Immigration Law

Sep 14, 2021

Immigration Law is so much more than just green cards and naturalization, but how much more is it? How fast does the lay of the law change? What does DACA have to do with all of this? And why hasn’t my request from 1998 been approved yet? The truth, and answers you seek, will all be revealed!


Tracy Hightower-Henne: It’s on today’s podcast. We’re going to talk about Immigration 101, a.k.a. Immigration for Dummies.

Deanna Piña: Yeah. Immigration 360.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Fifty thousand foot view. All of

Deanna Piña: That. All about many numbers.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yes. So, Deanna Piña here with me today. Hi, this is so great. Deanna Piña is one of our attorneys at Hightower Hightower Law, practicing in immigration, which is like a new area of the law for me. And it’s really been fun to like, learn and watch and listen to all of this. So I’m excited also to learn more about it on today’s podcast. Yes. So also, our office is going on a retreat tomorrow. Yeah.

Deanna Piña: And less than twenty four hours away, 12 hours away.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Just a retreat like we’re going to Vegas to Vegas. So it’s literally like it’s four o’clock in our office right now and we’re going to Vegas. So like, this is a really good time to do this podcast because basically no one’s working today.

Deanna Piña: Yeah, it’s like party mode. Yeah, 100

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Percent. There’s also donuts sitting on the table, and at four o’clock, I’m probably going to have another one at least. Yeah.

Deanna Piña: Yes, I want a chocolate wine if there’s any left.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, I think there’s there’s more chocolate. Yep, there’s yep. Look at that and there’s a blueberry wine. I decided to have a bite of that because, you know, it has fruit in it, so it makes you feel better, but it doesn’t taste healthy at all. No, which is good. But it’s good, though. Yeah, yeah, that’s why it’s good. You are a good person.

Deanna Piña: I love sugar. Yeah, I love every form of sugar. So both

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Candy and chocolate

Deanna Piña: Candy cake cake is my favorite food in general. If something is in cake format, I will consume it,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Which is basically what a donut

Deanna Piña: Is. Yeah, it’s a small cake

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Because most people are either like chocolate or sugary stuff.

Deanna Piña: Oh yeah, or like like sour. Yeah, no. I’m all candy is welcome to make its way to

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Me, and I think you’re in a good home at this office because there seems to be candy all over.

Deanna Piña: There is always a delicious treat like always. I will routinely go to like Starbucks and get like a little pound cake for the morning and then I walk in and, oh, there’s, you know, banana bread that somebody made that’s full of chocolate chips. And I say, cool, like, OK.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But I think the true test for me personally is, do you like rice crispy treats?

Deanna Piña: Yeah, they’re fine.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, but you made like a crunchy face. Like, I like better stuff than that.

Deanna Piña: No, I like them. They’re not the first thing that I reach for. Yeah, but I do enjoy them.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But if that’s the only thing here, I

Deanna Piña: Literally ate a whole of roll of Mentos yesterday because it was near me and it was candy adjacent and I ate

Tracy Hightower-Henne: The entire. Now I’m scrunching my because that doesn’t even sound good. I felt very fresh, and frankly, those were in the Vegas emergency pack.

Deanna Piña: Yeah, I’ve already eaten everything that’s edible. Yeah, absolutely. All the gum on the Mentos gone. Oh my goodness.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Ok. So we’re going to Vegas. We’ll report back in later podcasts about whether that was a good idea about. Take our office to Vegas. But we did just moments ago, have a poker lesson.

Deanna Piña: Yes, I learned how to play poker today. I am not good at it, but I like watching it.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You might not play with real dollars.

Deanna Piña: I will prob know I’ll play with quarters.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You probably don’t play with gold. Yeah, pennies. You’ll sit back and watch and be like, Tracy, what did you just do? And I’m like, Shut up, Deanna, you can’t talk to me. I can’t tell you what’s happening.

Deanna Piña: I made a lot of bets because I wanted to see how the game ended, not because I had a good hand. Oh yes, that’s not like a great strategy.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: No, don’t do it. Apparently, yeah, I don’t know. Don’t keep putting money out if you have bad cards. Yeah.

