Green card holders living in California are sometimes worried that even minor brushes with the law could lead to their deportation. While some forms of criminal activity can lead to a person being deported, small offenses will rarely have such serious consequences. However, the law in this area is subject to interpretation.
California residents may have read recent media reports about the controversial EB-5 visa program that grants permanent legal residence in the United States to foreign nationals who invest $500,000 or more into an enterprise that creates jobs for Americans. The program has been particularly popular among wealthy Chinese citizens, but it has come under fire from critics who say that it amounts to selling green cards to the wealthy. The criticism of the program has crossed party lines, and Congress is considering a number of changes designed to reduce the likelihood of fraud and ensure that the jobs created are in areas of high unemployment.
According to reports, California Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed one new bill that provides some protection for immigrants charged with drug offenses, while he vetoed another. The result is that immigrants will enjoy more protections, but they will still face the possibility of their offenses triggering deportation and removal proceedings.
Two representatives from California have criticized a recent decision by the State Department to change an immigration policy. The sudden and unexplained policy revision left an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 immigrants unable to apply for green cards as they had expected. According to U.S. Reps. Mike Honda and Zoe Lofgren, the revision has undermined predictability and stability in the immigration system.