When you married a U.S. citizen, you received a conditional permanent residence. This is the standard process for such marriages to ensure that those seeking green cards in the U.S. do not take advantage of the system by entering into marriages that are not valid. At the end of two years, if the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is satisfied that your marriage is bona fide, the government will remove the conditions on your permanent residency.
There are three ways that a person may become a citizen of the United States: birth, blood or naturalization. When a person is born in the United States they become a citizen by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment. If they are born outside of the United States but have at least one American citizen parent, then they too may be granted American citizenship. If a person meets neither of these standards, they may apply for naturalization.
The men and women who serve in the United States military dedicate their lives to ensuring that the rest of their compatriots are safe and secure. Throughout Kentucky countless individuals have left their families to travel great distances in an effort to protect the nation and its people. What readers may not know is that not all of those who have served have been citizens of this country.
Sometimes mistakes are made, and a non-citizen in Kentucky or elsewhere in the nation commits a crime. However, particularly if the crime they are convicted of is a felony (or even certain misdemeanors), the consequences could go far beyond the fines and jail time that citizens would expect -- the person may face deportation and removal. Whether this happens depends on the person's status, what crime was committed and the specific facts of the person's case.
Immigration is a much-debated topic in the political scene these days, but honestly many immigrants are in our nation legally, and are simply here to have a better life for them and their loved ones. Many of these immigrants in Kentucky and across the nation will one day want to pursue U.S. citizenship. Recent data suggests that, despite crackdowns on illegal immigration, those who are currently permanent residents of the U.S. are obtaining citizenship at a greater rate than they had in the past.
There are numerous ways that a foreign-born individual can immigrate to the U.S., including right here in Kentucky. One way is through the Diversity Visa Program -- also known as the green card lottery. The 2020 fiscal year winners of the green card lottery have been randomly selected and will thus be eligible to apply for a green card if they qualify. The green card lottery benefits those who do not have a sponsor that can help them legally immigrate to the U.S.
Holding a green card in the United States has provided you with many benefits. You can live and work in Kentucky or any other state. You can take advantage of government protections. You can attend public schools and access federal health care programs. However, perhaps you feel that the current climate for immigrants in this country places even your permanent residency at risk. Maybe you would like to participate in the next upcoming election.
Undocumented immigrants in Kentucky and elsewhere are at constant risk of being caught and deported. However, the deportation and removal process can require a lengthy detention period and the immigrant will not get to choose where in their home country they will be deported. Moreover, it may be years before they can reapply to enter the U.S. As recent numbers show, many immigrants in such situations are choosing to voluntarily leave the country.