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What To Expect During Your Asylum Interview in NY

So, you filed for asylum and now want to know that the next steps are and what to expect.

After filing your case, you should receive a receipt notice followed by an appointment for biometrics (fingerprints, etc.).  After that, it is just a matter of waiting for your turn to be called in for an interview.  If you live within New York City, your asylum interview will be scheduled in Bethpage (Long Island) New York.

Once you appear at the USCIS (Immigration Office) located at 1065 Stewart Avenue, Bethpage NY 11714, you will go through security and then check in with the front desk.  Ordinarily, you cannot check in until all parties are present. For example, the applicant, a translator/interpreter and your lawyer.  The front desk will provide you with a ticket number and you will wait until your number is called.  The first call usually will have to do with capturing your biometrics once again.  Thereafter, you will wait to be called by an immigration asylum officer.

Once you are called in for the interview, you will be taken to an individual office and given some instructions and disclosures.  You will be sworn in to tell the truth and you will be informed that all information provided will be confidential.  The officer will also go through the information contained in your asylum application that you filed.  Thereafter, the asylum officer will conduct the interview.  The format will usually vary from officer to officer.  Naturally, you should make sure you know the details of your case, especially as it is written on the application, affidavit/declaration, etc.

After the interview, you will be asked to return 14 days later to pick up the decision, which usually will be either an approval or a referral to the Immigration Court.

Of course, I simplified this entire process.  There is no substitute for representation by an experience immigration lawyer who can hold your hand through this process and inform you of potential evidence that you can provide to strengthen your case.

Finding an Immigration Lawyer in Brooklyn, NY

What is the best  way to find a lawyer/attorney to represent you with your immigration case???

Great question . . . . The answer is usually not as easy as it may seem, as it may be somewhat time consuming.


Immigration Attorney Queens

The selection of a lawyer can often make the difference with how your case turns out.    I often ask myself a similar question when it comes to researching the services of a professional.  I can tell you that most people (myself included) often used the internet as a starting point.  Thereafter, it’s usually a wise idea to then look for reviews online pertaining to the services.  However, you may want to keep an open mind when perusing through these reviews.  You should be on the lookout for positive reviews of course.  However, I am skeptical about any product or service where there are nothing but positive reviews (100 % five star reviews for example and not a single disappointed customer/client) .   One begins to wonder about whether these reviews are made up.  In fact, the NY Attorney General has even sued certain business for having posted fake reviews and/or reviews that were bought.  Some critique in reviews is actually comforting.   Let’s put it this way  . . . .  Perhaps as much as you love your iPhone and think that it is a impeccable product, there are likely many  (perhaps Android lovers) that would disagree with you.  That doesnt mean that one is right and the other is wrong.  However, one should evaluate a service or product based on the totality of the factors and then weigh such factors with your individual need.  Keep an objective mind.  Naturally, if there are 100 reviews with 95% positive reviews and 5% that may be disappointed, I would likely pick that over 50 reviews which are all positive.

After narrowing your search, you should then schedule an appointment to see the lawyer and discuss the details of your case through a consultation.  Some lawyers may charge for a consultation.  My office does not charge for consultations just because some people may not even qualify for any benefits.  Naturally, these can be over the phone and at times, an in-person consultation is necessary.      

My opinion is that one should only make a decision after meeting with the lawyer and his support staff.  Make no mistake about it, one should also get a feel for the support staff as many communications will likely be through the lawyer’s support staff.  The support staff of a law firm is a very important factor to consider.

Criminal Record Causing Immigration Issue

Although you may have resolved a criminal matter many years ago, this does not mean that it will not come back to bite you down the road when it comes to immigration enforcement (unless you are a U.S. citizen of course).

I have clients that have criminal convictions from decades ago that come to learn that immigration is only now enforcing such immigration consequences of criminal convictions.  As a result, these clients are being placed in removal (deportation) proceedings (immigration court).  Can you imagine that the government is now trying to remove these good people (who simply made a mistake) from the U.S.  We are not talking about hard core criminals.  We are talking about a good citizen who a brush or two with the law.


