What do I need for an Investor E2 Visa in New York City or New Jersey

Our office has successfully filed countless numbers of Investor E2 visas for our clients throughout New York and New Jersey, as well as elsewhere throughout the country. In general , clients usually have similar questions, which I thought I would talk about in this blog.

Usually the Frequently Asked Questions related to an Investor Visa (E2) Visa have been the following:

  1. Is there a minimum investment required? Do you have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars?
    No. There is no minimum investment requirement. We have filed E2 Visas for individuals who have invested as little as $25,000. Yes . . . Twenty Five Thousand Dollars. Although a “substantial amount of capital” is generally required, this term is not defined. In my experience, a case-by- case analysis usually determines what is a substantial amount of capital.
  2. What type of business must I invest in order to be eligible for an Investor E2 Visa?
    In short, there is no specific type of business that is required. Our office has filed for investor E2 Visas for a wide range of businesses, including hair salons, grocery stores, thrift stores, gasoline stations, pool construction, restaurants and many more.
  3. How long does the process take?
    Individuals that choose to take advantage of premium processing (expedited processing) can do so by paying an additional fee. In that case, the application is processed within 15 days.
  4. Can my family members also benefit from this status?
    Yes, your spouse will also be accorded such classification also, as well as any children. In fact, the spouse can obtain work authorization and work anywhere such spouse pleases.
  5. Will I get a social security number from the Social Security Administration?
    Yes. Both the applicant and the spouse can apply for a social security number and receive a social security card.
  6. Can I get a New York or New Jersey driver’s license if I have an E2 Investor Visa?
    Yes.

These are generally some of the more popular questions that are asked. Our government needs to remember that we need to welcome foreign investment. Our nation was built on foreigners who have had full faith in our economy and as such have invested their hard earned money herein.


The Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals Denied My Case . . . . Now what can I do?

If you are unfortunate enough that the Immigration Court (Immigration Judge) denied your case and your appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) was also denied, all may not be lost.  In most cases, you will have a right to appeal the case further to the federal courts.  In fact, the federal courts  are generally more of an independent tribunal than the Board of Immigration Appeals.  So, if you were in Immigration Court in New York, a Petition for Review is filed with the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  If you were in Immigration Court in New Jersey, the Petition for Review is filed with the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  However, there is a strict filing deadline of 30 days.  Now, some individuals may decide that they have become tired and will not appeal.  However, unless you plan to leave the country, this will be a decision that you will likely regret.
If your decision is based on financial factors and you feel you cannot afford the legal expenses, I have news for you.  It will likely cost you ten times the amount if you fail to file the appeal and thereafter wish to hire an attorney to “fix” the wrong.  Even worse, the odds of being successful, if you fail to file the appeal within the time limit is diminished significantly.  So, invest in your future.  If your case was denied by the Immigration Court or Judge and the appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals was also denied, exercise your right to file an appeal with the federal court.  If you don’t, you will regret it.  The federal courts are still the place to go when you feel that your case was unfairly denied.

Delaney Hall Detention

How did my family member end up at ICE’s Immigration detention facility (Delaney Hall Detention Facility) located at 451 Doremus Avenue, Newark, NJ?

Some of my firm’s clients are being detained by ICE (Immigration) at their facility known as the Delaney Hall Detention Facility. These not only include individuals that reside in New Jersey, but also residents of New York City and elsewhere. The types of immigration issues vary from individuals that overstayed their authorized period of stay, or entered the U.S. illegally (without inspection), and/or may have failed to leave the U.S. after being ordered removed by an Immigration Judge, as well as many other types. Depending on the type of issue involved, your loved one may or may not be scheduled to appear in front of an Immigration Judge. If this sounds strange to you, you may need to educate yourself about the immigration detention process. If your loved one was previously instructed to appear in Immigration Court and failed to do so, it is likely that your loved one was ordered removed (deported) without him being present in Court (usually referred to as an “in absentia” order). If this is the case, the clock is ticking. When dealing with these types of cases, DHS or ICE (Immigration) usually simply works on getting the person physically removed from the U.S. In many cases, the alien himself may or may not know about the deportation order. So, it is best to act quick and obtain the entire court record to see what, if anything, can be done to try to give your loved one another shot at presenting his case to an Immigration Judge.


Is one of the stars of the Real Housewives of New Jersey Theresa Guidice’s Husband Giuseppe “Joe” Guidice at risk for Immigration Deportation?

