Don’t Go It Alone: Knowing When You Need an Immigration Attorney

Immigration proceedings are a scary place for many hoping to reach American soil, or to remain here after arriving. And while it is not required by law to have an attorney represent you, it is certainly unwise to proceed without a knowledgeable legal advocate due to the highly complex framework of US immigration law.

Many believe that the Immigration authorities are inherently skeptical of applicants. After all, it is their job to weed out illicit and improper activity. Throughout the process, the authorities will turn over every stone to make sure that the applicant is truly eligible for the benefit sought. And there is a nearly endless list of factors that can lead to challenging roadblocks.

In general, immigration law is unfriendly to those without specific training and experience in the field. The number of caveats and exceptions to the rules is dizzying. Competent legal representation in an immigration proceeding is never a bad idea. In fact, an immigration lawyer is all but necessary in certain situations, such as the following:

Criminal records

A criminal record is normally a bad sign to immigration officials. The logic is that a criminal background brings trouble to the United States. In truth, it could be a simple misunderstanding. Perhaps your home country dismissed the charges, but they have yet to clear; or maybe the nature of the criminal charges may not affect your eligibility.  Knowledgeable and experienced immigration representation is critical in assisting you to analyze your case and address any impediments that may affect the outcome.

Other negative interactions in the past

If you have previously been deported from the US or had other negative interactions with the immigration authorities in the past, it is especially important to have an attorney protecting your interests for any new attempts at immigration-related activity.  Immigration authorities keep in-depth records on all those who pass through the immigration system, and if you have had problems before, even if you were simply found to have lied on a form submitted to immigration authorities, it could have a severe impact your future immigration prospects.

Deportation is a possibility

Even if deportation is not imminent, consulting with an immigration attorney sooner rather than later is the best course of action. The process is notorious for being lengthy. The longer that your attorney can work for you, the fewer mistakes you will make. Once a deportation proceeding has commenced, the legal jargon takes over. The process becomes even more confusing and complicated.

For a non-lawyer, the process to appeal or fight a deportation case is almost impossible. Often, those without legal representation end up deported. English is often not their first language and neither is the language of the legal world. Simply put, if you or a loved one is facing deportation, the stakes are much too high to attempt to handle it without an attorney.

The process is confusing

If at any time the process overwhelms you, seek legal help. No matter the severity of your situation, a knowledgeable attorney can help. For immigration paperwork, a simple mistake affects your entire case. A mistake causes delays and outright rejections. Allow an immigration lawyer to assist you with the mounds of paperwork and confusing technical language.

Remember this — an immigration official is neither your lawyer nor representative.  While an immigration receptionist or officer may try to help you, they are not experts and they do not necessarily have your best interests at heart. An experienced immigration lawyer, particularly a Board Certified immigration lawyer, understands the technical avenues of immigration law and can properly guide you through the immigration maze.

When in doubt, call an immigration lawyer. Do not fill out official paperwork if you do not understand it. Do not go through the immigration process alone.  Please contact the law firm of Saleh & Associates today so we can assist you with your immigration goals.

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Written by Saleh and Associates

Saleh and Associates

Anis N. Saleh is President and Managing Shareholder of the Miami firm of Saleh & Associates, P.A., where he practices in all areas of Immigration and Nationality Law, including extensive experience in employment-based & family-based cases, deportation & removal hearings, and federal litigation.