Queens Immigration Attorney

The discovery of the criminal conviction usually occurs during a trip outside the U.S. and then the reentry into the U.S. , during the process of a naturalization application or renewal of a green card since both require biometrics (fingerprints) to be processed.

The best option for individuals who are currently dealing with a criminal case is to have an immigration attorney work hand in hand with the criminal attorney.  If you previously went through criminal proceedings, then before you file any additional paperwork with immigration (whether naturalization or renewal of a green card), consult an attorney regardless of how minimal you think the criminal conviction is.  All too often clients seem to think immigration law draws a clear distinction between felonies and misdemeanors.  This is just not true.  If you value living in the U.S., then make the right decision and investment and consult an attorney before you go any further.

Green Card Through Marriage But Divorcing

So, you married your sweetheart but the marriage did not work out.  What can you do?  Can you still get your green card?

The answer is  . . . it depends.

If your spouse has been abusive toward you, you can continue the process on your own and without your spouse being involved in the process.   This abuse can take many forms, including physical, mental and emotional.

How do you prove that?  Do you have to have a police report, etc….?

The answer  is no.  Police reports are useful but not required.  This abusive behavior can be proven through many other ways.  In some case that our office has filed, we did not have any dispositive documentary evidence but we were able to show that the applicant did in fact suffer abuse (even solely mental and emotional) through reliable detailed sworn statements.

Also, remember that this application is confidential and the information is not disclosed to your spouse.

However, you must act fast!!!!  Time is not on your side.  So, if the marriage is failing due to the abusive behavior of  your spouse, then act quickly and speak with an attorney as soon as possible.  Do not let the opportunity pass you.

Marriage Based Green Card Application Process in New York City


You have decided to enter the wonderful world of marriage where all that matters is love.


That may not be the case if your marriage also involves filing for permanent residency (green card) based on your marriage to a U.S. Citizen.  You may even find it surprising or perhaps troubling that immigration (USCIS) looks at your marriage with a certain degree of suspicion.  Is your marriage real or did you enter the marriage for purposes of obtaining a green card?  How do they make this determination?  What is the process?

I’ll go through the process in New York City a nutshell.

First, the applications are filed.

The applicant will then be called for a biometrics appointment.  (Fingerprints, etc)

Thereafter, the applicant and the U.S. Citizen spouse are called in for an interview.

Wow . . . sounds simple enough.  However, that’s not the entire comprehensive process.  The applicant should prepare all relevant documents evidencing their bona fide marriage.  Make sure the documents clearly evidence the bona fide marriage.  Don’t show up with a minimum of documents.

Is a lawyer necessary to process the paperwork for a marriage based green card application and/or to go to the immigration interview?

Look, this may sound like a sales pitch, but I could try to explain why it is important.  However, instead let me ask another question.  Do you think this process (meaning the green card) is an important event in your life?  If the answer is yes, then you should strongly consider hiring a lawyer.  The truth is you have likely never gone through this process.  Lawyers on the other hand like myself have likely gone to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of interviews.  We all know repetition is the key to success.  How does an athlete become an elite pro athlete  . . . . through repetition.  Don’t take the silly position that if you show up with a lawyer, immigration could interpret that to mean you have something to hide.  It’s absurd.  We are a country of laws.  We have brave military personnel that have died to protect our constitutional rights.  Exercise these rights!!!!!!  Use it or lose it.

Filing for Asylum in New York City

Potential clients often call my office to find out about how one can stay in the U.S.  My answer is usually the same.  I tell them that generally speaking (although not exhaustive), the paths to permanent residency (green card) are based on some family relationship and/or employment based relationship.  Unfortunately, even within these broad categories there are same prerequisites that are necessary.  For the most part (with some minor exceptions) unless you are basing your application based on marriage to a US citizen, or based on an application filed by your son or daughter (21 and over), you must be in status at the time the priority date is current.  This usually takes the person out of that category’s eligibility, as most callers are already out of status.

However, before ending my call I usually ask the caller what country the person is from and whether they are afraid to go back to their country based on one of five grounds that asylum provides.  I will not take up these five grounds in this article and save that for a future blog.  The caller is usually surprised  to find out that the law allows such persons to file an application for asylum and be entitled to work authorization five months after filing even if they are out of status.  Some ask how they can prove their claims.  I explain to them that the law may consider their testimony alone enough to win their case, but that usually we can provide extrinsic evidence through third parties to further bolster and corroborate their claims.

