We assist in areas of family-based immigration, citizenship, deportation defense, and DACA.
A United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident, also known as a green card, may be able to petition for a family member to obtain lawful permanent resident status. The family member can be abroad in their home country or already in the United States regardless if they are undocumented or have a valid visa. The United States citizen or lawful permanent resident who may petition for their family member is a spouse, child, parent, or sibling. A petition which is form I-130, is prepared with evidence to support the bona-fide relationship to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services referred to as USCIS. Here, your petition will be evaluated. If more evidence is required you will receive a request for evidence letter indicating what is missing to make a final decision and a deadline in which to answer. Final decisions are mailed to you. In the event of a denial you may be provided a specific time frame to file an appeal. The general time frame to adjudicate a decision on a family-based petition, I-130 takes anywhere from 7-9 months.
This is not the end of the road for your family member, this is actually just the beginning. The lawful permanent status is not granted based on an I-130 petition being approved. The next steps depend if the family member is currently abroad or in the United States. The next steps may include waivers, consular processing or adjustment of status.
A foreign-born individual can become a United States citizen if they naturalize. Naturalization is the process by which United States citizenship gets granted onto a foreign born national. The process begins by evaluating if you qualify for citizenship. One of the requirements is having lawful permanent status for at least 5 years. There are exceptions to this requirement such as being married to a United States citizen which only requires being in lawful permanent resident status for 3 years. The other exceptions include being a refugee or if you obtained lawful permanent status through asylum.
Aside from naturalization a foreign-born individual may also acquire or derive citizenship status. This is based on the foreign-born individual having a United States born parent or a naturalization parent. This may also apply to foreign born individuals who were adopted by United States parents. We can assist with reviewing your family history and provide guidance to your next step to citizenship.
Deportation is the act of removing a foreigner from a country. The risk of deportation in the United States applies to any undocumented individual meaning an individual has no legal immigration status in the United States. This could be because of entering the United States without inspection, meaning you were not inspected by an Immigration official. It could also include those individuals who were inspected however the legal method with how they entered has since expired, leaving them undocumented. The risk of deportation can also apply to those individuals with lawful permanent resident status, also referred to a green card. It is very important to understand that although deportation proceedings may have begun there are still rights that should be protected and defenses available that should always be explored thoroughly by an attorney.
If a family member or friend has been arrested by local police and has an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold, is in ICE custody already or is in immigration court proceedings it is not too late to seek an attorney to find out what rights and defenses are available. An attorney can assist with bond hearings and ICE inquiries.
DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which began by the Obama administration in 2012 allowing undocumented individuals who came to the United States as a child to obtain deferred action of deportation for a 2-year period that was renewable.
The Trump administration took steps to end DACA. However, as of February 13, 2018, a federal court granted a preliminary injunction that would allow the DACA renewal process to continue. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has since announced it will continue to accept renewal applications for DACA recipients as it previously did before the September 5, 2017 announcement by the Trump Administration.
It is important to know that if there were any changes to your life circumstances it could affect your eligibility for renewal. If your criminal history has changed or you have pending criminal charges they should first be evaluated by an attorney. Not all changes are negative. Life changing circumstance may have also occurred that may qualify you to seek other forms of relief such as obtaining your lawful permanent resident status, green card.