Articles Posted in California Court of Appeal

by
Federal law makes undocumented immigrants ineligible for state and local public benefits, but allows a state to “affirmatively provide[] for such eligibility” through “the enactment of a State law.” 8. U.S.C. 1621(d). Plaintiff, a California taxpayer, filed suit against the Regents, alleging that none of its policies qualifies under section 1621(d) as a "State law" making undocumented immigrants eligible for postsecondary education benefits. The trial court sustained the Regents' demurrer, concluding that the Regents' policies satisfy section 1621(d). At issue in this case is whether three California legislative “enactments” affirmatively provide “eligibility” under federal law for postsecondary education benefits to qualified undocumented immigrants who attend the University of California, even though the statutes require only the California State University and California community colleges to provide such benefits. These laws include (1) Assembly Bill No. 540 (2001-2002 Reg. Sess.) (A.B. 540), which makes qualified undocumented immigrants eligible for exemption from nonresident tuition (Stats. 2001, ch. 814, 1-2); (2) Assembly Bill No. 131 (2011-2012 Reg. Sess.) (A.B. 131), which makes qualified undocumented immigrants eligible for student financial aid programs (Stats. 2011, ch. 604, 3); and (3) Senate Bill No. 1210 (2013-2014 Reg. Sess.) (S.B. 1210), which makes qualified undocumented immigrants eligible for student loan benefits (Stats. 2014, ch. 754, 3). The court concluded that, even though the California Constitution may preclude the Legislature from actually conferring postsecondary education benefits on undocumented immigrants attending the University of California, the Legislature has made these students “eligible” for such benefits within the meaning of the federal statute. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "De Vries v. Regents of UC" on Justia Law

by
Petitioner, a 12-year-old child from Honduras who entered the United States without documentation, seeks to obtain "special immigrant juvenile" (SIJ) status under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(J). In this case, the family court refused to appoint a guardian ad litem for petitioner unless he gave his father notice of the application for a guardian ad litem. The court concluded that the family court erred in requiring parental notice before appointing a guardian ad litem where neither a statutory requirement nor procedure exists for providing notice to parents of the application for a guardian ad litem; decisional law does not require parental notice prior to appointment of a guardian ad litem; and due process does not require notice to parents before a guardian ad litem may be appointed. Accordingly, the court granted the petition. View "Alex R. v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law

by
Bianka, a 13-year-old girl from Honduras, hopes to avoid deportation by obtaining “special immigrant juvenile” (SIJ) status. Pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(J), SIJ status is a classification created by Congress to provide special immigration protection to undocumented, unaccompanied children entering the United States who have been the victims of parental abuse, neglect, abandonment or some similar circumstance. Bianka initiated a parentage action under the Uniform Parentage Act, Fam. Code, 7600 et seq., naming her mother as the respondent. Bianka also filed a pretrial request for order asking the court to place her in the sole legal and physical custody of her mother and to make the additional findings necessary to allow her to petition for SIJ status, namely that she cannot reunify with her father because he abandoned her and it is not in her best interest to return to Honduras. The trial court declined to make the requested finding. The court concluded that the UPA is the exclusive means by which unmarried adults may resolve disputes relating to rights and obligations arising out of the parent-child relationship, including child custody, visitation and support. In an action between natural, alleged and/or presumed parents, the parentage of each party to the action is squarely at issue and is adjudicated before issues of custody, visitation and support are considered. The court further concluded that under the circumstances present here, where Bianka’s father’s identity and whereabouts are known, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by requiring Bianka to join her father to the pending action. Finally, the court provided instructions to Bianka on the next steps in seeking a custody order and/or SIJ findings. View "Bianka M. v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law

by
Defendant, a citizen of Eritrea, has been a lawful U.S. permanent resident since 1981. In 1988, police witnessed a hand-to-hand exchange involving defendant. As the men ran away, an officer saw defendant reach into his waistband and drop a loaded handgun and throw a plastic baggie that contained rocks of cocaine base, weighing a total of 2.34 grams. An officer found a glass pipe with cocaine residue on top of defendant’s wallet, which did not contain a large amount of cash. Defendant pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine base for sale and admitted the firearm allegation. He was not advised of the immigration consequences. In 1992, defendant admitted violating probation by failing to maintain contact with his probation officer and testing positive for cocaine. In 2004, defendant returned to the U.S. after an overseas trip and was “not admitted” based on the conviction, but was allowed to remain in the U.S. Defendant was detained in 2013. Defendant filed an unsuccessful Penal Code 1016.5 motion to vacate the convictions and to withdraw his pleas. The court found that he “had failed to show prejudice.” The court of appeal remanded for determination of whether defendant made the required showing of reasonable diligence. View "People v. Asghedom" on Justia Law