Dr. GEORGE D. PAPPAS, ESQ.
Bar Admission: Member of the North Carolina State Bar; The Cherokee Supreme Court (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians); U.S. District Court, Western District of North Carolina; Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals; Member of the Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; U.S. District Court of Massachusetts and The United States Supreme Court.
Practice Areas: U.S. Immigration Law; Trial Attorney: Corporate Law, Family Law (Custody, Support, Equitable Distribution, Divorce and Parent Rights), Property (Landlord-Tenant), Legal Education, Criminal Defense (NC District & Superior Court), NC Administrative Law (NC Industrial Commission), Criminal Defense (North Carolina 26th Judicial District Public Defender Attorney Panel: Criminal, Juvenile & Parent), Contract, and Entertainment Law.
Education: Columbia University; Lake Forest College; The London School of Economics & Political Science, The University of London B.Sc. (Econ) Hon. – 1982 (Special Subject: Monetary Economics); The University of London (LL.B. Hon.1998); Widener University School of Law (LL.M. – Master of Laws in Corporate Law & Finance, 2000). Birkbeck College, University of London Ph.D.
Current Pro Bono Affiliations: The National Committee for Refugees and Immigrant Children (Washington, DC); The Political Asylum/ Immigration Representation Project (PAIR), Boston, MA; and The Latin Advocacy Coalition (Hendersonville, NC) and Pisagh Legal Services (Asheville, NC).
Published in The American Banker, Countertrade-Barter Quarterly, The Courier-Post, Folio Magazine, The Greek National Herald, The Malet Street Gazette and The Asheville-Citizen Times. Associations:International Bar Association (I.B.A), London, England – 1999-2004; American Bar Association (ABA) Member 2003-Present; American Inns of Court (Bobbitt Inn, Charlotte, NC) 2003-Present: Mecklenburg Country Bar (Section on Immigration) Association 2006-2007; North Carolina 26th Judicial District 2003-2012; Indigent Defense Attorney Panel 2003-2010; ; Mecklenburg County Lawyers Referral Service (Co-Chair 2005-2006; Panel Member 2003-2011); Pro Bono Attorney (Children’s Law Center, Charlotte, NC) 2003-2006; American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) 2006- Present, and U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrant Children (Washington, D.C.) 2006-Present. Member 28th Judicial District – Buncombe County, NC 2012-Present.
Immigration Practice Areas: US Citizenship/Naturalization, Family Visas, Removal/Deportation Defense, Adjustment of Status, Employment Visas (H1B and E Visas), Inter-company Transfers, Appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals (EOIR – Department of Justice), Administrative Office of Appeals (USCIS) and U.S. Federal Courts.
• DACA – In 2012-2013 I successfully processed over 75 DACA applications in North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina. Each successful application resulted in my clients obtaining employment authorization leading to the acquisition of a Social Security number and a valid drivers license. These clients no longer live in the shadows of society.
• BIA Appeal Success! With only a few hours before my client was scheduled to be deported, I filed an emergency motion with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to “stay” his deportation and have my client’s matter “re-opened” based on new evidence and lack of “due process” – my motion was granted. Today, my client’s matter has been sent back to Immigration court for further review even though the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) submitted a written “opposition” to my motion with the BIA. Meanwhile, my client, his wife and his three young US born children still have hope that they will be permanently reunited. Update: My client was granted Legal Permanent Residence as of November 2013!
• Cancellation of Removal Defense – I defended and successfully cancelled the removal of a legal permanent resident (LPR) after my client was prosecuted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Boston Immigration Court based on an offence dating back to 1994. After presenting convincing evidence and creditable witnesses, DHS agreed that my client deserved to stay in the United States at the end of the hearing. The Immigration Judge agreed and issued a final order canceling my client’s deportation. My client is free, a legal permanent resident today and applying for U.S. citizenship.
• Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence – I have successfully argued in North Carolina Mecklenburg District Court that a plaintiff who has threatened their undocumented spouse with “telling the immigration authorities” about their status is evidence of domestic violence. This was the first case in the United States to rule on this point.
• Waiver Success – I have adjusted the status for an applicant who was denied a green card because he once lied about his social security number. The applicant was granted a green card and today is a taxpaying resident.
• U Visa Success – I have obtained legal status and work permits for a child who was a victim of human trafficking.
• I have obtained freedom for a legal permanent resident who was picked up by Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) raid without lawful justification.
• I have helped clients avoid deportation/removal marks against their records.
• I have helped clients obtain U.S. Citizenship.
• Congressional Petition Success – I helped a client obtain his green card after being denied by USCIS because he was brought to the United States when he was young child by his parents who were undocumented at the time.
• I have helped clients adjust their German E Treaty employment status to obtain a green card for themselves and their family.
What is your opinion regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?
While education about legal issues is helpful, clients should not assume that this gives them the training to appear before courts or argue legal issues, let alone navigate, the complex landscape of United States Immigration authorities.
Are you willing to coach clients who want to represent themselves?
This is not a policy of our firm.
Why did you decide to be a lawyer?
To promote fairness and justice by testing charges and evidence presented by the government against an individual. In the immigration arena being the son of Greek Immigrant parents instilled the empathy and respect I have for the positive contributions that immigrants have and continue to make to our society.
What work experience and education helps you be a better lawyer?
In addition to representing immigration clients in U.S. Immigration Courts, USCIS, the Board of Immigration Appeals and in US Federal Court, I have also lived in many countries, received most of my higher education in England, and having represented hundreds of clients in criminal and family court in the United States, has given me the experience to represent immigration clients successfully. I have had outstanding results for virtually all of my immigration clients.
Why did you decide on your primary area of practice?
Immigrants represent one of the best assets for our society, and unlike most other countries in the world, the United States has one of the best track records for accepting and assimilating new immigrants. Our system is not perfect not by a long shot, but compared to what I have witnessed in other countries, the United States still provides a relatively superior option for new immigrants who are willing to work and contribute to our society. Still, the U.S. immigration system remains a political football driven by misinformation and prejudice , and I believe that through education in our schools, government and the media, more people will come to understand the tremendous contributions that new immigrants can and do make to our society.
What do you like best about your career?
Helping clients achieve freedom and realize their potential through devoted and zealous advocacy on behalf of their legal rights.
Tell us about your law firm:
As a solo attorney, all of my client’s will work directly with me. I also have experienced legal staff with over 25 years of litigation and research skills. My team of assistants also speak Spanish and German.
What are your strengths and style?
I care about my client’s matters by listening to their needs. I am honest and serious about my client goals and whether those goals can be realistically achieved. Clients will receive honest and frank assessments from me regarding their matters based on the information supplied to me.