The Trump administration has been notoriously hard on immigrants and since July, it has only become stricter. On July 23, the nationwide expansion of expedited removal of immigrants took place, leaving thousands of immigrants in fear of what will happen to them next. It is important immigrants are aware of the new laws, what they mean, and how to react if they are approached by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
What is Expedited Removal?
Expedited removal is a procedure that allows federal immigration agents to bypass the conventional deportation system. It was passed by Congress in 1996 in order to clear up the backlog that nearly every immigration court in the country was facing. Under the deportation system, a person must attend court hearings and be given the chance to appeal a decision. Once a judge issues their final order, the person is then deported or allowed to remain in the country.
Through expedited removal, immigration agents only need to approach someone to question them. They can also do more than question these individuals. They can arrest them, detain them, and even deport them. They can do this to any immigrant that has been in the United States for less than two years and that has not requested asylum.
What Does the New Law Allow?
Although expedited removal has been an official process in the country for over 20 years, historically it was rarely used.
Under the Clinton administration, only undocumented immigrants attempting to enter a U.S. port of entry were processed under the expedited removal. President George W. Bush then expanded the expedited process to within 100 miles of the borders of Canada and Mexico.
Those were the limits of the old law. As of July of 2019, however, federal immigration agents can approach anyone in the street, anywhere in the country. Once they do, they may question, arrest, or deport them. The only thing they need to do so is approval from a supervisor. Under expedited removal, there is also no chance for appeal.
Problems with the New Law
There are certainly problems with the new law, which is the reason so many immigrants now fear for their status.
“We are supposed to be the freest country in the world,” says Attorney Jim Hacking of Hacking Law Practice, LLC, “Clearly we are not. When there are millions of people throughout the nation scared for their safety and security, that is not free. This law is unconstitutional. Everyone in the United States is supposed to have the right to due process. This clearly eliminates that possibility.”
For many sadly, it does. Fifteen percent of undocumented immigrants that requested asylum in 2018 were deported before getting their hearing. That goes directly against the law of expedited removal. In many cases, federal agents did not even ask undocumented immigrants if they were in fear of returning to their home country. That is another required legal step that is not being observed.
ICE has stated that they will not randomly approach people on the street. They have said they will continue to conduct investigations in an organized fashion. However, it is easy to doubt those words. In the first year of the Trump administration, ICE has questioned 27,540 U.S. citizens, compared to the 5,940 citizens questioned in the last year of Obama’s presidency. That is nearly five times as many.
What to Do if Approached by ICE Agents
Clearly, there is more fear than ever before of being approached by ICE agents. It is important immigrants know what to do in case it happens to them.
Firstly, individuals should ask the agents if they are free to leave. If the agents say, “Yes,” individuals can simply state that they will not answer any questions before leaving. If the agents say the person is not allowed to leave, that person should refuse to answer any questions and ask to speak to an immigration attorney.
Sometimes, ICE agents may perform a search by looking into a person’s pockets. It is important individuals clearly state that they do not consent to a search, but do not become aggressive or try to stop the agent. If ICE agents detain a person, they should continue refusing to answer questions until their attorney is present.
In addition to knowing what to do, it is just as important to understand what not to do. Individuals should never show agents false identification or try to flee the situation. Foreign documents, such as passports, consular IDs, or expired visas, should never be given to federal agents.
Unfortunately, with the new laws in place, it is important all individuals understand what to do, and carry their green card or other documents with them at all times.
As an immigrant coming to a brand-new country, it can be stressful trying to integrate. Not only did you uproot from your home to move somewhere completely new, but there’s a string of legal hoops you have to jump through in order to comply with the law and live in the U.S. legally. All said, it’s no wonder many immigrants find themselves lost and confused when they touch base in America.
Whether you’re an immigrant or a friend or family member helping an immigrant, it’s important to know how to gain citizenship through naturalization, a green card, or a temporary visa. This is where a skilled immigration lawyer comes in. An immigration lawyer can help you navigate the rough waters filled with legal jargon and complex laws.
Keep reading to find out five reasons why you need to hire an immigration lawyer
1. They can help you obtain citizenship and naturalization
If your goal is to become a U.S. citizen, you need to meet specific eligibility requirements. While you can easily find information online, you can’t replace the experience and firsthand knowledge of a trained attorney. If you need help with immigration law, an immigration lawyer can steer you in the right direction. A qualified attorney will be able to help you through the naturalization process by working with you to complete your application and get ready for the naturalization exam.
There are many reasons why you may want to obtain citizenship. You’ll be able to enjoy a variety of new freedoms, such as the right to vote, the ability to qualify for jobs that require U.S. citizenship, and you won’t have to face the fear of being deported.
