A person detained by the immigration service has the right to ask for their release from detention. When the person is taken into custody, the immigration service will usually give the individual a document stating whether a release is possible, and if so, whether the individual is required to pay a bond for release. If they say the person cannot be release, the individual has the right to ask for a bond hearing before an immigration judge. If a bond amount is required, the individual has the right to ask an immigration judge to lower it. The immigrant can assert these rights even if the immigration service has not yet stated the charges of any immigration violations.
Unfortunately, the law does not say when an immigration judge must hear the individual’s immigration case. Detained immigrants can wait in detention for up to two months before they see an immigration judge about their case. That is why it is important to assert one’s right to a bond hearing as soon as the person is in detention. A bond hearing will be set within 2-3 days after the detainee asks for it. An individual can ask for it by filling out and giving to the immigration court a bond application, which is provided by the court and may be provided by a local non-profit organization upon request.
At the bond hearing, even if the person is eligible for a bond, the immigration judge may order the person to stay in detention because it has found that the person is a danger to society and/or will not show up for future court dates. Terrorists, those with certain criminal convictions, and those with a prior deportation are not eligible for a bond.
Litigation, Deportation and Removal Defense top
The Law Offices of Jeremy R. Frost concentrates on removal and deportation defense at US Immigration Courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals, as well as federal court litigation at the US District Courts and US Courts of Appeals.
Removal and Deportation Proceedings
If the DHS believes that you should be removed or deported from the United States, or an individual is found "inadmissible" to the United States, the DHS will issue a piece of paper called a "Notice to Appear" or "NTA" which initiates court proceedings to determine if an individual is removable, de portable or inadmissible from the United States. An Immigration Judge presides over these court proceedings which are held at US Immigration Courts across the country. These are formal court hearings and should be taken very seriously as your immigration record may be permanently affected and you can be physically deported from the United States. Only an Immigration Judge can determine if you are removable, de portable or inadmissible and whether you have relief from removal. If the Immigration Judge denies relief, you may appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals which has jurisdiction over decisions made by Immigration Judges. We provide representation in the following areas:
Federal Court Litigation top
While most immigration matters involve administrative court proceedings at the US Immigration Courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals, federal courts such as the Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Courts have jurisdiction over very significant immigration matters. In some instances, a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals is so erroneous or constitutionally unmeaning that a Court of Appeals reviews is necessary. In other instances, DHS inaction on an immigration application or benefit violates constitutional provisions. We provide representation in the following areas:
Immigration litigation at the administrative or federal court level is a very serious matter. It is very important to contact an immigration attorney who specializes in immigration litigation to develop a case strategy and optimal results.
Please contact us for a case-specific evaluation of your removal or deportation defense case. If you live or work in the Los Angeles, CA metro area, please call or email us to arrange an in-person consultation with one of our deportation defense lawyers.
Individuals being persecuted in their home countries may apply for asylum, refugee status or temporary protected status in the United States. The fact that the person is suffering economical hardship is not considered a well-funded reason for applying for asylum or refugee status in the United States.
There is a difference between Asylum and Refugee
What is cancellation of removal?
Cancellation of removal is an immigration remedy under which someone can apply for permanent residence in exceptional cases.
What are the requirements to receive cancellation of removal?
There are three requirements to win cancellation of removal. First, the applicant must have been present in the United States for ten continuous years. Second, the applicant must be a person of good moral character. Finally, the applicant must have a U.S. citizen or legal resident spouse, parent or child who would suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship if the applicant were deported.
How do you prove that you have lived ten years in the United States?
In order to win cancellation of removal, each applicant must prove residence in the U.S. for ten years. As many documents as possible should be submitted for each year. Letters from people who have known you normally do not help very much because the judge cannot be sure whether they are telling the truth.
The best types of documents are bills and receipts from the government or large, well-established companies. Fore example, electricity, gas, water, telephone, trash or cable bills, bank statements, paycheck stubs, and income tax returns are useful. The envelopes from letters you have received also are helpful. Therefore, it is very important that you not throw away any paper that can prove your stay in the U.S.
