In the past few months, many young men and women have contacted my office to tell me that they are from Uzbekistan or Tajikistan and have been living in New York City since they left their home countries. They tell me they are now curious about whether they could file for asylum while in New York City because they are
afraid to go back to Uzbekistan or Tajikistan. Many of these young men and women entered the U.S. through a J1 visa (Work and Travel). Due to the instability of their countries and persecution they would face if they returned to their home country, these individuals have inquired about whether they would now be eligible to file for asylum.
After speaking with them at length about why they would be afraid to go back to their country, whether it be Uzbekistan or Tajikistan, they educated me about how their lives and beliefs have been shaped while in the United States. Never before having had any freedom to express their beliefs or opinions, or for that matter
never having been exposed to an environment where they would be able to critique the ruling government, they now feel that if they were to go back to Uzbekistan or Tajikistan, they could not simply remain silent or complacent with the present political structure and severe restriction of fundamental human rights that is ever-present in those countries.
When I initially began hearing about these experiences, I began to wonder about these issues and how it could be part of an asylum case. After giving it some additional thought and discussing these issues with other colleagues, I have become convinced that these young minds have surely been shaped by their experiences in the United States. As a result of their current beliefs and activities, they now seem to have a legitimate fear of persecution based on their beliefs.
Surely there are many issues to deal with when it comes to filing for asylum, especially if the application is not filed within one year of entering the Unite States. However, as with everything else in life, there are always exceptions to the general rule. As an attorney, we are trained to take nothing at face value. Our duty is to our client and advocating the client’s position and claim is our number one priority. Life is never that simple, so it is rare that a client ever walks into our office and has a slam dunk case. So, these young men and women do have a valid claim.
It is experiences like these which remind me of how fortunate we are in the United States where we can openly criticize our government without fear of reprisals.
If your marriage based petition was denied, then you have your work cut out for you.
The first thing you should do (if you haven’t done it already) is get yourself an experienced immigration lawyer and have the lawyer fight on your behalf. You will need an experienced immigration lawyer, not just any lawyer. I mean experienced! How do you know whether a lawyer is experienced? Use your common sense. Ask the lawyer how long the lawyer has been practicing immigration law. The truth is the only way to gain experience is through time. It’s like anything else. Skill and experience only develops through time. However, keep in mind that the amount of years a lawyer has been practicing law does not always mean that the more the lawyer has been practicing law, the more experienced the lawyer is. The length of time is just one factor. Another element is a winning track record. Also, look into whether the lawyer is experienced enough that the lawyer actually lectures and teaches other lawyers about the practice of law. There are so many factors you need to take into account. However, I have learned that the single most important element in making sure you have a great lawyer on your side is how the lawyer treats the client. If you feel that the lawyer doesn’t really care about your case, mistreats you or speaks down to you, then you may want to speak with another lawyer.
I am personally involved with each of my clients’ cases. I truly care. I know how important immigration issues are for my clients. There are lives at stake. I have been practicing law for over 11 years and have represented thousands of clients. Yes, thousands. So, it is only natural that you gain plenty of experience with the passage of time and representation of so many clients. The truth is that I continue to learn every single day. I also lecture and teach other lawyers in the practice of immigration law. However, the single most important lesson is that people deserve to be treated with kindness and caring. I ask myself, how would I want to be treated? That is how I treat my clients.
Okay, let’s get back to the topic at hand. After you have hired an experienced lawyer, what should you expect? Well, it is very likely that if your I-130 (marriage based petition) has been denied, you will be placed in deportation or commonly known as removal proceedings or Immigration Court. This may be a stressful time in your life, but do not panic. Immigration makes mistakes all the time. You know that they made a mistake with your case by denying it. You just need someone to get Immigration to see that they made a mistake. I’ll give you an example. Just recently, clients came to my office to tell me that their marriage based case was denied and that Immigration does not believe that their marriage is real. Guess what? They have two children together and Immigration still denied their case because during the interview the couple was unable to provide similar answers to questions. This sounds so stupid, but it is reality. Many Immigration decisions do not make sense. However, when these things happen, you need a lawyer to show Immigration how dumb their decision is. This is the job of your lawyer.
Your lawyer should now take control and let Immigration know that it made the wrong decision.
There are many ways for an individual to end up in Immigration Court. This blog will explore just a few common ways in which an “alien” can find oneself in Immigration Court and practical information about the Immigration Court in New York City.