Anyone that is a fan of the Bravo hit show Real Housewives of New Jersey has likely heard that the federal government has indicted two of the major stars of the hit show. One the stars, Joe Guidice has been indicted for various charges including bankruptcy fraud and tax fraud. So, why am I writing this blog? . . . Well, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey representing the federal government also announced that Joe Guidice is not a U.S. citizen and that if convicted, he may face deportation to Italy. For many viewers and fans this likely came as shock. For, immigration deportation lawyers like me, this was not surprising. Although Joe Guidice appears to be just like any other U.S. Citizen, in fact he is not, according to the federal government. As such, it is likely he will be treated just like any other person not a U.S. citizen. Although he is a permanent resident (“Green Card” holder), he might be facing deportation if he is convicted of the fraud charges that Immigration law views as a removable/deportable offense.

If he is in fact convicted, the federal government though the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) may decide to issue a Notice to Appear commanding Joe Guidice to appear before the Immigration Court in Newark, New Jersey. What??????? Yes, although he is married to a U.S. Citizen and has many beautiful U.S. citizen daughters and owns a home, this gentleman may be deported out of the country. If he makes the right decision, his criminal defense attorney should immediately hire and retain an immigration lawyer to work with the criminal defense attorney to minimize deportation issues, if possible. Unfortunately, the immigration laws currently in place are written against the interest of the non-U.S. citizen, especially when it comes to certain crimes which Immigration feels are aggravated felonies. In such, cases Immigration may even hold such person in detention and refuse to release such person on bond claiming that he is subject to mandatory detention. Sounds awful, doesn’t it???? We need some serious changes in the Immigration Law regarding criminal convictions. The message here to anyone not a U.S. citizen and has criminal issues is to make a smart decision and hire an immigration lawyer to work hand in hand with the criminal defense lawyer.


Getting an Immigration Detainer as a Result of Arrest in New York City or New Jersey

When an individual that is not a U.S. Citizen is arrested either in New York City or New Jersey for certain criminal accusations, it is not uncommon for Immigration Officials to issue an Immigration Detainer. If this happens, the individual or his friends or family members should immediately spring to action.

In the past, our office has dealt with these detainers in various ways. One way would be to contact Immigration and see if they would lift the detainer under the facts of the individual’s case. Perhaps the criminal charges should not warrant a detainer and discretion could be used by Immigration to decline on Immigration action. Another possibility is that an appropriate agreement could be reached with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to allow the person released on his or her recognizance or low immigration bond for future appearance in Immigration Court after issuance of a Notice to Appear. Less favorable but sometimes inevitable, would be to make an application or motion for reconsideration of the person’s release on bond before an Immigration Judge either in New York City usually to be scheduled at 201 Varick Street, New York, NY or at 970 Broad Street in Newark, New Jersey. Despite what method is available, one thing that is sure is that quick action can make a tremendous difference.

Keep in mind, unlike criminal proceedings in criminal court, individuals in removal or deportation proceedings do not have a right to be represented free of charge. So, make a sound investment in hiring an immigration lawyer with experience in these issues. Otherwise, it may result in some irreparable damage.


Help!!! . . . Why is Immigration (DHS) trying to deport me for a very old criminal case and conviction and sending me a Notice to Appear at 26 Federal Plaza, New York, New York??

Does this sound familiar?

Clients keep asking me why immigration (also known as DHS – Department of Homeland Security or ICE -Immigration Customs Enforcement) is trying now to deport someone for a very old conviction.There really is no one answer to this question. I have several opinions and have spoke to several federal agents about this. The answers are numerous and range from advances in technology which bring to light these old convictions, sharing of information between the various agencies, as well as increase of enforcement against individuals with criminal convictions. There are usually positive and negative outcomes from new laws. As new laws or regulations have come out that seem to favor legalization, laws that have been on the books but not enforced are now being overzealously enforced.

I recently had several cases dealing with individuals who had old drug convictions and were placed into deportation and removal by the issuance of a Notice to Appear which demanded that the person appear at the Immigration Court at 26 Federal Plaza, New York NY. These clients were in panic and couldn’t believe that due to a single criminal conviction many years ago, Immigration would now try to deport them. After reassuring them that we could plead our case in front of an Immigration Judge, they felt a sense of comfort. In fact, in the past few months, I have even been successful in getting Immigration to agree to close the deportation/removal case before we even got to trial.

As I usually state, when it comes to criminal issues, do not attempt to handle the matter on your own. If money is the issues, it will become a bigger issue and more expensive issue down the road, if you don’t have an attorney experienced with criminal issues in Immigration Court.


Filing Form I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence when Separated or Divorced

So, you got your conditional permanent residence (conditional/temporary green card) and now it’s time
to apply for the permanent card.

