Understanding Immigration Law

Understanding Immigration Law

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Connie Kaplan

Immigration law is complex, overwhelming, and scary at times. The Immigration and Naturalization Act stipulates clear guidelines that define immigration laws in the United States. Generally, immigration is based upon four main principles: reunification of families, protecting refugees, admitting immigrants that have valuable skills to the economy of the U.S., and promoting diversity.

Immigration is what makes America the great melting pot. Welcoming people from around the world continues to be at the forefront of most political campaigns and positions.

Let’s take a look at how immigration law in general and focuses on digging deeper into family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, asylees and refugees other valuable facts. If you have questions regarding immigration begin by consulting our immigration lawyer in Fort Lauderdale today.

Family Immigration

What is family unification?

Family unification is defined as keeping families together. It is one of the most important principles that govern immigration law. Family-based immigration allows lawful permanent residents as well as United States citizens to bring family members to the states. However, according to the law you are permitted to only bring immediate relatives. This is done through a Family Preference System. Currently, there is not a limit in terms of visas per household that are available for immediate relatives. Petitioners must meet a set of guidelines such as financial and age requirements. Some of the immediate relatives permitted under family based immigration laws include:

  • Parents for United States citizens. (Petitioner must be 21 years or older to petition for parents.)
  • Must be unmarried minor under 21 years.
  • Spouse of United States citizen.

Under the Preference System (also known as the Immigration Act of 1990), the immigration law allows for a limited number of visas each year. Petitioners must meet the following requirements:

  • Married or unmarried adult children and siblings of United States citizens.
  • Unmarried children and spouses of lawful permanent residents.

Congress has agreed on a distinct system to calculate the number of visas for a given year. This number helps to maintain the overall immigrant population and its effects on the economy. Petitioners must meet select requirements as well as sign an affidavit. Typically, the affidavit states that petitioners are financially secure and therefore capable of taking care of each family member upon their arrival.

Employment-Based Immigration

What is employment-based immigration?

Immigrants that have valuable or in-demand skills are welcomed to the U.S. These immigrants are on either a temporary or permanent visa. Today, there are more than 20 different types of visas offered for non-migrant workers on a temporary basis. Some of them include P visas for athletes or L visas for intra-company transfers for skilled performers and entertainers. There are also A visas for diplomatic personnel and R visas for religious groups.

As of June, 2016 employment-based permanent immigration is currently set to a specific rate of accepting 140,000 visas each year. These are divided across 5 different preferences and employment types. Please reference the list below.  

  • Persons with extra-ordinary abilities such as outstanding researchers and professors, athletes, business executives.
  • Members with professions and holding advanced degrees.
  • Skilled workers that have at least 2 years of experience or training and professionals holding college degrees.
  • Special immigrants like government employees and religious workers.
  • Persons looking to invest between $500,000 and $1 million or employ at least 10 full-time U.S. workers.

To determine if you qualify for an employment-based visa or to find answers, consult a Fort Lauderdale immigration lawyer. Our immigration lawyers have  the most up-to-date information concerning work visas.

Asylees and Refugees

What does immigration law say about asylees and refugees?

United States immigration law and policy addresses asylee and refugee protection. It also gives protection to vulnerable populations. There are a number of categories under this sector. The majority of asylum and refugee laws focus on admitting persons who are unable to return to their home country because of life-threatening conditions or those fleeing persecution.

The basic steps to become a refugee in America is by applying for admission. This process is often started prior to arriving in the states. The decision to accept the applications is based on many factors such as if the applicant has family members living in the United States. Or if they are members in a certain group that is of special interest to the United States. It is also for those who risk danger upon returning to their home country.

Every year the United States president provides the number of refuges for admission in consultation with the Congress. Although this number fell drastically after the September 11, 2001 attacks, annual admissions have increased steadily with time. As more sophisticated ways of performing security background checks are implemented throughout the states more persons are admitted.

Asylees are persons who currently reside in the United States and face persecution or may be persecuted if they return to their home country. These persons are allowed to petition their case within 1 year of arriving in the United States. As of now, there’s no exact number limit on the number of persons who may get asylum in any given year.

Navigating immigration law is no easy feat. The laws are consistently changing and require experience and knowledge to keep your case running smoothly and without delays. For more information on where to start or when to seek the legal counsel of an immigration attorney request a consultation.

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