Most callers are pleasantly surprised to find out about this permanent residency path.   Some even ask if they marry a U.S. citizen while their asylum is pending  whether they can change the case to a marriage based application.  The answer is usually yes.

The point is that there may be avenues of relief in immigration law.  So, think outside the box and explore all options.

Immigration Court Defense in New York City

So, you have been issued a Notice to Appear and are now being summoned to appear in Immigration Court at 26 Federal Plaza, New York City.

What do you do?

Let’s first start with what not to do? Do not ignore it and do not panic. Many people call our office and inquire as to whether they will be deported that day. I tell them that we are a country of laws and due process rights are respected by Immigration Judges in every Immigration Court. This fear is unnecessary.

Now that we have some basics on what not to do. Let’s also briefly discuss what you should do. Act wisely and be prepared. You should hire an experienced immigration lawyer that is familiar with the Immigration Court and issues pertaining to removal and deportation. There are many different laws which provide relief for individuals in Immigration Court. This is particularly true for the New York City (Manhattan) Immigration Court. So, take advantage. In fact, many times the deportation process in Immigration Court is a blessing and may lead to permanent residency that may otherwise not be available outside of Court.

Will one of the stars from Real Housewives of New Jersey be deported to Italy?

Theresa Guidice’s Husband Giuseppe “Joe” Guidice may be deported from the U.S. following his conviction for bank fraud.

I last wrote about this back in August 2013 following the indictment (criminal prosecution) of Joe Guidice and his wife Theresa Guidice. At that time, they had only been indicted.

What has changed? Since then, a plea of guilty took place for various charges. Most recently, a federal Judge in Newark sentenced Theresa Guidice to 15 months and Joe Guidice to 41 months.

Will Joe Guidice and Theresa Guidice be able to move on with their lives after the completion of their prison sentence and payment of fines and restitution? Joe Guidice may have many more problems brewing.

Unfortunately for Joe Guidice, he may be deported back to Italy due to his conviction, despite being a long time permanent resident (“Green Card” Holder) and despite being married to a U.S. Citizen and having US Citizen daughters. Seems somewhat unfair some may say. . . . Aren’t we supposed to give someone a second chance and attempt to rehabilitate? Unfortunately, Immigration laws are not so forgiving. It’s very possible that Joe Guidice may not get released from prison even after the completion of his sentence. Instead, he can be served with a Notice to Appear in Immigration Court by DHS (Department of Homeland Security) where DHS may seek his deportation (removal) to Italy. This usually takes the form of the prison being served with a Detainer which basically informs the facility that DHS will be picking him and putting him in immigration detention.

If DHS decides to put him in removal proceedings, he will likely face removal charges that include DHS alleging that he was convicted of an aggravated felony (the bank fraud conviction). Unfortunately for him, the relief available to him if he is charged with being convicted of an aggravated felony will be extremely limited, especially considering he is from an EU country – Italy.

I think it is prudent for individuals like Joe Guidice to have immigration lawyers work in cooperation with their criminal defense attorneys very early on to attempt to minimize immigration consequences.

I certainly wish the Guidice family the best of luck!!

Immigration Deportation Lawyer in New York City Due to Criminal Arrest or Conviction?

As most people by know by now, there are many issues that arise as a result of a criminal arrest? Many questions outside of the criminal arena must be taken into consideration. What are some of them? Will I get evicted from public housing? Will I lose my student financial aid? WILL I GET DEPORTED DUE TO MY CRIMINAL ARREST OR CONVICTION?

We are living in a technologically advanced society where information is shared among many different law enforcement agencies. As such, one needs to be aware that a criminal arrest may trigger deportation. So, an arrest for what most consider a minor criminal offense in New York City may be placed in deportation proceedings in Immigration Court in New York City located at 26 Federal Plaza, New York, New York. In fact, despite the Obama Administration appearing to head in the direction of immigration amnesty, a record number of immigrants with even minor criminal offenses are still being deported. If a loved one is going through some of these issues, get an experienced immigration lawyer involved immediately.