America’s Immigration Courts in Dysfunction

The Washington Post states that the dysfunction of U.S. immigration courts is due to a “crushing caseload,” and explains that their workloads—on average more than 700 cases annually—are twice what federal district court judges face. “Under those circumstances, due process … is a fading ideal.” The editorial also notes that wild disparities in outcomes and legal standards plague the nation’s 58 immigration courts.  The immigration court backlog, which has doubled in the past six years, now exceeds half a million cases ; thousands more are added each month. Immigration judges, who number just 300, schedule hearings two or three years in the future, or even more in some venues.  Read this story… (more…)

Winning in Immigration Court

Appearing in any court is a scary experience. Well, it is scarier for an illegal immigrant to appear in immigration court with the fear of being arrested and place on an airplane back to his/her home country. The most important advice an immigration lawyer can give is that the immigrant or Respondent MUST appear in immigration court at the designated date and time noted in his/her “Notice of Hearing”. If the immigrant or Respondent fails to appear in immigration court, then the immigration judge will issue an “in-abstentia” removal order – ordering deportation for failure to appear. If you are unable to attend a court hearing, write a letter to the immigration court or advise your immigration lawyer to submit a motion for a continuance. Once any removal order is issued, it is very difficult to file a successful motion to reopen.

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Immigration Court Backlog – 445,607 cases pending

The number of cases awaiting resolution before the Immigration Court climbed to a new all-time high of 445,607 as of the end of April 2015, according to very timely government court data obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). The case backlog has risen 9.2 percent since the beginning of this fiscal year when the backlog was 408,037. The backlog is 29.5 percent higher than it was at the beginning of fiscal year 2014, at which time only 344,230 cases were waiting in the Immigration Court. (more…)

Orlando Immigration Court

Immigration Lawyer Gail Seeram has been representing immigrants in the Orlando Immigration Court since 2004 and practicing law since 1999.  The Orlando Immigration Court is located at 3535 Lawton Road, Orlando, FL 32803.  The telephone number for the Orlando Immigration Court is 407-722-8900.  Currently, the Orlando Immigration Court has seven (7) immigration judges.  If you have received a notice of hearing with a date and time (more…)

Deportation Fears – Immigration Lawyer Gail Seeram Can Help

Immigration lawyer Gail Seeram explains the newly released data of 438,421 deportations carried out from the United States during October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014 represent families suffering from separation, lower socioeconomic status, emotional stress, and limited health and educational opportunities.  Immigration Lawyer Gail Seeram has noticed that more of the immigrants that consult with her have a deep fear of deportation even though they have lived in the U.S. for more than 10, 20 and sometimes 30 years.  The political climate in the U.S. of zero tolerance for illegal immigrants has cast a fear on many law abiding immigrants and their families.

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Orlando Immigration Lawyer explains Removal Proceedings

Orlando Immigration Lawyer Gail Seeram explains that removal proceedings (or “deportation”) can be initiated against a lawful permanent resident or undocumented noncitizen (collectively referred to as “noncitizens”) at any time. 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. (more…)

Prosecutorial Discretion – Ask an Immigration Lawyer

Prosecutorial discretion is a discretionary relief where Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE), the agency that initiates and executes removal/deportation from the United States, can choose to temporarily pause removal/deportation or release an individual from detention based on certain factors.  A request for prosecutorial discretion is best prepared and presented to ICE by an immigration lawyer.

In exercising prosecutorial discretion, Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) may administratively close a pending removal case (removal proceedings delayed), grant voluntary departure, grant deferred action (defer a pending removal), reissue or cancel a Notice to Appear, or release a detained individual on bond or an order of supervision. Note, in exercising prosecutorial discretion, it is unlikely that a pending removal case would be terminated unless there are extenuating factors present. In order to request prosecutorial discretion in a pending removal case or detention case, an immigration lawyer would submit the request to Immigration Custom and Enforcement (ICE).

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.

Prosecutorial Discretion in Removal – Deportation – Ask an Immigration Lawyer

Prosecutorial discretion is a discretionary relief where Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE), the agency that initiates and executes removal/deportation from the United States, can choose to temporarily pause removal/deportation or release an individual from detention based on certain factors.

In exercising prosecutorial discretion, Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) may administratively close a pending removal case (removal proceedings delayed), grant voluntary departure, grant deferred action (defer a pending removal), reissue or cancel a Notice to Appear, or release a detained individual on bond or an order of supervision. Note, in exercising prosecutorial discretion, it is unlikely that a pending removal case would be terminated unless there are extenuating factors present. In order to request prosecutorial discretion in a pending removal case or detention case, an immigration lawyer would submit the request to Immigration Custom and Enforcement (ICE).

However, in cases where the immigrant has a criminal history these types of cases are deemed enforcement priorities and prosecutorial discretion will not be exercised in these types of cases. ICE will consider the following factors in deciding whether to grant or exercise prosecutorial discretion:

  1. the person’s length of presence in the United States, with particular consideration given to presence while in lawful status;
  2. the circumstances of the person’s arrival in the United States and the manner of his or her entry, particularly if the alien came to the United States as a young child;
  3. the person’s pursuit of education in the United States, with particular consideration given to those who have graduated from a U.S. high school or have successfully pursued or are pursuing a college or advanced degrees at a legitimate institution of higher education in the United States;
  4. whether the person, or the person’s immediate relative, has served in the U.S. military, reserves, or national guard, with particular consideration given to those who served in combat;
  5. the person’s criminal history, including arrests, prior convictions, or outstanding arrest warrants;
  6. the person’s immigration history, including any prior removal, outstanding order of removal, prior denial of status, or evidence of fraud;
  7. whether the person poses a national security or public safety concern;
  8. the person’s ties and contributions to the community, including family relationships;
  9. the person’s ties to the home country and condition in the country;
  10. the person’s age, with particular consideration given to minors and the elderly;
  11. whether the person has a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, child, or parent;
  12. whether the person is the primary caretaker of a person with a mental or physical disability, minor, or seriously ill relative; ;
  13. whether the person or the person’s spouse is pregnant or nursing;
  14. whether the person or the person’s spouse suffers from severe mental or physical illness;
  15. whether the person is likely to be granted temporary or permanent status or other relief from removal, including as an asylum seeker, or a victim of domestic violence, human trafficking, or other crime; .and .
  16. whether the person is currently cooperating or has cooperated with federal, state or local law enforcement authorities, such as ICE, the U.S Attorneys or Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, or National Labor Relations Board, among others.

A formal written request for prosecutorial discretion must be submitted to the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) office with jurisdiction over the pending case. The request must also contain supporting evidence of the above favorable factors. A request for prosecutorial discretion is best prepared and presented to ICE by an immigration lawyer. In most cases, a follow-up phone conversation is needed between the immigration lawyer submitting the request and the ICE official making the decision on whether to grant prosecutorial discretion.  Our office has been very successful in obtaining prosecutorial discretion on behalf of our clients in removal proceedings.  Contact our office for a free initial in-office consultation.

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

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.