If more than one person from a family is applying for cancellation of removal, each person must prove that he or she has been present in the U.S. for the entire ten-year period. A common problem is that everything is in the husband’s name, and the wife does not have anything in her name, even though she may have lived in the U.S. more than ten years. It is a good idea to have joint accounts or to put some accounts in the husband’s name and other accounts in the wife’s name.
What effect do absences from the U.S. have on a cancellation of removal case?
Brief departures normally do not break the time that someone has in the U.S. Normally, departures of less than two weeks do not cause problems. Absences of more than two weeks can cause problems and absences of more than 90 days automatically break residence. Continuous presence in the U.S. also is broken if the total of all departures during the previous ten years is more than 180 days. Sometimes even brief departures can break the applicant’s residence. For example, being deported always breaks the time that someone has in the U.S., even if the person returns immediately. In addition, if someone signs “voluntary departure” after being arrested by the ICE, the departure always breaks residence. Also, if someone leaves the country to commit a crime, or after having been convicted of certain crimes, the departure breaks residence even if it was brief.
What is “good moral character”?
To win cancellation of removal, the applicant must prove that he or she has been a person of good moral character during the previous ten years. Certain crimes, as well as failing to file income tax returns or failing to pay child support, can show lack of good moral character. Also, helping people enter illegally into the U.S. or using false immigration documents can show bad moral character.
What constitutes “exceptional hardship”?
It is very difficult proving that someone will suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship. The law recognizes that anyone who is deported will suffer hardship. But this is not enough to win cancellation of removal. The applicant must show that the hardship will be much worse than a normal situation. In other words, it must be an extraordinary case. In addition, the law does not consider the hardship that the applicant will suffer, but rather only the hardship to applicant’s U.S. citizen or legal resident spouse, parent, or child.
Family separation is one of the most important ways to show exceptional hardship. But an applicant will not win cancellation of removal simply by having relatives who are citizens or legal residents.
The judge will consider many factors. For example, how many relatives are in the applicant’s home country, the age of the applicant’s children, if the children speak English, and if the children have good grades?
If someone has a U.S. citizen or legal resident spouse, parent, or child who is in poor health or has some medical problem, it is possible that this will count as exceptional hardship. If the applicant can prove that the medical condition is serious and that the relative will not be able to receive adequate treatment in his or her home country, there is hope of winning.
In a cancellation of removal case the judge will consider all the positive and negative factors in your case. Positive factors include: community ties (such as involvement in a church, community organization or charity): having relatives in the U.S.; a lengthy residence in the U.S.; having learned English; and hardship to you if deported.
Negative factors include: convictions or arrests; not paying taxes or child support; working with false documents; receiving welfare; and having many relatives in your country of origin.
Is it risky to apply for cancellation of removal?
Yes, it is very risky to apply for cancellation of removal because it can be requested only in a deportation case. In other words, you will have to turn yourself in to the ICE and request cancellation of removal from the judge. This is very risky because if the judge denies the case, you will have to leave the country. Therefore, generally it is not in someone’s interest to turn himself or herself in to the ICE to request cancellation of removal. If you believe you qualify for cancellation of removal, you should seek immediate legal assistance.
What can be done to make a cancellation of removal case stronger?
You can take various actions to improve your case if the ICE should arrest you in the future.
Specifically, if you belong to a church, we recommend that you become active in the church.
Someday if you need to apply for cancellation of removal, it would help if the pastor could testify for you. Also, we recommend that you join community or cultural organizations. Being active in the community will help you show hardship.
We also recommend that you attend school and try to learn English or a trade. Judges like to see people who are trying to improve themselves. If you are working it is important that you pay your taxes and file a tax return each April.
Do not throw away any document, bill or receipt. These documents are very important to prove that you have lived in the U.S.
What should I do if the ICE arrests me for being undocumented?
If the ICE arrests you, do not sign voluntary departure. You should contact an attorney immediately. If you have more than ten years in the U.S., tell the ICE agent that you want a hearing with an immigration judge. If you leave the country, you will lose the ten years you have accumulated in the U.S.
