Recently a potential client entered our office distraught. She had just received notice that her completely lawful marriage had raised a number of red flags and that immigration had called her back for a 2nd interview or what is called a Stokes Interview.
A Stokes interview occurs where immigration suspects the marriage is not a good faith marriage and that it was just arranged for immigration purposes. The Stokes interview takes each party into separate rooms and asks a series of questions to determine if they are lying or telling the truth. At the end the parties are brought together to explain and discrepancies.
After briefly discussing her case with her we quickly realized that she had a bona fide marriage and that her main issue was she had tried to save a few dollars by not having an attorney prepare her application for her. She simply wanted to save some money so she and her husband decided to try to do it themselves. Now she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown thinking her application would certainly be denied at the Stokes interview and that she would separated from her family and deported.
We assured her we could help her and at this point she realized it was well worth the money, as it was obvious to her she should have hired us from the beginning. After asking her a few questions we determined the interviewer had been highly inappropriate with her. He had attempted to intimidate her and even asked her questions about how her husband could have “loved her.”
by Amelia Wong, Legal Intern
Who can be deported?
Anyone who is not a United States citizen can be deported. This means that Green Card holders and foreign spouses of United States citizens could be deported, as well as any other non-citizen.
Why are people deported?
People who are not United States citizens can be deported for various reasons. Individuals may violate immigration laws by overstaying a visa, entering illegally, having false papers, joining in a fake marriage, or any number of other reasons. In certain cases, an individual could be deported for being an inadmissible alien by having serious physical or mental problems, being a Nazi or terrorist, or having past criminal convictions.
Individuals may also be deported for committing serious crimes or immoral behavior, which may include domestic violence, tax evasion, drug use, or felonies.
Lastly, an individual can be deported by simply having a previous deportation order that was not carried out.
How is deportation handled?
Because authorities may not notice when individuals are not citizens and are not legally allowed to be in the United States the deportation process is not automatic.
Although the Immigration and Naturalization Service handled deportation until 2002, the Department of Homeland Security now handles deportations.
At removal hearings, the department has to prove that the individual is in the United States unlawfully.
The deportation process begins when an individual receives a written notice, which notifies him or her of deportation. This written notice is better known as notice to appear and/or a notice of hearing. The notice also tells the individual that a removal hearing will follow.
The removal hearing is a court procedure where an individual can tell the judge why he or she should be able to stay. If the hearing is skipped, the judge decides whether the individual is allowed to stay or not. If the judge decides to deport the individual in his or her absence, it will take ten years for the individual to be able to fight his or her case through the court system.
During this time, some people are taken into immigration detention whereas others may be allowed to stay at home until the hearing.
Can a person fight against deportation?
An individual may choose to fight deportation at the removal hearing. This can be done in many ways. One may agree, for example, that he or she is in the United States illegally but claim that he or she should be allowed to stay for various reasons. These reasons could be that the government made a mistake and the individual does not actually qualify for deportation, the individual has lived in the country for many years and is of good “moral character”, or the individual has at least one family member who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States and who would feel the individual’s removal to be a unnecessary hardship.
Another way to fight deportation would be for the individual to argue that they have been in the United States for less than a year, and should be allowed asylum from persecution in his or her home country due to race, religion, nationality, political beliefs, or social group.
Lastly, an individual may choose to prove that he or she is a lawful permanent resident who has committed a crime, but the crime was not that serious and deportation would be more harmful than staying in the United States.
What happens if the judge decides on deportation?
If the judge does decide to deport an individual, he or she can appeal it; there is a special process for appealing in immigration court.
After the removal hearing, the individual must appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals. This board is a special administrative court that only hears appeals of immigration matters.
During the time of appeal, the individual may be held in custody by immigration authorities or may be released from custody depending on whether or not the court finds him or her to be a risk to flee.
What happens if the first appeal fails?
If the Board of Immigration Appeals rules against the individual, he or she may choose to appeal its decision to the federal appeals court in his or her area. The individual can also choose to appeal to the appeals court, which will go to the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court takes very few immigration cases and will focus only on those that may improve United States law.
Does an Immigration lawyer help?
Appeals have the risk of being very expensive and could force the individual to be held in detention for a prolonged period of time. Having the help of an immigration attorney is recommended in appealing an immigration case in order to assure the quickest, best outcome possible for the individual and his or her family.
Many people choose to receive help from an immigration lawyer, but unlike the criminal court, it is not an individual’s right to have a lawyer in immigration court. Although there are many organizations and groups who will help families in their time of need, the government will not provide a family with a free immigration lawyer.
Do you want more information?
For more information or to schedule a free consultation please contact Misiti Global, PLLC by Nicklaus Misiti at (212) 537-4407 or by filling out the convenient form on our website http://www.misitiglobal.com.
I-9 audits have replaced the immigration “raids” of years past as the modern day method to curtail the hiring of illegal and undocumented workers. Typically raids went after the worker and placed them in deportation proceedings, however, an I-9 audit targets the employer and can result in heavy fines and possible criminal penalties.
The frequency of I-9 audits have and will continue to increase. ICE has already issued more than $2.5 million in fines to employers across the nation this year for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants, and nearly 48 employers have been arrested on criminal charges. ICE issued nearly $7 million in fines and arrested 196 employers in 2010. ICE feels punishing the employer is the most effective deterrent to illegal immigration and has plans to continue and expand I-9 audits for at least the next few years.
Immigration has become a hotly contested issue with strong feeling on each side. Unfortunately, we have allowed our emotions to get the best of us, at the expense of an honest debate. No where is this more clear than with the recent coining of the phrase anchor babies. The term anchor baby refers to a mother who takes advantage of our countries long-standing belief in birth right citizenship by sneaking across the border and having her child here. Birth right citizenship is the Constitutional guarantee that when a person is born within the US they are automatically a citizen, even if their parents entered illegally.
Immigration laws offer harsh punishments for individuals who do not cross the border lawfully. With rare exception a person who enters this country without inspection at a port of entry cannot receive a lawful status without returning to their home country to process the paperwork and often leaving the United States triggers a 3 or 10 year bar from them returning.
This could be argued as a just punishment for individuals who usurp our immigration laws and cross our border illegally. Clearly it would an injustice to the millions of individuals who apply lawfully, pay filing fees, and wait a number of years if illegal entrants were rewarded for their behavior with a legal status. Thus, in most cases the law is arguably just.
The first U.S. casualty of the war in Iraq surprisingly was not a US citizen. Instead he was a Guatemalan orphan, Marine Lance Corp. Jose Gutierrez, who made his way to the United States to find a better life. He joined the Marines to earn money for college and to support his family still living in Guatemala.
Non-citizen soldiers have fought and died in every conflict the United States has been involved in. As of June, 114,601 men and women not born in the United States were serving in the military. This number makes up almost 8 percent of the 1.4 million active-duty members of the military. Of these, more than 12 percent did not have U.S. citizenship.
Despite their many sacrifices it is estimated that this country has deported over 4000 non-citizens who served honorably in the military since World War II. This does not need to be the case as now service in the military makes it very easy to gain citizenship quickly.