Month: January 2016

U.S. workers sue Walt Disney World & Indian staffing company over lost jobs

Leo Perrero, a former employee at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has joined other former Walt Disney World employees in a lawsuit against the company.  During Perrero’s last few months, he trained a temporary immigrant from India to do his work.  He had hoped that he would be able to stay employed at Walt Disney World despite losing his technology job.  Perrero quickly discovered that would not be the case.  Nearly all 250 tech workers that were dismissed will most likely not be rehired.  

Perrero is now working with another American that lost her job at Disney, Dena Moore. They filed lawsuits in federal court in Tampa, Florida, against Disney, HCL, and Cognizant.  HCL and Cognizant brought in the foreign workers that replaced them.  Their lawsuits claim that the companies planned to break the law by using temporary H-1B visas to bring in immigrant workers, with the full knowledge that Americans would be losing their jobs.  This was the first time that Americans have sued both the outsourcing companies and the American company that contracted with those companies, claiming that the companies intentionally replaced Americans with H-1B workers.  The lawsuits that they filed were based on the rules set by congress which state that employers are required to declare to the Department of Labor that hiring foreigners on visas “will not adversely affect the working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed.”

WDW

Ms. Moore trained her replacement as well.  Following her lay off, she applied for over 150 other jobs at Disney and did not get any of them.  “I don’t have to be angry or cause drama.  But they are just doing things to save a buck, and it’s making Americans poor,” said Ms. Moore.

Upwards of 30 former Disney employees have filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, with claims that they faced discrimination as American citizens.  The Labor Department is investigating the outsourcing companies that are involved in the mass lay off of hundreds of American workers in 2015.  

“Was I negatively affected? Yeah, I was. I lost my job,” said Ms. Moore.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D) Florida, has been very publicly against Disney’s layoffs, offered a bill to lower the H-1B quota significantly.  The issue even surfaced during the presidential race, where Sen. Ted Cruz proposed a bill with Sen. Jeff Sessions to drastically raise the minimum wage for H-1B workers to $110,000 a year, in an attempt to discourage outsourcing companies from using the foreign workers to lower wages.  

What happens if a dispute arises between the two spouses in marriage based green card case?

What happens if a dispute arises between the two spouses in marriage based green card case? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law around the United States and based here in St. Louis, Missouri.

Every now and then we get a call here at the office when trouble arises between a husband and a wife, what we’re talking about today are green card cases, places where the spouse has sponsored the non-citizen for a green card. A US citizen has the right to sponsor their husband or wife for a green card and sometimes those cases can take a long time. During the pennancy of the case, every now and then a dispute arises and the question is who does the attorney represent at that point.

Generally for an attorney to represent two people at the same time they both have to consent to the dual representations so, if the two parties are on the same wave length and have the same desires it’s perfectly acceptable for one attorney to represent a husband and a wife in a immigration case. We’re talking about he ethical rules related to a attorney representing both and then what happens if a dispute arises.

In a typical example the US citizen sponsors, the non-citizen for a green card in a case can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months depending on how busy the local office and how complicated the case is. Sometimes a dispute arises and the US citizen or the non-citizen wants the attorney to represent just them from that point forward. How does this play out?

We’ve actually had on two different occasions here at the office, a situation where our phone rings and it’s either the US citizen or the non-citizen and they want to talk to us about a fight that they’ve had with the other spouse. That puts us in a very delicate situation because as soon as a conflict arises between the two spouses it really ties our hands because we have to be very careful with what we disclose to the person that’s calling us and to the one who didn’t call us. We really don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the dual representation until such time as it becomes clear that the parties have irreconcilable differences and we won’t be able to continue anymore.

Because what has happened is the US citizen has called and said, “how do I do everything that I can to keep that no good spouse of mine from getting a green card?” Then shortly thereafter we get a call from the foreign spouse asking, “what can I do to keep my green card?” Whenever we have those conversations that puts us in a really tricky situation and if a client goes that far that they want our advice on how to thwart the objectives of the other spouse we have to recuse ourselves and we have to get out of the case. We’ll typically refer both the US citizen and non-citizen to two different attorneys, one each so that their interests can be protected because we can’t favor one client over the other. We can’t pick the US citizen over the non-citizen or do anything because we’re, we have a ton of information about the marital relationship and it wouldn’t be fair for us to pick and choose one spouse or the other.

