[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_accordion collapsible=”yes” active_tab=”false”][vc_accordion_tab title=”Asylum Law”][vc_column_text]Asylum Law in the United States stems from international law, specifically the Geneva Convention of 1951, which states that people should not be deported back to their home country if they face persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. If you are afraid of returning to your home country because you face serious danger due to one of the five reasons listed above, then contact a lawyer immediately!
Beware of the One-Year Bar! To qualify for asylum in the United States, the applicant must file within one year. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but they are difficult to qualify for. Anyone who has overstayed the one-year rule, should absolutely talk with an asylum expert before submitting their application.
Beware of filing on your own! Anyone who files for asylum should seek the help of a professional beforehand! If you file and lose, you will be thrown into removal proceedings and could subject yourself to deportation back to the country you’re escaping from.
Withholding of Removal: If you are ineligible for asylum (for example, if you overstayed the one-year bar), but you can still show a very high likelihood of danger and persecution on one of the five reasons listed above, you may qualify for a separate form of deportation relief known as withholding of removal. Talk to an asylum expert to find out if you might qualify.
CAT Relief: A third remedy exists for people who are ineligible for asylum and withholding of removal, namely relief under the Convention Against Torture or CAT. To qualify, you must show that it is more likely than not that you will be tortured if deported. If you can convince a judge of this, the government cannot deport you. But, relief under CAT is not as strong as asylum relief, so it should always be used as a backup only. Speak to an immigration attorney for more details.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Visas”][vc_column_text]Fiance(e) Visas:
The K Visa or Fiance(e) visa allows couples to bring their fiance(e) to the United States for a period of 90 days to get married. If done correctly, your spouse can then apply for his or her green card to stay in the U.S. as a Lawful Permanent Resident. If done incorrectly, your spouse could be subject to removal proceedings and deportation from the US.
H-1B Visas are appropriate for certain professionals with bachelor’s degrees (or extensive work experience) in one of the specified professions. To apply, the employer must first obtain a labor certification showing that the employee will be paid a prevailing wage.
L-Visas: L-visas are for International Transferrees who have recently worked abroad for their company for at least one year and who are being transferred to the US to work in either an executive or managerial capacity (L-1A) or a “specialized knowledge” capacity (L-1B).
Trade NAFTA Visas: These “TN” visas are for specific Mexican and Canadian professionals. They can allow for a multiple entry permit for periods of three years.
E-2 Investor Visas allow you to enter the United States for renewable periods of two-years in order to control a substantial investment of yours in the United States.
The EB-5 Visa allows you to obtain a green card and permanent residence based on a monetary contribution of a significant amount (usually $1,000,000). This is a difficult visa to obtain and it requires that you create or preserve at least ten U.S. Jobs.
Visitor / Student Visas:
B-1 Visitor Visas are commonly used for tourists and business visitors alike. B-visas are temporary and usually can last from as short as 1 month to as long as 10 years (often depending on your country).
F-1 Student Visas are for full-time students who want to temporarily pursue education in the U.S.
J-1 Visas allow for exchange visitors who seek to participate in various specified programs, especially medical or business training. Applicants must meet specified criteria and often must return to their home countries for two years after their J-visa program ends.
The U-visa is available to you if you have been a victim of a qualifying serious crime, if you suffered substantially as a result, and if you were cooperative with law enforcement in bringing the perpetrator to justice.
T-visas are for victims of human trafficking.
VAWA visas (which stands for the Violence Against Women Act) are for victims of domestic and/or sexual violence if their spouse was a United States Citizen.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Removal Defense (a.k.a. Deportation Defense) Lawyer”][vc_column_text]8 Ways to Defend Against Deportation:
If you have received a “Notice to Appear” in Immigration Court or if you have been given an “Immigration Hold” while in custody, you need to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Experienced lawyers know various ways of defending you against deportation. Some of these ways are described here:
Asylum, Withholding and CAT: If you fear that you are in danger in your home country, you may qualify for relief from removal based on asylum or other related grounds.
Cancellation of Removal (for LPRs): If you have a green card but have committed a crime or otherwise have been placed into removal proceedings, find a lawyer immediately. You may qualify for Cancellation of Removal. The criteria are difficult to meet, but they include the following three basic requirements: (1) living in the US for 7 years since being legally admitted; (2) living for 5 years with permanent residence (green card) before committing a crime or getting into removal proceedings; and (3) never having been convicted of an “aggravated felony” for immigration purposes.
Cancellation of Removal (for Non-LPRs): If you don’t have a green card or are undocumented, the law provides one way to avoid deportation, but it applies only in the rarest of instances. Among other requirements, the applicant must show that she has lived in the US for 10 years and that her deportation would cause “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to the her spouse, child, or parent who is a United States Citizen or permanent resident. Never apply for this without speaking to an experienced immigration attorney.
