Dedicated McAllen Immigration Lawyer Robert R. Flores

There are many avenues through which foreign nationals and immigrants can seek legal status in the United States. Unfortunately, this process can be incredibly complex, making it a particular challenge for those unfamiliar with the U.S. legal system. 

However, those avenues for citizenship are there, you just have to know how to follow them. To help immigrant families find their path to citizenship, McAllen and Raymondville immigration attorney Robert R. Flores is dedicated to providing compassionate legal assistance for your or your loved one.

If you’re interested in receiving a visa, are facing difficulties regarding the visa you have, or are facing ICE detention or deportation, reach out to attorney Robert R. Flores for help.

Visas We Handle

In the United States, visas come in two types: one for immigrants wishing to permanently stay in the U.S., and another for non-immigrant foreign nationals who plan on staying in the country temporarily. The legal hurdles surrounding obtaining and keeping these documents can be challenging, but immigration attorney Robert R. Flores can help resolve issues regarding any of the following types of visas:

  • B-1 and B-2

  • F-1

  • L-1

  • O-1

  • E-1 and E-2

  • H-1B

  • EB-1, -2, and -3

This list isn’t exhaustive, so even if your visa type doesn’t appear above, you can still rely on Robert R. Flores for compassionate legal immigration assistance.

Immigration Status

While immigration law can become incredibly complex, many of the basics are easy to understand. For instance, there are just four categories of immigration status in the U.S.

U.S. Citizens

The first type of legal immigration status includes U.S. citizens. Citizens are either born in the U.S. or become naturalized after up to 5 years living in the country as a permanent resident. You can also become a citizen through close relatives with citizenship status.

Permanent and Conditional Residents

Permanent or conditional residents include immigrants with a “green card”. Permanent residents are individuals who have been granted authorization by the government to live and work in this country permanently. 

Conditional residents, on the other hand, are individuals who have a green card and who have been married to their citizen spouse for less than two years. Conditional status can be converted with a joint filing by both spouses at the end of two years. Failure to convert could result in deportation.

Non-immigrants

Non-immigrants are foreign nationals that are legally in the country but only on a temporary basis. This category includes fiancees, students, business visitors, tourists, and those with temporary protected status. Many non-immigrants do not intend to stay in the country, but many others become undocumented once their visas expire.

Undocumented

Undocumented foreign nationals in the U.S. are those who are here illegally, or without the government’s permission. Undocumented individuals are not authorized to work or access public benefits in the U.S., including health care and driver’s licenses. Living as an undocumented individual can cause a great deal of stress due to the legal uncertainty and possibility of deportation at any time.

Work Permits

Work permits are a way for foreign nationals to come to the U.S. for their employment. Many potential foreign employees receive this type of permit after their potential employer files a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition usually needs to be approved prior to the foreign national’s entry into the U.S. or application for a visa. 

There are also some types of legal immigration statuses that do not include work authorization. In that case, you may need to apply for a change of immigration status. In some cases, you will need the assistance of your employer, but others may be qualified for a self-petition, meaning they can file for permanent residency on their own behalf. For example, you may be able to self-petition if you have “extraordinary ability.”

Removal Defense

Removal defense is the legal effort to avoid deportation. This defense often involves appearing before an immigration judge in court. Deportation proceedings can be triggered if you fail to renew your immigration documents, so renewing those authorizations before a judge may be one effective form of defense. 

If you entered the country illegally, you may need to receive a waiver for that act. Others may need to seek asylum under the Convention Against Torture, meaning they face “persecution” in their own country.

Deportation proceedings may also be triggered if a foreign national in the U.S. is accused of a crime. If you’re in this situation, you may wish to seek an immigration lawyer who can also defend you against criminal accusations.

These defenses represent just a few of the many ways to avoid deportation from the U.S. The defense needed in your case depends on the specifics of your situation. 

Seeking Permanent Residency

If you entered the country illegally, you may need to petition for a waiver for the time you spent in the country without legal permission. Once this waiver has been granted, you can seek permanent residency. This is usually initiated through a petition from a loved one. 

Those an individual can petition for depends on the petitioner’s legal status. U.S. citizens can petition for:

  • Parents (if the petitioner is over 21)

  • Siblings (if the petitioner is over 21)

  • Unmarried children under 21

  • Married children over 21

  • Spouses

  • Fiances

Green Card holders can petition for:

  • Spouses

  • Unmarried children

Immediate relatives, including spouses, children under 21, and parents of citizens over 21, are given special priority under the law. This means they may be able to access a green card more quickly and that they won’t face annual immigration visa quotas. However, there may be a limit on the number of these exceptions you can claim per year.

After a family member has petitioned for your residency, you can file to adjust your status while living in the U.S., or you can apply for an immigrant visa in your home country.

DACA Dreamers

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) provides those who entered the country as children time during which they are protected from deportation, and can seek a social security number and employment. 

You can file for protection under the  program if you meet the following requirements:

  • Entered the U.S. prior to turning 16.
  • Entered the country without inspection before June 15, 2012, or had expired legal status on June 15, 2012.
  • Continuously lived in the U.S. from at least June 15, 2007, to the present day.
  • Were younger than 32 as of June 15, 2012.
  • Were present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of your request for DACA protection.
  • Do not pose a threat to national security or public safety, and have not been convicted of a significant misdemeanor, a felony, or three or more minor misdemeanors.
  • Are in school or have obtained a GED, or are an honorably discharged U.S. veteran.

Seek or Defend Your Citizenship with the Help of Your McAllen Immigration Lawyer

While many immigrants in the U.S. can’t afford representation, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center reports that legal representation is the single largest factor when it comes to the likelihood that a case will succeed in immigration court. Because of this, immigration lawyer Robert R. Flores is dedicated to providing affordable assistance to those in need of this type of legal support in the Rio Grande Valley, including the cities of Raymondville and McAllen.

If you have an immigration question or are in need of legal assistance due to possible removal, Raymondville immigration attorney Robert R. Flores is here to help.