Psychological Evaluations: A Critical Tool for Undocumented Immigrants

Erika Portillo
( is an immigration
lawyer and a partner at Guichard,
Teng and Portello, with o!ces in San
Francisco, Walnut Creek and Davis. She
is admitted to practice in the State of
California, the U.S. District Court Northern
District and the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Ninth Circuit. She has practiced
immigration law for over 10 years. Her practice focuses mainly on removal defense, family based immigration, asylum, form of relief for
victims of crimes and naturalization.


A significant focus of immigration law in the United States addresses the issues of  family unity and victim protection. If one takes a close look at the different
forms of immigration relief (i.e., relief from removal from the United States) available to foreign nationals, one realizes that psychological evaluations often serve as critical
evidence in support of an individual’s application for relief from removal. In hardship cases in which an applicant must show that if removed, it would pose a substantial hardship on a relative who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident,
the psychological evaluation evidence is vital. Usually the relative of concern is a parent, spouse or child of the person seeking relief. Mental health assessments will provide the adjudicator the necessary information to determine the impact on the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. In some instances the mental health evaluation is the most important evidence in the case, such as in U nonimmigrant visa
cases, where the individual has to show he/she suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of the victimization. The following is a list of the most common forms of relief available to undocumented immigrants where the services of
a mental health professional are crucial.

Hardship Cases –Waivers
Certain foreign nationals are considered inadmissible to the United States. For instance, immigrants who accumulate certain periods of unlawful presence, meaning without permission to remain legally in the United States are subject to three- or ten-year bars of admission if they ever try to re-enter the country lawfully. Other individuals who have committed certain crimes are also considered inadmissible. If the individual
has family members living in the U.S., the separation can have negative consequences for the entire family. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
(USCIS) has discretion to admit certain otherwise inadmissible individuals into the United States. A waiver may be available if the noncitizen can prove that failing to admit them into the country would result in “extreme hardship” to the applicant’s
citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent. With few exceptions, hardship to the immigrants themselves, or to their children, is not a considered factor. As mentioned, psychological evaluations are routinely submitted in support
of these kinds of applications for “extreme hardship” waivers of inadmissibility. In order to demonstrate extreme hardship for the purpose of a waiver application, the foreign national must prove that the denial of a waiver application would cause
a qualifying relative to experience a magnitude of hardship that substantially exceeds the hardship an average individual would be expected to suffer if their relative was denied such a waiver. Thus, in all waiver applications, the adjudicator will
have to consider what will likely happen to the qualifying relative in the event the waiver is denied? By default, there will be two possibilities for the adjudicator to consider. Since the inadmissible noncitizen will be residing outside the U.S. (that is what inadmissibility entails), the qualifying family members will have to choose whether (1) to remain in the U.S. and thus be separated from the inadmissible family member, or (2) relocate to the foreign country with the noncitizen. A failure to demonstrate hardship on both contingencies would be grounds for denial. Thus, it is important for the mental health professional when evaluating the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident individual to confront those questions, exploring how their lives and the lives of their family members would be affected by either leaving or remaining in the United States without the foreign national. Although the mental health evaluation
of an individual is relevant to the determination of extreme hardship, it does not imply the diagnosis is conclusive on the two inquiries. The adjudicator is to take into consideration the totally of the circumstances when determining the
existence of hardship. However, the evaluation will play a major
role in deciding whether to approve it or not.

