Generally, when the government seeks to remove a foreign national from the United States, it does so by initiating removal proceedings in Immigration Court. We understand how intimidating and stressful that process can be for the client and his family, particularly if the government attempts to detain the client throughout the proceedings. Seeking the client’s prompt release from detention is always a first priority. After evaluating the unique facts and circumstances presented in each case, we then work closely with the client to insure that he understands his options in defending the case, that we understand the client’s priorities in moving forward and that we vigorously pursue the case in a manner that is consistent with those priorities.
The decision of the immigration judge or other administrative official is not always final. Most decisions are subject to review. Depending on the circumstances, an adverse decision can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Administrative Appeals Office, the federal district courts or the federal courts of appeal. If an order of removal has been issued the filing of an appeal or Petition of Review frequently stays execution of the order, allowing the client to remain in the country until the appeal becomes final. Our firm has vigorously and successfully prosecuted appeals at all levels.
The final step in the immigration process is, for many, becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States. Our firm has many years of experience assisting clients in navigating the naturalization process, from preparation of a complete application package to practicing for and completing the interview and oral exam administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
FAMILY-BASED IMMIGRANT VISAS
The United States immigration laws allow, under limited circumstances, that foreign nationals with family members who are citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States may apply for permanent resident status. The process varies depending on the circumstances and generally requires substantial documentation to prove the legitimacy of the underlying relationships needed to qualify. An interview with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.C.I.S.) and/or consular processing in the home country may be necessary. Our attorneys and staff have decades of experience with the process and work closely with the client to insure that a professional package is presented and that the client is fully prepared for the interview.
Sometimes the role of the lawyer is not as an advocate, but as a counselor. This is particularly true in relation to the immigration consequences of existing or potential criminal convictions. Criminal convictions, even misdemeanors, can have serious unforeseen consequences in immigration. Criminal convictions can impact the types of relief available to undocumented foreign nationals seeking to avoid removal, or to refugees seeking asylum. They can disqualify a lawful permanent resident from remaining in the United States, or obtaining naturalization. Criminal convictions can significantly affect the sentencing decisions relating to foreign nationals that are convicted of unlawfully returning to the United States after having been previously ordered removed. While the firm does not practice criminal law, we frequently consult with criminal counsel offering advice as to the immigration consequences of an existing conviction or pending plea.