I consider myself to be an effective immigration lawyer. Want a green card? I can show you the options and assess your chances. Have some complicated legal issues but still interested in applying for naturalization to be a U.S. citizen? Or do you need an attorney to represent you in Immigration Court? I can help.
But, as I’m an immigration lawyer in Boston, sometimes I get downright stumped. Here are some frequently asked questions that I have no idea how to answer:
My grandparents/great grandparents/great great grandparents were born in Italy/Ireland. How do I, as a U.S. citizen, obtain Irish/Italian citizenship? The answer is . . . I don’t know! I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer but don’t know about the laws of foreign countries.
Where can I find a lawyer who can advise me about how U.S. citizens can obtain Irish/Italian citizenship? Again, I don’t know the answer. But to find legal advice on issues of Italian or Irish law, I’d look for a lawyer based in Dublin, Milan, etc.
Would it be possible for me to leave the U.S., enter Canada and apply for immigration status there? I love Canada–everyone does. I just don’t know anything about Canadian law. For advice on Canadian immigration law, look for a lawyer in Toronto, Montreal, etc.
At the airport, I was refused entry into the U.K. This was unfair. Can you help me do something about it? Again, as a U.S. lawyer, I can’t advise you on issues of U.K. law.
The common thread, of course, as that I can only answers questions about U.S. immigration law. Few, if any, lawyers based in the U.S. are licensed to practice in and experts on immigration laws in foreign countries.