Immigration trial attorneys know protecting immigrants is one of the hardest jobs today. Each year, deportation defense becomes tougher. More and more rigid laws are passed – increasing the difficulty of winning deportation and removal cases.Do Not Trust The NewsToo many news stories present a different picture. Watching the news on immigration causes many people to believe deporting individuals is almost impossible. This view is far from the truth. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that getting a green card is easy.The reality is that once an immigrant is sent to Immigration Court, the odds of winning are far less than 50-50. Rules are not only stiffer . . . procedures are tighter . . . and judges are stricter than ever before. Still, about 60% of immigrants try to handle their cases without an immigration trial attorney. This is an open invitation for tragedy.The Path To Immigration Success Is ComplicatedEven when immigrants have good cases, there are no guarantees. Victory is a privilege, not a right.Immigration judges can (1) feel that you are a good person, (2) declare that you have been 100% honest, and (3) acknowledge that your life will be disrupted if you are deported – and yet, decide that you do not meet the requirements to remain in the United States.For immigrants who do not have valid documents, the situation is harsher. They are often left with only one possible defense against deportation. This is called cancellation of removal. They must prove:
10 years of continuous physical presence in the U.S.
Good moral character during the ten years
No convictions which disqualify them from immigration benefits
Exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to a qualifying relative (Qualifying relatives are your husband, wife, parents, or children who are either U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents already)
By far, the requirement normally most difficult to demonstrate is hardship.Two Roads To VictoryThere are two roads to proving hardship. The difference between the roads: where your family members plan to live if you are removed. As your immigration lawyer should explain, you must think carefully about these options before testifying at your deportation defense hearing.If you take the first road, your family members will leave the U.S. with you. If you take the second road, they will stay here even after you are sent back to your home country.This is a very important decision. It is important because what happens if you are deported will affect your life and your family’s life forever. And what happens if you are deported is what the judge needs to know, absolutely know, in great detail.The road you and your family choose is important for another reason. It determines how your immigration trial attorney will present your case. If you take the first road, your lawyer has to show how moving to your home country will have a negative effect on your qualifying relatives. If you take the second road, your immigration attorney has to show how your family will suffer without your day-to-day support and love.When Your Hardship Is Not EnoughBoth types of cases take a lot of preparation. There are many, many things to talk about in court. A lot of evidence is needed to support your testimony. The right amount of hardship is incredibly difficult to prove.Almost all immigrant families will suffer some hardship if a family member is deported. Judges tell many immigrants that they have shown some hardship – but they have only shown ordinary hardship. You must demonstrate exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.
The first thing I’d like to tackle today are the two most common “immigration myths”. I used to spend a lot of time in various immigration forums, and the same questions would always pop up.”Somebody (such as a lawyer) can help me speed up the process”.To go through the Canadian immigration process, you normally do not need to hire an immigration lawyer or an immigration consultant (both known as immigration representatives). Although the process appears complex at first, if you spend a little bit of time trying to understand it, you can perfectly fill up all the forms by yourself.Knowing that, many immigration representatives advertise that they can improve your chances of obtaining the permanent residence in Canada. Some even claim that your application will be processed faster if you use their services.Can they really improve your chance of receiving the permanent residence? Well, I’d say that is a bit exaggerated. Sure, they probably know how to fill up the paperwork. But if you are eligible, you are eligible, if you are not… well, an immigration lawyer or consultant can’t change that!One thing is for sure, hiring an immigration lawyers will not speed up you claim with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Nobody has this power… application are treated on a first come first serve basis, with some possible exception due to status (refugee for example).You will not have better chance to be accepted if you go with an immigration representative.Bottom line: immigrating to Canada is not cheap. Between the application fees, the right of permanent residence fees, the medical exams etc. you already have a lot to pay. Hiring a representative can easily double your budget. That said, if your case is very complicated, you may benefit from professional advice. In this case, choose your representative carefully.Citizenship & Immigration states that “the only representatives who may charge a fee to represent or advise you on immigration and refugee matters with the Government of Canada are [...] lawyers members [...] of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society, immigration consultants who are members [...] of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, and notaries who are members [...] of the Chambre des notaires du Québec. The Government of Canada will not deal with non-authorized representatives who charge a fee for their service.”"I need to be married to a Canadian citizen to immigrate to Canada”. Variant: “It’s much easier to immigrate to Canada when you are married to a Canadian citizen.”Sign up on any immigration forum, add in your profile that you are “in Canada” and you will soon receive dozens of private emails: “you are so pretty, I love you, let’s get married!”, or “u r sexy pls IM me I want come Canada”.I have no doubt that you are indeed very sexy, but there is another explanation to your sudden sex-appeal. Indeed, a lot of people think that if you marry a Canadian citizen, you automatically are accepted to immigrate to Canada (some even think you automatically get Canadian citizenship!).Let me get that straight: it is absolutely not true.If you are married to a Canadian citizen, you have no special rights. Same thing if you are the common-law partner of a Canadian citizen by the way. Yes, you heard me: no special rights. I think in the U.S.A, you can get a “fiance visa”… well, not in Canada.Now, if you want to live with your spouse in Canada, you will have to go through the immigration process like everybody else. You will probably apply in the sponsorship category (more on that in a couple of weeks), and it will take a few months (even sometimes a few years) to obtain the permanent residence. Besides, be aware that Citizenship & Immigration agents are trained to detect “marriage of convenience” and take marriage fraud very seriously…Now, I’m not telling you to not marry a Canadian (they are very nice, I have one at home!) but it’s by no mean a guaranteed way to immigrate to Canada. You have been warned!