Musings on Immigration

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Six Reasons Why Prosecutorial Discretion Can Be Your Best Friend in Immigration Court!

Going through the immigration removal process can be daunting and will likely cause many, many sleepless nights.  The same questions are often considered over and over again – what will happen if I am deported?  Will my family stay in the U.S.?  Will they return to my country with me?  If not, how will I support them?  How will they support themselves?  These are the questions that plague the individuals and family members of those going through this frightening process, often times having relatively little time to prepare for all of these life-changing decisions. 

So, what happens when the immigration judge tells you that you may not be eligible to file an application before the court to remain in the U.S. and you’re facing imminent removal, or an attorney informs you that you can file an application but you don’t have a very strong case?  There was a time when that often amounted to hoping for as much time in the U.S. as possible.  Now that we have the option of requesting Prosecutorial Discretion (PD) from the government attorneys for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, it has opened a new avenue of relief for our clients.  If the request is granted it basically means that you will be permitted to remain in the U.S. for an indefinite period of time.  To be clear – it is NOT the same as a green card, and there is NO guarantee that the government will approve the request.  So, make sure you are working with an experienced immigration attorney who can guide you through the requirements of this process.  Prosecutorial discretion should rarely be automatic in lieu of seeking other relief that may be available, but it can be a very good option for those cases that will be difficult to win in court, especially in Atlanta.

Here are the benefits of Prosecutorial Discretion:

1.      You won’t have to depart the United States – plain and simple.  Once Prosecutorial Discretion is granted, your file is closed and put on a shelf indefinitely.  It will only come off the shelf by the government if you do something wrong – so don’t commit any crimes!
2.      Since there is no final decision issued by the Immigration Judge on your case, there also is no denial – which means no appeal, no continued court proceedings, etc.  Less stress.
3.      If reform ever passes, your attorney can request that your case be taken off the shelf and placed back on the calendar so you can file for any eligible relief.
4.      Your case can also be placed back on the court calendar if you become eligible for relief such as filing for a green card through a family member – for example – you entered the U.S. with a visa, and your U.S. citizen child finally just turned 21!
5.      There may be changed circumstances in your life that would substantially strengthen the case that was put on the shelf to the point that your attorney advises you to now move forward with the application.
6.      And, the best part about Prosecutorial Discretion --- the court will NOT require you to withdraw the pending application, so even though the case is closed, you WILL remain eligible to renew your EAD card!  Of course that will allow you to also renew your driver’s license.

Please call me at 404.949.8151 with any questions about your removal proceedings and how to move forward!         
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