Deportation in the US

What Is Deportation?

The term deportation refers to formal removal of foreign nationals from America for reasons linked to immigration law violations.

The Deportation Process in America

In 2018, approximately 337,000 illegal immigrants were deported from America. States like Texas, which are near a foreign border notorious for illegal immigration, face a lot of deportation cases. If you are wondering how deportation works, here's what you should know;

Grounds For Deportation

The US deports foreign nationals who engage in illegal activity, threaten public safety or violate visa terms. You are bound to face deportation if you visit the US without having proper travel documents or using forged documents. In such an instance, you won't even be granted a court hearing required under expedited removal orders.

If you find yourself before a court in a deportation process, you should expect the following;

  1. You may be detained before trial or deportation in any of the ICE's detention facilities.
  2. When immigration court is ready to grant you a hearing, your case will be heard.
  3. A judge will rule on your case favorably or unfavorably. If the ruling is unfavorable and the deportation proceeds, the home or receiving country of the foreign national in question must consent to the deportation and grant travel documents.
  4. When the travel documents are ready, the ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) conducts a removal order.
  5. Deportation costs can be settled by the US government alongside the receiving country. However, the majority of the costs are at the American government's expense. The ICE has a special transportation operation (the IAO) charged with air transport matters. The IAO facilitates deportation as well as movement of noncitizens within and outside the US.

Can I leave on My Own When Facing Deportation?

Yes. Instead of being subjected to the entire removal process, you can leave America on your own via voluntary departure.

Wrongful Deportation

If you suspect violations by US immigration during the entire process i.e., when being detained or the reasons for removal aren't valid, you have a right to file a complaint with the DHS.

You should contact a seasoned immigration attorney in Texas to guide you through the process. Your chances of filing a complaint successfully are higher when you have legal experts advising you.

Immigration lawyers understand everything there is to know about immigration. As an undocumented immigrant being subjected to the deportation process, you can be guided on adjusting your status and getting lawful permanent residency or a green card.

There are many avenues to explore when challenging deportation. For instance, you can use asylum or imminent fear of danger/persecution to stop deportation to your country of birth. The process can also be stopped if you have a family member in the US.

Even when a deportation order is given, you can appeal in certain circumstances. Hiring immigration attorney will ensure you get the best outcome. What's more, individuals deported quickly can still apply for readmission.

A seasoned immigration lawyer in Texas can help you apply for readmission and find your way back to the US legally after being deported.

IMG

SENTENCES


Visa Consultant - CRP

U Visa

Another nonimmigrant visa is the U Visa. This is a more specialized type of visa that is designed to assist victims of crime who assist law officers. It is designed to reward non-citizens who have endured high levels of mental or physical abuse due to certain categories of criminal actions.

Holding a U Visa provides the holder with the right to be in the U.S. and to have authorization to work (a work permit). The U visa can even be a path towards a Green Card and future citizenship.

It is possible for the spouse or child of a U Visa applicant to be covered by the same status as the primary applicant. The primary applicant must petition for the family members to be granted a U (derivative) status.

Obviously, this is a complex visa application and the applicant would require the services of a specialist Immigration Attorney to secure this visa.

History

Introduction of the U Visa was originally part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, which passed in October 2000. The idea behind this act was to assist victims of people trafficking and similar crimes, who are non-citizens, to assist the police without the risk of deportation. Prior to this act, there was obviously a reluctance on the part of victims to get involved in legal action.

Since its introduction, the U Visa has become a useful crimefighting weapon that assists law enforcement (including sheriffs, police, and prosecutors) in all parts of the country to develop trust with victims of crime who are immigrants, and the communities within which they live.

Qualifying Conditions for the U Visa

To be eligible for the U Visa, a nonimmigrant visa, the individual has to meet four statutory conditions:

  1. They must have suffered high levels of physical or mental abuse because they had suffered as a victim of illegal activity in a qualifying category.
  2. The individual in question has to be in possession of information that is connected with the criminal activity.
  3. The individual must have been cooperative and helpful to the investigation, or is likely to be useful in the prosecution of the crime.
  4. The criminal activity must be in contravention of U.S. laws.

