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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Avoiding Deportation by Applying for Cancellation of Removal

Although legal permanent residents in the United States usually enjoy many rights that U.S. citizens have, unlike U.S. citizens, there are certain circumstances under which a legal permanent resident can be deported. For example, legal permanent residents can be deported for committing certain crimes. When a legal permanent resident receives notice that he or she is to be deported, he or she can apply for relief from deportation if he or she can show that he or she meets certain conditions.

Cancellation of Removal

When a legal permanent resident receives a Notice to Appear from the government, it usually means that removal or deportation proceedings against the person may be started. The notice usually has details about removal proceedings and the reason for the proceedings.  

Legal permanent residents who are facing deportation have a form of relief available to them known as the cancellation of removal. The legal permanent resident can apply for a cancellation of removal by showing that he meets three conditions.

The lawful permanent resident must show that he or she:

  • Has been an immigrant lawfully admitted for permanent residence for not less than five years;
  • Has resided in the United States continuously for seven years after having been admitted in any status; and,
  • Has not been convicted of any aggravated felony.

Once these three conditions are met, the Attorney General can exercise his authority to cancel the deportation proceedings against a lawful permanent resident. However, even if the three conditions are met, the application may still be rejected.

Stop Time Rule

Under what is known as the stop time rule, the seven years of continuance residence required for a cancellation of removal stops running when the lawful permanent resident commits a crime that makes him eligible for deportation, or at the time he receives a Notice to Appear. If more than one Notice to Appear has been issued, then the stop time rule applies to the most recent notice. Therefore, if the lawful permanent resident began residing continuously in the U.S. in 2000, and received the Notice to Appear that leads to deportation in 2006, he would not have the seven years required to apply for a cancellation of removal.

Other Cancellation of Removal Cases

Other immigrants who do not have lawful permanent resident status can also apply for the cancellation of removal relief, but they must meet different conditions than lawful permanent residents. These conditions are often harder to meet. An applicant for cancellation of removal who is not a lawful permanent resident is required to show that removal will result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to the applicant’s spouse, parent, or child, who is either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.

The residence requirement is shortened to three years for a person who is a victim of domestic abuse by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. In addition, the victim of domestic abuse must show that he or she was of good moral character during the three years, and that removal will result in extreme hardship to his or her parent or child.

Contact Us for Legal Assistance

If you are a legal permanent resident and have received a notice informing you of deportation proceedings against you, you need to contact an experienced immigration attorney immediately. Deportation will mean a loss of important rights you hold as a permanent resident. Do not delay; contact our multi-lingual staff to speak to experienced immigration attorney Nathan Wei from Strassburg, Gilmore & Wei, LLP, in Pasadena, California.

The Responsibility of Sponsorship

United States citizens with family members who want to emigrate from another country sometimes make the decision to support an application for an immigrant visa or for legal permanent residency. In supporting such an application, the U.S. citizen has to attest that he or she will support the applicant financially. Most people who are supporting a family member’s application do not necessarily think of the implications of the promise to support the application, but the promise is legally enforceable.

The document that the U.S. citizen signs to support a person applying for permanent residence is known as an affidavit of support. The affidavit of support requires the U.S. citizen, who is referred to as a sponsor for purposes of the affidavit, to promise that he or she will support the person making the application for a period of time. This time period can be 10 years or longer. The affidavit of support is legally enforceable and is relied on when the government makes the decision on the application.

The sponsor is required to provide a copy of his or her tax return and proof of income when filing the affidavit of support. The spouse has to show that he or she has income that is equal to 125% of the U.S. poverty level for his household size. If the sponsor does not have the required income, he or she can count the value of assets, and the income of others in his household. If the sponsor does not meet the income and assets requirements, it is possible that the application will be denied unless there is a co-sponsor.

If the applicant is granted legal permanent residence or an immigrant visa that allows him or her to live and work in the U.S., the sponsor does not really provide the person’s day-to-day support. The legal permanent resident works towards supporting him or herself, and at the same time accumulates work credits. When enough work credits are earned, the sponsor is released from the obligation to support the person.

The sponsor is also released from the obligation when the sponsored person leaves the country or becomes a U.S. citizen. However, divorce does not mean that the sponsor is no longer financially responsible. A sponsor can still be held financially responsible for a former spouse.

However, if the legal permanent resident falls on hard times and has to apply for means tested public assistance, the sponsor can be asked to repay any benefits paid to the legal permanent resident. In some cases, the government agency that paid out the benefits may sue the sponsor to recover the benefits.

Contact Us for Legal Assistance
If you are considering acting as a sponsor for a relative, it is important to understand the obligation of sponsorship. However, in many cases, the sponsored applicant who receives the opportunity to work in the U.S. can provide this or her own support and even provide support to the sponsor. For more information on how to sponsor a relative’s application for an immigrant visa or for legal permanent residence, you should contact our multi-lingual staff to speak to an experienced immigration attorney from Strassburg, Gilmore & Wei, LLP, in Pasadena, California.