2. They are detail-oriented
When you sit down with your immigration lawyer, you’ll realize just how much work goes into immigration legal matters. From applying for work visas to obtaining a green card through family members, an attorney with a solid track record will get you the outcome you need.
A seasoned immigration lawyer will be able to counsel you through all the eligibility requirements for the immigration status you’re trying to apply for, whether a visa or naturalization or can help you settle a case by defending against deportation proceedings.
3. They can help you obtain asylum
If you’re an immigrant coming to the United States escaping your home country due to threats based on your religion, political views, race, or any other matter, you may fear being deported and having to return. An immigration lawyer can help you obtain asylum, which means you’ll be granted protection from the U.S. government against prosecution by your home country.
In the event that your asylum application is denied approval, your immigration lawyer can help you build a case and present it at immigration court. An immigration lawyer will let you know where you stand at all times to ensure you meet important deadlines and eligibility requirements.
4. They can help protect your rights
Unfortunately, the U.S. government may not always have your best interests in mind. Asking a lawyer to defend your case can help level the playing field to ensure you’re treated fairly and won’t be exploited or abused under the law. Additionally, respected immigration lawyers often have positive relationships with government immigration officers, which means they can help encourage positive agreements and produce faster results.
5. They provide peace of mind
Going at an immigration case alone can be intimidating. If you’re immigrating to the U.S., a skilled immigration lawyer can give you peace of mind knowing your forms are filled out correctly and that you’ll be able to comply with the law. For example, if you worked without employment authorization or committed a crime in your past, your immigration lawyer will be able to advise you on the best route to take in order to achieve citizenship or a green card.
Immigration lawyers can also help with a variety of other cases, such as:
- Obtaining a nonimmigrant visa
- Obtaining a green card through a family member
- Obtaining an employment-based immigration visa
Whatever your immigration needs, an immigration lawyer is well-versed on U.S. immigration policy and can help your case.
Understanding immigration law can be confusing, especially if English isn’t your native language and you’re trying to decipher complex federal laws. An immigration lawyer can help you handle any immigration legal matters, whether applying for a visa or citizenship, or going to immigration court for deportation proceedings.
Right now, Canada allows 300,000 immigrants to move to Canada every year. By 2021, that number will be bumped to 350,000.
300,000 might sound like a lot, but it’s not, compared to how many hope to move to Canada. Moving to Canada can be quite a competition, and there are a few steps you have to meet before you can even be considered for Canadian citizenship. Ready to get started?
Here’s exactly how to apply for Canadian citizenship
Get a Permanent Resident Visa
Before you can become a Canadian citizen, you need to get a permanent resident visa. This will allow you to live in Canada so long as you have a visa.
As a permanent resident in Canada, you’re still a citizen to your previous country. You have most of the same rights as Canadian citizens, like healthcare, the right to work, and legal protection. You even get to pay Canadian taxes.
But as a permanent resident, you aren’t allowed to vote, run for office, or hold other high-level security clearance positions.
Make Sure You Qualify for Citizenship
There are a couple of things you need to qualify for citizenship. For starters, you have to be a permanent resident in Canada for three years. You need to have been physically present in Canada for 3 out of the past 5 years.
Make sure you’ve paid your taxes during your entire residency. You’ll also have to pass a test on Canadian rights and general knowledge, and you’ll have to prove your language proficiency.
Other qualifications might apply, depending on your circumstances. These are factors that include a criminal record, ancestry citizenship in Canada, military service, or if you’re a minor. If these apply to you, make sure to read up on the details for your circumstance.
Take the Citizenship Test and Interview
After you apply, you’ll have to take a citizenship test and pass an interview. The citizenship test is 20 questions. The test covers Canada’s history, geography, economy, government, laws, and symbols. It’s made up of true or false and multiple-choice questions, and you have to get 15 right to pass.
After the test, you’ll get an interview. During the interview, you’ll go over the results of the test, your documentation, and assess you’re language skills. Overall, they’ll just ensure you meet all the qualifications for citizenship.
Oath of Citizenship and Ceremony
Usually, within 3 months after your test, you’ll get a notification about your citizenship ceremony date. You’ll take a citizenship oath, and become an official Canadian citizen.
Now You Know How to Apply for Canadian Citizenship
Understanding how to apply for Canadian citizenship is the first step in changing your country of residence. Canada is a phenomenal country with a lot to offer. As a result, it can be hard to get citizenship. But these steps will help you move forward in the right direction.
Ready to take moving seriously? Speak to an immigration attorney today.
There are currently over 44 million immigrants living in the United States. Since the turn of the 20th century, people all over the world have packed up and moved to the United States in hopes of finding new opportunities and freedoms.
