Skilled Guidance And Assistance In A Complex Area Of The Law
United States immigration laws can be difficult and time-consuming to navigate alone. Whether you seek to obtain or change your immigration status or find yourself in deportation proceedings, the bilingual immigration practice group at Hicks & Funfsinn, PLLC, led by attorney Shannon Church, can help you assess your immigration options and determine the most efficient pathway forward.
Assistance For Those Seeking Lawful Immigration Status In The U.S.
Depending on your unique situation, several options may exist for securing temporary or permanent lawful immigration status in the United States. Our firm has extensive experience in the successful preparation and filing of the following most common pathways to lawful status:
- Marriage and family-based immigration: Permanent residents and citizens of the United States may petition for the lawful immigration status of certain family members. Family and marriage-based cases require a unique understanding of the immigration policies and quotas that inhibit or delay family reunification. At Hicks & Funfsinn, PLLC, we have helped countless clients successfully file family based petitions, fiancé visas, marriage-based adjustment of status and the necessary waivers to overcome inadmissibility issues which may arise during the application process.
We personally guide families through each step of the process and have qualified staff to assist with any complication that may arise, including issues with meeting the financial obligations of family sponsorship, challenges to the legitimacy of a marriage, and the special treatment of conditional residents, or those who have been married for less than two years.
- Business Immigration: U.S. law provides a wide range of business immigration visas, including but not limited to:
- H-1/H-2 Employment-Based visas
- E-1/E-2 Treaty Trader/Investor visas
- L-1 Intracompany Transferee visas
- H-3 Nonimmigrant Trainee or Special Education Exchange Visitor visas
- J-1 Exchange Visitor visas
- TN visas under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
- B-1 Business Visitor visas
- R-Religious Worker visas
- I visas for Journalists and Members of the Media
- O visas + P visas for Persons with Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics
The attorneys at Hicks & Funfsinn, PLLC, have successfully obtained all types of U.S. business visas for qualified applicants.
- Employment-Based Residency: Immigration laws and regulations governing employment-based green cards are complex and difficult to navigate without experience and knowledge on the subject.
An individual may be considered for an employment-based green card if the applicant can demonstrate that U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified and available for the offered position do not exist and that the job offer will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
We have assisted numerous clients in obtaining permanent resident status in the categories of multinational executives and managers, outstanding professors and researchers, persons of extraordinary ability in their field, advanced degree holders, and persons of exceptional ability in the arts, sciences or business, including those eligible for national interest waivers and those requiring labor certification. The attorneys at Hicks & Funfsinn, PLLC, can assist you in the employment-based green card process if you believe you qualify.
- Consular Practice: Our firm offers extensive guidance in completing applications and filings at U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide, including temporary (nonimmigrant) and permanent (immigrant) visas. We also advise clients abroad on resolving complicated visa issues, overcoming prior visa rejections and ineligibilities, as well as securing waivers. We have the capacity to handle any case involving consular processing anywhere in the world.
- Asylum: Under U.S. law, asylum may be granted to an individual who can establish a well-founded fear of persecution if they were made to return to their home country. Persecution must be on account of the individual’s political opinion, race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group. At Hicks & Funfsinn, PLLC, we have helped clients from a variety of countries to successfully apply for asylum and secure a safe haven in the United States.
- Visas for victims of certain crimes (“U visas”): Victims of certain crimes perpetrated in the United States may qualify for a victim visa, or “U visa.” The main requirement for a U visa is that the applicant assisted U.S. law enforcement during the investigation and prosecution of the qualifying crime. If approved, a U visa is generally valid for a period of four years, after which the recipient may qualify for lawful permanent residence.
- Naturalization: Becoming a U.S. citizen is a revered achievement. Lawful permanent residents who are at least 18 years old and who have held legal permanent residence status for at least five years (three years for those married to U.S. citizens) may be eligible for naturalization.
Our staff has guided numerous clients through naturalization, from establishing initial eligibility through the interview to the oath ceremony. We also have significant expertise in establishing the requisite “good moral character”, preserving naturalization eligibility for individuals who have spent extended amounts of time abroad, and preserving eligibility for individuals temporarily working outside of the U.S.
