Commonly Asked Questions Answered by our Houston Immigration Attorneys
My family member has been placed in immigration detention, how do I find
out where they are?
This is a common issue that occurs family members, loved ones, and friends
who have been placed in removal proceedings. The best thing to do is to
go to locater.ice.gov and search if your friend or family member is there
by entering there A# (which stands for their Alien number, a common identifying
number used for immigration purposes) and country of birth. Otherwise,
you may also search by there biographical data but would need the persons
full name, date of birth, and country of birth. Please note that the online
locater is not instantly updated at the time the person is placed in immigration
detention and due to this lag time it is best to also contact the local
immigration detention center in the city that you think the individual
is located within. It may take a few days for them to be processed and
finally put in the system. It is also advisable to retain a competent
attorney to not only help locate the individual but also if they are placed
in immigration detention it may mean that the U.S. government may have
instituted removal/deportation proceedings against that person.
Can I get a bond for my family member in immigration detention so that
they can be freed from confinement?
It depends on the specific circumstances of each case. If an individual
is not subject to mandatory detention (under INA section 236(c)) then
it may be possible to receive bond. Moreover, it is best to have a competent
immigration attorney assist with any bond motion as there are several
elements or requirements needed for such a motion. Please also note that
bond amount is discretionary even if approved by the immigration judge
and can vary depending on the judge and specific circumstances of the
case. It is also important to note that parole may be possible under specific
circumstances as well. If parole is approved, which is at the U.S. governments
discretion, then no dollar amount will need to be paid for release.
I have been in the United States since I was a child, can I apply for DACA
for the first time?
Unfortunately, DACA due to the Trump administration is no longer possible
to apply for at this time. However, please note that there may be other
options possible for you so in all circumstances it is always best to
have a competent attorney evaluate and provide a legal consultation if
you believe you may have an option to have legal status. Moreover, there
is currently discussion with Congress about potentially passing the DREAM
Act and if such law passes it is important to have your case analyzed
by an immigration lawyer to determine if you are eligible for it.
I’m afraid to go back to my country. I entered the U.S. 15 years
ago, can I apply for asylum?
Although subjective fear of return is one requirement for asylum, there
are several other requirements in order to be granted asylum so it is
highly advisable to have a consultation with a competent immigration attorney.
One such other requirement is that an applicant for asylum apply within
1 year of arriving in the United States so this is an issue in this scenario
as well as the person entered 15 years ago. However, another reason it
is important to have a legal consultation with an immigration attorney
is that an exception to the one year filing requirements may apply. There
are generally two types of exceptions, one is based on extraordinary circumstances
and another on changed country conditions. For more information on both
or asylum law generally, please feel free to contact our law firm and
set up a paid consultation.
I’m outside the United States and engaged to a US citizen, can I
enter on a visitor visa to get married and a green card in the US?
It is not advisable to enter the United States on a visitor visa if you
have the intent while entering to be on a green card based on marriage.
This is very important because if such an attempt is based, Customs and
Border Protection (CBP) can charge you with misrepresentation of an immigration
benefit due to lying about the temporary intent of entering on a visitor
visa as opposed to the real intent of applying for your (conditionally)
permanent green card and may potentially remove you under expedited removal.
Should this occur it will have severe consequences for any future immigration
application including any marriage based application. Therefore, it is
best to apply if eligible through consular processing for any fiancée
visa or if you both get married, marriage based I130 and consular processing.
My visitor visa is expiring, can I apply for a F-1 student visa?
Generally individuals who are in status and have no other immigration or
criminal bars can change status. That being said, recently this year there
was a new policy of any change of status to F-1 that the applicant have
to be in status within 30 days of the program start date. This can adversely
affect any visa that may expire in the meantime such as a visitor visa
which may expire by the time the F-1 student visa is decided by USCIS.
Due to these complexities, it is best to have a consultation with an immigration
attorney and have an immigration attorney assist with that application.
I never knew I was in deportation proceedings but I now have recently heard
I have an order of removal. What, if anything, can I do to fix this situation?
This is an excellent question but rather complicated one. If you never
knew you were in deportation proceedings and received no notice of your
court hearing date that could be the reason you were ordered removed,
based on in missing your court hearing date. If it’s at no fault
of your own including that your address was updated, then you may be able
to apply to reopen your removal proceedings based on lack of notice. Please
note a motion to reopen and/or reconsider can be very complicated, may
have time and number bars, and thus it’s best to consult with an
immigration attorney about your options.
I applied for a visa which is pending currently, but just now have reviewed
what my previous lawyer sent to USCIS. I’ve discovered it’s
nothing I approved and the prior lawyer made up everything. What can I do?
If your previous attorney, any notario unlicensed to practice law or any
other person submitted false information to USCIS about you then it is
imperative you immediately contact an attorney. An attorney may be able,
if applicable, amend your USCIS filing while it’s pending under
the doctrine of timely retraction or depending on the strategy of your
case it may be best to withdraw the case instead.
I work at a gas station and it was recently robbed at gunpoint when I was
working, can I apply for a U visa?
We’re sorry to hear about this unfortunate circumstance. In certain
cases, people even if undocumented may apply for a U visa. To be eligible
for a U visa that person must be the victim of a crime that occurred in
the U.S., is a serious qualifying crime, has been substantially physically
or mentally harmed and has cooperated with law enforcement. In terms of
cooperating with law enforcement, the first step or prerequisite to filing
a U visa is obtaining a U certification from law enforcement such as if
you reported to the police this incident and continued your cooperation
with them so that they can pursue this perpetrator. It is best to retain
a competent immigration lawyer for this entire process and determine your
I want to invest in a business in the United States, can I get a visa or
other way to stay in the US? If so, can my family come with me?
Our law firm has worked on investor visas. Generally speaking there are
two main types of investment visas. One is an E-2 investment visa which
is only for individual’s born in certain countries and the second
is an EB5 investment which ultimately may lead to legal permanent residence
(a conditional green card and then normal green card if conditions are
later removed). Each investment application is very different in terms
of the amount invested, source of funds documentation, the place of filing,
applicable procedures, and even if the investment can be passive or as
an active or direct investment. It is very important and advisable to
consult with an knowledgeable immigration attorney about any investment
visa prior to applying.
Disclaimer: This is general advice only, and it does not constitute legal
advice on any specific case. Each individual case is unique and must be
judged on its merits. By viewing this website, no attorney-client relationship
is formed or implied by this site, these FAQ’s or any other part
of this website. Additionally, please note any of these topics or subjects
may change over time.