The US immigration process can seem confusing and convoluted at times. But by learning the best tips and tricks for how to legally immigrate to the US, you can expedite the immigration process and be on your way to becoming an American citizen.
Interested in learning more?
Continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know
Keeping families together is an important part of America’s immigration policy. This category of immigration allows American citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) to bring certain members of their families to the US. These immigrants are admitted either through the family preference system or as immediate relatives of American citizens.
Prospective immigrants who consider themselves to be immediate relatives need to meet certain eligibility criteria. Also, petitioners will have to meet certain financial and age requirements. A person who is considered an immediate relative must be:
- a spouse of an American citizen
- an unmarried minor child of an American citizen
- a parent of an American citizen
Every year, there are a limited number of visas that are available under the family preference system. The preference system includes:
- unmarried children and spouses of LPRs
- siblings and adult children of American citizens
To be allowed in through the family-based immigration system, an LPR or American citizen will have to petition for an individual relative. They will then have to establish the legitimacy of their relationship, meet certain financial requirements, and sign an affidavit of support that says that the sponsor will be financially responsible for the immigrant.
In the United States, there are several ways that immigrants who possess valuable skills can come to the country. They can be allowed in on a temporary or permanent basis.
Temporary Visa Classifications
With temporary employment-based visa classifications, employers can hire and also petition for foreign nations for specific jobs for certain periods. The majority of temporary workers will have to work for the employer who petitioned for them and they won’t have the ability to change jobs.
There are over a dozen types of visas for nonimmigrant temporary workers. The classification of the visa will vary in terms of the duration, eligibility requirements, whether workers can bring dependents and other factors.
Depending on the qualifications of the foreign nation and the type of job, an employer may be able to sponsor the worker for permanent employment. To be sponsored, a foreign national doesn’t need to be working for that employer.
There is a limit of 140,000 permanent employment-based immigrants allowed into the United States each year. That number includes those immigrants as well as their children and spouses. The 140,000 visas are divided into five different categories.
Along with the limits that are placed upon the many immigration preferences, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) puts a limit on how many people can immigrate to the US from any one country. For example, no group of permanent immigrants from any one country can exceed a certain percentage of the total number of people who immigrate to the US in a single fiscal year.
To be clear, this isn’t a quota that makes sure that certain nationalities make up a percentage of immigrants. Instead, this is placed to limit any immigrant group from dominating the patterns of immigration to the US.
Refugees and Asylees
Refugees will be allowed into the US based on their inability to go back to their home country due to fear of persecution because of their social group, religion, race, political opinion, or national origin.
Refugees apply for immigration from outside of the US. They generally do so from a “transition country.”
People who are already in the United States and are seeking protections can apply for asylum. These people can apply at any port of entry within one year of entering the US. There’s no limit on how many people can be granted asylum in any one year and there also aren’t any specific categories for deciding who can seek asylum.
If a person wants to become a citizen of the United States through nationalization, that person will need to have LPR status (a green card) for at least five years. Immigrants who serve in the US military may not have to wait the five years. Also, people who received their green card through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) or through their American spouse, only have to wait three years.
People who apply for American citizenship have to show continuous residency, pass US history, English, and civics exams, be at least 18-years-old, show “good moral character,” and pay an application fee.
If you need help navigating the complicated immigration process, it’s recommended that you hire an immigration lawyer to help you.
The Importance of Knowing How to Legally Immigrate to the US
Back in the old days, anybody who was physically fit could become an American citizen. Today, however, there are so many hoops to jump through, papers to sign, and years to wait that it could be enough to make some people give up. But by learning how to legally immigrate to the US, you can find the path to citizenship that works best for you.
Interested in reading more helpful articles? Check out the rest of our blog today for more!
If you are considering immigrating to the U.S., you should be aware that the process can be lengthy, complex, and frustrating. In most cases, it is in your best interest to consult with a reputable immigration law firm before you begin the process. Applying for the wrong visa, making mistakes on your application, and/or not submitting the correct documentation are all understandable errors. However, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) maintains strict standards for each applicant and will delay or outright deny your application if it does not meet certain criteria. This can result in a lot of lost money as well as time. With this in mind, it’s not enough to just hire any visa immigration lawyer. It is recommended that you work with an attorney that is proven and specifically fits your needs. To uncover the right information, you must ask the right questions. Learn more about the 5 questions to ask when meeting with a visa immigration lawyer below.
1. What Area of Immigration Law do You Specialize in?
Immigration law is wide-reaching and complicated. Though some attorneys are comfortable and experienced in all areas of immigration law, most choose to specialize in certain areas. For example, if you are interested in applying for a business investment visa, you would likely not feel comfortable with an attorney that has spent the last 10 years focusing on amnesty applications. It is your obligation to deeply inquire about their area of expertise.
