Tallahassee Immigration Lawyer
Legal Questions? Call 850-270-6977 or Submit Our Form.
BRANDON R. SMOOT, ESQ.
Tallahassee Immigration Lawyer
And Former USCIS Adjudicator
Our nation is a nation of immigrants. From the Pilgrims to the present, Immigration has shaped our nation as well as our national character. Our nation’s immigration laws are a hot topic in current political debates and our upcoming presidential election. Nowadays, you need a Tallahassee immigration lawyer in order to navigate federal immigration law and regulations. The Law Office of Matt Liebenhaut, PLLC has experience representing clients in removal proceedings, asylum claims, family based adjustment applications, and at almost any stage of the immigration process. Call our office today if you need assistance with an immigration petition or form of relief for yourself or a loved one.
Call 850-270-6977 today to schedule a consultation and get answers.
HIRING AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Immigration is a very specialized and complex area of law. For this reason, it is important to retain a Tallahassee immigration lawyer who is familiar with the frequently changing laws. At Liebenhaut Law, you’ll find a Tallahassee Immigration lawyer who has represented clients in a wide variety of immigration issues and previously adjudicated immigration claims as an adjudicator for USCIS. Brandon Smoot can assist you in obtaining and securing family and employment based green cards, asylum, filing foreign labor certifications (PERM), adjusting or changing you status, and filing for your citizenship.
Immigration laws and regulations are disorienting if you do not know how to navigate them. An immigration attorney in Tallahassee experienced with handling immigration cases can make all the difference. Understanding the maze like process that is Immigration Court can also be very difficult without help.
The paperwork can be overwhelming and any errors may result in the denial of your case. Make sure an experienced attorney handles your case from beginning to end. In fact, if you are unfamiliar with the law, taking on your immigration matter yourself is simply not worth the risk. A small investment in an immigration attorney is well worth the peace of mind. Contact our office today to set up an appointment to meet with our Tallahassee Immigration lawyer.
Understanding Affirmative and Defensive Asylum
For those who are seeking protection in the United States due to a threat of persecution in their home country, there are two options when applying for asylum: affirmative application and defensive application. The main difference is that defensive applications are for foreigners seeking asylum in the United States but are currently in removal proceedings in immigration court. An affirmative asylum applies when an asylum seeker is present in the United States, not in removal proceedings, and filing within one year of arrival.
An affirmative asylum application begins with an individual being physically present in the United States or seeking to enter the US at a port of entry. Also, an individual must file the application on Form I-589 within one year of arriving in the United States. Some conditions that may make you ineligible for affirmative asylum. These conditions include ability to transfer to a safe third country, previous denial of asylum application, or failure to file within one year of arrival. Our Tallahassee immigration lawyer has experience in putting together a complete asylum application. Our office is available to bring clarity to any questions you have concerning the application process, exceptions, as well as eligibility.
A defensive asylum application defends against removal from the United States. You may pursue this option if you are referred to an Immigration Judge or placed in removal proceedings. Immigration Judges will hear arguments from the asylum seeker and his or her attorney on one side and an attorney from Immigration and Customs Enforcement on the other. The Judge will ultimately determine if you qualify for asylum based on the information presented to them.
In order to apply for asylum, you must first meet the definition of a refugee. This means you have suffered or have a credible fear of persecution in your home country because of your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. There are various ways to interpret and define membership of a particular social group. Generally, a particular social group is an identifiable group of people who share common characteristics which the members cannot, or should be expected to, change them. Some examples include certain tribes, occupational groups, and homosexuals. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the world’s leading institution for refugee protection, has devised guidelines for the legal determination of refugee status. The significant aspects of the UNCHR’s Guidelines on International Protection include:
- A social group cannot be defined exclusively by the fact that it is targeted for persecution.
- There is no specific list of social groups. “Particular social groups” may change and evolve with social trends and human rights norms.
- An applicant may be eligible on more than one of the qualifications for refugee status.
- Members of a particular social group do not need to know each other or associate to be considered members of a group.
- An applicant need not demonstrate that all members of a particular social group are at risk of persecution in order to establish the existence of a particular social group.
- Two factors serve in judicial decisions to interpret the term particular social group: “protected characteristics” (immutability) and “social perception”. The protected characteristics approach looks at a unifying characteristic that members were born with, cannot change, and should not be forced to. This approach applies to women, homosexuals, and families, for example. The “social perception” approach determines whether a social group shares a characteristic that sets them apart from the rest of society. In order to determine the strength of your circumstances, contact one of immigration lawyers in Tallahassee for a consultation.
Attempting to bring together the two approaches, the UNHCR has provided their definition of “particular social group”:
“a particular social group is a group of persons who share a common characteristic other than their risk of being persecuted, or who are perceived as a group by society. The characteristic will often be one which is innate, unchangeable, or which is otherwise fundamental to identity, conscience or the exercise of one’s human rights.”
Representation from a Tallahassee immigration lawyer makes the difference between convincing authorities of an imminent fear in your home country and leaving the United States. If you or someone you know is seeking protection in the United States, contact one of our Tallahassee immigration lawyers today.
Appealing an Immigration Court Decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals
Visitors as well as immigrants residing in the United States may face deportation or removal upon violation of terms. If you attended an immigration hearing and the judge denied your case, the next step may be to appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The BIA is the part of the Executive Office for Immigration Review that reviews the decisions of the Immigration Courts and some decisions of theU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is an administrative appellate body that is part of the U.S. Department of Justice. BIA decisions are the final administrative action in a removal proceeding.
Individuals submit appeals using a form titled ‘Form EOIR-26 Notice of Appeal from a Decision of an Immigration Judge’. You must file a Notice of Appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals within 30 days of the decision. In addition to the general form, your immigration attorney can put together a brief to accompany your application. The brief outlines arguments in favor of your case as well as relevant laws that support each argument. It is also advised to hire an attorney to ensure correct completion and submission of all forms in order to avoid denials.
After the court receives your appeal, it will allot you thirty days to file your opening brief. Furthermore, the court gives the opposing counsel thirty days to reply. The Board of Immigration Appeals makes a decision after reviewing arguments of both parties.
It is crucial to remain in the United States while you wait for you Board of Immigration Appeals decision. Leaving the U.S. during this time will result in cancellation of your appeal. Generally, an appeal is the final option that stands between an immigrant’s removal from the United States. The process of appeals involves applying immigration law; therefore, it is imperative that you enlist help from an immigration attorney. Contact our office to speak with a Tallahassee immigration lawyer. We want to help you in securing the highest chance of success, whether it is in Immigration Court or before the BIA.
Other Immigration Practice Areas
Appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)
Adjustment of Status
Cancellation of Removal
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Deportation / Removal Proceedings
I-130 Family based visa petition
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Juvenile
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests
I-140 Petition for Alien Worker
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence
K Visa (including LGBT fiancés)
J-1 Waivers (Extreme Hardship and No Objection Letters)
Motions to Reopen
Motions to Reconsider
Removal of Condition on Residency
Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
Waivers of Inadmissibility