Asylum for Cubans: After her Parole was Denied, and Seven Months of Detention, Cuban Asylum Applicant is Granted Relief.

One of our clients had left Cuba to escape persecution based on her political opinion. Our client strongly refused to join communist groups in the island, and was a victim of physical aggression. After days of travel, once she arrived to the U.S. Border with Mexico she was detained, denied parole and held by I.C.E until an Immigration Judge decided her case.

Cuban Population and Parole

During the Cold War era, the Cuban population in the United States grew almost six-fold within a decade. The numbers indicate 79,000 in 1960 to 439,000 in 1970, and 1,785,000 by 2010.  Cuban-Americans have contributed to the U.S. in all aspects, including the economy, politics and culture.

Our Client sent us her photo after her reunification with her family in Tampa, FL

U.S. Presidents and the Change in Policy

Regardless of the protections this population deserved, the Obama White House ended the “wet-foot/dry foot” policy in January 12, 2017.  Since then all Cubans entering the U.S. are subject to removal, detention and refused Parole. Traditionally, Cubans would be Paroled into the U.S. and then they could obtain permanent residency after a year.  See Statement

Further, in June 16, 2017 Trump announced that “we will not be silent in the face of communist oppression any longer. […] For nearly six decades, the Cuban people have suffered under communist domination.  To this day, Cuba is ruled by the same people who killed tens of thousands of their own citizens.” [And that … ]  We will keep in place the safeguards to prevent Cubans from risking their lives to unlawful travel to the United States.  They are in such danger the way they have to come to this country, and we are going to be safeguarding those people. See Official remarks. Rhetoric aside, the Trump administration has increased the deportation of Cubans, and reduced the channels for legal immigration for asylum seekers.

Meanwhile, deportations of Cubans have been on a steady rise, from 24 in FY 2014 to 42 in FY 2015 and 64 in FY 2016. In fiscal year 2017, the U.S. deported 160 Cubans, and currently there are thousands in detention.

According to a 2016 congressional testimony by Michele Bond, former assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, Cuba was the “most recalcitrant country on repatriation of its nationals.” It is unknown at this time the conditions in which many of these deportees find themselves when returning to their country of origin.

No Parole, No Release and Dangers of Detention

It is important to consider that our client had delicate health conditions, and those were not enough for ICE to release our client in parole.  Our client risked her health to further her Asylum claim and final release in March 2018.  Many of the detainees and individuals in removal are elderly and require medical attention too.  Unfortunately, a 59-year-old Cuban man in the custody of immigration services died in Miami on February 19, 2018.  Luis Ramirez-Marcano was taken to the Kendall Regional Medical Center in Miami on Feb. 17 for abdominal pain, but died days later.   It is tragic that many detainees that complain of pains and request medications and treatment are often seen by Nurses, and provided only Advil.

Cuban nationals continue to deserve protection from removal, and it is important to contact your member of congress and express the urgency to make this process more humane.

Citizenship and Residency From Home

Apply for Citizenship Today

Naturalization applications used to be straight forward, but Immigration has expended the range of inquiries, and has increased its fees as well.  Let us represent you in the process from the comfort of your home.

Our firm is proud to serve busy professionals and VIPs across the United States and the world. We understand you are busy, and we will ensure this process is as efficient and fast as possible  We will ensure that from retention to filing we will complete your documentation as efficiently as possible, and prepare you for your interview accordingly.

Of course, once the applications are filed with immigration everyone is in the same boat, waiting for the interview dates or receipt notices and further instructions. By working with us, you will have the backup for an experienced immigration firm at every step of the way.


Fast and Efficient Representation in Immigration Cases

Marriage Visas, and Fiancé(e) Petitions Made Easy

Immigration can be a long and complicated process, the visa types appear to be an alphabet soup, and there are enough visa types, application forms, and different fees to drive yourself crazy. Allow us to help you in processing your marriage or fiancé(e) case and make it easy for you.

Our firm is proud to serve busy professionals and VIPs across the United States and the world. We understand you are busy, and we will ensure this process is as efficient and fast as possible  We will ensure you that from retention to filling we will complete your documentation faster than the competition.

Of course, once the applications are filed with immigration everyone is in the same boat, waiting for the interview dates or receipt notices and further instructions. By working with us, we ensure the process sails as smooth as possible.

Contact us today !


Sample List of USCIS Immigration Fees as of 2/7/2018, these are subject to change in the future. Excludes Attorney Fees.