Does the United States Allow Dual Citizenship?

Immigrants who become United States citizens through naturalization sometimes end up holding dual citizenship automatically. This means they remain citizens of their country of birth, as well as citizens of the United States at the same time. Sometimes, these new citizens may be worried that they are jeopardizing their American citizenship by continuing to hold on to their prior citizenship, and as a result, they renounce their other nationality.

While United States law does not specifically allow for dual citizenship, it also does not specifically prohibit it, and many American citizens do hold dual citizenship. There are some ways in which a person who was born a U.S. citizen can lose U.S. citizenship by specifically applying for citizenship in another country with the intention of renouncing their U.S. citizenship.

The oath immigrants take upon becoming American citizens sometimes causes some confusion as to the consequences of becoming a citizen. This is because it requires immigrants to pledge their allegiance to the United States and renounce all loyalty and allegiance to another sovereign. However, for citizens of other countries, the oath they take upon becoming a U.S. citizen does not change their status in their home countries unless the laws in those countries say that taking the oath renounces the other country’s citizenship.

There are numerous advantages of dual citizenship, with travel being the greatest. Dual citizens may be able to travel to various countries without requiring visas and advanced approval either by using their U.S. passport, or the passport of their other nationality. Dual citizens should consider which passport affords them more advantages in the country to which they are travelling beforehand.

Sometimes, having dual citizenship can affect how the U.S. government may be able to help citizens abroad in a country where they hold citizenship. This is why the State Department discourages dual citizenship. Additionally, citizens of other countries may be required to pay taxes and meet other obligations even if they live primarily in the United States. Depending on the law of that other country, failure to meet these obligations may mean legal problems if the person seeks to later take advantage of their citizenship to buy real property or engage in other business in that country.

U.S. citizens who live abroad as citizens of other countries are also required to pay taxes on their foreign investments, and meet other obligations of their American citizenship. Failing to pay taxes owed under U.S. law can subject a U.S. citizen to charges of tax evasion, no matter where he or she lives or works. Sometimes, the high rate of taxes required of foreign earners has led some American citizens to renounce their citizenship, although there are also other tax implications for people who renounce their citizenship.

Contact Us for More Information

If you hold dual citizenship and are concerned about how your status as a citizen of another country and how actions you take as a citizen of that other country can affect your American citizenship, you can seek more information from an experienced immigration attorney. For a consultation, contact our multi-lingual staff to speak to an experienced immigration attorney from Strassburg, Gilmore & Wei, LLP, in Pasadena, California for a consultation.

Exclusionary Rule and Deportation Hearings

When a person is arrested and charged with a criminal offense, evidence collected against the person cannot be used in a trial against him or her if the police got the evidence in violation of the person’s Fourth Amendment rights. Fourth Amendment rights are those protections that people have against unreasonable police searches and detentions. Unfortunately, the rules that do not allow evidence collected in violation of the Fourth Amendment to be used against a person accused of a criminal offence do not apply to deportation proceedings.

The United States Supreme Court has decided that deportation proceedings are civil proceedings, and as such, the rules applicable in criminal proceedings do not apply. Therefore, even if a person is arrested after an illegal stop by the police, the fact of the illegal arrest and any evidence of the person’s status that was pulled because of the arrest will be admissible at a deportation hearing.

However, even if the exclusionary rule that works in criminal proceedings does not apply in deportation hearings, it is still applicable to everyone in a criminal trial despite their immigration status, and can still protect an undocumented immigrant accused of a criminal offence. So, if in addition to being taken to a deportation hearing, the immigrant is also facing criminal charges, the criminal charges may be dropped if the evidence collected during an illegal arrest is suppressed. This is important because criminal convictions and plea bargaining can affect a person’s future chances at a deportation hearing or when seeking a change of legal status.

This difference between criminal law and immigration deportation hearings does not mean that undocumented immigrants do not have rights. Constitutional rights apply to everyone equally. When dealing with police officers, immigrants still have the right to remain silent and keep from answering questions that could affect both a criminal case and a deportation proceeding. If an undocumented immigrant is not near a border or a port of entry, he or she does not have to answer questions about how long he or she has been in the country or got into the country in the first place.

If immigration agents ask for immigration papers, the immigrant usually has to produce them. This is true of both legal immigrants in the U.S. on a visa, and illegal immigrants. If a person does not have papers on him or her, it is best to keep quiet and not try to explain his or her way out of the situation. Remember, the statements made to the agents can be used in a deportation hearing even if the arrest that led to the asking for papers was illegal.

Let Us Help You

Your immigration attorney can always present evidence that supports you in your efforts to avoid deportation. In some situations, some immigrants have sued in civil court for compensation after being illegally arrested by police officers or detained for long periods of time.

If your loved one has been arrested and is facing deportation, contact our multi-lingual staff to speak to experienced immigration attorney Nathan Wei from Strassburg, Gilmore & Wei, LLP, in Pasadena, California for a consultation.