This is a short overview of the different parts of immigration law. Let our experience work for you, schedule a consultation.
Our firm has litigated many cases involving various issues of the immigration law.
Some of the notable cases are:
- Walker Entertainment vs. Attorney General of the United States: CVS-02-1672 JCH (RJJ) filed in the federal court in Las Vegas, Nevada successfully challenged the finding of the Immigration Service Center that the alien was not entitled to immigrate as a executive of a multi-national company.
- Azimi v. Department of Homeland Security 2:06-cv-1541-LRY-LRL; Hashem v. Chertoff 2:07-cv-1448 RCJ-FWF; Levy v. Chertoff 2:08-cv-oo456; Patel v. Chertoff 2:07 cv 1167 RJK (PAL) Each of these cases successfully urged the Immigration Office to complete the processing of their petitions for naturalization which had been stalled for a prolonged period of time due to delays in getting the FBI to clear their names.
- Corona v. Attorney General of the United States, Case No. 176 Fed. Appx. 835 (9th Cir. 2006). The Immigration Judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals had denied the client’s application for Lawful Permanent Residence and ordered her deported to Mexico based in large part on the fact that she had been detained at the border in 1994 and returned to Mexico. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decisions of the Immigration Judge and Board of Immigration Appeals and remanded the case to the Immigration Judge for further proceedings. Ms. Corona was eventually granted Lawful Permanent Residence in the United States.
- Salazar de Leon v. Attorney General of the United States, Case No. 69 Fed. Appx. 851 (9th Cir. 2003). The client came from Guatemala where she had lived with her father and two brothers. Guerrillas dragged her father and brothers from her home and killed them within the client’s earshot. Ms. Salazar de Leon fled Guatemala and came to the United States where she sought Asylum. Both the Immigration Judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals had denied her application and ordered her deported to Guatemala. Then she retained us to take her appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit reversed the decisions of the Immigration Judge and Board of Immigration Appeals and the client was granted Asylum to live in the United States.
- Melkonian v. Attorney General of the United States, Case cite: 320 F.3d 1061 (9th Cir. 2003). The client fled from persecution in his home in the Abkhazian region of the Republic of Georgia and sought Asylum in the United States. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the previous unfavorable decisions of the Immigration Judge and Board of Immigration Appeals and remanded for further proceedings.
Family members may immigrate to the United States as immediate relatives of United States citizens who are exempt from the numerical limits on immigrants or as immigrants who are subject to limitations. Immediate relatives are spouses and children of United States citizens and parents of United States citizens who are at least 21 years of age.
Immediate relatives do not have to wait for a priority number. Family sponsored immigrants who do have to wait for a priority number are divided into four categories:
- Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- Spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents
- Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens
The priority numbers (dates) can be found in the Visa Bulletin published monthly by the United States Department of State.
Employment Based Immigration
There are five preference categories for employment based immigration.
- The First Preference is for priority workers includings persons of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational corporate executives and managers.
- The Second Preference is for members of the professions holdings advanced degrees or persons of exceptional ability.
- The Third Preference is for professionals, skilled workers and other workers.
- The Fourth Preference provides for special immigrants including religious workers, court dependents, returning residents and others.
- The Fifth Preference called Employment Creation is for investors. This category gives residency to persons who invest significant amounts of money in a business in the United States and create 10 new jobs for U.S. workers or who invest in a targeted rural or high unemployment area.
Deportation and Removal Proceedings
A person is subject to deportation (also called removal) if he is not a United States citizen and is within one or more of the classes of deportatble aliens as defined in the law. An alien in the United States without authorization is an illegal alien subject to deportation.
An alien is defined in the law as any person not a citizen or national of the United States. An alien is subject to deportation if he has not gone through the process to become a United States citizen.
This process is called naturalization. Deportation proceedings are held before Immigration Judges and the hearings closely resemble criminal cases however a deportation/removal hearing is considred a civil and not a criminal proceeding. In that proceeding, the alien can request that he be allowed to remain in the United States because he qualifies to immigrate or because he has not violated the immigration laws for remaining in the United States.
Employer Obligations & Sanctions
Beginning November 6, 1986 it became illegal for an employer to hire, recruit or refer for a fee someone who is not authorized to work in the United States. Employees hired before November 7, 1986 are not subject to this law. An employer violates the law if it employs an alien knowing that the alien is not authorized to be employed under the law or if it continues to employ an alien knowing that the alien has become unauthorized to work.
The employer must review the prospective employee’s documents and attest under penalty of perjury on Form I-9 that the employee produced showing both employment authorization and identity.
The penalities for employers for violating this section of the law can be severe up to and including arrests and convictions, forfeiture of property and business assets, and large fines. Employers can register for the E-Verify program at www.uscis.gov to assure that the proposed employees are authorized to work in the United States.
Naturalization & Citizenship
The law gives United States citizenship to all persons born on United States soil, as well as children born abroad to parents who are United States citizens and lived in the United States for a period of time.
Lawful permanent residents can apply for naturalization if they have lived in the United States for 5 years after acquiring permanent residence, (3 years in the case of persons who acquired permanent residence through a marriage to a United States citizen and are still married to that person).
Other requirements are that they must:
- have resided for at least three months within the state in which they file the petition
- be physically present in the Untied States for at least one-half of the 5 years (or one-half of the 3 years if the applicant is the spouse of a Untied States citizen)
- have have lived continuously in the United States from the date of the application filed up to the time of admission to citizenship
- be a person of good moral character for the required 5 years (or in the case of a spouse of a United States citizen for three years)
- be attached to the principles of the Constitution
- be willing to bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law or perform noncombat service in the Armed Forces when required by law; or perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by law
- not be otherwise barred such as a subservise or a member of the communist party
- demonstrate an elementary level of reading, writing and understanding of the English language
There are a large number of working visas which entitle the alien to enter the United States and work for a particular employer. Some of the more common ones are:
- H-1B and E-3 visas for persons seeking to be employed in specialty occupations which normally require persons to have a university degree or equivalent.
- L-1 visas for executives, managers and technical expertise persons employed in a multinational company when that company seeks to send that person to work in their United States affiliate or branch.
- TN visas for persons from Canada and Mexico who seek to be employed in the United States in one of the jobs listed in the treaty.
- O visas for persons who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics as demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.
- P visas for athletes, artists, and entertainers
- R visas for religious workers
Change of Status
An alien already in the United States in another visa category may in some instances change their status from the status that they entered the United States on to one of the visa categories listed above without leaving the United States.
If the alien is not already in the United States, he can (depending on the law) have the employer apply first in the United States for the particular visa category. Once an approval is received, that alien will schedule an appointment on-line at the consulate for an interview and to get the particular visa stamped on his/her passport which will allow him/her entry into the United States to work.
Adjustment of Status
If one is already living in the United States and meets the qualifications, he/she may adjust his/her status from an alien to a permanent resident without having to leave the United States.
If one is not living in the United States, he may obtain his immigrant visa to enter as a permanent resident alien after he has received the approval notice on form I-130 or form I-140 from a Service Center in the United States by consular processing at the consulate in their home country or another country if there are no diplomatic relations between the United States and that country.
Our Firm places an emphasis on Immigration law. Take advantage of our years of experience and expertise in this complicated field. Let us help you.