2. What do You Need From Me?
What your immigration attorney will bring to the table is one thing, the information, as well as activity that they will require of you, is another. Understanding what your attorney will need from you can help to avoid frustrating situations on both sides. Knowing what documentation is needed, how much time you will need to spend, as well as what type of availability they will expect of you during the process can help to facilitate a smoother process. This is especially true if you are dealing with the more nuanced and complex areas of immigration law.
3. Have You Dealt With Cases Similar to Mine?
Since immigration law is so complex and robust, there are almost an unlimited amount of scenarios that can potentially occur. If you are simply attempting to obtain a tourist visa, it is more likely that it will not be difficult to find an attorney with the experience that you need. However, unique situations call for attorneys with unique experiences. Establishing your attorney’s level of comfort and experience with your immigration concerns is imperative.
4. What Are Your Fees?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is still worthy of being mentioned. In most cases, an immigration attorney will offer a free consultation where you can ask detailed questions. It is in your best interest to know how much they charge for e-mails, phone calls, research, proofreading, etc. If you are not aware of all of their charges, you may be very surprised when the invoice arrives.
5. What Can I Expect of The Process?
If you have done your due diligence and chosen a proven and experienced immigration attorney, they are likely comfortable with the entire process. On the other hand, you will likely not know what to expect. Ensuring that you discuss expectations of the process with your attorney can alleviate unnecessary stress. Furthermore, it will give you an opportunity to calibrate your schedule and give yourself enough time to gather the necessary documentation, take time off of work, etc. Ask as many questions as you can during your free consultation. It’s far better to make an informed decision than it is to reverse course after the process has begun.
Before you make your move to the USA, you need to be fully prepared for every single step of the process. Many people who are moving from India to the US mistakenly believe that their life won’t drastically change. While some aspects of your life won’t change too much, there are also countless changes that you will experience throughout your new life in the US.
It’s very common to be unsure of what documents to bring with you, how you’ll handle some of the more minor changes, or what you’ll do about banking, transportation, etc. These are all issues that countless people have faced when immigrating to the United States. Below are nine of our top tips to keep in mind both during (and after) the immigration process.
What to Do Before Applying for a Visa
Before you’ve even submitted any paperwork/documents for your visa application, you need to make 100% sure that your passport properly displays your name (as well as the passport of any family member who might be going with you).
If you fail to make sure that your name (and other details) are properly entered in your passport, you might be stuck with those errors in the USA. That’s why it’s essential to double-check every piece of information (and every document) you submit during the application process.
Deal With Your Finances
If you plan on being in the United States for an extended period (e.g. four to six years), it will probably make the most sense to close all of your bank accounts in India (unless you need them for business reasons). Likewise, any investment accounts should be closed and/or consolidated into one primary account. The same should be done for your Indian bank accounts as well.
Take Care of Any Dental Problems You Have
This tip isn’t related to documents or finances, but it’s equally as important. Before you leave for the US, it would be ideal if you went to the dentist and got any dental issues taken care of. The cost of healthcare in the US is a lot more expensive than in India. This includes dental work.
Deal With Health Insurance Before You Leave
Having health insurance in the US is essential. Most employers will sort this out for you, but if not, you’ll need to purchase a plan on your own. Most states in the US have dedicated offices that will help you purchase a plan and enroll for coverage.
Make Sure Your Mobile Phone Works in the USA
This is a tip that a lot of people overlook during the immigration process, but it’s very important (and equally as essential as other tips). Before you leave for the US, it’s recommended to get a phone that works on mobile networks in North America. This might require buying a completely new phone, or just getting a new SIM card. Go to your phone carrier to see what options are available.
Bring Important Documents With You
Important documents and records such as tax filings, bank statements, education records, etc. should ideally be brought along with you when you immigrate to the US. Many different institutions (e.g. financial, educational, employers) will sometimes require the submission of these types of documents.
Learn How to Drive
The USA is a very large country, and most places outside of major cities don’t have many public transportation options. You’re going to need to learn how to drive (if you don’t already). The process is relatively easy to go through in India, so you should take advantage of that prior to your departure for the US. Numerous states will accept foreign driver’s licenses (if they’re printed in English) for up to a certain period of time (after which you’ll need to get an official license).
Go to the Doctor’s Office Prior to Your Departure
Before you leave for the US, it’s important that you take care of any medical issues. Receiving healthcare in the US isn’t as straightforward as India, and you’ll already have a lot to deal with. The last thing that you’ll want to do once you arrive in the US is have a visit to the doctor.
