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Louisville Immigration Law Blog

Digging deeper into the L-1 visa

Good help is hard to find, goes the old saying. It's on the basis of that claim that many companies in Kentucky and across the U.S. look to fill certain positions with individuals from outside the country. As we noted in a post earlier this month, the need might be a temporary one, but that doesn't necessarily make things easier.

There is a long list of possible visas from which to choose. The challenge of identifying the appropriate permit presents a significant challenge in itself. Then, the company must explain why that foreign worker is better suited than a U.S. citizen for the post. An application, perhaps a string of them, must be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in hopes that it will be approved.

The dilemma of being undocumented and a domestic abuse victim

Being in the U.S. without proper legal documents has always made for an uncertain life. In the current social and political environment, efforts to find a viable route to asylum and avoid removal have become even more difficult.

One path that has proven fruitful for many in Kentucky and elsewhere has been the U visa. Created in 2000 as a provision of the Violence Against Women Act, it provides a means for undocumented individuals who are victims of abuse and their immediate families to become documented. To be eligible, the victim needs to get a certificate from local police that says they have been "helpful" in investigating or prosecuting a crime. However, it's not an easy route to take and there's worry this road won't stay open.

Why does immigration take so long?

No one would deny that there are problems with the immigration processes in the United States. Kentucky, like all states, is dealing with all manner of competing concerns in this area.

Businesses looking for workers with unique skills may feel pressured to go beyond the boundaries of our own country if viable candidates can't be found here. Foreign workers striving to grab the brass ring and share in the American dream compete against hundreds of thousands of others for a limited number of visas every year. And there are the undocumented workers fearing not just the loss of jobs but of their families.

Do you want to employ a worker from another country temporarily?

One thing that nearly every business searches for is educated or skilled workers to fill positions in the company. Sometimes, finding a U.S. citizen who can do a particular job just isn't possible. In those cases, you might look outside the United States for qualified applicants.

If you find one or more individuals who fit that bill, you can't simply bring them into the country. You must obtain temporary work visas for them. A number of temporary work visas for nonimmigrants exist, and choosing the right one could present you with a challenge. Furthermore, the application process might seem simple enough, but several issues need addressing before beginning it.

Uniting immigrant family members is a multi-step undertaking

The fire of love burns hot and the color that usually is associated with that is red. But as anyone in Kentucky knows who has tried to keep the embers of love alive when immigration is required, the more desired color is green. The green card is the objective of anyone seeking to gain permanent resident status in the U.S. and having that represents the green light for it to happen.

As we noted in a post several months ago, it can take years to get a family fully reunited. But it is not impossible to achieve. As with any journey, this most important is the first step. In this case, it's filing Form I-130 - the Petition for Alien Relative. The steps that come after, however, can be daunting without the help of skilled legal counsel.

What happens if my R-1 Visa status changes?

These are uncertain times for any foreign-born person in the United States or trying to get in. As we noted in a post earlier this year, there are many reasons someone might be entering the U.S. and specifically coming to Kentucky. These can include such things as working for a local religious denomination – perhaps as an educator at a seminary or as a minister at a church.

Obtaining the necessary R-1 visa for such an individual can be difficult. The law is complicated and the path through what seems to be an ever-shifting course of administrative hurdles requires making sure that all the right steps are followed to the letter. At times, it might require presenting a properly worded rationale for seeking the visa. All such work can be handled more easily with the help of experienced counsel.

The road to a green card can be long

For many immigrants in Kentucky, getting a green card represents the peak and pinnacle of their desires. Having that card means you are welcome in the United States, granted permanent residency. Perhaps the next step after that will be full naturalization so that you can enjoy the full rights of U.S. citizenship. The green card opens up an array of possibilities.

The road to green card status is not an easy one. As indicted in our previous post, it might start by getting an employment visa. Because they are limited and based on meeting specific criteria, it can be difficult to get even that. Navigating the sea of immigration laws that currently exist is something to do with the help of an experienced attorney.

Do you qualify for an employment visa?

Each fiscal year, the United States government grants 140,000 employment visas. If your education, skills and work experience fall into one of the five employment visa categories, you could obtain the right to reside here. Of course, you must meet all of the other qualifications required for entry into the country.

What can I as an undocumented immigrant do to protect my rights?

The current environment regarding immigration is unpredictable. Whether you live in Kentucky or any other state, if you are an undocumented immigrant or know someone who is, what could happen next is one big question mark. Even when your legal status is solid, the desire to avoid deportation can cause worry. In uncertain times, fear only increases.

What is important to remember is that regardless what one's residence status may be, everyone has rights. There are organizations in place committed to helping those who may be concerned about removal. Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney should always be a priority. Ultimately, the main objective should be to know your rights.

Immigrant faces deportation in underage sex case

Immigrants in Kentucky who have permanent residency may be interested to hear that on Feb. 27, the Supreme Court heard a case that had to do with a permanent resident who was facing deportation. The man had been convicted in California after having sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend. He was 20 and 21 at the time, and according to California law, if an individual is under 18 and there is more than a three-year age difference with the person they are having sex with, the act is criminal.

The man has lived in the United States since he was 12, and he served 90 days in California after pleading no contest. Deportation proceedings against him began after he moved to Michigan. However, he is arguing that under federal law and the laws of more than 40 states, his offense was a less serious one.

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