Individuals and families come to the United States with a vision of improving their lives. While immigration patterns have changed over the decades, the underlying reasons have not.
Immigration is the process of entering a country or region to which the person is not native. Immigration Law encompasses the policies with which nations and governments control immigration into their country and governs the legal status of individuals in regards to matters like citizenship.
In the U.S., immigration is enforced by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
Immigration law greatly varies from country to country, according to current political climates, and can be important topics during election years. In the United States, enforcement of immigration law falls under the jurisdiction of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). (USCIS took over the services of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Services, or INS.) As part of the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS priorities are to eliminate immigration backlogs, improve customer services, and promote national security.
USCIS responsibilities include:
- Administration of immigration services and benefits
- Issuing employment authorization documents
- Judging non-immigrant temporary worker petitions
- Judging asylum claims
- Granting permanent resident status
- Granting citizenship
Laws concerning Immigration and Naturalization include:
1990 Immigration Act (IMMACT)
- This law limits the number of immigrants annually with emphasis on employment-related immigration and family reunification.
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA)
- This law was passed in 1996 to "deter terrorism, provide justice for victims, provide for an effective death penalty, and for other purposes". It is one of the examples of how immigrants can be detained or deported for certain criminal offenses.
Illegal Immigration & Immigration Reports Act (IIRIRA)
This made several changes to existing immigration laws, including:
- renamed deportation and exclusion proceedings to "removal proceedings";
- made major changes to criminal case consequences;
- permanently barred permanent resident status to anyone falsely claiming US citizenship;
- authorized hiring many more Border Patrol agents and support staff for 4 years.
Immigration to the United States is a long and complex process and requires a number of things from the immigrant. It's important to have a qualified immigration attorney at your side to guide you through the process and help you or a family in becoming not only a permanent resident, but a citizen of the United States.
Immigration issues are complex and time consuming. With more strict immigration procedures following the events of September 11, 2001 (9/11), it's more important than ever to have an immigration attorney working with you on your immigration issues.
An experienced immigration attorney can evaluate your case, and work with you on all necessary visas, immigration issues, and naturalization. Immigration lawyers can also advise you on residency and citizenship requirements following permanent resident status.
If you are already a US citizen and have questions about sponsoring a family member, future spouse, or even an employee into the country as a permanent resident, you need an immigration lawyer helping you with all the paperwork and policies surrounding immigration.
An attorney specializing in immigration can also work with families dealing with INS detainee lawsuits and jailed family members.
Contact an immigration attorney today to have your case evaluated and to have an experienced lawyer explain the regulations and policies which apply to you.
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The good news is, if you have married a United States citizen, you will be given preferential treatment in the green card process. It should be easier for you to enter the United States to live and work permanently.
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