Make Sure Your Travel Companions Are Ready
Making sure that your travel partners (i.e. family members) are ready to travel to the US is just as important as making sure that you’re ready. All of the tips we’ve covered apply to everyone you plan on immigrating with (especially children).
It’s an open secret that the current U.S. government under Donald Trump’s leadership has adopted various measures in place to reduce the influx of undocumented immigrants in the United States. From the data collected by Pew Research Center, there were a total number of 10.5 million illegal immigrants in 2017, and the Trump Administration has made all the possible efforts to dispose of these illegal immigrants. There are several reasons stated by the Hon’ble President not to let immigrants procure any asylum in the U.S. The purposes indicated by the Trump Administration revolve around human trafficking concerns, overflowing country population, degrading job market, etc. But, there is no conclusive proof of these statements. While there is a clear divide between the supporters and opposers of these policies, an impartial analysis of the legality of measures implemented by the government is possible only from an international law’s perspective.
Trump Administration has announced new rules for migrants coming from Central America, stating that starting from July 16, immigrants entering from other nations cannot directly claim asylum in the U.S.
On July 15, the Trump Administration declared the amendments in asylum rules, making it mandatory to make an asylum claim in the previous country while en route to the U.S. before entering to the southern U.S. border.
The suggestion made by the Trump Administration to deal with the issue of immigrants draws its rationale from the “Safe Third Country” policy. This policy states that migrants would need to apply for asylum in Mexico or other countries first, and the migrants have to wait in Mexico while the U.S. handles their applications, a process that can take months or even years. Interestingly, countries in Europe, including the United Kingdom, have been keeping an eye on how measures by the American government will unfold, which will eventually determine if claiming asylum in the UK or any other nation in Europe will undergo the same transition.
Laws and Provisions about Refugees and Asylum Seekers
The structure and procedure evolved, and by 2004, federal handling of refugee affairs was led by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (P.R.M.) of the U.S. Department of State. Now, due to a rapid surge in the number of asylum seekers, on April 29, a memo was issued by the U.S. President to homeland security officials to make some changes in the persisting asylum process.
The Existing Asylum Process
Section 1 of the Presidential Memorandum dated April 29, 2019, stated that “immigration and asylum system is in crisis as a consequence of the mass migration of aliens across our southern border.”
Section 3 of the Presidential Memorandum stated that Secretary of Homeland Security should take all appropriate actions to:
(a) propose regulations to ensure that aliens who receive positive fear determinations pursuant to section 235(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.) are placed in proceedings conducted under 8 CFR 208.2(c)(1) and 1208.2(c)(1) or, if not eligible for asylum, are placed in proceedings conducted under 8 CFR 208.2(c)(2) and 1208.2(c)(2);
(b) propose regulations setting a fee for an asylum application not to exceed the costs of adjudicating the application, as authorized by section 208(d)(3) of the I.N.A. (8 U.S.C. 1158(d)(3)) and other applicable statutes, and setting a fee for an initial application for employment authorization for the period an asylum claim is pending; and
(c) propose regulations under section 208(d)(2) of the I.N.A. (8 U.S.C. 1158(d)(2)) and other applicable statutes to bar aliens who have entered or attempted to enter the United States unlawfully from receiving employment authorization before any applicable application for relief or protection from removal has been granted, and to ensure immediate revocation of employment authorization for aliens who are denied asylum or become subject to a final order of removal.
Impact of New Asylum Policies
There are serious and strong pieces of evidence that reflects that the Immigration policy by Trump Administration has observed serious effects in the behavior of individuals both inside and outside the country. The Administration’s position in context with the Immigration has seen a negatively tremendous effect on the tourism of the U.S. It has been seen in the last three quarters of 2017 that international arrivals to the U.S. are dropped by 2.3 million, as compared to the previous year.
As per an article published by The Wall Street Journal, there has been a decline of 40% in the Higher Education Applications in the Universities. The massive decline came from the students of the Middle-East. The new H-1B applications have been declined by a higher percentage of 15%. Just 190,000 applications were submitted for the Financial Year 2019.
Furthermore, there’s been a sharp uptick in the number of people who have entered Canada from the U.S. to seek asylum. As per official data from the Canadian government’s website, in June 2018, there has been the apprehension of more than 10,000 asylum seekers on the ports of entry of both the nations. This reflects almost 140% increment of the number of people seeking asylum as compared to 2017.
Examining Tenacity of Amended Policy Vis-a-vis International law
Experts believe that this provision of the International law has been violated by the Trump Administration. The Administration has made it very clear in the process that there would be a specific fee that must be paid by the person seeking asylum, and if he fails in doing so, he/she will be sent back even though there is a fear of persecution.
