Our office called for an end to 287(g) program in Davidson County, and we prevailed. 287 (g) was a destructive program that hit thousands of families ...
Hispanic population in the country,
(Second only to Mexico, with 112 million)
non-citizens deported 2009-2012; 400,000 deported last year alone.
Nationally, only half of immigrants are represented by an attorney, although for detained immigrants, a mere 16% have representation.
Ozment Law also provides defense of immigrants in criminal court
… because a criminal conviction can trigger deportation.
You have rights in the United States–even if you’re not a citizen.
Ozment Law has practiced immigration and nationality law for over fifteen years, consulting with and successfully representing thousands of immigrants, their families, and their employers before administrative agencies, in state and federal courts throughout the country, and at consulates around the world.
We provide legal assistance to individuals, families, employers, community organizations, other attorneys, and policymakers regarding complex and rapidly-changing federal, state, and local laws and policies affecting immigrants and immigrant communities. Contact us to learn how we might help you too.
How to Prepare for Reform:
Don’t Plead Guilty
The new law provides that you will be ineligible to get a green card if you have three or more misdemeanors (excluding traffic offenses), no matter how minor (e.g., fishing without a license). It creates a new ground for removal: three (3) DUI convictions, one of which committed after passage of the new law, may get you deported. Any felony convicted will get you deported. All of this means that you must stop pleading guilty. You must fight your case. Whenever anybody tells you to plead guilty, you should ask them what the immigration consequences of that guilty plea will be. You should not plead guilty without seeing both a criminal attorney and an immigration attorney.
Know Your Rights
If law enforcement agents question you, it is important to understand your rights. You should be careful about what you say when approached by federal, state or local law enforcement officials. If you give answers, they can be used against you in a criminal, immigration, or civil case.
Protect Yourself From Fraud
An attorney has to have a license from a state bar association. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that there is already a new immigration program in place. A proposal has been introduced in Congress but it may change or not ever become law. Don’t trust anyone who says that they can guarantee you a visa or a green card.
Act Immediately when the law is passed
Right now, the proposed bill only allows a 2-year period to register for the new law’s benefits. So you should act immediately after it takes effect. Since you will only have limited time, you should take your case to the most competent immigration attorney you know. Do not take a chance on notarios – if they get it wrong, you may not have time to make it right. This is the most important development in your life here in the U.S. This is no time to take the cheapest way to become legal. A competent immigration attorney will tell you whether you may qualify – right now, the proposed bill says you can even apply for legalization even if you have a removal order or are in removal proceedings.
U.S. Citizen Brothers and Sisters Should Sponsor Undocumented Siblings Immediately
The proposed bill ends applications for you by your U.S. Citizen brothers and sisters 18 months after it becomes law. So your U.S. Citizen sibling should sponsor you immediately if he / she has not already done so. The good news is that the current backlogs for family visas (including the 18-20-year backlog for brothers and sisters) will be eliminated and these cases will be processed under a new “Merit System” if the proposed bill becomes law.
Register Now for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals If You Qualify (Dreamers)
Many have already done this, but some have still not done it. You should consult with a competent immigration attorney and file your application as soon as possible. If you have already started with some other organization’s assistance, and it’s been longer than 3 months and you still haven’t filed, see an immigration attorney as soon as possible. You need to apply before the immigration rush begins. If you have DACA, your green card process under the new law will be much quicker and easier.
Start Studying English
If the proposed bill becomes law, it appears likely you will need to know simple and basic English. Do not be afraid. Enroll now in a beginners course in English. Whatever English is required will be extremely basic and you will be able to learn it easily. Start trying to talk with your American friends in English, and let them help you learn.
Start Gathering Documentation Now
If the proposed Senate bill becomes law, it’s obvious that you’re going to have to collect some documentation. Get a head start now. It’s impossible to know every single thing you’ll have to prove. But it appears you’ll need documentation of the following:
- Birth certificate, passport, and photo id;
- Earliest possible proof of presence in the United States (receipts with your name on it, expired state driver license, school records, travel records)
- Proof of continuous presence in the U.S. since your first entry (medical records, western union receipts, religious organization records)
- Proof of filing income tax returns for at least three years
- Employment history (dates, names, and addresses of previous employment)
Start Saving Money
It appears that the government is going to charge penalty fees in addition to application fees for the new legalization process. Save up now. You should also save for attorney fees.
Most Important – Do Not Give Anyone Money to Start Your Case Under the New Law Until the Complete and Final Law Has Passed.
We have heard disturbing reports of some people being asked to give money NOW to a person to start their case before the law is even passed. This is unethical and dishonest. No one can ethically tell you today what the cost is going to be to go through the process of the new law. That’s because the new law hasn’t even passed yet and no one knows for sure what the process is going to be. Do not give your money to a crook. Wait. Be patient. Save your money and see an honest attorney AS SOON AS THE NEW LAW PASSES.