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Louisville Immigration Law Blog

Immigration Services

Federal judge rules certain immigrants safe from deportation

Some people immigrate to the United States because their homeland is not safe to live in. The federal government recognizes this, and thus implemented a special immigration program known as the Temporary Protected Status program. The current presidential administration ordered that this program should be ended, but Kentucky residents may be interested to hear that a federal judge has ruled that doing so is unlawful.

The Temporary Protected Status program provided protection to individuals whose homelands were under a state of war or experienced a significant natural disaster. It allowed these individuals to reside and work in the United States. The current presidential administration issued an order to end this program for immigrants from certain countries. However, a federal judge recently ruled that the TPS should not be ended.

Adapting to life in Kentucky as an immigrant

When you first arrived in Kentucky from another country of origin, you may have felt simultaneously overwhelmed with excitement, joy, anxiety and utter fear. Depending on your personal circumstances, such as whether your arrival here was associated with marrying a U.S. citizen, you were coming to the United States to launch a business or were facing a less-positive situation that included crossing a border without paperwork, you may have encountered numerous challenges on your first day.  

Beyond that, adjusting to living in a new place is stressful for most people, not just immigrants. As an immigrant, however, you are likely to encounter certain issues that wouldn't pose much of a problem for someone who was born and raised in the U.S., such as learning to speak English or eating American-style foods. A key to success is building a strong support system.  

What visas can be sought for family immigration?

When an immigrant in Kentucky becomes a lawful permanent resident, or if a U.S.-born citizen has loved ones in another country, family reunification may be a high priority. After all, most people do not like being separated from their loved ones. U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents may petition to have a relative obtain a family-based visa. Under federal immigration law, some of these visas are unlimited, while others are limited.

When a family-based visa is sought for certain immediate relatives, the U.S. may issue an unlimited number of these visas. Immediate relatives who qualify under this category include the spouse of a U.S. citizen, a U.S. citizen's unmarried child under age 21, orphans adopted from another country by a U.S. citizen and parents of a U.S. citizen who is age 21 or above.

ICE apprehending more non-criminals in 2018 fiscal year

Immigrants come to Kentucky and other states across the nation for many reasons. Some come as the fiancé or spouse of a U.S. citizen. Some are simply seeking a safer place to live, where they and their children have more opportunities to have a better future. And, some come after being hired by U.S. employers. In the past, those who have not committed a crime or have committed only a minor crime did not usually need to fear deportation. However, under current policy, that may be changing.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is apprehending more individuals who have not committed a violent crime or even those who have not committed a crime at all. According to one report, compared to the first nine months of the 2017 fiscal year, the number of ICE arrests of those with no criminal record increased 66 percent in the first nine months of fiscal year 2018. However, arrests of those who have been convicted of a crime in the past went up only 2 percent.

Deported asylum seekers given second chance to make their case

We are fortunate to live in a country that is relatively safe. Not everyone in the world can claim this is so. Some people live in countries where they face persecution that puts their very lives in jeopardy. When this happens, these individuals may seek asylum in the United States. This issue has recently made the news in Kentucky and across the nation as some deported asylum seekers are being given a second chance to make their case.

The Trump administration has agreed to review 1,000 immigrants' claims for asylum. These individuals were parents and children who were coming to the U.S. to seek asylum, but were separated from one another at the border. These individuals are now permitted to apply for asylum a second time, even if they were deported because their claim that they faced persecution or torture in their country of origin was rejected.

House passes deportation bill defining 'violent crimes'

If an immigrant in Kentucky or elsewhere in the United States commits what constitutes a "crime of violence" under federal immigration law, that immigrant may be deported. The definition of what exactly falls under "crimes of violence" for the purposes of federal immigration law has been called into question lately, and the government is taking action to clarify what that phrase means.

A deportation bill has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that brings clarification to the definition of "violent crimes" for the purposes of deporting non-citizens. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court said the law as it is currently worded is too vague. Current law uses the phrase "crime of violence," with regards to the deportation of immigrants who have committed one. Under the recently passed bill, over 12 specific crimes were named that, if committed by a non-citizen, would allow for the deportation of the non-citizen. Some of these crimes include robbery, assault and murder.

Beware of who you trust when seeking immigration help

With all of the uncertainty surrounding the fate of immigrants here in the United States at present, many people throughout the country, including many here in Kentucky, are struggling to solidify their right to remain in the country. Obtaining a green card, receiving asylum or refugee status, and becoming a naturalized citizen have all gained even more importance.

The problem is that nearly everyone knows this, and some are determined to take advantage of vulnerable immigrants eager to have their issues resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible. Several scammers are at work right now taking hard-earned money from people like you.

The right approach to seeking lawful permanent residency

The issue of Green Cards has been getting a lot of attention in our nation these days. People in Kentucky and throughout the United States may want to get more information about what a Green Card is and what it does. This way, they can better understand this important topic.

The legal term for those who have a Green Card is "lawful permanent residence.". Having status as an LPR allows a person to reside and work permanently in the U.S. This is a very important advantage that can better a person's life. However, it is also important to understand what a Green Card cannot do. It cannot vest a person with the right to vote. Also, under certain circumstances, it is still possible for a person with a Green Card to be deported. For example, convictions for aggravated felonies can lead to deportation. In addition, if a person wishes to keep their status as an LPR, they cannot reside outside of the U.S. for over six months. Moreover, a Green Card must be renewed every 10 years.

Rule changes could affect residency status of some immigrants

Many people, citizens and non-citizens alike, need help from time to time. Some people in Kentucky or elsewhere in the United States are only able to find low-paying work, or they may have lost their job, putting them in a difficult financial state. Others are just starting out in our nation and may be actively looking for work to support themselves, but need some assistance in the meantime. These individuals may qualify for government benefits to help them through a tough time, until things pick up again. However, non-citizens and dependents of non-citizens should be aware that changes to federal rules regarding immigrants and government benefits are being reviewed that could affect them and their loved ones.

The federal Office of Management and Budget is currently reviewing a change to immigration rules that could affect immigrants who are lawfully residing in our country. Under current law, an immigrant will not be approved for a family or diversity visa if he or she would become a "public charge," that is, likely to need to apply for cash government benefits, which is narrow in its scope. However, under the proposed changes, the scope of "public charge" will be expanded to apply to immigrants or their dependents, even if the dependents are citizens of the United States, who need to apply for any cash or non-cash government benefits. Some examples of non-cash government benefits include Medicaid and food stamps, to name a few.

What rights and responsibilities come with U.S. citizenship?

Many immigrants in Kentucky and across the United States may dream of one day obtaining U.S. citizenship, a process also known as "naturalization." Becoming a U.S. citizen brings with it certain rights and responsibilities that those without citizenship do not enjoy. The following are just some of the rights and responsibilities that come with naturalization.

U.S. citizens have the right to vote and the right to hold public office, except for offices of the presidency and vice-presidency. They can obtain a U.S. passport, so they are free to travel around the world, and to be protected by the U.S. government while travelling in other nations. Any children under age 18 of U.S. citizens are automatically also U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens can also sponsor immediate relatives for visas without the delay experienced by those who only have U.S. permanent residency.

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