In the best case scenario, a person who obtained conditional permanent residence still is in a marital
union and in marital bliss. Both, a marital union and marital bliss? . . . . Can that happen even after
years of marriage? Yes, it’s possible. All jokes aside, certainly if you are still with your spouse and
remain married, then all you have to do is document and prove that the marriage is and continues to be
bona fide (meaning you married your spouse for love and not to obtain permanent residence (a green
card). As long as you can do that, your application of Form I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions
of Residence should be approved. Any type of evidence showing the marriage was entered for the
right reasons and showing that a residence is shared is usually considered. In fact, in some cases even
derogatory (negative) evidence can be utilized to show a shared residence. For example, in one case in
New York City where there really weren’t any joint documents, we proved a shared marital residence
by submitted a domestic incident report (a police report) where police were called due to a heated
argument between our client and her spouse. What better evidence to show that the couple lives
together, than through a police report that shows police arrived at the residence after a disturbance call.
The point is sometimes, one has to think outside the box.

What do you do if the person is separated or divorced from the spouse from whom the person obtained
the conditional residence? One thing a person should never do is to do nothing!!!!! What? . . . .
What I mean is do not just decide you will not file the application or petition to lift the conditions.
Immigration law is somewhat flexible when it comes to marriages. Naturally, not all marriages work
out. Sometimes, couples separate and sometimes they divorce. So depending on whether the applicant
is separated or divorced, one can still file the application without the other spouse participating in
the application. For example, you can file by yourself if you were battered or subject to extreme
cruelty. You can also file if you married the person in good faith, but the marriage just didn’t work
out. However, it is important to note that the eligibility for the categories which allow a person to file
without the spouse may depend on whether the couple is divorced. If you fit within the category of
individuals filing without the spouse, we suggest you hire an experienced immigration attorney to guide
you through this somewhat complicated process. But, fear not!!!! There is hope.


Deportation Immigration Court at 26 Federal Plaza, New York City, NY Based on Criminal Arrest/ Conviction

What can a person do if they are summoned to appear through a Notice to Appear at the Immigration

Court in New York City located at 26 Federal Plaza?

The first thing to do is not to panic.

The second thing to do is to make sure to plan to attend and appear at the scheduled hearing that
appears on the Notice to Appear or Court Notice.

The third thing to do is be fully prepared, advised and knowledgeable about your rights, obligations and
the law. Do you understand what I mean? No? . . . If you don’t understand (which unless you are an
immigration lawyer, I don’t expect you to understand) then meet and speak with an immigration lawyer
who does these cases for a living. Let me try to put it in perspective for you. Quite often, I’m asked “Do
I need a lawyer for my Deportation Immigration Court case where I received a Notice to Appear at 26
Federal Plaza, New York City?” I usually respond by asking them another question. I ask them whether
they need to go to a doctor to treat a fractured bone? They likely can find the method of treatment
on the internet. But, would they try to treat the fracture on their own? I doubt it and if they would,
they are likely to do something wrong. The same is true for a deportation hearing in immigration court,
especially when it involved criminal arrests or convictions.

I can tell you from experience that being a green card holder (permanent resident) does not guarantee
that you will be allowed to stay, irrespective of whether they have had the green card for 20 or 30
years, or even longer. In fact, just today I was in Court for a client who has been a green card holder
since 1978. Immigration (Department of Homeland Security) is trying to deport him for a small drug
possession conviction from almost 20 years ago. This is his only conviction!!!!

So . . . be proactive. Go on the offense. Don’t just act defensively. You will be in a much better position
this way.


Criminal Arrest or Conviction and Deportation/Removal in New Jersey Immigration Court

Now that everyone may have heard about the possibility of some immigration legalization (amnesty)
law that the government is trying to pass, many people wonder how it will affect them.

In general, people likely fall into two categories. First, people who may be undocumented (illegally in
the U.S.) are likely to benefit from any immigration reform. Who exactly? It is very early to speculate
what categories of people will be able to get some immigration status as a result of some future law.
The second group of people who often ask me are people with criminal issues. More likely than not,
these people may not benefit directly. In fact, some will argue that any new laws may make it even
tougher on non-U.S. citizens with criminal arrests and/or convictions. As such, people who fall within
these two categories should immediately weigh their options.

All too often, families contact me because their loved one is detained by immigration officials in New
Jersey because of a criminal arrest or conviction and is now facing deportation in an Immigration
Court in Newark , New Jersey. What I tell these people is that one of the most important decisions
they will make is the choice of a lawyer. Each person facing these issues should be represented by an
immigration lawyer who not only has the experience with these types of criminal/immigration issues,
but a lawyer who has the support staff to assist the lawyer and most importantly, a lawyer who truly
cares about his clients and does not just treat the law practice as business.