Each of the above-listed options for achieving lawful immigration status is highly dependent on your unique circumstances. The law office of Hicks & Funfsinn, PLLC, can provide individualized guidance on the most optimal path for you.
Legal Defense For Those Facing Removal Or Deportation Proceedings:
Facing the possibility of deportation from the United States is terrifying. For some, deportation means forced relocation to a country where they have little personal connection to; for others, it means returning to a dangerous or volatile situation in their home country.
Hiring knowledgable, experienced legal counsel is critical for those facing deportation. The attorneys at Hicks & Funfsinn, PLLC, provide competent legal representation for individuals detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and representation before the immigration court, Board of Immigration Appeals, federal district court or circuit court of appeals for individuals in removal proceedings.
- Immigration detention: The process of locating an individual in immigration detention can be extremely difficult and confusing. Our attorneys offer assistance in locating family members and loved ones in ICE detention facilities across the nation, and navigating the complex proceedings surrounding the requesting and receiving of an immigration bond.
- Removal proceedings: There are various types of removal proceedings where an individual may be deported from the United States, including administrative removal, judicial removal, and expedited removal.
The most common form of removal proceeding takes place before the immigration judge. These cases are initiated by a “Notice to Appear,” a charging document issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and filed with the immigration court.
If an individual can demonstrate his or her eligibility for a form of relief from removal to the immigration court, removal proceedings may be stayed, terminated, or canceled. Common forms of relief from removal include:
- Adjustment of status: Adjustment is a means of changing from temporary to permanent lawful immigration status in the United States. With limited exceptions, the individual must have entered the U.S. legally to qualify for adjustment.
- Asylum: Asylum is a form of protection for people who have fled persecution or fear future persecution in their home country. If successful, a grant of asylum affords legal status in the U.S., work authorization, and eventually the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residence.
- Withholding of removal: Although similar to asylum in many ways, withholding is more difficult to obtain, primarily because an applicant must prove that it is “more likely than not” that he or she would be persecuted in their home country upon return. Withholding provides fewer benefits than asylum. Recipients are generally ineligible to apply for permanent residence or travel outside of the United States. However, a recipient of withholding may stay in the U.S. and obtain renewable work authorization.
- Protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT): Protection under CAT is available only if it is “more likely than not” that the government of an applicant’s home country — or some person or group the government cannot control—will torture the applicant upon his or her return. As with withholding of removal, recipients of protection under CAT do not qualify for permanent residence and may not travel internationally; however, CAT recipients generally receive permission to remain and work in the United States.
- Cancellation of removal for nonpermanent residents: Cancellation may be a pathway to achieving permanent residence if the applicant can prove 10 years’ physical presence in the U.S. (the time calculated must be prior to the issuance of the applicant’s Notice to Appear, or “NTA”), and that being removed would cause “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, parent, and/or child.
- Cancellation under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): Similar to cancellation of removal for nonpermanent residents, an applicant for VAWA cancellation must show that he or she has been “battered or subjected to extreme cruelty” by a “qualifying relative” and meets other requirements, including three years of physical presence in the U.S. and good moral character.
- Deferred action/prosecutorial discretion: Both forms of discretionary relief, grants of deferred action and/or prosecutorial discretion mean that the U.S. government will place an individual’s case on hold and will not deport him or her for the duration of the grant. Requests for deferred action and prosecutorial discretion are considered and adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.
- Voluntary Departure: If no other forms of relief or defense from removal are available, voluntary departure offers an individual the opportunity to depart the United States before a court-mandated deadline without incurring a final order of removal on his or her immigration record. The absence of a final order of removal may be beneficial for those applicants who intend to seek immigration status and return to the United States in the future.
Our firm is proud of our continued success in the practice area of removal defense. Our main priority is to protect our clients’ best interests by providing experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive representation in removal or deportation proceedings while making sure that no client of ours is unjustly deported or removed from the United States.
Speak With An Experienced Immigration Attorney
Immigration matters are extremely complex. Discussing your situation with our lawyers can provide clarity and knowledge in an intimidating, uncertain time. To schedule a free consultation with one of our highly skilled immigration attorneys, call us now at 859.777.7000 or email us through our online form. Hablamos español.