If you are having conflicts with your spouse you need to be real careful with how you phrase it with your attorney and if, in fact things are irreconcilable your attorney is going to have to recuse himself and not represent either of you from that point forward. If on the other hand it’s just a minor blip and things are able to be worked out and nobody has soured the relationship or soured the relationship with the attorney, then the attorney should be able to keep on representing both sides. These are the kind of things to think about if you’re gong through a marriage based case, you want to make sure that your attorney represents both sides equally and fairly and that nobody gains the upper hand by trying to get the former attorney to represent just their interests. Because when the gloves are off and the couple’s fighting the interests do become very different, the US citizen typically wants to stop the process and to not sponsor the non-citizen anymore and the non-citizen wants to do everything they can to remain in the United States and keep the green card.

That’s the typical situation, keep the green card process going if they can. If you have any questions about this or if you have a questions about dual representation in the immigration context or what you should be thinking about when hiring an attorney. Give us a call at 314-961-8200 or you can email us at Jim@HackingLawPractice.com. Thanks.

 

 

DHS requests 90 additional days to revise OPT STEM extensions

The Obama administration is asking for an additional 90 more days to revise a program designed to allow international students to work at the completion of their studies, while maintaining their F1 student status. The program is called optional practical training period and the OPT program has been under attack in federal court. Now, the Department of Homeland Security is asking for additional time to comply with a prior court order.

At issue is a 2008 rule on optional practical training that U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle  vacated in finding that DHS did not follow proper procedure in changing the OPT program. The government says that it is trying to avoid substantial hardship for thousands of international students and their employers. It is unclear at this point as to what will happen to the students currently working on the apparently flawed program.

The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers has challenged the legality of the 2008 rule, which increased the OPT period by 17 months for foreign students with certain STEM majors (science, technology, engineering and math), claiming that the program is a default guest worker program. In August of 2015, Judge Huvelle vacated the rule, after concluding that the government failed to provide notice and comment to affected parties and that DHS had failed to demonstrate that an emergency situation existed.

That decision was stayed by the judge until mid-February 2016 to allow the government to promulgate a new rule through the proper procedures. DHS issued a new proposed rule last October that would boost the OPT extension for STEM graduates from 17 months to 24 months. This would allow STEM students to work for up to three years and, more importantly, go through the H1b visa lottery on several occasions.

We will keep you updated as to what Judge Huvelle decides to do with the extension request.
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Can having smoked marijuana get me in trouble at my green card medical exam?

The short answer is yes.

Although negative consequences of light marijuana use (as opposed to habitual) are not very likely, they are certainly possible.

For one, the doctor performing the medical exam asks about medical history, including use of illegal drugs. Although random drug screening is not a required part of the examination, the doctor can decide to institute this testing, making reference to the specific individual’s “history, behavior and physical appearance.”

Some factors that doctors are told to look for when deciding on a drug test are:

  • History of any substance abuse or dependence with a specific substance listed in Schedules I through V of Section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act [marijuana is covered under in these sections of the Controlled Substances Act].
  • Applicant-provided information that appears to contradict information provided by family members or from other records, such as police, military, school, and employment.
  • Unexplained gaps of time in the applicant’s past schooling or employment.
  • Evidence of unreliable or false information given during the interview or examination.
  • Any demeanor, presentation, or findings that the examining physician associates with substance abuse or dependence, such as motor ability and interpersonal skills; deepened skin coloring, needle scarring, or skin ulcers along the veins in the arms or legs; or a hard, bumpy, or shrunken liver.
  • Evidence or appearance of intoxication with any substance during the examination.
  • Disturbed behavior that might be associated with a substance-related disorder.
  • Follow-up of an initial positive drug screen or a history of a positive drug-screening test.

If a doctor decides to engage in random drug screening, they can requests tests with as little as 24 to 48 hours of notice. It is also worth noting that, while drug testing is not an automatic requirement, marijuana use can show up in a routine urine test, which in turn could trigger any of the more rigorous testing mentioned above.

If a doctor determines that an applicant has a substance abuse problem, this can be a bar on their adjustment of status.

 

Feds charge immigration attorney with fabricating documents

Immigration attorney Gnoleba Seri was recently arrested on counts of fraud and aggravated identity theft.  Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Timothy Houghton, Acting District Director of the New York District of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), announced the arrest on Jan 14.  Seri was arrested by HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) in Brooklyn, NY, and was brought before Hon. James C. Francis IV.

