Many people did not think it would happen, but, on Tuesday, November 9th, Donald Trump was elected our 45th President of the United States. In the past, you may have been told to wait for “immigration reform.” Well, the immigration reform that might have come under Hillary Clinton’s administration is probably not going to happen now. DAPA and Expanded DACA may never happen now. If you have been waiting for immigration reform, it may not be a good idea to continue to “hide in the shadows” or “fly under the radar.” First of all, this is no way for you to live. The United States is a country of freedom and opportunity and many people flock to the United States for a better life. How much better can your life be if you have to hide? What kind of life is that?
Second, we are going into a new era with tougher immigration policies. If you continue to hide, it does not mean that you will not be found by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE may show up at your door, at your work, approach you while you walk to a gas station or to a supermarket. ICE used to start with the most serious offenders, then work itself down to the least serious offenders. But with the Trump administration, it is hard to predict exactly how those who are undocumented will be found and placed into removal/deportation proceedings.
Third, those days of filing applications pro se (on your own) may come to an end. Immigration policies are going to tighten up so cases that might have been approved under the current administration may not be approved in the new administration. Unless your case is straightforward, we highly advise you to retain knowledgeable immigration counsel. This is now a matter of life and death…is it really worth it to gamble with your life and livelihood?
So it may just be a matter of time before your “number comes up.” If you decide to sit and wait, imagine the anxiety of living each day in fear, fear of going outside, fear of being separated from loved ones, fear of not being able to send money back home. Apart from being under constant fear, waiting to do anything about your immigration status has another disadvantage: fighting your case with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is much easier, cheaper, and less intimidating than fighting your case before an Immigration Judge.
If ICE contacts you, it will only be for one reason: to put you into removal or deportation proceedings. Once that happens, you will be faced with the possibility of being separated from your spouse, children, parents, and/or siblings who will be forced to live without you if you do not win your case. Once your case is in Immigration Court, the Immigration Judge will set filing deadlines so you will be under pressure to file your applications for relief. You will be paying exorbitant legal fees to an immigration attorney to defend your case. Even the docket may move faster so the old technique of postponing your cases may not work. If you choose not to show up to court, your will receive an order of deportation and a warrant will be issued. If caught, you will be placed in detention and put on a one-way flight back to your native country.
So you have a very serious choice to make…do you continue to hide and live in fear of deportation, or, do you “face the music” and fight (maybe tooth-and-nail) to become lawful? When making your decision on what to do, consider your situation. Below, we have provided circumstances of people who are eligible to apply for a green card or naturalization. If you fall within any of the cases mentioned below, please contact us immediately.
If you were inspected and admitted, do not have any criminal convictions, and are either married to a U.S. citizen or have a son or daughter over age 21, then you may be eligible to obtain a green card.
If you were not inspected and admitted, but instead qualify for 245(i), do not have any criminal convictions, and are either married to a U.S. citizen or have a son or daughter over age 21, then you may be eligible to obtain a green card.
If you were not inspected and admitted, but instead have obtained DACA or Temporary Protected Status, do not have any criminal convictions, and are either married to a U.S. citizen or have a son or daughter over age 21, then you may be eligible to obtain a green card.
If you are in removal proceedings, and are either married to a U.S. citizen or have a son or daughter over age 21, then you may be eligible to obtain a green card.
If you are a lawful permanent resident and have one or more DUI/DWIs, then you may be able to naturalize. (If you do not naturalize, chances are, ICE may show up on your door since your record is on file with immigration).
If you have one or more convictions that are not defined as “Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude”, then you may be able to naturalize.
If you are a lawful permanent resident, but remained outside of the United States for more than six months, and did not obtain a re-entry permit, you may be able to naturalize.
If you are a lawful permanent resident and voted in an election, you may be able to naturalize.
If you served in a foreign military, you may be able to naturalize.
If you have a way to become legal, please do not wait any longer. Now is the time to take the first step to fix your immigration status. Even if you do not know if there is a way to become legal, but you will never know unless you try. Many clients are surprised to find out that they have a path to lawful permanent residence.
We encourage each and every one of you reading this blog, to give our law firm a call to talk about your case. We offer free “no obligation” case assessments by phone because we care about you. Help us, help you. We cannot help you unless you take the first step by contacting us.
If you were brought to the United States as a child, and the United States is all you have ever known, then you owe it to yourself to try and obtain permanent residency. The choice of whether to continue to wait, or to move forward and try to become legal, is yours to make. We hope you make the decision that is best for you and your family.
We offer a free case evaluation by phone. We are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm and Saturday from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. In-person consultations are by appointment only. Please call our office at 301.529.1912 or click here to contact us. Please be sure to provide a timeline of events along with details of your entire immigration history.