Immigration Services

Your Immigration Defense Lawyers in Fairfax, VA

Need help getting legal status in the US? Need assistance becoming a citizen? Do you require guidance on legal entry into the US?

Immigration is divided into the following sections:

  • ICE: Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • CBP: Customs Border Patrol
  • EOIR: Executive Office of Immigration Review
  • DHS:Department of Homeland Security
  • USCIS: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

It is the Department of State (DS) that will handle out of country visas as well as immigration processing at embassies and consulates, while USCIS handles all in-country visa processing.

If you need help with an immigration matter, there are two main tracks your case can take.

    • 1. Visa Processing in or out of the country.
      This can include adjustment of status to a lawful resident, either as a legal permanent resident (LPR) or a Green Card holder.

      It can involve Non-immigrant visas such as B2 and H visas.
    • 2.Immigration Defense in Court
      Immigration defense involves the EOIR immigration court, an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), an appeal to federal court, notices to appear and expedited removals with ICE, and Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SJIS).

The Federal Government conducts a Diversity Visa Lottery each year. This lottery allows citizens of other countries to legally enter (and remain for a certain period) into the US.

Currently, the US permits over 1 million foreigners who legally reside in the country to become Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card holders), and in some cases, citizens (Naturalized). However, without the help of a well versed Immigration Attorney, the odds of obtaining Citizenship, Green Card status, or approved visas go down significantly.

Additionally, challenging circumstances, such as criminal records, abuse, asylum, and persecution — as well as current undocumented status — can make seeking the aid of a competent Immigration Attorney critical. We’re here to help!

Immigration Services are provided in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC.

Major immigrant categories include:

  • Immediate Relative and Family sponsored which include:
    • Family Immigration
    • Spouse or Fiancé of a U.S. Citizen
    • Spouse or Lawful Permanent Resident in U.S
    • Adoption
  • Employer/employment visas
  • Special Immigrants
    • Employment: Iraqi or Afghan Translators/Interpreters
    • Employment: Iraqis or Afghans – Worked for or on the behalf of the U.S. Government
    • Employment: Religious Workers
  • Diversity Visa Program: Visas drawn from countries with low immigration rates to the United States.

NOTE FOR EMPLOYEES: If your application for a nonimmigrant visa has been denied, you have a limited number of options for recourse. It is best to confront any potential issues with your visa application at the beginning of the process rather than at the end.

Contact our firm today to speak with an immigration attorney about your application and any potential problems that may prevent you from obtaining a nonimmigrant visa.

Immigration Bond

Immigration Bond Information

Once an immigrant/alien is detained by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) or the Department of Homeland Security, bond generally becomes an option. Initial bond is determined by the ICE officer at the time of arrest. However, these bond determination are often randomly assigned with little consideration for the aliens/immigrants situation.

Usually, the alien/immigrant will be detained until the first Master Calendar Hearing (MCH), where a judge will have the opportunity, separate and apart from the removal proceedings, to assess the ICE bond and “re-determine” an appropriate amount. There is no hard and fast rule for bond amounts, with the exception that the minimum bond is $1500. Having said that, there are several caregories of crimes that if committed by the alien, prevent any bond from being issued. A summary list follows, but the regulations specifically governing bond assignments by EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) judges are at the bottom of the page.

Typical bars to bond (meaning that there will be no bond and the immigrant/alien will be required to remain in detention) are:

  • 1. Crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT). These include crimes of theft and lying to the government. For example:
  • 2. Crimes involving domestic violence.
  • 3. Crimes involving drugs.
  • 4. Sexual crimes.
  • 5. Crimes that have a sentence greater than 1 year in jail (whether imposed or not). Referred to as aggravated felonies.
  • 6. Multiple crimes under that have a sentence under 1 year, but add up to over 1 year, and are not otherwise related to the same infraction.

Note — the court has some wiggle room on a few of these categories above. Be sure to review the entire regulation below for specific details.

What Bond Can you Expect?

If the detained alien/immigrant is granted bond, typically the court will weigh the positive factors against the dispositive factors (crime). Positive factors include steady job (and paying taxes!), strong family connection in the community, and owning property (less likely to run).

Bond rates vary GREATLY by judge, and it is quite subjective. However, as an estimated cost, a typical misdemeanor with no other criminal record will run $5000. One DUI is typically $5000. A second DUI is $10000. A third DUI is almost impossible to bond. A drug conviction of under 30 grams of marijuana will typically bond at around $7000.

How to Pay Your Bond

To pay a bond, once granted by the court, you will need the following before you can pay bond. Be sure to bring these items to your Master Calendar Hearing!