Qualifying Criminal Activities

Legal advice should be sought about the qualification of any particular crime situation, but there are around thirty different crimes in the UCIS list. These crimes a varied and include Abduction, Abusive Sexual Contact, Domestic Violence, FGM, Rape, Trafficking, Sexual Exploitation and so on.

Validity

The U Visa is valid for a maximum of four years but can be renewed if the agency that certified the original visa agrees to it continuing. It may be possible during those four years for someone to apply to adjust their status, for example to permanent resident. This would only be possible after 3 years on the U Visa and with the approval of the police, district attorney or other agency involved.

Application

It is possible for someone outside the U.S. to apply for this visa. If the individual is inside the U.S. unlawfully, this may also not be a problem. Applicants should approach an immigration attorney for assistance.

IMG

Visa Lawyer - CRP

SENTENCES


Law Firm - CRP

If you are currently planning your upcoming nuptials with your US-based fiancé and plan to live and work in the United States following your wedding, you'll need to obtain a green card. To discover what the process of applying for a K1 fiancé visa entails, simply continue reading.

How To Obtain A Green Card As The Fiancé Of An US Citizen

  • Apply For A K-1 Fiancé Visa

Your first step should be to apply for a k1 fiancé visa, which will allow you to legally enter the United States, which will allow you to reunite with your American fiancé. Keep in mind that the rules of the k1 visa stipulate that you must legally wed your partner within 90 days or 3 months of entering the country. In order to be on the safe side, it's wise to hold your wedding in the first 60 days of your k1 visa.

  • Waiting 1 Year To Aplly For A Marriage Green Card

If your marriage lasts 12 months, your next step will be to upgrade your k1 fiancé visa into a full residency visa. 12 months after your legal wedding you'll be able to apply for permanent residency through marriage through the USCIS. The USCIS will then schedule an interview with both you and your spouse.

  • Interview Preparation

In order to increase your chances of having your card approved, it's a smart move to properly prepare for your interview. While you don't want to practice the potential answers to questions which you may be asked, which may make you come across as being too rehearsed, it's important to put together a portfolio of supplementary evidence that will help convince your interviewer of the legitimacy of your marriage.

Some key examples of evidence which you should put together in a folder include your marriage certificate, a copy of your US spouse's birth certification or naturalization certificate, copies of both of your passports, and evidence of any joint bills or bank accounts that you may share. If both of your names are on a mortgage or property deed, also include a copy of this information to support your case.

You also may want to provide photos of yourself with your spouse over the duration of your relationship and your first 12 months as a married couple. To further prove the authenticity of your marriage.

  • The Interview

In order to make a great first impression, make the effort to dress smartly. Also, make sure to head to your interview early as there may be a substantial wait to get through security as your interview is likely to be held in a government building.

During your interview, it pays to be relaxed and open about your answers. Remember that you don't have to portray yourselves as a perfect couple, just a real couple who has their ups and downs. As the USCIS just wants to ensure that you are genuinely in a committed, loving marriage before issuing you with a full green card.

In conclusion, if you can't wait to begin your married life with your soon-to-be spouse in the United States, it's well worth following the advice listed above in order to obtain a k1 fiancé visa and ultimately a marriage green card.

IMG

Green Card Lawyer - CRP

SENTENCES


Immigration & Naturalization Service - CRP

How To Qualify To Become An US Citizen

If you would love to reside in the US on a permanent basis and plan on starting a new life in the United States, you may be interested in the eligibility requirements. To discover how you may qualify for US citizenship, simply continue reading.

  • Naturalization

The vast majority of US citizens who were born abroad obtain permanent residency through naturalization. In order to apply for citizenship through naturalization, the first requirement that you must meet is to reside in the United States as a legal resident for a period of 5 years. Although you will be eligible to apply for citizenship through the USCIS 90 days before the anniversary of your green card being issued.

There are a few other requirements that you must meet. For example, you must be 18 years or older on the date that you submit your citizenship application. You'll also be expected to provide evidence which demonstrates that you have an exemplary moral character and would be an asset to the United States. One of the best ways to prove your character is to obtain honest, glowing testimonies from US citizens who know you well and can attest to your character. For example, you may want to ask a neighbor, work colleague, or an individual from a community group that you're involved with, to write a letter of reference for you.

