Green Cards (Legal Permanent Residency): Most visas are temporary. They allow travelers to remain in the United States for a specified period of time, depending on the purpose of the trip. These are called non-immigrant visas. On the other hand, when a person immigrates to the United States to live here permanently, he or she receives a green card as proof of “permanent residency” status.
The law provides a number of ways to qualify for a green card. For example, if you have family members who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, they can sponsor you to become a permanent resident. If you are a minor and one of both of your parents have abandoned you and there is someone in the United States willing to take care of you, you may qualify. Also, a U.S.-based employer can sponsor you to become a permanent resident.
If you’ve run into problems, or you’re wise enough to hire an attorney before any problems occur, you want to call Griffin and Griffin. We have experience getting green cards for people like you.
Naturalization: Naturalization is the process by which immigrants become U.S. citizens. To naturalize, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must have been a legal permanent resident for five years (or three, if you’re married to a U.S. citizen.)
- You must have lived continuously in the United States for five years, with documentary proof showing your physical presence for at least 30 months out of the five years.
- You must have lived in the state where you’re filing for at least 90 days.
- You must pass an English and Civics test.
- You must demonstrate that you’ve had good moral character for at least five years and that you continue to have good moral character.
Of course, there are exceptions to several of these requirements, particularly if you have served in the military. Often citizenship applications are denied simply because the immigrant failed to properly fill out the form. In other cases, criminal or unethical behavior was indicated during the background check. We can help you apply properly the first time or appeal if you’ve been denied once.
Deportation Defense: If you have overstayed your visa or entered the United States illegally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may arrest you and seek to have you removed from the United States. This is commonly called “deportation” although the legal term is “removal.” A removal proceeding is quite similar to criminal proceedings and you need a good immigration trial lawyer, rather than a paper pusher.
The government may incarcerate you for months while you await trial unless you are released on bond. I’ve seen cases where immigrants without lawyers pay bonds of $7,500 when their situations are exactly the same as other immigrants who paid nothing. The amount of your bond is set by an immigration judge and often depends on whether your lawyer can effectively argue that you can be trusted to return.
Furthermore, even if you are guilty of violating the immigration laws, you may eligible for relief from enforcement. Here are some of the more commons reliefs from removal:
- Adjustment of Status — If you qualify for permanent residence in the United States, and the immigration judge agrees, then you may be granted permission to apply for a green card rather than be removed from the United States.
- Asylum — International law allows refugees who flee from difficult conditions in their home country to seek asylum in the United States. Such conditions include genocide and religious persecution.
- Cancellation of Removal — Certain undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States for 10 years, have lived with good moral character, and have a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident child, parent, or spouse that would suffer exceptional hardship if you were removed from the U.S., you may qualify for cancellation of your removal.
- Prosecutorial Discretion — ICE prioritizes removing certain types of immigrants, such as criminals, terrorists, and those who are a threat to public health and security. If you are not among these, we may be able to ask the prosecutor to refrain from removing you because those resources are better used on higher priority targets.
Immigrants in removal proceedings who are represented by attorneys are 10 times more likely to have a favorable outcome over those who are not represented. This is not an exaggeration. Unrepresented immigrants find relief about 3.8% of the time, whereas represented immigrants find relief about 38% of the time. Griffin and Griffin is here for you.
Adoptions: A number of countries have recently erected new barriers to adoption of their children by U.S. citizens. If you’ve run into issues getting your adopted child out of his country or if you are just beginning the adoption process, Griffin and Griffin are the experienced attorneys you want to call. (443) 312-9826.
Child Support: Whether you’re a struggling single parent receiving little to no child support or you’re being crushed by a child support order that’s too burdensome, you’re likely to be better off with an attorney. Call Griffin and Griffin at (443) 312-9826 and discover your rights.
Others: Often, clients ask us to help them with matters beyond our areas of focus. If you know a lawyer you trust, why go to someone else? Give us a call and we’ll see if we can help you. (443) 312-9826.