The list below is not all-inclusive, but is intended to demonstrate the areas of law in which we most frequently engage at Muchnicki & Bittner, LLP.
- Immigrant Visas and Legal Permanent Residency
- Defense from Deportation, Immigration Bonds, Motions to Reopen, and Prosecutorial Discretion
- Work Permits
- Special Immigrant Juvenile Visas
- Asylum and Withholding of Removal
- Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions
- I-601A Provisional Waiver
- TPS – Temporary Protected Status
- DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
- VAWA and U Visas
- Appeals and Litigation
- Business Immigration
Immigrant Visas and Legal Permanent Residency
The majority of people who immigrate to the United States desire to have the right to live in this country permanently, which is commonly known as having a green card. There a wide variety of ways that you can become eligible for legal permanent residency. In most instances, either a United States citizen or legal permanent resident family sponsor or an employer sponsor is required to file an immigrant visa petition on your behalf. For exceptions when one can self-petition, see VAWA AND U VISAS, ASYLUM, and SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILE VISAS, below.
Like all aspects of immigration law, applying for an immigrant visa and legal permanent residency can be extremely complex. Sometimes the two applications can be filed simultaneously, and sometimes they cannot. Sometimes you can obtain legal permanent residency without leaving the United States, but sometimes you are required to depart the United States and process through the United States Consulate abroad. Sometimes waivers of inadmissibility are required for which you may or may not qualify. Sometimes departing the United States triggers bars to your eligibility to obtain your legal permanent residency. The attorneys at Muchnicki & Bittner, LLP can evaluate your individual situation and advise you as to whether you are eligible for legal permanent residency and guide you through the application process from beginning to end, as well as advise you against taking any actions that would prejudice your eligibility for legal permanent residency in the United States.
Defense from Deportation, Immigration Bonds, Motions to Reopen, and Prosecutorial Discretion
At Muchnicki & Bittner, LLP we are experts in defending individuals who have placed in deportation proceedings in the United States. We also represent individuals in deportation proceedings who are detained by ICE in their bond proceedings so they can be released from jail. When representing an individual in deportation proceedings, we evaluate your immigration case thoroughly to determine what is best in your unique situation. We will then work with you to prepare any applicable applications and advocate for you in presenting your case to the Immigration Court.
If you already have an old order of deportation, we may be able to help you. The attorneys at Muchnicki & Bittner, LLP are very experienced in motions to reopen old deportation orders before the Immigration Courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Even if the deportation order against you is very old, we may be able to help you.
The enforcement of immigration law in the United States is constantly evolving. Presently, if you have been put into deportation proceedings but do not qualify for immigration applications under current law, it still may be possible to remain in the United States with the permission of the United States government to be here. This process is known as prosecutorial discretion. At Muchnicki & Bittner, LLP, if we determine that you are not eligible for any other applications; you can take advantage of our deep understanding of ICE’s current enforcement priorities and have us prepare your request for prosecutorial discretion.
One of the questions that we are most frequently asked by prospective clients of Muchnicki & Bittner, LLP is “how can I get a work permit?” The answer to this question is not simple, as United States immigration law does not provide for any stand-alone work permits. In order to be eligible for a work permit, you must be eligible for a separate immigration application or be in compliance with an Order of Supervision from ICE. At Muchnicki & Bittner, LLP, we can evaluate your situation to determine whether you are eligible for an immigration application that gives you eligibility for work authorization, such as an application for LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENCY, ASYLUM, TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS (TPS), DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA), VAWA, U VISA, or APPEALING a recent denial. We may be able to help you get into compliance with your Order of Supervision from ICE so that you can obtain a work permit from USCIS.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Visas
Some children who are present in the United States are eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Visas, which then leads to LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENCY. The process of obtaining a Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa is complex and requires representation by an attorney that is familiar with every layer of the process. Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa eligibility begins with a custody order from the appropriate Juvenile Court containing very specific findings that are required by USCIS. Then the Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa application may be submitted to USCIS. If the child is in deportation proceedings, there is simultaneous involvement with the Immigration Court as well. At Muchnicki & Bittner, LLP all of our attorneys are licensed by the State of Ohio, enabling us to represent our clients in the Juvenile Courts throughout Ohio and we are very knowledgeable of the Special Immigrant Juvenile process.
Asylum and Withholding of Removal
You may be eligible for asylum or withholding of removal if you are already in the United States and are unwilling or unable to return to your home country because you have suffered persecution or fear that you will suffer persecution due to your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. You may include your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 on your application for asylum if they are already in the United States. If you are granted asylum, you can file a relative petition for your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21, if they are not already in the United States. You and any derivative family members can apply for LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENCY one year after you are granted asylum.
