Posts tagged Immigration Law
Reflections on what has happened.

My original intent a few months ago was to start a small immigration law blog for my law practice's website. The ideas and topics discussed would be simple and straight forward for anyone confused by the immigration process. As you can see in the bio on this page, I am a solo practitioner focusing on immigration, but also doing some landlord/tenant, wills, and any legal work that piques my interest. You will also find that I have been, and continue to be, a Lieutenant with the Fire Department of New York City. I practice immigration law because it manages to be both intellectually stimulating and manageable with my schedule, along with the tremendous privilege of helping people. It should not surprise you, then, that the events of the last few days- that Donald Trump has been elected President- have led many clients, family members, friends and even adversaries to ask my thoughts and advice on how to proceed. What follows here are those thoughts on our situation:

First, and most important for immigrants, be very cautious and patient. Immigrants are notoriously taken advantage of, with frauds knowing the desperation many face in seeking a better life. There is no magic bullet, and no one knows EXACTLY what is coming in the next few months. Anyone who asks for your hard earned money while promising you anything is likely using your emotions against you. Find a reputable immigration attorney or organization who can give you honest answers; if you do not want to set up a consultation with a solo-attorney such as myself, you can contact me and I can show you organizations that can talk with you.

Second, Donald Trump has been elected President- not king. He does not have the power to make all the changes he has spoken about, at least not in the immediate future. A complicated separation of powers exists between the different branches of government. Furthermore, you are entitled to Due Process under the Constitution of the United States. There will be many lawyers, religious leaders, community members, and even members of his own political party who will be here fighting for you. His Presidency will only encourage us to fight harder. Do not become overcome by fear. There are thousands of lawyers, citizens, and politicians who will furiously fight for you. Remember that the vast majority of Americans do not support such a foolish immigration policy; in fact a majority did not even vote for him.

And lastly, for over a year, we have been bombarded by quotes, opinions, and news stories about immigrants as if they are lifeless statistics. Immigrants are not a piece of policy, a treaty, or a Supreme Court case- they are human beings, with lives, families, fears, and hopes. Do not ever forget your own humanity. As many people in this country now feel emboldened to express their hatred of the unknown, remember that history will laugh at their ignorance. This country moves very slowly in the direction of progress and acceptance.

This law practice is a business, albeit a small one. As a lawyer it is my job to find a client who needs help, and to use the law to fight on their behalf. I understand the obligations I have as a professional, but I am also a human being. If you want to contact me by phone briefly (718-679-4602) or email (michael@michaelwtracey.com), to talk about your current immigration status, how I can help, or even what your thoughts and fears are, please, feel free to talk.

 

 

Become a Citizen for $250 (plus filing fees)

One of the most important goals of my practice is to provide a low cost option for clients who wish to become citizens of the United States. When I first began talking with fellow attorneys and others in the immigration field, they were surprised that I intended to represent clients for such a small legal fee- $250, plus processing fees to USCIS. However, helping a client become a citizen is one of the most fulfilling parts of being an immigration attorney, and it is one I want to be a part of. My years of experience in completing and processing these applications both make the process speedy, efficient, and often ending in excellent results for the client. I have completed hundreds of citizenship applications (and fee waivers!) for clients from all over the world. 

Citizenship is one of the most important, and exciting, decisions a resident (or "green card holder") can make in their lives, and can also be a difficult one. Do I know enough about American government and history? Do I speak English well enough? Am I betraying my country of birth by becoming an American? These questions are, of course, on the minds of ALL potential citizens. Usually though, these doubts should not stop you from trying to become a citizen. There are many resources you can use- study materials, classes- to help you succeed that I can direct you to. Many countries offer dual citizenship. Therefore, becoming a citizen is a decision with only positives for most- more protection from the law, an ability to apply for certain jobs and benefits that residents are not eligible for, and most importantly, the ability to petition for members of your family. 

The processing fee for applications is $680 to USCIS, but it will soon increase. Many clients, however, are unaware that they are eligible to apply for free because of their circumstances, such as unemployment or the receipt of certain benefits. The fees and some basic mandatory documents are all that is required. As your attorney, I can make all decisions regarding eligibility, required information, and completing the (very long!) form. After sending the completed application, the resident must complete a biometrics appointment, an interview, and two "tests"- one on language, and one on U.S. civics and history. While this may sound intimidating, I assure you, you can do this! Even if you are unsure that you want to hire an attorney at this time, feel free to contact me to schedule an appointment to discuss the process and schedule an appointment. Additionally, if you cannot afford the fees at this time, I offer a lower cost "consultation plus" appointment for a very small fee. I can help you with any questions you have about eligibility or any other concerns you may have.