  • 1. Passport — the person paying the bond must show that he/she is a US Citizen. Some courts allow LPR’s to post bond, but many do not. If you do not have a passport, bring a birth certificate or naturalization document.
  • 2.Cashiers Check — You cannot pay with cash or personal check. Again, there are some variations depending on the court, but it is safest to assume that you cannot pay with cash. Bring a bank check or money order.
  • 3. Copy of the Order — You will need to have a copy of the order, usually sent from judges chambers at the same court where the bond hearing was held.

Once the bond has been paid, the court will send an electronic message to the jail where the immigrant/alien is being held. Out-processing takes about one to two hours.

Hanover Law is very experienced in helping people who are detained for immigration proceedings. We have extensive court experience in all aspect of immigration law — including Padilla hearings and appeals. Naturally, we are experienced in obtaining bonds for difficult cases. Criminal past, illegal status, and just simple confusion about what forms to complete and how to submit them are all issues our firm is comfortable and used to resolving. Let us help you!

Regulations Governing Bond Determinations

Want to know how the judge determines when and how to apply bond? Read the manual written by the EOIR for judges!

This is a must read for any person going through the immigration bond process.

Immigration Hearing (Trial)

Immigration Trial (Master Calendar and Individual Calendar Hearings)

This summary is designed for both practitioners and individuals going through the removal process.

When a client arrives at the hearing, s/he will need to sign in. Generally, there is a sign-in sheet when you first enter, although, sometimes (depends on the judge’s clerk) a person can just indicate to the clerk that s/he has arrived and the clerk marks you as present. If the client is detained, most often they will have a video link, and the client will appear on the screen vice in person – although, that again varies by judge. In Arlington, VA, they are almost always via video link. In Baltimore, MD, it varies.

When the case is called, it will be called by the number of the individual the lawyer is representing. The lawyer will walk up to counsel’s table and sit. As this is the master hearing (MCH), it equates to an arraignment only.

First, the lawyer and client will be asked about bond. Generally, before one goes to the MCH, he or she wants to file a bond motion. This is not strictly required; a person may make an oral motion for bond at the first MCH. However, most immigration judges (IJ’s) frown on that. The proper technique is to send a copy of the bond motion prior to the hearing to both DHS and the judge. Bond motions are heard off-record, so that will come first. Visit this section of the site for immigration bond information.

Once the bond motion is done, the lawyer will go “on the record.” At this point, the judge will read through the NTA (Notice to Appear), usually allegation by allegation. He/She will ask how the client pleads to the charges contained in the NTA. Usually, the client will admit the charges. If the lawyer or client has grounds to believe DHS/ICE got something wrong, they may challenge an allegation on the NTA. However, that tends to jam the hearing, and requires a second MCH to clarify any outstanding allegations. If a lawyer knows that he or she wants to challenge an allegation, they should bring supporting papers. If they’re clever, they can get the judge to dismiss the allegation at the MCH and not have to come back for another MCH. Usually, though, if someone challenges an allegation, the judge will give both sides a week or two to prepare a brief on why the allegation should (or should not) be sustained. Ultimately, it is the burden of the government to prove the validity of any allegation.

Once all the allegations have been admitted (or dismissed), the judge will ask what type of relief the client is seeking. This is the part where the lawyer indicate cancellation of removal, asylum/withholding/CAT, etc. If the proposed relief requires a court filing, the lawyer should have that prepared before going into the MCH. Recognize that it is not possible to”pre-file” defense relief pleadings; they have to be submitted in open court. This means that I-589, for example (asylum/withholding/CAT papers) can’t be submitted prior to court. Cancellation also requires appropriate forms (42B, etc.), so be sure to fill them out prior to the MCH and be ready to turn them in if possible. If it is not possible to fill out forms prior to the MCH, the lawyer can still state the relief the client is seeking. If the required forms are not ready, the judge will just schedule another MCH for so that the forms can be turned in there. This is somewhat of a pain, so try to knock everything out in one blow…not always possible (sometimes, you just can’t do it all).

Once relief has been discussed, and all forms submitted (either at the first, or subsequent MCH’s), the judge will schedule and individual calendar hearing (IC). That is the actual trial date on the merits of the relief that is being sought. Once the IC is scheduled, the MCH is done. Briefs do not need to be prepared for the MCH. The only thing a person needs is to know what relief he or she is seeking. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the different types of relief.

It is highly advisable to retain informed, competent immigration counsel before going to trial. A mistake here can, obviously lead to deportation. More importantly, it can wreck your family and cause incredible problems for all your loved ones.

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