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Grapevine, CA VAWA self-petition lawyerThe Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows certain immigrant victims of domestic violence to apply for a Green Card without the need to be sponsored by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. This can ensure that abuse victims will be able to leave dangerous situations, receive protection from law enforcement, and avoid being uprooted from their communities and deported from the United States. However, it is important to understand the criteria that a person will need to meet to be eligible to self-petition for a Green Card under VAWA.

Am I Eligible for a Green Card Through VAWA?

You may be eligible to self-petition under VAWA if: 

  • You are married to or were married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and your spouse abused you; OR

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Dallas County immigration lawyerRefugees are people who have been forced to leave their home countries due to conflict or persecution. Every year, millions of people around the world are forced to flee their homes in search of safety. Many refugees end up in overcrowded and dangerous refugee camps, where they face starvation, disease, and violence. Others embark on treacherous journeys in an attempt to reach safety, often risking their lives in the process. 

For those who do manage to reach the United States, the challenges do not end there. The process of applying to enter the U.S. as a refugee can be long and complicated, and many refugees are uncertain of whether they will be able to stay in the country or be forced to return to their home countries. Reuniting with family members can also be difficult, as refugee family members are often spread out all over the world. Refugees and other immigrants who are seeking humanitarian relief will often need legal help as they navigate complex immigration laws and procedures, and a skilled and experienced attorney can provide invaluable assistance.

Problems Currently Affecting Refugees

Due to ongoing changes in immigration policies, many refugees are struggling to obtain the relief they need. During his time in office, President Donald Trump took steps to drastically limit the number of refugees and other immigrants who could enter the United States. He lowered the limit for the number of refugees that would be accepted per year to 15,000, which is the lowest it has ever been. The Trump administration also implemented Title 42, a rule that allowed immigrants to be expelled from the United States without going through the standard procedures, which was ostensibly put in place to protect public health.

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Irving, TX adjustment of status lawyerImmigrants who come to the United States often have the goal of obtaining a green card, which grants them legal permanent residency. The adjustment of status process allows a person to apply for permanent residency without having to leave the country. To be eligible for adjustment of status, immigrants must meet certain requirements, such as having a valid visa, being physically present in the United States, and having a qualifying immigrant petition. By understanding when adjustment of status may be available, immigrants can make sure they take the correct steps to become lawful permanent residents.

Eligibility for Adjustment of Status

A person can apply for adjustment of status if a visa is immediately available to them and they are eligible for a green card. There are multiple green card eligibility categories, including:

  • Family members - Immediate family members of U.S. citizens may receive immediate relative visas, which are usually available with no waiting periods. Other family members of U.S. citizens and immediate relatives of green card holders may be eligible for family preference visas, but waiting periods will generally apply, and a limited number of visas are issued each year.

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TX immigration lawyerEvery year, thousands of immigrants come to the United States because they fear that they will suffer harm if they remain in another country. In these situations, immigrants may be able to request asylum by demonstrating that they have a credible fear that they or their family members will experience persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. While the process of seeking asylum can be daunting, it is important to know that there are two different types of asylum seekers in the United States: those who apply for asylum affirmatively, and those who apply for asylum defensively.

What Is Affirmative Asylum?

An individual may actively seek asylum by going through the proper channels at a port of entry or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. A person can apply for asylum within one year after entering the United States. Applying for affirmative asylum is generally considered the best option, as it gives applicants the chance to explain their situation to an asylum officer, and it provides more flexibility in terms of timing and eligibility requirements.

In order to be eligible for affirmative asylum, applicants must meet the following criteria:

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TX immigration lawyerWhen immigrants are detained by immigration officials, they and their loved ones may not only be concerned about the possibility of deportation, but they may be worried about their ability to be released, return to their daily lives, maintain employment, and take care of other responsibilities. In some cases, immigrants may be able to request that they be released, and they may be required to pay an immigration bond. In these situations, a bond hearing may be held, and an immigrant and their attorney will need to provide evidence and testimony showing that they are eligible to be released.

How Can a Person Show That They Are Eligible for an Immigration Bond?

When an immigration judge considers an individual case and determines whether an immigration bond should be granted, they will look at two primary factors: whether the person presents a danger to the community and whether they are a flight risk. When addressing the first issue, a judge will usually look at the person's criminal history and any indications that they may potentially harm others. During the hearing, the immigrant may need to answer questions about previous arrests or convictions, explain what happened in these situations, and show that they will not engage in criminal activity in the future. A person may provide evidence of rehabilitation, such as the completion of a prison sentence or diversionary program, as well as other steps they are taking to remain safe, such as receiving treatment for drug or alcohol abuse.

When addressing whether a person is a potential flight risk, a judge may look at several factors, such as:

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