What is the REAL ID Law?

Enacted as a result of the attacks on September 11, 2001, and later approved by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID law was made to establish standards in the issuance of driver’s licenses in the United States.

The objective is to eliminate terrorism in air travel by increasing requirements to obtain official documents in order to board airplanes and to enter federal offices.

State offices that issue licenses and identification cards, such as the Secretary of State (SOS), are requiring more and more documents to prove residency.  In addition, new licenses will have more security features to prevent them from being falsified.

It has taken the federal government approximately 15 years to fully implement the law because each state has different rules.  However, all states must comply with these requirements by October 1, 2020.

This law has begun to be more restrictive for undocumented immigrants or other immigrants who cannot prove their legal stay in the country, or lack a Social Security number to obtain standard driver’s licenses.  The new standards might most affect noncitizens from certain states that previously did not require a Social Security number to obtain driver licenses, such as California, Washington, Nevada, among others.

If you do not comply with the REAL ID Act before the deadline of your state, you must show an alternative form of identification to board a domestic flight.  Your best option might be a valid passport.  Contact the nearest consulate of your country for more information on how to obtain your passport.

We Are Here For You

In recent months we have been posting about the many ways that the Trump Administration is changing policies to make life more difficult for immigrants.  It seems like every week, and even every day, there is a new announcement of a change for the worse.  Some recent examples include many changes that are making it increasingly difficult to seek asylum, making financial support requirements more difficult for applicants for permanent resident status, the end of a humanitarian program to allow persons to be here to receive medical treatment, and the expansion of the use of “expedited removal.”

The continuous announcements of new and different ways to hurt immigrants can be exhausting and demoralizing.  If you are feeling this way, we understand.  We are in the middle of a challenging time for immigrants, not only in the United States, but in many countries around the world.  Anti-immigrant propaganda appears to be on the rise everywhere.

At our office, our commitment to you is that we will work hard with you to do whatever we can to help you in your fight.  We will never sugar-coat our assessment of your situation.  We always give you an honest assessment of your situation, and how we might be able to help.  Sometimes there is a way forward.  And, unfortunately, sometimes we need to explain that in some cases there is not a way to help you.  Our policy is to listen carefully to you, ask you questions and seek documents to get a complete and realistic view of your situation, and then explain to you how we might be able to help.  Then, we get to work to provide you with the best legal services that we can.

Although things are tough at this time, we are hopeful that the future will be brighter.

Whether your case involves an application for permanent residence, a waiver, removal of conditions on permanent residence, naturalization, asylum, removal proceedings in Immigration Court, a BIA appeal, a federal court appeal, a habeas corpus petition, or other federal court action, please understand that we are here for you.

Welcome Gilberto!

We are lucky to have Gilberto Carranza as our new paralegal!  Gilberto earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International affairs at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, where he graduated with honors. He is a multilingual professional with extensive knowledge of intergovernmental processes. He moved to Michigan in 2014 to work for the Mexican Consulate in Michigan, reviewing passport and visa applications and providing immigration related affairs for individuals based on their unique needs. Gilberto garnered over 5 years of experience in that field.

He is an active volunteer for Rotary Club International, collaborating on social projects since he was 16 years old. Within a few years of joining Rotary Club International, Gilberto founded a Rotaract Club in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico and became the president of the club, Rotaract Club Mexicali Oeste.

Gilberto is fluent in Spanish, English, German, and Portuguese, and he speaks a little bit of French. His favorite hobby is traveling and he is fascinated with learning about local cultures, people, and new places. He has lived in Germany, Brazil, and Argentina. Michigan will be his permanent home since marrying a Michigander in 2018.