  • Naturalization Through Marriage

If you obtain a green card through marriage and are married to a US citizen, you will be eligible for residency sooner than other candidates. In fact, instead of having to reside in the United States for 5 years after you receive a green card, you will only have to wait 3 years until you're able to apply for citizenship.

  • Knowledge Of US History & The US Government

Before you are able to become a US citizen, you'll also have to demonstrate that you have a basic understanding of US history and the US government. In fact, you'll have to take a short civics test which you must pass, if you want to complete the citizenship process.

  • Basic Knowledge Of The English Language

You will not be able to become a fully-fledged US citizen if you are not able to comprehend basic English. As well as sitting a civics exam, you will also have to complete an English language test. Which will test your ability to understand spoken English, written English, and to write simple English sentences. However, you do not have to get every question right in order to pass this test, so if you have a basic understanding of English, you should have no trouble passing this test with flying colors.

So, if you want to become a US citizen and are hoping to apply for citizenship through naturalization, it's well worth applying for citizenship once you have resided in the US for five years or three years if you are married to a US citizen. As you'll be eligible for US citizenship.

IMG

Citizenship Attorney - CRP

SENTENCES


General Practice Attorney - CRP

Asylum Process

In order to be granted asylum, an individual has to prove they are a refugee and is not barred from the asylum by conditions that are itemized in immigration laws. The Refugee Convention to which the U.S. signed up, states that a state has to protect people living within their country. It also stops them from sending people to another country where they would be harmed because of one of these factors:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Social Group Membership
  • Political opinion

Anyone who meets the definition of a refugee (according to the Act of 1980) may be given asylum in the U.S. as long as they are not barred under the same act. One important condition in the act is that applicants must file with one year of entering the country. There may be exceptions to this condition, but the applicant must have filed as soon as possible after the exception had passed.

Some asylum seekers will have their case decided by the Asylum Office, while others will appear before an Immigration Court. The standards should be equal in both cases. If a case is not approved at these levels, an appeal may be lodged at the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Affirmative Asylum Process

1 - Arrive in the United States

To apply for Asylum, you must actually be in the United States

2 - Apply for Asylum

You should file Form I-589 within a year of entering the country. You might be ineligible if the following apply:

  1. You did not file inside one year of arrival.
  2. You have had a previous asylum application denied.
  3. Can be removed to a safe third country under an agreement between the U.S. and other countries.

Once USCIS is in receipt of the application, you will get a receipt for your application, and a notice telling you to report for fingerprints to be taken.

3 - Fingerprinting and Security/Background Vetting

Take the notice with you when you go for fingerprinting. There is no fee to be paid for the fingerprinting. If you are also asking for asylum for a spouse and child, then they should go with you.

4 - Receive an Interview Date/Notice

You will be sent a notice to attend an interview with an asylum officer at an office. This notice tells you where, when, and the interview time.

5 - The Interview

This interview will last about an hour. You are allowed to bring your attorney to the interview, or an accredited representative. Hiring an attorney (if possible) for the entire process is a smart move and will improve your chances of success. You should also bring your spouse and children if applicable. The interview is going to be in English. If you believe that you may not be fluent enough to handle this, you should also bring an interpreter. You may also bring a witness to testify on your behalf.

6 - Determination by the Asylum Officer (Reviewed by Supervisor)

To be eligible, you must prove you fit the definition of a refugee. The asylum officer then considers whether you are eligible for asylum in the U.S. He then confirms you are not barred from asylum under the act. The supervisor then reviews the officer's decision and if concerned may refer the decision to the USCIS headquarters.

7 - Return to the Office for the Decision

Typically, you will be asked back to the office to collect the decision two weeks after the interview. Occasionally, more time is required, depending on the circumstances. If it takes longer than two weeks, they may mail you the decision.

