Lee & Garasia, LLC
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  • "I would definitely recommend Mr.Lee and Garasia as an immigration attorney because they did a great job with my case i.e. of Adjustment of Status (i-485). Mr. Lee helped us in each and every detailed information and prepared to the best of it. It was all well done and would like to appreciate." Read More

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  • "Mr. Lee and Ms. Garasia did a great job with my renewal of my permanent residence application. They help prepare the paperwork with such a great attention to details and accuracy. I will recommend the law firm every time." Read More

  • "Mr. Lee did a great job with the renewal of my permanent residence application. My case was very time sensitive and they worked really fast on my case with great detail and accuracy. I will recommend the law firm every time." Read More

  • "I would recommend Attorney Paris Lee for anybody who needs immigration consultation. Mr. Lee is THE lawyer who respects and cares clients. Mr. Lee is professional and honest. Bottom line, preparation for the results and NO BS!" Read More

  • "Stalin - Lee did a wonderful job, Got my wife her visa in one year. He is extremely helpful and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend him for all your immigration needs." Read More

  • "Hello. I appoint him as my immigration lawyer and that way he solved my cases was truly amazing. He was so honest and knowledgeable for his work.He solved my all family immigration issues and because of his effort we were able to get done our immigration work done successful. Thank you lee and garasia." Read More

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July 2012 Archives

Could a Township or Municipal Ordinance in NJ Cause Deportation?

The BIA released a very interesting decision recently that can have potential immigration ramifications for anybody convicted in our state's municipal courts. The case is Matter of Roberto Cuellar-Gomez, 25 I&N 850 (BIA 2012). There were several issues before the Board, which arose out of an Immigration Judge's ruling that the Respondent, Mr. Cuellar-Gomez, was removable on the basis of a conviction for a Wichita, Kansas, municipal ordinance prohibiting marijuana possession. Despite the respondent's arguments that his conviction in the municipal court did not constitute a State crime, the Board disagreed and held that the township violation not only was a breach of a law or regulation of a State...relating to a controlled substance," but also that the conviction also served as a predicate offense that allowed DHS to classify the respondent's subsequent marijuana conviction later on that year, as an Aggravated Felony. The decision is much more complicated than is explained here. The gist here is that one should not assume that one is immune to removability just because a criminal case was disposed of in municipal court. Moreover, pleading guilty to a township ordinance does not necessarily insulate an individual from potential removability. Our municipal courts, following the logic of the decision, are merely extensions of State sovereignty, and as such, so long as procedural due process is given to a criminal defendant in court, convictions for ordinances--which are not ordinarily considered crimes or even misdemeanors--can serve as the basis of deportability, especially when it comes to drug offenses. (Incidentally, this is assuming, of course, that the State charges an individual with an ordinance in the first place, or is willing to downgrade a disorderly persons offense to that of an ordinance--which, these days, is getting increasingly rare.)

Can a DWI disqualify a person for DREAM Deferred Action?

We are still awaiting clarification and guidelines from USCIS as to how the DREAMER deferred action program will be implemented. We are also awaiting more guidance as to who will be disqualified from applying. USCIS has made it clear that those with felony convictions will be not be granted deferred status. A felony, according to USCIS, is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. This is understandable. However, what is not so transparent is the meaning of a significant misdemeanor or even a misdemeanor for that matter. Does a local ordinance violation constitute a misdemeanor? Will a DWI be considered a significant misdemeanor? It arguably could, given that it is a state offense "involving driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs"! What about leaving the scene of an accident? In New Jersey, Leaving the Scene of an Accident is punishable by up to 30 days in jail for cases where there is only property damage, and up to 180 days in the event of personal injury. See NJSA 39:4-129. Technically speaking, the offense could constitute a state offense involving "unlawful flight from arrest, prosecution, or the scene of an accident."

Foreign Students need to be vigilant

Just a few weeks ago, a school in Iselin, New Jersey, was "busted" by DHS for allegedly running a scam involving foreign students. This only underscores again how important it is for prospective foreign students to be aware of what schools are and are not allowed to do, as well as what their own obligations and limitations are as a foreign student. While the school has not been proven guilty and will certainly be entitled to its day in court with a presumption of innocence, there have been scandals involving schools that directly affect their students. Even when students are innocent of any wrongdoing and actually victims, many have been forced or pressured to leave, some even deported. Students need to make sure that they are enrolled in schools approved by immigration, of course, to enroll foreign students. They also need to be cognizant of their obligations with respect to classroom time and hours and carry a full course load. Those who do not will fall out of compliance and be reported by SEVIS (Student Exchange Visitor Information System). From there, it is only a matter of time before ICE is made aware of the violations.


    • The National Advocates | Top 100 Lawyers
    • Rated by Super Lawyers | Angie Garasia | 5 Years
    • Avvo Rating 10.0 | Superb
    • Client Distinction Award martindale.com | 2016 Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award
    • New Jersey State Bar Association | Paris Lee Chair - Immigration Section 2015-2016
    • Nationally Recognized | Newsweek Nationwide Showcase | Top Attorneys 2013
    • New Jersey Chapter | American Immigration Lawyers Association | Angie Garasia | Chapter Chair 2015-2016
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Lee & Garasia, LLC
190 State Route 27
Edison, NJ 08820

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