The Law Offices of Anastacio De La Cruz is versed in many areas of Immigration and Naturalization Law, including Family Based Petitions, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Violence Against Women Act, Adjustments of Status, Consular Processes, Asylum Claims, Appeals (Ninth Circuit and BIA), Motions to Reopen, Requests for Evidence, and Petitions for Review.
Mr. De La Cruz focuses primarily on defending those in removal (deportation) proceedings and helping those avoid being put into deportation proceedings. Efforts include Motions to Terminate, Suppression Motions, Cancellation of Removal for Legal Permanent Residents, Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents, Asylum, and Adjustment of Status.
CRIMIGRATION (CRIM-IMM)- AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE
The Law Offices of Anastacio De La Cruz approaches criminal cases involving non-citizens from a different perspective than most criminal law attorneys. From the outset, Mr. De La Cruz is able to analyze the criminal charges and determine what immigration consequences may result from a conviction, and plan a strategy accordingly. For many non-United States Citizens, THE most important consideration is avoiding a charge that might make one deportable, inadmissible, or disqualify them from relief. For those who are facing a criminal case, Mr. De La Cruz can often help eliminate or minimize the immigration consequences of a criminal case and stop the deportation process before it even begins. Click here for a further discussion of crimigration or crim-imm.
For those in Removal Proceedings, The Law Offices of Anastacio De La Cruz offers hope, which may come in different forms depending on the unique facts of each case. Continue reading for examples of different ways Mr. De La Cruz can help those in deportation proceedings.
MOTIONS TO VACATE CRIMINAL OFFENSES
For some, particularly Legal Permanent Residents (LPR’s), the only reason they are in Removal Proceedings might be based on a charge of deportability, found in INA Section 237(a)(2). Other convictions might make those in removal proceedings (regardless of legal status) ineligible for relief based on the conviction charge, or the sentence. Particularly troublesome are aggravated felonies, defined at 8 USC § 1101(a)(43). A charge may be an aggravated felony either by charge or by sentence,and they disqualify even a long-time Legal Permanent from Cancellation of Removal (and most other forms of relief) in immigration court. However, not all hope is lost. The Law Offices of Anastacio De La Cruz is skilled in vacating convictions or obtaining other post-conviction relief to either help terminate proceedings, or create eligibility for relief. Click here to be directed to the page discussing post conviction relief.
MOTIONS TO TERMINATE PROCEEDINGS
Removal proceedings can last for years in some cases. As immigration laws and procedures are constantly changing and evolving, at times it may be prudent to file a motion to terminate proceedings. In these cases, if the Immigration Judge (IJ) agrees, the case will be terminated, much like a case in criminal court gets dismissed. Often motions to terminate proceedings are brought after successful post-conviction relief.
TRUE EXAMPLE OF MOTION TO TERMINATE PROCEEDINGS AFTER POST CONVICTION RELIEF.
Mrs. Apple, at the time she was put into Removal Proceedings in 2012, had been a Legal Permanent Resident for only two years. After numerous delays in her case, in 2017 she retained the Law Offices of Anastacio De La Cruz to represent her in immigration court. Seeing that Mrs. Apple had a felony crime involving moral turpitude on her record which disqualified her from Cancellation of Removal under INA 240A(a), Mr. De La Cruz was able to use post-conviction relief to reduce her charge to a misdemeanor, thereby fitting this conviction into the petty offense exception. Mr. De La Cruz subsequently filed a motion to terminate proceedings, which was granted. Mrs. Apple continues to live in the United States with her family, in lawful permanent resident status.
MOTIONS TO SUPRESS
The Constitution of the United States of America affords rights to all, regardless of immigration status. In particular, the Fourth Amendment guarantees one the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and recognizes ones right of privacy. At times, these rights are violated, and motions to suppress evidence may be appropriate.
TRUE EXAMPLE OF A MOTION TO TERMINATE PROCEEDINGS AFTER A MOTION TO SUPRESS EVIDENCE
In 2015, Mr. Berry was a passenger in a vehicle, which was stopped by immigration law enforcement based on the border patrol agent’s declaration that the driver resembled someone the agent had apprehended before. While the driver possessed legal status, Mr. Berry did not and was put into removal proceedings. Mr. Berry immediately retained the Law Offices of Anastacio De La Cruz. After a careful review of the record, Mr. De La Cruz noticed that the border patrol agent did not allege any traffic or criminal violation which would support a traffic stop. After reviewing the relevant law, Mr. De La Cruz filed a motion to suppress the evidence, on the basis that Mr. Berry was unlawfully detained. The motion was granted, suppressing any evidence of Mr. Berry’s alienage, and proceedings were terminated.
CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL
A person in removal proceedings can seek cancellation under two different sections on INA 240, depending on statutory eligibility.
CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL UNDER 240A(a)
Pursuant to INA § 240A(a), Cancellation of Removal for Certain Permanent Residents is available to any Lawful Permanent Resident of the U.S. who (1) has been a Lawful Permanent Resident of the U.S. for not less than five (5) years; (2) has resided in the United States for not less than seven (7) years in any status; and (3) has not been convicted of an aggravated felony.
TRUE EXAMPLE OF A SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION FOR CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL UNDER INA 240A(a).
IN 2014, Mr. Lemon, a Legal Permanent Resident of sixteen (16) years was put into removal proceedings and retained the services of the Law Offices of Anastacio De La Cruz. Mr. Lemon had several convictions for being under the influence of a controlled substance, felony domestic violence, and assault with a deadly weapon. Further, Mr. Lemon had a conviction for transportation of a controlled substance (typically this would constitute an aggravated felony, however, the substance was not identified). After a review of the record and pertinent case law, the Law Offices of Anastacio De La Cruz determined Mr. Lemon was in fact eligible for Cancellation of Removal for Legal Permanent Residents and mounted a defense centered around a multi-pronged rehabilitation plan and deep family ties. After a hotly contested removal hearing, the presiding Immigration Judge ruled in favor of Mr. Lemon and granted his application for Cancellation of Removal, reuniting Mr. Lemon with his family in the United States.
CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL UNDER 240(A)b
Pursuant to INA § 240A(b), Cancellation of Removal is available if Respondent (1) has been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of not less than 10 years immediately preceding the date of this application; (2) has been a person of good moral character during the previous 10 years; (3) has not been convicted of an offense under section 212(a)(2) [8 U.S.C 1182(a)(2)] , section 237(a)(2) [8 U.S.C 1227(a)(2)] , or section 237(a)(3) of this Act [8 U.S.C 1227(a)(3)]; and (4) establishes that removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to the alien’s spouse, parent, or child, who is a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence
TRUE EXAMPLE OF A SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION FOR CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL UNDER INA 240A(a).
Mr. Lime, a father of three United States Citizens children w, was placed into removal proceedings in 2011, after being stopped for a traffic infraction. In 2016, Mr. Lime, who by then had been living in the United States for nearly 20 years, retained the services of The Law Offices of Anastacio De La Cruz to represent him in immigration court and try to prevent him from being separated from his family. Mr. De La Cruz, after reviewing hundreds of pages of documents and carefully analyzing the applicable law, found Mr. Lime to be statutorily eligible for Cancellation of Removal under INA 240(A)(b). While this form of relief is difficult to obtain, Mr. De La Cruz was able to demonstrate not only eligibility, but that Mr. Lime’s family would suffer an exceptional and extremely unusual hardship if Mr. Lime were to be ordered removed. Mr. Lime was granted cancellation of removal and awarded his legal permanent residency status. He continues to live in the United States with his wife and children.
ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS/READJUSMENT
For some, the best course of action is to adjust ones status before the immigration court. In 1960, Congress amended INA 245(a) and made adjustment of status available to any otherwise eligible applicant who has been “inspected and admitted or paroled” into the United States. Since 1960, the courts, legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service, and USCIS have read the statutory language “inspected and admitted or paroled” as: Inspected and admitted into the United States; or Inspected and paroled into the United States. This requirement must be satisfied before the foreign national applies for adjustment of status. If an applicant has not been inspected and admitted or inspected and paroled before filing an adjustment application, the officer must deny the adjustment application. Section 245(i) added to the law in 1994 provides for the transition to legal residence for an alien who, “entered the United States without inspection,” i.e., illegal aliens. Even though that provision remains in the law, since 2001 it ceased to be available for illegal aliens who did not already have a petition for adjustment of status filed by a family sponsor or employer sponsor.