The People's Guide

35th Edition 2013-2014

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65 The People's Guide 2013-2014 The use of cash welfare like CalWORKs, SSI, GR or CAPI, by your children or other family members, won't affect your immigra- tion status unless these benefits are your family's only income If you have used cash benefits for yourself, such as CalWORKs, SSI, GR, or CAPI, it may affect your application for lawful permanent residence. However, you should not automatically be considered a "public charge" just because you received any type of welfare in the past. The law focuses on whether you can show the officials that you or your family can support you or yourselves in the future. Whether you should seek a benefit de- pends on how badly you need it and how much you or your family members desire to change their immigration status. It also depends on how much evidence of good jobs or proof of economic independence you will probably be able to show when you or your family members have the interview for more permanent status. The government should not demand that you repay any welfare you correctly received as a condition of giving you legal status. If this happens, call one of the immigrant advocate agencies. 3. Sponsors Most new immigrants entering into the US through family members are required to have a sponsor sign an "affidavit of support" form. This form is a promise to the government that the sponsor will help to provide economic support for any sponsored immigrants. Not all immigrants are required to have a sponsor, for example refugees and asylees. If you are a sponsored immigrant and you want to apply for certain government ben- efits, your sponsor's income and resources may be added to yours in determining your eligibility for benefits (this is called "deeming"). This deeming rule makes the income of many immigrants too high to qualify for benefits. There is no deeming if you are applying for health care programs, only for CalFresh/Food Stamps and cash assistance programs. Deeming does not apply to some migrants, including: refugees, asylees, parolees, battered spouses who have filed a "self- petition" for an immigrant visa, or certain other immigrants who are not required to have a sponsor such as T and U visa hold- ers. In addition, there are exceptions to the deeming rule, depending on which program you are applying for and when you entered the US. For example, if you are a victim of domestic violence or would go hungry or homeless without assistance, you may be exempt from deeming. However, you will still have to meet the other eligibility requirements. If you have a question or problem with "sponsor deeming" contact one of the agencies listed at the end of this page. FOR LEGAL REFUGEES Each "official" or documented refugee who enters the United States is assigned to a Voluntary Resettlement Agency (VOLAG), usually before arrival. In addition to initial resettlement and sponsorship, these offices can provide some employment assistance and social service counseling. VOLAGs can also give referrals to other services and often help refugees arrange for the entry of close family members. These organizations include the following: African Community Resource Center & Resettlement Agency (213) 637-1450 Church World Service & Lutheran Immigra- tion Relief Service (323) 667-0489 Jewish Family Services (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) (800)HIAS-714 International Institute (American Council for Nationalities Service) (323) 264-6217; (818) 452-9421 International Rescue Committee (818) 550-6220 Refugee Resettlement Program, Catholic Charities (U.S. Catholic Conference) (213) 251-3400 World Relief (818) 548-4423 IF YOU ARE DETAINED BY IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT If you are arrested by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), you should • Remain silent, or tell the ICE agent that you want to remain silent. • Ask to speak with a lawyer • Not carry false documents • Find out the name and phone number of a reliable immigration attorney and keep this information with you at all times. • Know your "A" number (alien registra- tion number) if you have one, and write it down someplace at home where your family members know where to find it. • Prepare a form or document that autho- rizes another adult to care for your minor children. • Advise family members who do not want to be questioned by ICE to stay away from the place where you are being detained • Not sign any documents without first speaking with a lawyer. The National Immigration Law Center has resources on benefits for immigrants in California at: ADVICE FOR IMMIGRANTS These groups can offer help with questions relating to immigration, an immigrant's ability to qualify for public benefits, defense against deportation, and other needs. Some organizations charge for their services; ask first. APALC (Asian Pacific American Legal Center) (213) 977-7500 Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law (213) 388-8693 Carecen (Central American Refugee Cen- ter) 2845 W. 7th St. 90005 (213) 385-7800 Center for Human Rights and Constitu- tional Law 256 S. Occidental Blvd., L.A. 90057 (213) 388-8693 CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles) (213) 353-1333 El Rescate 1340 S. Bonnie Brae St., L.A. 90006 (213) 387-3284 Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (213) 640-3883 Neighborhood Legal Services of Los An- geles County (818) 896 5211 13327 Van Nuys Blvd., Pacoima 91331 Los Angeles County Bar Immigration Project (213) 485-1872 LA Gay and Lesbian Center Legal Services Department (323)993-7670 Immigration Center for Women and Children (213) 614-1165 Non-Citizens

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