Immigration Law

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Questions on Immigration Judge Decisions

Immigration judges examine cases of removal proceedings and determine if an individual who hails from a foreign country (an alien, in other words) should be allowed to enter or stay in the United States or should be removed from the U.S. altogether. These judges conduct formal court proceedings and act independently in making decisions. All decisions taken by them are administratively final but can be appealed by presenting the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Listed below are a few queries on immigration judges answered by immigration lawyers.

An immigration judge approved my Chinese friend’s request for political asylum in February. From everything I’ve read, it seems like she can apply for her Green Card a year after the date of her approval. Will she be allowed to visit China within this one year time frame?

If she does make a trip, it will look like she made a false claim to asylum which will bar her from returning to the United States for life. After having made it clear to the court that her life was in danger if she went back to her country, it would seem very suspicious if she were to visit the country a few months later. It's not a good idea and she could be accused of asylum fraud.

I am a Green Card holder with a drug conviction. I need to travel to Panama to visit my dying brother and am wondering whether I need to see an immigration judge to know if I can return to the United States if I do so. What should I do?

The safest thing to do would be to not travel with a drug conviction. Depending on the kind of conviction you have, this can have serious consequences as far as immigration is concerned. If you leave and try to come back to the U.S., you could be subject to a background check and this could lead to you being placed in removal.

During trial, would an immigration judge be able to run my alien number to see if I have recent charges?

Your fingerprints will be taken before you are given status in the U.S. So, in all likelihood, information regarding recent charges will be revealed.

I live in Florida and would like to know how long it would take for me to see an immigration judge after being denied asylum.

This would really depend on the number of cases the local immigration court is loaded with, which judge is assigned to you, and the number of cases the judge has. It might take longer in South Florida than North Florida. For example, it could take 3-6 months or more in South Florida while it might take 1-3 months or more in North Florida.

Once an immigration judge determines if an alien is legally removable or inadmissible, the judge may look at different forms of relief from removal. For example, rather than be removed, an alien could accept voluntary departure or might qualify for asylum. The judge may decide the alien qualifies for a status adjustment or a removal cancelation. A legal expert can provide further clarification on the role of an immigration judge if you are unsure of your legal standing.
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