1. Immigration Court referral from Asylum Application: One way in which you may be sent to the Immigration Court is if you filed for asylum. If the asylum office does not approve your asylum application and you are out of status, typically the asylum office will provide you with a “Notice to Appear” requiring you to appear in Immigration Court. You may then continue with your asylum application with an Immigration Judge.
2. Green Card (“Adjustment of Status”) application is denied: Another way that you may be sent to the Immigration Court is if an application for a green card or adjustment of status (as it is also called) is denied. This is very common with a marriage case in which Immigration (“DHS”) denies the green card application based on marriage. When Immigration (“DHS”) denies these types of cases, they commonly serve a “Notice to Appear” commanding you to appear in Immigration Court.
3. Arrest or Detention by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (“ICE”): A third way could be through an arrest or detention by Immigration (I.C.E.). In many cases, Immigration may arrest or detain an individual because he or she may be out of status. In these types of cases, the individual is processed by Immigration and may either be released without bond, released by posting bond with Immigration or sent to the Immigration Court for a bond re-determination. Then, the cases will usually end up with the Immigration Court through the service of a “Notice to Appear”.
4. Where is the Immigration Court in New York City?: The Immigration Court in New York City is located at 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10278, which is in downtown Manhattan. The Immigration Court is situated on the 12th Floor, Room 1237. However, Courtrooms are located both on the 12th Floor and the 14th Floor.
5. How do I know which Courtroom or Judge my Case is assigned to?: On the 12th Floor, there is a master list of all names and cases scheduled for that day. Look up your name and you will see who the assigned Immigration Judge is. Once you know who the Judge is, you will be able to tell which courtroom you need to go to. If you don’t see your name, ask the clerk at the window located in Room 1237.
6. Do I need a lawyer for Immigration Court in Federal Plaza, New York City?: No and Yes. What do I mean? You are not required to have a lawyer, but in my professional opinion, you will unlikely be able to represent yourself effectively without an experienced Immigration Lawyer who appears regularly in Immigration Court in Federal Plaza. Immigration law is very complicated and confusing and you should be represented by someone who not only is experienced in immigration law, but also by someone who knows the local procedure there.
Individuals in the United States who are looking to invest into a business may apply for an Investor Visa, which is also known as an E2 Visa. Some common questions that are asked are the following:
- What type of business does it have to be?
Answer: Immigration laws do not require a specific type of business. So, the type of business is entirely up to the individual. It can be a pizzeria, restaurant, barbershop,grocery, food distributorship, or in the field of transportation.
- How much do I need to invest?
Answer: Again, Immigration laws do not require a specific amount of monetary investment. All that is required is that the investment is “substantial”. What does “substantial” mean? There is no clear definition. As long as the investment is enough to support the successful operation of the business, it should qualify. I have had cases where a $20,000 investment was sufficient because we were able to prove that this was the initial investment and that the investor had the experience and skills to grow the business into something much larger.
- Do I have to invest all the money before I file for the Visa?
Answer: This is a great question. The simple answer is no. However, Immigration will want to see that your funds are available and ready for investment, and that all issues pertaining to the investment have been resolved and are ready to go forward but for you getting the visa. So, what this essentially means is that you have all the money in the bank account and that all the contracts related to starting the business have been fully negotiated. The contracts do not need to have been signed. All that is required is that you prove to Immigration that everything is ready to go and that once you get the visa, the contracts and investment will be finalized.
- What about my family members?
Answer: If your family members are in the United States with you, they can file with you also and will also receive an E2 Visa. Your spouse will be eligible for work authorization and can work anywhere the spouse wishes to work. If your family members are outside the United States, they should qualify to enter the United States with an E2 Visa.
Many clients often ask me what can I do when I am being faced with deportation? What will happen? Can I stay in the U.S.? Don’t I have rights? Do I have to be represented by a deportation immigration lawyer? These are very common concerns.
Let me first begin by saying you have a right to represent yourself. However, you would be a fool to represent yourself. In fact, I will take it another step and warn you against hiring a lawyer who does not have vast experience in this area of law. Immigration is a very complicated and ever changing area of law. You should always be represented by an experienced Immigration Deportation Lawyer. I formed Gursoy Law Firm with offices in Brooklyn, New York and Newark, New Jersey with one purpose in mind.
That purpose was to help people who could not help themselves. So, take advantage of all rights you have in immigration court. To do that, you must retain an experienced Immigration Deportation Lawyer. Let the Gursoy Law Firm do your talking and represent you and help you stay in the U.S. legally.