Musings on Immigration

Our Globally Recognized Team of Immigration Lawyers Sharing Knowledge and Providing Counsel on Immigration Issues that Affect You, Your Business and Your Family

Lo que hay que saber antes de viajar fuera de los EE.UU. Con un permiso de viaje.


Las personas que tienen solicitudes pendientes con el Servicio de Ciudadanía e inmigración a menudo necesitan un "permiso de salida" o documento "Advance Parole" antes de salir de los EE.UU. Esto evitará que inmigración considere que  las solicitudes de los aplicantes  han sido "abandonadas" por haber salido del país sin pedir primero permiso mientras se espera una decisión final sobre sus aplicaciones.

 En términos prácticos, conseguir un documento de permiso anticipado no es complicado: usted paga la cuota, llena un formulario, y su permiso de viaje se expedirá dentro de unas pocas semanas. Lo que es complicado de este proceso es saber realmente si viaja fuera de los EE.UU. está en su mejor interés cuando se sabe que tiene una solicitud pendiente. USCIS con mucho gusto toma su cuota y emite un permiso de viaje, pero eso no significa necesariamente que sea elegible para viajar al extranjero sin complicaciones. Sólo un abogado le puede dar una respuesta definitiva sobre si debe - o no - viajar al extranjero.

 Alguien que viaja fuera de los EE.UU. con un permiso de viaje expedido por el USCIS,  puede encontrar la negada en la entrada al país a su regreso. Algunas de las razones por las cuales la gente queda atrapada fuera del país son los siguientes:

- La persona que viaja al extranjero no era consciente de que tenía una orden de expulsión en su historial  (tenga en cuenta que los jueces no son los únicos que pueden expulsarlo, usted  también puede ser removido del país  por una orden administrativa expedida por el DHS)

- La persona que viaja al extranjero se perdió una cita para huellas o una entrevista mientras estaba Fuera de EE.UU .

- La persona que viaja al extranjero tenía antecedentes penales (fue declarado culpable de un delito o tenia delitos que eran más graves de lo que la persona creía que eran).

- La solicitud de la persona que estaba pendiente en el momento en que dejó los EE.UU. fue denegado mientras se encontraba en el extranjero . Esta es la razón  por la cual es importante hablar con un abogado para que le diga si es pertinente solicitar el permiso de viaje en momento que desea solicitarlo.

- A su regreso, el CBP niega la entrada del viajero de los EE.UU. basado en una creencia errónea - sí, el gobierno federal comete errores, y a veces a la gente se le niega la entrada por error. Si te quedas atascado en el aeropuerto, llamar a un abogado inmediatamente es una buena idea!


Habiendo dicho esto,  viajar fuera de los  EE.UU. es a veces una necesidad o una emergencia para muchas personas, pero antes de que decida salir del país, consulte con un abogado de inmigración sobre cómo evitar las complicaciones que podrían impedir que regresar a los EE.UU.
 
Shirley Zambrano
Abogada de Inmigracion
404-949-8177
 
 
 

Si Usted Esta en los Estados Unidos Con o Sin Visa, Este es el Momento de Arreglar su Historial Criminal

Debido a las redadas de ICE y el control inmigratorio tan estricto que se ha vivido en Georgia en los meses recientes, es de gran importancia que todas las personas en visa (o incluso sin una visa válida) tomen cuidado de sus records criminales. ¿Alguna vez usted ha sido arrestado por una ofensa criminal? Hable con un abogado criminal para ver si él puede reducir ese cargo o deshacerse de él. ¿Usted piensa que podría tener algo en su récord? No espere a que ICE toque a su puerta o a que su visa sea revocada por Servicios de Inmigración, hable con un abogado criminal antes de que esto suceda para que esta persona pueda investigar qué tipo de ofensas podrían encontrarse en su record.

Algunas personas terminan en un centro de detención antes de haber podido tener la oportunidad de contratar a un abogado criminal para tomar cuidado de ese DUI o arresto de agravo físico del que fueron arrestados mas de una década atrás. Gran error. Quince anos después, ICE tocó a sus puertas y los detuvieron. Tu record criminal no desaparece con el tiempo y no desaparece tampoco si “todo está pagado.” ICE está deteniendo a personas con DUIs y otras ofensas físicas que sucedieron en los 90s.

