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630-932-9100
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Mevorah Law Offices LLC
630-932-9100
DuPage County Attorneys

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Phone: 630-932-9100

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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in immigrant rights

Chicago deportation defense lawyers, immigration enforcement, ICE, due process, Immigration lawIn this day and age, immigration enforcement has taken on an angle that many see as cruel. Media in the U.S. and in other countries have spoken up regarding the behavior of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and immigrant rights groups in the country are making certain that the issue remains at the forefront of discussion.

However, in the midst of the actions being taken against both documented and undocumented immigrants, it is imperative to remember that immigrants, especially the undocumented, have rights. You are entitled to due process, even if you are in ICE custody.

Due Process Rights Are Clear ...

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Naturalization Rights & ResponsibilitiesWhile most people are well aware of the rights that come with becoming a U.S. citizen, there are also very distinct responsibilities that accompany this status. While these responsibilities are fairly common sense in most respects, it is still foreseeable that not being aware of certain requirements could land you in trouble later on in life. While a list is given to you when you naturalize, it is important that you truly understand each item, be it a perk or an obligation.

The Rights of Naturalized Citizens

Of course, once you become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you enjoy all the same rights as a person who was born in the country. You are entitled to all Constitutional rights, such as the right to vote, the right to an attorney under the Fifth Amendment (in certain instances, immigrants are not entitled to be represented by an attorney unless they pay for the service), and the unfettered right to employment, including government jobs and other potentially sensitive positions that are not open to non-citizens. You are also entitled to more intangible benefits such as specifically enumerated freedoms you may not have enjoyed in your former country.

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Chicago immigration attorneys, Immigrants Voting, voting, current voting lawDuring an election season, quite a lot of misinformation is passed around, with both good and bad intentions. Unfortunately, immigrants - especially newly arrived immigrants - are often misled by this, especially regarding their own rights with regard to participating in the process. It is imperative to set the story straight, especially when there can be serious consequences otherwise.

What Does The Law Say?

Many believe that immigrants who are lawfully present have the right to vote, and in a few locations, they do, such as Takoma Park in Maryland, but only in local elections. However, federal law has made non-citizen voting in federal elections unlawful since 1996. The rationale is that non-citizens should not be entitled to a voice upon subjects they are not affected by (because, in theory, non-citizens are not affected by issues like tax revenue, U.S. foreign policy or other issues they could simply return home to avoid). While this rationale is often insufficient in practice, the law is still upheld.

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Chicago immigration attorneys, undocumented immigrantsImmigration is a hotly debated topic nowadays, with viewpoints ranging all over the spectrum. However, the intensity of the debate can lead to serious misinformation being spread as fact, and it can have extremely negative effects on real people’s lives. One of the questions that has come up is the issue of whether undocumented immigrants even have rights to do things that most United States citizens consider elementary. The answer to such a question is important.


The Fourteenth Amendment

As far back as 1896, in the case of Yick Wo v. Hopkins, the Fourteenth Amendment was held to protect the rights of immigrants. To be sure, the majority opinion in the case stated that “The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is not confined to the protection of citizens.” While this jurisprudence is a good foundation upon which to base law, the question then comes up as to what rights the Fourteenth Amendment actually guarantees.

The amendment itself states that no one will be denied equal protection under the law, nor anyone deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The latter is fairly self-explanatory, and has been alluded to in Supreme Court jurisprudence countless times, enforcing immigrants’ rights under the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

The definition of ‘equal protection,’ on the face of it, is also easy to parse, but it has become more complex over the years. Certain rights are reserved for United States citizens, such as voting and possessing certain types of firearms. Also, rights and privileges may be denied to immigrants (both documented and otherwise) if it can be proved that the discrimination furthers an ‘important’ governmental interest by means that are substantially related to that interest. Still, despite these disadvantages, the fundamental rights are protected.

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Basic Immigrant Rights and Duties in the U.S. | Illinois AttorneyEach year, immigrants come to the United States to visit, to study, and to work. Foreign travelers and students are often welcomed by host countries and their citizens, and they spend money to get there and to remain. Often, tens of thousands of dollars are spent if they are pursuing advanced degrees.

Even undocumented aliens, who may avoid paying their fair share of taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), still contribute to American society by working and spending money. Some contend that undocumented workers are a drain on society, though it is these immigrants, with little support and knowledge of U.S. law, who are often the ones being taken advantage of. The plight in many of these immigrant stories is captured in the recent film about the life of Latino human rights leader, Cesar Chavez.

Thanks in part to activists like Chavez, immigrants living in the United States often have similar rights as U.S. born citizens, regardless of their visa status or alien classification. These rights do carry with them duties to the United States’ government as well, however. Though there are far too many to list in a brief posting, it is helpful for immigrants in this country to understand a number of their basic legal rights and duties.

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