Article 9 of the 1951 Convention preserves the right of states to take ‘provisional measures’ on the grounds of national security against a particular person, but only ‘pending a determination by the Contracting State that that person is, in fact, a refugee and that the continuance of such measures is necessary for the interests of national security.’
The most crucial point to be highlighted here is that in the Trump Administration, there are provisions made stating that all the refugees will be staying in Mexico for the initial period, and the U.S. will call each applicant one-by-one. The U.S. has threatened Mexico that if this rule is not complied with, then there would be massive tariff hikes. Now, there are no such provisions mentioned to this regard in the International Refugee Law or The International Human Rights Law. This provision enacted from the side of the U.S. makes this immigration process unhealthy and violative of the International Norms.
Trump administration may have done its research while framing these kinds of policies, but prima facie they do seem to contradict the established norms of Public International law.
While it’s also understandable that the U.S. government is just trying to protect its borders from unidentified individuals, Trump’s government’s measures to handle the situation looks violative of human rights as laid done in the International Law. It seems that the U.S. is determined to breach the International Standards set for Refugees and delay the process as much as it can. The entire process mentioned in the Presidential Memorandum is biased for having more of a personal and nepotistic view that goes against the International Law.
The most unfortunate part is the possibility of mirroring these policies by other developed nations like the U.K. and other European countries, especially the U.K. If claiming asylum in the U.K. and other countries in Europe also becomes severe, it will be a massive setback to people in distress. We hope that international law prevails.
Immigration is one of the hottest political and economic topics of our day. Rhetoric swirls from all sides about the benefits and pitfalls of welcoming immigrants to our nation.
With so many different voices weighing in on immigration issues, it’s hard to cut through the noise and get to the facts.
If you’ve heard opposing viewpoints on immigration and are not sure what to think, read on. We’ve taken five of the most persistent immigration myths and debunked them below.
History of Immigration Issues
Since the founding of our nation, people have sought to become new citizens. And since people started applying for this status, there have been controversies and issues.
From the earliest days of our nation’s founding, the idea of welcoming immigrants and refugees to our country has enjoyed both an exalted and a condemned status. One of our icons, the Statue of Liberty, stands as a welcoming beacon to emigres. On the other hand, laws, and rhetoric designed to discourage immigration continue to find homes in many peoples’ hearts.
Even though the U.S. is called the “melting pot” for its diverse population, many myths have cropped up around immigration.
Five Immigration Myths
Myth #1: Immigrants Steal Our Jobs
This myth has been disproven by study after study.
The facts are these: immigrants are helping to keep our economy strong, and the jobs that they fill are not jobs that Americans would happily take.
If the millions of undocumented immigrants were expelled from our country, it would also remove millions of business owners, taxpayers, and consumers. The economy would actually take a huge hit, and jobs would be lost.
Myth #2: Undocumented Workers Don’t Pay Taxes
This brings us to another myth about immigration, which is that immigrants don’t pay taxes.
Immigrants pay taxes on pretty much every single thing that citizens do. They pay sales tax on every taxable thing they buy. They pay property taxes on the houses that they buy or rent. And they pay payroll taxes and contribute to Social Security.
Undocumented workers pay into systems that they’ll never even benefit from, bring us to
Myth #3: They Drain the System
This, too, is false. On the contrary, even documented immigrants cannot claim social safety net benefits for five years after they’ve legally immigrated.
Undocumented workers are not eligible for any social benefits. They cannot collect welfare, they cannot apply for food stamps or Medicare, and they will not receive Social Security benefits upon their retirement. Immigrants can access public education and emergency health care, but that’s about it.
Myth #4: Immigrants Are Criminals
This is another myth that has been disproven by statistics time and again.
Most immigrants come to our nation to work or to join their family members who are already here. Very few immigrants with a criminal background enter our country, legally or illegally, and once here, immigrants are an overwhelmingly law-abiding demographic.
Myth #5: They Should Enter “Legally”
There are a few different facts that dispel this myth.
First, nearly 75% of foreign-born people living in the United States are living here through legal immigration channels, like naturalization or a green card. Second, even many who enter the country without proper documentation are considered refugees, which is a legally-recognized reason to come here.
These five pernicious myths continue to swirl around the discussion of immigration. Gerami Law has more information and resources for anyone seeking legal help in this area.
Always Seek the Facts
Media and political outlets express a wide range of ideas around immigration issues. Don’t get caught up in false rhetoric.
If you found this article informative, take a look at the many resources our site has to help you separate fact from myth.
