2022 Immigration Law Q&A
Ofelia L. Calderón
Calderón Seguin PLC, Fairfax
Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Maryland; law degree, University of
Family: Husband, Paco Cozar; children, Elias, 21, and Belén Cozar, 16
Career mentor: Former Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judge Helen Leiner
Most recent book read: “The Many Daughters of Afong Moy,” by Jamie Ford
Bingeworthy TV show: “The Good Place”
Earlier this year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis arranged for nearly 50 migrants to be sent to Martha’s Vineyard. Was this just a political stunt, or does this signal a potential problem for immigrants? I think it is a political message, but not one that is specific to only my clients. It really represents a broader problem for immigrants who come across the southern border because it reveals a very negative attitude towards immigrants (legal or otherwise) and is frankly incredibly dehumanizing. On a personal level, I believe it highlights the hypocrisy present in the U.S., given that both Texas and Florida are states which were built on the backs of American immigrants.
You’ve spoken to neighborhood associations about the rights of noncitizens. What kinds of questions do people have? People generally ask whether they have the same rights as U.S. citizens and why or why not. It is a little confusing because in criminal proceedings, the answer is yes. In immigration proceedings, not so much. People are always shocked they don’t have a right to an attorney and that we detain people in immigration proceedings sometimes without a right to bond/bail. We’ve been on a roller coaster with enforcement the last six years, so the issues are constantly changing.