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Itasca immigration lawyerThe path to U.S. citizenship can be complicated for someone coming from another country, especially when a language barrier is involved. There are various legal steps that must be taken to ensure legal entry to the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that oversees the country’s immigration and naturalization process. Obtaining lawful permanent resident (LPR) status means an immigrant will receive what is called a Green Card. This is an important step in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization.

Grounds for Deportation

The U.S. government has the right to remove an undocumented immigrant from the country under certain circumstances. A criminal conviction is one of the most common reasons that an individual would be deported. While not all crimes are grounds for deportation, violent offenses in addition to the smuggling of undocumented immigrants into the United States may warrant an immigrant to be removed. These grounds typically include aggravated felony convictions or more than one conviction for criminal offenses that carry a jail sentence of more than one year. It is important to note that a jail sentence does not have to be served to warrant deportation or removal.

Below are a few of the criminal acts that can lead to deportation or removal from the United States:

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Itasca immigration lawyerPeople across the globe dream of immigrating to the United States for a better life. In some cases, they may have family members who are already in the country and want to join them. For some, seeking asylum here offers freedom from persecution. In other scenarios, individuals may come to America specifically for employment reasons. Regardless of the reasons, once an immigrant lawfully enters this country, he or she will likely need to find a job to support himself or herself. If someone has a family, it may be even more critical to find work. Building a new life in a different country can be daunting, and trying to find a job may be especially difficult. Below is some practical advice for finding work once you complete the immigration process. 

Understanding Your Work Options

If you want to work in the United States legally, you will need to gain official permission by obtaining a work visa. Through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal government offers various visas for different purposes. Some are for a temporary period of time, while others are permanent. Foreign nationals who wish to work in the United States for a short time would obtain non-immigrant visas. These documents are not necessarily intended to provide a path to permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship. 

Each year, the U.S. government offers a certain number of employment-based (EB) visas that allow workers to remain and work in the States permanently. The majority of EB visas are allotted for employees who possess specialized skills or whose work is considered valuable to the United States.

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The worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 has changed the way we live in just a matter of months. Local governments have issued “stay at home” orders and non-essential businesses have been closed for an indefinite amount of time. Individuals across the globe are practicing social distancing in an effort to flatten the curve for the number of new cases. Recently, the U.S. federal government announced the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The largest economic relief bill in U.S. history, the stimulus package will allocate $2.2 trillion in support to individuals and businesses affected by the economic plunge due to the virus. Those people who are in the midst of the U.S. immigration application process may be wondering how the CARES Act will affect their cases, especially in regards to the new Public Charge rule. 

Public Charge Rule 

Itasca immigration lawyerIn response to the coronavirus crisis, USCIS recently announced that the Public Charge rule cannot restrict access to testing, screening, or treatment of communicable diseases, including COVID-19. A Public Charge is defined as an individual who cannot support themselves through employment, financial assets, or assistance from family and instead relies on government benefits. According to U.S. immigration law, an individual who is considered likely to become a public charge is “inadmissible.” This means that they can be denied a Green Card or visa to be admitted into the country. The new Public Charge rule expands the types of publicly funded programs that are used to assess if a person is likely to become a public charge in the future. 

Certain immigrants who are residing in the United States, such as DACA recipients, may be eligible for the COVID-19 stimulus package payment that is on its way to families and individuals. However, some are concerned that this payment could be classified as a public benefit, which could influence a public charge determination later. 

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Posted on in Immigration

DuPage County immigrant visa attorney

When does the New Public Charge Rule take effect?

Adjustment of Status Applications filed on or after Monday, February 24, 2020 will be subject to the new rule.

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Posted on in Immigration

DuPage County adjustment of status attorney

On Monday, February 24, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is mandating the implementation of its new Public Charge Rule across the United States.

History

It has been part of immigration law since 1882 that those coming to the United States could not become a public charge, meaning that one emigrating to the United States could not expect the U.S. government to provide financial support to the intending immigrant. The term initially used was “professional beggars.”

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DuPage County preference-based visa attorney

The answer is maybe. There is a rule called cross-chargeability, which might help. Cross-chargeability allows the beneficiary of a preference category visa petition to be assigned to a country other than that of his or her birth for visa bulletin purposes. This rule allows cross-chargeability between one spouse to another spouse, from parents to their children, and on rare occasions based on the place of habitual residence. Note that children may derive alternative chargeability through their parents, but parents cannot derive from children.