People have all kinds of reasons as to why they want to immigrate and settle in a new country. It can be fun settling into a new country, but you have to remember that it will be totally different to your home country and it will take a few years for you to adapt to your new country’s lifestyle. Before you depart for your new country, there will be quite a bit of work ahead of you such as gathering all the necessary documents.
It is not an easy task and there will be things such as birth certificates, passports, diplomas, medical reports, letters or recommendation and much more.
USA Permanent Residency Applications
Not only that, apart from your certificates and diplomas, some documents will require you having several copies. Did you even know that there are actually a few ways you can get USA Permanent Residency – family-based petitions, employment-based petitions or investor EB-5 applications? You may not know about it but your lawyer does. Each of these types of applications have their own procedures and requirements.
Immigration Lawyers Simplify the Immigration Process
Rather than battling along on your own and having a whole lot of frustration building up, why not rope in the services of a reliable law firm clued up on immigration? These immigration lawyers assist those wanting to immigrate and they tackle all kinds of immigration-related issues such as getting visas as well as other complicated bureaucracy involved with immigration.
The Alvarez Law Firm, PLLC likes to treat all their clients like family. They are a small law firm and if you can not meet them in their offices, they will come to where you are.
They tackle all kinds of immigration issues, from helping with the issuing of green cards right from start to finish. Some people think that marriage to someone from the United States of American automatically gets them a green card but that is not so. In fact, you may have to wait anything from a few months to a few years even for the entire green-card-process to be completed. Immigration lawyers can even assist with deportation issues.
Removing all your Immigration Hiccups
There is no escaping the fact that immigration law is complex, and it is not easy for the man on the street to actually understand all the processes and what each process entails. Immigration attorneys simplify the entire process for you and remove all the hiccups and frustrations you get from trying to process it on your own.
While submitting your application, your lawyer will take adequate precautions to ensure that your documents meet the standards set by the visa office. There can be nagging delays if your documents are incomplete or need clarity. Your immigration lawyer will get it right the first time hence saving you time, and pave way for your smooth passage to your new home.
Immigrate to the USA is a complex process and requires preparation weeks or even months in advance to be successful. Millions of people immigrate to the US every year, under both visitor visas and permanent visas. This article will help you gain an understanding of the process and make your experience a smooth and hassle-free one.
The article is divided into three sections: (1) the immigrant visa process, (2) the non-immigrant visa process, and (3) the ESTA and Visa Waiver Program.
(1) Steps and documents required for the immigrant visa:
Step 1- A petition is filed with the USCIS
The first step in the US immigrant visa process is the filing of the I-30 Form by the intending immigrant’s sponsor. This form is used for family-based immigration applications where the sponsor is sponsoring one of their relatives. However, for employment-based applications, the employer will act as the sponsor and will fill out the Form I-40. The sponsor must be a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or a US citizen.
Step 2- Approval of the petition
On approval of the petition by the USCIS, you will need to begin your National Visa Center (NVC) process. The NVC is responsible for scheduling your interview.
First, you will need to choose an agent. The agent will be contacted by the NVC and information regarding your case will be given to them. You will then need to pay the fees, which includes both the immigrant visa fee and the affidavit of support fee.
Once you have done that, you will need to fill out and submit the DS-260 immigrant visa form. This is the form that will formally execute your visa application.
Step 3- Collect financial and supporting documents to submit to the National Visa Center.
You will now need to collect the relevant financial and supporting documents to submit to the National Visa Center.
First, your petitioner will need to submit an Affidavit of Support form (Form I-864) and evidence of their income. By completing the I-864 Form, the petitioner consents to financially support you if it becomes necessary.
Then, you will need to collect the supporting civil documents. You can use the US government’s document finder to see which supporting civil documents you will be required to submit.
After gathering both the financial and the supporting civil documents, you will send their photocopies to the NVC and bring the originals to your interview.
Step 3- The Interview
Once all required documents have been received, the National Visa Center will schedule an interview for you. You will receive a letter from the NVC indicating the date and time of the interview.
After the interview, your case documents will be sent to the relevant US embassy or consulate situated in your country.
Essential documents that you must take to the interview include:
- A valid passport for at least six months
- Appointment letter
- Birth certificate
- Two color passport photographs
- Required supporting civil documents
A comprehensive list of the required documents can be found here.
Step 4- Undergo the Medical Exam
On request of the National Visa Center or your US embassy, you will need to undergo a medical exam. An approved list of doctors will be provided to you to choose from who will then deliver the tests to the embassy in person.
Step 5- Interview day
On the day of the interview, you must bring all requested documents along with you to the embassy. This means the financial and supporting civil documents mentioned above. You must bring original documents only, not photocopies.
Unless you are a visitor with special needs, the only person allowed to accompany you to the interview is the petitioner.