Cancellation of Removal for Non-permanent residents
Some foreign nationals are eligible for cancellation of removal if they show that they have been living in the United States for 10 years or more, they have been a person of good moral character and their removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent, or child, and they are deserving of a favorable exercise of discretion on their application.
They may also qualify if they have been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty in the United States by their United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent, or if the foreign national is the parent of a child of a United States citizen or permanent resident and the child has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty in the United States by such citizen or lawful permanent resident parent. The applicants
must be in removal proceedings, meaning he or she must be before an immigration judge to be able to apply for that benefit. As with waivers, a psychological evaluation would be an important piece of evidence that would aid in the decision to grant or deny the benefit. It is important to keep in mind that in such cases, the mental health professional may be called as a witness to testify as to his/her findings.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Title 8 of the United States Code, allow certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens and certain spouses and children of permanent
residents (Green Card holders) to !le a petition for themselveswithout
the abuser’s knowledge. The VAWA provisions apply equally to women and men. The qualifying relative has to show in order to obtain that bene!t that he/she suffered battery/extreme cruelty at the hands of her U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative with whom he/she has resided. A psychological evaluation will provide the adjudicator the needed information as to the trauma and cruelty that the foreign national
experienced and it will assist in determining whether to approve
or deny the case.

U Nonimmigrant Visas
The U Nonimmigrant status (U visa) is set aside for victims of certain crimes, (usually violent crimes), who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.
It also protects victims of crimes committed at a place of employment. The crime has to been committed within the United States or constitute a violation of a U.S. law. Unlike
VAWA, in those kinds of cases reporting the crime is necessary to obtain the benefit.

Asylum claims
Every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution, or fear that they will suffer persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. Asylum-seekers
often provide substantial evidence demonstrating either past persecution or that they have a “well-founded fear” of future persecution in their home country. However, the individual’s own testimony is usually the most influential in the asylum determination. A psychological evaluation will help corroborate the past or future harm the individual will suffer in case of removal, making the assistance of the mental health professional crucial in the case.

T visas: Trafficking Victims Protection Act
In October 2000, Congress created the “T” nonimmigrant status by passing the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA). Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers lure individuals with false promises of employment and a better life. Traffickers often take advantage of poor, unemployed individuals who lack access to social services. The T Nonimmigrant Status (T visa) is a set aside for those who are or have been
victims of human trafficking, and allows victims to remain in the United States to assist in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. To qualify for this benefit, the individual must demonstrate that he/she would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if he/she is removed from the United States. Again, an evaluation will assist the individual demonstrate the required hardship. Mental health professionals may be required to testify when issuing an evaluation in cases where the foreign national is in immigration proceedings, meaning before an immigration
court. Those are the most common forms of relief available to foreign nationals in which a psychological evaluation can be a crucial factor that will determine whether a petition will be approved or denied. Such evaluations have proven to be useful in thousands of cases that would otherwise have been denied had these reports not been included as a piece of evidence. Psychological evaluations involving in-depth interviews and
thorough analysis will definitely add tremendous value to an individual’s immigration case. Therefore, the need for mental health professionals to provide those services is absolutely imperative.

Waiver of Inadmissibility

Don’t forget that GTP also provides a range of immigration legal services. Our partner, Erika Portillo, specializes in immigration law.

Do you need a waiver? Erika Portillo specializes in waivers of inadmissibility. She has been able to successfully help secure the immigration status of our clients

What is an immigration waiver of inadmissibility? A person not eligible to be admitted into the United States or to adjust her status may obtain lawful admission by filing an application for waiver of the grounds of inadmissibility.

Give us a call at 925.459.8440 to speak with Erika Portillo or email her at Maybe she can help you!

Civil Jury Verdicts – Contra Costa Lawyer

Civil Jury Verdicts

There was a time I prepared a Civil Jury Verdicts Column every month. And in almost all cases, the reports came right out of our Superior Court in Martinez. Back then the Court statistics showed somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 or so civil cases to verdict in Martinez Superior Courts. As the years have passed, that number dwindled to 15 or so each year. Now of course I know the mention of those statistics always causes heartburn for the PJ, but there is a good reason for the decline.

I have been told that the Civil Jury Verdicts column is a very popular column. Sad to say I write only a couple of columns a year at this time. And as you have heard me say too many times: “I cannot write about a trial if no one reports it to me.”

