Unique Aspects of DC Immigration Cases

Immigration law is special because it goes to the very essence of what the United States is founded upon. The United States is a composite of all those individuals who immigrated to here in the hopes that they would be able to remain here and build a future. I try to provide that for my clients; the future that they envision here in the United States.

Other kinds of law might affect the individual at that moment in time, but it does not have the exponential effect that immigration law has on individuals and generations of families going forward who will be able to call themselves United States citizens.

Immigration is unique from other areas of law due to the ripple effect that a favorable adjudication can have upon so many lives. A favorable outcome for a potential client will mean that an entire family will be able to escape harm, improve their financial standing, or just enjoy residing in the United States. At times, it seems as if the attorney is representing an entire group of individuals when only one intending immigrant is the client.

Defining Case Difficulties

Immigration cases can be challenging due to misinformation, changes in policy, and delays at USCIS and the Immigration Court, that can make clients feel disillusioned or grow impatient with the process. Every obstacle or hiccup that presents itself in an individual’s case diminishes the hope that the client will obtain the desired status or will be able to immigrate. That is why the main concern for immigration clients should be managing their expectations versus the reality of the immigration process in the United States.

What are Client Concerns?

The main concern for immigration clients is managing their expectation versus the reality of the immigration process in the US. No two cases are exactly the same. To a certain degree, each adjudication for a petition or benefit exists in a vacuum. Although USCIS and the immigration courts try to adjudicate applications and petitions in a predictable and systematic manner by applying the immigration laws and regulations, and following established case law, there is always a level of discretion in approving applications and granting relief.  That is why the primary concern for an immigration client should be providing all of the information and documents they have available so that the attorney can present the most favorable factors to secure the desired benefit.

Role of an Attorney in Immigration Cases

The role of the attorney is to present the best possible case to an adjudicator, whether it be the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) or an immigration judge. The secondary role of the immigration attorney is to be open with clients about what to expect. This means that the client must be informed at every step in the process. Attorneys must help the client understand the ins and outs of their own case so that they are able to provide detailed evidence and the testimony needed for a favorable outcome. The attorney should also be mindful that not all cases go as planned and they need to help their client understand an unfavorable outcome and come up with a strategy for the client going forward.

Therefore, the immigration attorney begins primarily with fulfilling the role of an advocate and presenting the best possible case for a client.  The attorney then communicates with the client and explains the immigration process at each step. Most importantly, the role of an immigration attorney is to be a sounding board for their client’s concerns. Without understanding a client’s desired outcome in a case, the attorney cannot properly mold the case to potential clients’ needs.