Step 6- Approval of Visa
You will be able to pick up your passport around 10 days after your interview. In addition to picking up your visa, you will need to pay the USCIS fee. This fee is charged for your resident card. It must be paid before traveling to the US.
However, if you are denied a visa, you will be informed of the reasons of denial via a letter.
Step 7- Picking up your visa and document packet
After your interview is completed and your visa application has been successful, you will be informed of when and where to pick up your visa, which will be attached to your passport, and your document packet.
The document packet will be sealed and must not be opened by you. Instead, you will be required to take it along with you to the US and hand it over to the immigration officer at the point of entry.
(2) Steps and requirements for the visitor / non-immigrant visa for immigrate to the USA
Before applying for a non-immigrant visa, you will need to know which one to apply for. There are many non-immigrant visa categories which include, for example, the student visa and business/tourist visas. You should also check to see whether you are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (see below), in which case you will not need to apply for a visa as long your visit is for no more than 90 days.
Listed below are the general steps you must follow regardless of your visa category:
Step 1- Fill out and submit the DS-160
The DS-160 form is the form which all non-immigrant visa applicants must fill out. It is an electronic form and is submitted online. Each visa applicant, including children, will require their own DS-160 form. The form is lengthy and so it is recommended that you take a reasonable time to fill it out in a careful manner.
Step 2- Pay your fee and schedule an interview
After completing the DS-160 form, you will be required to pay the visa fee and schedule an interview. The interview must be scheduled at the same embassy or consulate that you chose at the beginning of the DS-160 form.
Once your payment receipt has been activated, you can schedule an interview.
Remember, you must have submitted your DS-160 form online before scheduling an appointment for an interview.
Step 3- Gather the required supporting documents
You must bring the following supporting documents to the interview:
- A valid passport. A valid passport is one which would be valid for at least six months beyond your intended length of stay in the US;
- Your visa application (MRV) fee payment receipt;
- Your DS-160 confirmation page;
- Your email address.
Note that there may be additional documents required depending on your visa type as well as your country. You can check for them here.
Step 4- The Interview
Once you have gathered your supporting documents, you will appear at the interview at the chosen embassy or consulate. The interview will be a short one where you will be asked questions about yourself and about the purpose of your visit.
Remember that US law assumes that everyone entering the US intends to stay there permanently. Hence, you must be able to show that you will return to your country after the purpose of your visit has been fulfilled.
Step 5- Final steps
You can check the status of your visa application online following the interview.
If the application has been approved, then you will be able to pick your passport and visa from the location you specified when scheduling the interview.
(3) The ESTA and Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
For citizens of a select group of countries, a visa is not required if the length of stay is no more than 90 days and the purpose of visit is tourism or business.
The list of eligible countries is as follows:
United Kingdom, Australia, Austria, Brunei, Spain, Chile, Germany, Czech Republic, Andorra, Denmark, Slovakia, Estonia, Belgium, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Sweden, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Slovenia, Switzerland and Taiwan.
If you are a citizen of one of the above countries, then you are eligible for the visa waiver program and can fill out the ESTA online instead of applying for a visa. The ESTA is an electronic form which needs to be filled in order to travel without a visa. It must be filled out by each traveler.
The ESTA takes 24 hours to process. However, it is still recommended to complete and submit the form at least 72 hours before departure for the US. Note that the ESTA is only valid for tourism, business or medical purposes. If your ESTA application is denied, then you will need to apply for a regular visit visa.
There are some additional points that you should take note of:
- You must have a biometric passport. If you do not have one, you will need to obtain one before applying for the ESTA.
- The passport must be valid for at least 6 months following your date of departure.
- Remember that the ESTA does not guarantee your entry to the US. Rather, that is determined by officials at the point of entry.
- Your ESTA will remain valid for a period of 2 years, given that your passport does not expire earlier.
US K1 Fiance Visa
If you are looking to bring your fiance to the United States for the purposes of getting married, and ultimately remaining in the USA, the fiance visa is the proper route. The requirements to file the fiance visa include having met during the past two years, both parties being free to marry, the US citizen being able to support the foreign fiance when she enters the country, neither having major criminal history, and that the relationship is genuine.
The paperwork to get a fiance visa is quite difficult and involves approvals from three different government agencies. To help ensure success, many choose to hire a fiance visa lawyer to help them complete their paperwork and make the process timeline as short as possible. The whole process, from start to finish, typically takes six to eight months.
In conclusion, we hope that you have found this guide useful. Navigating US immigration rules can be a tricky process but with the right resources, it can be a smooth and hassle-free process. Make sure to check your list of documents and fill out any required forms carefully. Happy traveling!