Si usted piensa que podría haber algo en su record, no importa qué tan viejo, por favor contacte a un abogado criminal o un abogado de inmigración que también pudiera asesorarle en cómo deshacerse de estos cargos de su récord criminal. Mas vale prevenir que lamentar.

Johanna Cochran, Abogada
404-949-8170

If You Are in the U.S. on a Visa (or Without one), This is the Time to Fix Your Criminal Record

Because of the ICE raids and tight immigration enforcement prevalent in Georgia in the recent months, it is imperative that all persons on visas (or even without them) take care of their criminal history. Were you ever convicted of a criminal offense? Talk to a criminal attorney to see if he can reduce the charge to a lesser offense or even vacate it (this basically means there would be no conviction in the end). Do you think you may have something on your criminal record? Don't wait until ICE is knocking on your door or your visa is revoked, talk to a criminal attorney beforehand so that he can investigate what sort of offenses might be on your record.

Some people see themselves in a detention center before they had a chance to hire a criminal attorney to take care of that DUI or battery offense they were charged with decades ago. Nothing on your criminal record ever goes away--even if you pay all your fines or so probation; your criminal history is there for life.

We have clients come through our door who were convicted of a DUI over a decade ago and never thought of hiring a criminal attorney to fix their criminal record. Big mistake. Fifteen years later, ICE knocked on their door and detained them. If they had hired a criminal attorney years ago to take care of these issues, they would not have been detained and now they are at risk of never being able to return to the U.S.

If you think you or someone else may have a criminal record that may be a problem for immigration purposes, please contact an immigration attorney or a criminal attorney to discuss their options.

Johanna Cochran
404-949-8170

What you need to know before you go you go outside the U.S. With a travel permit.

People with pending applications with the U.S. Citizenship and immigration services often need a "travel permit" or "advance parole" document before leaving the U.S. This will prevent applicants from having their applications deemed "abandoned" for having departed the country without asking first for permission while waiting a final decision on their applications. 
 
Practically speaking, getting an advance parole document is not complicated: you pay the fee, fill out a form, and your travel permit is issued within a few weeks. What's complicated about this process is actually knowing if traveling outside the U.S. is in your best interest when you know you have a pending application. USCIS will gladly take your fee and issue a travel permit, but that doesn't necessarily mean you are actually eligible to travel abroad without complications. Only an attorney can give you a definite answer on whether you should--or shouldn't--travel abroad. 
 
Some one traveling outside the U.S. on a travel permit issued by USCIS could be denied entry to the country upon return. Some of the reasons why people get stuck outside the country are the following:
 
- The person traveling abroad wasn't aware that he had an order of removal on his record (note that judges are not the only ones who can remove you; you can be administratively removed by DHS too);
- The person traveling abroad missed a fingerprint or interview appointment while he was outside the U.S.;
- The person traveling abroad had a criminal record (was convicted of an offense or offenses that were more serious than the person believed them to be);
- The person's application that was pending at the time he left the U.S. was denied while he was abroad--this is why the timing of applying for a travel permit is also an important thing to discuss with an attorney!;
- Upon return, CBP denies the traveler's entry to the U.S. based on an incorrect belief--yes, the federal government makes mistakes, and sometimes people are denied entry by mistake. If you get stuck at the airport, calling an attorney immediately is a good idea!
 
With this being said, traveling outside the U.S. is sometimes a necessity or an emergency for many people, but before you step outside the country, consult with an immigration attorney on how to avoid any complications that could prevent you from returning to the U.S.
 
Shirley C. Zambrano
Immigration Attorney
404-949-8177

 

Que Sucede en una Audiencia de Fianza de Inmigracion?

Una persona que esta detenida en un centro de detención puede pedir por una audiecia de fianza para ver si el juez accedera a otorgarle libertad bajo fianza. El detenido puede representarse a si mismo o puede contratar a un abogado para que lo represente. En el lado opuesto de la corte, tenemos al abogado del gobierno o de la fiscalía (o abogado de ICE) quien es el que típicamente esta peleando para que el detenido sea deportado.