Immigration Benefit Request New Fee ($) Old Fee ($)
G–1041 Genealogy Index Search Request 65 20
G–1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Microfilm) 65 20
G–1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Textual Record) 65 35
I–90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card 455 365
I–102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document 445 330
I–129/129CW Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker 460 325
I–129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) 535 340
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative 535 420
I-131/I-131A Application for Travel Document 575 360
I–140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker 700 580
I-191 Application for Relief Under Former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 930 585
I-192 Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant 585/9301 585
I-193 Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa 585 585
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal 930 585
I–290B Notice of Appeal or Motion 675 630
I–360 Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant 435 405
I–485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status 1,140 985
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (certain applicants under the age of 14 years) 750 635
I–526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur 3,675 1,500
I–539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status 370 290
I–600/600A Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative/Application for Advance Petition Processing of Orphan Petition 775 720
I-601 Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability 930 585
I–601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver 630 585
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (Under Section 212(e) of the INA, as Amended) 930 585
I–687 Application for Status as a Temporary Resident under Section 245A
of the Immigration and Nationality Act
1,130 1,130
I–690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility 715 200
I–694 Notice of Appeal of Decision 890 755
I–698 Application to Adjust Status From Temporary to Permanent Resident
(Under Section 245A of the INA)
1,670 1,020
I–751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence 595 505
I–765 Application for Employment Authorization 410 380
I-800/800A Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative/Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country 775 720
I–800A Supp. 3 Request for Action on Approved Form I–800A 385 360
I–817 Application for Family Unity Benefits 600 435
I–824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition 465 405
I–829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions 3,750 3,750
I–910 Application for Civil Surgeon Designation 785 615
I–924 Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant
Investor Program
17,795 6,230
I–924A Annual Certification of Regional Center 3,035 0
I–929 Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U–1 Nonimmigrant 230 215
N–300 Application to File Declaration of Intention 270 250
N–336 Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings 700 650
N–400 Application for Naturalization2 640 595
N–470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes 355 330
N–565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document 555 345
N–600/N–600K Application for Certificate of Citizenship 1,170 600/5503
USCIS Immigrant Fee 220 165
Biometric Services Fee 85 85

Urgent News Regarding TPS – January 8, 2018

The decision to end TPS for El Salvador is a tragic disappointment for the 200,000 Salvadorians in the United States.  This decision will dramatically effect the lives of families, communities, and business throughout the nation.  If you have TPS, and you are from El Salvador, you may remain in the United States until September of 2019.  After that, you will not be in lawful status.  Any Salvadorians with TPS who are married to United States citizens, or have children who are citizens of the United States, should consult with an immigration attorney immediately.  Additionally, single parents of Salvadorian children in the United States should consult with an immigration attorney immediately to explore special relief that is available only to children.  Diaspora Law is available for consultation to discuss your options.

La decisión de terminar con TPS para El Salvador es una trágica decepción para los 200,000 en los Estados Unidos. Esta decisión afectará drásticamente la vida de las familias, las comunidades y los negocios en todo de los Estados Unidos. Si tiene TPS y es de El Salvador, puede permanecer en los Estados Unidos hasta septiembre de 2019. Después de eso, no estará en estatus legal. Todos los salvadoreños con TPS que están casados con ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos, o tienen hijos que son ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos, deben consultar de inmediato con un abogado de inmigración. Además, los padres solteros de niños salvadoreños en los Estados Unidos deben consultar con un abogado de inmigración inmediatamente para explorar un alivio especial que está disponible solo para los niños. Diaspora Law está disponible para consultas para discutir sus opciones.

Consultas de Abogados de Inmigración -“Licencia para practicar la Ley de Inmigración en los 50 estados”

Instrucciones de Consulta 

Nosotros en Diaspora Law siempre estamos dispuestos a proporcionar a nuestros clientes servicios de consulta prácticos y profesionales. Para programar una consulta con uno de nuestros abogados calificados y con experiencia, llámenos al 1-800-919-9280, envíenos un correo electrónico a, o envíenos un mensaje por Skype a “diasporalaw”.

Programando una consulta 

Para programar una consulta, contáctenos primero. Uno de nuestros administradores calificados coordinará una cita según su ubicación y disponibilidad de fecha / hora. También procesarán su pago y confirmarán su cita.

Tenga en cuenta que todas las consultas deben coordinarse y confirmarse con 24 horas de anticipación. En algunos casos, podemos ayudar en emergencias por teléfono o por Skype.