IMG

Asylum Attorney - CRP

SENTENCES


Legal Services - CRP

If you are deported from the United States after accepting the terms of a deportation notice issued by an immigration judge, you may be under the impression that you will be permanently barred from visiting the United States. However, most individuals are still able to return to the US, after waiting out a stand down period. To discover a guide on how to reenter to the US at the earliest possible time, continue reading.

How To Reenter The US After Deportation

  • Wait Out Your Mandatory Stand Down Period

You may be interested to note that the stand down period, which you'll be expected to wait out before you reenter the United States, differs for everyone individual and is dependent on a variety of factors. Such as whether you have previously been deported and whether or not you were deported for committing a violent crime. Depending on these factors it's likely that you'll be prohibited from returning to the United States for a period of 5, 10, 15 or 20 years.

  • Apply For A Waiver

Alternatively, if you have at least one immediate family member in the United States, you may be able to get your ban waived. In order to try and reenter the US in order to reunite with a close family member, you will need to fill out a 1-212 form, in order to apply to have the ban against you dropped. This form is known as the Permission to Reapply form. In order to be eligible to apply for a green card through a family member, they must be an immediate family member such as a spouse, a parent or a sibling.

You can also fill out a waiver form, if you are offered a permanent job in the US and your potential employer is willing to sponsor you to receive a brand-new green card. If your recent deportation was your first and only deportation, it's well worth applying for a waiver, if you are eligible to do so. As the authorities may decide to provide you with a second chance. Especially if you did not commit a violent crime and can prove your moral character. If you apply for a waiver, it's a great idea to provide testimonies from individuals who can attest to your character.

Some of the factors that will be assessed if you fill out a 1-121 waiver form include why you were reported, how recently you were deported, how long you legally resided in the United States and your family obligations. Generally speaking, if you wait at least a year to apply for a waiver and can prove that you have changed, you will have a reasonable chance of having your application for a waiver approved. Which will allow you to reenter the United States early.

So, if you are due to be deported from the country or have recently been deported from the US, it's a great idea to speak to an immigration lawyer about your options. As it's likely that you will be able to return to the United States.

IMG

Deportation Lawyer - CRP

SENTENCES


Lawyer - CRP

Understanding the Different Types of Immigration Appeals

There are different types of immigration appeals related to immigration law in the United States. The appellate process that one pursues depends on the nature of the application filed. Understanding the various types of immigration appeals goes a long way to help one make an informed choice based on the circumstances at hand. Here is a breakdown of the different appeals according to immigration law.

BIA Appeals

The government or the immigrant in an immigration case can choose to file an appeal to the BIA. After the immigrant judge makes the final determination, the unsatisfied party can file an appeal to the BIA within 30 days.

AAO Appeals

The AAO handles appeals resulting from denials of immigrant applications and petitions. If a party in an immigration case feels the need for another authority to hear the case, it is possible appeal to the AAO. For you to appeal to the AAO, you have to file a notice of appeal within 30 days after the delivery of the decision. Briefs should be presented outlining the reasons for the appeal.

Criminal Alien Appeals

If an immigrant gets convicted of a criminal activity removal proceeding are a likelihood. One may end up being deported. In such instances, immigration attorneys can represent immigrants with the hope of having the criminal charges removed or amended. An attorney can also assist in the filing of immigration waivers to prevent deportation.

Habeas corpus

This particular appeal has to do with immigrants who receive excessive detention periods in pending cases. Immigrants who receive unlawful detention because of a pending immigration case or receive extended immigration detention can apply for appeals. Attorneys can guide them through the appeal process.

Mandamus

This appeal handles situations where immigration cases stop making progress within the immigration agency. It is frustrating to immigrants when a case stalls for a long time.

APA Actions

APA actions apply when an administrative agency makes a determination that is contrary to the law or fails to put into consideration the comprehensive facts of a case.

Appeal to the U.S Circuit Court of Appeals

If an immigration matter brought before an immigration judge fails and the decision is affirmed by the BIA upon request for appeal, a person may choose to appeal the decisions before the U.S Circuit Court of Appeals. It is here where the denials can be reviewed further. For most deportation and removal declines, this is the final appellate process.