Deanna Piña: Like low.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, life lesson. Also, that segues into immigration because wow, what a tough area of the law.

Deanna Piña: Yeah, money and cards. That’s immigration. Yeah, totally. Immigration. One hundred percent.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, Mike, on that note, too, there’s so many pieces of immigration that are like definitions and like hot button words and things like that. So like, I want to know about all those things because, you know, I’ve been a lawyer for 13 years and I don’t even know these things, and I keep learning these things all the time.

Deanna Piña: So for sure, so kind of where I like to start with things is that immigration is extremely hard for everyone, especially for attorneys. So if you do not practice immigration law normally do not attempt to ever in your life, right? And if you are looking for help, make sure you speak to a immigration attorney. But so, you know, some kind of things that I find myself educating people on, you know, hopefully a polite and kind and generous way is that, you know, for example, the term illegal is super offensive. It’s not. It is technically an immigration violation to be here without proper paperwork. But you’re not a criminal in the sense that like you stab someone in the face, you know you’re just here without the right documents. You yourself as a human being are not illegal. You know what I’m saying? Yes. So that’s kind of what I find myself correcting people a lot on. Hopefully, like I said with kindness. But um, let me think people ask me a lot about asylum. So asylum is a process where you appear at the border of a country. Usually, the United States is most of the time our southern border and you ask for protection based because you’re experiencing persecution based on a limited list of factors. So that can include religion that can include race, all kinds of things that go into that.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So when I hear asylum and that picture is painted in my mind, I’m like picturing someone literally at the border, like with the border line at their feet, and they’re like knocking on a door. Like, how does this happen? Is it like you go into a border office?

Deanna Piña: Yeah. So the literal only way that you can ask for asylum is by asking for it at the border. You can’t petition for it outside of the country, you there. So there are usually immigration officers there, specific ones. So at the border, most of the people who are down there are. It’s all kind of under the Homeland Security umbrella. So that’s kind of who Customs and Border Patrol is controlling. But there’s also asylum officers that are stationed there who will interview you and decide it will give you an interview based on, you know, to determine what you’re experiencing and whether that means our legal definition of asylum. And if they believe that to be more likely true than not true, they let you in and let you process your case through the immigration court system in the United States.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Ok, so it’s not just like Joe Schmo sitting there with his feet up on the.

Deanna Piña: Yeah, I mean, allegedly they’re trained.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, OK. So it might be Joe Schmo who knows. But yeah,

Deanna Piña: They’re they’re officers who are trained by one of our immigration branches in the federal government.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And I think what a lot of people think about asylum is that like everyone’s coming at the border and asking for asylum, is that true?

Deanna Piña: So it’s the only way that you can ask for it. So there’s all this political on every side of people, you know, showing people at the border begging for help, you know, looking all kinds of ways. But the way that our law is the only possible way that you can ask for it is by doing so at the border. So that’s why everyone’s doing it that way, right? But that’s why a large amount of people are doing it that way.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Right, OK. So what we see on TV sometimes? Yes. Asylum seekers,

Deanna Piña: Yeah. And you know, like you can be seeking, you know, protection based on all kinds of reasons like maybe you are gay and you’re from a country where, you know, for example, a common one is Kenya, where you could be killed, you know, depending on what part of the country you’re in. Things like that.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So we’re Kentucky or or Kentucky. Oh, wait, that’s in our country or in Nebraska. Oh, and for listeners, sometimes making light of very difficult subjects is. Helpful for ice hockey.

Deanna Piña: Oh yeah, we have to it’s laughter through tears, yes, yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Ok, so tell us about like a typical immigration case. How does it start? And like how like, what’s this set of facts that you hear?

Deanna Piña: Yeah. So I mean, it can be anything. So there are a lot of reasons that someone would want to come to this country. So either you know your need to come here for humanitarian aid like you’re seeking, you know, freedom from persecution like asylum or refugee status. You can also just want to come here because your husband is from here and you, you’re married to him and you want the ability to live here permanently.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But you have to wait 90

Deanna Piña: Days, depending. That’s a certain visa. That’s 90 Day Fiance.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Is that Bravo or TLC? 90 Day Fiance?

