215 W. 18th Street, Suite 101
Kansas City, Missouri 64108
Phone: 816.753.7382 • Fax: 816.605.1129

Recently, the federal government has changed the emphasis of its approach to immigration enforcement in the area of employment. The prior emphasis taken by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit of the Department of Homeland Security was on raids on businesses to find and arrest undocumented workers, and place them in removal proceedings. Now ICE is focusing on examining the documentation for workers and using fines against businesses as the key to its enforcement.

Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR), often referred to as a green card, is a visa status that allows someone in the United States to remain permanently, without the need to continue or alter their visa status regularly. However, such status can be revoked in several ways, including as a result of criminal activity. Many permanent residents who face removal proceedings will be eligible for cancellation of removal, but will also be detained throughout the process, while the required paperwork is filed, the individual is fingerprinted, and the court schedules the final hearing.


Cancellation of Removal for Certain Lawful Permanent Residents is authorized by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 240A(a). The Act provides that anyone with a green card who is placed in deportation proceedings due to criminal activity, can have their removal (deportation) cancelled if they have been in the United States for five years as a green card holder, and seven years in any legal status before they committed the crime in question, and if the crime is not an Aggravated Felony (this includes all sorts of serious offenses, including drug trafficking crimes, but not minor possession crimes). Also, the alien must demonstrate that they warrant such a grant of relief in the discretion of the attorney general.  Generally, this requires showing some rehabilitation.

Sometimes people who were not born in the United States are citizens anyway, based on the state of the law at the time of their birth. In fact, the history of citizenship laws in the United States is fairly complicated. Anyone born before 1941, to one parent who is a United States citizen, is also a citizen as long as the parent resided at any time in the United States prior to the child’s birth.


Also, anyone born from January 13, 1941 to December 24, 1952 is automatically a citizen upon birth, provided their U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States for ten years prior to the birth of the child, and five of those ten years were after the parent’s 16th birthday. Thus, only parents who had their kids after turning 21 would be able to transmit citizenship to them. Recently, I had a client fall in this trap, because his father had him when he was a few months under 21, and therefore he, after having been in the United States since he was just a few days old, had to apply for permanent residence as a 50+ year old man. Luckily for him, he was allowed to do this under the “registry” laws of the 1970s.


From 1952 to 1986, the requirements were that the parent have resided in the United States for ten years prior to the child’s birth, five of which were after the age of 14, instead of 16. This small correction would have helped the client mentioned above, as his father would have been able to transmit citizenship to him.


Currently, the United States citizen parent need only live in the U.S. for five years before the child’s birth, two of which are after the age of 14. *This article does not include analysis of the situation where the parent is in the military. If this situation applies to you, I suggest you contact an attorney for a detailed review of your case.


Geoffrey has a unique background in both law and science, making him preeminently qualified to represent University Professors, Scientists, and Researchers seeking either non-immigrant or immigrant visas.


Most attorneys either rely solely on the scientists themselves to provide them with the necessary expertise, or else spend substantial hours attempting to decipher the nature of the work being performed. That is, a large part of what we do in Outstanding Researcher, National Interest Waiver, or Alien of Extraordinary Ability cases is to break down the technical language of the work being done, and turn it in to language someone with no scientific background can easily understand. You see, the CIS needs to know that the work being done is important, and that the contribution of the alien in question is outstanding or of significant importance.


With Geoffrey’s background, he has the necessary knowledge to turn complex scientific articles and accomplishments into easy-to-understand descriptions that US CIS adjudicators should be able to use with ease.


Geoffrey’s scientific background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering, with minors in Mathematics and Political Science. He was a visiting student at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Center for Nonlinear Studies for one and a half years.


Geoffrey has more than five years experience as an attorney in a diverse array of disciplines, including three years researching and writing legal opinions for judges at the Missouri Court of Appeals.


This background in both science and legal writing makes Geoffrey precisely the right person to expand our practice into the areas of representing Universities and scientific researchers and professors. We offer nation-wide representation of individuals, at Mid-West pricing. Why pay double or triple for the same work, solely because your attorney is on the East or West coast?

Today I received a lengthy and well-reasoned decision from the Kansas City Immigration Court, approving my pro bono client, an 18-year-old Honduran child. This is the first of the two pro bono cases we wrote about back in September. The Judge accepted our argument that the abuse the child suffered in Honduras did, in fact, rise to the level of persecution, that his family member who was a well-known and active gang member had persecuted him, and would likely persecute him in the future if he was returned to Honduras. Additionally, she accepted that the government in Honduras would not or could not protect him, and that the situation there has not changed enough for him to return safely. She also found that he had a reasonable fear of rival gang members or the police, simply for being related to the gang member. Lastly, she found that he couldn't go to any other part of Honduras to avoid persecution.

This young man from Honduras was clearly deserving the protection of the United States, and I am extremely appreciative of the expert academic who provided a report on Honduras which the judge specifically cited as authoritative, and the therapist who met with him several times and provided in-person testimony to the court. They provided their services pro bono as well, and did a tremendous job, and really responsible for his being approved for asylum. I can only hope that the second of the two cases turns out as well. 

The government does have the right to appeal the decision of the judge within 30 days, so he is not entirely in the clear yet. However, I do feel that the decision of the judge was so well-written and comprehensive that it seems very unlikely they would ultimately prevail before the Board of Immigration Appeals. That being said, it would be terrific if they decided not to appeal, so that he could move forward receiving benefits as an asylee in the United States.


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