Christmas comes Early!

Monday, after trial, we won a cancellation of removal hearing for our client, a long term permanent resident. Despite his 15 years as a union painter – his drug addiction drew him into a major drug conspiracy, resulting in a felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance. Now he has a second chance at life.

Thursday, after 32 years of fearing deportation as an undocumented immigrant, our client adjusted her status and became lawful permanent resident. She started crying after the interviewer approved her application, then her son started crying, and when we went outside and told her elderly parents, they started crying. Tears of joy.  Continue reading

Speaking for the Suffolk County Criminal Defense Bar

Last week, I was asked to speak at an event for the Criminal Defense Bar in Suffolk County. The lecture was on Strategies to Avoid Triggering Deportation for Non-citizen Defendants. Padilla v. Kentucky mandated defense attorneys advise their non-citizen clients of the adverse immigration consequences of a proposed plea bargain. How can they do it if they themselves don’t understand the complex interplay between criminal and immigration law? Always an honor to be asked to share my experience in this field with my fellow criminal defense attorneys.

Convictions Vacated to Avoid Deportation

In the past month, we successfully vacated two criminal convictions for our clients, and as a result, their deportation-removal proceedings will be terminated.

One client lost his Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”), because his defense attorney failed to warn him that pleading guilty to a second misdemeanor would render him removable. After pleading guilty, the client was placed into removal proceedings. After we filed a 440 Motion with the Criminal Court, the Judge granted our motion to vacate his conviction, finding that prior counsel’s failure to warn our client of the direct immigration consequences of his guilty plea, violated the Supreme Court’s decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, which requires defense attorneys to warn their clients of the immigration consequences of a proposed guilty plea. The Criminal Court Judge found defense counsel’s ineffective assistance prevented our client from making an informed decision on whether to plead guilty. Our client is now eligible to reapply for Temporary Protected Status, and we will be moving the Immigration Court to terminate his removal proceedings.  Continue reading

AILA Annual Conference on Immigration Law 2016


With over 14,000 members, the American Immigration Lawyers Association is by far the largest bar association of immigration lawyers in the country. Every year at their national conference, many thousands of dedicated immigration practitioners gather to review the most recent developments in immigration law, and to discuss cutting edge legal theories relating to defending clients who are facing deportation-removal from the United States. This Friday, June 23rd, 2016, at AILA’s annual conference, held at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, I will be part of a panel teaching newer practitioners the best practices and procedures for defending non-citizens facing deportation in our nation’s Immigration Courts. When the outcome of a hearing determines the course of someone’s life, it is critical defense counsel be familiar with required courtroom procedures and best practices for organizing and presenting evidence to support the client’s claims for relief! I am looking forward to using my 25 years of litigation experience to help train the next generation of immigration advocates.


Criminal Immigration Update!!

Conviction for Endangering the Welfare of a Child Triggers

Deportability-Removability for Lawful Permanent Residents


Yesterday, February 9th, 2016, the Board of Immigration Appeals issued a precedent decision in the Matter of Mendoza Osorio, 26 I&N Dec. 703 (BIA 2016), holding that a conviction for endangering the welfare of a child, pursuant to N.Y.S. P.L. §260.10(1), is categorically, a conviction for a “crime of child abuse, child neglect or child abandonment” as that term is used at Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) §237(a)(2)(E)(i). Under that immigration statute, a conviction for a “crime of child abuse, child neglect or child abandonment” renders a lawful permanent resident subject to deportation. Under certain circumstances, a lawful permanent resident who has committed a deportable offense, and who satisfies other conditions, may be eligible for discretionary relief from deportation in the form of cancellation of removal. Continue reading

Aggravated Felony Win!