Deanna Piña: But that’s a K visa, if anyone cares.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: The letter K? Yeah, yeah. Do they use the alphabet for all the visas?

Deanna Piña: Yeah. Like, for example, the S visa is used for people who could potentially be like an informant to the government. So we call it the snitch visa like s first snitch, you

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Know, but what is the s actually stand for?

Deanna Piña: Not, nothing. So it’s all like all of this immigration terminology and all the law is in like a code, like in a book. And so the letters are based on like the like the code section.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Got it. Yeah. So it’s like naming hurricanes.

Deanna Piña: Yeah. But like less interesting because it’s the stupid alphabet instead of like. Right, Gloria?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Right? Got it. Or Andre? I was like, No, no, no, that says Henry. I think they keep saying Henry, I’ll read, but OK, so OK. So.

Deanna Piña: Oh yeah. So yeah, there’s a ton of different reasons why you’d want to come here. So for me, at least, if you are, if you practice immigration law in Nebraska, most of what you’re going to experience are people who came here for work to seek work of some kind of way. We have a lot of farm work that’s available. We have a lot of factory work that’s available that people are able to do. So a lot of times it’s someone who’s here and they just want to figure out how to be able to stay here permanently or for a long period of time legally. So my most of what I do is family based immigration. So if you are married to a U.S. citizen or someone with a green card, they’re also called a permanent resident, you know, and you want to be able to become a resident as well through that relationship. If you’re someone who twenty one years old and or older who wants to apply for your parents, you can do that. Things like that. Got it. Yeah. So the person would come in. And you know, most of what I there’s a lot of different roadblocks that make it so that you can’t change your status or get papers to stay here.

Deanna Piña: And a lot of those include criminal convictions. Something as simple as you know, if you came here without a visa in the first place, then odds are if you leave, you’re going to be banned for 10 years from ever coming back because you’ve been here without papers for too long and you didn’t come in with a quote quote, lawful entry. There’s a lot of little roadblocks, a lot of like tiny little potholes that you could trip over. So I try to screen for those right off the bat, like, do you have criminal history anywhere in the United States because immigration is federal, so anything you do in any state will follow you? You know, we have to do FBI background checks on all our clients, for example, things like that. So yeah, I ask about criminal history. I ask about family relationships, fear of returning to their home country and then based on kind of those factors, it kind of puts you in different areas of immigration like, OK, they need humanitarian aid or they are able to come here because their brother is a citizen or things like that. And then there’s a whole all these forms you can do

Tracy Hightower-Henne: To someone’s calling you and saying, Hey, I want to be able to stay here longer and you’re doing the interview to see, could they apply for a certain letter of the Alphabet visa?

Deanna Piña: Yeah. Or like a green card or something like that? Yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And so how often are you able to help someone?

Deanna Piña: So because there are all these roadblocks, a lot of times the answer is right now, there’s nothing because the law, as it is written and as it was created, it was made to be. We’re going to keep everyone out and only let a few people in instead of everyone can come in, except these few people. It’s like a very important distinction. So the majority of the law is saying you can’t come in if you have this, this, this and this. So, you know, for example, like what I was talking about a little bit earlier with the legal entry thing, that is the thing that trips up a lot of families. Because if you came here without a visa, without being allowed to come in at the border or through customs or however way you came here, if you came here without legally doing so, you have to go back to your home country to interview at your consulate and then come back. But the. And that you step foot out of the country, you won’t be allowed to come back for 10 years or more because you were here without papers. So a lot of unless you qualify for a very specific waiver of that issue. So, you know, a lot of times people don’t meet those qualifications because they’re not married to the right type of person or meaning citizen or a resident or things like that.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So then they need to get divorced from that person and find the right person. Yeah, which we can help with.

