The Basics of Deportation/Removal

When an alien is placed into removal proceedings the wheels of uncertainty begin to spin. Family members are often left in a state of panic, confusion, depression and financial despair and often don’t know who to turn to for help. Getting information or simply trying to locate an alien who has been taken into custody can become time consuming and frustrating.

I have successfully represented many clients placed in removal proceedings. I only take on cases that I believe have a chance of winning. Generally, my clients are informed at the initial consultation if I can help them with their removal case. Before I agree to represent a client in removal proceedings, I evaluate the client’s case to determine whether immigration relief is available to the client and the chances of getting that relief granted by the immigration judge. I also determine whether the client can be released on bond and whether the case, if located in another city or state can be moved to an immigration court closer to the client’s home.

The Department of Homeland Security can transfer aliens in removal proceedings within Michigan and even out of State. Usually, the government house aliens in leased jail space such as th Calhoun County Jail in Battle Creek, Michigan or the Monroe County Jail in Monroe, Michigan.

If necessary, I  will order a client’s immigration file from the Department of Homeland Security and their criminal histories from the FBI and State Police to assist me in evaluating their removal case.

An alien may be placed into removal proceedings for many reasons. These reasons are referred to as grounds of inadmissibility and grounds of deportability. In many instances, aliens are placed in removal proceeding because of their criminal history and/or illegal status.

For aliens placed into removal proceedings because of a criminal conviction, I determine the effect that a conviction or convictions will have on an alien’s immigration status. In addition, I will explore the possibility of vacating, expunging or reducing a criminal conviction when it is beneficial to the alien’s removal case to do so.

Immigration court proceedings generally consist of a bond hearing and removal hearings. At a Bond hearing, the immigration judge will decide whether the alien should be released on bond while removal proceedings are pending. At the Master Calendar hearing, an alien will admit or deny the allegations in the charging document called the Notice to Appear, concede or deny removability and inform the immigration judge of the immigration relief that the alien will be applying for to avoid being removed from the United States.

At the Merits hearing, (also referred to as the Individual hearing), the immigration judge will make determine if the alien gets to stay in the United States or will have to leave after hearing all the hearing presented by the attorney for the alien and the U.S. government’s attorney. At the hearing, the alien’s attorney will present documents, take testimony on direct examination from the alien, the alien’s family members and any expert witnesses. The government attorney will also be given an opportunity to cross-exam any witnesses presented by the alien’s attorney.

I represent clients at all hearings, including the bond, master and merit’s hearings in Michigan, Ilinois and any other State. Aliens placed in removal proceedings or their family members can contact the The Law Office of Robert F. Mirque, Jr. at (616) 233-9300  or email me at


First Child Naturalized Overseas

Martin Miles Ulsano, age 7, the child of a member of the U.S. Navy, today recited the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony held here in the Chapel of Hope. In doing so, he became the newest citizen of the United States, and the first child naturalized overseas.

Martin, who was born and raised in Japan, is the son of Eugeline and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Caesar Ulsano. Caesar, who is originally from the Philippines, became a naturalized citizen in 2004 in Hawaii. 

“The successful first naturalization of a child overseas reflects the exemplary work of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees in Korea and the military unit at our Nebraska Service Center,” said Mike Aytes, USCIS Acting Deputy Director. This also reflects the great teamwork between USCIS’ domestic and international operations divisions.

James Zumwalt, the Charge D’Affaires from the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, delivered the keynote speech.  Kenneth Sherman, Director of USCIS’ field office in Seoul, Korea, presided over the ceremony and administered the Oath of Allegiance to Ulsano and the 62 active duty service members and nine military spouses stationed in the Pacific, who also became new citizens. 

The new citizens come from diverse backgrounds, hailing from China, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, France, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Romania, and Vietnam. 

The National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2008 permits children of U.S service members to receive their citizenship overseas where their parent is stationed even though the child may never have been in the United States.  Previous immigration law required these children to be physically present within the United States to naturalize. 

If you have a question about naturalization or any aspect of immigration, call me at 616-233-9300 to schedule an appointment.


