Articles Posted in Immigration

For any immigration related issue your best bet is to hire an experienced immigration lawyer.  The information in this blog is subject to change at any time.  Reading a blog is not a substitute for seeking the services of an experienced immigration or criminal defense lawyer.

Retail Fraud is considered to be a crime of moral turpitude (CIMT).  A conviction for retail fraud may or may not disqualify you for a visa in the United States.  The issue becomes whether or not the conviction is classified as a petty offense pursuant to INA section 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II).

There is a 2 part test to determine if the conviction is for a petty offense:

Being an undocumented alien is very difficult, especially when the legal system is involved.  There is a natural fear that going to court may lead to removal.  Removal means  possibly the following: “What is going to happen to my children?”, “How am I going to take care of my wife and my family”, “Who is going to pay the rent, the bills?”, “It is not safe in my home country.  What will happen to me if I am forced to go back?”.

Many States like Michigan refuse to allow most undocumented aliens the ability to get a driver’s license.  In Michigan it is almost impossible to get from one place to another without being able to drive.  One option is to drive with a valid driver’s license from your home country and an international driver’s license (if your home country and the United States have a treaty to allow for such driving).  What happens when your license is expired, or lost, or is no longer valid?  Driving without a valid license is a misdemeanor offense.  Another choice may be not to drive, which really isn’t a good solution?  Another choice may be to contact an experienced immigration lawyer such as Attorney Sufen Hilf of the law firm Hilf & Hilf, PLC to see if you can obtain a lawful status in the United States.  If you obtain lawful status in the United States it may become possible to obtain a valid license.  However, in some cases it might not be possible to get lawful status.

So what happens if you are undocumented and you receive a ticket for driving while license expired, driving under the influence, domestic violence, retail fraud, or some other criminal offense?  If you go to Court and are convicted there is a risk that the Judge or the probation department could report your status to ICE.  There are some Judges that order Defendants to report their status to ICE as a condition of probation (which may be a violation of your 5th Amendment privilege against self incrimination, because being unlawfully present in the United States is actually a crime).  If the probation department and the Judge are no good, what should I do?

The government has a removal proceeding in the United States to remove a non-citizen, or alien, from the country. There are different forms of deportation; voluntary deportation is when an alien leaves the country of his or her own accord and at his or her own expense within a certain amount of time, while deportation is when the government orders removal of an alien from the United States after the removal proceedings and at the cost of the state.

Types of Voluntary Departure

Two types of voluntary departure exist, both permits the alien to leave the United States within a time period and at their own expense.

An immigrant convicted of theft is deportable if the theft is considered an aggravated felony. These immigrants include any noncitizen of the U.S (valid visa holders and green card holders). For a case with an undocumented immigrant with no lawful status that’s convicted of theft, that alone can be the basis of deportation, not act of theft itself.

Immigration law contains a list of crimes which make an immigrant subject to deportation due to moral turpitude, and although theft is not included separately, it is included in the list of crimes that are considered aggravated felonies. Complications arise when the realization of theft, most often prosecuted under state law, are being judged using Federal statutes to determine severity. The result is that a crime of theft that may be considered a misdemeanor in the state court where it is prosecuted could be considered, and in some cases, to be an aggravated felony for federal immigration purposes. This is due to the varying standards applied by immigration law.

The benchmark for considering a crime of theft an aggravated felony is that the convictions of theft, receipt of stolen property, or burglary could have a sentence of at least one year. Immigration law can be complex when considering the interaction of state and federal statutes and it is often difficult to state any rule with certainty. A crime that is less serious in other contexts, such as a minor theft, could be elevated to an aggravated felony in the eyes of the immigration authorities and result in deportation.

According to the US Department of State, to hold dual citizenship or dual nationality means a person must be a national or hold citizenship of two countries at the same time. Though no specific provisions exist in law for this condition as they do inother countries, the Government of the United States recognizes the existence of dual citizenship while discouraging it as a matter of practice due the complications that may occur for the dual national. US law thus does not prohibit dual nationality and does not require a citizen to choose one nationality, but it is possible, though very uncommon, to lose US citizenship through accepting foreign nationality under certain circumstances.

