There are many who feel the work of an immigration attorney consists mainly of filling out forms and organizing documents. While much of our world revolves around paperwork, there are times when there is no choice but to go to the courtroom to defend our clients’ rights and interests.
Whether the U.S Citizenship & Immigration Services has unreasonably denied or delayed an application for naturalization, Immigration & Customs Enforcement is refusing to grant bond, an immigration judge is evaluating whether to deport a parent of U.S. citizens, or taking a deportation case to the federal court of appeals, litigation is often the only option available.
When it becomes necessary, litigation includes strict deadlines, complicated evidentiary requirements and sophisticated legal arguments requiring skill, experience and creativity. The consequences can be lifelong in their impact regardless of the type of case.
For those who find themselves in deportation proceedings, there are often a number of defenses that can be employed, including cancellation of removal; defensive asylum; adjustment of status; withholding of removal or benefits under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”); continuances and administrative closure to allow for the processing of certain benefits applications such as Special Immigration Juvenile Status (“SIJS”), Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) benefits, DACA, U visas and consular processing; and voluntary departure. When there is already had an order of removal on file, a motion to reopen may be necessary should new relief become available or new facts come to light.
When the immigration courts fail to grant relief, there are a number of options to pursue an appeal, beginning with appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”). When the BIA merely rubber stamps the decision of the immigration court, there are often options to appeal a second time by filing a petition for review with one of the circuit courts of appeals. Even when unsuccessful, appeals can ensure all due diligence has been followed in evaluating the case and can add years to the time in which an individual is able to remain in the United States.
In other circumstances, the immigration agencies may deny or otherwise delay legitimate applications for immigration benefits. Suing the immigration agencies in federal court, including petitions for mandamus, citizenship & naturalization lawsuits, actions based on the Administrative Procedures Act and writs of habeas corpus may be the only options to achieve the most favorable results.
While not ideal, litigation can yield positive results and, depending on the circumstances, may be the only realistic option.