I often meet with people concerned because an immigration detainer, commonly referred to as an “ICE hold,” has been placed on their loved one after a criminal arrest. When a non-citizen is arrested by local law enforcement, immigration officials may be alerted to their presence. Should Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) have “reason to believe” that an individual is not a U.S. citizen, they will investigate to determine if the person is subject to being removed (deported) from the United States. ICE will likely place an immigration detainer on the individual in local custody while they investigate the situation.
Because they are separate from the underlying criminal charges, ICE holds can create confusion both on the part of the detained individual as well as their family members. If you or a loved one are the subject of an immigration detainer, here are … Read More »
The Affidavit of Support is an immigration law document that places special obligations on an immigrant’s sponsor. It is very important that both those signing the document (i.e., U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents) and the sponsored immigrants understand exactly what an Affidavit of Support is, and what it means. It is also important that family law attorneys, who may see such documents in divorce proceedings, have a general understanding of the Affidavit of Support.
To aid in the understanding of sponsors, immigrants, and family law attorneys, here are answers to five frequently asked questions about the all-important Affidavit of Support:
What is an Affidavit of Support? The Affidavit of Support is a document an individual signs to accept financial responsibility for another person, usually a relative, who is coming to the United States to live permanently. Make no mistake, the Affidavit … Read More »
Being charged with a criminal offense can be an anxiety-causing event for anyone. But immigrants charged with crimes face not only potential criminal punishments but also the potential impact on their immigration status from a criminal conviction. If you are an immigrant charged with a crime, here are four ways to help your criminal attorney protect your immigration status from the very beginning of your case:
Identify Your Status. It is crucial that you identify your immigration status for your criminal attorney as soon as possible. The immigration consequences of a criminal conviction can vary greatly depending on whether you are a lawful permanent resident, asylee, non-immigrant visa holder, completely without status, etc. If you are unsure of your status, make sure you bring copies of all immigration paperwork with you to the initial consultation with your criminal attorney. Immigration status should be the … Read More »
Proceedings in present day immigration court present a very stark contrast. Many cases now drag on for many months or even years before being heard. But when an immigrant’s day in court finally arrives, overcrowded court dockets often leave the judge with only a few minutes to decide the fate of the immigrant and their family.
If you or a loved one are currently going through deportation (now known as removal) proceedings in immigration court, and have filed an application for relief, you are likely aware of the sometimes extraordinary length of time it takes to resolve a case. Lengthy delays for a trial (known as an Individual Hearing) are commonplace in many of the 50+ immigration courts located in 29 states.
Our local court in Arlington, Virginia currently has five immigration judges (often referred to as IJs), after losing one to retirement earlier in the year. Perhaps … Read More »
Tax season can be a stressful time for anyone; for immigrants the process of filing taxes can often become overwhelming. Failure to properly file their U.S. taxes may negatively affect a non-citizen’s own immigration situation or the chances for a family immigration petition in the future. I too often discover clients either in immigration proceedings or who are petitioning for a green card for their spouse, who have been improperly filing taxes for years. Having to go back and amend tax returns from past years is a time-consuming and costly process, which can be avoided by the immigrant’s properly filing their taxes in the first place. To do so, immigrants must answer a few questions up front:
Are You a Resident or Non-Resident For Tax Purposes?
If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must first determine if you are considered a “resident” or “non- resident” alien … Read More »
Reports of pop star Justin Bieber’s recent run-ins with the law have dominated the news. Certainly, many young stars in the throes of fame find themselves in similar situations. What adds an extra wrinkle to Bieber’s situation, however, is the fact that, as a Canadian citizen, criminal activity can jeopardize his U.S. immigration status.
Bieber currently holds an O-1 visa. O-1 visas are given to those individuals who demonstrate “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, education, athletics, or the arts. Such ability in the arts means that the individual is renowned, leading, or well-known in their field of creative endeavor. Examples of O-1 visa holders include: NBA star Dirk Nowitzki, Israeli concert pianist Inon Barnatan, and Canadian author Jennifer Gould Keil. The O-1 visa holder is given an initial stay of up to three years, followed by extensions for one-year increments.
Bieber now faces a litany of criminal charges, including: … Read More »
The new year is a great opportunity to discuss your immigration questions with seasoned professionals. Immigration law is complex, changing in content from year to year and in practice from one federal agency to the next. From extreme hardship waivers to parole in place for military members, green cards for spouses to expedited citizenship, any case benefits from strong counsel.
On Thursday, January 30, 2014, the immigration department at Livesay & Myers, P.C. will be hosting its first Open House of the year. Free, 30-minute consultations will be given between the hours of 9:00–5:00 p.m. at our Fairfax office located at 3975 University Drive, Suite 325, Fairfax, VA 22030. Though walk-in appointments will be accommodated on a case-by-case basis, interested individuals are strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment in advance by calling (703) 865-4746.
U.S. immigration law provides some advantages for those who have served in the U.S. military and their families. These special programs include expedited citizenship and now, “parole in place.” In November 2013, U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) outlined how parole in place may help immediate family members of U.S. servicemembers gain permanent residency (“green cards”). This initiative is designed to assist military members whose immediate family members are present in the U.S. without having first been properly admitted by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. This policy provides a way for these close family members to obtain a green card and eases the stress of the military family during the process.
Generally, immigrants who are in the United States must have been properly admitted by Customs and Border Patrol in order to be able to apply for a green card. If not … Read More »
Driving to purchase groceries, pick up the kids from school, or visit the doctor’s office are tasks most of us do without thinking twice. But for those who don’t qualify for a driver’s license, these everyday chores could be the source of great stress. Many states, including the District of Columbia, have prevented those without valid immigration status from receiving a license. The result has been many undocumented immigrants driving without licenses, which frequently means driving without insurance. This all changed last Tuesday, November 5th, when the D.C. Council approved a bill allowing the city’s undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
Estimates are that this new law will allow as many as 15,000 D.C. residents who are undocumented immigrants to receive licenses. Currently, 13 other states allow the undocumented to obtain licenses.
The bill as it was originally introduced to the D.C. … Read More »
When deciding the “best interests of the child” for purposes of a custody and/or visitation determination, Virginia courts look to Virginia Code Section 20-124.3. In large part, that code section asks Virginia trial courts to determine the mental and physical health of the parties and the child, the role each parent has played and will play in the child’s life, the ability and willingness of the each parent to support the child’s other familial relationships, the reasonable preference of the child, and any history of family abuse. Nowhere in the factors listed in Code Section 20-124.3 is the court explicitly asked to address the immigration status of either parent. However, immigration status can have an impact on your custody case if you, or your attorney, are uninformed, and immigration status can complicate the already difficult questions before the court.
Immigration Status … Read More »