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Dallas Legal Issues Blog

Certain issues could put your citizenship application at risk

You may have lived in the United States for years, and coming here from another country may have been a stressful experience. Now you consider Texas your home, and you want to adjust your immigration status to become a naturalized citizen.

Pursuing citizenship can offer many benefits, but it is also a complicated process. You will need to gather the necessary information, file the proper petitions and other paperwork, take tests, and appear for any necessary interviews. In some cases, certain issues could put your citizenship application at risk of denial.

Will ICE agents enter a church to arrest me?

In recent years, you may have heard news stories about people hiding in churches due to fear of immigration agents and deportation. That is because many places of worship have become sanctuaries for individuals and families who feel threatened by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). And, in general, churches are considered to be "sensitive locations" that ICE may be reluctant to enter for immigration enforcement.

However, if you or a family member is thinking about seeking refuge from ICE in a church, it is important to understand your full range of options. To learn as much as you can, speak with an immigration attorney with experience in challenging detention, deportation and removal proceedings.

Facing a judge after a probation violation

When you heard the court's verdict convicting you of a crime, you may have wondered what the rest of your life would look like. Would you be spending months, years or decades behind bars? The judge's order of probation was likely a welcome relief. On the other hand, the prosecutor may have offered a deal of probation in exchange for your completion of certain requirements.

Regardless of how you arrived at a sentence of probation, you received the opportunity to serve your sentence in your own home instead of in a jail cell. However, this does not release you from your legal obligations. Probation has its own limitations and restrictions, and violating them can mean serious trouble for you.

Adjusting your resident status from temporary to permanent

A lot has happened in the time since you applied for your visa to work, study or travel in the U.S. Perhaps you met someone you want to remain with, or you simply fell in love with Texas. Whatever your reasons, if your temporary visa is due to expire, you have some decisions to make. You can request to extend your visa, or you can take steps to make the U.S. your home.

To stay in the U.S., you will need to apply for an adjustment of your status from temporary to permanent residency. As with any application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you should be prepared for paperwork and waiting. It is a good idea not to put off making this decision, especially if your visa is close to its expiration.

Protect your rights when dealing with police

Many people can go their whole lives with little or no contact with law enforcement. In some cases, when you deal with a police officer, it is because something terrible is happening in your life. You may be the victim of a crime or suspected of committing a crime.

Whether you have never encountered police or you meet them on a daily basis, it is important to know that law enforcement has boundaries, and when they overstep, your rights are in danger. In fact, while many Texas police officers take seriously their job to protect and serve, others may have their own agenda. They may take advantage of you if you are not knowledgeable about your rights and how to protect those rights.

Immigration court provides few protections for your rights

When you think of going to court, you may imagine appearing before a judge or jury to defend yourself against criminal charges. You may also know of people who have gone to court for family law matters, financial issues or to claim damages after an injury.

If you are in the immigration system, however, you may end up in a very different kind of court. Immigration court involves those who are seeking asylum or working toward their citizenship, but many of those who come before an immigration judge are at risk of deportation because of an expired visa, lack of documentation or criminal charges.

Texas DWI stops: Why the officer isn't just making small talk

You had a drink or two while spending some time with friends, family or co-workers, and then you headed home. As you traveled, you heard the patrol car's sirens before you looked into your rear-view mirror and saw the lights.

You pulled your vehicle over, and the officer began talking to you through your driver's side window. After requesting that you step out of the vehicle, they starting asking you questions that seemed like small talk. At first, you may have been grateful that the officer was trying to be nice, but as the questions intensified, you realized that there may be another motive.

Becoming a U.S. citizen can provide many benefits

Individuals who come to the United States have different immigration status options. If they plan to stay temporarily or for a specific purpose, they may only need to obtain the applicable visa. Of course, some individuals may come to the country on a visa and later want to live here permanently.

You may have first come to the U.S. on a temporary visa but subsequently seek to obtain legal permanent residency. Perhaps you have decided to stay in this country, live your life and raise your family, and you want to do so through legal means, which is why you obtained your green card. However, more recently, you may have thought about taking your immigration status a step further and becoming a naturalized citizen.

Three common ways to obtain your Green Card

If coming to the United States to live and work has been a dream of yours, you may be confused about how to obtain lawful permanent residency status in this country. It is true that the process of immigrating to the U.S. is complex and carries no guarantees. In fact, in some cases, it may take years of waiting before a foreign national obtains permission to reside permanently in the U.S.

As complicated and carefully protected as the immigration system is, the government offers numerous options so that people from many walks of life have the opportunity to enjoy life in this country. For the most positive and efficient experience immigrating to the U.S., it is important to find the method of obtaining a Permanent Resident Card (commonly referred to as a "Green Card") that best suits your circumstances.

What happens if you violate your parole?

If a conviction for a crime left you sitting behind bars for any length of time, you undoubtedly looked forward to the parole hearing that offered the opportunity for early release. Your job during the hearing was to convince the members of the board that you have complied with the rules and that you are not a danger to yourself or society. If you were successful, you may have had a lot to celebrate when you were released.

Of course, being on parole is not the same as finishing your sentence; it is another step toward "paying your debt to society." Typically, someone convicted of a crime is eligible for parole after serving one third of the sentence unless the court denies that eligibility. Parole carries conditions, and if you fail to comply with those conditions, you may find yourself in a worse situation than when you were behind bars originally.

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