Deanna Piña: I, I have this like, it’s wildly unethical and we would never do it. But I have this fantasy of creating like a dating app for our divorced clients and my immigration clients so they could meet. But we would never do that.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And and then and then we have our own 90 Day Fiancé podcast series. Yeah. Yes. Ok. Counselor discipline. We’re not doing that. We are never doing this. A fantasy. It’s a

Deanna Piña: Joke.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But on that note, though, that kind of brings up something that’s always a question that we get often is like, I’m not a citizen. Can I ask for a divorce? I’m not a citizen. Can I ask for a protection order? Yeah, I’m not a citizen. Can I, you know, file a probate matter? Yeah. And we’re often reminding people like, you still have access to the court system when you’re living here. No one’s asking if you’re a citizen when you’re filing for divorce.

Deanna Piña: Yeah, that’s one of the things that you know, immigration attorneys have really fought for in past cases in front of the Supreme Court and things like that. Because, you know, just because you don’t have papers doesn’t mean you’re not owed due process. You shouldn’t be forced to be married to someone just because you don’t have the right ID card, you know. So, yeah, I get that a lot. I mean, we just had a referral yesterday for someone who was injured while at work, and he wasn’t sure if he would be able to file a claim and get worker’s compensation because he doesn’t have, you know, necessarily a green card or something to that effect. And the answer is like, yeah, you can because you were hurt at work, like just because you don’t have the right, you know, little ID card in your wallet doesn’t mean that you should have to pay for all your bills. I mean, you should have to suffer for the rest of your life.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And I think like from my small experience at the South Omaha legal clinic to and like speaking with Spanish speaking only Spanish speaking people, it’s very terrifying to not only be in a country where the the main language is English and no one wants to learn any other language, right? And that is your language. That is your way to communicate is only in Spanish. And then you put on top of that that you have a legal matter, right? And then you put on top of that that you’re probably not a citizen in that situation and you’re like, super terrified that I’m going to set foot in court and ice is going to arrest me.

Deanna Piña: Oh yeah. Are people? Are I even, you know, encounter people who are scared to even make an appointment with me because, you know, I had someone I did a consultation with somebody who they had had an immigration attorney in the past, and they were afraid to ask for their file because they were scared that that attorney would report them to ice for leaving them. You know, you have all these fears of when you when your life is. So every single aspect of your life is dependent on your immigration status, like if you don’t have a Social Security number, you can’t have a bank account, which means you can’t have a credit card, which means you don’t have credit, which means you can’t apply for a card like there’s all kinds of it just snowballs all the time. So, you know, there’s a lot of fear, and it’s it’s not a lifestyle that anyone would do for fun, like no one is here, or at least in my experience, no one maliciously, intentionally. Yeah, no one. No one’s here without proper documents because they thought it would be like a cute little trip. You know,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Like in the U.S., they stayed longer until their last flight. So I guess I’ll stay here forever.

Deanna Piña: Yeah, both. Most of the time it’s for need. At least that’s what we see here is that a lot of people who are here are here for economic need or for because they are afraid to return to their country. Right?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So another phrase that I think falls into this, like fifty thousand foot view of immigration is DACA. So like, what does that mean when we hear that?

Deanna Piña: Yeah, so DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and that was a program that was created under the Obama administration in a method that was not like the best way, which is why we keep hearing about it in the news where the Supreme Court is constantly like, Yeah, it’s OK. No, it’s not OK. Yeah, it’s OK. Like, why would ping pong back and forth about it? So DACA is only available to a very, very, very select group of people who were brought here before a certain age and have lived here since, I don’t know, off the top of my head. I want to say 2007 a certain date in 2007, and you can prove that you’ve never left the country since you have to show that you don’t have any criminal, serious criminal history. You have to show that you either went to high school or have a GED or enrolled in a GED or high school program, things like that. But it allows people to. It’s not like a visa. It’s not saying you have permission to be here. What DACA is, is the government saying. You we’re not going to kick you out like it’s not saying you’re allowed to be here, it’s saying we know that you’re here and we’re not going to do anything about

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It, but we want to keep tabs on you, but we want to

Deanna Piña: Watch you, so to speak. But you know, like anything, immigration, you never you have to submit paperwork to the government. So right.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So when we hear the Dreamers, is that DACA? Yeah.

