Q. I am not a legal resident of the United States, but want to become one. How do I do it?
A. It depends on your particular circumstances, including when you entered the United States, how you entered, whether or not you had a visa at the time of entry, they type of visa you had, your family circumstances, your criminal and traffic record, and many other factors. Immigration law is very complex and is constantly changing. If you have an immigration concern, you should call to arrange for a free consultation so that we can address the special requirements of your case.
Q. I have received a Notice to Appear. What is this and what does it mean?
A. The Notice to Appear is the government's notice that it intends to seek your removal from the United States. It contains an allegation that you are in the United States illegally and that the government wants you to leave. The Notice to Appear is the beginning of a legal proceeding that will take place in the immigration courts. If you have received a Notice to Appear, you should seek legal counsel immediately.
Q. Can the government detain me before a hearing in the immigration court? What is a detainer?
A. Yes, the government can (and frequently does) detain individuals pending their hearings in the immigration courts. Most of the people who are detained have criminal records. A detainer is a request from the federal government to a local law enforcement agency to hold you in custody until the federal agents can pick you up and transfer you to a federal detention center. If you or a relative is subject to a detainer or has been detained, you should seek legal help immediately.
Q. I am being detained in a federal immigration detention center. Can I have a bond hearing?
A. Yes, you may have bond hearing. If the judge grants bond, you will be released from custody once you or family posts the required money bond. If you are released on bond, you will be subject to any conditions that the judge imposes (like reporting regularly to the government, abstaining from the use of alcohol and being of good behavior, etc.)
Q. What happens after I receive a Notice to Appear?
A. You will be required to appear at a Master Calendar Hearing, where the judge will require you to file any reasons you wish to claim you are entitled to relief from deportation. At the Master Calendar Hearing, the judge will usually schedule an Individual Calendar Hearing (also called a "Merits Hearing"). At the Individual Calendar Hearing, you will be asked to present evidence in support of your claims and you will be questioned by the government's attorney.
Q. What types of relief are available to fight deportation?
A. There are many ways to fight deportation. A few of these are through applications for asylum, withholding of deportation, family petitions and related status changes and more. You should meed with a lawyer to discuss the options available to you.