Premium Processing Service Expanded for Certain Form I-140 Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will expand Premium Processing Service for designated Forms I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) to include alien beneficiaries who have reached, or are reaching, their limitation of stay in H-1B nonimmigrant status.  Currently, only certain alien beneficiaries who are in H-1B nonimmigrant status at the time of filing may request premium processing for Form I-140. 

Beginning March 2, 2009, USCIS will accept Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service) for alien worker petitions filed on behalf of alien beneficiaries who, as of the date of filing the Form I-907:

  • Are the beneficiary of a Form I-140 petition filed in a preference category that has been designated for premium processing service;

  • Have reached the sixth-year statutory limitation of their H-1B stay, or will reach the end of their sixth year of H-1B stay within 60 days of filing;

  • Are only eligible for a further H-1B extension under section 104(c) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21); and

  • Are ineligible to extend their H-1B status under section 106(a) of AC21.

Section 104(c) of AC21 permits applicants to extend their stay in H-1B nonimmigrant status in increments of up to three years, provided they are the beneficiary of an approved Form I-140 and an immigrant visa is not immediately available.  Section 106(a) of AC21 permits applicants to extend their stay in H-1B nonimmigrant status in increments of up to one year, provided the Form I-140 petition or underlying labor certification has been pending for at least 365 days. 

Premium Processing offers 15 calendar day-processing for designated employment-based petitions and applications upon request.  There is a nonrefundable fee of $1,000 for this service.  During the 15-day period, USCIS will issue an approval or denial notice, a notice of intent to deny, a request for evidence, or open an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation.

If you have a question about this topic or any immigration related question, please call me at 616-233-9300 or email me at to schedule an appointment.


Non-Minister Special Immigrant Religious Worker Expiring 03/06/2009

On March 6, 2009, the category covering non-minister special immigrant religious workers will expire. The non-minister religious worker category includes professional or non-professional capacities within a religious vocation or occupation. Therefore, individuals under the non-minister category must adjust their status to permanent residence or be admitted before March 6, 2009. Unless there is a Congressional extension of the expiration date, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will suspend further processing of any pending applications under the non-minister category. The expiring category does not affect individuals applying under the minister category of the program. If the program is extended beyond March 6, 2009, get updates by calling my office at (616) 233-9300 or check out the USCIS website



The House passed this even before the President was sworn in. The bill now brings in a large number of legal immigrant children in to the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Pro-immigrant groups are applauding the measure. From a press release from the National Conference of La Raza:

Legal immigrant children in the U.S. are today one step closer to accessing critical health care services. The Senate approved the “Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act,” (SCHIP) a bill that will provide more health insurance opportunities for approximately four million children in the U.S. and includes legal immigrant children and pregnant women in the scope of its coverage. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., fought to end a five-year waiting period for legal immigrant children and pregnant women that has shut hundreds of thousands out of Medicaid and SCHIP for a decade. The bill was passed by a vote of 66-32. The bill’s passage affirms President Barack Obama’s recent actions and statements supporting healthcare for every child in the U.S.

“Including legal immigrant children in the reauthorization of SCHIP affirms American values. America is not a country that chooses which children get health coverage and which do not,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “Latino children continue to be the most uninsured ethnic group in the country. Yesterday’s vote provides a strong signal that the new Congress is committed to addressing the issues that affect the Latino community.”

Murguía also lauded the leadership of several Senators who helped advance the legislation in spite of receiving public criticism for their support of the bill. “We are glad that Congress chose not to play games with the health care of America’s children. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) and Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Senators Jay Rockefeller (D–WV), Olympia Snowe (R–ME), and Robert Menendez (D–NJ) should be especially commended for their sustained efforts in the fight to achieve healthcare for our littlest ones,” noted Murguía.

If you have any questions about an immigraton matter, the Law Office of Robert F. Mirque, Jr. has 18 years of experience you can trust. Please call my office at 616-233-9300 or email me at 


Why Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer?