U-Visas: It is important to remember that you can sometimes avoid deportation if you are legally eligible for a visa. One visa that commonly comes up in removal proceedings is the U-visa. The U-visa is specifically for people who (1) have been the victim of certain serious crimes, (2) have suffered serious and ongoing harm as a result, (3) have reported the crimes to the police, and (4) have cooperated in bringing the perpetrator to justice. Talk to a lawyer to see if you can attempt to apply for a U-visa. Remember that an important prerequisite to applying for a U-visa is cooperating with the police and the prosecution; it will be essential that they certify that you have been cooperative before you can obtain this visa.
Adjustment of Status: If you are married to a US citizen or permanent resident, or if a family member has filed a petition for you, you might be eligible to apply for a green card directly. Depending on how you entered the United States, you might need to go back to your home country to process the green card, but if not, you might be eligible to “adjust your status” to permanent residence here in the United States. Talk to an attorney today to see whether or not you’re eligible.
Voluntary Departure: If you have no other viable option or if you would rather just be deported, you or an attorney can apply for you to leave voluntarily at your own expense. The judge will only grant this if you can show that you have enough money to buy your own passage, if you have a valid travel document, and if you can convince the judge that you will not stay beyond the set date of departure. Talk to an attorney to find out more about asking for voluntary departure – it is much nicer than actually being deported.
Prosecutorial Discretion: If you have no other viable option, and with the help of an attorney, you can apply for “prosecutorial discretion.” In the summer of 2011, the Department of Homeland Security released a few memos discussing the ability for ICE attorneys to grant immigrants “prosecutorial discretion” in very strong cases and to avoid deportation even when there is already a deportation order. It is very difficult to win this form of immigration relief. Talk to any attorney about the chances of successfully applying for prosecutorial discretion.
Motions to Suppress: If you have been targeted by ICE in a way that egregiously violated your constitutional rights, speak to an attorney immediately! Motions to Suppress are much more common in criminal court than in immigration court; however, in certain situations they can work in removal proceedings as well. If you win this difficult and rare motion, you may be able to completely terminate proceedings.
Others: There are also 212(h) waivers, 212(c) waivers and other legal statutes which allow people in certain situations to prevent or avoid deportation. You’ll need to talk with a lawyer to see if any of these options are available.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Family Based Green Cards and Petitions”][vc_column_text]Many people apply and obtain green cards through the petition of their family members. You might be eligible to obtain a green card if you are one of the following:
1. An “immediate relative” of a United States citizen. This includes spouses, children under 21 (if unmarried), and parents (if the citizen is over 21).
2. The spouse or unmarried child of a green card holder or permanent resident.
3. Another type of family member of a US citizen including (1) unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21; (2) married children of any age; and (3) brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens older than 21.
If you fit into any of the above categories, speak to a lawyer today to see if you qualify for permanent residence. Be aware that depending on which category you fall into, you may need to file quickly but wait a long time (sometimes many years) before your green card will be available. Be prepared to be patient!
Also there are some special categories that might qualify you for a green card! These include:
1. Battered spouses and children under the Violence Against Women Act
2. K nonimmigrants for fiance(e)s.
3. Widow(er)s of a U.S. Citizen, and
4. People born to foreign diplomats while in the United States.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Naturalization and Citizenship”][vc_column_text]The final step in the process of immigrating to the United States is to become a US citizen.
Eligibility: In order to apply for US citizenship, you will need to have lived in the US with a valid green card for at least five years (with some exceptions for asylees, for people married to US citizens and for people who have spent time outside of the United States). You must also complete the 8 basic requirements listed below.
Applicants Beware: It can be risky to apply for citizenship because your immigration situation will be scrutinized by the government. If you have any of the potential problems listed below, not only can your application be denied, but the government could actually try to take away your green card and put you in removal proceedings to deport you out of the country. Definitely contact an experienced immigration attorney before submitting your application!
8 Basic Requirements:
- Be a lawful permanent resident.
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have “good moral character.”
- Be able to pass an English exam (with some exceptions).
- Be able to pass an exam on US history and government.
- Have lived in the US for the majority of the past 5 years.
- Have not travelled outside the US for extensive periods of time.
- Be willing to swear loyalty to the United States.
Some Advantages of Citizenship:
- Voting. Only US citizens can vote in federal and most state elections.
- Bring family members to the U.S. As a citizen, you can petition your family members to come on a green card.
- Obtaining citizenship for your children. When you naturalize, your children will likely become citizens, too, and your children born in the future (even if abroad) will likely all be citizens.
- U.S. Passport. As a citizen, you can travel on a US passport.
- Federal jobs. Most federal jobs require you to be a citizen.
- Becoming an elected official. Most political appointments and positions require citizenship.