Let’s start with a little history to get a perspective. When I was first asked some years ago to take over writing the column, the Court sent to me monthly reports on civil trials. The reports included both civil jury trials and civil bench trials. The report listed the parties, the attorneys, the judge and the result. From those reports I was able to send a form out to all the attorneys which included an easy framework by which to report on the respective cases. And although only about half the attorneys responded, I still had many verdicts to report. Keep in mind also at the time we were not reporting on cases in the Municipal Courts, but only Superior Court Martinez. At some point due to the “Budget” the Court stopped preparing those reports for me. At that point I was left with no viable means of getting case information other than to plead, cajole, whine, snivel and cry. Or, go to trial myself and report on my own case. I have been singularly unsuccessful in my quest to get attorneys to report verdicts to me on a regular basis. As you know we have expanded the column to include out-of-county cases, and interesting settlements and arbitrations. I must say I was a bit distressed to read in this very magazine a while back about a verdict in which a local firm obtained a defense verdict in a case in which the plaintiff requested an award of $8 million. There was no mention of the venue or the pre-trial offer, but it was not reported to me.

Getting back to the issue of the decline in actual verdicts, the reasons are many and have been debated for years. In my view the advent of serious ADR, not the non-binding arbitrations of old is a big reason. The tremendous cost of going to trial now is another big reason for the decline. The cost of experts is a huge reason as well. And the liberal use of “Settlement mentors” on the day of trial certainly contributes in a very good way to resolving cases.

Recently I was set for trial in Judge Craddick’s department. The matter was contentious and I certainly had no confidence the case would settle. However an excellent settlement mentor spent the entire day working with us, and around 5 pm that first day of trial we settled the matter. Keep in mind the first few hours are free and then the parties must pay for the services of the settlement mentor. Absolutely well worth the cost if a case can be resolved.

I would like to mention that attorneys now regularly take the depositions of medical providers (Doctors) and with proper notice use the deposition transcript or videotape in lieu of live testimony. We have found it to be very effective, a huge cost savings and jurors don’t mind a bit. In a recent trial before Judge Craddick, we presented two doctors by videotaped testimony and it was a huge benefit. Recall those cases in which you schedule your doctor, you get charged a huge sum for the day and you are unable to present the doctor as scheduled. So another big sum charged, to say nothing of the stress. As we all know one of the most stressful parts of a trial is the work trying to arrange the schedule of witnesses.

I will report on my recent jury verdict but please excuse me for not reporting the case name and the name of opposing counsel. Although nothing about the matter is confidential I will not gloat about the verdict. At any rate, I can say it was a jury trial before Judge Craddick. Factually the case involved a vehicle which accidently drove over the curb and into a store, striking and seriously injuring the store owner. The spouse of the injured party witnessed the whole incident and injured herself attempting to pull her husband from beneath the vehicle with the engine still running. By CCP 998 we demand the policy limit of the defendant’s insurance. No response to the demand was made. The case did not resolve at mediation, nor on the first day of trial with the settlement mentor. The jury returned a verdict in excess of the policy limits. A successful costs bill was filed. After a failed motion for new trial and the start of the appeal process, the case resolved with payment of the full verdict and the full costs.

Finally, let’s think about finding a new columnist for the Civil Jury Verdicts column. I say that, not because I have any plans to retire soon, but rather because we just might need to find someone who has new ideas on how to obtain information about our civil jury verdicts. In fact I will continue to write the column if that new someone works with me to get the case information. Folks, let me know your thoughts.

Bar Soap – March 2017

As I mentioned in my last Bar Soap, the Contra Costa High School Mock Trial Competition was on the horizon. It has now taken place and it was the usual tremendous success. Miramonte High School was the winner this year. That makes two years in a row for Miramonte. I served as judge two nights during the preliminary rounds. I never cease to be impressed by the skill and enthusiasm of all the participants who appeared before me. Another shout out needs to go to all the volunteer judges. Many of our sitting judges volunteer their time, as well as many of our local attorneys. Additionally many of our local judges and attorneys spend months with the high school students, mentoring them as they prepare for the competition. Thanks to all for making it an incredible experience.

