Illegal Children Immigration – Special Immigrant Juvenile

Mi casa es tu casa – My house is your house.  This is the courtesy we extend to guess in our home (whether family or a first-time visitor).  At least this was a strong Guyanese valuable instilled in me as a child and observed while living in the United States of America my entire life.  Americans are thought to be the most welcoming and laid back people in the world.

So, why all the political rhetoric about deporting the thousands of unaccompanied illegal children immigration officials stated that have recently flooded the southern U.S. border.  A long-standing principle of the U.S. Government has been to demonstrate global leadership by providing humanitarian options to immigrants who are in the most vulnerable and desperate of situations. One such immigrant group is children who find themselves in this country without parental care due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or another similar situation.

In the form of Special Immigrant Juvenile (“SIJ”) status, the U.S. immigration law provides a method for abused, abandoned or neglected children without legal immigration status to obtain permission to remain lawfully in the United States.

Processing of unaccompanied minors typically progresses, as follows: within 72 hours of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detaining unaccompanied foreign children, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement places them in federally-staffed facilities with varying levels of security and services. The children are given “Know Your Rights” presentations, provided by non-profit organizations and pro bono attorneys, wherein they learn about a variety of immigration benefits. Those children who appear to meet no criteria for a benefit may elect “Voluntary Departure” and return to their country of origin.

However, the SIJ provisions allow qualifying foreign children to obtain relief from removal, and other important immigration benefits, such as employment authorization. Qualifying foreign children may self-petition for SIJ status by filing Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. SIJ petitioners may also apply concurrently to remain permanently in the United States by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Just think about the sense of urgency and difficult reality that these children are facing – leaving their family and home to enter a country where they know no one, don’t speak the language and don’t have a home.  Where is the American hospitality and humanitarian arm?

For more information, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2014, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Immigration Lawyer for Children Facing Deportation

President Obama to start program to provide lawyers to children facing deportation –  since October, more than 47,000 children traveling without parents (unaccompanied minor) have been caught trying to cross the southwest border.  There are a few options available for an immigration lawyer for children facing deportation:

Immigration Options for Unaccompanied Minor Immigrant Child – Asylum

You may apply for asylum as an unaccompanied minor if you:

  • Are under 18 years old;
  • Have no parent or legal guardian in the United States available to provide care and physical custody.

Asylum officers will decide your case if you are in immigration court proceedings or filed your application with an asylum office. You must attend your immigration court hearings and should follow the Immigration Judge’s instructions.

Immigration Options for Unaccompanied Minor Immigrant Child – Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) Status

To be eligible for SIJ status:

  • You must be under 21 years old on the filing date of the Special Immigrant Juvenile Application
  • Your state court order must be in effect on the filing date of the Special Immigrant Juvenile Application and when USCIS makes a decision on your application, unless you “aged out” of the state court’s jurisdiction due to no fault of your own
  • You cannot be married, both when you file your application and when USCIS makes a decision on your application

For more information, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2014, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Deportation for Minor Crimes in Immigration Court

A New York Times analysis of internal government records shows that since President Obama took office, two-thirds of the nearly two million deportation cases involve people who had committed minor infractions, including traffic violations, or had no criminal record at all. Twenty percent — or about 394,000 — of the cases involved people convicted of serious crimes, including drug-related offenses, the records show.  Deportation continue to be at a record breaking rate every  year.  Unfortunately, Congress priority continues to be deportation and not offering a solution to the immigration crisis in the U.S.

For more information, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2014, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

34,000 immigration detention beds mandated through September 30, 2014

A New York Times editorial sheds light on the recent trillion-dollar appropriations bill passed by the House of Representative that includes $39 billion for the Department of Homeland Security.  It mandates that Immigration and Customs Enforcement “maintain a level of not less than 34,000 detention beds through September 30, 2014.” This represents, at a cost of $2.8 billion, “the highest detention capacity in history.”  In an economy where many are still unemployed and can barely make ends meet, our government would rather spend billions detaining mostly non-violent immigrants.  There are many alternatives to immigration detention programs (i.e., bond, anklet supervision, etc.) where the government would spend less monitoring immigrants rather than paying $122 per day under the current budget.

For more information, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.

FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2014, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Miami-Dade immigration detention

Fed up with underwriting the nation’s broken federal immigration system, Miami-Dade County plans to stop paying the cost of temporarily housing (or the immigration detention) of undocumented immigrants in its jails. This new Miami detention policy will make available more space in the local jails for “real” criminals.  If federal immigration authorities want to detained an immigrant, then the immigrant should be detained in a federal immigration detention facility like Krome, Broward Transitional Center or Baker.  Miami detention at local jails will no longer issue immigration detainers on immigrants.

For more information, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2014, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Knock, Knock – It’s Immigration Officers at your door!

During fiscal year 2012, U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Immigration & Custom Enforcement removed or deported 409,849 individuals from the United States.  Unfortunately, many individuals don’t know what to expect if an Immigration Officer comes knocking at their door due to an expired visa/I-94, initiation of removal/deportation proceeding due to commission of a crime, or execution of a final order of removal/deportation.  Also, Immigration can visit your job and detained you at your worksite.  Recently, Immigration has engaged in numerous worksite raids at corporations that hire a large number of immigrants.

So, what are the DO’S and DON’TS if Immigration comes knocking at your door or job?

For more information, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2014, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Knock, Knock – Immigration at your door! Free Consultation

During fiscal year 2017, U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Immigration & Custom Enforcement removed or deported 226,119 individuals from the United States.  Contact Immigration Lawyer Gail Seeram for a free consultation if you are in deportation.

Unfortunately, many individuals don’t know what to expect if Immigration comes knocking at their door due to an expired visa/I-94, initiation of removal/deportation proceeding due to commission of a crime, or execution of a final order of removal/deportation.  Also, Immigration can visit your job and detained you at your worksite.  Recently, Immigration has engaged in numerous worksite raids at corporations that hire a large number of immigrants.

So, what are the DO’S and DON’TS if Immigration comes knocking at your door or job?

  1. Be Respectful: Refer to the Immigration Officer as “Sir” or “Madam” or “Officer.”  Though the Immigration Officer may not treat you with respect, you should show respect because the decisions regarding your detention, issuance of bond, or release initially rest in their hands.
  2. Get the name of the Immigration Officer: ask the officer for his/her business card.  If he/she is not willing to give you a business card, then casually ask for his/her name.  Make a mental note or write down their name.
  3. Ask  the Immigration Officer where you are being taken: this is very important because in most states, Immigration has more than one detention center.  As an immigration lawyer, I find it difficult to locate my clients when the family members cannot tell me where my client is being held.  Sometimes, it takes 2-3 hours to call every detention center in the state to locate my client.  Immigration is not always very helpful.
  4. While being processed-ask to use the phone: the first place Immigration will take you is to an office where you will be fingerprinted and photograph.  They will also ask you questions about your status and family member and create a “Record of Proceeding”.  Also, they will serve you with a “Notice to Appear,” which initiates the removal/deportation process.  Politely ask the Immigration officer if you can use the phone to call your family member to let them know you are safe.
  5. Inform family member where you are & name of Immigration Officer: Once you get to speak with your family member, give them the name of the detention center you will be taken to and the name of the Immigration officer.  This information will be helpful to the immigration attorney hired to represent you.
  6. Do Not Sign any Documents: The Immigration Officer will present numerous documents to you for your signature.  DO NOT SIGN ANY DOCUMENTS.  Simply write, “Refuse to Sign” in the signature block.  There have been numerous cases where immigrants sign documents not knowing that they are waiving a judicial hearing and choosing expedited removal/deportation.  Once an attorney is retained to represent you, the attorney will review the documents and advise you of the legal ramifications of each document.
  7. Do Not Submit to Threats by Immigration Officer: I have heard stories of Immigration Officers making threatening remarks such as “If you don’t sign these documents or cooperate, we will hold you here for 6-9 months” or “If you hire an attorney, we will deport you tomorrow”.  Do not believe these statements.  Removal/deportation is a process and takes at least 2-3 months with a final order or removal/deportation.  Immigration Officers don’t like to see you hire an attorney because you will be advised of reliefs and waivers that will allow you to remain in the U.S.  Additionally, they know that when an attorney is involved, they must be on their best behavior because the attorney will not hesitate to speak with their supervisor or file a complaint against the Department of Homeland Security.
  8. Exercise Right for Bond Hearing: The Immigration Officer will ask you if you want a hearing to determine bond – always answer, “Yes”.  Contact your family members and tell them to hire an immigration attorney to represent you at the hearing.
  9. Be Patience: It is tough to be held in a detention center and to be away from your family.  I always urge my clients to be patience with the process and don’t rush to give up and opt for removal/deportation without a hearing.  In most cases, my clients that are held in detention are eligible for some type of relief from removal/deportation but we can only apply for such relief in immigration court.  There is a 1-2 years backlog in the immigration court but when you are in detention center, your case can take 3-6 months.
  10. Inform Immigration Officer of Special Dietary Needs or Medical Conditions: If you have special dietary or food needs (such as vegetarian), make sure you inform the immigration officer so they can make the proper arrangements for your food.  Also, if you have any medical conditions and require daily medicine, advise the immigration officer so they can have your family bring your medicine or make arrangements for you to have your medicine at the detention facility.

