Can you give a brief overview of Immigration Law? What are some of the more common immigration cases you have tried or that are heard in Florida?
Answer: The federal government has jurisdiction over the immigration law. Some states also have immigration policies, but they must not conflict with the federal laws. And, basically, if you are not legally here, you are subject to deportation. So you have to comply with all the federal requirements. And in order to be here legally—you can come here on a visa for purposes of a limited stay—but if you want to gain residency or citizenship you have to go through the legal requirements for getting your residency in the United States. If you’re here illegally, you are subject to deportation, and if you are here again after you’ve been deported, you are subject to criminal sanctions.With regards to criminal sanctions, you could have a fine or a maximum of two years in prison if you’re found here after you’ve been deported or if you’re here illegally. And if you have a prior felony conviction on your record for a non-aggravated felony, or three or more misdemeanor convictions for drugs or crimes against a person, you could face further penalties with regards to being in this country illegally, with a maximum of up to 10 years in prison. If you’re here illegally and you have a conviction for an aggravated felony, you could be subject to a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The more common ones that I’ve dealt with are people that have come here illegally, they were deported, and then they’re here again after deportation. And I’ve dealt with those cases in federal court. Fortunately, my clients basically have had a stay in the jail, and after we resolved it, generally speaking, they’ve just been deported again. Now that’s just a reentry once; now if they continue to do it, certainly there’s going to be increased penalties.