Let’s chat now about the concept of “flouting the law.” By that I mean the issue of so many drivers obviously operating motor vehicles while using their mobile devices in obvious view of anyone who cares to look. People ask me, “Isn’t there a law against that?” In fact there is. With that recurring question in mind I asked a CHP officer and several local police agency officers if their respective agencies were writing tickets for mobile telephone use while driving, as well as texting and driving. I was told by all that indeed they are writing scores of tickets. However, the problem is so big they cannot possibly cite everyone, even when they see the violations. Otherwise, that is all they would be writing. I then contacted a traffic court commissioner and inquired if those types of cases are arriving in traffic court with any frequency. I was advised that at least 25 cases per day come before one traffic court on that very issue. So folks, it is not that the police are not writing tickets. It is also not that the cases are not getting to court. It is simply that the people are flouting the law. As an aside, I recently asked a local police officer if her municipality benefited financially by writing more traffic tickets. Her answer surprised me. Most of the revenue goes to the State of California, not to the local municipality.

Inn of Court

It’s time to mention once again our wonderful Robert G. McGrath American Inn of Court. Hard to believe we are coming up on 20 years of its existence. Goodness, I was president of the Inn in 2006 and 2007. We had our 10 year anniversary celebration back then and we presented an award to Judge McGrath’s wife. Wonder what the Inn has planned for the 20 year anniversary? If you are not a member, please get an application. There is a waiting list. It is a very fine organization and you will not be disappointed at any meeting with the presentations and the dinner following the presentation. This year our Inn president is Dean Barbieri. Great name for a law school dean I’m thinking!

On the Move

As for people on the move, we know that Dean Barbieri moved into the Inn of Court president’s spot. So who else is on the move? I see that Ken McCormick has hung out his own shingle. He now has a new position at McCormick Law Firm. Rob Robards has a new position at the Law Offices of Robards & Stearns. Rob was my new associate way back when I opened the new Sacramento office of Ropers, Majeski, Kohn, Bentley, Wagner & Kane. And speaking of Ropers Majeski, our new Bar President Philip Andersen and I were colleagues at that firm in the 90’s. 1990’s that is, not 1890’s. And I guess, speaking of me, I was just elected to the board of the Walnut Chamber of Commerce. And I am now a proud member of the Mt. Diablo Beekeepers Association and I just got my Ham radio license. My wife asked, so where do you think you can find the time for all that plus everything else? We shall see. The honey is awfully good I must say.

The 100 Club of Contra Costa County is dedicated to provide immediate financial and moral support to the surviving spouse and minor children of peace officers and firefighters who have died while in the line of duty in the county; to assist with the continuing educational needs of the children; and to provide ongoing emotional support to the family. The current president of that wonderful organization is Dominique Yancey, an attorney in the District Attorney’s Office.

For those of you who missed it, Jill Fannin is our new Presiding Judge. Not sure if congratulations or condolences are in order. It is a two-year term and as for all those budget issues we hear about with the courts: they are in her lap now. I will however offer congratulations. For my practice in the Civil Courts in Martinez, the only change we will see is Judge Austin back in place in Judge Fannin’s spot on the civil bench. Anyone notice that spring in his step now that he is not the PJ? Lots of other changes, but you can look them up on your own. We have seen the retirement of Judge Maddock, and the rumors that a couple of other judges will soon be out the door. If you have your judicial application on file, there might be a chance for you to get a spot. By the way, how many of you have downloaded a judicial application? I think there is even a question about your mother’s mother’s next door neighbor’s nickname. It cannot be completed in a weekend is all I am saying.

In Memoriam

Every Bar Soap comes with the mention of the passing of local attorneys and luminaries. This one is no different. Wayne V.R. Smith passed on January 12 of this year. He was a wonderful person and practiced right up until the time of his death. He practiced law in Northern California for 45 years. Wayne was a University of Texas at Austin Law School alum. He died unexpectedly of a heart attack.