Motion to Reconsider/Reopen

In a motion to reconsider, the person applying has to show that the decision did not follow the correct application of the law. Also, the person has to show that the decision made was not correct because of the evidence brought forward in the case. In regards to motion to reopen, the applicant makes a request to the government to look into new findings or changed circumstances that have come to the fore after the delivery of the decision. It is important to point out that motions to reconsider/open are filed after the denial of a petition.

Appeals Lawyer - CRP

SENTENCES


Bankruptcy Attorney - CRP

When you decide to file for bankruptcy you must already know that it is not going to be a simple thing to do. Filing for bankruptcy will mean you will have to go through a complicated process of dealing with bankruptcy attorneys, the bankruptcy court, creditors, etc. This would have a major impact on your everyday life as it will take a lot of your time.

But you can save yourself all the stress and runaround if you organize all your paperwork beforehand seek guidance from a bankruptcy lawyer. Doing this will ensure you are setting the right foot forward. In this piece we will walk you through all the paperwork that you would need to file for bankruptcy in the state of Texas.

What Paperwork Will You Need?

You can use the checklist we have listed below to gather all the paperwork that are needed to file for bankruptcy before you can show all the paperwork to your attorney. Use this checklist as the most important tool to organize and get all required paperwork together.

  1. Financial Records

When filing for bankruptcy, the first set of documents that you will need to collect will be your own financial records. Based on your financial position, your attorney will be able to decide what type of bankruptcy will be best   for you. If your financial documents show you have a regular income, Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be suitable which have significant advantages over Chapter 7. Some of the documents that you will need as Financial records include:

  • Bank Statements which should be most recent.
  • Latest bills and invoices you have received from all your creditors.
  • Latest payment coupons for leased or purchased vehicles, student loans or real estate.
  • Latest invoices and bills for all purchases made in the last 1 year.
  • Receipts of all kinds of payments made.
  1. Legal Records

If there are any kind of pending litigations, or previous judgements passed against you will have to disclose all of that to your bankruptcy attorney. Such pending litigations and cases against you can help the attorney assess your financial situation based on which your attorney can file the bankruptcy case for you. You will have to submit the following information in the form of legal documentation:

  • Files or paperwork from previous litigations.
  • Record of any judgment that has been passed against you.
  • Any files you have from previous attorneys who have handled your legal case.
  • Any other paperwork or court order that orders you to pay maintenance or child support.
  1. Additional Documents

Apart from financial and legal documents you will be required to provide the following set of documents as well:

  • Cancelled Checks for expenses that you have no documentation for.
  • Correspondence and communication records with all creditors especially the threat letters that were received.
  • Paperwork for all your insurance policies.
  • Proof of tax returns for the last 3 years.
  • Titles of the vehicles you own.
  • Paperwork for lease or mortgage.
  • Copies of promissory notes that you may have signed.
  • Paperwork as proof of debts you owe to other people.
  • Proof of money that anyone else owes you.
  • Paperwork as proof of lawsuits served against you.
  • Appraisals of your assets - home, jewelry, etc. that are exempted. (Chapter 7 Bankruptcy)
  • Pay Stubs (Chapter 7 Bankruptcy)
  • Proof or certificate showing you have taken credit counseling. (Chapter 7 Bankruptcy)

Final Thoughts

Now that you have a list of all documents that you may need to file for bankruptcy, you can certainly start gathering and getting all of it together. Having said that filing for bankruptcy is a complicated affair that may be specific for every case and will vary from one person to another. As such talk to your bankruptcy lawyer after you have everything together to know your best options.

IMG

SENTENCES


Barrister - CRP

Legal Rights During Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Debtors in the US who wish to file for Chapter-7 are protected by a special law known as BAPCPA (Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention & Consumer Protection Act). This law dates back to 2005. The BAPCPA was signed into law to reform the US bankruptcy system.

Understanding BAPCPA Rights

Means Test

The BAPCPA brought about the means test - a special test meant to establish if a person filling for Chapter-7 deserves to do so or not i.e., do they have the income or assets to repay debt? The act also increased the time it takes for a person to file for Chapter 7 AGAIN.

