Interviewer: Please give a very quick introduction of yourself, how long you’ve been practicing immigration law and how many cases you’ve handled that concerned immigration law.
Attorney Morales Has Been Practicing Immigration Law since 2004
Jeanne: We’ve been practicing immigration since 2004. We have handled many cases. One aspect that people are not very familiar with is that immigration’s a very wide field, and there’s very distinct but different parts of it. We do handle most all areas of immigration work at our practice. The only area we do not handle very often is employment immigration issues. This area does require very specific training.
Employment immigration issues require a whole different subset of skills. There’s another federal government department involved in addition to the State Department of Immigration. Then you add in the Labor Department, and you’re managing two sets of expectations, not just the client’s, but the employer’s.
Employers who dabble in it, who think, “Well, I’ll just go hire somebody from south of the border.” They don’t realize what they personally have to do and what the costs are.
Attorney Morales Handles Many Family-Based Immigration Cases for Her Clients
Interviewer: Please explain what the main areas are of immigration law and provide a brief description of each of them.
Family-Based Immigration Issues May Involve a Party Who Has Resided Here for Many Years but Had Entered the Country Illegally
Jeanne: Okay. There’s family-based immigration. That’s where someone wants to put in for a family member, such as a spouse, a parent, a child, brother, sister. Oftentimes, that can be routine if everybody involved has no difficulties with their case. But, the minute you want to put in for your spouse and, okay, he entered illegally, and he’s been here illegally 10 years. That is a hurdle that has to be overcome and we do handle many of those cases. For example, there are waivers that can be applied for and there are a number of different routes to take in order to successfully solve those issues.
Attorney Morales Advises to Always Retain an Experienced Attorney to Handle Immigration Issues
One topic I would like to go over is that far too often, people either just put in papers on their own, or they go to somebody called a notario. A notario is basically an unskilled person that is used because their services are inexpensive. Many times, people who used a notario do end up getting deported because they didn’t realize that there are all these traps for the unwary.
Attorney Morales Represents Parties Who Are Detained by the Border Patrol or the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
We also handle a large number of cases that involve what we refer to as detained representation. These are cases where one party has already interacted with the criminal system or the ICE, the Border Patrol or Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They’ve either been put in what’s called proceedings — that means that they have a date with an immigration court judge — or they’re actually detained.
As an Attorney Well Acquainted with the System, Attorney Morales Has Earned Credibility and Respect
Anybody who’s in that position needs an attorney. The laws enacted in this area are very complex. In addition, the Dallas judges are different than the judges in El Paso. There is also something to be said for attorneys who are well acquainted with the deportation officers. As well as the jailers at the detention center and the immigration judges.
This familiarity buys you a considerable amount of credibility. There are certain matters in this area of the law that require discretion. If you’ve already got a track record with a judge, you’re just that much more likely to get that discretion.
Immigrants Who Are Being Detained May Be Facing Criminal Charges or Consequences for Illegal Immigration
Interviewer: This is for people that are immigrants that have been essentially detained, meaning arrested, and they’re being held, and they may face deportation while they’re being held in jail?