Immigration Enforcement Review Board regarding the immigration status of workers. King has accused more than 1,200 different government agencies in Georgia of not adequately providing information regarding House Bill 87, which requires government entities employing two or more people to annually file a report on each employee’s legal status.

King has cited a local convention and visitors’ bureau, a downtown development authority, waste management and others, though the actual number of potential cases is unclear as many agencies include volunteer boards with no “employed” staff, which makes them exemptions to the law. King has filed additional complaints with the state Department of Community Affairs, concerned with what he sees as non-compliance with the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program, a database for public benefit applicants. How many other states are not reporting on the legal status of each and every employee is unknown, as there is no national database.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals released its ruling upholding their version of the “show me your papers” provision, allowing law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of people otherwise detained if they fail to show proper identification. This decision follows a similar law in Arizona recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Complicating matters is Georgia’s Attorney General, Sam Olens, who stated that immigrants covered as part of The DREAM Act will be eligible for driver’s licenses, if they can provide proof of DACA. However, these individuals will not be issued state identification cards, as they are considered “public benefits,” and as such, are not covered. Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer, on the other hand, has ordered state officials to not to provide driver’s licenses to immigrants with “deferred status.”

“A lot of these issues are in uncharted waters. In this particular area, which is how do you treat people that are deferred action, there’s very little legal precedent to go by,” Muzaffar Chishti, director of the Migration Policy Institute’s office at the New York University School of Law, told CNN. “States are making their own judgments.”

Nebraska and Texas also are not issuing licenses, which they consider a public benefit, stated Gov. Dave Heineman, while Texas Gov. Rick Perry stated that DACA “does not undermine or change our state laws,” and said in a letter to his state’s attorney general that the federal guidelines “confer absolutely no legal status whatsoever” to any immigrant. California and Oregon, however, are looking at granting licenses.

“We’re still trying to sort out what this new limbo category means for states,” said Ann Morse, program director of the Immigrant Policy Project at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at