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Louisville Immigration Law Blog

Immigration Services

What is the process for deportation and removal?

Kentucky residents may have seen many stories in the news as of late regarding undocumented immigrants being detained and deported. These reports are certainly disturbing to those in our country who are undocumented or have loved ones that are. Therefore, it is important to understand how the deportation process works.

First, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will serve the undocumented immigrant with a "Notice to Appear". The reason for deporting the individual and the facts behind the case will be contained in this notice, which is filed with the immigration court.

An employment visa may be the first step toward U.S. citizenship

Many people from abroad are hired by employers in the United States. There may be job opportunities in the U.S. that aren't available in an immigrant's home country. Or, a company in the U.S. may have sought out an immigrant employee to work in a specialized field. Therefore, some immigrants will seek an employment-based visa.

However, there is a limit on how many employment-based visas will be issued by the U.S. in a fiscal year (October 1 through September 30). Currently, only about 140,000 employment-based visas will be issued to those who meet the qualifications for such a visa. There are five preference categories that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will use to prioritize which immigrants will be issued an employee-based visa.

Renewing your green card

If you have been a lawful permanent resident in the United States for any length of time, you probably realize that the tone of debate over immigration changes with each presidential election. Despite going through the complicated process to obtain your green card, you may still have moments of concern for the security of your status in the U.S.

Of course, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from losing your lawful permanent residency, such as paying your taxes and avoiding criminal behavior. Additionally, you will want to pay attention to the expiration date on your green card and be sure to begin the renewal process before it expires.

Kentucky tourist spots may see fewer immigrant workers

Whether people are visiting Mammoth Cave National Park, attending the Kentucky Derby or visiting one of Kentucky's other famous destinations, tourism is a big part of the economy in Kentucky. Like many other tourist areas, some facilities in Kentucky rely on immigrants with a H-2B visa to work for them. For some employers, hiring immigrants with these visas is essential, as they are unable to find Americans willing to work for them. However, only 66,000 of these visas are issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services each year.

When an immigrant has an H-2B visa, once the three months it lasts for is up, the Department of Labor does not permit these immigrants to extend their visa so they can stay in the country longer. If they want to stay longer, they must reapply for an H-2B visa. That combined with a newly-enacted lottery system for assigning H-2B visas means that fewer immigrants are able to work in the U.S. under these circumstances, causing the employers who relied on them to suffer financial hardship.

Kentucky colleges are leaders in admitting students from abroad

Many may say the current immigration system in the United States is dysfunctional with overburdened courts, an overly complicated application process and unreasonably long wait times. However, at least two colleges in Kentucky have taken steps to help many immigrant students lawfully stay in the country.

In Kentucky, the University of the Cumberlands and Cambellsville University along with other colleges in the commonwealth have taken steps to admit many students coming from other nations. This is despite the fact that enrollment of students from other nations overall is falling across the United States. In fact, from March 2017 to March 2018, 32 states in the U.S. saw a decrease in the number of international students in their colleges and universities. However, Kentucky saw a growth of the number of international students enrolled in their colleges and universities of over 70 percent. Currently, if an immigrant holds a student visa, he or she can work off-campus when they begin their studies at a college or university that has made working off-campus an "integral part of the established curriculum."

How does U.S. law define 'spouse' for immigration purposes?

Some U.S. citizens from Kentucky and elsewhere fell in love with someone abroad and married them. Following that, the U.S. citizen and their new spouse may wish to live in the United States. In situations like this, they will need to obtain an immigrant visa for a spouse of a U.S. citizen.

It is important, first, to understand who qualifies as a spouse for immigration purposes. A spouse is a husband or wife that is legally married to another person. Just cohabitating without having married is not enough for a person to be considered a spouse for immigration purposes.

Some Hondurans must leave the U.S. or face deportation

The United States is often seen as a refuge for people trying to escape a war-torn nation, or a nation that has been struck by a natural disaster. Many people in Kentucky and elsewhere support initiatives to help these people legally reside in the U.S. However, one program that allowed Hondurans to reside and work in the U.S. temporarily is soon coming to an end, affecting the lives of thousands.

The Trump administration put an end to a 20-year Temporary Protected Status program for Hondurans that allowed them to lawfully reside and work in the country. There are 57,000 Hondurans in the country under this program, but they now only have until January 2020 to leave the U.S. or stay in the country as an undocumented immigrant.

Things to know about US immigration removal process

If your paperwork wasn't all in order when you arrived in Kentucky, you've likely worried whether that fact might impede your ability to remain in the United States. Perhaps your situation involves some type of clerical glitch or an even more serious issue, such as crossing a U.S. border in fear for your life in your country of origin. Any situation where you're trying to move forward in life while dealing with a compromised legal status can be quite stressful.

A stressful immigration situation doesn't necessarily mean all hope is lost and you will face deportation. Removal is, generally, a risk for any immigrant without up-to-date documents; however, it's always best to research your rights and whatever immigration laws pertain to your particular circumstances so you know what to do and where to seek support if a problem arises.

Can one's U.S. permanent residency status be abandoned?

People in Kentucky may have any number of reasons for immigrating to the United States. However, the immigration process is not always quick or easy. For some people it takes years to obtain U.S. permanent residency. Therefore, it may seem unlikely that a person would purposefully abandon that status. However, it is entirely possible for a person to lose their status as a permanent resident of the U.S. through intentional abandonment.

Under U.S. law, a person can abandon their U.S. permanent residency status in a number of ways. For example, a person will be deemed to have abandoned their status as a permanent resident of the U.S. if they move out of the country with the intention to live in the other country on a permanent basis.

Supreme Court issues ruling regarding crimes and deportation

Many people immigrate to the United States with the best of intentions. However, sometimes an immigrant in Kentucky or elsewhere will have committed a crime and hence will face deportation. However, not every crime committed automatically means mandatory deportation. Unfortunately, the laws surrounding the commission of crimes and deportation can be vague.

The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that part of a federal law that mandated that certain immigrants convicted of violent crimes be deported is unconstitutionally vague and therefore is invalid. According to some, this is a groundbreaking ruling, as the previous law resulted in the deportation of thousands of immigrants in a matter that violated their right to due process. Those opposed to the ruling call on Congress to take action to pass specific laws that will close what some believe to be loopholes in the current laws regarding immigrants who commit crimes.

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