Deferred Action for childhood arrivals (DACA) passed on June 15, 2012, is a discretionary decision to defer removal action against an individual subject to renewal every two years. A grant of deferred removal action does not confer lawful immigration status or alter an individual’s existing immigration status. However, should Congress pass a DREAM Act, DACA could become a pathway to U.S. citizenship. In addition to obtaining work authorization, DACA recipients may be eligible to obtain a state issued identification, driver’s license and may seek permission to travel outside of the U.S. in limited circumstances.
An individual may qualify for DACA if they:
Family unity is a cornerstone of U.S. immigration law. As a result, U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents may sponsor certain foreign national relatives to immigrate to the United States.
The first step in a multi-step process, is for the U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident to file a petition with the government on behalf of the foreign national relative. The petition itself does not give the relative immigration status, but rather establishes the necessary relationship so that the foreign national relative may become eligible to immigrate to the United States.Read more...
Every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have been persecuted in the past or fear they will be persecuted in the future. These people seek what is called asylum. Being granted asylum means a person can stay in the United States. In order to receive asylum in the United States, a person must show either past persecution, or that there is a "well-founded fear" of persecution in the future. The persecution must be due to:
The source of the persecution must be either the government of a foreign country or a group that the government is unable or unwilling to control. Although persecution is not defined by U.S. immigration law, courts have often defined persecution as "a threat to life or freedom, or the infliction of suffering or harm."
A person can request asylum either affirmatively or defensively. A person can affirmatively request asylum at any time within the first year of their arrival in the U.S. by filing the necessary forms. A person can also request asylum as a defense to removal proceedings.
People who have filed for asylum can receive work authorization, but only in 2 circumstances: when asylum has been granted, or 150 days have passed since applying for asylum and no decision has been made.
A person who is granted asylum may apply for permanent residence one year after asylum is granted.
U.S. law provides protection for legal and undocumented immigrants who are victims of crime, including abused spouses and children of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Congress recognized that victims who do not have legal status may be reluctant to report acts of violence to the police, or help in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity for fear of deportation.
There are three forms of relief that offer protection to crime victims:
TPS may be granted to nationals of certain designated countries due to a number of country conditions, such as an ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster (e.g., an earthquake) or an epidemic. During a designated period, individuals who are eligible for TPS cannot be ordered removed from the United States, can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD), and may be granted travel authorization. An individual with TPS cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of his or her immigration status in the United States. Although TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status, registration for TPS does not bar a TPS beneficiary from applying for non-immigrant status or filing for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition.
Countries currently designated for TPS include: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Syria.
To be eligible for TPS, a TPS applicant must meet the Continual Physical Presence (CPP) and Continuous Residence (CR) requirements. An applicant must have been continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation date of the applicant’s country. An applicant must also have been continuously residing in the United States since the date specified for the applicant’s country. There is an exception to the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements for “brief, casual and innocent” departures from the United States. Every applicant for TPS must inform USCIS of all absences from the United States since the CPP and CR dates.
Additional information coming soon
Receiving a notice that you or a family member has been put in deportation or removal proceedings is a frightening time. These orders are most commonly initiated when a person has been convicted for committing a crime. You may have eligibility for some defense to being deported. If you are facing deportation or know someone who will be, it is important to consult with one of our experienced immigration lawyers as soon as possible. We will help calm your worries and help prepare you. The sooner you consult with us, the more time we will have to prepare a proper defense. There are strict deadlines for raising a deportation defense.
Some of the most common grounds for deportation/removal from the U.S. include criminal convictions, status violations, unlawful presence, prohibited employment activity, and unlawful entry (or illegal immigration). When faced with a deportation/removal order from the United States government there are several routes that might be available.
Bond Hearings - Here in Dallas, it is likely that you or a loved one may be detained at the Rolling Plains Detention in Haskell, Texas, where many people subject to deportation are detained during immigration court proceedings. We can help you determine if you or your loved one qualifies for a bond and how to obtain the lowest bond possible though ICE and the Immigration Judge.
Asylum and Withholding of Removal - A defensive asylum application is filed with the immigration court during removal proceedings. An individual must prove to the immigration court that he or she has a “well-founded” or “reasonable” fear of harm if returned to native country. If you are granted asylum, other family members may be eligible for asylum status as derivative beneficiaries, even if they did not experience the persecution. After holding asylum status for one year, the alien is eligible to apply for a green card.Withholding of removal is similar to asylum in that individual must prove that there is some type of threat to his or her life or freedom. However, the relief granted under a withholding of removal approval is much more limited than relief through asylum. Withholding of removal is a mandatory form of relief, whereas asylum is discretionary.
Adjustment of Status in Court - Adjustment of status refers to the procedure for seeking LPR status in the United States without having to leave the country. For those individuals placed in removal proceedings, it can serve a form of relief. Generally, adjustment of status requires an approved visa petition through a US citizen family member, an employer, or a diversity visa. There are also requirements regarding manner of entry into the country, visa availability, and admissibility.
Cancellation of Removal - Cancellation of Removal is a discretionary form of relief which allows an alien to remain in the United States as a lawful permanent resident even though he has been found removable. This form of relief is available for individuals who are already lawful permanent residents (LPR) as well as those who have no legal immigration status (Non-LPR). There are certain qualifications that the client has to have in order to be eligible to apply for cancellation of removal.
Voluntary Departure - Voluntary departure is a limited form of relief. Essentially, the client agrees to leave the United States on his or her own by the deadline that the court provides. This is helpful to the client because they are given several months to prepare to leave the country. The main benefit of asking for voluntary departure is that our clients are left with clean record of a removal order and can hope that in the future they might be able to reenter the United States legally.
Additional Service and Remedies include:
The U.S. Government does not grant work authorization to everyone. You can obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) only if you have some recognized legal status in the U.S., for example:
Whittenburg Law provides immigration solutions for employers and Under immigration law, employers may sponsor individuals for temporary employment or for permanent residence. Our services include:
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If you are not sure about the particulars of your criminal history (e.g., number and dates of your arrests and convictions), we can request on your behalf a complete criminal history by submitting your fingerprints to the FBI. You can do fingerprinting confidentially in our office. We receive fingeprint results in our office and review them with our clients in a confidential manner. It is important to know your criminal history for purposes of qualifying for many immigration benefits.
We can check fingerprints for expedited removals ordered by the CBP at the border.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows you to submit a request to various federal and state government agencies, including USCIS, CBP, ICE, Department of State, and Immigration Courts, to obtain your complete “alien file.” For example, a FOIA request to USCIS may reveal whether an immigrant petition has ever been filed on your behalf, or whether you have ever been ordered removed from the U.S.
We prepare and file a FOIA request on your behalf and review your “alien file” with you.
We can inquire on your behalf about the status of your application or petition pending with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the National Visa Center (NVC).
If you have an immigration issue that requires attention of a trained USCIS Immigration Officer, we can assist you in scheduling an appointment with an immigration officer via a free service – InfoPass. Alternatively, we can schedule an appointment for one of our attorneys to inquire on your behalf. Examples of common situations requiring InfoPass include checking on the status of a pending application or a citizenship oath ceremony, which have fallen outside regular processing times; getting your passport stamped for travel.
All of our offices provide passport application and photo services. We can prepare your photos for submission with your petition or application forms.
Additional information coming soon