Henry O. Noffsinger of Martinez passed in November of last year. He graduated from San Francisco Law School and practiced until his retirement in 2004.

Lee Bardellini of Hoge Fenton recently passed. A very nice man and a very well respected Bay Area attorney, Lee graduated from Hastings School of Law.

Although not a lawyer, but a friend and former Fire Chief of the Consolidated Fire District, William Maxfield died on January 8 of this year. After retirement he did not let any grass grow under his feet. He started a company called 9-1-1 Consulting and among other things, was instrumental in getting a number of fire safety regulations enacted into law.

Another Issue

An issue worth mentioning to practicing attorneys is the withdrawal from representation of a client due to non-payment of fees. That is a sticky issue and all too often a problem in our industry. The point which needs to be made is that at all times one must be aware of confidential client information. That means one must never state in a declaration in support of withdrawal that the withdrawal is because the client is not paying. I just saw such a declaration in a case. It obviously puts a client in a disadvantage in relation to the “other side.” Initially one should advise a conflict has arisen such that withdrawal is required. If necessary at some point an offer of an in camera discussion with the judge may be offered. One can certainly see that an opponent knowing a client cannot pay his counsel gains a distinct advantage.

Keep your eyes and ears open for a Civil Jury Verdicts column to follow. I even have a jury verdict of my own to report. And continue to keep those cards and letters coming.

Mock Trial Results – 2017

A nice way to give back to the community: Matthew Guichard volunteers each year as a judge for the Contra Costa County Mock Trial Competitions. The competition is in February. The high school students do an incredible job and you can see all the hard work they did.

The 2017 mock trial results are in! Congratulations to Miramonte HS for placing 1st. 2nd place went to California HS, followed by Acalanes HS and Alhambra HS. Well done!

You can read all about it here:

Bar Soap – February 2017

Here we are starting another new year. Seems as though we just started 2016 and here we are in 2017. I know, I know, many of you just want to put 2016 behind you. But many good things happened in our wonderful Contra Costa County legal community in 2016.

If it is January I am preparing for trial. Not sure how that always seems to happen, but once more I spent the vacation time between Christmas and New Year’s Day, preparing for a jury trial. At least this year it is in Contra Costa Superior Court. That makes it a little less stressful. Although I must say, trials have become much more stressful in the past few years. Anyone disagree?

I keep mentioning the MCLE Spectacular and indeed it was once again spectacular. The attendance at the event is truly amazing and it is always the time to catch up with old friends and acquaintances, as well as to earn those required credits. You better get there early as the main hall completely fills up for the morning breakfast session. As an aside, it was nice to see so many retired attorneys who still keep up with the required continuing legal education requirements. So, is one really retired from the practice of law if one keeps the license current? Not sure what I will do when that day comes. And you?

The Contra Costa Bar Association Holiday party was a hit, as was the Robert G. McGrath American Inn of Court holiday party. Attending the local Bar party is a great way to get to know the members of the Bar
Board, and to get to know the hard working staff members of the Bar. Those are the folks who make it all run so smoothly. I highly recommend membership in the local Inn of Court. I have been in it from day
one and it has been a wonderful experience; and one can earn legal education credits at each meeting, most of which are the harder to get specialty credits like ethics. For years we had six meetings a year. Now we have eight. Between the MCLE Spectacular each year and the Inn of Court meetings, you can get all your required continuing education credits.

And speaking of holiday parties. I attended the Emison Hullverson holiday party in San Francisco. I think every plaintiff’s counsel in the City attended. I was all dressed up. I think when you really make it as a
successful personal injury lawyer, you no longer have to dress up for holiday parties. I think I counted two other attorneys with neck ties. Hope springs eternal.

The 2017 Contra Costa Superior Court Judicial assignments came out awhile back. Lots of changes. Jill Fannin is the new Presiding Judge. Barry Baskin is the Assistant Presiding Judge. That means in two years Barry Baskin will be the PJ. In my civil world, Steven Austin is taking Jill Fannin’s spot and all else in civil remains the same.

