Immigration Policy: 4 Things You Need To Know

Gandhi was once famously asked if he was a Hindu.

His answer:  “Yes I am. I am also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew.”

This perspective is very important when representing immigrants.

As lawyers who help immigrants, we must look at all of our clients with truly global perspective.

Here are four essential points that you must remember in reviewing immigration policy:

  1. In asylum law, a claim of persecution may be made on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a social group.  We recognize many classifications of “social group,” including a federal court just identifying persons suffering with mental illness as a particular group.
  2. In family immigration law, immigration policy dictates that qualifying relationships are defined by parentage, marriage (including same sex marriage), and sibling petitions.  We know that in some of these categories, you may wait a few months for a green card.  In others, the time to receive legal status may be a decade or more.  Talk to a top immigration lawyer before doing it yourself.
  3. In deportation (removal) defense, there are a host of waivers available to immigrants.  Our immigration policy is very strict in the enforcement of these waivers.  It is not easy to win a removal case. There have been about two million deportations under the Obama Administration as of this writing in January 2014.  The best way to have a good chance of winning is to locate the best immigration attorney that you can.
  4. In citizenship law, immigration policy controls your eligibility to naturalize in very unusual circumstances.  Just one such example:  registration in the Selective Service program is a requirement for citizenship.  Failure to register may affect your “good moral character.”

You need outstanding immigration counsel before taking on the government.

It does not matter how easy you think your case is.

Don’t fool yourself.

Our immigration policy is extraordinarily complicated.

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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