DuPage County Immigration Attorneys | Mevorah Law Offices LLC
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630-932-9100
Free Initial Consultation | Se habla español 630-932-9100
Mevorah Law Offices LLC
630-932-9100
DuPage County Attorneys

LOMBARD

900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100

BLOOMINGDALE

134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761

ST. CHARLES

333 N. Randall Road, Suite 104, St. Charles, IL 60175

Phone: 630-443-0600

JOLIET

58 N. Chicago Street, Suite 500, Joliet, IL 60432

Phone: 815-727-4500

CHICAGO

105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 630-932-9100

Immigration

Posted on in Immigration

IL immigration lawyerSometimes, someone who has been waiting for a visa or another immigration status will want or need to travel abroad, but they may not have a passport or other valid status that will let them back in the United States upon return. Alternatively, sometimes someone in your family may need to be let into the U.S. quickly, especially in cases such as family emergencies. In both of these situations, the remedy is called parole - the latter is humanitarian parole, while the former is called advance parole. Both can be difficult - but not impossible - to get.

Advance Parole

Advance Parole (AP) is exclusively for those who are not in legal immigration status - for example, those who have been granted asylum or refugee status, those who are in the middle of adjusting status, and those who have been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS). In some cases, it may be able to be granted for those who still have an asylum claim pending before the courts. AP allows someone who belongs to any of these groups, or a few select others, to be able to travel abroad and return to the country to continue waiting for their official immigration status to vest.

AP is necessary because, without it, anyone who lacks valid status essentially cannot leave the United States for any reason, no matter how serious. They would have no documents to show upon arriving back in the country and would be turned around in all but the most unusual cases. This is a problem not only because they may have a claim to legal status, but also because in some cases, spending too long out of the country will make U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) determine that you have abandoned your application for status entirely. USCIS states explicitly that before leaving the U.S., anyone without legal status must have already been approved for advance parole.

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Posted on in Immigration

 IL immigration lawyerWhen removal proceedings are instituted against you, you will receive what is called a Notice to Appear (NTA) in the mail. An NTA essentially informs you officially that you have been placed in immigration removal proceedings, and that you must appear in front of an immigration judge at a date in the future to plead your case. This can be a worrisome situation, especially if you do not understand the nature of the proceedings or if there are other confusing details.

NTA Grants Time to Prepare

One important thing you should be aware of is that by law, you are entitled to at least ten days between your receipt of the NTA and your master calendar hearing, which is the hearing at which you go before the immigration judge and articulate whether or not you intend to fight removal. (Given the immigration court backlog as of this writing, your master calendar hearing may be very much delayed beyond 10 days.) In the time between receipt of the NTA and your master calendar, it is a good idea to verify that all the information on the NTA is correct, and to take steps to fix it if there is an error.

The NTA should have your correct name, address, and other biographical information, as well as your A-number (the number assigned to you for immigration court proceedings). It will also list the charges for which you are allegedly removable from the United States. Be advised that since July 2018, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has increased authority to issue NTAs for issues that might otherwise not warrant someone being placed in removal proceedings, for example, if someone is lawfully present but their request to amend or adjust status is denied, thus leaving them out of status - even one day may be enough to warrant issuing an NTA and placing the person in removal proceedings, under the current administration.

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 IL immigration lawyerBuried in the headlines during the December 2018-January 2019 government shutdown was the expiration of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which is a federal law helping to fund domestic violence shelters, regulate civil and criminal penalties against abusers, and establish community resources for abuse victims. However, what is often lost in the shuffle is that VAWA also grants a potential avenue for immigrants who have been victims of abuse to acquire lawful permanent residence in the United States. As of this writing, VAWA has been extended through February 15, 2019, but if it expires again, it could leave applicants fleeing abuse in the proverbial lurch as funding for legal assistance dries up.

Domestic Violence Is an Immigration Issue

The average person may not connect the dots as to how domestic violence and immigration have anything to do with each other, but in reality, the two are closely intertwined, especially for spouses. It is not uncommon for a foreign national to meet and marry a U.S. citizen, only to have that U.S. citizen abuse or mistreat them, up to and including refusing to help them obtain legal status in the country. Many immigrant spouses, especially women, feel that they have no choice but to remain in abusive marriages, especially if they have U.S. citizen children - often, they are told that if they try to leave, they will be deported and never see their children again.

One might obviously assume that the proper thing to do is immediately seek help from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), but in many cases, especially if the abuse victim is out of legal status and/or cannot prove that abuse has occurred, it can, unfortunately, do more harm than good, especially under this administration. If an abuse victim is undocumented for more than 180 days and less than 1 year, they will be barred from applying for future visas for 3 years; if they remain in the country without status for more than 1 year, that bar extends to 10 years. Very often, abuse victims speak little English. Legal help is needed in order to try and escape, but funds for legal clinics are harder and harder to come by.

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Posted on in Immigration

IL immigration lawyerWhen someone comes to the United States and states intent to seek asylum, they must prove that they have what immigration law refers to as ‘credible fear.’ If someone is able to show that they have a fear of returning to their home country, and that fear is legitimate or credible, they will be permitted to remain in the U.S. and apply for asylum. However, there are many misconceptions about what actually goes on at a credible fear interview. If you are in a position where you will face a credible fear interview, it is a good idea to understand what exactly will occur.

Screening at a Port of Entry

Credible fear, as defined in U.S. immigration law, is when a “significant possibility” exists that you can establish (in an asylum hearing, before an immigration judge) that you have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution “on account of your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion” if returned to your country. In other words, you will pass a credible fear screening if you can demonstrate a tangible and genuine fear that you would be subject to physical, mental or emotional mistreatment upon return home as a result of any of the characteristics specified in the law.

Most immigrants declare credible fear upon their first entry into the United States, though some do so at a later date (immigrants can legally declare their intent to file for asylum for up to one year after their entry into the country). To declare, the person informs a Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) officer that they have a fear of returning to their home country. At that point, they are referred for a ‘credible fear’ interview. It is important to understand that the credible fear interview is not a true ‘interview,’ but rather a brief screening. The person will almost certainly be detained by CBP during the interview. You are not entitled to representation during the interview - and in many instances, no interpreters may be present.

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Posted on in Immigration

IL immigration lawyerWith the unsettled state of U.S. immigration law in recent years, many immigrants who apply for U.S. citizenship are also retaining citizenship in their former country of origin. This status is referred to as dual citizenship, and contrary to many people’s beliefs, it is possible for a person to hold more than one nationality at once, at least according to U.S. law. If you are looking to naturalize, it may actually be to your advantage to retain your old citizenship in addition to applying for U.S. citizenship status.

Why Keep Both?

In theory, one naturalizes to a new country because something in their old one is insufficient. However, given the potentially precarious state of the U.S. immigration system, as well as its ever-increasing wait times for naturalizations and green cards, it simply seems safer to many to refuse to give up their original nationality, if possible. Under U.S. law, it is not necessary for a new citizen to formally renounce their old country of citizenship; thus, many simply do not. The primary reason given by many, in addition to wanting a backup plan of sorts if the U.S. immigration system changes, is ease in traveling back and forth to maintain business relationships and see family.

There are both pros and cons to the dual nationality scenario, however. U.S. law does, for example, require that while you are in the U.S. as a dual national, you are to be treated as a U.S. citizen, which means that you may not try to claim diplomatic protection from your other home country. The other side of this is also generally true, in that if you are in your second home country, you may find it difficult or impossible to seek U.S. diplomatic help if you get into trouble. Dual nationality may also render you subject to taxation by two different governments.

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