Welcome to The Balaguera Law Firm,  P.A. 

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Immigration

The United States has long been, and still is, the land of opportunity.  Most importantly, this is a land of immigrants.  Without immigration many of the greatest minds, or achievements in this country would not exist. Without immigration the two attorneys at this Law Firm would not exist.  In the old days, people were able to get onto a boat, have their names put onto a list at Ellis Island and enter the United States.  Those people were able to work, start families and create a new life here in the United States.  A life free from persecution.  Oddly enough, the process could not have become more complicated, complete with giant books full of statutes (I.N.A.) and regulations (C.F.R.) that refer to foreign people as “Aliens.”   

 

    Today, people who immigrate to the U.S.A. in need to have some type of “status” that allows their presence.  Some can stay on a temporary basis as visitors, temporary workers or on a long term basis as asylees, refugees or finally, as immigrants.  Legally the term “Immigrant” refers to a foreign national who has received Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status from the Federal Government.  This status is signified by an Immigrant Visa or “green card” inside of the passport.   No matter what you situation is, we strongly encourage individuals seeking legal status, or adjustment of status, to do so through an attorney.  By “attorney” we mean a licensed member of a State Bar Association and NOT a notary.  The worst possible scenario would to be denied and then placed into deportation proceedings because of an application gone wrong.   Keep in mind, people who apply for immigration benefits for which they are not eligible are often only letting the authorities know where they live. 

    Family Based Immigration

    It is possible to obtain LPR (“green card”) status through a family member who is already a U.S. Citizen or LPR.   Green cards are immediately available for immediate family members of U.S. Citizens.   There is a waiting period for relatives who fall into other categories. Please schedule a consultation for more specific information about your case.      

    Employment and Work Visas

    Visas are available for people who wish to come to the United States for work or business.  Many of the visas available are temporary, usually for a period of one to three years, which can usually be renewed.  Under some circumstances, LPR status is available for certain workers and investors (EB-5).

    Citizenship

    Becoming an American is one of the most rewarding accomplishments for many who come from across the world.  In order to file an application, you must have the following: “green card” (LPR status) for five years (or three years if LPR status was obtained through marriage or VAWA), have “good moral character” and be physically present in the U.S. for a specified number of days.  We are available to determine whether it is a good time to file an application for citizenship.

    Illegal Entry

    Unfortunately, due to national security concerns, the law tends to “punish” those who initially entered the United States illegally.  This most commonly happens when an individual walks over the Mexican border.  Although, less immigration benefits are generally available to people who entered illegally, there may be a basis to obtain legal status.  There are new waiver programs and other forms of relief available to people who entered illegally.  Please consult one of our attorneys personally to determine which immigration benefits you qualify for.

    DREAM Act

    We hope for the day when the DREAM Act is passed and we can write about it in this field.  For now, there are requests for prosecutorial discretion for people who are in deportation proceedings.  For individuals who have been placed into deportation proceedings, it is now possible to request discretion from DHS/ICE based on family, education, accomplishments, talents and non-criminal history.  DREAMers should be careful not to claim U.S. Citizenship on their school or financial aid applications.

    Amnesty

    There is currently no amnesty.  The deadline for the most recent amnesty was back in 2001 under 245(i).  Those whose family members had pending applications may still be eligible. 

    Deportation

    We provide services to individuals who are in Removal Proceedings as the result of being issued a Notice to Appear before an Immigration Judge.  Possible forms of relief from deportation include: asylum, withholding of removal, CAT (convention against torture), Cancellation of Removal, Executive Discretion, and Motions to Reopen.