How can I become a U.S. citizen?
A legal resident may become a U.S. citizen through a process called naturalization.
If I am a legal resident of the United States, how can I become a U.S. citizen?
Generally, you must have been a legal resident for five years. Also, you must have knowledge of English and U.S. history and have good moral character. It is VERY important to speak to an immigration attorney if you ever have been arrested or convicted of any crime, no matter how minor. Certain offenses not only will result in a denial of naturalization but could lead to deportation.
Must I speak English perfectly to be able to become a citizen?
No. You must be able to read, write, and speak basic English. Some schools have classes to help people get ready for the test. You do not have to take the English test if any of the following apply to you:
If you are over 50 and have lived in the U.S. as a legal resident for at least 20 years.
If you are over 55 and lived in the U.S. as a legal resident for at least 15 years.
If you have a physical or mental disability that prevents you from learning. You must fill out a form and have a doctor sign the form too. It is best to talk to an attorney if you think this applies to you.
What is the history/civics test like?
You must understand basic U.S. history and government. Sample questions are, “Who was the first President of the U.S.?” “Name the senators from your state.” and “What are the colors of our flag?” Many schools help people prepare for this test. If you do not pass the civics test, you may take it again within 90 days. You do not have to take the civics test if:
You obtained legal residence through the amnesty process and passed the English and U.S. history test at that time; or
You have a physical or mental disability that prevents you from learning.
How long must I have lived in the U.S. as a legal resident to apply for naturalization?
The general rule is you must be a legal resident for five years before you may file for naturalization. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you need to have been a legal resident for only three years, but you must have lived with your spouse during the entire period.
How is my case affected if I travel outside the U.S.?
If you left the U.S. for less than six months, your residency is not affected. If you left the U.S. for more than six months but less than one year, it might affect your residency. If you left the U.S. for more than one year, the time you were not in the U.S. probably will not count toward your U.S. residency requirement. You also must have been actually present in the U.S. for at least half of the required period of residence. The ICE will look at the TOTAL number of days you were outside the U.S. Therefore, if you took many short trips or some long trips outside the U.S., it could affect your eligibility for naturalization. In extreme cases, the ICE even could say that you abandoned your legal residence. Consult with an immigration attorney if you spent a substantial period of time outside the U.S.
What is “good moral character”?
You must be of good moral character to become a naturalized citizen. If you committed certain crimes the ICE may decide you lack good moral character. It is VERY important to speak to an immigration attorney if you ever have been arrested or convicted of any crime, no matter how minor. Certain offenses not only will result in a denial of naturalization, but also could lead to deportation. In addition, other types of conduct also could prevent you from showing that you have good moral character, including: failing to pay child support, failing to pay taxes or file tax returns, helping people enter the U.S. illegally, and failing to register for Selective Service if you are a male born after 1959. You should consult with an immigration attorney before applying for naturalization if any of these grounds apply to you.
NOTE: If you do not tell the truth during your interview the ICE may deny your application. If the ICE approves your application but finds out later you did not tell the truth, your citizenship may even be revoked.
Who can apply for naturalization?
Any mentally competent adult 18 or older may file for naturalization. In addition, in certain circumstances a U.S. citizen also may petition for the naturalization of a child younger than 18, even if the child is outside the U.S.
If I apply for naturalization, do my children also become citizens?
Yes. A child automatically becomes naturalized with a parent if all of the following exist:
At least one parent is a U.S. citizen;
The child is under 18 years of age; and
The child is a legal resident and is living in the U.S. in the custody of the citizen parent.
How do I apply for naturalization?
You must submit form ______ application for naturalization, two photographs, a copy of your Green Card, and the filing fee. Be sure to verify the filing fee amount because the filing fee changes frequently.
What happens when I apply?
First, you will be called for an appointment to get your fingerprints taken. Next, you will be called for an interview and the test. If your application is approved, a date will be set for the oath ceremony. In this ceremony, you will swear to support the Constitution, to renounce loyalty to any other country, and to defend the U.S. If you can show that your religion does not allow you to serve in the military, you may get an exception from that requirement.
