Do I need a lawyer to go to immigration court?
While you may represent yourself before the immigration court (called pro se representation), it is highly recommended that you attend all court dates with an attorney. If you are unable to find an attorney before your first court date, many Immigration Judges will allow you to ask for more time to seek representation.
What are my rights as your client?
- You are entitled to be treated with courtesy and consideration at all times by your lawyer and the other lawyers and personnel in your lawyer’s office.
- You are entitled to an attorney capable of handling your legal matter competently and diligently, in accordance with the highest standards of the profession. If you are not satisfied with how your matter is being handled, you have the right to withdraw from the attorney-client relationship at any time (court approval may be required in some matters and your attorney may have a claim against you for the value of services rendered to you up to the point of discharge).
- You are entitled to your lawyer’s independent professional judgment and undivided loyalty uncompromised by conflicts of interest.
- You are entitled to be charged a reasonable fee and to have your lawyer explain at the outset how the fee will be computed and the manner and frequency of billing. You are entitled to request and receive a written itemized bill from your attorney at reasonable intervals. You may refuse to enter into any fee arrangement that you find unsatisfactory. In the event of a fee dispute, you may have the right to seek arbitration; your attorney will provide you with the necessary information regarding arbitration in the event of a fee dispute, or upon your request.
- You are entitled to have your questions and concerns addressed in a prompt manner and to have your telephone calls returned promptly.
- You are entitled to be kept informed as to the status of your matter and to request and receive copies of papers. You are entitled to sufficient information to allow you to participate meaningfully in the development of your matter.
- You are entitled to have your legitimate objectives respected by your attorney, including whether or not to settle your matter (court approval of a settlement is required in some matters).
- You have the right to privacy in your dealings with your lawyer and to have your secrets and confidences preserved to the extent permitted by law.
- You are entitled to have your attorney conduct himself or herself ethically in accordance with the Code of Professional Responsibility.
- You may not be refused representation on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or disability.
How do I apply for asylum?
A person seeking asylum in the U.S. does so by filing Form I-589. This can be done “affirmatively,” which is for people who are not in removal proceedings (facing deportation before an immigration judge). Affirmative asylum applications are filed with USCIS. Alternatively, a person can file for asylum “defensively” when a person is already in removal proceedings. Applicants request asylum as a defense against removal from the United States.
A person can receive asylum in the United States, regardless of how he or she arrived, if they prove that they were either persecuted or have a “well-founded fear of future” persecution on account of one of five “protected grounds.” Those protected grounds are political opinion, race, religion, nationality, or “membership in a particular social group.” In addition, the harm suffered, or the harm feared, must be carried out by government officials or by private individuals whom the person’s home government is unwilling or unable to control.
When should I apply for asylum?
To be eligible for asylum, a person must apply within one-year of arriving in the U.S. There are exceptions however, such as where there are “exceptional circumstances” which explain their failure to apply within one-year. Such exceptions are best discussed in person as they are unique to each case.
What are your fees?
Each case is unique, therefore we do not provide fees for our services either on our website or by phone until we meet with each client for our initial consult (free of charge). We do not charge by the hour, but rather charge a flat fee with an initial deposit which is determined based on the amount of work needed in the case. Feel free to call or email our office to set up a free initial consult.
Do you provide free consultations?
Yes, we provide a free initial consultation for all clients. Please call or email our office during our business hours Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. and we will provide you with the next available appointment.