After the passage of the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) in 1996, deportations of foreigners have increased exponentially. Since then deportation hearings are now referred to as “removal proceedings.” Because of the harsh provisions of the 1996 laws, even relatively small misdemeanors can place an individual in removal proceedings. Violations of one’s status in the U.S., such as staying beyond the period authorized or failing to abide by the conditions of one’s status, may also result in being placed in removal proceedings.
If you or a family member have been placed in removal proceedings, we can assist in providing individualized advice regarding the recommended legal strategy. Such strategies may include preparing and presenting applications for asylum, withholding of removal, protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), cancellation of removal, adjustment of status, or requests for voluntary departure, deferred action, and prosecutorial discretion. There may be other forms of relief that apply to particular cases. We can also assist in preparing an appropriate legal brief to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Federal Litigation for Government Delays
In some instances, individuals may feel compelled to seek judicial remedies in face of excessive delays with their immigration case. These instances usually involve cases where U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services delays the adjudication of I-485 (Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), N-400 (Naturalization Applications), or I-589 (Applications for Asylum and Withholding of Removal) while criminal and national security background checks are conducted. We can assist with federal litigation of these matters in one of two ways:
Where appropriate, we can assist with the preparation and filing of a writ of mandamus in federal court compelling the government to take action on the long-standing application. A mandamus action may be relatively simple and quick remedy in situations where the government has failed to act when it has a duty to do so. It may be possible to compel the government to adjudicate naturalization applications, visa petitions and applications for adjustment of status. In some cases, however, it is important to note that the government is likely to oppose the individual’s claim and some courts may be reluctant to compel agency action. Depending on the facts of the case, we can advise regarding the most appropriate strategy.
Naturalization Delay Filing
In the case of delayed citizenship applications, immigration law provides for judicial review of a stalled naturalization petition if the application is pending for more than 120 days after the date on which the examination is conducted. In this regard, our firm can assist with the preparation and filing of a lawsuit under 8 U.S.C. Section 1447(b) for cases that meet this criteria.
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