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Immigration Basics: What You Need to Know

Immigration law is complicated and many immigrants may be unsure of what to do should they face complications with their immigration status. One of the best ways to understand how the law pertains to you and your personal immigration situation is to stay informed by consulting an experienced immigration attorney. Whether documented or undocumented, here is what every immigrant should know.


There are many reasons why an immigrant could be in danger of deportation. It’s a scary situation — especially if you are unsure about what to do. If you’re facing deportation here are some facts about the process:

Common reasons for deportation:

  • Criminal behavior.
  • Immigration fraud (lying on visa applications or a misleading marriage to a United States citizen).
  • Came into the United States illegally.
  • Deemed inadmissible before coming to the United States.
  • Public Charge - As defined by the USCIS, public charge is an “individual who is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.”

What you should do when facing deportation

Individuals facing deportation do have a few options but time may be limited. It’s important to take action in your immigration case immediately.

  • Consult with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible. When going up against deportation proceedings, time is of the essence and it’s imperative that you seek legal counsel whether you have been detained or not.
  • Ensure you're always abiding by the law. Individuals worried about the threat of deportation should always abide by the law. This can help increase your chances of remaining in the United States as lawfulness could be part of your defense.
  • Know your rights. Contrary to popular belief, immigrants have rights whether they are documented or undocumented. For example, you can exercise your right to refuse to answer leading questions and to remain silent. Do not sign any documents without the consulting your attorney first.

Visa Denials

Visa denials are not uncommon, and it can be frustrating when you are unsure about what to do next. While you do have the right to appeal the decision, it can be an arduous task to take on your own. Your best chance of getting a favorable decision is to hire an immigration attorney. Here’s how you can help make the process go smoothly while working with your lawyer.

  • Submit proof/documentation promptly. Your immigration officer may request additional documents in your appeal case. Submitting the requested documentation timely is critical to the outcome of your appeal. Failure to provide any requested documentation could cost you an approval.
  • Stay organized. Keeping all documents related to your case in one place can help you supply any information on a moment’s notice.
  • Prepare for interviews. The appeals process almost always includes an interview. Immigration officers are trained to find the slightest discrepancies, so it’s crucial to make sure that the information you provide on your application corresponds with what you tell them in your interview.

Common Reasons for a Visa Denial

Visa applications are carefully examined and any discrepancies are flagged — which is why it’s important to ensure any paperwork is filled out correctly with the right information.

  • Missing or incomplete information on the application
  • Lack of supporting documents
  • Misrepresented or fraudulent information
  • Public charge
  • The applicant was not convincing that they intend to immigrate to the United States

Political Asylum

Individuals who are fleeing their homeland because they fear persecution by their government or are facing persecution for being a member of a social group have the right to seek asylum in the United States. Here’s what to expect:

  • The U.S. government must confirm that you are entering the U.S. due to danger or persecution.
  • An interview will be conducted for an individual to state why they are seeking political asylum.
  • If asylum is not granted after the interview, the applicant will be asked to attend a hearing to demonstrate to the judge that they will face persecution if sent back to their home country.

Do you qualify for political asylum?

Seeking political asylum is an extremely complex process — and more so for anyone who is not experienced with immigration law. You may qualify for political asylum in the following scenarios:

  • You have not participated in the persecution of others
  • You have not obtained permanent residency in a country other than your home country or the United States.

If the USCIS has proved that the conditions in your home country have improved, you may not qualify for political asylum. If you are granted political asylum in the United States, you are authorized to stay and work here temporarily. An asylum seeker may ask to have their spouse or children to also seek immigration status through their application — also known as derivative status.

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)

DACA is an immigration policy that was enacted by President Obama to help individuals who were brought into the United States as young children and know no other home than the United States. These young individuals, also known as DREAMERS, are protected under DACA law if they mee the following criteria.

  • Under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • Came to the U.S. under the age of 16
  • Have continuously lived in the U.S. since their arrival
  • Have continuously lived in the U.S. since their last application submission
  • Must pass a background check
  • They are currently enrolled in school, have graduated from college or received a GRE, or honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard.

Immigration law is extremely complicated and making mistakes could diminish your chances of a favorable outcome in your case. Our experienced immigration attorneys can offer you guidance through every step of your immigration case. Contact Revilla Law Firm, P.A. 305-858-2323 for all your immigration needs.