“Gnoleba Seri allegedly used his legal knowledge to circumvent the law and forge documents that are critical to obtaining an immigrant visa.  The strength of the United States’ immigration system rests on the integrity of its process, and this office and our law enforcement partners will hold accountable those who undermine that process,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.  

Handcuffs

“We are proud to stand by our partners today to send a message that U.S. immigration fraud will not be tolerated.  We are committed to ensuring the integrity of our nation’s immigration system,” commented Acting District Director Timothy Houghton.  

Acting Special-Agent-in-Charge Glenn Sorge went on to say: “Gnoleba Seri allegedly abused the special trust bestowed upon him as an immigration attorney to commit fraud and identity theft.  When individuals falsify immigration documents, the system is severely undermined and the security of our nation is put at risk.  HSI is committed to working with its law enforcement partners to ensure fraudsters are identified and brought to justice.”

The complaint that was unsealed in federal court stated:

Between October 2012 and April 2015, GNOLEBA SERI, a licensed immigration attorney working in New York, New York, and Brooklyn, New York, engaged in a scheme to use personal information contained in legitimate immigration documents for fraudulent purposes.  In his role as an immigration attorney, SERI submitted falsified and forged I-864 Forms (affidavits of support for those seeking immigrant visas) in support of his clients’ applications for immigration visas and for legal permanent resident status.  Specifically, SERI received legitimate I-864 Forms, tax information, pay stubs, and W-2 forms from individuals sponsoring his clients, and then fraudulently submitted these documents in applications for other clients.  That is, SERI submitted I-846 Forms that listed individuals as financial sponsors who had never met the people they were purportedly agreeing to sponsor.  Those I-846 Forms included the sponsors’ real names, identifying information, and financial information, as well as forged signatures.  These fraudulent and forged I-864 Forms all listed SERI as the preparer, and many of them were notarized by him.

Attorney Gnoleba Seri, of Brooklyn, is charged with one count of aggravated identity theft, which has a mandatory minimum sentence of two years; one count of visa fraud, which has a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; and finally one count of mail fraud which has a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

New guidance for employers who want to audit their own company I-9s

Federal immigration law requires employers to verify that every employee has proper work authorization.  The form that employers are supposed to use to document an individual’s eligibility to work is called an I-9.

Employers and human resources personnel sometimes wonder whether they can and/or should review their internal I-9 files. Sometimes, the I-9 folder is a mess and incomplete.  Is it better to bury your head in the sand or to take the necessary steps to get your company’s I-9 files in compliance.

Given the fines involved for I-9 missteps, the best course of action is usually going to be to conduct an internal audit of the I-9 records.

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Justice recently issued a joint memo with some tips for employers to keep in mind when considering an audit, including:

  1. The law does allow the employer to conduct an internal audit.  But the audit either needs to be of each and every I-9 record or of a group of randomly selected records that are not targeted at one particular individual or group of individuals.
  2. The existence of the audit and the purpose of the audit should be conveyed to the employees in a neutral, non-threatening manner. Individuals cannot be targeted or intimidated with a review of their I-9 file.
  3. Transparency is the key.  The employees should be notified in writing of the audit.  If a discrepancy in a record exists, the employee should be notified discreetly and given documentation of the problem.  If the employee is not fluent in English, efforts should be made to explain the situation to him or he in their native language.
  4. If an error is found in Section 1, the employee should be asked to correct it and initial and date the correction.  The employee can get help from a translator or assistant.  The translator or assistant’s help should be noted.  If the employee no longer works for the employer, documentation of the error should be written out, signed, dated and attached to the original I-9.
  5. For Sections 2 and 3, the employer can make corrections and sign/date the corrections. Prior errors or omissions should not be blocked out.  A record needs to remain of what happened originally and what edits were made.
  6. If no I-9 was completed for a particular employee, a new I-9 on the current form should be completed immediately.  The form should not be backdated, but should state the actual date of employment and the actual date the form was completed.  An explanation should be prepared on a separate sheet, signed, and stapled to the new I-9.
  7. If an employer realizes that an employee’s I-9 does not contain sufficient documentation to satisfy the requirements, the employee should be asked to present documentation sufficient to meet the requirements of the current form of I-9.  The completed, signed and dated Section 2 or 3 of the current version should be stapled to the prior, incomplete I-9.
  8. An employer should never request specific documents when preparing the I-9.  It is the employee’s choice as to what documents to present.
  9. If an employer’s I-9 records are a mess, ICE cautions that the employer should not simply obtain new I-9 forms from all employees.  “Without sufficient justification, requiring an existing employee to complete a new I-9 may raise discrimination concerns.  If a new I-9 form is prepared, it should be stapled to the prior I-9 form.
  10. An employee should be given a reasonable amount of time to present work authorization documents, when legally requested to do so.
  11. If during the I-9 audit process, an employee admits that he or she is not work authorized, the employee must be terminated.  It is unlawful for an employer to knowingly employ someone who lacks work authorization.  “Knowing” includes not only actual knowledge, but also knowledge which may be reasonably inferred through knowledge of certain facts and circumstances that a reasonable person would know.
  12. If an employee lacked the authority to work previously, but now has current employment authorization, termination of the employee is not required.  An employer may continue to employ the employee upon completion of a new I-9 with proper documentation.
  13. An employer is authorized to have a third-party conduct the audit, but the employer is not absolved of civil penalties simply because they hired a third-party to conduct the audit.