Naturalization and Derivative Citizenship
Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted if you are a foreign citizen or national after you fulfill the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). You may qualify for naturalization if you have been a legal permanent resident of the United States for at least 5 years, if you have been a legal permanent resident of the United States for at least 3 years and you are married to a United States citizen, or if you have qualifying service in the United States military. You also must meet all other eligibility requirements. The attorneys of Muchnicki & Bittner, LLP have years of experience helping individuals become citizens of the United States of America.
In some instances, you may already be a United States citizen, even if you were born abroad, if one or both of your parents is or was a United States citizen. The United States’ derivative citizenship laws are very complex and vary depending upon what law was in effect at the time you were born. The length of your parent’s residency in the United States may also be relevant. At Muchnicki & Bittner, LLP we can accurately navigate these complex laws to help you obtain a certificate of citizenship, if you derived United States citizenship by nature of your birth.
Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions
If you are not a United States citizen, you can be deported because of a criminal conviction. Length of residency in the United States and the existence of close relatives who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents may eventually prevent a non-citizen’s deportation, but it does not prevent the Department of Homeland Security from initiating efforts to permanently remove you from the United States. For non-citizens convicted of crimes of moral turpitude, domestic violence offenses, aggravated felonies, and controlled substance violations, limited immigration remedies exist that may prevent deportation. The viability of these immigration remedies depends on the immigration status of the non-citizen, length of residence in the U.S. and the existence of relatives with citizenship or lawful permanent residency.
If you are not a citizen of the United States and are charged with a crime in state or federal court, the attorneys of Muchnicki & Bittner, LLP can represent you in your criminal case, in order to minimize the impact of the criminal case on your immigration status in the United States.
I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver
Since March 4, 2013, certain immigrant visa applicants who are spouses and children of U.S. citizens (immediate relatives) can apply for provisional unlawful presence waivers before they leave the United States to consular process through the American Consulate in their native country. The provisional unlawful presence waiver process allows individuals who only need a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence to apply for a waiver in the United States and before they depart for their immigrant visa interviews at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. At Muchnicki & Bittner, LLP we greatly welcomed the introduction of this new waiver process which greatly shortened the time that families have to spend apart while consular processing, and we are very pleased to have helped our clients obtain legal permanent residency through this process. We can help you determine is this waiver is right for you and your family member and prepare this application for you.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
The TPS rules and regulations are constantly changing and require an experienced immigration law attorney. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS. During a designated period, individuals who are TPS beneficiaries or who are found preliminarily eligible for TPS upon initial review of their cases (prima facie eligible) are not removable from the United States; can obtain an employment authorization document; and may be granted travel authorization. Once granted TPS, an individual also cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of his or her immigration status in the United States. TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status. However, registration for TPS does not prevent you from applying for nonimmigrant status; filing for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition; or applying for any other immigration benefit or protection for which you may be eligible.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced the initiation of a new program of deferred action for those immigrants who came to the United States as children. To be eligible for DACA, it is necessary that you arrived in the United States prior to turning 16 years of age; have lived continuously in the United States since June 15, 2007; and were not older than 31 years of age on June 15, 2012. You must also be currently enrolled in school or have already graduated from high school or obtained a GED, or have been honorably discharged by the United States military. You also must not have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and you must not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
VAWA and U Visa Applications
Qualification for a VAWA or U visa application is one of the ways that you may be able to petition for yourself to have lawful immigration status in the United States. Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), spouses and children of United States citizens may file their own petition if they were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by their United States citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or parent. In many instances, this self-petition can be combined with an application for legal permanent residency and many usual grounds of inadmissibility are waived for VAWA applicants. A U visa is for victims of certain crimes who suffered substantial harm as a result of the crime and who cooperated with law enforcement. Spouses and minor, unmarried children can be included as derivatives on a U visa application, and if they reside in a foreign country, they can lawfully immigrate to the United States following the U visa approval. U visa holders may be able to adjust their status to legal permanent residency three years after approval of their U visa, if they meet all eligibility requirements.
Appeals and Litigation
If your immigration application or case is denied, we can help you determine the next course of action, be it an administrative appeal with DHS or the BIA or a lawsuit in federal district court.
There are a wide variety of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas available in the United States to investors, entrepreneurs, employers, and employees. We can help you determine what employment-based visa option is best for your situation.