In today's new world following 9/11, it is not enough to hire just an immigration attorney. If you are a non-citizen who has overstayed, are seeking to adjust your status, are seeking to enter the U.S. (or wish to travel abroad and then return, but are concerned that you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. due to a prior criminal conviction), or are in immigration removal, deportation, or criminal court proceedings, then you will need to retain an attorney who is competent to practice in both the criminal and immigration courts.
The passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) in 1996, has significantly increased the enforcement powers of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.C.I.S.) formerly known as B.C.I.S. and I.N.S. (I.N.S.). Many new crimes, including some misdemeanors, have been added for which a single conviction may now result in denial of lawful permanent residency, denial of naturalization, deportation or exclusion from the U.S. More and more non-citizens, including lawful permanent residents, are being placed in removal/deportation proceedings. Defending you now requires an attorney to be competent in both criminal and immigration law and procedure.
Since 2000 and continuing to the present, not only are non-citizens being placed in removal proceedings at an alarming rate by the new Ashcroft driven U.S. Attorney General's Office, but those returning from vacations and from travel abroad, including lawful permanent residents, are being intercepted at U.S. borders and airports. The B.C.B.P. (Bureau of Customs and Border Protection) is now running NCIC computerized checks on those returning to the U.S. in order to determine if they have any criminal histories which could result in their being placed in exclusion or deportation proceedings. Many of these non-citizens are being detained under newly enacted laws allowing their incarceration while their cases move slowly through the immigration courts. Removal proceedings have been made more streamlined in recent months, allowing for expedited removal of non-citizens who unwittingly sign expedited removal consent forms, while making it more difficult for attorneys to defend them. Now more than ever before, aliens need to have competent representation to obtain relief in the immigration courts.
As an Immigration/Criminal Defense Attorney, I am one of a small number of lawyers who is qualified to practice in both areas. I have extensive experience in obtaining post conviction relief for those who have already been convicted in the criminal courts and in avoiding convictions for deportable offenses for those non-citizens facing criminal prosecution. The adverse immigration consequences flowing from a single criminal conviction these days can be and oftentimes is far worse for a non-citizen than the actual penalties, fines and jail time a client will face in the criminal courts. If convicted of any of the following crimes: an aggravated felony, crime(s) involving moral turpitude, drug, domestic violence, sexual abuse, firearms or crime(s) of violence offense(s), then a non-citizen can be deported and permanently barred from returning to the U.S. As an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney since 1980, I routinely represent non-citizens in the criminal courts. Because I use aggressive strategies such as bringing pretrial defense motions and engaging in creative plea bargaining with prosecutors, my clients are able to make informed decisions in order to avoid convictions which have deportable immigration consequences.
Avoiding and eliminating deportable and excludable convictions is one of the most important services your lawyer can perform for you. This oftentimes will determine whether you will be able to adjust your status, become a legal resident, be admitted to the U.S., remain in the U.S. or be deported, and permanently excluded from the U.S. If you have been convicted of such crime(s), it may not be too late. By getting these conviction(s) vacated, modified, reduced, expunged, and/or dismissed, the U.S.C.I.S may no longer be able to use such conviction(s) to deny your adjustment of status, deport, or exclude you or to deny your naturalization application to become a U.S. citizen. I look forward to providing you with a meaningful, confidential and free telephone consultation.