Immigration lawyers are legal professionals that help people who are attempting to interact with the United States government regarding matters of immigration. These individuals can be anyone from families to individuals who are trying to move to a new country.
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Asylum is a form of protection granted by the government to individuals who fear persecution because of their race, religion, nationality or political opinion in their home country. A lawyer who focuses on asylum cases is familiar with the process and can help clients file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as assist with work authorization while the application is pending.
When individuals apply for asylum, they must demonstrate that they have a credible fear of persecution if returned to their country of origin. A person who is found to have a credible fear may be granted asylum or another form of relief such as withholding of removal or Convention Against Torture.
Attorneys focusing on asylum cases will often help clients prepare to interview with a USCIS officer who will decide whether to grant the individual asylum or refer the case to an Immigration Judge. A referral to court can result in a denial of asylum, but it is also an opportunity to prove that the individual should be protected.
Family reunification is one of the most common reasons for immigration. It is a way for individuals with legal status in another country to sponsor their spouse, children, parents, and siblings to join them. This is a complicated area of law that balances a person’s right to family life with a government’s right to control immigration.
IRAP works to address some of the barriers to family reunification by focusing on advocacy and litigation. This includes work with community-based organizations to develop and support legal services that identify and represent separated families.
In addition, IRAP supports efforts by the Mexican Consulate in Raleigh to mediate claims. This is important given the militarization of the US-Mexican border, which has limited access to family-based immigration and caused millions of binational families to endure prolonged periods of separation. IRAP also provides a variety of family-centered reunification programs, including child-focused assessments, tracing, facilitation of family-strengthening services, preplacement communication and visits, and follow-up support.
Business immigration is a complex area of law that covers work visas, travel visas, and employment-based green cards. A skilled business immigration lawyer can help employers navigate the complexities of this area of law while also ensuring compliance with laws and regulations.
Many American businesses need workers with specialized skills that cannot be found locally. This can include workers with unique educational qualifications or a distinct cultural background that sets a company apart from its competitors. In addition, global companies frequently need to bring employees into the United States for meetings, trade events and training. A business immigration attorney can advise companies and their in-house legal and human resources departments on establishing multinational mobility programs and related immigration due diligence on M&A and reorganization transactions.
A business immigration attorney can also assist in reuniting employees with their families. This is possible through a variety of different Visa applications that allow for the sponsoring of family members.
A criminal history can have a significant impact on immigration matters. People with criminal arrests or convictions often encounter difficulties attempting to travel into or out of the United States, or when applying for benefits with USCIS.
It is crucial to choose a criminal defense attorney familiar with immigration law and the consequences of a criminal charge or conviction. In recent cases involving the interplay of criminal and immigration law, the Supreme Court has found that noncitizens have a right to receive advice from their attorneys regarding the immigration consequences of pleading guilty to a crime.
In a case called Padilla, the Court held that the Sixth Amendment requires criminal defense attorneys to inform their clients of the immigration consequences of accepting a plea agreement. This is in addition to the criminal consequences, such as prison time or fines. If a criminal defense lawyer does not provide this information to their client, it could constitute ineffective assistance of counsel and be grounds for postconviction relief such as a change in sentence or a new trial.