Generalmente, uno tiene derecho a solamente una audiencia de fianza, asi que solamente hay una oportunidad de presenatr los mejores argumentos, evidencia, y testigos a favor del detenido. Debe tomar la audiencia de fianza seriamente. Aunque no sea una audiencia formal de inmigración, lo que usted haga--o no haga--en una audiencia de fianza puede determinar cuanto tiempo mas le queda en los Estados Unidos, que tan rápidamente el caso será procesado (los casos detenidos se procesan mas rápidamente), y donde el caso será escuchado (por ejemplo, la corte de inmigración en Stewart/Lumpkin, Georgia escuchara típicamente solo casos de personas detenidas.

En la audiencia de fianza, el abogado de ICE le mostrara al juez el record criminal e inmigratorio completo del detenido. ICE toma huellas a todos sus detenidos, asi que ellos encontraran toda la historia, no importa que tan vieja. Si usted piensa que un DUI del ano 1992 no es ningún problema porque “es muy viejo” y “todo fue pagado,” usted esta completamente equivocado; esto si importa. Todo lo que esta en el record criminal de una persona importa, no importa que tan pequeño sea. Usted obtuvo un ticket de trafico y usted piensa que no le afecta porque es solamente un ticket? Equivocado; esto también importa porque su historial criminal refleja negativa o positivamente en su carácter moral y el juez tomara esto en consideración cuando determine si dejarle a ir a usted pondría en riesgo a la comunidad.

Las siguientes cosas no le ayudaran en la obtención de una fianza:

  • Un record criminal extenso,
  • Falta de lazos familiares en los Estados Unidos,
  • Un record inmigratorio extenso que muestre multiples violaciones de la ley,
  • Fraude de cualquier tipo,
  • Mentirle al juez o al abogado de ICE (el juez no le creerá después de que averigue que usted esta mintiendo),
  • Mentirle a su abogado de inmigración o esconder cosas importantes con respecto a su caso,
  • No saber su historial criminal completo,
  • No calificar por algún beneficio inmigratorio o visa.

Las siguientes cosas si le ayudan en la obtención de una fianza:
  • Ser sincero con el juez y el fiscal,
  • Presentar toda la evidencia pertinente a su caso a la hora de su audiencia (no después porque usted solamente tiene una oportunidad de hacer esto),
  • Contratar a un abogado de inmigración para negociar su liberación con la fiscalía,
  • Mostrar que todo arresto o condena es viejo y/o menor y que no se ha metido en ningún otro problema con la policía desde ese entonces,
  • Tener testigos disponibles para testificar a la hora de su audiencia, si el juez asi lo requiere,
  • Meter una moción de fianza con toda la evidencia necesaria relacionada a su caso,
  • Contratar a un abogado que pueda argumentar las razones por las cuales usted debe ser liberado bajo fianza--algunas veces las audiencias involucran asuntos legales muy complejos que solo un abogado puede manejar. Por ejemplo, si el fiscal lo esta acusando a usted de haber cometido una felonía agravada, la cual lo descalifica a usted de obtener una fianza, puede usted defenderse? Le puede mostrar al juez que el fiscal esta equivocado? Sabe usted que es una felonía agravada? Estas son cosas que un abogado investiga y argumenta por escrito y de manera oral.

Es también importante notar que cada juez conduce una audiencia de fianza de manera diferente--algunos quieren ver mucha evidencia por escrito, mientras otros prefieren escuchar argumentos a la hora de la audiencia. Saber cual es el estilo preferido por su juez puede hacer la diferencia entre obtener una fianza o no.

Para saber como ganar una audiencia de fianza, contacte a un abogado que lo ayude con la preparación de una fuerte aplicación y audiencia.

Johanna Cochran, Abogada
404-949-8170
jcochran@immigration.net


What Happens at an Immigration Bond Hearing?

A person who is detained at an immigration detention center can ask for a bond hearing to see if the judge will agree to release him on bond. The detainee can represent himself or he can choose to be represented by an attorney. On the opposite side, we have the government attorney (or ICE attorney) who is typically fighting to deport a detainee. A bond hearing is conducted to present to the judge arguments in favor and against the release of this detainee.

Generally, you only get one bond hearing, so you have one chance to present the best arguments, evidence, and witnesses to help your case. You should not take a bond hearing lightly. Although this is not a formal immigration hearing, what you do—or not do—at a bond hearing can determine what remaining time you will have in the U.S., how quickly your case will be processed (detained cases are processed quicker), and where your case will be heard (for example, the court immigration in Stewart/Lumpkin, Georgia will typically hear cases by detained immigrants only.