Generally, if a US citizen obtains foreign nationality automatically, perhaps by parentage, his or her US citizenship status remains unaffected. If the person is required to take certain actions to obtain the foreign citizenship, then it becomes possible to lose US citizenship if the intention to abandon it is demonstrated, according to the State Department. The person must voluntarily apply for the second citizenship and do so with the intention of surrendering US citizenship. This allows dual citizenship in practice if not in name and there is little to no chance of inadvertently losing one’s citizenship by accepting a second. The country where the person resides is considered to have the strongest claim to allegiance.

When traveling, the United States asks that US passport holders who also hold other passports use their US passports when entering and exiting the country and this rule is common among most nations. Conflicts may arise for dual citizens due to the fact that they are expected to obey two sets of laws and issues such as obligatory military service and global taxation must be dealt with. Dual citizens should keep in mind that the US taxes worldwide income and they are required to report all income earned abroad.

Corporate Immigration Law Firm.

Hilf & Hilf, PLC represents a diverse, complex range of clients including multinational corporations, United States corporations, privately held companies, start up ventures, partnerships, small sized businesses, and individuals.  We also represent non profit entities such as religious organizations and charitable organizations.

Through our comprehensive, thorough ability and knowledge of legal, business, government, regulatory, and political issues, we help clients to gain and maintain success in all areas of business immigration.  We are dynamic and goal oriented, and provide our clients with a wide range of immigration and naturalization services.

A United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) who is in a same sex marriage to a foreigner can petition their spouse in the same manner that was once reserved only for heterosexual couples.  Your eligibility to petition your spouse, and your spouse’s admissibility as an immigrant or for adjustment of status, will be applied by the same immigration laws that now apply to everyone.  This is also true for fiance petitions.  Gay marriage, lesbian marriage, bisexual marriage, transgender marriage – all  marriages are entitled to the respect, benefits, and stability associated with legal marriage.

If you were previously denied due to the prior discrimination that prevented the recognition of same sex marriages in individual States to the United States, that can now be reconsidered.  It is possible to right a wrong that previously occurred, depending upon the facts of your case.

Same sex marriage can also confer immigration benefits to aliens seeking to accompany or follow their spouse as a family sponsored immigrant, an employment based immigrant, for aliens granted refugee or asylum, and for other immigration related circumstances.  Again, the law that once applied only to heterosexual couples now applies equally to all.

In order to live and work in the United States for any extended period of time, in most cases you’re legally required to obtain a green card.  Anyone who has tried to obtain a green card can tell you that the process and procedure required for a successful application can become extremely complicated, and for some individuals it may be impossible. It involves an overwhelming amount of paperwork, legal assistance, and time.

Remember: one simple mistake can have disastrous consequences.

A Broken System

People all over the world have dreams about one day immigrating to the United States. They know, however, that this process can be confusing and difficult to manage on their own. Many people find the immigration process to be overwhelming and complex, and it is not something that you should deal with on your own.  With the complexities of the U.S. immigration process, seeking counsel from an immigration attorney can be incredibly useful and save you from a number of inconveniences and disappointments.  If you’re not sure whether or not you should consult with an attorney at any point during the immigration process, here are some ways in which an attorney who specializes in immigration law can help you.

The most agonizing aspect of the immigration process is usually the paperwork.  Not only does it seem like there is a ridiculous amount of it, but one mistake can lead to delays in the application process, if not being completely denied.  Having an attorney help you with paperwork will increase your chance of being accepted and ensure that you are not making any costly mistakes.  Mistakes cost money, time, may prevent you from obtaining benefits for you and/or a family member, and in some instances can have negative repercussions concerning your immigration situation.

An attorney who specializes in immigration law will be aware of the various options available when applying for immigration and advise you as to what the best approach to take when applying. Depending on your situation, just because you are denied immigration does not necessarily mean you can not immigrate.  It is possible that you just need a lawyer to advise you on how to cater your application for the highest likelihood of success.