Deanna Piña: Like so I want to say it was the dream act. I know right now there’s like the Dream and Promise Act. There’s so though, all this came about because technically and this is like a really legal conversation. So interrupt me,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: We are laughing. Yeah. So we are doing a legal podcast. If you didn’t know, I didn’t.

Deanna Piña: So a lot of immigration law is technically supposed to be made by Congress. Congress has been delegated.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: The authority to do this isn’t a legal topic. This is fifth grade government.

Deanna Piña: You know, if you’re if you’re from Texas, like me, you didn’t have a very good government lesson.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, yes. Public school, you’re going into separation of powers.

Deanna Piña: You know, there’s all the branches, right? So like, immigration is supposed to be controlled by the legislative branch, but because they never act, which I think is something all sides of every aisle can agree on. What has happened instead, is that the executive branch has had to start creating a lot of immigration rules because technically the executive, meaning the president and his, you know, agencies have power over the border. So they use that as like a reasoning to be able to make law about immigration. So all of this is to say Congress didn’t do you know what was necessary to make DACA law in the legislative way? So President Obama made it an executive order, which is why we’re going through all this craziness right now. It’s like, was that constitutional? Was it not, you know, all of that delicious legal argument stuff.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So so it is now taking that long from President Obama to get to the Supreme Court?

Deanna Piña: Yeah. And they’re supposed to be deciding on that soon about whether it’s constitutional, meaning 10 years day.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Which is what happens in our lovely judicial branch, which is the third branch of government where all three branches fifth grade might be fourth grade gold star. Yes. I don’t think the general public remembers those three branches.

Deanna Piña: I mean, you know, this is like maybe not so great to hear, but you know, I didn’t learn about how a bill gets made until I was in law school. You know, like there’s so many, I didn’t even know how much.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And then you came to Nebraska, where there’s a unicameral and then which

Deanna Piña: Are all messed up in your head. I love the unicameral. Yeah. Because it forces you to work with all kinds of people. You don’t get the option to just be like, Well, I’m this thing, so I don’t want to talk to you. Like you have to talk to everyone, which I think is really, really unique and special about Nebraska.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. So, OK, so back to I want to go back to the question of like, what’s the timeline of an immigration case? You know, you talk to the client. Let’s say that client is is someone who can get some help. You can help them. Yeah. So what are you doing then?

Deanna Piña: So first I cry now for I’m so happy.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So yeah, you’re crying.

Deanna Piña: Happy tears. I’m constantly crying some kind of tear. So what happens then, is we make a plan about this is what I think you should do. You know, based on my experience and my knowledge, you know, of course, they sign a contract and then we get started on the case. So, you know, a lot of immigration work depends on what you’re asking for and what country you’re from. So for example, if you are a U.S. citizen and you are trying to petition for your sibling to come here and live here, you know, as a permanent resident with a green card, they are processing petitions from Mexico. They’re still stuck in, I think, nineteen ninety eight. So when people say things like, why don’t you just come here the right way, it’s like because it takes 30 years sometimes.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I tried. I filed about 30 years really

Deanna Piña: Doing my best. And this is someone that we talked to at the oh, someone I talked to at the clinic last week where, you know, he said, I’ve had a petition and process to bring my brother here since the nineties, and he shows us these like really old weathered papers that a typewriter, yeah, that have been toted from house to house, you know, like state to state, city to city. And he’s like, What’s going on? Like what you know is what did I do wrong?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You’re like, Hold on. I’m going to call the

Deanna Piña: Federal government one 800 cell phone and fed, you know, so you know, we we have ways of the Department of State puts out every month, kind of like a chart of where they’re at date wise on what type of petition there’s all these categories or these spreadsheets, all these letters and craziness. But we divine our way through that and we were able to figure out, you know? Well, it’s because you’re from Mexico, and they’re processing, I believe, may of 1998, and your petition is, you know, April of 1999, so maybe in five more years, your brother, like there’s just there is a only so many visas are allotted for each category per year. And so you know, for because so many people from Mexico are applying for those visas, they get eaten up super quickly. And that’s why

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Is there a lottery for visas? Do I hear that sometimes?

