Why should I hire Criminal and Immigration Lawyers?

Criminal and Immigration Attorneys must work together to help you! Question: I have committed a crime, but do not know if I should plead guilty or not and if I do plead guilty, I do not know what I should plead to. Should I hire an Immigration Lawyer? Should I hire a Criminal Lawyer? Should I hire Criminal and Immigration Lawyers?

Answer: These are very valid questions. In fact, it is critical that you obtain the necessary information from criminal and immigration lawyers working together. Because you are not a U.S. Citizen, every single crime could potentially affect your ability to legally remain in the United States. Only if the criminal and immigration lawyers work together can you obtain the correct advice. An Immigration Lawyer is not an expert in Criminal Law and a Criminal Lawyer is not an expert in Immigration Law. Neither the Criminal Attorney or the Criminal Judge are aware of how your particular criminal situation will affect your immigration status. There is no reason to plea to something in criminal court that will only hurt your chances of remaining in the United States.

Question: How will the Criminal and Immigration Attorneys work together? What will they do to help me?

Answer: Generally, the Immigration Attorney can prepare the necessary criminal evaluation which will document to you and the criminal attorney exactly what is your immigration situation and the best alternatives for a plea that will have the least effect on your immigration status and will minimize the damage that could occur in future deportation hearings. Even if you get put into deportation or removal proceedings, the criminal and immigration lawyers working together will minimize the harm in deportation proceedings. It will have the effect of possibly making you eligible for certain forms of relief such as Cancellation of Removal for Lawful Permanent Residents or Adjustment of Status with a Waiver of Inadmissibility. Sometimes a guilty plea in criminal court will not sound so bad, but could make you an aggravated felon in Immigration Court. As an aggravated felon, you would not be eligible for most forms of relief. Thus, if the criminal and immigration lawyers work together in the beginning before you plea to anything, then everyone can benefit. You will minimize the harm done on your immigration status; the prosecutor will still get a conviction; the Criminal Judge will still be administering justice; the criminal attorney gets a plea and the immigration attorney protects you against unintended consequences. Thus, while it might be more expensive, the best route for you is to hire Criminal and Immigration Lawyers to work in tandem to help you through this process.

Question: What happens if I just plea guilty now as I am being told by my Criminal Lawyer that it is the best thing to do?

Answer: That would be a very large mistake. Basically, the Criminal Attorney is probably telling you that you will get less time and that it is the best deal that you can get. However, what does it matter if you get less time if you are simply transferred to immigration detention, placed in deportation proceedings and deported for many years or even the rest of your life? It is critical that you get the help of Criminal and Immigration Lawyers working together before you plea, not after. It is possible to try to set aside the plea afterwards. However, it is considerably more difficult.

I am from Africa and enter the USA on R1/B2 Visa. I am an ex catholic nun can I be legalized in the USA?

 You would first have to be aware of the 3/10 year bar. It is quickly approaching and you may not be able to come back to the U.S. for 3 or 10 years depending. You may qualify for the R-1 Visa (which is not the one you listed above). This is for the Religious Visa. However, because you are out of status, you would have to go back to your home country to get it. The exception would be if you were persecuted in your home country. In that case, you would have up to 1 year to apply for asylum after entering the U.S.

What is REAL ID Act ?

The June 2009 Immigration Briefings, entitled “Credibility, Burden of Proof, and Corroboration Under the Real ID Act,” 09-06 Immigration Briefing 1 (June 2009), discusses credibility determinations as prescribed by the REAL ID Act of 2005, primarily in the context of asylum relief. The Briefing addresses both burden of proof and corroboration as part of its analysis of credibility under the REAL ID Act. The Briefing begins with a historical background of the REAL ID Act and continues by examining burden-of-proof issues. The Briefing provides an analysis of the standard requirement under the REAL ID Act that aliens applying for relief demonstrate that harm on account of a protected ground be at least one central reason for feared persecution as compared with the pre-REAL ID Act mixed-motive standard. Also discussed in the Briefing are the REAL ID Act credibility amendments, which require that factfinders consider the totality of circumstances when considering credibility as applied to minor inconsistencies in testimony and the heart of the applicant’s claim. Finally, the Briefing discusses language in the REAL ID Act that gives immigration judges the right to demand that an alien produce evidence to corroborate otherwise-credible testimony unless that alien does not have the evidence and cannot reasonably obtain it.

The June Briefing was written by James Feroli, an attorney with the Immigrant and Refugee Appellate Center in Alexandria, Virginia, specializing in immigration appellate issues.

