What is Immigration Law? How to Find an Immigration Lawyer

 Immigration Law

What is Immigration Law?

Immigration law refers to the federal and state bodies of law regulating the immigration and emigration of individuals to this country. In recent years, it has been expanded to also govern the procedures and methods of assimilation in certain states such as California. Immigration law also governs foreign citizens in the United States in terms of their legal status as well as policies for ensuring that they remain legal and in compliance with immigration laws. However, these laws do not apply to international incidents or outside of matters directly related to immigration.

Governing Law

Immigration law used to be a mixture of federal and state law. However, it has become increasingly federal in nature, and current legal trends indicate that soon it will be almost entirely federal. It is both administrative and code based. Case law has some value in demonstrating precedent, but the vast majority of decisions and reasoning are drawn from the actual codification. It is one of the most complex bodies of law in the United States, even including bankruptcy law and tax law. All information relating to laws of immigration can be viewed online at the government’s official site or picked up from a local courthouse.

Reasons for Hiring an Attorney

Since these laws can be so complex, it is important to find representation whenever you were dealing with immigration situation that might result in deportation, loss of liberty, or a variance of rights. When appearing before the administrative law judge, officer, or judge, they will not give any leeway because you are not an attorney, although they may provide an interpreter if you need one. Fortunately, there are free legal aid services that will help you with all aspects. Some of these are pro bono while others are credit opportunities for young lawyers getting started in the immigration field.

While it is generally not the best idea to hire a lawyer who is just out of law school, reputable legal aid clinics and law firms provide significant guidance for young attorneys serving in this area. You will want to find out about the supervision methods as well as the safety checks to ensure that you will be adequately protected. To find these resources, you can contact lawyers within your area to ask for their recommendations.

Things to Look for in an Immigration Lawyer

It is important to find a lawyer who specializes in the form of immigration law that you need assistance with. An attorney who specializes in green card obtainment is not the best person necessarily to assist you with a deportation issue. If you find an attorney to handle part of the issue, it is not uncommon for that attorney to either refer you to another law firm or to partner with another lawyer for assistance. Contingency fees are not permitted in immigration cases, but many lawyers allow a prorated plan or a payment system that will more closely represent what you can afford at that time. Just remember to make sure that the terms are clearly defined as you will still need to pay the fees and the cost for filing the suit.

If your situation involves family members, it is best to find an attorney who also handles family law matters. The intersection between family law and immigration has been growing significantly over the years, and numerous statutes and regulations have gone to place to try to protect the family relationship. An attorney with a background in mediation and arbitration is also beneficial as these methods will help to provide alternative dispute resolution to your situation.

Immigration Blogs

  • Immigration Law: Affecting Business & Employment

    Immigration law is a polarizing topic in this country. There are numerous concerns about the way the current and proposed revisions will affect businesses, particularly as immigration rates continue to increase. Part of the reason for this concern is...

  • The Green Card Interview

    In immigration law, you may presume that the only time you will need an attorney or a law firm is if you are denied or you get into trouble related to immigrating. However, a lawyer from a law firm or partnership can help you significantly in prepari...