At the bond hearing , the ICE attorney will show the judge everything that is on a detainee’s criminal record and immigration history. ICE fingerprints detainees, so they will find out about this person’s history and it does not matter how old it is. If you think a DUI from 1992 is not a problem because it was “so long ago” and “everything was paid,” you are completely wrong; it matters. Everything on your criminal record matters, not matter how small. You got a traffic ticket and you think it is not important because it is only a ticket? Wrong; it matters because your criminal history reflects on your moral character and the judge will be looking at that when he considers whether releasing you would endanger the community.

The following things will not help you at a bond hearing:

  • An extensive criminal record,
  • No family or community ties in the U.S.,
  • An extensive immigration record that shows several violations of the law,
  • Fraud of any type,
  • Lying to the judge or the ICE attorney (the judge is not likely to believe you anymore after he finds out you lied),
  • Lying to your own attorney or hiding important facts about your case,
  • Not knowing your complete criminal record,
  • Not being eligible for any immigration benefit or visa, etc.
The following are things that do help you at a bond hearing:
  • Being truthful to the judge and the ICE attorney about your criminal and immigration records,
  • Presenting all evidence about your case at the time of the bond hearing (not after—remember, you only get one chance),
  • Hire an attorney to negotiate with the ICE attorney about agreeing to a bond,
  • Show that any arrest or criminal conviction is old and/or minor and that there has been no other encounter with law enforcement ever since,
  • Have witnesses available to testify at your bond hearing, if the judge asks,
  • Submit a strong motion for a bond with the court and attach all important evidence with it,
  • Hire an attorney to argue for your release—sometimes bond cases involve very complex legal issues. For example, if ICE is accusing a detainee of having committed an aggravated felony that would not make him eligible for a bond, can you prove to the judge that ICE is wrong? Would you know what an aggravated felony is? These are things that an attorney researches and argues in writing and in person before the judge.
It is also important to note that each judge conducts a bond hearing differently—some want to see a lot of evidence in the form of documents, while others want to hear arguments at the time of the hearing. Knowing your judge can make a huge difference in the outcome of a case.


To find out how to win a bond hearing, contact an attorney to help you with the preparation of a strong bond application and hearing.

Johanna Cochran, Associate Attorney
404-949-8170
jcochran@immigration.net

Nine States Take a Stand Against REAL ID Drivers' Licenses and National Origin Discrimination

In 2005, after extensive investigation into the attacks on September 11, 2001, Congress passed the REAL ID Act. This act had a provision regarding drivers’ licenses that would make it more difficult for an individual or apply for a state driver’s license without proof of their real identity. The goal of this law was to prevent immigrants who are terrorists, like the 9/11 terrorists, from obtaining driver’s licenses. This would leave them with only a passport and no driver’s license, making them easier for law enforcement to detect.
What effect did this law have in reality? A singling out of Hispanic and Asian immigrants who have no criminal history and who are not terrorists. Yet TSA might stop letting individuals travel with just a driver’s license from these states and will instead require a secondary form of ID to travel.
A disproportionate number of Hispanic and Asian immigrants cannot obtain visas to enter the U.S. legally or have extremely long waits for visas because the U.S. has restricted immigration from their countries. Immigrants of other national origins have vastly greater options to immigrate legally. Hispanics and Asians who have immigrated to the U.S. illegally are largely fleeing gangs, warlords, and extreme poverty. Neither Hispanic nor Asian immigrants were involved in the 9/11 attacks. These immigrants can drive and have passed a driver’s test, but they are banned from getting a REAL ID driver’s license because their national origin prevents them from getting legal immigration status. The REAL ID Act uses something necessary to survival in the U.S. but not related to immigration or terrorism – driving – to single out and deport immigrants from certain countries.
Alaska, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, Washington state, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have realized that there is no connection between one’s ability to drive and his or her immigration status. In addition to disproportionately affecting Hispanics and Asians, the REAL ID Act is too great of an invasion of an individual’s privacy and is too large a burden on the state driver services, far outweighing any supposed benefits it has.

There is no definite deadline as to when the Department of Homeland Security will require a second form of ID from individuals from these nine states. It has continuously pushed out the deadline on this policy. For now, it appears that these states are winning the fight against national origin discrimination.