AVVO Top Attorney
BBB
Justia Lawyer Rating
Martindale-Hubbell
SuperLawyers
SuperLawyers
AVVO
AVVO
AVVO
AVVO
Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association

Articles Posted in Immigration

Path to Permanent Residence in Nashville, TNThe United States immigration system contains millions of pending applications at any given time. Although many immigrants throughout the United States ultimately submit their applications to obtain lawful permanent residence (i.e., a “Green Card”) or other immigration benefits to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), the Immigration Courts located in the Executive Office for Immigration Review (an office within the U.S. Department of Justice) present a very different, surprising, and far riskier path to lawful permanent residence: removal proceedings.

Without a doubt, being placed in removal proceedings and facing deportation from the United States is probably one of the greatest fears of any immigrant in the United States. If the Government succeeds in its case against an immigrant in removal proceedings, the Immigration Court will order the immigrant removed from the United States and, with only few exceptions, the immigrant will be transported back to their native country. Immigrants placed in removal proceedings because of criminal charges brought against them in the United States may even be placed in federal custody and detained for the duration of their removal proceedings, rendering it difficult or impossible for them to re-connect with their loved ones while their removal proceedings are ongoing, and their ability to secure legal counsel and obtain the necessary evidence to support their defense may be substantially impaired. Indeed, for nearly all immigrants currently residing in the United States – lawfully or otherwise – the possibility of being placed in removal proceedings is a scenario that cannot be described as anything other than truly horrifying and disastrous, as their removal from the United States will mean separation from their families, an end to the life they have built for themselves over a period of months or years, and a return to dangerous or unhealthy living conditions in the country they hoped to flee, leave behind forever, or never return to.

As difficult as the removal process is for countless immigrants, the current legal landscape does provide a little-known silver lining to the removal process: certain immigrants can acquire lawful permanent residence status and a Green Card by obtaining a form of relief known as cancellation of removal in a removal proceeding. Indeed, in certain circumstances, not only can immigrants prevail in their removal proceeding and avoid deportation from the United States – they can actually obtain a Green Card at the conclusion of the proceeding and be admitted to stay in the United States permanently when there would have otherwise been no other avenue available to obtain a Green Card.

Path to Permanent Residence in Nashville, TNIn the United States, one of the most important goals for millions of immigrants is acquiring a “Green Card” – the symbol of lawful permanent residence and a pathway to citizenship. Although many immigrants apply for a Green Card through a family member who is already a lawful permanent resident or United States citizen, many immigrants – both inside and outside of the United States – do not have such family connections and cannot rely on a family member to achieve the goal of obtaining lawful permanent residence. Part 3 of this series discusses employment-based immigration and how those with certain education, training, or other skill sets can nevertheless apply for legal status in the United States as part of their employment or trade, despite lacking any family connection that might otherwise make them eligible for an immigration benefit. If you missed Part 1 of this series (providing an overview to obtaining a Green Card) or Part 2 of this series (discussing family-based immigration), you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Generally, employment-based immigration is split into five (5) different preference categories:

  1. Priority workers, which include persons with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational managers or executives (EB-1);

Path to Permanent Residence in Nashville, TNThroughout America, one of the greatest struggles facing millions of immigrants is that of obtaining lawful permanent residence or – as it is commonly called – a “Green Card.” There are dozens of possible paths to obtaining a Green Card. Even many undocumented immigrants have a pathway to legal permanent residence available to them. Part 2 of this series focuses on family-based immigration and some of the ways immigrants can seek a Green Card through family relationships they have with relatives who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. If you missed Part 1 of this series (an overview to obtaining a Green Card), you can find it here.

Currently, family-based immigration results in greater numbers of admissions than the other categories of immigrants. As specified in the Immigration and Nationality Act, eligibility for family-sponsored immigration is determined by an immigrant’s familial relationships to U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. See 8 U.S.C. §§ 1151, 1153. If an immigrant can be categorized as an “immediate relative” of a U.S. citizen, he or she may be exempt from the waiting times that apply to other categories in family-based immigration. However, immigrants seeking to obtain lawful permanent resident status through their marriage to a U.S. citizen may also be subject to heightened scrutiny and evidentiary requirements. Determining your eligibility for a family-based immigration category, as well as which category is best for you, is a complex process that should not be attempted without the assistance of an immigration attorney.

Generally, the process of obtaining a Green Card in family-based immigration starts with the filing of a visa petition by the immigrant’s relative in the U.S. Visa petitions are generally filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security. Generally, a USCIS Officer will be responsible for adjudicating the visa petition. Approving a family-based visa petition can be discretionary for a USCIS Officer. Therefore, it is crucial to complete the visa petition in the legally correct manner and with sufficient supporting evidence to prove the bona fide nature of the family relationship. To gather the necessary evidence and complete the visa petition properly, it is important to secure the legal counsel of an immigration lawyer before submitting a visa petition to USCIS or any other government agency.

Path to Permanent ResidenceThe “Green Card” – to some, it is a symbol of hope, accomplishment, and security for a new life in America. To others, it symbolizes peace of mind, enduring stability with loved ones, and extinguishing the fear of deportation. Regardless of background or viewpoint, obtaining a Green Card means successfully completing the path to legal permanent residence. While millions of immigrants throughout the United States want a Green Card, relatively few of those immigrants ultimately succeed in acquiring one. For a variety of reasons, many immigrants find obtaining a Green Card challenging and difficult. This series of posts – while far from comprehensive or a substitute for legal counsel – discusses some of the ways immigrants in the United States can obtain status as a lawful permanent resident.

