Illegal Children Immigration – Crisis at Border – Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

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.

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.

Immigration Court Deportation for Minor Crimes

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 in immigration court 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 immigration court records show.  The immigration courts are backlog with so many deportation cases and some immigration court judges take 3-4 years to complete a deportation case.  It is important for immigrants to remember to seek an immigration lawyer if required to appear in immigration court.

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.

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.

U.S. Supreme Court Reject Retroactive Application of Immigration Laws to Conviction before 1996

On March 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important decision, Vartelas v. Holder, No. 10-1211, rejecting the retroactive application of a provision of an immigration laws passed by Congress in 1996 that has prevented many lawful permanent residents (LPRs) from returning to the United States after a trip abroad.  Citing the “deeply rooted presumption” against applying new laws retroactively, the Court ruled 6-3 that LPRs who temporarily leave the country cannot be denied readmission on account of criminal convictions that occurred before the law took effect.  

The Justice Department argued that LPRs with certain criminal convictions may be barred from re-entering the United States any time they leave the country—even if the law in effect at the time of their guilty pleas did not make them eligible for deportation or ineligible for reentry to the United States. The Supreme Court properly rejected this argument, noting that the government’s interpretation effectively prevented such LPRs from ever leaving the country.

In sum, before Congress enacted the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) in 1996, lawful permanent residents who had committed a crime of moral turpitude could return from brief trips abroad without applying for admission to the United States. However, after enactment of IIRIRA n 1996, lawful permanent residents who had committed a crime of moral turpitude were required to reapply for admission to the U.S. and the crime of moral turpitude (even though committed before the 1996 law) would place the lawful permanent resident into removal proceedings.  This U.S. Supreme Court decision concludes that a returning lawful permanent resident cannot be placed in removal proceedings for a conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude that was committed before the 1996 IIRIRA laws.

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.

Immigrant Attorney Comment on U.S. Supreme Court Review of Padilla v Kentucky & Convictions before 2010

Immigrant Attorney, Gail Seeram, explains that in Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010), the U.S. Supreme Court held that criminal defendants receive ineffective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment when their criminal attorneys fail to advise them that pleading guilty to an offense will subject them to deportation.  The rule established through this case was that criminal defendants must be advised by their criminal attorney of the immigration consequences of a guilty or no contest plea in criminal proceedings.  However, the case failed to state whether the rule applies retroactively, meaning, can criminal defendants who pled before 2010 (when the case was decided) claim ineffective assistance of counsel and challenge their prior convictions.  In the State of Florida, the criminal courts have held that the Padilla decision is not retroactive and only applies to convictions after 2010.

Well, the U.S. Supreme Court will soon revisit this issue and decide whether the rule established in Padilla v. Kentucky, a 2010 decision, applies retroactively (or before 2010).  The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Chaidez v. United States to determine whether Padilla applies to persons whose convictions became final before the 2010 court decision.  If the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the 2010 Padilla decision is retroactive, then noncitizen convicted before 2010 that were not informed by their criminal attorney that their plea carries a risk of deportation may have an opportunity to vacate their convictions.  This would allow many noncitizens who were removed/deported or currently in removal proceedings to challenge criminal convictions where they were not properly advised of immigration consequences of their pleas.

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.

Certain Immigration Deportation Cases to be Reviewed & Administratively Closed

On August 18, 2011, the Obama Administration announced the formation of a high-level working group to review approximately 300,000 pending immigration deportation cases and administratively close proceedings against individuals found to be a “low” enforcement priority. The review process, which will be conducted by members of the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, is intended to ease the tremendous backlog in the immigration courts and to ensure that government resources are focused on cases involving the government’s highest immigration enforcement priorities—public safety, national security and border security. In determining whether to exercise prosecutorial discretion, working group members will take relationships of LGBT families into account, just as they will all other family ties. Although no category of cases will receive a blanket exercise of favorable prosecutorial discretion, certain categories of individuals—including veterans, long-time permanent residents, minors, the elderly, individuals who have been present since childhood, individuals with serious disabilities or health issues, nursing or pregnant women, and victims of domestic violence or other serious crimes—will receive particular attention. Respondents whose cases are administratively closed will be eligible to apply for an employment authorization document through USCIS.

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.