The I-9 process appears deceptively simple.  However, there are small and large pitfalls associated with the I-9 process and can lead to big problems for an employer.  Don’t go through this process empty-handed.

Click Here To Download Your Free “I-9 Internal Audit Checklist”

What do I need to know about sponsoring my brother or sister for a green card?

I was on the phone with a client yesterday. He just became a US citizen. He was wondering what does it take to bring his brother or sister to the United States.

Now you’re probably aware that there’s a long, long wait for brothers and sister of US citizens to come to the United States. The reason for this is that Congress has placed a cap on the number of these visas that are available every year. Depending on your country of origin the wait can be as short as 13 years or as long as 20 years based on current numbers at the State Department that they issue through the visa bulletin.

The first thing you need to know is that you have to be a US citizen to sponsor your brother or sister. If you’re in the United States on a green card and you’re thinking about sponsoring your brother or sister, you’re not going to be able to do it until you become a US citizen.

The next thing you need to know is that long wait. It’s a long, long wait and the process works like this. Once you become a US citizen you file what’s called an I-130. It’s a petition for an alien relative and that goes to USCIS. Now because of the long delay on visas being available because that line for a green card to come to the United States is so long, USCIS doesn’t place a high priority on adjudicating and deciding these I-130s. When you file your I-130 you’ll get a receipt notice and then you won’t hear from immigration for quite some time. Lately we’ve been seeing people get their decisions about 4 or 5 years after their file.

One thing to really keep in mind is that you have to keep your address up to date with USCIS because if you move and they can’t forward the mail to you, you might miss a deadline to reply to a question from the Immigration Service or you might miss the approval altogether. You really want to make sure that if you have any kind of pending I-130 for your brother or sister that you’re updating USCIS with your address.

Another thing we’ve been noticing is that we’ve been getting a lot of push-back from USCIS on birth certificates and on documents related to the brother or sister relationship. What do I mean? Well one thing is, a lot of people that we work with come from countries where birth certificates were not so prevalent back in the home country when the US citizens sponsor or the foreign beneficiary were born. Let’s say people were born back in India in 1956. Well back in India there might not have been birth certificates as readily available as there are now.

Now most countries have adopted a birth certificate generation system and are issuing birth certificates now, even for people born way back when but the problem is USCIS is taking a position that these late filed birth certificates, these ones that are generated years and years later when the people are adults are not as compelling evidence as USCIS would like. I think this is generally ridiculous but I can see their point. They want to make sure that there is a brother/sister relationship and the birth certificate is an important way to do that.

You might be forced to document the relationship between your brother and your sister and you in a fashion more than just submitting the birth certificates. This means you might have to submit a lot of secondary evidence that shows that you’re in fact brother and sister. This can include affidavits from older siblings or relatives, school records, family records, any kind of documents that you see that demonstrate that you are together; photographs of the two of you, school pictures. These are the kinds of things that really work.

One problem in particular is that when the parents of the brother and sister who are applying have passed away, it prevents us from being able to get DNA which is the silver bullet in establishing the brother-sister relationship. USCIS and the State Department won’t except a match just between a brother and sister. You have to go up to the parents and get their DNA and then establish with the help of a DNA lab that the brother and sister are in fact related. This can be difficult, time consuming and expensive.