Deanna Piña: Yeah, there’s a lottery that you can apply for. The diversity visa lottery exists, but that there’s only so many diversity visas issued, you know, so that can help you skip the line. But you know you have to get picked.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Wow. So, so OK, you will wait. Now, I really want to ask this question. So if a non-citizen plays the Powerball and wins, can they get the money?

Deanna Piña: You know, I don’t know. It would depend on the contract. They depend on the contract of

Tracy Hightower-Henne: The on the back of the

Deanna Piña: Ticket. That thing? Yeah, the the ticket.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. Yeah, that’s that’s Spanish for ticket. Yes, I think I have one in my purse, so I’ll go.

Deanna Piña: We’re going to go, look at it.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, next podcast will be the better lottery to win than the immigration lottery. I don’t

Deanna Piña: Know. I mean, or you

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Give it to someone else to get the money and then hopefully give it to you.

Deanna Piña: Well, there is, you know, kind of interesting. There’s an investor visa, which I don’t remember the number of or the letter of it right now, but there’s an investor visa for if you can invest some, you know, over a million dollars and to

Tracy Hightower-Henne: America, you need to win the Powerball

Deanna Piña: And then the free gamble and you can jump over all the other hoops of, well, you weren’t here with papers the first time and blah blah blah. Then maybe you could get an investor visa.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh yeah, OK. That that was really I was curious about that. Ok, so you file something in court and then when you have a hearing like the next day?

Deanna Piña: Yeah. So most of immigration is done by paperwork. It’s not done in court,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: On a typewriter, on a typewriter, in a carbon copy,

Deanna Piña: One light bulb. Yeah, so you joke. But like, you have to make three copies of everything, and sometimes it’s a five hundred page application and you’re like, My hands are so tired from stapling, like, give me a break, you know? But so depending on what you’re asking for, a lot of immigration is done just by paperwork. So, you know, compile all the documents necessary you you hope that you have the right forms and you’ve done them correctly and you’ve made sure to check every single little tiny stumbling block that you could have possibly checked. And then he sent it off to whatever agency, usually USCIS. Sometimes it can be the consulate, sometimes it can be one. Here in the United States, you would only really ever get. And then you wait. Sometimes you have an interview, then you wait. You know, you keep waiting. And then hopefully a green card comes in the mail, right?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, you just shows up in the mail or a visa?

Deanna Piña: Yeah, maybe you have to go to your consulate and get a stamp. It really just depends on what you’re asking for. Yeah, you would only be kind of quote unquote hauled into immigration court if you know if ICE finds you in some sort of way. So what is most common for that is if you’ve been charged with any kind of crime that then you while your criminal case is in process, ICE has reported you, you know, they found out the police have found out that you don’t have a proper paperwork or whatever because they have to book you. You know, when you get arrested, they report that to ice and then ICE reports the case to the immigration court and then it kind of goes through there. So that’s a really common way. Another common way is like, we were talking about asylum earlier. A lot of ways that that gets processed is through the immigration court as well. So they process you at the border and then they release you to whatever state that maybe you have an uncle that lives in Nebraska, so they release you to your uncle here in Nebraska and then your case is here now and then you come to me.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So all of this happens, and in our traditional criminal defense world, we know about speedy trial. Yeah. So are you having a speedy trial?

Deanna Piña: So if you were not a citizen, the majority of the Constitution does not apply to you. So you get like 30 percent of due process, which is

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Even that much.

Deanna Piña: Yeah, I’m like, It’s super cool. We got like more than four for, you know, I have

Tracy Hightower-Henne: No right to a speedy trial.

Deanna Piña: So depending on your situation, if you are detained, meaning that you committed some kind of crime that based on immigration law as it exists, means that you can’t be released from ICE custody because you’re either a danger to the community or you’re a flight risk, meaning you would like escape to another country and never come back.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You go back to your own home country, right?