An attorney is trained in understanding and applying laws and regulations. Immigration and nationality laws, regulations, and administrative procedures are extremely complex. Congress and the different federal and state agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State and Department of Labor are continually enacting and amending regulations and administrative procedures that have far reaching immigration consequences. An immigration attorney will be aware of new and amended laws, regulations, and administrative procedures, thus affording a client the best possible results with his particular case.

Even with today’s technology and access to voluminous legal and other resources via the worldwide web, one can become confused and entangled with the information and data presented requiring clarification and guidance. An experienced immigration attorney can evaluate and determine the best course of action for obtaining an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa. 

The Law Office of Robert F. Mirque, Jr. has over 18 years of experience helping people with immigration matters. If you have an immigration issue and you want legal assistance, please call me at (616) 233-9300 to schedule a free, no obligation appointment or email me at


A Quick Lesson on K Visas

American Citizens wishing to bring their foreign spouses to reside within the United States can do it through an Immigrant Visa for a Spouse of a U.S. Citizen (IR-1 or CR-1) or a Non-Immigrant Visa for a Spouse (K-3). Similarly, U.S. citizens can bring their foreign fiancé(e)s to the country to live and get married through a Non-Immigrant Visa for a Foreign Fiancé(e) (K-1).

K1 / K-1 VISA: Non-Immigrant Visa for a Foreign Fiancé(e)

American citizens wishing to bring their foreign fiancé(e)s to get married and to live in the United States must file an (I-129F) Petition for Alien fiancé(e) in the United States. The I-129F petition must be filed with the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the USCIS Immigration Field Office in the area of residence. This petition cannot be filed at an embassy, consulate, or U.S. Immigration Office abroad.

IR-1 or CR-1 Visa:
Immigrant Visa for a Spouse of a U.S. Citizen

American citizens can obtain immigrant visas for their spouses by filing a Petition for a Relative Alien (Form I-130) with the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services within the United States at the USCIS Immigration Field Office in the area of residence. Because the petitioner must fill an affidavit of support (Form I-864) that is required for all (IR1) immigration cases, the applicant must have a residence within the U.S. before an immigrant visa can be issued to the spouse.

K3 / K-3 Visa: Non-Immigrant Visa for a Spouse

Spouses of U.S. Citizens, along with the spouse’s children, are eligible to enter the United States and remain in the country to complete their immigration process on non-immigrant visas (K-3 and K-4). K-4 visas are issued to a child only after the parent has obtained a K-3 visa or is in K-3 status. The application for a non-immigrant visa for spouse (K-3) must be filed in the country where the marriage took place, because it is there that the visa must be issued. After the spouse has completed the visa process and obtained the visa, the spouse is able to travel to the U.S. to wait for the immigrant visa case to be processed. This process requires two petitions:

  • Petition for Alien Relative, Form 1-130
  • Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), Form I-129F

    If you have a question about a K visa or any other question regarding an immigration issue, call my office at 616-233-9300 or email me at

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    Common Questions Regarding the Marriage Based Adjustment of Status

    When a couple comes to my office, I have tried to cover most of the key issues they will face when applying for the marriage based green card. But with a topic as involved and ever changing as this one, there are always questions that couples forget to ask while in my office. I have compiled a list of the most common questions that couples ask me when attempting to file the Marriage based Green Application in the United States. I hope the following Questions and Answers will make your journey through this process a little less confusing.

    1. How soon can an applicant that entered the US as a tourist or under the Visa Waiver Program marry a US Citizen? Could they apply for the Green Card while in the United States?

    Answer: A US citizen can marry a tourist or VW visitor and apply for the Green Card from within the US. It is better to marry at least 60 days after entry to lift the presumption that the immigrant entered the US in order to get married.

    2. How soon after marriage can the US Citizen petition and file the immigration paperwork for the immigrant spouse?

    Answer: There is no waiting period that must pass before the immigration petition can be filed. Make sure to have the certified Marriage Certificate registered with the county before you can file.

    3. How long will it take to get the work permit after filing the case? How long will it take to get to the final interview after filing?

