Agencies of Immigration Law

There are a lot of acronyms in immigration law especially when dealing with the various institutions.

USCIS stands for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. USCIS is part of the Department of Homeland Security. USCIS decides whether immigration petitions and benefits should be granted.Many of the applicants that USCIS processes are already located in the United States. For example, USCIS  decides whether to grant naturalization or a green card to an applicant.

NVC stands for National Visa Center. NVC is a part of the Department of State. After a petition has been approved from USCIS, if the beneficiary lives outside the United States, the NVC processes the documents and sends them along to the appropriate consulates and embassies.

ICE stands for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE is responsible for enforcing immigration laws within the United States such as investigating and make arrests. ICE also prosecutes immigrations cases in immigration court.

CBP stands for US Customs and Border Protection. The difference between ICE and CBP is that CBP protects the border of the U.S. and controls access into the U.S.

Each agency plays a different role in immigration law and often times it can be confusing what role each one plays. If you have any questions, please contact our office at 508-438-1198.

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

#ice #dhs #uscis #immigrationlaw #immigration

 

Padilla v. Kentucky: It’s impact on Criminal & Immigration Law

In 2010, the court held in Padilla v. Kentucky that counsel’s failure to advise a criminal defendant of the deportation consequences of a guilty plea constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel. Therefore if your defense attorney did not advise you of the immigration consequences of your plea, the disposition could be vacated. The problem is that the Supreme Court held that the new rule in Padilla should not apply retroactively to criminal convictions before March 2010.

The good news is that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court didn’t like that, so in Commonwealth v. Clarke, the court held that Padilla v. Kentucky applies retroactively to guilty pleas entered after April 1, 1997. If Padilla applies to you, you still have to prove ineffective assistance of counsel.

There is a two prong test to whether there was an ineffective assistance of counsel. The first prong is found in Commonwealth v. Saferian and states “whether there has been serious incompetency, inefficiency, or inattention of counsel — behavior of counsel falling measurably below that which might be expected from an ordinary fallible lawyer.”

The second prong is that the consequence of counsel’s serious incompetency must be prejudicial. In Clarke they define prejudice as “a ‘reasonable probability’ that ‘but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.”

Therefore in order to prove ineffective assistance of counsel you have to prove that your lawyer didn’t act or advise you as a normal lawyer should AND that your criminal proceeding results would have been different if you had received proper advice.

Padilla was significant, because now non-citizens must be advised of immigration consequences if they are in criminal proceedings, but in order to get your case vacated it may still be a long road ahead!

If you have any questions about whether Padilla applies to your current situation, please call our office at 508-438-1198.

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

#criminallaw #immigration #padilla #retroactive #clarke