What Is Your Experience Representing Families And Individuals Who Are Immigrating To The United States Or Facing Removal?
I’ve been working in immigration law since the beginning of 2015. I started out primarily handling removal defense because that’s where the clients were for a new lawyer who didn’t have any connections. These people were usually in jail, most after another lawyer had failed them, so they were desperate to try anything, including giving an inexperienced attorney like me a chance. After having success with a lot of these cases, I built up my practice and have since expanded. I continue to do removal defense, but I also do a lot of family-based immigration now.
Why Is Practicing Immigration Law Important To You?
My practice represents an opportunity to help people during a really difficult time. My clients haven’t always been given all of the advantages in life. They often come from worse circumstances than someone who was born in America, so their difficulties arise through no fault of their own; they were just born in the wrong place. I am passionate about helping to give people a chance to live in America and have all of the freedoms and opportunities that America offers.
What Are Some Of The Most Common Challenges Families Wishing To Immigrate To The United States Might Face?
The biggest challenge for a lot of people is just not having a relative who is eligible to sponsor them. A lot of people have this idea that you can just sort of get in line and immigrate, but you actually have to have specific family members in specific relationships to you who are eligible to sponsor you. (More on those relationships later.)
For those who do have the family connections that would make it possible, there are consistently still a few challenges. Anyone who has any type of criminal record or who has previously been in the United States illegally will definitely face challenges based on that. Anyone who has previously applied for any kind of immigration status and been denied might face increased scrutiny. That could be a problem depending on why the prior application was denied, particularly if the government thinks that the person lied to them during that process. Overall, that is a simple overview of the biggest challenges.
Beyond those major challenges, there is also the volatility of law anytime the United States has a change in the president—or at least, a change in the presidential party (Republican or Democrat). When Donald Trump became president, he introduced tons of new regulations and tweaks to the law that changed eligibility standards so rapidly that I could give someone advice on one day, only to discover it was wrong the next day due to the change. There have also been changes transitioning from Trump to Joe Biden, though these changes move generally in a more positive direction. Either way, it’s important to keep track of what the law is because you may be eligible for things that you weren’t previously eligible for, or you may not have to do paperwork that you would have had to do, and so on.
Finally, situations like the COVID pandemic have resulted in a lot of uncertainty, as well. Issues like border closures add evolving challenges. Even in countries where agencies and embassies are still theoretically open, they may have reduced staffing. I can tell you my general sense of what the staffing situation in USCIS is because it’s pretty consistent in the United States, but with the embassies, it will vary depending on which country and what their local situation is. Even when the pandemic is over, the uncertainty could linger. Any kind of emergency situation on a large scale can result in those kinds of problems in the future.