Pagos de consulta

Todas las consultas deben prepararse con al menos 24 horas de anticipación.

Los pagos con tarjeta de crédito o débito se pueden realizar por teléfono al 1-800-919-9280 o a través de nuestro sitio web También aceptamos pagos mediante depósito bancario en cualquier ubicación bancaria de Wells Fargo. Para realizar un pago mediante depósito bancario, contáctenos para obtener más información.

Para cualquier problema con los pagos a través de Paypal a través de nuestro sitio web o mediante depósito bancario, llame a nuestra oficina al 1-800-919-9280 para recibir asistencia. Los métodos de pago adicionales incluyen Western Union, Money Gram o Transferencia Bancaria.

Ubicaciones de consulta

Podemos brindar consultas en persona en una de nuestras muchas oficinas. Para consultas en persona, las citas deben hacerse con anticipación y prepararse. Las consultas por teléfono y por skype también están disponibles. Para coordinar una consulta en una de nuestras ubicaciones, contáctenos.

Consultas en el mismo día / emergencia 

En circunstancias limitadas, podemos facilitar una consulta el mismo día. Estas citas también deben prepararse, y confirmar la disponibilidad del abogado. Para asuntos de emergencia, podemos hablar con usted por teléfono, Skype o Google Chat. Para consultar a uno de nuestros especialistas para consultas de emergencia o citas el mismo día, por favor contactanos.

Immigration Attorney Consultations -“Licensed to practice Immigration Law in all 50 States”

Consultation Instructions

We at Diaspora Law are always ready to provide our clients with convenient and professional consultation services. To schedule a consultation with one of our qualified and experienced attorneys please call us at 1-800-919-9280, email us at, or message us via skype at “diasporalaw”.  Please understand that we may not be available if your appointment has not been pre-paid in advance, at times emergencies arise and attorneys have to leave to courts, jails, or other official meetings.

Scheduling a Consultation

To schedule a consultation please contact us first. One of our qualified administrators will then coordinate an appointment based on your location and date/time availability. They will also process your payment and confirm your appointment.

Please note that all consultations must be coordinated and confirmed with at least 24 hours in advance. In some instances, we might be able to assist in emergencies over the phone, or over skype.

Consultation Payments

Please note that all consultations must be pre-paid with at least 24 hours in advance.

Payments via credit or debit card can be made via telephone at 1-800-919-9280 or via our website

We also accept payments via bank deposit at any Wells Fargo bank location. To make a payment via bank deposit please contact us for more information.

For any issues with payments via Paypal through our website or via bank deposit, please call our office at 1-800-919-9280 for assistance. Additional methods of payment include Western Union, Money Gram, or Bank Wire.

Consultation Locations

We are able to provide in-person consultations at one of our many office locations. For in-person consultations, appointments must be made in advance and be pre-paid. Phone and skype consultations are also available. To coordinate a consultation at one of our locations, please contact us.

Same-Day-Payment / Emergency Consultations

In limited circumstances we may be able to facilitate a same-day consultation. These appointments must can be paid in the office, first come first serve, and subject to attorney availability. For emergency matters we may be able to speak with you over the phone, Skype, or Google Chat. To consult one of our specialists for emergency or same-day consultation appointments, please contact us. If you called to to schedule an appointment in advance, and you plan to pay the day of the appointment, we will not be able to confirm the attorney availability until the time of payment.

Elizabeth NJ Immigration Attorney

Do I need an Immigration Lawyer?

When dealing with any immigration issues, it can be difficult what route might be best. Immigration lawyers are trained and prepared to help clients understand their case. It is always best to hire a lawyer because Attorneys are very involved with cases in the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Executive Office of Immigration Review. Marriage petitions, fiance visas, family green card and spouse immigration, are some of the cases we can assist with efficiently.

Who should I hire?

Diaspora Law is an immigration firm focused on serving families and businesses navigate immigration law to obtain the best option available. You should hire our firm considering that we have been peer reviewed and client reviewed as an outstanding firm both in quality and experience. Our systems will even allow you to navigate the complex immigration system from the comfort of your own home. Complete some of our questionnaires, to get you started.

How much is a consultation?

Hiring an attorney for immigration matters is an important, step in the right path. Our office charges a flat fee of $100 per consultation. During the consultation, potential clients are provided with a pathway and an explanation of their legal issues. If retained, our attorneys will issue an engagement letter and a clear payment plan for the immigration issue at hand.

