An absence from the U.S. can affect one’s ability to naturalize in a myriad of ways. We will discuss the different ways in which an absence from the U.S. can affect a client’s naturalization application, including the effect upon his or her continuous residence, physical presence, abandonment of residence, and removability. We will discuss the law, important cases, and hypothetical cases.
Eric Cohen has been with the ILRC since 1988, and has been its Executive Director since 2007. He has extensive experience training attorneys, paralegals, community advocates, and organizers on a variety of immigration law, immigrants’ rights, and leadership development topics. Eric is a national expert on naturalization and citizenship law and is the primary author of the ILRC’s manual entitled, Naturalization and U.S. Citizenship: The Essential Legal Guide. Eric helped develop ILRC's community model for naturalization workshops. Additionally, Eric has worked on voter outreach and education programs for naturalized citizens.
Prior to working at the ILRC, Eric worked with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Labor Immigrant Assistance Project where he worked on legalization and union organizing campaigns.
Eric obtained a B.A. degree in History from Colorado College and a J.D. degree from Stanford Law School. He is conversant in Spanish and is a member of the State Bar of California.
Sharon is the Special Projects Director based in San Francisco for the New Americans Campaign and the Oakland Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Collaborative. She manages several regranting programs and leads collaboratives of legal services providers and community-based organizations. Prior to this position she led Ready Bay Area, an initiative to ensure that the maximum number of Bay Area residents benefit from administrative relief.
Before joining the ILRC, Sharon was a litigation associate at Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP. Sharon clerked for the Honorable Harry Pregerson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She previously worked for Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.
Sharon earned her law degree from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law, with a specialization in Critical Race Studies and concentration in the Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. While in law school, she worked with Legal Services of Northern California, Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, and ACLU of Northern California. She also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Asian Pacific American Law Journal and Co-Chair of the El Centro Legal Reentry Legal Clinic. Sharon received her undergraduate degrees in Fine Art, International Development Studies, and History cum laude from the University of California Los Angeles, where she was a Regents Scholar. She is conversant in Cantonese and is a member of the State Bar of California.