Generally, the reason behind the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention & Consumer Protection Act is to protect both creditors and debtors. While the law makes it hard for high-income persons to qualify for Chapter-7 by closely examining them, the law also stops creditors from harassing debtors. In regards to the means test, the law ensures individuals who don't have the capacity to meet their debt repayment obligations aren't "driven to the edge".

According to the means test, your disposable income should pass a certain threshold depending on your state. If you can't survive servicing your debt and sustaining yourself, you are protected by the BAPCPA.

Right to Credit Counselling

You also have a right to get help. The BAPCPA has a mandatory credit counseling rule for all individuals that file for bankruptcy. The counseling is free and meant to help you avoid filing for bankruptcy ever again.

Protections on Certain Debts and Individuals

Ex-spouses and children have their rights protected by the BAPCPA. For instance, the law gives ex-spouses a right to continue claiming or pursuing alimony or spousal support. Child support is also exempt from the list of dischargeable debt. Other debt that is protected includes student loans and federal loans. Parties to such debt have a legal right to pursue payment even after Chapter 7.

Lenders have also been protected in certain scenarios i.e., when debt such as cash advances are taken within three months of filing. This protection applies to debt above $750 to protect the rights of cash advance lenders.

IRA Protections

BAPCPA also has some rights in regard to individual retirement accounts. For instance, your 401(k), pension, and related retirement plans are safe from creditors. Such accounts enjoy federal protection. Before the BAPCPA, such protections were on a state level or missing completely. After BAPCPA, everyone in Texas and every other state has bankruptcy protection rights for their individual retirement accounts.

Protection is capped depending on the IRA type in question. For instance, if you have a traditional IRA, you have the right to protect up to $1,362,800 with inflation adjustments considered every 3 years. Your right to most rollover IRAs, Simple IRAs, SEP IRAs, and many other IRA types are fully protected regardless of their dollar value.

The above information oversimplifies legal rights during chapter 7. Also, there's more to legal rights. As a result, talk to a seasoned Chapter-7 bankruptcy attorney to understand your legal rights in-depth.

IMG

Chapter 7 Attorney - CRP

SENTENCES


Civil Law Attorney - CRP

Discharging Debt with Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Texas

Chapter 13 bankruptcy can discharge debt to a certain extent as per bankruptcy law. However, when using Chapter-13 to discharge debt, consult a competent bankruptcy attorney in Texas first to understand the extent.

When Can Debt Be Discharged?

If you file for Chapter-13, you can get debt discharged once you complete making payments under the payment plan and meet all domestic obligations (child support), if applicable. Also, debt can be discharged if you (the debtor) haven't received a discharge during a previous case filed two years before a chapter 13 case or four years before a Chapter 7, 11 & 12 case). Discharging is also possible if you finish an approved financial management course. This applies when a bankruptcy administrator or trustee has found such a course useful and available.

Bankruptcy courts also have their own requirements as per 11 U.S.C. 1328 i.e., a discharge is entered only when it is determined (after a notice and hearing) that there is no cause to believe in the existence of pending proceedings that can limit a debtor's homestead exemption.

What Does a Debt Discharge Do in Chapter-13?

Debt discharge removes all debt that is provided for under a debt repayment plan or disallowed. After discharge, creditors covered partly or in full under Chapter 13 can't initiate legal action against you to collect discharged obligations.

Discharge frees a debtor from every debt provided for through the debt plan or disallowed. However, there are exceptions as per 11 U.S.C. 1328. For instance, long-term obligations such as mortgages, child support, alimony payments, and some taxes can't be discharged. The same applies to student loans (government-funded/guaranteed loans) and debt incurred because of personal injury in certain circumstances (death or driving while intoxicated). What's more, a criminal fine or restitution debt accompanying a criminal conviction can't be discharged.

If such debt isn't paid for fully in a chapter-13 plan, a debtor is still responsible for such debt after their Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is concluded. Also, if you incurred debt through false pretense, fraud, or defalcation when in fiduciary capacity, you'll also have to settle that debt after your case is concluded. Damages incurred from malicious actions by a debtor resulting in death or injury can only be discharged if a creditor hasn't filled to make the debt non-dischargeable.

