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Louisville Immigration Law Blog

Immigration Services

Petitioning for immediate versus non-immediate family immigration

Sometimes a person in Kentucky has loved ones living in another nation. For a variety of reasons, their loved ones living abroad may wish to reside in the U.S. through a visa, and ultimately obtain status as a permanent resident. Family immigration is important to many, but the relationship between the U.S. citizen petitioning for a visa and the person seeking to live in the U.S. is important.

U.S. citizens often petition for relatives who live abroad to obtain a visa that will allow them to reside in the United States. There are an unlimited number of visas available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizen-petitioners. Immediate relatives include spouses of U.S. citizens, unmarried children under age 21 of U.S. citizens, and parents of U.S. citizens if the citizen-petitioner is age 21 or above. There is no "line" for an immediate relative to wait in to get a Green Card. A citizen-petitioner can file the forms for an immediate relative visa at the same time they file the form to apply for a Green Card.

Make sure you understand what is needed to seek U.S. citizenship

Ever since its founding, America has been a nation of immigrants. Many people come to the United States with the goal of obtaining U.S. citizenship, also known as naturalization. There are several legal means through which an immigrant can obtain U.S. permanent residency, and following that, citizenship. However, there are certain requirements a person must satisfy to become a U.S. citizen that immigrants in Kentucky and elsewhere should understand before proceeding.

For example, to become a U.S. citizen, a person must be able to speak English, as well as be literate in English. There are also residency requirements. For example, if a person is permanently residing in the U.S. under a marriage visa, they must reside in the nation for three years before they can apply for citizenship. Those residing in the nation under other types of visas generally must reside in the nation for five years before they can apply for citizenship. There are also requirements regarding how many months an applicant must be physically present in the U.S. before obtaining citizenship.

New rule could initiate deportation for legal immigrants

It seems as though the federal government hands down new rules each month regarding immigrants. At first, the rules pertained to undocumented immigrants, but now, they even include those who legally reside in the United States, many of whom live here in Kentucky.

On Oct. 1, a new rule went into effect that allows the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to issue Notices to Appear to immigrants legally in the country believed to be abusing the benefits available to them.  As most people know, an NTA most often initiates deportation proceedings. So, under what circumstances could you find yourself facing deportation as it pertains to federal or state benefits?

More family immigration petitions denied in 2018 versus 2016

Many immigrants come to the U.S. seeking a better, safer life for themselves and their family than they would have had in their home country. Many do so through the proper legal channels, filing the correct paperwork needed to obtain a work permit, visa or green card. However, residents of Kentucky may be concerned to hear that, according to government data, in fiscal year 2018 the number of denied applications for work permits, visas and green cards submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has gone up 37 percent compared to the number of denials in 2016.

The Cato Institute found that the Department of Homeland Security denied 11.3 percent of all applications submitted to USCIS in fiscal year 2018, except for citizenship applications and those brought through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the Temporary Protective Status program. In fiscal year 2016, only 8.3 percent of such applications submitted to USCIS were denied. This amounts to approximately 155,000 more denials in fiscal year 2018 than what were issued in fiscal year 2016.

Asylum seekers could face deportation under new proclamation

Immigration issues are making news headlines as of late, especially those involving the U.S.-Mexico border. Kentucky residents may be concerned about immigrant rights, particularly those of immigrants seeking asylum. Those individuals may want to learn more about a presidential proclamation President Trump recently signed regarding those entering the U.S. to seek asylum.

Per the proclamation, immigrants seeking to enter the U.S. for asylum must do so at official ports of entry. They cannot apply for asylum if they entered the U.S. elsewhere on its borders. This means that immigrants who cross over into the U.S. from the Mexico border anywhere other than at an official port of entry lose their eligibility to claim asylum for a minimum of 90 days, according to the Department of Justice.

What is the process for the deportation of foreign nationals?

Immigration is a hot topic these days, with politicians on both sides of the aisle arguing about how to handle those seeking entry into the United States, as well as whether and how to deport those unlawfully residing in the U.S. It is important for people in Kentucky and across the nation to have a basic understanding of the deportation process.

A foreign national may be deported if they commit a crime, if they violate the terms of their visa or are a threat to public safety. Those who are unlawfully residing in our nation may also be deported, and in fact there is an expedited removal process for these individuals.

How can children born or residing abroad obtain U.S. citizenship?

Some parents in Kentucky choose to adopt a child from abroad, or other circumstances may exist in which a child born to a U.S. citizen resides abroad. In either of these cases, the child's parents may want the child to obtain U.S. citizenship. There are processes under United States law that allow this goal to be achieved.

The Immigration and Nationality Act outlines how children born abroad, who now reside in the United States, can become citizens. These children will automatically be granted citizenship if all the following elements are satisfied.

The consequences of entering the US without inspection

Entry into the United States is never easy, and recent changes in immigration law have made it even more challenging. Deportation, or removal, is something many immigrants fear, especially if they are unlawfully present, and the consequences for skipping the steps of immigration inspection can be harsh.

If you have plans to come to the U.S., you may know that the process of obtaining a visa or green card is long and tedious. The wait can be exhausting, particularly if the conditions in your own country are dangerous or difficult. However, if you are considering coming to the U.S. without going through the legal channels, you should be aware of the risks you are taking.

What if your application for a Green Card is denied?

Many immigrants in Kentucky and elsewhere in the United States will apply for a Green Card in hopes of becoming lawful permanent residents. Unfortunately, not every application is approved the first time around. When a person receives an unfavorable decision after applying for residency, they may be able to file either a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider. It is important to understand what these two motions accomplish, so applicants can choose the one that is right for them.

A motion to reopen is a request that the entity that denied the application review its decision in light of new facts. These facts must not have been included in the initial application or proceeding. These new facts must be based on documentary evidence and affidavits that show how the applicant was eligible when the first application was filed. Previously stated facts should not be included in a motion to reopen.

Proposed rule could affect family immigration in the U.S.

When a U.S. citizen or a legal resident has loved ones in another nation, they may wish to bring their loved one here so their family can be reunited. The issue of family immigration is very important to them. Any changes to family immigration regulations deserve the attention of all people in Kentucky and across the U.S., so they can take action if necessary.

The current presidential administration wants to establish an income test that individuals wishing to lawfully enter the country or become legal residents must pass to achieve these goals. The proposed test would give greater preference to individuals whose household incomes are greater than 250 percent of the poverty level. The proposed minimum household income needed to pass the test would be set at 125 percent of the poverty level. The rationale behind the proposed income test is to avoid having individuals enter our country who would be a "public charge."

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