Elizabeth, NJ Immigration Lawyers

Elizabeth, NJ is home to the Elizabeth Immigration Court and Detention Center. Elizabeth Area immigration attorneys serve the region in all types of immigration cases. In order to find a reputable immigration attorney it is key to see attorney reviews, firm reviews, and schedule consultations to meet the attorneys and staff. Some of the best sources to decide on who to hire for an immigration matter include as well as the American Immigration Lawyers Association at

Spanish Immigration Attorney

If English is not your first language, it is also important to hire a firm with staff that speaks your language. Portuguese, and Spanish Speaking attorney at diaspora law may be able to help you navigate your case efficiently without charging extra fees. Do not let important items to be lost in translation. Call diaspora law today.

Schedule a Consultation

Do not hesitate to contact us and schedule an appointment today.

Elizabeth Immigration Lawyer: 908-248-2227

Via E-Mail:

Or Schedule Online:

Detained in York County Prison

york county prison detention center for detained immigrants


York County Prison
Philadelphia Field Office
3400 Concord Road, York, PA, 17402



Non-criminal, medium and maximum-security detainees:
Male and Female detainees: Daily: 8:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Male detainees only: Daily: 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Female detainees only: Every day except Sunday: 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Minimum-security and work release detainees:
Female detainees only: Daily: 8:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m., 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Male detainees only: Daily: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m., 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Work Release Female detainees only: Daily: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Work Release Male detainees only: Daily: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Legal representatives of detainees are authorized to visit their clients at any time.

Facility Main Telephone Line: (717) 840-7580
Field Office Main Telephone Line: (717) 840-7253

If you need information about a detainee that is housed at this facility, you may call (717) 840-7253 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. When you call, please have the individual’s biographical information ready, including first, last and hyphenated names, any aliases he or she may use, date of birth and country of birth.

Detainees cannot receive incoming calls. If you need to get in touch with a detainee, you must call (717) 840-7580 or (717) 840-7253 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and leave the detainee’s full name, alien registration number and a telephone number where you can be reached. He or she will be given your message.


  • Detainees must wear uniforms and are sometimes handcuffed.
  • Detainees are not free to leave the detention center, and movement within the facility is restricted.
  • Detainees have limited access to healthcare. Access to mental health care is also limited.
  • Food and dietary restrictions due to religious observances are limited.
  • Restricted access to communal religious services.
  • Limited access to outdoor spaces.
  • The proximity of the facility to industrial sanitation plant and its’ related odor/fumes limits fresh air in outdoor areas.


  • Overall facilities cleanliness is average.
  • All family or other social visits are non-contact.
  • Visits shall not exceed 30 minutes and shall not exceed three times each week.

If you or a loved one has been detained or is being held in a Detention Facility and need legal representation, please contact our Immigration Attorneys and Legal Counselors at Diaspora Law:  |   800-919-9280

DACA Latino detained for almost a year, finally released!

Daca Latino detained Tattoo, La Virgen

Tattoo, La Virgen

Close to three-quarters of a million immigrant youth have applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Deferred Action simply means that the Deportation that could be imminent will be deferred to a later time, and every two years these dreamers will have to re-apply and renew DACA. Accusations of “gang membership” are used to deport these youth. Under president-elect Trump, it is uncertain if DACA will continue to be provided, and how to guide the persecution of immigrants will be.

Our client had renewed his DACA already, had been paying taxes for almost three years, attended church, and helped his young nephews with school. Then, suddenly, one cold day in January 2016, he was a victim of an ICE raid; officers broke into his home and detained him – no explanations given.

Unbeknownst to our client, he had been observed online by the NJ Gang-Task-Force, an inter-agency law enforcement group comprised of Immigration, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Local Police. One of the agents was tasked with local youths’ activities and postings. Our client’s activity led to the misconception that he was a gang member.

Since 1992 ICE has collaborated closely with the task force. Since 2005, Immigration has used the label of “gang member” to place in removal undocumented youth from the Latino and Asian American communities. Many of these deportees did not have a criminal background or a history of violence.

Urban youth groups, sometimes intermingled with gang culture, thinking its “cool” to act as though they are associated with a gang, although for the most part, they are just seeking social acceptance. Unfortunately, ICE does not see it the same way. ICE began targeting MS-13, and 18th Street gang, but later extended the scope of their targets to include the Latin Kings, Vatos Locos, Mexican Mafia, Bloods, Crips, Spanish Gangster Disciples, La Raza, Border Brothers, Brown Pride, Norteños, Florencia 13, Tiny Rascal, Asian Boyz, and Jamaican Posse.