Deanna Piña: Like, I don’t know, Canada or right, you know, whatever. So if you are still detained, some people call it like the rocket docket that you, your case has to be processed within normally 60 days. You know, there are extensions for that. There are reasons that that doesn’t happen all the time. You hear about people being detained. For years and years and years, because maybe their country won’t accept them things like that, but yeah, so it’s a lot faster if you are in detention because a lot of these people like, for example, Nebraska doesn’t have an immigration detention center. So people, you can be found for an immigration violation and housed with actual criminals in jail. And that can be really hard for people. Really scary. I mean, not that everyone in jail is a criminal, you know, allegedly, right? But you know, we’ve I have have had clients who, you know, they’re like a forty five year old mom and they’ve never been in trouble before. They were pulled over for a traffic infraction. And now they’re in jail with people who are scary in some way, you know, and so and they have to be there with these people. There’s nowhere else that they can stay.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So we’ll have to wait for

Deanna Piña: For who knows? Yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So I think, you know, immigration in general is so in depth that like, yeah, obviously talking about all of the ins and outs of it will take twenty five podcast episodes, right? But like this, this overview, I think, gives me the takeaway not knowing this area of the law that like you have to have patience both as the lawyer and the client.

Deanna Piña: Yeah, and that’s really hard. I mean, especially if you, you know, you’re asking for your daughter to come here and you’re like, That’s my kid, you know, what do I do? Or you know what one

Tracy Hightower-Henne: As the lawyer to. I mean, I don’t think many immigration lawyers do immigration law and don’t care about it.

Deanna Piña: You have to. I mean, if you if you’re doing it without caring about the clients, without caring about, I don’t know, like justice, then you shouldn’t be doing it.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You’re yeah, you’re probably not doing immigration work.

Deanna Piña: Yeah, you’re not doing it right or you’re not doing it

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, you’re doing tax work. And yeah, you should

Deanna Piña: Go cubicle work for the IRS.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. So and then I think the other thing that’s really important that I heard too is it’s not just any lawyer that can help you like the immigration laws are changing almost daily every single day. And to be updating yourself is a job. And so anyone that’s interested in immigration work really has to. You have to go with an attorney that knows immigration law.

Deanna Piña: Yeah. So something that’s really common that we hear about or that I’ve heard about is that there are people who are legal assistants or notaries who are practicing immigration law because they’re thinking, Oh, it’s just filling out forms. And it’s not. It’s it’s really, really, really not just that. And so a lot of people end up getting deported because they’re working with people who are not immigration attorneys who don’t know what they’re doing. Yes, or, you know, I’ve heard stories about law firms who think they’ve don’t do any immigration law, and they think that they’re doing someone a favor by taking on their immigration case. And that’s when I report them to the bar because it’s not ethical because they’re going to get someone deported because they don’t know that they need to know X, Y and Z, they don’t even know where to look, you know?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So it’s not like the business lawyer who does a divorce for their business client and like, Hmm, well, maybe they messed up the child support calculator. It’s like literally life,

Deanna Piña: Life and death and a lot of circumstances.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, well, I’m so glad that you’re on our team because I think really at high tariff law, like we actually love caring about our clients. And yes, and already since you’ve been here in a short amount of time, the overlap that we’re able to help our clients with, like three different areas of the law is so great to be able to say like, Hey, Diane is right next door or Tasha is right next door, I’m going to talk to her and I’ll call you back.

Deanna Piña: Yeah, I mean, it’s already happened before, you know, one of our divorce clients could have potentially had a criminal situation that could have become an immigration situation. And I got to get looped in on that and figure out, you know, is this crime one that’s going to be bad for immigration purposes?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So, yeah, so thank you for educating me today. I know I learned a lot and we will, you know, go in depth. More on immigration in the future.

Deanna Piña: Yeah, call me anytime.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, and the doughnut box is speaking to me.

Deanna Piña: Oh my god, it looks delicious.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: There’s chocolate ones in there. Is that what you said? Yes, I’m getting one. And the the super healthy, not healthy blueberry one.

Deanna Piña: Thank you.

Announcer: Thank you for listening to the lady lawyer. Be sure to like and subscribe anywhere you get your podcasts, if you would like to learn more about our firm, Hightower-Reff Law, please visit our website at HR Law We’ll see you next week.

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