The following passage explains why hiring a good attorney is just as important as hiring an Attorney period for legal representation as oppose to handling things yourself. On Sunday November 9, 2014; the Shirazi Law Group, INC visited the King of Kings Ministry in Saluda, South Carolina. This community is made up of Central American Immigrants, most of them of Guatemalan origin. Our Community Relations Director, Sebastian Parra traveled with State Representative Pedro Marin and Farooq Mughal from the American Public Policy Institute to present a general overview of the current status of immigration reform and the possibility of Executive Action from President Barack Obama.
Unfortunately, we learned of a sad story about a group of unscrupulous lawyers that traveled all the way from California to Saluda, SC to provide “help” to these immigrants. The lack of Spanish-Speaking immigration attorneys leaves this community with few choices for legal help which can result in them hiring the wrong lawyer. Allegedly, these “lawyers” promised some members of this congregation work permits and charged them several thousands of dollars to apply for asylum. This is because when an immigrant applies for asylum, after 150 days of their application being pending, they may apply for a work permit. It seems like this was the strategy that these “lawyers” had in mind in order to get their clients work authorization cards. Since the applicants did not actually qualify for asylum, many of them ended up before an immigration judge who denied their applications for asylum and ordered them deported if the judge found the application to be frivolous, or gave the chance of Voluntary Departure within 120 days of the decision, if the person got lucky. Basically, these attorneys were taking money to file asylum cases that had no merit exposing them to harsh immigration penalties in most cases.
In order to avoid ending up on the wrong hands, here are some helpful tips when hiring an Immigration Attorney:
They must have a real office: When a client hires an immigration attorney, the lawyer must submit to the corresponding government authority the form EOIR–28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court. Thereafter, all of the official correspondence from USCIS, ICE, BIA or the Immigration Court, etc.; will be sent to the lawyer’s office as well. If a lawyer does not have a real office, meaning at a commercial building instead of their own house, very important and time-sensitive documents might get lost in the mail. When dealing with immigration law, when things get lost in the mail, clients miss their court dates, which could result in deportation orders.
They should be immigration attorneys: Often, clients refer to notaries, tax preparers and translators for their legal needs. This huge mistake could cost them their own liberty in some cases because those who have learned how to fill out immigration forms on their own cannot surpass the knowledge and experience of a real immigration attorney. When hiring an attorney, the years of experience of the attorney matters as well, we recommend at least five years working only on immigration law, and even more specifically, litigation if you are in removal proceedings, or employment based immigration law if you need a work visa.
Research their credentials. All lawyers must be in good standing with the American Bar Association in order to practice law. Moreover, any respectable immigration attorney should be a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), however; researching about what other organizations the attorney belongs to will also provide further insight on their work. Additionally, the Internet is the best place to see what past clients have said about an attorney, the reviews can be found on websites like Google, Avvo and Facebook, simply searching the attorney name plus the names of these websites should lead to the right place. Finally, the community involvement of the attorney will speak volumes of their reputation among the society and how much they trust the attorney’s character.
If Possible, they should speak your language. Hiring an attorney that speaks your own language will allow you to feel more comfortable expressing your concerns and telling your own story. All correspondence should be given to the client on a language that they can understand. Sometimes, this may require a client to travel further than they would like to, but it could really be a good investment or order to communicate on their native language.
These are some general tips when hiring an immigration attorney, please let us know if you have any other helpful advice, we would love to hear it!
The Shirazi Law Group, INC is proud to serve the Atlanta metro area with integrity and dedication, to learn more about Atlanta Immigration Attorney Amna Shirazi, please visit: