THE VIRGINIA SUPREME COURT SETS UP A GREAT FALL…

…for immigrants who already got the short end of the stick.  On January 13, 2011 the Virginia Supreme Court (VSC) reversed the decisions of two circuit court judges granting modification of sentences in which the defendants did not receive proper advice regarding the immigration consequences of their pleas.  In Commonwealth v. Morris, the defendant was convicted […]

WHY FILE FOR CITIZENSHIP?

Being an immigration lawyer has taught me at least one important lesson: it is far easier to prevent a mess than it is to clean up one.  If you qualify, there is one relatively simple thing you can do that will help prevent many serious problems, and also provide multiple benefits to you. It’s filing […]

WHEN IS A CRIMINAL ALIEN A CRIMINAL?

As an immigration and criminal defense lawyer I hear a lot about “criminal aliens.” Legally, the term usually refers to people who happen to be aliens (whose status may be legal or illegal) who commit crimes. But more popularly, it seems a criminal alien is one who is here illegally, whether they’ve committed a “crime” […]

PADILLA V. KENTUCKY: A CHANGE IS GONNA COME

On March 31, 2010 the US Supreme Court handed down a 7-2 decision in the case of Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. _____ (2010).  And boy, have we been waiting on this one. Briefly, the case is about a long-term green card holder who was given a piece of very bad advice by his lawyer when […]

TRI VALLEY UNIVERSITY: WHO ARE THE VICTIMS?

On January 18, 2011 the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) invalidated all student visas issued on behalf of Tri Valley University in Pleasanton, California. At this point, it looks like the university was a sham, run as a business after defrauding the US government into granting authorization to issue I-20’s to enable foreign students […]

IT’S BROKE BUT WE HAVE NO TOOL TO FIX IT

Blazing new trails in the law here in Virginia. It’s been a year since the Padilla v. Kentucky decision of the US Supreme Court, which found that defense lawyers have an affirmative duty to warn their non-citizen clients about the immigration consequences of their plea. And state courts continue to wrestle with how to incorporate the ruling […]

VICTORY IN NACARA CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL CASE

We take a break from DACA to report some good news. This morning, a hardworking man who’d been in the US, undocumented, since childhood, won special rule cancellation of removal under NACARA. When his case originally went to trial, the previous lawyers were able to demonstrate all the requirements except one. Under NACARA, if one […]

TRUMPAGANDA

​Veteran journalist Scarborough tweeted, “I had said Friday was the worst day of Donald Trump’s presidency. I was wrong. It is today.” He was referring, of course, to FBI director James Comey’s March 20 confirmation of an investigation into Trump and his team’s connections with Russia. It’s almost like emails, except it’s a thousand times worse. […]

USE YOUR RIGHTS. DON’T JUST KNOW THEM.

“Know your rights” has become a hashtag, and for good reason. Where your civil and constitutional rights are questioned or threatened, you have to, at a minimum, know what those rights are. But this isn’t enough. It does no good to know your rights if you’re not going to use them. Yesterday, one client I […]