What are the benefits of naturalization?
You have the right to vote.
It is easier to petition for your relative and you may petition for more relatives.
You cannot be deported.
You can travel outside the U.S. for extended periods of time without having to worry about losing your residence.
There are more jobs available to U.S. citizens. For example, there are many government jobs that require employees to be U.S. citizens.
A legal resident must always have his residence card in his possession. Also, when a legal resident moves, he must report the change in address to ICE or he can be deported.
A U.S. citizen does not have to carry an identification card nor tell the ICE when he moves.
You are eligible for various government benefit programs.
Adjustment of Status “AOS” is a procedure that allows and eligible applicant to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States without having to go abroad and apply for an immigrant visa.
Non-immigrant Visas - An Overview
Most people planning a trip to the United States for pleasure, temporary work, business, medical attention, or any reason other than relocating here must obtain a non immigrant (temporary) visa. A non immigrant visa is issued so that you may travel to the United States for a specific purpose and for a set duration. An experienced immigration attorney will work with you to define what your goals are while in the United States and ensure that you apply for the correct visa to accomplish those goals. If you have questions about any non immigrant visas, call today.
To enter the United States temporarily, you are usually required to obtain some type of non immigrant visa. Your stay in the United States will be for a limited period of time and restricted to the reason for which your visa was issued. Obtaining a visa for tourism (pleasure), business, or medical treatment requires that you make it clear to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy that you do not intend to remain permanently in the United States. An experienced immigration attorney will work with you to assure that your temporary visa application has the best chance of being granted by the consulate in your home country without delay, and without you having to reapply. If you have questions about non immigrant (temporary) visas, call today.
Being accepted into an United States academic institution, language-training program, or vocational school that is approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is just the first step toward reaching your goal to travel to and study in the United States. The more difficult part of the process is acquiring a student visa so that you can actually enter the United States. An experienced immigration attorney will work with you to assure that your temporary student visa application has the best chance of being granted by the consulate in your home country without delay. If you have questions about non immigrant (temporary) student visas, call today.
Foreign nationals may apply for several categories of temporary worker visas. These visas are non immigrant visas meant for those who seek to work temporarily in the United States. Certain categories of visas are limited in number, with strict annual limits. In order to obtain a temporary worker visa, an employer or agent must first file a Petition for Non immigrant Worker with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If this petition is approved, it is the foreign national's responsibility to obtain a temporary worker visa. An experienced immigration attorney will work with you to make sure that after you have received a temporary employment opportunity in the United States, you are able to accept it. If you have questions about temporary work visas, call today.
Other Non immigrant Visas
In addition to pleasure and tourist visas, student visas, and temporary worker visas, there are many other types of non immigrant visas issued by the United States government. Non immigrant visas differ greatly from each other in what they allow the foreign national to do while in the United States. Every non immigrant visa is issued for a specific purpose. Failure to obtain the correct visa may result in a foreign national failing to achieve his or her true goals after arriving here. To prevent this from happening and to avoid having to change your status once in the States, you need to make sure that you apply for and receive the correct visa from the United States consulate. An experienced immigration attorney will work with you to define what your goals are while in the United States and ensure that you apply for the correct visa to accomplish those goals. If you have questions about any non immigrant visas, call today.
Jeremy Frost practices out of Los Angeles, CA and has been licensed for 25 years. This attorney attended Southwestern University School of Law and handles cases in Immigration.
Since 2012, the primary focus of my career has been the practice of U.S. Immigration Law. I am licensed to practice in the state of California. My practice covers family immigration, removal defense, and naturalization. Additionally, I have experience in family and probate law.
I graduated from the Seattle University School of Law in May 2011, where I served as Vice President of the Student Body Association, Latino/a Law Student Association (LLSA), as well as the National Latino/a Law Student Association (NLLSA). I am fluent in Spanish.
Diego Brito is a graduate from the Whittier School of Law in California. Spanish Speaker / Hablo Español