1. Overview. Fortunately for foreign nationals in the U.S. there exists a generous array of professionals and volunteers prepared to help them with their life needs in navigating American society. However, there will be professionals who in fulfilling that role will need to clarify an immigration law issue before advising the client on a course of action with accuracy and completeness.
This firm is always available to guide professionals who must avoid misinforming a client with potential serious consequences for both the client and the professional. A professional can either contact the firm directly or recommend that the client contact the firm for direction before advising the client further.
2. Criminal Defense Counsel should be acutely aware of the alternative world of pleading applicable to the non-U.S. citizen client. (Clients must have the same awareness and should make certain that the attorney is fully informed in this regard.) Many of the typical considerations in weighing a plea offered bythe prosecution to a U.S. citizen (e.g. reduced jail time, accepting probation or avoiding trial) may very well not be advisable in the representation of a foreign national client (including a lawful permanent resident).
The client’s quintessential goal will be to avoid pleading guilty to an offense which would subject the client to the disastrous consequences of removal from the U.S. 0r other potential negative consequences, such as the loss of potential benefits like future U.S. citizenship.
Before recommending a plea to a client counsel must be certain of three factors: (1) the immigration status of the client, (2) the client’s criminal conviction history, and (3) the immigration law consequences of a plea. If not certain of all potential consequences of a plea, a criminal defense attorney should seriously consider seeking guidance from an immigration law attorney experienced in evaluating pleas, not only for the welfare of the client-defendant, but also for the personal avoidance of a professional violation and its consequences.
3. Domestic Relations Counsel may find that the client, the opposing party or other significant party is not a U.S. citizen. Issues surrounding a foreign national’s right to reside or work in the U.S., the implications of a current or sought-after immigration status, or the effect of an individual’s being in, or having been in, removal proceedings may well be germane in a domestic relations proceeding, particularly regarding child custody. The advice of a knowledgeable and experienced immigration law attorney could well be significant to counsel in forming case strategy.
Furthermore, an immigration law attorney qualified to present forensic testimony regarding immigration law and its consequences can be an important resource to both counsel and the court in resolving the impact of immigration law on the resolution of family relations issues.
4. Employment and Labor Law Counsel representing an employer client will face client questions with immigration law consequences when advising on the hiring of a foreign national, facing the consequences of possible unlawful hiring or discrimination, or when the client simply wants to know the the range of visas available for hiring foreign nationals abroad. Counsel who feels unequipped to speak to such issues can readily bring in immigration law counsel for assistance.
5. Other Counsel may find it necessary to weigh the possible impact of immigration status or citizenship on a client’s travel or residence abroad, abandonment of status or citizenship, land ownership, wills, intestacy, or foreign trade and the like. Consultation with a knowledgeable immigration law attorney will identify and clarify any possible consequences in advance of responsible counsel’s offering options to a client or commitment to a position.
6. Educators and Guidance Counselors will want to know the immigration law options or pitfalls facing foreign national students or faculty as to travel, employment or involvement in the criminal justice system.
7. Religious Advisers offering advice and counsel to foreign nationals in their ministry, as well as Psychologists and Therapist-Counselors asked to evaluate hardship or other immigration criterion may find it wise to refer the client to an immigration law attorney for clarification of standards and the potential positive and negative effects of the immigration law system on them.
8. Social Workers and Government Personnel assisting a foreign national client may perceive a potential immigration law issue facing the client. The adviser may choose to delay recommendations and refer the client to a knowledgeable immigration law attorney for the exploration of issues.
Benefits or allotments related to the SNAP, Medicaid, housing and similar programs may be affected by the status of a foreign national client.
9. Human resources personnel, or an employer operating in that role, who do not have reliable access to immigration law advice might consider retaining an experienced, locally available and accessible immigration law attorney for guidance as needed, especially if the business faces a possible government investigation or audit.
10. Pro Bono, N.G.O. and Volunteer Personnel are valuable contributors to the foreign national community in helping clients formulate a course of action or defend against removal. There may be times when the professional may feel more comfortable in having guidance directly from an immigration law attorney or recommending that the client personally seek advice before giving definitive guidance 0n a course of action.