In the immigration world, time moves at different speeds. Sometimes clients wait decades to see movement on their cases, especially when trying to bring a brother or sister to the United States. On other occasions, clients can bring over a fiance/fiancee in a matter of months. It's admittedly confusing and unpredictable. 

Recently non-detained immigrants with cases pending before their local immigration court may have received a notice rescheduling their hearing to sometime in 2019. 2019?!? Yes, 2019.   Do not be fooled by the date; 2019 is just around the corner. Between now and 2019, your life and your personal circumstances may change dramatically. Life happens.  

It's important to have an immigration attorney to assist you when you need to (1) file an application for lawful immigration status based on your changed circumstances, (2) follow the special rules for filing for relief from removal when you already have a pending immigration court proceeding, (3) get your case removed from EOIR/the immigration court docket, or (4) prepare for your immigration court proceedings by deciding what type of relief is available to you and assessing your likelihood of getting what you want. 

1. Filing an application for lawful immigration status based on your changed circumstances: 

  • Marriage-based Green Card: Did you get married recently? How does that impact your immigration situation? There are risks and burdens to overcome to prove the bona fides of a marriage entered into while one party is in immigration proceedings. Do you have the necessary proof?  
  • VAWA-based Green Card: Are you or were you recently married to a U.S. citizen or Green Card-holder (lawful permanent resident or LPR) who mistreated you? Are you the victim of abuse or battery at the hands of your U.S. citizen or LPR spouse? Do you have children who were subject to cruelty at the hands of the same U.S. citizen or LPR? You may be eligible for a Green Card through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Your kids may also be eligible for VAWA releif. VAWA applies to both women and men who have been abused. You need to take care of yourself and get the right immigration assistance to prove your case. 

2. Following the special rules for when you have a pending immigration court proceeding:

Can I file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) too? There are special rules for immigration filings when you have a case pending before EOIR. For example, you cannot file for an EAD when you file a Form I-360 VAWA application.  

Can I file a Form I-485 too? Even if you have a valid basis for lawful immigrant status, you are not eligible to file the Form I-485 concurrently with the other application if your case is pending before the EOIR. The I-485 has to be adjudicated before the immigration judge unless your case is removed from the court's docket. 

3. Getting your case removed from EOIR/the immigration court docket:

  • Why? You want to file an application to adjust status with USCIS but your case is pending before the immigration court. You want to act now and get on with your life.  
  • How? There are various ways to go about asking the court to terminate your pending matter. Multiple parties need to be contacted and a motion or two may need to be filed to persuade both the immigration judge and the DHS attorney assigned to your case. 
  • Who? A qualified immigration attorney who can navigate the system and keep your goals in mind will be able to help you do this.

4. Preparing for immigration court hearings:

What do you want? There are multiple types of relief that you may want to ask for when you go before the immigration judge. They include, but are not limited to, Asylum, Cancellation of Removal and/or Voluntary Departure. 

What relief are you eligible for? Each case is unique and, only after a thorough investigation of your situation, would any qualified attorney be able to advise you on what requests you can and should make. 

Testimony Preparation: Being in front an immigration judge is stressful to say the least. A lot is at stake and you are going to be asked personal questions about a very important aspect of your life. Preparation and practice on how to handle this situation is the only way to conquer your day or days in court. 

Filing Documentation: Have circumstances changed in your life or in your home country that may be relevant to your case? Do you have something to tell the court that is essential to your case? Filing the appropriate motions and supporting documentation, including any legal briefs arguing your situation, are a key part of your legal strategy.  

There are a lot of reasons to get moving on your case now. Don't wait until December 2018 to take care of these important matters. 

This blog posting is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Also, keep in mind that this is an INTERNET BLOG. You should not rely on anything you read here to make decisions which impact your life. Meet with an attorney in person to obtain competent personal and professional guidance. To meet with one of our experienced immigration attorneys call 855-428-3762.