Alonso & de Leef, PLLC For Your Immigration Needs

Immigration law is a specialized field of law that is becoming increasingly complex and difficult to navigate. The laws and policies are constantly evolving making the services of a skilled immigration attorney not a luxury but a necessity. Without the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney your case may experience undue delays, extended detention times of yourself or your loved ones, and denial of immigration resulting in harsh penalties.

Although no attorney can guarantee a positive result as often immigration benefits are discretionary based, at Alonso & de Leef, PLLC we strive to be diligent and upfront in the representation of each client. Our firm handles all immigration-based benefits including, but not limited to removal proceedings, and affirmative cases such as family and employment-based petitions.

Our attorneys are knowledgeable in the immigration field and have successfully represented clients before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) in affirmative relief applications, as well as before immigration court in removal defense matters.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of services offered by our firm

Consular Processing

There are differences between petitioning for someone outside of the United States and for someone inside the United States. A petition for someone outside the United States is called Consular Processing and a petition for someone inside the United States is called Adjustment of Status. Individuals who are already in the United States but are ineligible for adjustment of status may return to their home country and complete the visa processing. In these cases, once the initial I-130 petition is approved by USCIS within the US it is transferred to the National Visa Center (“NVC”). The petition will remain with NVC until an immigrant visa becomes available. Once the NVC notifies the beneficiary of the visa that a visa is available, they must pay the visa fee bills, and submit their documents for processing. The beneficiary will then go to an interview at the consular office outside of the United States. If found admissible, the beneficiary will be admitted to the United States as an LPR.

To see which process you are eligible for, and each of their requirements contact our office to schedule a free consultation.

Adjustment of Status

Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (“LPR”) is the first step towards becoming a United States Citizen. There are several ways an immigrant can become an LPR or a “green card” holder. The benefits of adjusting your status to an LPR are that you are allowed to reside and work permanently in the United States, and depending on how you obtained your LPR status, you can become a United States citizen in a short 3- or 5-year period. LPRs can travel freely outside and inside the United States, but there are some limitations to traveling abroad. LPRs do not enjoy the same privileges as United States Citizens, for example, LPRs cannot vote, and are at risk of losing their LPR status under certain circumstances. We can help you determine whether you are eligible to become an LPR, travel abroad and also guide you if you ever become at risk of losing your status and your right to remain and work in the United States.

Adjustment of Status can be achieved through the following ways:

General requirements vary for each category and your eligibility will be examined by our team of lawyers and paralegals. The Alonso & de Leef law firm represents individuals and employers, throughout the entirety of the adjustment of status process. Our representation includes the preparation and submission of relevant applications and petitions with the appropriate United States governmental agency.

Family-Immigration

A qualifying family member can sponsor you to become an LPR. To do so, your family member would first file a Form I-130 to establish the family relationship between you and your relative, for example, a spouse, parent, sibling, or child or stepchild. The petitioning family member would have to prove that they have enough income or assets to support you when you come to the United States, pursuant to the new public charge rules.

Immediate relatives of United States citizens are given a greater preference in obtaining LPR status. Family-preference categories include unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21, married children of any age, and brothers and sisters of United States Citizens. An immediate relative is either your spouse, parent or unmarried child under the age of 21. United States citizens can petition adult married children. This is different from LPRs who can only petition adult children if they are unmarried.

Employment-Based Petitions

The United States issues approximately 140,000 employment-based visas every fiscal year. These visas allow the employee beneficiary and their derivative spouse and children to enter the United States as LPRs. Employee beneficiaries must have a combination of education, work experience, and skills, that make them eligible for one of these visas.

The five employment-based categories are

Bear in mind, some visa categories require that you have a job offer from a United States employer who will be your sponsor and petitioner in the I-140 petition. Typically, but not always, employers have to get approved labor certifications from the United States Department of Labor before they can submit an I-140 petition for you to USCIS.

Cuban-Adjustment Act

The Cuban Adjustment Act (“CAA”) was enacted in 1966 to provide a route to LPR status for Cuban nationals and their spouses and children through adjustment of status. To qualify for adjustment of status under the CAA the principal applicant must be a native or citizen of Cuba who was inspected, admitted, or paroled into the United States and has been present in the United States for at least a year and a day. The applicant must be otherwise admissible to the United States for LPR status. As of November 17, 2017, USCIS requires that to prove Cuban nationality or citizenship, the applicant must submit a consular certificate documenting the Cuban birth that must have been formally registered in Cuba with the Cuban Ministry of Justice.

Also, in 2017, the United States government ended the Wet-Foot/Dry-Foot policy. This change means that Cubans are now required to be admitted or paroled into the United States. No longer are Cubans allowed to enter the United States without inspection, admission, or parole, and still benefit from the CAA. To reap the benefits of the CAA all Cubans must enter the United States with a visa or must be paroled at a port of entry.

Our office is experienced in the CAA and its guidelines. We can assist you in determining whether you can adjust your status under the CAA.

Representation in Removal Proceedings

Removal or Deportation is the formal removal of an immigrant from the United States. Removal is ordered by an immigration judge in an immigration court. Removal proceedings can be initiated for an LPR if he is found to have violated the laws of the United States. For undocumented individuals, removal proceedings may be triggered for simply driving without a license. It is important that you are aware of the defenses available to you if you ever find yourself in removal proceedings. Defenses to removal include cancellation of removal, asylum, withholding of removal, and voluntary departure. Our attorneys are experienced and have persevered even in the toughest cases.