There are no clear laws or ICE procedures that clarify who is a true gang member, an associate, or a mere fan of the urban culture. However, if anyone posts on social media anything slightly related to street and gang culture, they can be subject to an ICE raid and, subsequently, persecution. Be careful with what you post!

Immigration Judge Tadal in the Elizabeth Immigration court provided a complete review of our client’s history and accepted our request for bond. She offered a very fair review and an opinion finding that our client lacked any criminal or violent history and that there was sufficient evidence to show he is not a danger to the community. The role of community organizations and experts continues to be vital. No legal representation could be fully complete if the city is not involved in helping those who are detained. United We Dream and Unidad Latina en Accion were instrumental in obtaining the release of not only this DACAmented youth, as well as Joshua Mason who shared with the court his experience rehabilitating youth from gang influence.

According to the White House, the U.S. could see its GDP level increase by 0.4 percent, or $90 billion in real GDP, by 2014 if Obama’s Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs are implemented. DACA has changed many lives across the nation; it has allowed families to purchase homes and cars, and even go into higher education.

Unfortunately, DACA is not the end of the story. Immigrant communities continue to demand more accountability for ICE abuses and a more permanent solution to integrate immigrants into society.


Whitehouse Report:

Immigration Report:

Gang Expert: Joshua Mason

How To Find A Good Immigration Lawyer

Finding an immigration lawyer can be a daunting task. Finding a good immigration lawyer can be even more daunting. The better way to think about it however,  is how can I find the right immigration lawyer?

For most people, finding a lawyer happens at the last moment when you suddenly need one. Often when this occurs there are usually two major concerns — is this person actually going to be able to help me? and how much is this going to cost? Needless to say rushing through the process of finding competent representation coupled with concerns about money are never a good mix. Not only can mistakes be made, but you might even incur thousands of dollars in unnecessary legal costs and still have a negative outcome in your case.

Overall, the most important thing to understand when starting your search for the right immigration lawyer is that immigration law can be very complex and the information available out there can be inaccurate. Immigration mistakes or errors can end up costing your family money or even worst federal imprisonment or deportation. Having or finding the right immigration lawyer might very well be the most important investment you will ever make to ensure your family’s future in the United States. As is often said, sometimes it’s better to leave it to the professionals.

To make this process easier, we’re going walk you through how to find the right immigration lawyer.

How To Find The Right Immigration Lawyer before an emergency arises

Being proactive in your search for the right immigration lawyer is always the better option. Taking the appropriate steps and doing due-diligence and research can greatly provide a sense of relief and confidence if a legal issue should arise in the future. By taking the time to research an immigration lawyer ahead of time gives you the ability to focus on what’s most important, your case. But where do you begin?

Before you begin your search for an immigration lawyer, here are Four Steps to take before your first meeting with an Immigration Lawyer. There you will find a checklist that will help you enter your first consultation prepared and help guide you when searching for the right immigration lawyer.

Finding The Right Immigration Attorney Time to Find a Lawyer!

Now that you’ve gone over the checklist to prepare for your search, let’s talk about the actual search for the right immigration lawyer for you and your family. There are many ways to find a good immigration lawyer. The first that might come to mind might be checking online but often great lawyers can be found through personal references. Ask family and friends. Contact university or other school alumni associations. You can even call your local immigration advocacy organizations in your community and check to see if they have a list of immigration lawyers that they would recommend. You can also check with your local library or community social clubs that target specific immigrant communities. And be sure to also give consideration to community reputation. Has the lawyer established a good name for himself or herself in the community? If your lawyer has a sterling community reputation, chances are it was earned through hard work. Although there is no one way to search for an immigration lawyer, personal or community references can be very helpful in distinguishing a good lawyer from a bad one. A strong reference from a friend or colleague is often the best indicator of whether a lawyer is good or not.

As you begin to make phone calls or appointments for first-time consultations with an immigration lawyer, there are several important things to consider. We’ve outlined some of the most important things to keep in mind as you find the right immigration lawyer for you and your family. Please keep in mind that a good lawyer or the right lawyer for you will always be open to answering your questions and provide the following information. If a lawyer is hesitant to answer your questions or gives misleading information, it might be worth considering finding another lawyer. The difference between a bad lawyer and a great lawyer is the ability for that lawyer to clearly communicate every step of the process regarding your case, all fees that might be included and be willing to answer any question you might have. Don’t be shy and ask if you are unclear or unsure about any step in the process!