Just last week, we had several cases, where our office used various strategies for various fact based
matters. In two of those cases (with the third case still pending), we obtained results which put a smile
on everyone’s face in my office.

One case dealt with someone who was a permanent resident and was facing deportation/removal
because of multiple drug arrests and criminal convictions. To make matters worse, his removal from
the U.S. was likely days away when his family hired our office. He had missed his immigration court
date and an immigration judge had ordered him deported. We immediately filed a motion to reopen
the deportation/removal proceedings, which was granted and stopped the government from deporting
him pending the outcome of a trial. We then filed all applications for relief. After testimony, both the
Immigration Judge and even the immigration prosecutor (Immigration trial attorney) agreed to the
relief we were seeking. As a result, he was released and joined his family. He had been in custody for 8
months held under mandatory detention.

In another case, our client had been a permanent resident since the 1970’s and entered the U.S. under
the age of 10. Yes . . . you heard right. His entire family was in the U.S. including his wife and his young
son. He had been previously convicted of sexual abuse of a minor in criminal court as result of pleading
guilty. His prior criminal lawyer had told him to plead guilty and that he would not be deported because
he had been in the U.S. for such a long time. Our client claimed that he was innocent and that his
attorney urged him to plead guilty. This was terrible advice because his conviction was deemed an
aggravated felony, which would almost certainly lead to his removal from the U.S. When he retained
our office, we immediately went to work believing in his innocence and thinking about reuniting him
with his minor son who he hadn’t seen in many months. An option we saw was to try to vacate (get rid

of) his criminal conviction due to the bad advice he had received from his prior criminal attorney. After
this motion was filed, we went back to the Immigration Judge and convinced the Immigration Judge that
after he decision by the Criminal Court Judge (vacating the conviction), the government (Immigration)
could no longer hold him in custody due the conviction being vacated. The immigration prosecutor
strongly objected at first. However, the Immigration Judge agreed with us and the deportation/removal
proceedings were terminated (closed) and the client released. After being in custody for almost 9
months under mandatory detention, he was finally reunited with his family.

In a third case, our client was charged with having been convicted of a drug offense, namely cocaine.
We argued to the Immigration Judge that the government (Immigration) could not prove that the
drug involved cocaine and that proving the type of drug involved was a necessary element of the
deportation/removal case. The Judge adjourned the case in order to see whether the government
would agree to terminate (close) the deportation/removal case due to our strong argument.

As you can see, there isn’t one way to handle a case involving criminal issues. Our office employs
various methods depending on the facts of the case. So, if you have a loved one in custody, employ
every method available to increase the chance of a positive outcome for him or her.


Provisional Waiver

Can I get a Green Card in the U.S. if I’m married to a U.S. Citizen but entered illegally or without Inspection?

A person that enters the country illegally cannot adjust their status (get a green card or apply for permanent residency) in the U.S. based on the current law if the basis is marriage to a U.S. citizen.  (There is a limited exception which I will not discuss in this article.)  Such persons can only get a green card or permanent residency through consular processing.  What this essentially means is that such a person would need to leave the country and get their immigrant visa (green card) at a U.S. consulate outside the country.  However, a huge problem was that such persons would not be able to get a green card without a waiver of the unlawful presence bar.  Essentially anyone who has been in the U.S. unlawfully present for 180 days or more is barred from re-entering for 3 years.  If unlawfully present for 1 year or more, then the bar is 10 years!!!  Such individuals could apply for a waiver of the bar (meaning a pardon or for forgiveness) if they could prove that a qualifying relative such as a U.S. Citizen spouse or parent would suffer an extreme hardship if the waiver is not granted.  The problem was that the person would first have to leave the country and then apply for the waiver.  So, if the waiver were to be denied, the person would be stuck outside the U.S..  In addition, even if the waiver would be granted, it may take many months or even years before the decision,and throughout all that time, the person would be separated from their loved ones here in the U.S.

Immigration just announced a new Provisional Waiver (I-601A Waiver) that will be available March 4, 2013.  So, starting that day, persons who otherwise qualify can apply for the waiver while in the U.S. .  So, anyone that was afraid to leave the country to apply for the waiver (which made perfect sense), can now do so while in the U.S.  Naturally, the person would still have to be able to prove that their qualifying relative would suffer an extreme hardship if the waiver is denied.  However, with the right representation and facts, getting a waiver is certainly possible.  In Brooklyn, New York City for example, we have had many clients who entered  illegally or without inspection and now are married to a U.S. citizen and would like to file for a green card without risking being stuck outside the country for an extended period of time.  So, I’m pleased to inform those people that a new avenue is available.