The reason to allow children and/or spouses with different birth countries to use cross-chargeability is to avoid family separation, which immigration law seeks to avoid even though it does not always seem that way. Let us see how cross-chargeability works.

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DuPage County family-based immigration visa attorney

As we all know, if you are the beneficiary of a preference category family-based immigrant petition, the wait can be long. It can be very long. And life goes on. However, no one wants to lose their place in line for eventual immigration to the United States and understanding the Visa Bulletin is key to maintaining your place in line. First, knowing what categories are available is important.

Note, however, those spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizens are considered Immediate Relatives and are not subject to wait for an available visa. This category is numerically unlimited.

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DuPage County preference-based visa attorney

Every month around the 10th of the month, the Department of State publishes the monthly Visa Bulletin, which lists the availability of preference-based visas for family- and employment-based categories.

You might have noticed that there are two tables for each category—Final Action Dates and Dates for Filing. USCIS will indicate every month which chart can be used. But first, what does each chart mean?

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DuPage County fiance visa attorney

These days, people often marry individuals who are not from the same country as them. The ease of travel and increase of students studying abroad has provided Americans with the opportunity to meet friends and possible life partners outside of U.S. borders. Marrying someone from a different culture can lead to an exciting life. Not only are you merging two cultures, but you also must decide where you will live. This can be a difficult decision to make, and many couples decide to remain in the U.S. Making the decision to stay in the United States and getting an approved visa are two different processes altogether. Wanting to stay in America and getting this approval is not as simple as booking a flight home. In these cases, you need the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney. 

The “Fiancé” Visa

Applying for and obtaining an immigration visa can be difficult. Before embarking on the long legal journey ahead of you, it is important to do research to find which visa applies to your situation. The visa for foreign fiancés marrying a U.S. citizen is known as a K-1 nonimmigrant visa. Before the application process can even begin, those couples who are planning on getting married in the United States must file a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé. This is the first step in the right direction. This petition will allow your fiancé to legally enter the country before the marriage occurs.

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DuPage County immigration visa lawyer

No one can say definitively what future visa bulletins will look like, but Charlie Oppenheim, the U.S. Department of State’s Chief of Visa Control and Reporting Division, occasionally provides some insight into visa number trends and we are sharing them with you.

Family-Based Preference Categories 

We have been happy to see the F2A (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old of legal permanent resident) category across the board staying current recently, and the trend continues. Charlie reports that demand in this category remains low and there is no indication that a limiting date will be imposed in the near future. This is encouraging news!

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DuPage County immigration visa attorney

If you are the beneficiary of a family-based or employment-based visa petition that is subject to the preference categories (mostly everyone who is not an immediate relative—spouse, parent, or unmarried child under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen), then you should know that Charlie Oppenheim is the Department of State’s Chief of Visa Control and Reporting Division. He is responsible for issuing the monthly Visa Bulletin. The monthly Visa Bulletin indicates visa availability for any given month.

Understanding Visa Availability

In the immigration process, visa availability is important because you cannot receive an immigrant visa (outside the United States) or get your green card (inside the United States) unless a visa number is available to you. When your petitioner files the I-130 or Labor Certification for you, the date the government receives the filing becomes your Priority Date—your place in line for a visa. The Visa Bulletin indicates visa availability by Priority Date.

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Posted on in Immigration

DuPage County immigration attorneyUnited States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the governmental agency tasked with governing customs, border control, and immigration. The two primary components of ICE are Enforcement and Removal Operations and Homeland Security Investigations. In July 2019, President Trump announced that ICE will conduct “sweeps” or “raids” to find and arrest undocumented immigrant families. These raids could occur in public spaces, workplaces, and immigrant communities. Read on to learn about what happens during and ICE raid and what to do if you need legal assistance from a deportation and immigration lawyer.  

ICE Raid of an Undocumented Immigrant’s Home

It is critically important for undocumented immigrants to know and understand their rights. ICE cannot enter into an individual’s private residence without a warrant. If ICE agents have a valid search warrant or arrest warrant, they have the authority to enter your home. ICE agents may also wait outside of your home until you leave and arrest you outside of your home. 

If you are arrested, you must be read your rights and given the option to remain silent. You also have the right to have an attorney present during any police or ICE questioning. It is imperative that you contact an attorney before answering any questions. A qualified immigration lawyer will ensure that your rights are not violated and that you are not tricked into incriminating yourself in any way.

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