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Louisville Immigration Law Blog

Immigration Services

You need help if you're facing deportation from the United States

If you are worried about deportation, something you may want to consider is a defensive application for asylum. Defensive asylum is one of the few ways that someone who is in the country illegally can attempt to be allowed to stay.

Defensive asylum is not the same as the normal asylum process. Defensive asylum is used when you want to protect yourself against deportation after being arrested or taken into custody by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), for example. You may be taken into custody at any port of entry if you do not have a valid visa.

What should you know about seeking a green card?

Getting your U.S. permanent residency, also known as your green card, doesn't have to be as confusing as it may seem. Obtaining your Permanent Resident Card gives you the right to stay in the United States and to live and work here permanently.

Applying can seem difficult if you don't speak English well or aren't familiar with America's laws. That's why it's a smart idea to work with an immigration attorney. Many are bilingual, and they can help you understand your rights.

Do you need an immigration attorney?

It can be difficult to find out information about immigration in the United States when you don't speak English well. That's why it's important to work with an attorney who can support you in your language, or at the very least, is able to put the situation into terms that you're able to understand with limited English-language experience.

Perhaps you're in America to get married to someone you love. Maybe you came here illegally, or maybe you just want to make sure you do everything right and get to stay in the country permanently. No matter what your situation is, it's best to do things by the book and to get help when needed. The immigration system can be daunting, but with good legal support, it's easier to navigate.

New rules clarify moral character for naturalization

Coming to the United States from another country can be exciting and quite intimidating. If you already speak English, you have an advantage, but you may still struggle with some of the slang and customs. Nevertheless, once you are acclimated, you may find many opportunities open to you through education, employment, travel and other offerings. Depending on the restrictions on your visa, you may want to take advantage of all of them.

On the other hand, you may already know that becoming a citizen of the U.S. is what you want. More than living for a limited time within the restrictions of a visa or worrying about your green card status, you want to enjoy all the benefits that citizenship offers. However, you may have some hurdles to clear, especially if your past includes items that may bring into question your good moral character.

The basics of obtaining a green card

Foreign citizens hoping to live permanently in the United States have several options. If the person is currently living in the United States, the most common choice is to obtain a permanent resident card, commonly called a green card.

A green card is not the same as becoming a naturalized citizen, but it allows the holder to reside permanently in the United States. The process for obtaining a green card is ostensibly simple, but the actual path has a number of hazards that must be successfully negotiated.

Immigrants have rights under U.S. Constitution

Many foreign-born people who reside in Kentucky do not understand that they have guaranteed rights under the United States Constitution that provide a guard against abusive and arbitrary treatment by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service ("ICE") and other law enforcement agencies. A detailed knowledge of these rights is not required to prevent ICE agents from making an unlawful inquiry or arrest. The following general guidelines offer protection from all but the most egregious abuses.

If any law enforcement official inquires about a person's immigration status, the person should resist the instinctive urge to flee. A second sound rule is to tell the truth. A person should not lie about his or her immigration status. All immigrants, even if they are not United States citizens, have the right to remain silent when questioned by a law enforcement officer. Likewise, a person can refuse a request to be searched. Immigration papers must be shown if the officer asks for them. If a person does not have papers showing his or her immigrant status, then the questions can be refused, and the person being questioned can ask to remain silent and for time to consult an attorney. Kentucky has no law that requires a person to provide his or her name to law enforcement officers. If a person is pulled over while driving, he or she must produce a driver's license and vehicle registration to the officer. Persons who have obtained citizenship in the U.S. need only provide their names and addresses.

ICE plans to reopen closed DACA cases with eye to deportation

The government's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has created a seemingly secure class of immigrants who have been protected from deportation because they were brought into the United States by their parents when they were very young. Now, according to a recent report, this class of immigrants has begun to receive e-mails from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Administration telling these residents that their immigration cases may be re-opened to determine whether they are in the country legally.

The immigrants who are receiving these e-mails are now adults. Many are in college or are employed. And many have gotten married and are raising children.

Passing the test to obtain a green card for your spouse

Your marriage celebration may have been a momentous occasion for you, especially if it involved the traditions and customs of your spouse from another country. If you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who married outside the U.S., you may have had goals from the beginning to bring your spouse to Kentucky. However, you may already know how complex the U.S. immigration system can be.

Because of the high rate of attempts to use family immigration as a way to obtain a green card unlawfully, agents at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are always on the lookout for evidence that a marriage is fraudulent. You can expect to spend a great deal of time proving you are seeking lawful permanent residency in good faith, and this begins with demonstrating that your marriage is valid.

ACLU lawsuit takes action on asylum claims

People seeking political asylum must meet certain criteria. In October, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that it was introducing a new policy that would fast-track the review of requests for asylum. One of the major features of the new procedure would be the reduction of the review period to three days. If the person was found lacking in qualifications for asylum status, the person would be sent back to the country from which they were emigrating. On December 7, 2019, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., challenging the new procedures, specifically the limited waiting period.

According to the ACLU's complaint, the new procedures "systematically undermine the procedural safeguards guaranteed to those seeking asylum by rocketing asylum seekers through the credible fear process with no access to counsel." Persons seeking asylum are entitled to obtain the advice of counsel, but the ACLU is claiming that the three-day review period effectively eliminates this right because the period is too brief.

How to get a green card

For people living in the United States without legal citizenship, a green card can become a valuable piece of paper. However, the process for obtaining a green card can be difficult to understand.

A green card is the familiar name for what is formally known as a Permanent Resident Card. Once issued, the holder of the green card may live in the US as a permanent resident without obtaining formal citizenship. Green cards are issued for a variety of different classifications, with each classification having its own priority. The highest priority for obtaining a green card are immediate relatives of US citizens. This category includes widow and widower, parents of US citizens if the child is at least 21 years of age, stepparents and stepchildren of US residents. Other family members may apply for a green card, but the process can last from three to twenty-four years.

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