Cancellation of Removal

If you are an LPR or are undocumented in the United States and are in removal proceedings, you may be eligible for Cancellation of Removal. Cancellation of Removal enables an otherwise removable person, to become an LPR before an immigration judge. To be eligible for Cancellation of Removal, individuals must meet certain requirements. However, even after meeting all the requirements the decision to grant Cancellation of Removal is left wholly to the discretion of an immigration judge. Because a positive outcome is so dependent on the immigration judge’s opinion of the case, it is of utmost importance that you are represented by a competent, passionate immigration attorney. Alonso and de Leef, PLLC is extremely well-versed in Cancellation of Removal and will fight for your case.

The eligibility requirements for cancellation of removal vary for LPR individuals and undocumented individuals.

Eligibility for LPRs:

Eligibility for undocumented individuals:

In addition to the factors indicated above, there are several factors that make individuals ineligible for Cancellation of Removal. Alonso and de Leef, PLLC can help you determine whether you are eligible for Cancellation of Removal. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation, so that we can plan an adequate removal defense strategy in your case.

Asylum and Withholding of Removal

Asylum and withholding of removal are available to people who have either been persecuted in their home countries or have a reasonable belief that they will be persecuted if returned to their home country. At Alonso & de Leef, PLLC, our attorneys fight a hard fight for our clients. We have used our knowledge and experience to succeed in hundreds of asylum cases.

Typically, in order to be granted Asylum, you must file within one year of entering into the United States. Withholding of Removal does not have the same requirement, but it does differ from asylum in that Withholding of Removal recipients do not have the possibility to adjust their status to that of an LPR. Both are available to individuals who have suffered persecution based on race, gender, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

Our attorneys can help you demonstrate the validity of your fears relating to any of the asylum categories, and we can do so ferociously. We represent clients in affirmative asylum, before USCIS, and defensive asylum, before the immigration courts. Contact Alonso & de Leef, PLLC, to determine your eligibility and to get a specialized analysis of your case.

Citizenship

Naturalization is the process to become a U.S. citizen if you were born outside of the United
States. If you meet certain requirements, you may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after
birth.

To apply for naturalization to become a U.S. citizen, you must:

You may be eligible to apply for citizenship earlier than 5 years if you are a green card holder who is married to a United States Citizen and obtained your green card through marriage.

Removal Proceedings

Removal proceedings generally begin with the arrest of an immigrant by local law enforcement agency or Border Patrol. Once arrested, the alien is turned over to ICe. At this time ICE will decided whether to take custody or initiate removal proceedings. 

If ICE decides they may serve you with a Notice to Appear, initiating removal proceedings. At this point the arrested immigration will appear before the Department of Justice immigration judges for bond hearings. This can be a scary and overwhelming process. If you hire one of our attorneys they will make this process easier for you. Retaining us as your attorney for your or your loved ones bond proceedings will guarantee at least one in person visit to the detainee as will a thorough review of this process so the detainee is confident and comfortable moving forward.

Please always remember a few things, every bond case is different and every Judge is different. If the detainee is marked as an arriving alien on the NTA, they may be subject to mandatory detention.

If you are detained by ICE, you may be eligible for a bond hearing before an immigration judge. During this hearing the judge will weigh a number of factors to determine if you should be released and allowed to reside in the United States while your relief is pending. On March 18, 2020 the Board of Immigration Appeals set forth factors that an Immigration Judge may consider when determining eligibility for bond. The factors set forth in Matter of R-A-V-P are as follows. First, the immigration judge must consider if you are a danger to the community or a threat to national security. After this determination the Immigration Judge will determine if you are a risk of flight. When determining if you are a risk of flight the immigration judge may consider a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

FOIA

Under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), you can request:

TPS

The secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent its nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. TPS may be granted to:

You may not be eligible for TPS (or to maintain your existing TPS) if you:

VAWA

As a battered spouse, child, or parent, you may file an immigrant visa petition under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”). The VAWA provisions in the INA allow certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens and certain spouses and children of permanent residents (Green Card holders) to file a petition for themselves, without the abuser’s knowledge. This allows victims to seek both safety and independence from their abuser, who is not notified about the filing.

The following people are eligible to apply for a Green Card under this category

DACA

In compliance with an order of a United States District Court, effective December 7, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is:

In order to be eligible for an initial DACA you must:

An individual may be considered for Renewal of DACA if they meet the guidelines for Initial DACA AND they:

DHS will comply with the order while it remains in effect, but DHS may seek relief from the order. This is why it is so important to get your applications in AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Detained Cases/Bond Hearings

Removal proceedings generally begin with the arrest of an immigrant by local law enforcement agency or Border Patrol. Once arrested, the alien is turned over to ICe. At this time ICE will decided whether to take custody or initiate removal proceedings. 

If ICE decides they may serve you with a Notice to Appear, initiating removal proceedings. At this point the arrested immigration will appear before the Department of Justice immigration judges for bond hearings. This can be a scary and overwhelming process. If you hire one of our attorneys they will make this process easier for you. Retaining us as your attorney for your or your loved ones bond proceedings will guarantee at least one in person visit to the detainee as will a thorough review of this process so the detainee is confident and comfortable moving forward.

Please always remember a few things, every bond case is different and every Judge is different. If the detainee is marked as an arriving alien on the NTA, they may be subject to mandatory detention.

If you are detained by ICE, you may be eligible for a bond hearing before an immigration judge. During this hearing the judge will weigh a number of factors to determine if you should be released and allowed to reside in the United States while your relief is pending. On March 18, 2020 the Board of Immigration Appeals set forth factors that an Immigration Judge may consider when determining eligibility for bond. The factors set forth in Matter of R-A-V-P are as follows. First, the immigration judge must consider if you are a danger to the community or a threat to national security. After this determination the Immigration Judge will determine if you are a risk of flight. When determining if you are a risk of flight the immigration judge may consider a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

Waivers

Are you worried about trying to obtain an immigration benefit because you fear you are inadmissible due to one of the following:

Contact us today to see if you qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility that may allow you to obtain an immigration benefit.