ICE ARRESTS, IMMIGRATION HOLDS (DETAINERS), AND IMMIGRATION BONDS
Over the past 18 months, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been stepping-up arrest and detention levels of immigrants in the US to unprecedented levels. Many of these arrests have come about as a result of well-publicized “worksite raids,” where ICE has been targeting manufacturing, construction and food service industries for large-scale assaults designed to round up multiple “undocumented aliens” at one time and swiftly process the unfortunate detainees for removal proceedings.
While the wisdom of such broad-sweeping arrests is suspect at best, ICE’s official policy for these raids appears to be aimed at deterring other similarly situated employers from continuing to hire and employ workers lacking proper work authorization. The policy, however, has also emboldened ICE officers to increase the number of investigations and arrests of individual “TNT” or nonimmigrant visa overstays in an apparent attempt to deter individuals from overstaying their visas in the US. Individuals who have been contacted or questioned by ICE in such matters must understand their rights in order to avoid making matters worse for themselves if they are charged in removal proceedings.
First of all, people must understand that they should not panic merely because a friend, coworker, or neighbor has been arrested by ICE. Although panic is a normal human response to frightening stimuli, such as a knock on the door or telephone call from an ICE Investigator, panic causes people to make errors in judgment, such as giving an officer false information or unnecessarily admitting their own immigration violation when the officer is seeking information regarding someone else. Lesson number one: Do not panic. Overstaying one’s visa is not a crime.
Removal proceedings are civil proceedings, where people can be charged with immigration violations. The worst possible penalty for these violations is being sent home, assuming the individual is not eligible for relief from removal and all appeals have been exhausted. An Immigration Judge cannot sentence a “TNT” to prison!
Even though removal proceedings are not deemed “criminal” proceedings, ICE Officers must respect the rights of an individual they are investigating or arresting. If confronted by an ICE Officer, an individual has a right to be told what information the officer seeks. ICE Officers have broad discretion to hold someone found to be in violation of law and set an initial bond, so one must exercise care in providing information and responding to an initial telephone call or in-person visit. ICE Officers are more likely to hold a person without bond if they believe the person has been deceitful or evasive in the face of simple questioning.
ICE Officers must also respect an individual’s rights to privacy and counsel. ICE cannot enter a person’s home without a specific judicial warrant, authorizing their entry for a specific purpose, such as a search for a particular person or item. Not panicking and informing the officer that one has retained or desires to retain an attorney is the most important step a person can take under these circumstances. If ICE decides to take a person into custody, they must inform the person’s relatives as soon as possible as well, so that they may make arrangements for visitation and potentially hiring counsel before any court dates.
Once ICE decides to process an individual for removal proceedings, they must issue a Form I-862, Notice to Appear (NTA) in removal proceedings. The Notice will generally list the allegations on which any charge that the individual is subject to removal is based, list a date for an initial hearing and inform the person of their rights to competent translation, attorney representation and fundamental fairness in the proceedings. Unfortunately, many people receive NTA’s and still have no idea what charges are laid against them and what rights they have to fight back. As a first step, and the sooner the better, people need to make sure they understand their rights, including right to counsel, and assert those tights confidently with the protection of the United States Constitution in their corner.
