Immigration & Nationality Law

Immigration attorney Joseph A. Connell, Sr. has over two decades of providing experienced, professional counsel and representation in all areas of family based immigration, including:
  • Petitions for Fiancées (K-1 Visas)
  • Petitions for Alien Relatives
  • Applications for Removal of Conditions on Permanent Residence
  • Hardship Waivers
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  • Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Cards)
  • Naturalization (Citizenship)
  • Visa Interview Preparation
  • Non-immigrant Visas
  • Immigration Appeals

Employment Based Immigration

Mr. Connell has represented both employers and employees in matters pertaining to employment visas for foreign nationals. He provides guidance to companies for immigration regulatory compliance, including I-9 audits and issues regarding employer sanctions. In business immigration, a commitment to quality and unparalleled service is vital to corporations which employ foreign nationals. He represents both the employers and employees in the following employment based visa categories:

First Preference or “Priority Workers” (EB-1)

  • Aliens with Extraordinary Ability
  • Outstanding Professors and Researchers
  • Multinational Managers and Executives

Second Preference (EB-2)

  • Members of the Professions with Advanced Degrees
  • Aliens of Exceptional Ability
  • National Interest Waivers

Third Preference (EB-3)

  • Skilled Workers
  • Professionals
  • Other Workers

Fourth Preference (EB-4)

  • Religious Workers
  • Physicians
  • Broadcasters

Employer Immigration Compliance

Every employer in the United States is required to be familiar with the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requirements for establishing the work eligibility of their employees.

Every person employed in the United States by an organization with more than three employees is required to complete an I-9 form certifying they have reviewed documentation establishing either the U.S. citizenship or work eligibility of the employee pursuant to some visa or other immigration program. Most employers view the I-9 program as another government distraction and annoyance until the day they receive notice of a Department of Labor audit of their records. Upon three days’ notice, the Department of Labor (DOL) is permitted to conduct an audit of the I-9 files and directly related documents, if any, used in verifying the identity and work eligibility of workers in the United States. If the immigration form is improperly completed it can often result in significant liability for even well-meaning employers. Improper completion of the form itself is considered a violation of federal law, such that a corporation can be fined up to $2,000 per employee just for having incorrectly filled out the form. If an employer has hired an individual which they knew or should have known was not authorized to work in the United States, the initial maximum fine is $2,000 per worker. This rises to $5,000 for a second offense and up to $10,000 per worker for a third offense.

Mr. Connell provides guidance in setting up a system that will be compliant with the Department of Labor regulations for I-9 forms and to provide information to ensure that only the necessary documentation is present to be reviewed by the Department of Labor or
Immigration Service investigators. Only certain documents can be obtained by the government agencies without a search warrant; and one of the common errors by employers is to lump together all employee-related information in one human resource file. This gives the government unnecessary access to employees’ personal records and could lead to liability for the company which might not otherwise exist if an appropriately segregated record system is established.

“Crimmigration”

Attorney Joseph A. Connell Sr. provides legal counsel pertaining to the immigration consequences of accepting a criminal plea essentially involves the study of two fields of law, one being criminal law and the second one being immigration law. The term “crimmigration” is used to describe the immigration consequences associated with criminal activity.

There are many ways where immigration and criminal law intersect. If a non-citizen is facing criminal charges, they need an immigration lawyer to explain the potential immigration consequence of any possible plea agreement.

Removal (Deportation) Defense

Mr. Connell regularly represents foreign nationals placed in removal (deportation) proceedings by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security before the Immigration Courts. The government may initiate a removal proceedings against an individual for reasons such as attempt to enter the United States without proper documentation, visa overstay, visa violations, commission of certain crimes, etc. The case is decided by an immigration judge and either party may appeal the judge’s decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

An individual in removal proceedings may be eligible for certain relief allowing him/her to remain in the United States lawfully.

The following represents some potential considerations for those facing removal:

  • Family ties in the United States ( U.S . citizen/permanent resident parents, spouse or
    children)
  • Fear of persecution on the basis of race, religion, political opinion, nationality or
    membership in a particular social group in the individual’s country of origin
  • Continuous residence in the United States for 7 or 10 years or more and attachment to U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, parent or child
  • U.S. citizenship based on parents’ citizenship
  • Waiver based on asylum or refugee status

Removal proceedings are an extremely complex area of immigration law that cannot easily be summarized. Therefore, individuals in this situation should consult with a competent immigration attorney to determine whether he/she is entitled to remain in the United States.

As immigration law is federal law, Attorney Joseph A. Connell Sr. provides legal services to
clients in all 50 States. Most of the immigration work is based on written petitions, applications, legal briefs and memoranda. Only certain USCIS interviews and hearings in Immigration Courts and Federal Courts require an attorney’s presence. When such an interview or court appearance is required, Mr. Connell can provide representation.

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