You really want to think this through when you’re getting the process started because what you don’t want is to file your I-130 which is a relatively straightforward process and then the case languishes for 4 or 5 years and then all of a sudden you get a request for evidence from USCIS giving you 60 days to basically prove that your brother is your brother or your sister is your sister and you’re scrambling over those 60 days to either do DNA lab work or find old documents. Very, very stressful and we’ve seen more than one case get denied because the family was not able to get their documents together. These are cases where the people filed on their own and came to us after the request for evidence was issued.

One other thing to keep in mind, when we do the I-130 here at our office, we sort of split up the legal fee and the processing fee into 2 parts. One is the I-130 part with USCIS and the other is the State Department part with the NVC and the Embassy.

Right now we are getting started on a brother of a US citizen I-130 and so we basically only charge half our legal fee for that because nobody knows where we are all going to be 13 years from now. You might want to use a different attorney or I might never be around or whatever, you might not be around so we don’t charge the whole thing upfront, we do it split 50-50 and then on the backend right now it’s pretty exciting. We are getting to help someone who had filed for her brother from Bosnia 13 years ago and now we are going through the second part of the process with the National Visa Center and the Embassy because his visa number finally became available and he’s in line now to get his green card and come to the United states.

If you have any questions about this crazy system we have of sponsoring brothers and sisters to the United States to get them a green card, give us a call (314) 961-8200 or you can email us jim@hackinglawpractice.com. Thanks a lot.

Does citizenship applicant have to disclose criminal charges that were dismissed?

People often get excited when the time comes to apply for citizenship.  They look over the N-400 Naturalization Application and think that it is just a matter of filling out a form.

But what people don’t realize is that, for the most part, all of the questions on the form are designed to address issues or reasons why the applicant may not be eligible to become a citizen at the present time.

One area that often confuses people is prior arrests, both those that end up in a conviction and those that don’t.

This article is focused on lawful permanent residents who have been arrested, but the criminal charges were ultimately dismissed.  Does the arrest itself have to be disclosed?

Natz Ceremony - swearing in

Absolutely.  The question about arrest, detentions and citations has gotten more and more specific over the years.  In almost every situation conceivable, the immigrant should disclose the arrest.  Non-disclosure of an arrest – even if it never resulted in a criminal prosecution or conviction – could be a reason that your naturalization case gets denied.

One important thing to think about, by the way, is that if you are an immigrant who has not yet naturalized, you really should consult with a competent immigration attorney before applying for citizenship.  You may think that your arrest or criminal charges are “no big deal,” but you really need to get the opinion of a competent immigration attorney.

In any event, immigrants sometimes think that if no charges were ultimately filed or if their “attorney took care of it,” that it does not need to be disclosed.

Our office has seen a fair amount of green card holders who walk in to our conference room carrying an N-400 denial notice.  Many times, their denial is based upon their failure to disclose an arrest or some other interaction with law enforcement or immigration officials.  This is often frustrating because if the applicant had consulted with us before filing, we would have advised them to make a full disclosure because an arrest – standing alone – does not usually justify the denial of a naturalization application.

If you have questions about an arrest, you should call us and we can talk it through.  Our phone number is (314) 961-8200 or you can email us at info@hackinglapwractice.com.

What happens if the asylum officer denies my case?

You may be wondering, what happens if the asylum officer denies my case?
Someone who applies for asylum may not appeal a decision of the asylum officer.  The law does not provide for a direct appeal of a denied asylum claim.  If the asylum officer made an error or failed to consider certain evidence, you may file a motion to reconsider or reopen.  These motions are rarely granted and should only be filed when the officer has made a serious mistake in your case.  The motion to reconsider or reopen is filed with the asylum office that handled your interview.  In essence, you are asking that office to reverse the decision of the individual asylum officer who originally handled your case.  As you may understand, the asylum office is usually very reluctant to reverse one of its own officers.
USCIS Asylum_0
So if I can’t appeal, what happens next?
If USCIS denies the case and the applicant has no other legal basis to be in the United States, the asylum officer is required to refer the case to an immigration judge for adjudication of the claim in removal proceedings.  The asylum officer is also required to issue a referral notice to the immigration judge which includes a list of the reasons for the referral.  The officer also issues a notice to appear to the asylum applicant which begins the deportation process.  You are allowed to raise asylum as a defense to deportation and have the immigration judge conduct their own assessment of the claim.  However, unlike the asylum interview which is supposed to be non-adversarial, in immigration court, there will be a government attorney whose job it is to challenge your asylum claim, poke holes in your story and try and convince the judge to deny you asylum.  Being sent to deportation court makes getting asylum a whole lot harder.