Remember, at the end of the day, though Immigration Officers try to make you feel that they are trying to help you, they are more concerned with their job security and showing statistically that the U.S. is safer due to increased removal/deportation.

Removal and Deportation Court Proceedings

Immigration Attorney Orlando, Gail Seeram, offers a FREE in-office consultation to discuss your removal and deportation court proceedings case. Removal proceedings (or “deportation”) can be initiated against a lawful permanent resident or undocumented noncitizen (collectively referred to as “noncitizens”). Removal & deportation proceedings can be initiated when a noncitizen (including a lawful permanent resident) is seeking admission to the United States, filing an application for an immigration benefit (such as U.S. Citizenship or renewing/replacing a “green card”), serving a sentence for a criminal conviction (such as probation, community service or prison), or detained by local police for a criminal matter.

There are several grounds under the Immigration & Nationality Act that the United States government can seek removal & deportation against a noncitizen.  In general, the removal & deportation grounds include: criminal grounds, immigration violations, visa and passport fraud, alien smuggling, willful misrepresentation and false claim to U.S. citizenship, unlawful presence, illegal reentry after a prior deportation, security and foreign policy grounds, public charge and economic grounds, health related grounds, and other miscellaneous grounds.

The following are considered criminal grounds: a noncitizen’s conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude, multiple crimes involving moral turpitude, aggravated felony, firearm offenses, money laundering, and domestic violence.  Note, a conviction for a misdemeanor where there was no probation or jail time may be considered a “crime involving moral turpitude” and can result in a noncitizen being place in removal & deportation proceedings.

While in removal & deportation proceedings, the noncitizen may be released on his/her own recognizance with no restrictions.  In some cases, the noncitizen may be held in custody at a detention facility by the Department of Homeland Security – Immigration Custom & Enforcement (ICE), issued an order of supervision where the noncitizen reports to an immigration officer, released on monetary bond, or released on an electronic monitoring device (such as an “anklet bracelet”).

During the removal & deportation proceedings, the noncitizen will have several court hearings – a bond hearing, a master hearing and an individual hearing.  At each of these hearings, the noncitizen will appear before an immigration judge and an attorney from the Office of Chief Counsel.  Through his/her immigration attorney, the noncitizen will have an opportunity to answer to the immigration-related charges and present a form of relief or waiver seeking to remain in the United States.

Under the Immigration & Nationality Act (or immigration laws), the noncitizen may seek to apply for any of the following waivers or relief from removal once he/she meets the requirements: cancellation of removal, 212(c), adjustment of status, citizenship, 212(h) waiver, asylum, withholding of removal, convention against torture, temporary protected status and voluntary departure.

If a noncitizen is placed in removal or deportation proceedings, the biggest mistake is to opt for “expedited removal” and waiver (or give up) his/her right for a judicial hearing.  All noncitizen should choose to see an immigration judge and fight removal or deportation proceedings – our office would be willing to defend and advocate for any noncitizen’s right to remain in the United States.

To better understand the steps and process of Removal/Deportation Court Proceedings, CLICK HERE, to view a visual roadmap or chart.