Need Help with Arizona Immigration Laws?
Free Consultation with Phoenix Immigration Attorney Cliff Levenson
The immigration laws of the United States can have a huge impact upon families, individuals, investors and business owners. In the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) became the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The Department of Homeland Security then took it over. This added another layer to an already complex regulatory and procedural scheme. Because handling immigration matters the wrong way can have such dire consequences, finding experienced legal counsel to help you is of utmost importance.
Dealing with immigration matters without assistance can be very confusing. The law and regulations are constantly changing, and mistakes can be extremely difficult – and time consuming – to correct. Immigration in Arizona has become a particularly contentious issue in recent years. It is never too late to seek legal advice. However, you should speak to a Phoenix immigration lawyer as soon as possible in any case.
As a sole practitioner, Phoenix lawyer Cliff Levenson can provide the individualized attention that immigration matters require. He can help you or your family in the areas of:
- Family-Based Immigration
- Removal/ Deportation Proceedings
Would you like to bring family members into the United States? There are often misconceptions about who is eligible to obtain a U.S. visa and lawful, permanent residence in America. Phoenix lawyer Cliff Levenson can help you obtain the following types of visas:
- Fiancée visa
- Spouse visa
- Parent visa
- Sibling visa
- Child or children’s visa
In addition, Cliff can help obtain visas for Americans who want to marry a foreign national.
Cliff helped many families who faced the deportation of a loved one. In some cases, you can challenge the removal of an alien, no matter what his or her immigration status, in Immigration Court. Please contact Phoenix attorney Cliff Levenson immediately for a free consultation if you or a loved one is facing removal proceedings. Additionally, even if you are accused of illegal immigration or facing a criminal charge, we may be able to help.
Cliff and his staff offer guidance and expertise to individuals seeking to become naturalized U.S. citizens. Cliff’s staff includes Vietnamese speakers. Thus, he can assist Vietnamese clients, in particular, to successfully meet the language requirement for citizenship.
The DREAM Act and DACA
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (the “DREAM Act”), proposed in 2001 by Senators Dick Durbin and Orrin Hatch, has yet to pass into law. But Phoenix attorney Cliff Levenson is ready to help those who may qualify under the current program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”).
The DREAM Act would allow people who immigrated illegally to the United States as minors to obtain permanent residency. DACA, on the other hand, does not allow undocumented immigrants to obtain legal status. However, it does allow certain immigrants to obtain a renewable two-year work authorization document.
On August 15, 2012, USCIS began processing applications for deferred action for childhood arrivals (“DACA”). This resulted in the so-called “DREAM” initiative of the Obama administration. It gives young people brought to the US some relief from deportation and a chance to obtain employment authorization in two-year increments.
Felony and Misdemeanor Convictions
Individuals will be ineligible for approval after a felony conviction, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more non-significant misdemeanors (excluding minor traffic offenses) absent exceptional circumstances. These circumstances have not been clarified. Immigration-related offenses classified as felonies and misdemeanors under state laws (such as Arizona’s SB 1070) will not be taken into consideration. Whether a state law crime is a felony or misdemeanor will not depend upon the classification given to it by state law. Instead, federal definitions will govern.
A “felony” is an offense punishable by a potential sentence of more than one year. A misdemeanor is an offense punishable by more than five days, but less than a year. A violation that carries a sentence of five days or less, such as a municipal violation, may not count as a misdemeanor. However, it may nonetheless be taken into consideration under the totality of the circumstances.
A “significant misdemeanor” includes any misdemeanor, regardless of the sentence imposed, involving burglary, domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, unlawful possession or use of a firearm; driving under the influence; and drug distribution or trafficking, which are per se deemed to be significant. Other misdemeanors are significant if the sentence was more than 90 days of actual imprisonment.
Individuals with three or more non-significant misdemeanors not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission or scheme of misconduct, which result in a sentence of more than five days, are also ineligible for deferred action. Minor traffic offenses, including driving without a license, will not count towards the three or more non-significant misdemeanor bar. However, DHS stated it can consider a person’s entire history of offenses, along with other facts, to determine whether it warrants deferred action under the totality of the circumstances.
A juvenile record will not automatically disqualify an applicant from DACA relief. A minor with a delinquency adjudication will get a case-by-case review to see if the “particular circumstances” of his or her case warrant a positive exercise of discretion. However, it is likely that a delinquency adjudication which otherwise would have been considered a significant misdemeanor for an adult, such as a drug offense, will be a disqualification. Expunged convictions, whether for criminal offenses or juvenile adjudications will be treated similarly. That is, they will likely not be taken into account unless they are evidence of serious misconduct. This is very different from other areas of immigration law, where expungements count as convictions.
So if a potential DACA applicant has had contact with law enforcement, he or she should consult with Clifford Levenson before applying for deferred action. Disqualification from DACA could result in removal proceedings of the individual or even family relatives listed in the application form, at some future time, if not immediately.
Get Immigration Help Now
No matter what your specific immigration or naturalization concern, Phoenix attorney Cliff Levenson is ready to provide you with the personal attention and the effective legal services that you are seeking. One call to Cliff gets legal help on the way.