    Answer: Currently it takes 90 days after filing the Marriage based Green Application for the Government to issue the work permit. In some cases the final interview is scheduled even before the Work permit can be issued. In this case, if there is an approval at the interview, there will be no need for the work permit at that time. In most cases though, interviews are scheduled, 5 months or so after filing.

    4. What if there is a mistake in your name or date of birth on the Green Card?

    Answer: If there is a mistake on your new Green Card you must take steps to correct it immediately. If you fail to do so, you will not be able to receive your social security number and any other documents as a result. You must file form I-90 (get it from USCIS.GOV website) with USCIS. Make sure to Check box d in part 2.2 of the application. There is NO FEE to pay as it was not your fault. You will need to mail the original card to the following address:

    National Benefits Center
    Attn: I-551 Corrections
    705B SE Melody Lane, Box 2000
    Lee’s Summit, MO 64063

    5. How do you know what taxes to file now that you are a Green Card holder?

    Answer: The Internal Revenue Service has several publications you can obtain from a local IRS office or download from 

    Publication 519…..US Tax Guide for Aliens 
    Publication 514…..Foreign Tax Credit for Individuals 
    Publication 501…..Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information 
    Publication 54…….Tax Guide for US Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad

    6. How long does a person need to wait after getting the Conditional Green Card before Applying for US Citizenship?

    Answer: If the Immigrant is still married to the US Citizen and living together 3 years after getting the Conditional Green, they may apply for Citizenship. If the couple is no longer married and living together, the immigrant must wait 5 years after getting the Conditional Green in order to apply.

    If you have questions about marriage-based adjustment of status or questions involving any immigration issue, please call my office at (616) 233-9300 or email me at


    FY 2009 H-2B Cap Reached on January 7, 2009

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on January 7, 2009 that it has received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the second half of Fiscal Year 2009. The USCIS notified the public that January 7, 2009 was the “final receipt date” for new H-2B worker petitions requesting employment start dates prior to October 1, 2009. The “final receipt date” is the date on which the USCIS determines that it has received enough cap-subject petitions to reach the limit of 33,000 H-2B workers for the second half of FY 2009.

    As such, the USCIS will reject petitions for new H-2B workers seeking employment start dates prior to October 1, 2009 that arrive after January 7, 2009.

    If deemed necessary, the USCIS may apply a computer-generated random selection process to all petitions that are subject to the cap an received on January 7, 2009 in order to select the number of petitions needed to meet the cap. The USCIS will reject, and return the fee, for all cap-subject petitions not randomly selected.

    Petitions for workers who are currently in H-2B status do not count towards the congressionally mandated bi-annual H-2B cap. The USCIS will continue to process petitions filed to:

    • Extend the stay of current H-2B workers in the United States;
    • Change the terms of employment for current H-2B workers and extend their stay; or
    • Allow current H-2B workers to change or add employers and extend their stay.

    If you have questions about the H-2B work program or questions about any other immigration-related matter, call me at 616-233-9300 or email me at


    Extending B-1 and B-2 Visas.

    Frequently, holders of B-1 and B-2 visitor visas ask my assistance in requesting extensions of their visas, usually for an extra six months. Often, however, it takes the USCIS at least that long to make a decision on the application (the I-539), leaving the applicant wondering whether he or she must depart the U.S. so as not to incur any period of unlawful presence.

    The Vermont Service Center has now issued some guidance on this very issue. It has stated that it will adjudicate an approvable extension application to the date of approval, plus one day, where the adjudication takes place after the requested extension date has been reached – but only if the requested date was for a period of no more than 6 months.

    Unfortunately, even this assurance still exposes an applicant to being unlawfully present.

    To be absolutely safe, a B-1 B-2 extension applicant should depart the United States prior to adjudication on the extension application. Alternatively, the applicant should file a second I-539 and include a copy of the receipt notice of the first, still-pending extension application. If the applicant files for this 2nd extension, he or she should also provide a good explanation as to why they will not be able to depart within the original time requested and they should provide written documentation to support their claim.

    If you have any questions about your B-1 or B-2 Visa or a question about some other immigraton matter, call my office at 616-233-9300 or email me at 

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