Consultation and Collaboration with Criminal Defense Counsel
As a general matter, a lawyer has a duty to give competent advice to his or her client. However, where immigration and criminal law intersect, that duty is heightened. In 2010, the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Padilla v. Kentucky, that criminal counsel is constitutionally deficient under the Sixth Amendment when he does not inform his client of potential immigration consequences of taking a plea or being convicted at trial. Analyzing a criminal charge for immigration consequences is one of the densest areas in all of immigration law. Any criminal defense counsel with a client that is not a United states Citizen must be aware of any immigration consequences.
I offer a full range of services to criminal defense counsel to maximize the results for their clients, including:
Opinion letters; and
Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Protection under the Convention Against Torture
What can you do if you are afraid to return home because you fear you will be persecuted by either your government or someone your government cannot or will not control because of your race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group? Under U.S. immigration law, you may apply for asylum and withholding of removal.
Asylum is an application you must file within one year of your last entry into the United States. There are some exceptions to this rule. If you are granted asylum, you are given work permission, you may apply for certain family members and, after you have lived in the United States with asylum status for one year, you can file for permanent residency. You may travel abroad, but your status may be taken away if you return to the country from which you were granted asylum.
Withholding of removal is generally available for those immigrants who do not qualify for asylum. It is harder to prove than asylum. But if you are granted withholding of removal, it will not lead to permanent residency, you cannot file for any family members, and you are not allowed to travel. However, you can apply for work permission.
Finally, if you fear torture in your home country, you may apply for protection under the Convention Against Torture. In order to win your case, you must show, among other things, that you will be tortured by, at the request of, or with the consent of, a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.
Removal Defense and Appellate Practice
If you are required to appear in Immigration Court, that means the U.S. Department of Homeland Security believes you have done something that allows the government to force you to leave the United States. It is a naturally uncomfortable and uncertain process but hiring an immigration attorney who is experienced in removal defense can help you put on your best case possible. Also, what are your options if you have already lost your case before the Immigration Judge? It is vital that you know and understand your right to appeal.
I have extensive knowledge on how to competently and professionally navigate the rough waters of the Immigration Courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the federal courts of appeal. A sample of the removal defense services I offer are:
Comprehensive evaluation on what applications you are eligible to file;
Detailed discussions on the supporting documentation necessary to prove your case;
Preparation and filing of any pre-trial motions your case may require;
Customized trial simulation to prepare you for court;
If your case requires an appeal, full research and briefing of your case to the appellate tribunal.
Family-Based Immigration Petitions
By far the most common means of immigration to the United States is through a family member. However, our laws only allow certain family members who are citizens or permanent residents to file immigration petitions for their relatives. There are 5 family-based categories under today’s immigration laws:
Immediate relatives: These are (1) the spouses of U.S. citizens, (2) the unmarried children (under 21 years old) of U.S. citizen parents, and (3) the parents of U.S. citizen children, where the child is at least 21 years old.
First preference: These are the unmarried offspring (at least 21 years old) of U.S. citizen parents.
Second preference: These are the unmarried offspring of any age of permanent resident parents.
Third preference: These are the married offspring of U.S. citizen parents.
Fourth preference: These are the siblings, married or unmarried, of U.S. citizens.
Each category has its own requirements and evidence.
Adjustment of Status and Processing at U.S. Embassies and Consulates
When an immigrant applies for her green card (permanent residency) inside the United States, the process is called “adjustment of status.” However, when adjustment of status is not possible, the immigrant must apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an immigrant visa. Some requirements are the same for both adjustment of status and Embassy/Consular processing, but other requirements are unique to one or the other.
Regardless of whether your case requires adjustment of status or processing abroad, I can help. I will analyze your case and explain in everyday language whether you can get your green card inside the United States or have to apply through an Embassy or Consulate.
Humanitarian Immigration Benefits
Under our laws, there are numerous benefit applications and petitions that were created for humanitarian reasons. To state it another way, these options exist “because it’s the right thing to do.” Humanitarian options protect the most vulnerable immigrant populations, such as abused spouses, parents, and children, victims of crime, victims of human trafficking, informants, and immigrants who cannot return to their home country due to a natural disaster, just to name a few.
I am highly qualified to examine whether you qualify for one or more of the many humanitarian immigration options available in the United States.
Naturalization and Citizenship
There are several pathways to U.S. citizenship. With only a few exceptions, if you are born inside the United States, you are automatically a U.S. citizen. Also, you can acquire or derive U.S. citizenship after your birth. Finally, you can apply for naturalization.
Each of these avenues has its own requirements. For example, to acquire citizenship through one or both of your parents, an experienced immigration attorney needs to determine what citizenship law was in place on the date of your birth. That law will lay out the elements you need to satisfy to prove you are a citizen. To derive citizenship, you have to demonstrate, among other things, that you live in the custody of your U.S. citizen parent. In order to naturalize, one of the requirements is that you are a person of “good moral character.”
If you have a naturalization or citizenship case, put it in the hands of an attorney who has made immigration law his life. After all, becoming a U.S. citizen is the last step in any immigration process. With citizenship, you gain new rights and privileges that you didn’t have before, like the right to vote, the privilege of serving on a jury, and the right to hold a U.S. passport. Call for your free consultation today!