The American Dream


The Borja Law firm understands that living and working in the United States of America can be a dream-come-true for many immigrants. The always changing immigration laws, however, can be complex and confusing. As an immigrant and a naturalized citizen, Jennifer and her team of staff understand the unique challenges faced by immigrants in this country and we are dedicated to help immigrants and their families overcome these challenges and obtain the American Dream. Since Immigration is governed by federal law, we may represent clients throughout the United States of America for any of the following immigration matters:


An asylum seeker must prove the person is unable or unwilling to return to the home country because of a well-founded fear of persecution. Persecution generally refers to serious threats or infliction of physical or psychological harm by the home country’s government or by a group that the home country’s government is either unwilling or unable to control. The asylum seeker must show that their persecution is based on one or more of the following grounds: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

Generally, one qualifies for asylum only if they apply within one year of their arrival to the United States, but there are exceptions to this one-year rule. In addition, an individual who has participated in the persecution of other on account of one of the protected categories is ineligible to seek asylum. Lastly, an asylum applicant will be denied if he or she has firmly resettled in another safe country before arriving in the United States.

Asylum applications can be made either as ab affirmative or defensive application. An affirmative asylum claim is made by someone who is already within the United States and seeks to remain in the United States on the basis of asylum. A defensive asylum claim is made by foreign national who is already in removal proceedings as a defense to removal from the United States. The legal standard set forth above is the same in either application; the only difference is the procedure.

It is highly recommended that you retain an experience immigration attorney to assist you with your asylum application.

Citizenship and Naturalization

A US citizenship allows you the right to vote, to hold public office, to travel on a U.S. passport, to have priority in brining family members to this country. There are three ways to obtain US citizenship: by being born in the US, by being born to a US citizen parent, or through naturalization process.

General requirements for naturalization are:

  • Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing of the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
  • Be a permanent resident for at least 5 years (or 3 years if permanent resident obtained through spouse).
  • Demonstrate continuous residence in the US for at least 5 years (or 3 years) immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
  • Demonstrate physical presence in the United States for at least 30 months out of 5 years (or 18 out of 3 years) immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
  • Be a person of good moral character.
  • Be able to read, write and speak basic English.
  • Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government.

Naturalization requires more than simply completing the appropriate application form. It is highly recommended that you retain an experience immigration attorney to help you review your case and identify any potential US citizenship roadblocks, such as minor criminal offenses or lengthy absences from the US.

Deportation/Removal Defense

Anybody who is not a US citizen can be deported as a result of a criminal conviction. These include: lawful permanent residents (LPR), asylees/refugees, people previously granted withholding of removal, people in the process of adjusting status, people on student, business or other visas. Undocumented people are removable whether or not they have a conviction; any arrest or conviction will make them more likely discovered and targeted by the Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) of the Department of Homeland Security.

ICE initiates deportation or removal proceedings against foreign nationals for several reasons, ranging from violation of immigration laws, such as illegal entries and visa overstays, to more serious grounds such as immigration fraud and criminal history grounds. ICE may hold immigrant at County Jail, Federal Detention Center or a Private Prison. ICE then issues a Notice to Appear, which contains the charges against the immigrant regarding their deportability or inadmissibility, and hold the immigrant until he is granted bond, ordered released or deported.

An initial bond may be set by ICE. If an initial bond is not set or it was too high, a bond hearing is scheduled before an Immigration Judge, who sets the bond amount if the immigrant is bond eligible. There will be no bond if the foreign national is subject to mandatory detention under INA §236(c) for crimes involving moral turpitude or aggravated felonies. We are well versed in the conditions a detainee must meet in order to be released on bond.

The Immigration Judge decides whether the foreign national is removable or deportable and whether he or she meets the requirements for relief to be able to stay in the US. Our firm will vigorously defend against deportation or removal by filing any and all relevant applications of relief, such as cancellation of removal, asylum, withholding of removal, convention against torture or adjustment of status, on behalf of our clients.

Family-Based Immigration

Our office can assist clients with:

  • Fiancé visas (K visas)
  • Green cards for immediate relatives and other family members
  • Green cards for same-sex partners
  • Adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident
  • Consular processing of visas for applicants residing outside the US
  • Petitions to remove conditions of residence
  • Waivers of inadmissibility

Special Immigrant Juveniles

Thousands of children and minors arrive in the US each year unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) offers a path to a green card for certain immigrant youth. In particular, it provides an avenue for undocumented children, unmarried and under 21 years old, to obtain legal status when they are subject to juvenile court jurisdiction, cannot be reunified with one or both parents due to abuse, neglect or abandonment and it is not in their best interest to return to their home country. A minor who is successful in obtaining SIJS may apply for a green card.

The process of obtaining SIJS is a two-part process and it begins in the family court and then once a predicate order is issued by the family court, such order is submitted to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services for approval of the Form I-360.

Our firm is a one-stop shop and we will be able to represent minor children in State Court Proceedings, as well as with USCIS and/or the Immigration Court, if the child is in removal proceeding.

Our firm is a one-stop shop and we will be able to represent minor children in State Court Proceedings, as well as with USCIS and/or the Immigration Court, if the child is in removal proceeding.

T-Visa, U-Visa and VAWA

T-visas enable certain victims of human trafficking to live and work in US for three years. The T-visa holder can then apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR). A victim of severe form of human trafficking is eligible for a T-visa if they are present in the US, American Samoa, Northern Marianas on account of the trafficking, has complied with reasonable request for investigation or prosecution of trafficking, and would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm upon removal.

U-visas, like T-visas, are non-immigrant visas, but they may lead to LPR status after three years. It is designed for non-citizens willing to assist law enforcement authorities in investigating crimes and secure witnesses in criminal prosecution. There are four requirements:

  • The immigrant possesses information concerning a qualifying criminal activity, including: rape, torture, trafficking, incest, domestic violence, sexual assault, abuse sexual contact, prostitution, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, being held hostage, involuntary servitude, slave trade, kidnapping, abduction, unlawful criminal restraint, false imprisonment, blackmail, extortion, manslaughter, murder, felonious assault, witness tampering, obstruction of just or perjury;
  • The immigrant has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having a been a victim of such criminal activity;
  • The immigrant has been helpful or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution the criminal activity; and
  • The criminal activity violated the laws of the United States or it has occurred in the United States.

In order to be successful in obtaining a U-visa, a law enforcement agency, a prosecutor or a judge must complete a certification regarding the victim’s cooperation in investigation or prosecution and the extent of the victim’s injuries.

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a victim of battery or extreme cruelty may be eligible to become a LPR. The battery or extreme cruelty is committed by a US citizen or LPR spouse or former spouse, a US citizen or LPR parent, or a US citizen son or daughter. This petition can be done without the abusive family member’s knowledge or consent.

Our office will assist you to obtain the necessary documents and certification required to file in support of your T-visa, U-visa or VAWA application.


An immigration waiver is a “pardon" for a specific immigration violation. When a person is applying for an immigration benefit, the immigration/consular officer or the government has to determine if the person violated the US or other laws and is inadmissible or deportable. There are waivers for immigrant visas and non-immigrant visas; there are waivers for unlawful presence, for entrance to the US without necessary documents, for fraud or misrepresentation, or for certain criminal convictions. There are some conduct or immigration violations for which there are no waivers. Some waivers are automatic, but some require separate applications. There are statutory requirements to qualify for a waiver, and in addition to meeting the requirements, almost all waivers require demonstration of some hardship to the applicant’s US citizen or lawful permanent family members.

Our office can assist you whether a waiver is applicable to your case and if so, whether you qualify.