Nonimmigrant Visas and Status
Many people wish to come to the United States for vacations, to visit family, study, work, or train.  Nearly all such visas are subject to the requirement that the foreign national prove they have no intention of leaving their home country and immigrating permanently to the United States.  Legal representation is important in ensuring you maintain such status so that you may return to the United States after returning to your home country or later wish to obtain permanent residency in the U.S.  Drake Immigration Law can assist you in the process of obtaining, maintaining or changing status and securing visas for travel via consular processing at a U.S. Embassy abroad.

Family Sponsorship for Permanent Residency
U.S. Citizens may sponsor their spouses, minor or adult children, siblings and parents (if the US Citizen is 21) for permanent residency.  Lawful Permanent Residents may sponsor their spouses and (unmarried) children under the age of 21.  While this process may seem straightforward, a qualified immigration attorney can save priceless time and stress and help contend with complications such as criminal convictions and prior immigration violations.  Any immigration sponsorship requires a long-term plan as well as short-term considerations that must be properly handled. Drake Immigration Law specializes in difficult family-based cases and can guide you through the numerous expected and unexpected events that may affect your ability to come to the U.S. or to obtain permanent residency.

Employment-Based Permanent Residency
Employment sponsorship is a common and mutually-beneficial process that allows U.S. employers to lawfully hire foreign workers and petition for them to become permanent residents in the United States.  It is necessarily complex and should be handled by a skilled attorney.  It is vitally important for the employer to know its rights and obligations involved in sponsorship and it is crucial for the sponsored non-citizen to understand the requirements and limitations of the process.  Drake Immigration Law has the necessary expertise and experience to maximize the possibilities for success and minimize the headaches for both employer and sponsored worker.

Asylum
Asylum is available to any non-U.S. citizen who is in the United States but has been persecuted or fears persecution in their country of origin.  Under U.S. immigration laws, however, not everyone who wishes to leave poor circumstances in their home country are considered refugees and a grant of asylum requires much more than showing that a home country is in turmoil.  Representation by a competent and diligent attorney is particularly important for the asylum process.  The asylum process is extremely complex and must be capably navigated.  Non-attorneys (such as “notarios”) and dishonest practitioners have been known to prey on vulnerable asylum seekers who are unfamiliar with the law and culture of the United States.  Ethical representation is paramount; false claims will inevitably be discovered and may well ruin future immigration possibilities.  If asylum is not granted to an applicant, the law requires such an applicant who lacks other immigration status to be placed in removal (deportation) proceedings before an Immigration Judge.  Statistics routinely show that those seeking asylum are far more likely to achieve it when represented by a qualified attorney.  Drake Immigration Law has competently and successfully represented many asylum-seekers from around the world.

Detained and Non-Detained Removal Proceedings
The Department of Homeland Security places thousands of individuals across the country in “removal proceedings” every year.  Removal proceedings – previously known as “exclusion” or “deportation” proceedings – are the processes by which Immigration Courts determine who may legally stay in the United States and those that must depart or be deported to their country of origin.  People may find themselves in Immigration Court for a number of reasons: criminal convictions, entry into the U.S. by fraud or without inspection, immigration fraud and remaining in the United States beyond the period authorized by DHS.  Permanent Residents who remain abroad for too long a period and/or too frequently may be placed in removal proceedings upon their return to the United States.  It is critical for anyone placed in removal proceedings to obtain legal representation.  D.C. Drake routinely handle matters before the Immigration Courts in both detained and non-detained cases and has appeared in such proceedings in Immigration Courts across the country.

Appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals & Circuit Courts
If someone is ordered removed by an Immigration Judge, that person has the right in most cases to appeal the ruling to the Board of Immigration Appeals.  If appeal is taken but is unsuccessful, the result is a final order of removal.  However, that order may in many cases be appealed to a U.S. Federal Circuit Court, for example, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over the Arlington, Charlotte, and Baltimore Immigration Courts. D.C. Drake is licensed to practice before the Courts of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, and Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, Georgia.  He is also licensed to represent individuals on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Naturalization
Obtaining citizenship is for many the pinnacle of their U.S. immigration experience and allows all the rights and freedoms accorded natural-born citizens, such as the right to vote, travel freely to and from the United States, and to sponsor family members with much less waiting.  Citizenship vests a person with full rights and protections under the U.S. Constitution.  Because Citizenship is so valuable and can only be revoked in very rare circumstances, applications for naturalization are very carefully evaluated: the applicant’s entire immigration record is scrutinized.  Lengthy time outside the United States, criminal convictions and undiscovered prior immigration violations may not only lead to denial, but subject the applicant to removal proceedings.  A qualified attorney can evaluate any risks before filing, properly prepare the applicant for the process, and contend with delays in processing.