Immigration policy and enforcement continues to evolve undergoing a large shift and uncertainty abounds. Undocumented immigrants fear ICE knocking at their door and those with lawful immigration status, but who are not yet U.S. citizens, are also uncertain. Concern is understandable, and in times like this it is of the utmost importance that you have the highest level of legal representation in your immigration matters. We hope this brief article alleviates some of those concerns.
There are some things that everyone should know who is currently faced with this uncertainty.
If someone inside the U.S. is faced with losing their status. There are usually options available to fight to remain here. There are many different defenses available, including cancellation of removal, asylum, and family-based immigration petitions. However, there may only be a small window to request these benefits once a person is faced with deportation so time is of the essence.
Consequently, it is important to quickly have someone competent representing you or your loved ones who can take immediate action. This may be in the form of communicating directly with immigration officials simply to gather additional information, or filing a stay request with the court. Attorneys with the knowledge and experience will be able to prepare things quickly, know who to contact, and be ready to move forward when needed. Additionally, a great immigration attorney will be able to recognize what options are available to you to fight your case and present the strongest application possible.
While this may sound rather basic, it’s complicated. Not long ago someone came into our office who was facing deportation and he wanted a second opinion because he had doubts about his attorney at the time. He was a permanent resident and the other attorney had attempted to file for cancellation of removal. Unfortunately, a criminal conviction from his past made that impossible. When faced with opposition in court that he was not actually eligible, his attorney said there was nothing else to do and the judge had given him a few more months to present any other relief.
When he came to see us we were able to determine that not only was the previous attorney was incorrect in her initial assertion that he was eligible for cancellation of removal, but that he did have other relief available to him through what is called a “standalone 212h waiver.” This relief was something that the other purported immigration attorney had never ever heard of.
We were able to file this application with the immigration judge and present a very strong case on his behalf. Ultimately, he was allowed to keep his permanent residency and remain in the U.S. with his children. Had he not decided to seek out a second opinion, it is likely that he would have lost his residency and been deported from the U.S.
Having the right immigration attorney could be the difference in obtaining legal status and deportation. While not every case may have a solution, if that solution exists we will find it. The attorneys at Wilner & O’Reilly have years of experience handling the most complicated immigration cases. With former immigration officers, lawyers who clerked at the Immigration Court and board certified specialists on our team, we have the knowledge and experience to ensure a positive outcome in your case. Contact us right away to receive a free consultation.
Kelly S. O’Reilly is a nationally known immigration expert and former immigration officer. He is a highly sought after speaker on immigration and employment compliance issues. Mr. O’Reilly serves as the current chair of the Riverside County Bar Association Immigration section and is a partner in the full-service immigration firm of the Wilner & O’Reilly where he provides free consultations. Mr. O’Reilly can be contacted at (714) 919-8880 and he welcomes email inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org.