What should an F-1 student do if they get arrested in the United States?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States and out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. International students who come to the United States on an F-1 student visa sometimes get into criminal trouble. We see this a lot with shoplifting, DUIs, little petty offenses. Obviously, more serious things can happen. We recently handled a case where a fellow had broken into his girlfriend’s apartment and assaulted her. Just like anybody else, international students are not the only ones who get into criminal trouble, but when an international student gets into criminal trouble, there are special concerns and considerations that have to be taken into account.

What am I talking about? An F-1 student visa is a non-immigrant visa. This means that there’s no long-term, immigration benefit to someone on an F-1. They may later switch to an immigrant visa, but when you’re in the United States on a non-immigrant visa, I like to tell people that you’re barely here. You are in the United States physically, but you’re here at the good graces of the United States. If the United States decides that you’re going to go, you’re going to go. There aren’t a lot of protections available to kids here in the United States on an F-1 visa who get into criminal trouble.

The first thing that you have to take into account is that you need to talk an immigration attorney. You want to make sure that when you talk to your criminal defense attorney that the two attorneys are talking back and forth because sometimes a deal that is good for a US citizen or green card holder would not be as good for the international student. A lot of times, the most serious consequences of a criminal offense are to have the international student deported. There aren’t a lot of protections available. One of the things that you have to keep in mind is that the international student could face what’s called expedited removal. Expedited removal is sort of a summary dismissal of the individual from the United States. You don’t have a lot of due process, you don’t even get the chance to go in front of a judge.

If you’re placed into expedited removal, you’re going to face serious trouble. You want to make sure that you are taking in account all the immigration consequences of any guilty pleas that the criminal defense attorney might be recommending. You’re going to get arrested and you’re going to get fingerprinted, and then you’re probably going to get a court date. You’re most likely going to be allowed out, unless the offense was particularly serious. You might have to stay in jail while the criminal charges are pending, but if you’re allowed out you need to make sure to talk to an immigration attorney. If you’re stuck in jail, you need to find a friend or a family member to contact the immigration attorney.

One of the things that we see a lot of is that the international student is ashamed or worried about talking to their family. We had a student recently who got caught shoplifting at a Wal-Mart and she was very reluctant to deal with the situation because she was going to have to face her parents. She was able to get a friend to help her pay for the legal fees and the criminal charge fees so that she can try to handle this on her own, but we don’t necessarily recommend that. If you can, you should tell your parents, you should tell your family and explain to them the situation because you don’t want to be making decisions on your own that could have long-term consequences for you from an immigration perspective.

When you get arrested, don’t say anything to the police. Tell them that you want to talk to a lawyer. Tell them that you’re not going to give them a statement. Don’t give them any kind of additional evidence to use against you. They will use it against you. Once your criminal proceedings are over, if you’ve taken a guilty plea, you could be placed under removal proceedings, deportation proceedings, even if your criminal defense attorney told you that you weren’t going to. If you have questions about what to do if you get arrested or what to do if you’re facing criminal charges as an F-1 international student, make sure to talk to an immigration attorney. We handle these cases here at our office pretty frequently, but where ever you are in the United States, you do not want to do this alone. You should not rely solely on the advice of your criminal defense attorney. A good criminal defense attorney is going to tell you to consult with an immigration attorney. We’re always very happy when international students come to us from criminal defense attorneys because that tells us that the criminal defense attorney know what’s going on.

It’s so complicated to figure out what’s going to happen to the immigrant based on the criminal charges. Every time we get a case like this, we start at the beginning and we look at all possible defenses and all available relief. We encourage you to contact an immigration attorney if you’re facing a criminal situation like this. Don’t be ashamed, don’t be worried, it’s just a mistake, it’s not your whole life. It doesn’t define you. You really need to make sure that you do what you can to protect yourself from an immigration standpoint so hopefully you can continue going to school, complete your studies, and go on about your life. If you have any questions, give us a call. 314-961-8200. You can email us at jim@hackinglawpractice.com. Thanks.