The Immigration Attorney at Law takes on a diverse array of immigration cases in order to offer immigrant clients the best possible legal representation, and several possible avenues to legal status or citizenship. The services we offer include:
- Case Review.
- Adjustment of Status.
- Family-Based Visa Petitions for immigrants who qualify for immigration benefits due to a relationship with a relative.
- Green Card Renewals.
- Naturalization Applications for immigrants who wish to become United States citizens.
- Employment Authorization.
- DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
- Deferred Action or Prosecutorial Discretion.
- U-Visas for Victims of Domestic Violence and other crimes in the United States.
- T-Visas for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States.
- VAWA Petitions.
- Bond Hearings for immigrants who request to leave the detention center.
We offer professional immigration consultations in the office which include a full case review.
A noncitizen detained in the Northwest Detention Center is given an opportunity for release though a bond hearing. Legal representation in a bond hearing includes presenting the Immigration Judge with favorable factors about the noncitizen in order to obtain the lowest possible bond. These factors include:
- Length of residence in the United States.
- Existence of family ties and community involvement.
- Letters from friends, family, and employers attesting to the noncitizen’s good moral character.
- Lack of serious criminal history.
- A record showing compliance with other court proceedings.
These factors should establish that the noncitizen in detention is not a flight risk and will comply with further immigration proceedings. If the noncitizen has criminal history, such as aggravated felonies or crimes involving moral turpitude, it is more difficult for the noncitizen to be released from detention.
Affirmative Family-Based Petitions
A U.S. citizen or LPR may file Form I-130 to petition for immigration benefits for a qualifying relative. A U.S. citizen may apply for: a spouse; unmarried child under 21-years-old; unmarried son or daughter over 21-years-old; married son or daughter of any age; brothers or sisters if U.S. citizen is over 21-years-old; and mother or father if U.S. citizen is over 21-years-old. An LPR may apply for: a spouse; unmarried child under 21-years-old; and unmarried son or daughter 21-years-old or older.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
To be eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the applicant must: be born on or after June 16, 1981; have come to the United States before reaching his/her 16th birthday; have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 (the past 5 years), up to the present time; be physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making the DACA application; have entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012; be currently enrolled in school, have graduated from high school, or obtained a general education certificate (GED); and have NOT been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Deferred Action or Prosecutorial Discretion
Prosecutorial discretion is a decision made by the government whether or not to prosecute an immigrant for unlawful presence in the United States. Decisions regarding prosecutorial discretion are made on a case-by-case basis using a range of factors, including: the noncitizen’s pursuit of education in the U.S.; the circumstances of the noncitizen’s arrival in the U.S.; the noncitizen’s length of presence in the U.S.; whether the noncitizen or any immediate relative has served in the armed forces; the noncitizen’s ties and contributions to the community; whether the noncitizen has a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, child, or parent; the noncitizen’s age; the noncitizen’s ties to his or her home country; whether the noncitizen is likely to be granted some sort of temporary or permanent relief from removal; whether the noncitizen has criminal history or otherwise poses a threat to national security or to public safety, etc. Requests for a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion require careful consideration of all of these factors and more.
A U-Visa gives temporary legal status and work eligibility to victims of certain qualifying crimes that occurred in the United States. A law enforcement agency must certify that the applicant for the U-Visa has been, is being or is likely to be helpful to the law enforcement agency in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal act.
Applicants for a U-Visa may petition for their family members. If the applicant is under 21-years-old, s/he may petition for his/her: spouse; unmarried children under 21-years-old; parents; and unmarried siblings under the age of 18. If the applicant is over 21-years-old, s/he may petition for his/her spouse and unmarried children under 21-years-old.
A T-Visa gives temporary legal status and work eligibility to victims who are physically present in the U.S. on account of a severe form of trafficking in persons. The noncitizen must show that s/he would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm upon removal. While law enforcement certification is not required for a T-Visa, certification is primary evidence that the noncitizen is a victim.
Victims of human trafficking are often not aware that they may qualify for this visa category. Human trafficking commonly occurs when an immigrant is brought into the U.S. by a friend, relative, or coyote, and is then forced to work against their will for little or no pay, which is called forced labor.
Applicants for a T-Visa may petition for their family members. If the applicant is under 21-years-old, s/he may petition for his/her: spouse; unmarried children under 21-years-old; parents; and unmarried siblings under the age of 18. If the applicant is over 21-years-old, s/he may petition for his/her spouse and unmarried children under 21-years-old.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) creates special routes to obtaining lawful status in the United States for noncitizens, women and men, who have been battered or have been the subject of extreme cruelty. To be eligible under VAWA, the noncitizen must: be the spouse or child of an abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident; have good moral character; and establish that removal or deportation would result in extreme hardship to him/her or his/her child. If the VAWA applicant is a spouse, s/he must establish that s/he entered into the marriage in good faith. Through a self-petitioning process, the VAWA applicant may apply for lawful status without the knowledge or involvement of the abuser.
U.S. employers check to make sure that all employees, regardless of citizenship or national origin, are allowed to work legally in the United States. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is proof that the noncitizen uses to show the employer that s/he is allowed to work in the United States. A noncitizen may obtain employment authorization in several ways, including an approved visa or an employment-based visa.
Green Card Renewals
If an LPR’s 10-year green card has expired or will expire within the next 6 months, the green card must be renewed in order for the LPR to maintain lawful status in the U.S. A valid green card must be carried by the LPR at all times, or the LPR may face criminal sanctions.
Adjustment of Status
A noncitizen may be eligible to adjust his/her status if a specific immigrant category is available to him/her. Most noncitizens become eligible for a green card (permanent legal residence) through a petition filed by a family member or an employer. Other noncitizens must adjust their status after first obtaining permanent legal residence through asylum, U-Visa, T-Visa, or VAWA petition, or through a number of other special provisions.
Becoming a United States citizen, known as naturalization, has many benefits, such as the right to vote, petition for family members to immigrate to the U.S., and the opportunity to travel outside of the U.S. without losing the ability to return.
A person may be eligible for Naturalization if s/he is at least 18-years-old and has: lived in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years (with exceptions for refugees, people who get their green card through asylum, spouses of U.S. citizens, and U.S. military personnel); good moral character; been physically present in the United States for at least half of the last five years; lived in the district or state where s/he is filing the application for at least three months; not spent more than a year outside the United States; and not made a primary home in another country. Certain applicants have different English and civics testing requirements based on their age and length of lawful permanent residence.