Illegal immigration refers to someone crossing an international border in violation of nationality laws.
In US this is anyone from another country who:
- Attempts to or enters the US at any point other than an official entry point
- Eludes examination or inspection by an immigration officer
- Attempts to or enters the US by misleading or concealment of facts
Consequences of illegally entering the US are usually fines and imprisonment - up to 6 months for a first offense. Repeat offenses can bring jail sentences up to 2 years.
A person can also be charged with illegal immigration if arrested for attempting to re-enter the US after committing a criminal act.
Illegal immigration is a serious issue in the US, with an estimated 700,000 illegal immigrants entering the country each year.
Key issues for reform under consideration around the US election cycle include more emphasis on employment immigration issues. Legislation was passed to relax provision on employment preference immigration since visas have not been filled due to technical requirements and numerical limits placed on some countries.
Guest Worker Programs
Guest worker programs allow immigrants and illegal immigrants to work temporarily in the US with limits and restrictions on timeframes, dependents, and number of renewals. This is a hot political topic.
Border security is a serious topic, especially as it relates to international terrorism and the illegal drug trade. Everyone agrees they want safer US borders, but not necessarily how to go about it. Current solutions include fencing and increased border patrols.
An Immigration Lawyer is knowledgeable and available to discuss your immigration situation. If you are facing immigration challenges, contact an immigration attorney near you today to discuss your case.
What is deportation?
The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service or INS (now Homeland Security) defines deportation as "the formal removal of an alien from the United States when the alien has been found removable for violating immigrations laws." Deportation means you are currently in the United States but the United States government is forcing you to leave. If you have been deported you may not re-enter for up to five years. Felony charges could result if you try to immigrate without the expressed authority of the United States Immigration Service. Exclusion is the process used to keep someone from entering the country. Since 1997, deportation and exclusion processes have been consolidated under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.
Who is not eligible to enter or stay in the United States?
Certain individuals may be subject to deportation or exclusion because they do not meet certain requirements. Reasons that individuals are not admissible may include: health, violations of immigration law, subversive acts toward the United States government and conviction of certain criminal acts.
- Criminal Record- If you have committed a crime that the United States government considers an aggravated felony you will not be allowed to immigrate. Crimes which are considered aggravated felonies include treason, espionage, drug trafficking, rape and murder.
- If you have a communicable disease which can be considered deadly or cause a serious health crisis you will not be allowed to emigrate to the United States. Communicable diseases may include AIDS, typhoid fever and tuberculosis. Certain individuals may be able to apply for a waiver if their health condition is considered cured.
- Subversive government Acts- may include terroristic threats or acts of espionage against the United States government.
The Deportation Process
The United States Department of Justice conducts deportation proceedings through fifty-three Immigration courts nationwide. Up to eighty percent of the work done by the over two hundred Immigration judges involves removal proceedings. An Immigration Judge presides over the removal hearing to decide if aliens are going to be removed from the United States, or if they are inadmissible. The Department of Homeland Security which now performs many functions of the Immigration and Naturalization Service will begin the removal proceedings by serving an alien with a Notice to Appear. This document will tell them to appear before the Immigration Judge. The Notice to Appear will also outline:
- The acts they may have committed which violate United States law
- An aliens right to seek legal counsel from an Immigration Attorney
- Why the alien is being required to appear before the Immigration Judge
- The consequences of failing to appear in court
The Immigration Judge will first determine if the alien should be removed from the United States and if they can be considered for any type of removal relief. If the alien is not eligible for relief the judge will order their deportation. If they are eligible for deportation relief another hearing will be scheduled to review their case. Certain types of relief from removal may include a cancellation of removal order, an adjustment in their status or the granting of asylum. If an alien has been issued a Notice to Appear it is important to contact an Immigration Attorney to discuss immigration issues. There may be a variety of relief options that an experience Immigration Attorney can help an alien examine.
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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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