Category: Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments

Three reasons that should lead you to hire an immigration attorney

I have been practicing immigration law exclusively since before I passed the Florida Bar (under the supervision of a licensed attorney). I have seen this scenario more times than I care to admit.
A client comes into my office for a consultation. I find out that the client had already filed a petition on his/her own without consulting an attorney. The client now comes in because something has gone VERY wrong. The client’s petition has already been denied, or worse they have landed in removal proceedings because they should not have filed because of something in their past. Or the potential client had filed a petition for permanent residence and the government did not believe that the marriage is real and charged the immigrant with marriage fraud and referred them to immigration court.
Unfortunately, in some cases, it had been too late or it had become much more expensive to deal with the issues because of the Service’s determination. The first reason I give to hire an attorney is the fact that an attorney will always be an advocate on your behalf. Even when I ended up in court on personal matters I always hired an attorney. I believe that the attorney will take the emotions out of the matter and will be able to represent your interests in a more subdued way than you would have. This level of dedication could mean the difference between winning and losing the case.
The second reason I give is that simply you will have one additional witness, especially in cases when you know you will end up in an interview with the Service. Most of the time, the Service, represented by an immigration officer conducting the interview, will be the only other person in the room. Unfortunately, this means that the record will be written by them. Administrative immigration proceedings are not recorded, like a court proceeding, and unfortunately, in some instances, the record will be written against you. In some instances, I have heard that the officer asked questions that should not have been asked. If you were the only person in the room, it would be your word against the officer’s, and it will be very hard to prove that the officer asked these inappropriate questions. So why not have another person in the room, who will be able to prove otherwise?
Lastly, and this is the most important reason, you should hire an attorney because you are not one, or even if you are, you should still hire one as discussed above. Just like a doctor, and I hope that you are not self-medicating, the attorney will be able to diagnose the legal problem, and prescribe the best legal avenue to deal with the problem. Immigration law is very complicated, and the outcome could differ literally on one simple fact, like the date you came into the United States, your country of citizenship, or whether you were previously inspected by an immigration officer. An attorney will be able to diagnose these simple problems, because he/she knows how to do that, and you do not.
Call us before you print out that form from www.uscis.gov. We will always be your advocate and serving you would be our mission.

Waivers of Misrepresentation under the Immigration and Naturalization Act

I have represented several individuals, both before the Service and immigration courts, who were inadmissible for a material misrepresentation under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA). The typical problem involves a situation where a person was applying for a visitor’s visa, says that he/she is married when she is not, and now is applying for permanent residence based on a marriage petition. During the adjustment of status interview, the misrepresentation is discovered and the application is denied or put on hold to allow the client to apply for a waiver. In some cases the client is even placed in removal proceedings after the application is denied under Section 237(a)(1)(A) of the Act.

The good thing about these charges, if you were before the Service, is that you can apply for a waiver of the ground of inadmissibility under INA 212(i). The waiver allows the Attorney General to waive the ground of inadmissibility if the alien’s removal would lead to extreme hardship to the alien’s US citizen child or spouse. In the case of a VAWA applicant, the immigrant would qualify for the waiver if the removal would lead to personal hardship.

I have represented several clients in removal proceedings who were placed there for one reason or another. The government bears the burden of proving removability in removal proceedings. The immigrant’s chances of success in both instances depend on the availability of a qualifying relative to show hardship and the evidence that the Service possesses to prove the misrepresentation. I have always tell people, these are very complicated cases and no one should attempt to apply on their own (without an attorney).

Please let me know if you have any questions. Also, feel free to add me on Linkedin, Google+, twitter, or leave a comment using the form below.

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Immigration Fraud and Proving your Marriage is Bona Fide for Immigration Purposes

I sometimes meet with potential clients who have entered into a marriage solely for immigration purposes. In other words the immigrant is marring a US citizen or lawful permanent resident just to receive his permanent residence in the United States. I usually do not accept these cases and warn the potential of the grave consequences of filing the petition. 
In 1986, Congress passed the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments Act to combat marriage fraud. Under the law, a person who applies for a benefit under the Act, whose marriage to a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident is less than two years old, receives conditional resident status for two years. The person should file to remove the conditions 90 days before the second years anniversary of his conditional status. The conditional resident could apply jointly with his spouse or for a waiver if the couple is no longer married. There are three waivers under the Act.
The Service has several fraud indicators. To show that the marriage is bona fide, the applicant must submit documentary evidence  including insurance policies, joint bank accounts, tax returns and leases. These petitions are so complicated and you should always hire an attorney. A denial could land you in removal proceedings.