After being placed in deportation-removal proceedings due to her felony fraud conviction involving a $10,000.00 loss to the government, we were able to overcome the aggravated felony bar to cancellation of removal and win our lawful permanent resident a grant of cancellation of removal.
Our client, a single mother, pleaded guilty to felony larceny for under-reporting her income when renewing her public housing contract. She was ordered to pay $10,000.00 in restitution, and although a lawful permanent resident, she was placed into deportation-removal proceedings for having been convicted of a fraud aggravated felony. Several immigration attorneys advised her she had in fact been convicted of an aggravated felony, and would almost certainly be deported despite having lived in this country in excess of 20 years and despite having minor U.S. citizen children; they turned her away. Her two prior convictions for D.W.I. were more salt in the wound. She was referred to our firm.
                                      A Dollar’s Difference Spares Deportation!
Continue reading

Winning Aggravated Felony Deportation-Removal Cases

Winston Churchill said we should “Never Surrender”, and he was right.

Too often attorneys see a non-citizen, especially a lawful permanent resident, who is charged with an aggravated felony conviction, and they simply turn the case away because they believe nothing can be done for the person, but that is often just not true. Sure, aggravated felony cases are the hardest to win, but the reality is they can be successfully defended, although we can’t win them all, we have saved many clients with seemingly hopeless deportation-removal cases.

We realize even good people sometimes make serious mistakes. Often they’ve accepted responsibility for what they’ve done. They’ve pled guilty to a felony, served a prison sentence, and in many instances have gone on to change their lives for the better. Then one day there’s a knock at the door, the person is taken into custody by I.C.E. and they face the true terror of deportation proceedings: mandatory detention, immigration court, and the threat of being deported and separated from their home and families. In many cases, the person came to the U.S. as a child. They have had no contact with their native country and have no prospects for employment. They face a life of misery and isolation if deported, and their families in the U.S. will also suffer. That is why it is so important to fight these cases, and to win. Here are some recent examples. Continue reading

Conviction Vacated

Our client, a Salvadoran male, had been living in the U.S. since 1992.  In 2001 he qualified for, and received, a grant of Temporary Protected Status (“T.P.S.”).  In 2009, he was arrested for a serious felony.  His  defense attorney had him pleadguilty to a lesser felony, and obtained a sentence of probation, but failed to warn his client that by pleading guilty  to a felony, he would lose his T.P.S..   His defense attorney wasn’t familiar with immigration law: he had no idea a conviction for a felony would automatically cost his client his T.P.S.. Continue reading

Successful Criminal & Deportation Defense

Our 17 year old client was arrested and charged with a “B” violent felony assault after members of a gang crashed a birthday party and assaulted his friend. He faced 25 years in prison.  In the course of the wild fight which broke out between the guests and the gang members, a gang member was stabbed and seriously injured.The police arrested several people, including our client, who denied involvement in the stabbing, but admitted being involved in the fighting.

We provided the District Attorney’s Office with character letters from our client’s teachers stating he was a model student and athlete, as well as from his employer.   We also presented evidence indicating he had not been involved in the stabbing.   Our client was permitted to plead guilty to a misdemeanor assault and was adjudicated a “youthful offender” – which resulted in no criminal conviction and a sealed record. After he was taken into immigration custody, we were also retained to defend him in his deportation-removal proceedings. Continue reading

Conviction Vacated: Deportation Proceedings Terminated!

Our client left Vietnam to live in the U.S. when he was 14 years old. When he was 19 he was arrested at school, and charged with attempting to sell some ecstasy he had purchased at a rave in the City.   He pleaded guilty to a controlled substance offense. Unfortunately, his defense attorney never warned him his guilty plea made him deportable.

Many years later, now in his late twenties,and a college graduatewith a promising career, our client was detained by I.C.E.attempting to return to the U.S. after a weekend trip to Canada. He learned that despite being a legal “permanent” resident, and despite the many years which had passed, his conviction for a controlled substance offense made him inadmissible to, and deportable from, the U.S..  He was placed into deportation proceedings and faced the frightening reality that he could be deported and separated from his family because of his guilty plea. Continue reading

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