Welcome to The Law Offices of Ashly Ryan McGarity

Dedicated  Determined

Practicing in the Greater Philadelphia Area, Ashly Ryan McGarity, Esq. is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Eastern District of PA and all immigration courts in the United States. She conducts her practice with firm notions of transparency, ferocious advocacy and dedication to achieving the best results possible for her clients. With multiple meeting locations throughout the Delaware Valley, her assistance is closer than you think! Call or email the firm today to schedule a consultation.

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Common Immigration Questions

A green card is a legal document that gives you the right to live, work, travel and remain permanently in the United States. For most people, it will also lead to citizenship. There are many different ways to obtain a green card. You can obtain a green card through certain U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident family members (spouses, fiances, children, parents, siblings). You can obtain a green card through an employer, religious organization or sponsor yourself if you meet certain requirements. You can also obtain a green card through humanitarian ways, such as asylum, SIJS (special immigrant juvenile status) and in court through cancellation of removal. If you don't currently qualify for a green card, there may be other options to remain in the United States, or waivers available if you face inadmissibility due to a crime, misrepresentation or other immigration violations.

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Immigration Court may look like a regular court, but it is far from it. In criminal cases, a prosecutor is trying to convince a judge or jury that the defendant is guilty of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil cases, a plaintiff is trying to convince a judge or jury that the defendant violated a cause of action and is liable for damages. In immigration court, none of the above happens. Instead, a trial attorney who represents the government is trying to remove non-citizen for violating immigration laws. The most common reasons include unlawful presence, visa overstay, conviction of a crime, or marriage fraud. The non-citizen is named the respondent. In order to remain in the United States, he or she must seek a form of relief, or challenge the basis for removal. Sometimes, a non-citizen just wants to leave the country, or return home to seek a visa or green card through a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Immigration court is serious business and can drastically affect your life and your family's life.

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It depends. Ever since 1996, deportation proceedings are now called removal proceedings. The basis for removal is based on charges. Removal happens one of two ways: in immigration court, or at a port of entry. There are many ways to fight for your freedom. If you are removable due to a crime, you can fight the charges or try to re-open your criminal case to avoid a removable conviction. If you are removable due to immigration violations and you have U.S. citizen family members, you may be able to stay and seek a waiver. If you are removable due to incorrect allegations, you can contest the charges against you. There are even ways to 'cancel' the removal proceedings and remain in the United States. Lastly, if you fear returning to your home country and you are a member of a protected group, you can seek asylum or a court order that forbids your removal.

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If you fear returning to your home country, you may qualify for asylum. There are two ways to obtain asylum: affirmatively (through an asylum office), or defensively (in immigration court). The legal requirement for asylum is that a person must show he or she is unable or unwilling to return to a home country, and unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protections of that country, because of a well-founded fear of persecution on account or race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social ground or political opinion. Phew! Each and every element of the above must be met, and asylum as a form of relief is only becoming more difficult to obtain. If you don't qualify for asylum, you may request protection against removal based on other legal theories, such as Withholding of Removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture. While these two forms of relief won't lead to a green card, they are available to protect people who truly fear returning home.

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Child custody is determined by state law. There are two forms of custody: physical custody (where the child will live and with who) and legal custody (the right to make decisions for the child, such as medical, legal, and educational). In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, immigration is rarely a factor in awarding custody to one or both parents. It only comes up in extreme cases, such as where a parent is a diplomat or is detained or deported. Rather, judges and masters will decide what is in the child's 'best interests'' and will issue an order based on many factors, including criminal records, parental competency, job stability and sometimes based on the child's own preference.  The bottom line: even if you are here in the United States illegally, you have every right to fight for custody of your children.


Recent Changes in the Law

Immigration law is always changing. See if the most recent changes affect you.


Options For All

Sometimes, the best path forward is the least explored. If a green card isn't an option, you may be eligible for other types of visas or immigration relief.

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