The administration of immigration law is split between the
Most immigrants find applications just too complicated to attempt on their own, and turn to lawyers, accredited representatives, or unauthorized consultants for help. Unfortunately, a very high percentage of these "providers" also make serious mistakes due to the complexity of immigration law. Under the current administration these mistakes do not merely result in denial of the application and loss of money paid to cover the government fee as in the past. Now under a new USCIS policy denial is going to result to being sent to immigration court for deportation.
The biggest problem facing applicants comes from unauthorized consultants who not only practice law without a license but have very little understanding of immigration law, and in some cases are scamming immigrants into paying them to prepare applications that are certain to be denied.
However, since any lawyer can call him or herself an "immigration attorney" the label says absoutely nothing about the lawyer's training in immigration law. Law schools don't teach immigration law and while there are many courses available on various aspects of immigration law, only a small percentage of lawyers who claim to be immigration lawyers even join AILA (The American Association of Immigration Lawyers).
Serious immigration lawyers have acquired a deep knowledge of immigration law through years of study and representation of clients in immigration court. But it is quite difficult for most immigrants to know which self-styled immigration lawyers are honest and experienced. Unfortunately, even incompetent lawyers typically charge high fees.
Accredited Representatives: To help low-income immigrants avoid price gouging, incompetence, and scams, the Justice Department set up a program that enables well-trained and qualified employees of certain 501(c)(3) organizations to provide legal represention for immigrants. These organizations are called "recognized organizations" and the persons authorized to practice immigration law are called "accredited repreentatives." Although few accredited representatives can claim a level of expertise of the best immigration lawyers, their skills far exceed those of many self-styled "immigration attorneys" and almost all the illegal, authorized "immigrtin consultants." Perhaps even more important is the lack of motivation to file applications not likely to succeed that exists when large fees are at stake. Because of the new threat of deportation for an undocumented immigrant who files a denied application, most accredited representatives will not file applications that are lika unwinnable or even diffcult to win. But when a large fee is at stake, many for-profit practitioners will be tempted to talk clients into applying.
In the past many undocumented immigrants who had American citizen children or a citizen or legal resident spouse and a clean record were granted administrative closure as a result of "prosecutorial discretion"--the government prosecutor agreed that deporting the person was a very low priority, and that resources were better devoted to higher priority cases. Unfortunately now prosecutorial discretion followed by administrative closure rarely happens.
The other alternative--a "remedy" that gives a path to legal status for the undocumented immigrant--has always been difficult for most undocumented immigrants who have no path to legality under current immigration laws. Most of these remedies are what organizations like IMPORTA seek for their clients. But IMPORTA's clients are not in immigration court, and they are not fighting deportation. Instead, their applications are filed to give them a path to legality so that they can work legally without fear of arrest by ICE. (Although green card holders can also be arrested by ICE and sent to immigration court for deportation if they commit certain crimes.)
For a list of the paths to legal status that our clients seek with legal representation by one of our accredited representatives, go to xxxx