Some of the temporary (nonimmigrant) visa categories that your business may need and with which we have the knowledge and expertise to assist you include:
- B-1 Business Visitor Visas
- E-1/E-2 Treaty Visas (for Investors and Traders)
- E-3 Professional Visas for Australians
- F-1 (Optional or Curricular Practical Training or On-/Off-Campus Employment) for Foreign Students
- H-1B Professional Visas
- H-2A Visas for Temporary Agricultural Workers
- H-2B Visas for Temporary Nonagricultural Workers
- H-3 Trainee Visas
- J-1 Exchange Visitor Visas
- L-1 Visas for Managers/Executives/Specialized Knowledge Workers
- O-1 Visas for Aliens of Extraordinary Ability
- O-1/O-2 Visas for Aliens with Extraordinary Achievement in Television or Motion Pictures and their key production team members
- P-1 Visas for Athletes and Entertainers
- Q Visas for international cultural exchange
- R Visas for religious workers
- TN Visas for Professional Workers from Canada and Mexico
Immigrant Visas -- ”Green Cards” -- Permanent Residence
Immigrant visas, commonly known as “green cards”, give a foreign national the right to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. Obtaining permanent residence can be a long and difficult process. Mistakes early in the process can have a devastating impact on results years later. We have successfully helped our clients obtain permanent residence through all of the following categories:
- Aliens of Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Arts, Business, Education or Athletics (EB-1)
- Outstanding Researchers (EB-1)
- Multinational Executives and Managers (EB-1)
- Aliens with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability (EB-2)
- National Interest Waivers (EB-2)
- Schedule A for Nurses and Physical Therapists (EB-2)
- Professionals and Skilled Workers (including Labor Certifications and PERM) (EB-3)
We are also pleased to have worked with many foreign investors seeking to secure permanent residence through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor category. We can provide you with the answers you need to pursue permanent residence through your own qualifying investment or provide you with the information you need to navigate the difficult process of finding and selecting a qualifying investment under the EB-5 Pilot Program.
Removal & Deportation Defense
Deportation or “removal” from the United States can happen to visitors, persons who illegally enter, or lawful permanent residents who have lived in the United States for many years. Since the split of the Immigration and Naturalization Service into the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE), there have been drastic changes in the way cases are brought about. The Government has put both of these agencies under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS has implemented new ways to catch persons who are alleged to have violated immigration laws. The consequences of an allegation can be severe. The DHS does not always advise persons of their rights. Also, the people who have removal or exclusion cases are often already “lawful permanent residents.” Some of the people have lived in the United States legally for many years. It is not uncommon that lawful permanent residents (LPRs) do not realize that they can be removed from the United States for relatively minor criminal offenses that occurred in the past or that they can be excluded from the United States when attempting to re-enter after a vacation or tenure as a student.
Immigration bonds can be difficult to obtain. Understanding eligibility for bond is more complex than the average lawyer understands. The USICE will jail people without setting a bond. A bond hearing often has to be requested so that an individual can be released. In the rare case that a bond has already been set, it must often be lowered so that a family can afford to pay the bond. Because immigration bonds can cost a lot of money and the bail, many will find that bondsmen charge exorbitant and it is sometimes best to attempt to have a judge review the bond. Unlike the criminal system, bond hearings have no rights to a speedy trial or to a hearing before a legal authority. The sooner a bond is requested, the sooner a hearing can be scheduled and the individual released. Most of the time there is a two or three week delay before a hearing, making it essential to request a formal hearing as soon as possible to minimize disruption of normal life. Best results are rendered only with an experienced attorney guiding you through the process.
Sometimes, the process can be a very emotional ordeal to the family members as well as the deportee. We respond quickly and effectively and assist in every way possible in preventing the deportation. Our firm is capable of assisting clients in defending the charge that is causing the deportation. In Criminal Courts we seek to remove the conviction that serves as the basis for deportation through trial and dismissal tactics, adjusting the length of sentencing, appealing through the criminal appellate courts and preventing sentencing from causing severe deportation problems by requesting leniency on the rulings.
Federal Court action is sometimes necessary in order to obtain your rights from the INS and other U.S. agencies. If these agencies will not assist with correcting Visa mistakes, releasing aliens from custody, adjudicating a Visa or correcting civil rights violations, the government can be sued through the Federal Courts. Although this is an extreme measure, it may be necessary in some situations. In many cases, our firm has won what other lawyers deem “un-winnable cases.” We take on even the most severe of Deportation cases because we believe in justice and the system at large. An attorney is not only advisable but will prove to be the only real chance of a favorable decision and families reuniting.
Are you or someone you care about in removal proceedings, needing representation in one of the following defenses? Then call us today at (800) 948-2597 to schedule a consultation!
- Bond, to be released from DHS/ICE custody
- Voluntary Departure
- Change of Venue
- Adjustment of Status
- Cancellation of Removal
- Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility or Removability
- Asylum and/or Withholding of Removal
- Petition to Remove Conditions (I-751)
- Former section 212(c)
- Motion to Reopen
- Appeal to Board of Immigration Appeals
- Petition for Review to United States Court of Appeals