U.S. Citizen? Register to Vote at Walker Gates Vela PLLC!

We are thrilled to announce that our dynamo of a receptionist, Cristina Arellano, has become officially deputized to register voters in Travis and surrounding counties! This means that many of you can get registered to vote in the convenience of our office, right at the front desk.

In order to legally register to vote, you must:
1. Be a U.S. Citizen
2. Be at least 17 years and 10 months old (you have to be 18 to vote)
3. Have no felony convictions (unless you have completed your entire sentence, including parole, probation, supervision, and jail time)
4. Have no legal declaration of mental incompetency (i.e. a court has never declared you mentally unfit to care for yourself)

If you are a U.S. Citizen over 18 years old and have never registered, OR if you have changed your address, please contact our receptionist, Cristina Arellano, to get registered. If it is easier, you can also register online at the Texas Secretary of State website, which you can find by clicking here. If you would like to check your voter registration online, you may do that by clicking here.

Our next big election in Texas is Tuesday, March 3, 2020. The deadline to register to vote in this election is Monday, February 3, 2020. If you are already registered, you don’t need to do anything. If you are not yet registered but are a U.S. citizen, over 18 years old, and have no felony convictions, PLEASE get registered before February 3 so that you can help us elect candidates who will stand up for our immigrant loved ones, our families, and our communities.

Will using public benefits hurt your immigration case? 

We heard a very sad story yesterday.

A client who is a Lawful Permanent Resident removed her children from the Medicaid program last fall. Her husband is applying for his residency in the immigration court, and she was afraid that using Medicaid for her children could hurt his case or cause her citizenship application to be denied in the future.

Over the Christmas holidays, her youngest child became very ill and had to be hospitalized for a week. The child was diagnosed with a serious chronic illness. Because she is no longer insured, the child has not been able to see the specialist that she needs, and the hospital bills are already staggering. Her mother is in the process of re-registering her for Medicaid/Chip, but it will take time and delay the child’s medical care.

Here is what this family — along with all of our friends and clients — need to know:

1. IF YOU OR YOUR FAMILY ARE USING PUBLIC ASSISTANCE, DO NOT CANCEL IT. Currently, the legal battle over use of public benefits for immigrants and their families is raging in the courts and will not conclude any time soon. There is no clear immediate benefit to canceling public assistance programs. If you or your children need them, use them!

2. BEFORE YOU MAKE CHANGES TO YOUR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE REGISTRATIONS, TALK TO YOUR IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY. Whether by phone or in person, make sure you have the correct information and advice before making changes to the public assistance programs you and your children are using.

3. MEDICAL BILLS ARE ALWAYS SUBJECT TO VERY GENEROUS PAYMENT PLANS. If you do incur a large medical bill because you need care and are uninsured, please note that the law provides patients the opportunity to pay very small monthly sums without harming your credit. You can pay as little as $5 per month, and the medical provider must continue to work with you on payment plans. After a period of making regular payments of even just $5 per month, you will be in a good position to negotiate a settlement of the bill. Please do not hesitate to ask for a reduction of the amount owed at any time. Hospitals and medical providers are often able to make these adjustments when asked.

WGV will continue to update friends and clients on the question of public benefits and how their use affects immigration cases. In the meantime, please do not make any changes without calling us first at (512) 633-1785 or email us at [email protected]

Live in Central Texas? Apply for naturalization NOW to vote in 2020!

In the fall of 2019, we began to see processing times for naturalization applications in San Antonio drop dramatically. Recently, those applications have been filed, processed, and approved within 6 months – and some in as few as four months! If this continues, then eligible applicants could  apply in January and February of this year and have their citizenship in time to register and vote in the 2020 elections!

To be eligible for naturalization, you must: 1) Have been a Lawful Permanent Resident for five years (or three years if you’re married to a U.S. citizen); 2) Have been in the United States for at least half the time you have been a resident; 3) speak, read, and write English (unless you’re over 50 and have been a resident for at least 15 years – or qualify for another type of exception); 4) learn U.S. history, civics, and government; and 5) be a person of good moral character.

If you need an assessment of your eligibility for citizenship, please call us at (512) 633-1785 or email us at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help you. We want all of our clients to become U.S. citizens and VOTE!

This is how we change our government in 2020

Welcome to 2020! We hope your holidays were peaceful and full of the love of family and friends.

We at WGV are truly thrilled to welcome the new year. This year holds huge promise for our clients, our country, and our values, but ONLY if we all work together to make a change in our government in the November elections. This is a fact: in the United States, the number of people who don’t vote is much larger than the number who do. This means that, if everyone who is eligible to vote actually does vote, our government – and our country – will look much different.

Please understand: We at WGV are not interested in petty partisanship or political bickering. Rather, we want to see a government – regardless of party – that promotes just, fair, and humane policies for citizens and immigrants alike. We want a government that serves us rather than exploits, jails, and deports us. The current administration has used our clients’ suffering as a tool for their own political and personal gain. This is unacceptable to us, and we will do everything we can to ensure that the November elections put people in power who have integrity, compassion, and courage with respect to our country’s immigration policies.

To that end, we will be working hard in the coming months to make sure that every U.S. citizen we know is properly registered to vote. Our receptionist, Cristina Arellano, will become a Deputy Voter Registrar this month, so she will be able to assist any and all of our U.S. citizen clients with voter registration – right at our front desk. If you are a U.S. citizen and you need to register to vote or check your voter registration, please email Cristina so that she can contact you when it’s time to complete the process. Please note that if you have moved or changed addresses, you need to register again at your new address!

We are committed to working every day this year toward a more just and humane United States. Will you join us?
Hello! Message Us Below For Assistance
¡Hola! Mensaje para asistencia
For Arrests or Deportation Emergency:
Para detenciones o emergencia por deportación:
📞 1-877-339-1422 | 📲 text: 512-213-0005