Another important question that sits at the heart of most important things to consider when searching for the right immigration lawyer is cost. We’ve got a great outline to help navigate the cost of legal fees and more here: How Do Legal Fees Work?

Outside of cost however, what are some other things you should consider during your search? Here are more helpful tips:

What is the Lawyer’s Focus of practice?

Within immigration law, there are a variety of subspecialties – employment, family, asylum, deportation, etc. Consider going with a lawyer with a strong background in your particular type of case. Please also be aware that many lawyers list immigration law as one of a variety of types of matters they handle. It is tough enough for a full-time immigration lawyer to keep abreast of all of the developments in the practice area. It is nearly impossible to be a top-notch immigration lawyer while trying to balance being an expert in many other practice areas as well. So be mindful and be sure to find out if the lawyer is an immigration exclusive lawyer or not. While someone can be a good immigration lawyer and also be very competent in another practice area, watch out for lawyers where immigration is one practice area on a laundry list of claimed specialties. Make sure that the lawyer that you choose is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). AILA is probably the immigration lawyer’s best resource for up-to-date information. While being an AILA member is not a sure sign of quality, it may indicate that the lawyer is keeping up with this rapidly changing field of law.

How Many Years of Practice Do They Have? How Qualified Are They?

The amount of years a lawyer has been in practice seems like an obvious consideration when choosing a lawyer. But choosing a lawyer with multiple years of experience isn’t always the best choice. In truth, it depends on what your needs are and the experience of the lawyer. Much of immigration law is unwritten and the longer one is in practice, the better one’s instincts become. But the opposite can be true as well. Lawyers who have been practicing for years may become lazy about staying up to date on the latest changes. Some of the worst lawyers practicing immigration law in this country are the ones who have been around the longest. So try and strike a balance.

Another thing to consider is their Board Certification. A few states certify lawyers in the practice of immigration law. If your lawyer practices in a state that does, make sure he or she has this credential. It is no guarantee of quality, but it can certainly be an indicator. Also, give some consideration to the the lawyer’s educational background. While many fine lawyers have come out of mediocre law schools and lousy lawyers come out of the best law schools, where a lawyer went to school can still be an indicator of a person’s ability to achieve. With numerous sources of information now available in the internet, you can often find out not only where a lawyer went to school but awards they may have won, publications they have in well-known Law Journals or even extra-curricular activities they engaged in during Law School that might benefit your case or your community.

Who is Doing the Work? A Lawyer or a Paralegal?

One of the ways immigration practices are attempting to keep costs down is to hire paralegals and legal assistants to do much of the work that immigration lawyers used to do on their own. In some markets, this may be the only way to keep costs low enough for people to afford to hire a lawyer. But you should know what you are paying for. Some of the most expensive immigration firms still with extremely high ratios of paralegals – sometimes as high as ten paralegals per lawyer. A more modest ratio of one to two paralegals per lawyer may mean that the firm is not too overloaded with work and it may mean that the lawyer you thought you were hiring actually knows what is happening on your case and has the time to speak with you about your case.

Local vs. National: Should I always use a Local Lawyer?

Unlike most fields of law, the location of your immigration lawyer is not nearly as important as you might think. Immigration law is strictly federal in nature. This means that it is basically the same across the country and a lawyer in one state practices under the same system as in every other state. Immigration law is almost entirely administrative as well. That means that most petitions are submitted by mail and personal appearances by an immigration lawyer are becoming less and less common. It is recommended that you get a local immigration lawyer if your case involves appearances before local immigration judges or the local U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) district office. In these cases, local lawyers know the personalities and procedures of the local immigration office better than someone across the country. If your case involves filings at a regional service center or dealings with consulates, then it doesn’t matter where your lawyer’s office is.

We hope that this outline helps you to find the right immigration lawyer for you and your family. No matter who you choose to represent your case, what’s most important is that you find a lawyer who really seems to care about your case. These are the lawyers that will go above and beyond to represent you and help you with your legal needs. Taking the time to research an immigration lawyer and finding the right one for your legal situation is the best investment you can provide to yourself and your family. When it comes to US immigration there are no shortcuts. The process is long, hard and takes time. But with the right immigration lawyer to guide you, US immigration can be a much less daunting affair.

If you require legal representation or are looking to begin your immigration journey, please contact our offices at Diaspora Law. We’ve got great references from our local community too! To check out our community partner organizations, click here.