Still not getting the flow of jury trial results I need for a “Civil Jury Verdicts” column, so I will report a couple of trials in this “Bar Soap.” Steve Knuppel reported a trial he had in Alameda County Superior Court. DB Lin Construction v. Wang, Case No. HG15768198 was tried before the Honorable Robert McGuiness. Factually the case involved a home renovation gone bad. Steve Knuppel represented the homeowner defending a claim for payment and prosecuting a cross complaint for defective workmanship. Nancy Weng and Palani Rathinasamy served as co-counsel with Steve. Alexander Chen of Irvine represented the contractor. The jury returned a verdict of $124,410 in favor of the homeowner for breach of contract and negligence. The usual post-trial motions are pending.

Banta et al v. City of Walnut Creek et al was tried in the United States District Court, Northern District, San Francisco before the Honorable Charles R. Breyer. Case No. 3:13-CV-00342-CRB. Plaintiffs were represented by Larry Peluso of Topanga, Anthony Luti of Hollywood and Dennis Wilson of Burbank. Noah G. Blechman and Amy S. Rothman of the McNamara firm of Walnut Creek, represented the defendant City and police officers. Anthony Banta was shot and killed by Walnut Creek police officers after a confrontation. The police had been called to an apartment in Walnut Creek by Banta’s roommate and the roommate’s girlfriend. When the police arrived, they were confronted by Banta who was holding a large knife. Banta jumped down a staircase towards the officers and the police fired. Plaintiffs demanded $15 million in their complaint. The jury returned a defense verdict. As an aside, I was the Hearing Officer in the Coroner’s Inquest related to that Banta death.

I think I made a bit of fun last column with the plethora of organizations and awards given out to lawyers. Guess what folks? I was recently selected as a 2017 member of “Lawyers of Distinction.” Can you top that? Just kidding. I know there are many such awards. I just had not heard of “Lawyers of Distinction.” I think I get a customized plaque, among other things.

And finally, speaking of new organizations, I joined the Walnut Creek C.E.R.T. recently. That is the Community Emergency Response Team. Went through the training program and several advanced classes in communications and medical treatment. Believe it or not I actually got my HAM radio license and an actual radio. All interesting and fun. Pleased to join a number of citizens helping the community in the event of a disaster. Also surprised and pleased to see a number of attorneys already involved in the C.E.R.T. program.

As many of you know, I am a member of the State Bar Mandatory Fee Arbitration Panel. Several times a year I arbitrate fee disputes between clients and counsel. Nice to know someone reads my Bar Soap columns, as Attorney Lorraine M. Walsh advised she saw the mention of my role as a fee arbitrator and she is also on the panel. In fact, she is a member of the Mandatory Fee Arbitration Committee and currently serves as the Vice Chair. Recently Lorraine wrote an article on the subject for the Daily Journal, with a MCLE test included. Now I know whom to call when I have a question about fee arbitrations and legal malpractice issues.

Any of you inundated with proposals for marketing your practice through social media? I am swamped with such proposals. I must say in the past we have signed up for programs which purportedly get high value cases to our firm “And only to our firm.” But I must say we have never seen a benefit by way of real cases. I recently attended a seminar for marketing our practice areas. Sounds like the same pitch I hear from everyone. I would like to know, does anyone have a story to tell in which they have had great success getting case referrals from a social media marketing source? Let me know. And I am not asking for that source. Just want to know if it really works.

That’s enough for now. Please keep those cards and letters coming. Actually email or text please.

Davis Move: Sharing Office Space – Find out more about Will Portello, Kira Wattenburg & Heather Tattershall

Here’s some additional information regardng our Davis office. There are three attorneys/firms sharing office space at 355 2nd Street, Suite B. They are Will Portello, Heather Tattershall and Kira Wattenburg.

