In 2018, there were 44.8 million foreign-born people in the United States.
With more and more people coming to the United States, it’s important as a lawyer to know about immigration law, even if it’s not your specialty.
Thankfully, we’re here to help cover all the basics for you, so make sure that you keep reading!
First, you’ll need to understand the history of immigration law. It started in the 19th century with something called the “Plenary Power Doctrine.”
This doctrine said that the executive and legislative branches were in charge of regulating everything surrounding immigration.
After that was imposed, the first law to impose limits was the Chinese Exclusion Case of 1889. This law forbids anyone from coming in who was from China.
Because of the past laws, immigration became a civil law rather than a criminal law. It also doesn’t give the same protections to people when they are accused of it. For example, if someone was accused of a criminal crime, they’d have a right to an attorney.
But someone who is accused of a civil crime doesn’t have that right.
Today, someone who is trying to immigrate to the United States can be detained if they’re here illegally waiting on their immigration hearing or if they’re even trying to enter into the United States.
The Supreme Court is still trying to really harden the guidelines when it comes to figuring out new immigration laws.
If an immigrant contacted Lee and Garasia immigration attorneys, they may find help in attaining a green card.
A green card is the most common phrase for a Lawful Permanent Residency inside the United States. That means that the person will be able to stay in the United States indefinitely.
They’ll also be able to leave or come into the country without having a lot of restrictions, and they can find a job or go to school without having to ask for permission.
To get this card, they will have to have a petition that’s likely filed by a family member or their employer on their behalf. Sometimes the relationship between the person requesting the green card and the one who the green card is for can affect how quickly this gets processed.
However, an immigration law firm might be able to help you get your green card without needing a sponsor.
You could do this if you were a foreign national, for example, and you were really talented in a specific field. The United States will see that you’re a great asset to have in their country, so they may grant exceptions.
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If you want to work in the United States and you’re not a legal residence, you’ll need to make sure that you have a work visa.
There are many different kinds of visas, and you’ll have to get them according to your specific immigration status. However, with all the different options, it can be confusing to figure out what you need.
For example, some of the most common immigrant work visas include:
- F: Student Visa
- B-1: Business Visitor Visa
- K: Spouse or Fiance of a United States Citizen Visa
There are also visas for temporary workers, exchange visitors, religious workers, victims of certain crimes, or someone who has temporary protected status.
One of the most common visas to have is the H-1B. This requires the immigrant to already have a job offer that offers a liveable wage.
They’ll also need to have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Or, they may be trying to work somewhere that has a special skill set required.
Applying as a Refugee
If an immigrant is fleeing their country because of poor living conditions or severe harm, they can try to apply as a refugee for the United States.
They’ll have to meet the requirements to apply for asylum. If they don’t, they still may be able to come in under the Immigration and Nationality Act. If they don’t qualify under that, they may qualify under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
For example, if there is a natural disaster or a war in another country, a lawyer can appeal to the government to extend certain American rights to refugees from the affected countries.
Sometimes Homeland Security will review the cases and then determine which countries are eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This lets people come into the country without having to worry about being deported.
How to Become a U.S. Citizen
If someone is born in the United States, they automatically become a permanent lawful resident because of naturalization.
However, if someone comes into the country, the application could depend on how long they’re in the country.
For example, if an immigrant married a United States citizen, they’d have to apply for citizenship three years after they became a permanent resident. Outside of that, most people will have to establish five years of residence before they can apply.
The applicants also have to be fluent in English. They’ll also have to pass a civics test with questions about the government and history of the United States.
If they pass those requirements, they’ll also then have to swear an oath of loyalty to the United States of America.
Learn More About Immigration Law
These are only a few things to know about immigration law, but there are many more things you should keep in mind!
We know that learning all of the U.S. immigration laws can be stressful and overwhelming, but thankfully we’re here to help you out.
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