We serve clients in these immigration law practice areas:
- Permanent Residence
- Employment-Based Visas
- U Visas
- Change or Extension of Status
- Deportation (Removal Defense)
Foreign citizens may qualify for asylum if they either were persecuted or believe they will be persecuted in the future in their native countries on account of their race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. There is a oneyear deadline from the date of entry into the United States to apply for asylum.
DACA does not confer immigration status or a path to citizenship, but enables those who apply to obtain employment authorization and avoid removal (deportation) for renewable two year periods. People will initially qualify for DACA if they are at least 15 years old, entered the United States under the age of 16, were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, were physically present in the United States between June 15, 2007 through June 15, 2012, without lawful status and physically present on June 15, 2012, and either attend school or graduated from high school. People will not qualify for DACA if they committed a significant misdemeanor or a felony.
Employers may file for temporary employment status for employees and their families. We handle many types of employment based cases.
Procedures for family-based immigration will vary, depending on whether the foreign relative is adjusting status in the United States, filing on the basis of marriage, or processing from an embassy or consulate outside the United States (consular processing). Permanent residence cards will be issued with validity periods of two years or ten years, depending on whether the adjustment is based on marriage or a different family relationship.
Detention is the first phase of removal (deportation) proceedings, whether it is by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) at the border or by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the United States. Foreign nationals (people from another country) may be detained for any immigration violation, but not all cases are a high priority for enforcement. Those convicted of serious crimes will be subject to mandatory detention and will not be released until their court hearings are over if their case is approved, or until they are deported.
Foreign citizens will qualify for U status if they are the victims of a violent crime, cooperate with law enforcement in the criminal investigation, and suffer substantial injury as a result of the crime. Law enforcement or other government officials must certify that the victim was cooperative with the investigation before a person can apply, but officials can refuse to certify for any reason. There is also a much higher demand for U status than there are visas available, resulting in long backlogs. People with U status may apply for permanent residence after three years.
U.S. Citizenship People may apply for U.S. citizenship after three years of permanent residence if they obtained their permanent residence on the basis of marriage, are still married, and if they are still living together with their spouses. Certain military personnel may obtain citizenship within a year. Otherwise, people may apply for U.S. citizenship after five years. Residence and good moral character requirements must be met. Most people will need to pass an English test and a civics test in order to naturalize.
In order to obtain permanent residence in the United States, it is necessary to show there is nothing in the immigrant’s background to disqualify him or her from admissibility. While there are many grounds of inadmissibility, not all of them can be waived.