A Chapter 13 discharge is more complex than a Chapter-7 discharge. In Chapter-13, discharge includes debt for malicious damage to property, debt resulting from non-dischargeable tax obligations as well as debt from divorce/separation proceedings.

A special discharge dubbed hardship discharge also applies in certain circumstances i.e., when a debt repayment plan is approved, but circumstances stop a debtor from meeting their obligations. In such instances, a debtor can ask a bankruptcy court to offer a hardship discharge. However, you (as a debtor) must prove that the circumstances in question are beyond your control and linked to other party's fault.

Since Chapter 13 debt discharge is a complex affair when compared to other types of bankruptcy, consider talking to a seasoned Texas bankruptcy attorney first before attempting to have your debt discharged under Chapter-13.

IMG

Chapter 13 Lawyer - CRP

SENTENCES


Lockhart In Brief

Lockhart, Texas is in Caldwell County. The town was initially called Plum Creek. That is where Texans won the Battle of Plum Creek over the Comanche. The name was later changed to honor Byrd Lockhart, a surveyor who was the first Anglo in the area. It became the county seat, and the historic county courthouse was built in 1894. The courthouse remains open, though the historic jail has become a museum.

The city is notable for being the home of the oldest operating public library in the state, Dr. Eugene Clark Library. The library was built in 1899 using money donated by the namesake doctor on his deathbed. The city was named the Barbecue Capital of Texas in 1999 by the state legislature. There are four different BBQ restaurants in downtown so good that many Austin residents come here to enjoy it. One restaurant has been in continuous operation since 1900.

The town is along the Chisholm Trail. However, Lockhart's growth began when the railroad arrived. It became a regional shipping center for cotton. It remains a small town. The population was estimated to be 13,700 in 2019. It grew by roughly a thousand people since 2010 and two thousand more residents than were identified in the 2000 census. This makes it a slow-growing suburb of Austin. The town is thirty miles south of Austin and a ten to twenty minute drive to San Marcos. San Antonio is seventy miles to the northeast. The historic downtown and original county courthouse have resulted in many films being shot in part or in whole in the town. For example, parts of "The Leftovers" TV series were shot here. Movies from "A Splice of Life" to "Transformers: Age of Extinction" to "Secondhand Lions" were shot here. The first movie shot in Lockhart was "Baby the Rain Must Fall" in 1965. But movie shooting began in earnest with "The Great Waldo Pepper". After that, one to four movies a year were shot in the small town in addition to the occasional TV show. This is why it is a registered Texas Film Friendly Town. The most famous movie here is arguably "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?"

It is notable that there were few westerns shot here, though there was a real-life shootout between Sherriff John Henry Franks and the city marshal John L. Smith in 1915. Bullet holes still exist in the walls of the second floor of the courthouse. This is just one example of how the town captures literal history.

The city has its own school district, the Lockhart Independent School District. The school district also serves communities like Mustang Ridge, Pettytown, Niederwald, Elm Grove, Delhi, Tilmon and a few other unincorporated communities. There are five elementary schools, one junior high school and one high school in the school district.

Lockhart has been slowly changing. Lockhart State Park is a 260 acre park at the edge of town. The city opened a dog park at City Park in 2021. Yet the city honors history. For example, the Southwest Museum of Clocks and Watches is located here.

The average resident of the town is 40 years old. This is in line with the national average but several years higher than the state average. A quarter of residents are under the age of 18. Lockhart has a lower median income than the national average. The average household in town earns 57,000 dollars a year, while the state average is 64K per household. Per capita income is 24K. Roughly fifteen percent of residents live in poverty. On the other hand, housing is relatively cheap. The average house in Lockhart costs less than 200K. The average home price in Texas is roughly 250K. But Lockhart is a bargain compared to the typical home in Austin. The median home price in Austin for mid-market homes is 450K, while the average price is 560K if you include luxury homes.

Texas Highway 183 connects Lockhart to Austin. You'd pass through small towns like Mustang Ridge and McKinney Falls State Park on the way. If you took that highway south, you'd reach Interstate 10. State Highway 130 connects Lockhart to Seguin, Texas. That road connects with Highway 10 in Seguin, and you can take it to San Antonio.