During the 108 Congress, a number of proposals related to immigration and
identification-document security were introduced, some of which were considered
in the context of implementing recommendations made by the National Commission
on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9/11 Commission)
and enacted pursuant to the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of
2004 (P.L. 108-458).  At the time that the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism
Prevention Act was adopted, some congressional leaders reportedly agreed to revisit
certain immigration and document-security issues in the 109th Congress that had been
dropped from the final version of the act.

The REAL ID Act of 2005 was first introduced as H.R. 418 by Representative
James Sensenbrenner on January 26, 2005, and passed the House, as amended, on
February 10, 2005.  The text of House-passed H.R. 418 was subsequently added to
H.R. 1268, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global
War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005, which was introduced by Representative
Jerry Lewis on March 11, 2005, and passed the House, as amended, on March 16,
2005.  H.R. 1268 passed the Senate on April 21, 2005, as amended, on a vote of 99-
0, but did not include the REAL ID Act provisions.  A conference report resolving
differences between the two versions of the bill, H.Rept. 109-72, passed the House
on May 5, 2005 and the Senate on May 10, 2005, before being enacted into law on
May 11, 2005. The version of the REAL ID Act (P.L. 109-13, Division B) ultimately
enacted includes most of the provisions of the REAL ID Act that initially passed the
House (though not those relating to the bond of aliens in removal proceedings),
though some changes were made to certain REAL ID Act provisions.

This report analyzes the major provisions of the REAL ID Act, as enacted,
which, inter alia, (1) modifies the eligibility criteria for asylum and withholding of
removal; (2) limits judicial review of certain immigration decisions; (3) provides
additional waiver authority over laws that might impede the expeditious construction
of barriers and roads along land borders, including a 14-mile wide fence near San
Diego; (4) expands the scope of terror-related activity making an alien inadmissible
or deportable, as well as ineligible for certain forms of relief from removal; (5)
requires states to meet certain minimum security standards in order for the drivers’
licenses and personal identification cards they issue to be accepted for federal
purposes; (6) requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to enter into the
appropriate aviation security screening database the appropriate background
information of any person convicted of using a false driver’s license for the purpose
of boarding an airplane; and (7) requires the Department of Homeland Security to
study and plan ways to improve U.S. security and improve inter-agency
communications and information sharing, as well as establish a ground surveillance
pilot program.

IJ have authority to determine the validity of the Alien’s appproved employment visa

Immigration Judges have authority to determine whether the validity of an alien’s approved employment-based visa petition is preserved under section 204(j) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1154(j) (2006), after the alien’s change in jobs or employers. Matter of Perez Vargas, 23 I&N Dec. 829 (BIA 2005), overruled.

NINTH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

-Criminal Law and Procedure-
Hawaii Supreme Court reasonably applied Chambers v. Mississippi to uphold exclusion of testimony regarding third party’s confession at defendant’s trial based on weight U.S. Supreme Court had placed upon reliability for such evidence to be admitted in Chambers; Chambers was reasonably distinguished since excluded testimony at issue in this case was materially less trustworthy than the excluded testimony in Chambers; third party was unavailable to testify; and there was doubt not only about the truthfulness of the alleged confessions but also about whether those confessions were ever made.
Christian v. Frank – filed February 19, 2010
Cite as 08-17236
Full text http://ping.fm/VBWSP

-Immigration Law-
Alien’s felony conviction for receipt of a stolen vehicle in violation of California Penal Code Sec. 496d(a) qualifies categorically as a conviction for an aggravated felony but does not qualify categorically as a crime involving moral turpitude.
Alvarez-Reynaga v. Holder – filed February 19, 2010
Cite as 08-70253

Asylum Application was denied

Denial of asylum based on adverse credibility determination was supported by substantial evidence where asylum applications omitted mention of petitioners’ alleged participation in a political demonstration that they later testified was the basis for their asylum claim, the only explanation for the omission was the expectation that the matter would be discussed at the hearing, and petitioners’ sworn statements in the application were inconsistent in numerous respects with testimony of their witness and with documentary evidence.
Kin v. Holder – filed February 18, 2010

Agricultural Workers for Temporary Employment

Hiring of agricultural workers for temporary employment have been an on going issue in immigration where abuse in regulations observed. DOL issued an advance copy of the final rule amending its regulations on the temporary agricultural employment of H-2A aliens in the U.S. A full article regarding hiring procedures will be published in the Federal Register on 2/12/10.

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