A significant portion of our practice involves appeals of immigration judge decisions, either to the BIA or the Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as writing briefs for other attorneys in appeals. Most appeals from immigration court decisions fall into categories: (1) challenging whether the immigrant is actually removable, and (2) challenging decisions denying relief from removal (like asylum). However, appeals can also focus on the procedure the immigration judge followed or whether the hearing itself was fair.
U Visas, T Visas, and Protection From Harm
The U Visa and the T Visa were created to help immigrants who have been the victims of violent crime or severe forms of trafficking to obtain lawful status in the United States. Importantly, these visas tend to require cooperation with a law enforcement agency, and they may require certification by a government official about the crime and the immigrant’s level of cooperation. We help with all aspects of U Visas and T Visas, beginning with obtaining the certification form from the government official (if necessary and where possible), preparing the visa forms, preparing the documents necessary to prove your eligibility, and filing the application forms with the USCIS.
Asylum and Refugee Status
The United States is a member of several international treaties and conventions which require it to not deport immigrants to countries where they are likely to be harmed. Immigrants who are in the United States and afraid to return to another country may be eligible to apply for asylum, withholding of removal, or deferral under the Convention Against Torture. However, the law is especially complicated, and these forms of relief require an understanding both of the statutory requirements and the practical necessities in filing for asylum and other forms of protection.
Adjustment of Status
A person already present in the United States might qualify to “adjust” their status to lawful permanent residence if they meet one of the various requirements listed at INA 245. This process requires filing an application for adjustment and a number of other forms to prove both eligibility for adjustment of status and that the person is “admissible” to the United States. There are multiple grounds for adjustment of status, each of which is based on what the immigrant’s previous status was. The process may also include a number of other requirements, from medical examinations to financial sponsorship, depending on the type of adjustment of status.
Citizenship and Naturalization
We handle all aspects of citizenship claims, including applications to naturalize, passport applications, and derivative citizenship claims. Naturalization is not simple; the application has grown to 21 pages in length and asks a number of complex questions about your life history. Some individuals are lawfully present but are not yet allowed to naturalize. Knowing whether and when to file a naturalization application is absolutely crucial. On the other hand, you may already be a citizen through your parents’ status or perhaps even your grandparents.
Sometimes, an immigration application with no good reason or the government’s action or inaction causes serious harm to the applicant. This can include long delays in processing or adjudicating applications, refusing to provide the status of a pending application, or denying an application for a reason not permitted under the law. In those cases, there is sometimes the option to file an administrative appeal, but another legitimate option might be to pursue a claim in federal District Court under the Administrative Procedures Act or other federal statutes.