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Louisville Immigration Law Blog

The benefits of family immigration

There are some people in Kentucky and across the nation who feel that only "skilled" immigrants, with an education should enter our country. They may fear that "chain migration" could have a negative effect on our nation's economy and crime rate. In one Harvard-Harris Poll, 80 percent of those polled stated that immigrants with skills and an education should be prioritized over those who are coming to the U.S. based on having relations in the country.

However, it is a mistake to think that family immigration negatively affects our country. In fact, almost 50 percent of immigrants who enter our nation via family immigration are college-educated. Many people who are born in the U.S. cannot say the same. And, while there will always be a need for people who can hold highly-skilled jobs, other job sectors that are experiencing significant growth depend on immigrants to fill these positions.

Man facing immediate deportation granted one-year stay

It can be a terrifying experience for an immigrant in Kentucky or anywhere else in the nation to be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, often with little notice. However, sometimes, these stories have happy endings. For example, one man living in the United States has been granted a one-year stay of removal after previously been notified by ICE that he will be deported immediately.

The man is the father of five children born in the United States. One of the children, age 5, has cancer. The man had entered a church in his area, claiming sanctuary. The man's stay is based on humanitarian grounds. A previous request for a stay had been denied.

Immigrants in Kentucky can seek help with the citizenship process

The United States has long been the "Land of Opportunity," so it is no surprise that some immigrants in Kentucky and across the nation will one day want to apply for U.S. citizenship. The path towards citizenship can be confusing, and one misstep could delay the process. Fortunately, the attorneys at our firm understand what is necessary to become a U.S. citizen, and we are able to help our clients every step of the way.

There are numerous requirements that must be met to become a U.S. citizen. For example, the applicant needs to have a good grasp of the English language, including the ability to speak English, write in English and read English. In fact, part of becoming a U.S. citizen involves an English literacy test. At our firm, we can provide applicants with the resources, they need to learn English, including working with area school districts and tutors.

Can I be deported if I am a legal resident?

Watching the news lately may be unsettling for many who are foreign nationals in the United States. It seems like every night the news reports on the deportation of those who entered the country illegally. For some, this was their only offense, but for others, criminal activity resulted in their removal from the U.S.

If you are in Kentucky on a visa or you have a green card, you may feel that you are safe from deportation. However, any violations of immigration law or involvement in criminal activity may place your residency status in jeopardy. Understanding the deportation process may help you recognize when it is appropriate to seek legal assistance.

Seeking a fiancé visa when love knows no geographic bounds

As some in Kentucky may say, "Love knows no bounds" -- even geographic ones. It is not unusual for a person in the United States to fall in love with someone who lives in another country. When that happens, the couple may wish to marry in the United States and start the process of naturalization for the foreign-born partner. However, in order to do so the foreign-born partner will first need to obtain a fiancé€ visa, if they are not currently living legally in the U.S.

The form that is necessary to apply for a fiancé(e) visa is the Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen. The couple must have the intention of getting married within 90 days of the foreign-born partner's entrance into the U.S. In addition, the parties must both be legally free to get married. This means that any previous marriages have been legally terminated through annulment, death or divorce.

Approximately 3.6 million DREAMers face possible deportation

People in Kentucky may have been immigrants themselves at one point, or chances are that they know someone who is. Immigration is in the forefront of our nation's politics these days, in particular issues regarding how to handle "DREAMers" -- undocumented persons who came to the United States as children. This is important as, according to one report by the Migration Policy Institute, there are approximately 3.6 million DREAMers in our nation. This amounts to approximately one-third of all undocumented individuals in the United States.

As this shows, although much attention has been given specifically to the approximately 800,000 DREAMers who qualified for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted by the Obama administration, there are many DREAMers out there whose fate is at stake. DACA, for what it's worth, was terminated last fall by President Trump. Congress is currently in negotiations with the President to come to an agreement regarding DREAMers and immigration.

When may one be eligible for U.S. citizenship?

Once an immigrant in Kentucky becomes a permanent resident, the next step in the immigration process they may want to take is to officially become a U.S. citizen. The application process for U.S. citizenship is also referred to as "naturalization." However, there are certain requirements that a person must satisfy in order to be eligible for U.S. citizenship.

In general, to be eligible for U.S. citizenship a person must be age 18 or above. The person must also have been a permanent resident of the United States for a certain period of time, for example three or five years. The person must also have good moral character. The person also needs to have a basic understanding of the U.S. government. The person must also have physically been present in the country for a certain continuous period of time. Finally, with some exceptions, a person needs to have a basic understanding of the English language, including the ability to speak, read and write in English.

Family immigration: fewer extended family visas approved in 2017

When a person immigrates to Kentucky, they may do so on their own with the intention of one day sponsoring visas for their family members, so that their family members can also immigrate to the United States. After all, many immigrant families often want to be reunited in the U.S., where they have greater freedoms and opportunities than they may have had in their former country.

However, 2017 saw the fewest number of family-based I-130 visas approved in over 10 years, according to data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The number of approvals went down almost 25 percent from January through September of 2017. In 2017 that number sat at approximately 406,000. However, in 2016 that number sat at over 530,000. This is despite the fact that approximately the same amount of people applied for such visas in both 2016 and 2017.

Provisional waiver may allow you to legalize your status

You probably feel like you are trapped, unable to go and unable to stay. This is how many feel when they are in the United States illegally and want to obtain their green cards. To stay means risking deportation, but to leave means triggering the ban that will prevent you from returning for years.

If you are unlawfully present in Kentucky, it may be because you entered the country without obtaining the proper visa, or your visa has expired. From the day of its expiration, your status in the U.S. has been unlawful, and the days you remain here without legal permission began to accumulate. Now you may fear that the penalties for your overstay may be too much to risk trying to obtain that important green card.

U.S. citizens in Kentucky have rights, responsibilities

Many immigrants in Kentucky come to our nation with dreams of a better life for them and their families. Once here, they may be anxious to start the process of becoming citizens of the United States. Therefore, it is important for them to understand both the rights and the responsibilities that come with U.S. citizenship.

Citizens of the United States enjoy many rights. They have freedom of expression and freedom of religion. If accused of a crime, they have the right to a prompt trial in front of an impartial jury. They enjoy the right to vote. They have the right to apply for jobs in the federal government, where being a U.S. citizen is required. Finally, they have the basic freedom enjoyed by all citizens of the United States to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

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