Will Portello grew up in Davis, graduated from UC Davis, attended law school at the University of Oregon, and is a member of both the California and Oregon state bars. He has been practicing law since 1993. He has been with Guichard Teng & Portello since 1997. We have had an office here in Davis since 2004, and have other offices in Walnut Creek, Willows and San Francisco. We handle civil litigation and trial advocacy, including the representation of injured parties in personal injury matters, as well as the victims of sexual abuse. In addition, we represent employees in wage-hour disputes. Our additional practice areas include business litigation and insurance coverage issues. We also have attorneys who handle immigration and removal matters, administrative licensing appeals, and business formation. You can reach Will at

Kira Wattenburg King attended UC Davis, and graduated from the UC Davis School of Law. She dedicates her legal practice to Estate Planning, particularly in the areas of Revocable and Irrevocable Trust formation and administration. Her advanced Estate Planning skills include probate avoidance, tax and business planning in close coordination with her client’s financial advisors. Kira also offers Probate Administration and Conservatorships among all other general Estate Planning legal services.

Heather Tattershall grew up in Davis, attended UC Davis, and graduated from the McGeorge School of Law. She has been practicing law since 1995. Her practice is limited to family law, including Dissolution of Marriage, Child Custody and Visitation, Child and Spousal Support , Complex Property Division, Stepparent Adoption, Restraining Orders, and Post-Judgment Order Enforcement.

Immigration News – Politico article attached

President Trump did not take any action today regarding NAFTA or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and Politico reports that, according to a USCIS spokesperson, DACA applications and renewals continue to be processed normally.

Here’s an article from POLITICO that you might find interesting:

Trump administration signals no immediate reversal on Dreamer program

Applications from so-called Dreamers seeking to renew their immigration status and work permits are being processed normally, despite President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the program set up by President Barack Obama is illegal, a government spokesman said Monday.

A spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told POLITICO Monday that there was no immediate change to how the agency handles applications and renewals under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program Obama set up in 2012.

“We are still accepting/processing DACA requests under existing policy,” USCIS spokesman Steve Blando said Monday.

It’s unclear precisely how many applications USCIS approves each day, but according to the most recent public statistics — from the third quarter of last year — an average of about 140 initial applications and 690 renewals were approved each calendar day.

As of September 30, 2016, 73,705 renewals and 46,229 initial applications were pending. It’s unclear whether those numbers surged due to applicants fearing Trump might end the program and how much of that backlog was cleared before Trump was

However, no move to shut down the program was among the set of presidential directives Trump signed Friday and Monday.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer suggested Monday that despite Trump’s promise to move “immediately” against the Obama immigration actions, discontinuing the DACA program is not a top priority of the new president.

“I think the president has been clear that he is going to prioritize the areas of dealing with the immigration system, both building the wall and making sure that we address people who are in this county illegally. First and foremost, the president’s been very, very clear that we need to direct agencies to focus on those who are in this country illegally and have a record, a criminal record or pose a threat to the American people. That’s where the priority is going to be,” Spicer said during his first briefing for reporters.

Spicer was vague about plans for those who currently have deferred action status or may be applying for it or renewing it soon.

“We’re going to continue to work through the entire number folks that are here illegally but right now the clear focus is on” those who pose a security threat, the spokesman said.

Later in the briefing, Spicer was vague about whether Trump plans any executive action and indicated that the White House is waiting to see what legislation on the issue might find traction on Capitol Hill.

“I don’t have anything further on the executive action front,” Spicer said. “Give us a little bit of time, we ‘ll see what Congress moves forward with.”

in recent weeks, Trump has struck a softer tone on immigration, especially with regards to the so-called Dreamers, who entered the U.S. illegally as children.

“We’re going to work something out,” Trump told Time magazine last month. “On a humanitarian basis it’s a very tough situation. We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud. But that’s a very tough situation.”

On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus appeared to signal that Trump did not intend to move quickly to shut down the DACA program.

“I think we’re going to work with House and Senate leadership as well to get a long-term solution on that issue,” Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I’m not going to make any commitments today, but, you know, I’ve obviously foreshadowed there a little bit.”

Josh Gerstein is a senior reporter for POLITICO.