In the legal sense, acquiring lawful permanent resident status is the same thing as obtaining a Green Card. Upon receiving lawful permanent resident status, the immigrant is given an identification card. Over time, people began referring to these identification cards as “Green Cards” due to the green backdrop on the cards. Thus, while many people consider the Green Card to be the key to legal status, the card itself is really nothing more than a piece of plastic – the true prize is obtaining the status of lawful permanent resident.

But how can you get status as a lawful permanent resident? It depends. Every case is different, and there are dozens of possibilities. The current immigration system utilizes four (4) main categories of immigrants: (1) family-sponsored immigrants; (2) employment-based immigrants; (3) diversity immigrants; and (4) humanitarian immigrants. Within each category there can be several additional sub-categories, all with differing eligibility requirements. In addition, many of those categories have numerical limits on the number of visas that can be issued each year, resulting in various wait times. Therefore, it is not uncommon for many immigrants to be eligible to apply for legal permanent residence but have a waiting period before they can actually complete the process and obtain their Green Card. Even outside of these four (4) main categories, there are several other possible paths to receiving lawful permanent resident status. Indeed, even immigrants currently in removal proceedings and facing deportation may be able to obtain a Green Card and adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident.

BLOG-PHOTO-GREEN-CARD-ON-FLAG-copy-300x199The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, or so-called Green Card Lottery, gives a chance to millions of foreigners to receive a U.S. Green Card just by applying through USCIS.

There is no fee to enter the lottery and you can apply through www.dvlottery.state.gov. According to the Department of State, in 2010 there were approximately 50,000 Green Cards distributed throughout the entire world as part of the Green Card Lottery. The immigrant visas are drawn randomly among the entries.

The USCIS outlines a few requirements to enter the lottery if you are outside the U.S. You must establish that:

Para Español, haga click aqui

HB 2315Be informed about your options.

As January 19, 2019 approaches, fear and uncertainty have begun to spread among the immigrant and undocumented population in Tennessee. Some families have relocated to other states, other families have decided to consult with immigration lawyers in the area, and still others are eagerly awaiting the immigration reform so longed for by many. Regardless of what your choice has been, it is unquestionable that you must be prepared for this date. Please, get well informed, and keep reading.

The United States Government has recently come under intense scrutiny for the separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Denounced by many as overly harsh, President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy, which calls for the criminal prosecution of those who enter the United States illegally, has undoubtedly brought the issue of family separation to the forefront of United States Immigration Law. In response to news reports and public outcry related to immigrant children being separated from their families at the border, on June 20, 2018, the President signed Executive Order No. 13,841. See 83 Fed. Reg. 29435 (2018) (the “Executive Order”). Nevertheless, many Americans are still confused as to what the Executive Order does and whether it will affect them.

First, it is important to understand the history that led to the creation of the Executive Order. After years of litigation over the issue of detention of immigrant children throughout the 1980s and the 1990s, in 1997, the Clinton administration eventually entered into a settlement agreement in the case of Flores v. Reno (the “Flores Settlement”). Seee.g.Flores v. Reno, 681 F. Supp. 665 (C.D. Cal. 1997). Under the terms of the Flores Settlement, the Government established minimum standards for initial detention of minors, created procedures allowing minors to contact detained family members, and established a policy favoring the release of minors to their close family relatives.

To make matters even more complicated, two (2) subsequent court rulings further held that the Flores Settlement applied to all minors unlawfully crossing the border, whether accompanied or unaccompanied, and that the Government had to process the asylum claims of those minors within an average of 20 days. Seee.g.Flores v. Lynch, 828 F.3d 898 (9th Cir. 2016). Simply put, these court rulings had the practical effect of either (1) requiring the Government to release entire families from detention after 20 days and during the pendency of their removal proceedings (the so-called “catch-and-release” policy) or (2) requiring the Government to separate families via detaining adults in one set of detention facilities and sending children to be placed in the custody of other family members or the Department of Health and Human Services.

TENNESSEE has recently come into the national spotlight for its passage of House Bill 2315 (“HB 2315”), a new law that changes the nature of how municipal governments in Tennessee can control how local law enforcement agencies coordinate with federal immigration authorities. Although Governor Haslam refused to sign HB 2315, he also refused to veto it, thus allowing HB 2315 to become a law without his involvement.

But what is HB 2315, and how could it affect you? Two (2) major effects of HB 2315 are: (1) municipal governments cannot force local authorities to refuse to comply with federal immigration officials, including immigration detainers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”); and (2) municipal governments that do prohibit local authorities from complying with federal immigration officials through a “sanctuary city” policy are ineligible to receive any state funding.

Immigration detainers are requests by ICE for local authorities to hold undocumented individuals who have been charged with a crime and who are already in jail for an additional 48 hours after they otherwise would have been released. From ICE’s perspective, immigration detainers allow ICE a window of time for federal authorities to detain individuals for immigration proceedings when they may otherwise not be able to apprehend such individuals before they are normally released. However, this perspective has been harshly criticized, with many arguing that such immigration detainers unlawfully or immorally commandeer state law enforcement officers for federal law enforcement purposes.

Contact Information