Immigration & Naturalization Law

IMMIGRATION: 

Family & Marriage Petitions, Permanent Residence, Adjustment of Status, Travel Documents, Affidavit of Support, Political Asylum, Naturalization, More...                                                          

Attorney Ralph S. Francois chairs the Immigration & Naturalization Practice for the firm 

Our firm has helped hundreds of clients getting immigrant, business and student visas.  We have helped clients apply for family petitions; and after approval, they successfully apply for immigrant visas abroad or for adjustment of status while in the US.  

Clients who need to travel while their applications are pending, we advise them whether to travel abroad because sometimes overstay or other issues may trigger a bar that prevents them from getting their status adjusted even if they have advanced parole.  Our firm does represent clients with affirmative and defensive claims of asylum.  Those with affirmative claims, we represent them before USCIS.  Those with defensive claims, we have experience representing them in immigration courts, before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Courts of Appeals.  Also, aliens with LPR status often consult with us to determine their eligibility for citizenship.  We have experience helping clients to get their citizenship within 3 years or 5 years depending on the alien's status at the time of adjustment.  Please feel free to consult with us regarding applying for immigration benefits.   

 

NOTABLE CASES: 

RELIEF GRANTED BY THE U.S. ELEVENTH CIRCUIT 

In Nicolas Alcidonis v. U.S. Attorney General, Case No. 09-15166-FF,  our firm's client appealed the BIA's September 14, 2009 order affirming the IJ's denial of asylum and other relief. On May 12, 2010, the Eleventh Circuit vacated the BIA's order and remanded the cause so that the BIA can clarify its credibility findings and to take any actions it deems necessary and appropriate in our client's case. In light of Mr. Alcidonis' being granted TPS, on August 19, 2010, the BIA administratively closed proceedings against the firm's client.
 
In Georges v. U.S. Attorney General, Case No. 05-12633-DD, the Immigration Judge ("IJ") denied our client's HRIFA application and a waiver, stating that Georges is ineligible for relief due to a prior finding of a violation of §204(c) of the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendment Act of 1986 (IMFA). Our client appealed the IJ’s decision to the BIA, arguing that relief under HRIFA does not require an approved petition or that the IJ misapplied §204(c) as Georges’ petition was filed on December 4, 1985—a date that was prior to the effective date of IMFA. After the BIA affirmed the IJ’s decision without opinion, Georges appealed to the Eleventh Circuit that reversed the BIA and remanded the case for further proceedings. The BIA, subsequently, remanded the case to the IJ who ultimately granted the firm's client I-601 waiver and application for adjustment of status under HRIFA. 

RELIEF GRANTED BY THE BIA

In Matter of GL, our client appealed the Immigration Judge's denial of his application for asylum, for withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture. The BIA found that the IJ erred in failing to make clear findings on the issue of credibility. On November 27, 2009, the BIA therefore remanded the cause for further proceedings. On June 23, 2010, the IJ entered a new decision, which he certified to the BIA for review. In light of Haiti being designated for TPS, on August 30, 2010, the BIA administratively closed proceedings against the firm's client.

In Matter of HD, the Immigration Judge denied the client's application for asylum under §208 and other relief. On appeal, the BIA found that the IJ erred in denying the claim based on the IJ's belief that HD failed to establish a nexus between the abuse he suffered and one of the protected grounds. On May 09, 2008, the BIA sustained the appeal, finding that under 8 C.F.R. §1208.13(b)(1) HD has shown past persecution giving rise to a rebuttable presumption of a well-founded fear of future persecution and remanding the cause to the IJ to determine whether the Service carried its burden of showing that HD can avoid future persecution. On remand, the IJ founded that HD is entitled to relief under § 208 and therefore the IJ exercised his discretion favorably by granting him asylum on March 03, 2009. 

RELIEF GRANTED BY THE IMMIGRATION COURT

In  Matter of MFYAJ, the alien applied for a § 212(h) waiver with respect to a conviction under Cal. PenalCode § 273A(1).  The DHS conceded that Cal. Penal Code § 273A(1) is a divisible statute.   However, the DHS moved to pretermit the application, arguing that the alien is ineligible for relief because of her conviction of a crime of violence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §16(b).  On June 30, 2010, the IJ granted the waiver, finding that the DHS failed to prove removability by clear and convincing evidence that our client was an aggravated felon whose conduct fell within the active conduct category under the California statute.  Then, the DHS appealed the IJ’s decision.  In the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, counsel for DHS gracefully withdrew the appeal and accepted the IJ’s decision as final on November 04, 2010. In 2012, our client became a naturalized citizen of the United States.    

In Matter of CMD, the firm’s client was placed in removal proceedings for having been convicted for failure to appear in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. §53a-172. Our client filed an application for cancellation of removal. The Department of Homeland Security (Department) moved to pretermit the application, arguing that our client’s failure to appear conviction under §53a-172 renders him ineligible for relief as an aggravated felon under 8 USC §1101(a)(43)(T) of the INA. We filed a written response opposing the motion, noting that our client is not an aggravated felon because his failure to appear conviction under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-172(a)(1) does not meet the court order requirement under INA §1101(a)(43)(T). See Barnaby v. Reno, 142 F. Supp. 2d 277, 281(D. Conn. 2001).  Persuaded by our argument, on December 10, 2007, the Immigration Judge denied the Department’s motion to pretermit and granted our client’s cancellation of removal application in the exercise of discretion.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO NEXT:

Each case is different.  To provide you with the personalized attention that your case deserves, please contact us for an evaluation of your case at 305-944-7220 or send us a message through our secured website Contact Us page by clicking here

 

FORMS FOR IMMIGRATION & NATURALIZATION, DEP'T OF STATE VISA BULLETIN 

USCIS Forms |  U.S. Dep't of State Visa Forms | Immigration Court and BIA Forms | 

U.S. Dep't of State Passport FormsU.S. Dep't of State Visa Bulletin 

 

Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process

We are currently accepting requests from young people to determine their eligibility to apply for deferred action pursuant to the June 15, 2012 executive order by the DHS Secretary. According to USCIS, "Filing your request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals involves several steps. You need to submit multiple forms, evidence and fees. Small mistakes in preparing your request could lead to it being rejected."  

We have the knowledge and experience to help determine your eligibility and to make sure that your application is not rejected. We have multilingual staff including Spanish, English, French and Haitian Creole. Please call us now at 305-944-7220 for a free consultation. Below are some helpful pieces of information for young people to consider in the process of applying for deferred action.

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Deferred action does not provide an individual with lawful status.

Guidelines

You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:   

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;  
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Age Requirements

Anyone requesting consideration for deferred action under this process must have been under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012. You must also be at least 15 years or older to request deferred action, unless you are currently in removal proceedings or have a final removal or voluntary departure order.

Filing Process for Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

If you meet the guidelines for deferred action under this process, you will need to complete the following steps to make your request to USCIS.

  1. Collect documents as evidence you meet the guidelines.
  2. Complete the required two forms and worksheet.
  3. Mail your forms to the appropriate USCIS Lockbox.
  4. Visit an Application Support Center (ASC) for biometric services.

How Do I Request Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

¿Como puedo, Solicitar una Consideracion de Accion Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia?