Asylum and related forms of refugee relief are typically a last resort for victims of persecution. Recently, there has been a surge of nationals seeking asylum from Venezuela, Haiti, Jamaica and the Middle East. In order to qualify for asylum, one must prove that they were a victim of persecution by the government due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group or political opinion, or that they have a valid fear of future persecution. These cases are difficult to prove but can result in legal permanent residency (green card) for the applicant and their family.
Perhaps one of the most sought after goals of our clients, citizenship allows a foreigner to vote in U.S. elections, travel with an American passport, and forever avoid deportation. Becoming a citizen brings peace of mind. The fears of immigration and deportation are forever left in the past, and as a citizen the wait times for bringing in other family members are significantly shortened. Some countries allow for dual citizenship while others force you to give up your old passport. It is important to speak with an attorney about becoming a citizen before you start filing any paperwork, especially if there are criminal issues involved (for example: DUI, Driving on a suspended license, etc.)
To be an effective immigration attorney, one must also have a working knowledge of the interplay with criminal issues. Effective criminal representation may be the only way to preserve your legal status especially if the charges are serious. If you have been arrested, or would simply just like to know what your rights are if you ever are face-to-face with a police officer, we would love for you to come in and speak with us. Remember, knowledge is power. Know your rights.
Cuban adjustment is a path to residency for Cuban nationals who have been in the U.S. for at least one year. In order to avail oneself of this law you must prove that you are a national of Cuba, have resided in the U.S. for at least one year, and that you do not have serious criminal convictions that bar you from applying for your green card. These applications typically take 4-6 months and allow the person to petition for other family members on the island once they are granted their residency.
The experience of going before a judge in a legal proceeding to determine in which country the immigrant will be allowed to live is a very serious experience which is not to be taken lightly. Having represented many immigrants in front of dozens of judges in many parts of the United States, Grace is well versed in both the immigration procedure, and the rights of each individual immigrant. There are many forms of relief from deportation which depend on different factors. Grace Gómez will make sure you are armed with all the necessary information which our experience has given us so that you can rest assured that you are getting the most aggressive representation possible.
Without question, one of the most sad, terrifying, and trying times on any immigrant and their loved ones is when an immigrant is detained. Although the United States doesn’t call it “prison,” but rather “detention,” that does not bring any comfort to the immigrant who is separated from their family. Time is always against the immigrant when he or she is detained. Grace Gómez has extensive experience at dealing with detained immigrants and getting them out on bond. We know that an immigrant who is back at home with his or her family is not only happier, but also in a better position to work with his or her lawyer to defend his case.
There are many opportunities for professional and skilled workers to come to the U.S. with their families. Some of these visas are temporary while others are a path to legal permanent residency. Foreigners with specialized degrees and training can take advantage of employment-based immigration to come to the US to work and live. Opportunities for investment are also available in the immigration system.
Immediate relatives can petition for their loved ones to become residents of the U.S. whether the loved ones are in the U.S. or abroad. Spouses, parents, and minor children typically have immediate available visas while siblings are required to wait the mandatory period stated on the visa bulletin. Fianceés can also petition to bring their spouses to the U.S. Immigration and criminal issues can complicate family-based petitions and thus should be handled by qualified attorneys.
Obtaining legal permanent residency (green card) is the first goal of most immigrants who are seeking to stay in the United States for an extended period of time. Legal permanent residents can work, study, and drive in the U.S. legally. Residency can be obtained through many means, including family based petitions, employment based petitions, and refugee status. Residents who are married to U.S. citizens can apply for citizenship after 3 years and all other residents can apply for citizenship after 5 years. Residency can be lost due to immigration violations and criminal issues.
Temporary Protected Status or TPS is available to nationals of certain countries that have been affected by natural disasters. Those who have TPS can seek work permits and driver’s licenses and are not subject to deportation. However, there are deadlines and criminal convictions which can prevent you from applying for TPS. Currently, nationals of the following countries can avail themselves of TPS if they applied before the deadlines listed below.
|Designated Country||Continuous Resident in the U.S. Since||Continuously Physically Present in the U.S. Since|
|El Salvador||February 13, 2001||March 9, 2001|
|Haiti||January 12, 2010||January 21, 2010|
|Honduras||December 30, 1998||January 5, 1999|
|Nicaragua||December 30, 1998||January 5, 1999|
|Somalia||September 4, 2001||September 4, 2001|
|Sudan||October 7, 2004||October 7, 2004|
There are many different types of visas. Each visa is designated for a specific intent, including to visit, study, work, or reside temporarily in the United States. Some visas have complicated filing procedures and requirements while others are more straightforward. A consultation with a qualified attorney can illuminate the path to the proper visa for you and your loved ones.
Immigration violations, criminal issues, manner of entry and other factors all may require the use of waivers. Such petitions can be very complex and require the supervision of an experienced attorney. Waivers can be costly and time consuming; they should be done correctly the first time by a qualified attorney, whether before USCIS, the immigration court, or at a consular processing post.