Whether you are seeking to enter the United States for employment, studies, business, or tourist visit, we can assist you in obtaining the appropriate non-immigrant visa.

Immigration is a complex area of law that is constantly evolving. Whether you are facing the threat of deportation or want to petition for a family member, you need an attorney with the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process.

Our office provides representation in the following matters:

Immigration Court Proceedings and Deportation Defense

Removal (or deportation) is the process through which the government seeks to remove a non-citizen from the United States. It can be both lengthy and overwhelming, and include multiple hearings before an immigration judge. Your ability to remain in the United States will be decided during these proceedings. Our team of experienced attorneys can help you understand your rights and help you prepare an effective defense against deportation.

Defenses to removal can include:

  • Cancellation of Removal for Permanent Residents
  • Cancellation of Removal for Non-Residents
  • Asylum or Withholding of Removal
  • Adjustment of Status
  • Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA)
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Immigration Bonds

A non-citizen may be detained by the government for violations of immigration law; these violations include overstaying a visa, entering the country illegally, or committing certain crimes. When this happens, it is important to intervene as soon as possible and obtain release from detention on an immigration bond.

An immigration bond is an amount of money that is posted as a security, ensuring that the person will appear at all immigration court hearings. This permits a person to continue fighting his case without being detained. The money will be returned once the immigration proceedings are concluded if the person complies with all his or her obligations to the government.

Unfortunately, not every person will qualify for an immigration bond. Even when a person is eligible for a bond, the amount of bond will vary depending on numerous factors. The legal team at Ayala & Acosta understands these factors and can assist you in obtaining a bond without unnecessary delay.

Family-based Applications

Family members of U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident may be able to obtain lawful permanent residence (commonly referred to as a “green card”), provided they meet certain requirements. Before petitioning for a family member, several factors have to be considered, including whether the process will be completed in the United States or abroad, the length and cost of the process, and the need for waivers.

Although the path to legal residency may involve complex legal issues, we strive to make the process as straightforward and efficient as possible for our clients. We have helped many clients successfully obtain family-based visas, guiding them through each step of the way.

Victims of Violence and Crimes

Violence Against Women (VAWA)

VAWA offers protection for certain victims of domestic abuse. Under VAWA, immigrants (both men and women) who have been battered or suffered extreme cruelty at the hands of their U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident spouse or adult son or daughter, may qualify for certain benefits.

U Visas

U Visas are available for individuals who have been victims of certain crimes and who agree to cooperate with law enforcement. U visas are temporary, but may lead to permanent residency.

T Visas

T Visas are available to victims of human trafficking who assist law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of the crime. Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, where victims are often lured under false pretenses of a better life in the United States, then forced to work in terrible conditions.

Asylum, Withholding of Removal and CAT

A foreign national who fears returning to his or her home country may be a candidate for Asylum, Withholding of Removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).

Asylum is a type of protection available to individuals who can show past persecution or fear of future persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular group, or political opinion. In most situations, an asylum seeker must file his or her application within one year of arriving in the United States. If a person is granted asylum, the person and his or her family (spouse and minor children) will be allowed to live and work in the United States. After one year, they may apply for a legal residency (“green card”).

In some situations, a person is ineligible for asylum – either because the 1-year deadline has passed, because of criminal convictions, or because the evidentiary requirements are not met. If this is the case, Withholding of Removal or CAT may still be viable options to prevent deportation.

It is important to note that Asylum, Withholding of Removal, or CAT cases are very fact-dependent. The attorneys at Ayala & Acosta can evaluate your situation and determine whether you might qualify for this type of protection.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Individuals who came to the United States unlawfully as children, and who meet certain requirements, may be eligible to receive protection from deportation. DACA is granted for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

You may be eligible for Deferred Action if you:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time; 
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Citizenship and Naturalization

Naturalization

Naturalization is the process through which a lawful permanent resident can become a U.S. Citizen. If you have been a legal permanent resident for at least 5 years (3 years if filing as a spouse of a United States citizen), you may be eligible to apply for naturalization. We can assist you in determining whether you are indeed a candidate for naturalization and guide you through the process.

Citizenship Through Parents

An individual born outside the United States may obtain U.S. citizenship through his or her parents, either at the time of birth or before the age of 18. The laws concerning acquired and derivative citizenship have been amended by Congress multiple times throughout the years. As such, citizenship law can be quite complex. Our knowledgeable attorneys can review your case and help you determine the best course of action.

We can also assist you with:

  • Obtaining a Certificate of Citizenship
  • Obtaining a U.S. Passport

Waivers

In order to be admitted into the United States, a foreign-national must be admissible. There are many reasons a person may be deemed inadmissible; in these situations, a waiver may be necessary in order to immigrate to the United States. A waiver basically “forgives” certain grounds of inadmissibility; without it, a visa will not be issued. There are many types of waivers, and identifying which type of waiver is needed and the requirements for such waiver involves careful review of each individual case.

Possible waivers include:

  1. Waiver for unlawful presence in the United States
  2. Waiver for fraud or misrepresentation
  3. Waivers for certain crimes

Appeals / Motions to Reopen and Reconsider

Appeals

If an immigration judge has ordered your removal, it is important to act quickly to protect yourself from deportation while you continue to fight your case. It may be necessary to file an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) or the Federal Court of Appeals. The appellate process can be long and demanding; competent and aggressive representation is crucial to ensuring a positive result. At Ayala & Acosta, we have experience in appealing cases to both the BIA and 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Motion to Reopen and Motions Reconsider

In situations where an appeal is not possible or not appropriate, Motions to Reopen or Reconsider can be filed with the Immigration Court. A motion to reopen a case asks that the Court to consider evidence that was not available before. Motions to reconsider ask the Court to reconsider its decision because of an error of fact or law. They may provide an individual with another opportunity to fight his or her case after an order of deportation has been issued. However, both motions usually have strict filing deadlines. If you have received an order of deportation, it is important to contact an experienced attorney immediately.