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Louisville Immigration Law Blog

Immigration Services

Avoid immigration fraud-related problems in Kentucky

Emigrating from another country to Kentucky is challenging for many people. Whether an employer as offered you a job in this state or you plan to build a new life by marrying a U.S. citizen, you'll need to have all your paperwork in order to navigate this complex process that may take weeks, months or even years.  

If at any point the U.S. government suspects you of attempting to obtain a green card through illegal means, your situation will get a lot worse before it gets better. Sometimes, such situations are merely misunderstandings due to clerical errors or other miscommunication. Nevertheless, it's critical that you know how to protect your rights and seek support if a problem arises. 

Even a minor conviction could mean life or death for an immigrant

"During the Obama administration they weren't deporting anyone who wasn't a violent criminal," says Louisville immigration attorney Dennis Clare. "Now, any crime...could be a matter of life or death. They could be deported."

Clare was discussing the case of South Sudanese refugee Francis Ladege, who was recently deported based on two nonviolent marijuana offenses. Ladege and his half-brother Charles first came to Louisville in 1999 to live with their grandparents. They graduated from Atherton High School and Francis was attending college in Missouri. He became a lawful permanent resident in 2003.

How does naturalization affect family immigration?

Sometimes people in Kentucky who are in the United States as a lawful permanent resident petition for their spouse or child to obtain an immigrant visa. However, the visa application process can take a long time. There are occasions in which a lawful permanent resident sponsoring a family member for a visa becomes a U.S. citizen before the visa application process is complete. They may wonder how their new status as a U.S. citizen affects the visa application process.

When a sponsor becomes a U.S. citizen, this can change the kind of family-based visa being sought. First, the sponsor must provide the National Visa Center with proof that they have become a U.S. citizen. The NVC will then change the visa category that the family member visa applicant falls under. Spouses or unmarried children under 21-years-old will have their application for a visa changed from the family second preference category to the immediate relative category.

2020 census may include U.S. citizenship question

U.S. citizenship is sought after by many immigrants in Kentucky and across the nation. However, the naturalization process can be a lengthy one, meaning that those with Green Cards will reside lawfully in our nation as U.S. permanent residents, but will not be considered U.S. citizens until naturalization is achieved. Still, it is important to have a clear picture of how many people reside in each state and whether they are U.S. citizens. Therefore every 10 years, the United States government conducts a census.

The results of a census are extremely important. How many members of the House of Representatives are allotted to each state, how many Electoral College votes each state is entitled to and how much a state gets in federal funds is dependent on each state's population. However, the current administration has announced that there will be a change in this upcoming census: the census will ask whether a person is a U.S. citizen.

Greyhound passengers being threatened with deportation

Greyhound buses have been transporting people across the United States for decades. Many people in Kentucky find the Greyhound bus system to be a cost-efficient way to travel. However, one practice the company is permitting to take place on its buses has drawn the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU in 10 states issued a written notice to Greyhound bus company officials with regards to the company's practice of allowing U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents to enter buses to commit warrantless inspections of the immigration status of passengers. The ACLU claims agents single out passengers on the basis of the passenger's race or the way the passenger looks. The ACLU is asking Greyhound bus company to not allow agents to enter their buses to perform these warrantless checks.

Bringing a loved one to the U.S. through family immigration

When a person immigrates to the United States, they may want to obtain a green card so they can become a lawful permanent resident. When a person in Kentucky or elsewhere in the U.S. has a green card, they are able to reside and work in the country indefinitely. One type of permanent visa an immigrant may apply for is a family-based visa.

An immigrant can apply for a family-based visa based on his or her relationship with a resident or citizen of the U.S. First, parents, children and spouses of U.S. citizens can apply for a family-based visa. Adult children of U.S. citizens can apply for a family-based visa whether they are married or unmarried. Spouses or unmarried children of lawful permanent residents of the U.S. can apply for a family-based visa. Siblings of U.S. citizens can apply for a family-based visa. Finally, those being adopted by a U.S. citizen can apply for a family-based visa.

Class action lawsuit filed on behalf of immigrants seeking asylum

Many immigrants in Kentucky and nationwide are seeking asylum from countries where it is no longer safe for them to live. America is the land of the free, where even immigrants have rights. However, what if these immigrants find that their rights are being violated?

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a class-action suit claiming that the Trump administration is unlawfully keeping immigrant parents apart from their children while their asylum proceedings are pending. According to the lawsuit, the government has no legitimate reason for forcibly separating families this way. They claim this violates the due process clause of the United States Constitution and federal law. The Trump administration has denied these allegations.

Does the US government think your marriage is a fraud?

If you're one of many Kentucky residents who came to the United States from another country of origin in order to marry a U.S. citizen, you likely understand the various types of challenge and stress that accompany such situations. It can also be quite stressful if you're worried about legal issues that pertain to your status or green card. It's no secret that having immigration officials show up at your door or call your residence into question may do more than cause personal stress; it could lead to deportation.

There are even situations where immigration officials may accuse you of entering a fraudulent marriage in order to obtain a green card. If that happens, you will likely have to attend a marriage interview, designed to force you to prove that your marriage is authentic. Talk about stressful! It's best to try not to panic in such circumstances, however, as there are often resources available to help you achieve a positive outcome.

'Green card' lottery provides path towards residency to few

There are many different ways an immigrant in Kentucky or elsewhere could obtain a "green card." The green-card lottery -- officially known as the diversity visa lottery -- gives individuals from certain nations the chance to obtain a green card. The lottery started in 1995, and its purpose is to make sure that the United States has diversity in its immigrants. Therefore, it applies to people who come from nations that are underrepresented in the U.S.

If a person meets the qualifications for the diversity visa lottery and is selected, then they may obtain a green card. This means that they'll enjoy all the privileges of being a permanent resident in the U.S., except for being able to vote. However, the number of individuals who will obtain a diversity visa lottery visa is very low.

USCIS changes its mission statement

Immigrants have many reasons for coming to America. They may be in search of better jobs, better opportunities for their children or a place of refugee from their war-torn or oppressive homeland. Therefore, when the federal government makes any changes to its policies regarding immigration, these should be carefully noted by those in Kentucky and nationwide.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is the federal entity that grants immigrants visas and approves immigrants for naturalization. The agency recently made changes to its mission statement. Previously, the mission statement included language stating that America is a "nation of immigrants." Now the mission statements states that the USCIS "administers the nation's lawful immigration system." In addition, with regards to visa applicants, these individuals will no longer be referred to as "customers" as they were in the previous mission statement.

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