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Chicago Immigration Law Blog

Can you help your family member immigrate to the U.S.?

After immigrating to the U.S. and settling in Illinois, you are gaining more and more optimism about your ability to help your family immigrate. Your desire to be with your family members is fueling your effort to learn more about the immigration process so that you can reunite the people who mean the most to you. 

Following the designated process for completing legal immigration is imperative to you and your family's ability to remain in the country without the worry of being deported. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you do have to meet certain requirements to be eligible to legally help your family work their way towards coming to the United States. To be able to help them, you need to meet one or more of the following conditions:

  • Have an active and valid Green Card that allows you permanent residency in the country. 
  • Be a legally designated U.S. citizen. 
  • Have been given asylum or refugee status within the last 24 months. 

What is the process for claiming asylum?

There are many ways to immigrate to the United States. If you want to live in Illinois, you need to find the right path for your family. One option is to seek asylum, but do be aware that this option is not available for everyone. You must meet specific requirements, according to the American Immigration Council, and follow the right pathway to claim asylum.

The nice thing about asylum is that it gives you the chance to live in the country permanently without concern over deportation. You may only seek it if you meet the definition of refugee in the sense that you cannot return to your home country because of prosecution. Your home country cannot offer you protection against prosecution and you have no doubt returning would put you at risk. You must prove you are a refugee under this definition. If you are currently in the U.S., you have to seek asylum within one year.

How can you protect yourself during an immigration raid?

With Trump's talks of building walls, the border patrol detaining families at the border in jail-like cells and children dying in the border patrol's custody, many non-citizens worry about their future and their very lives. If you are one of those individuals, you need to prepare should a member of law enforcement detain you or worse, put you through an immigration raid in Chicago.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas wants you to know that, first and foremost, you have rights. The Constitution protects everyone, regardless of whether they were born in the U.S. or not, and regardless of one's immigration status. Per the Constitution, you have the right to be treated fairly, the right to practice the religion of your choice, the right to free speech and the right to other core civil liberties. It is essential that you understand your rights should a member of law enforcement violate them during a raid.

Potential immigration changes concerning families

While Chicago is one of the many sanctuary cities across the United States, that does not necessarily mean that all non-U.S. citizens in the area of the rest of Illinois can rest easily. The current federal administration has made many threats about changes to immigration laws and rules and has enacted some so that the future may well feel uncertain. During this time, remaining informed can be of extreme importance to all immigrants so that they know how to protect themselves and their loved ones.

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, yet another set of potential changes has some people concerned that residents in Illinois will begin to stop seeking important health care. In fact, some people believe that this trend has already begun. 

What is a visitor visa?

There are many different types of visas you may use to come into the United States. Each visa has specific uses. You should understand what they are so you apply for the correct one before your trip to Illinois. One of the options and a common choice is a visitor visa.

According to the U.S. Department of State, a visitor visa is for you if you are not a citizen of the U.S. and you want to visit here for pleasure or business. There are two specific options, a B-1 or a B-2.

White House reportedly looks to expel Turkish cleric

Immigration laws state very clearly that the government of the United States does not extradite people living legally within its borders from states such as Illinois to other countries unless there is evidence that they have done something wrong. Nevertheless, the current administration allegedly weighed expelling a Turkish cleric to his home country as a political maneuver in order to relieve pressure on Saudi Arabia with regard to the death of a journalist killed in the Saudi embassy in Turkey.

The cleric has been living in Pennsylvania for approximately 20 years. He holds a legally obtained green card, and there is no credible evidence of him breaking the laws of either the United States or Turkey. Nevertheless, the Turkish president accuses him of terrorist activity, including a 2016 coup attempt that prompted a formal request for his extradition to the U.S. government. The cleric, who was at one time an ally of the Turkish president, denies any involvement in the coup and has dwelled in the United States under self-imposed exile since the late 1990s.

What is an H-1B visa and who can get one?

Thousands of employers apply for a single pool of visas every April called H-1B visas. These visas are temporary nonimmigrant visas meant for new hires in "specialty occupations," which are mainly in STEM fields. U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues only 85,000 each year, setting aside 20,000 for graduates with master's degrees or doctorates from U.S. universities. These visas are in high demand and tend to go quickly. 

Trump's latest immigration involvement backed by ex-judge

The topic of immigration is quite controversial in Illinois depending on who you ask. Some people firmly believe that immigrants should be allowed a degree of tolerance in their quest to seek protection in a country that prioritizes free speech and freedom. Others vehemently oppose the entry of anyone into the country without adherence to stringent protocols designed to regulate who is allowed into the country. 

A recent order that President Trump has masterminded and signed requires all immigrants who are seeking asylum to go through a designated check-point at a marked port of entry at the border. Immigrants who enter the country illegally and have not followed the rules will not be granted asylum. While the new rule is designed to address several problems that President Trump has perceived with immigration into the United States, he hopes it will meet two needs in particular. First, due to the extended time it takes for people to be granted asylum, it is hoped that people will be dissuaded from pursuing asylum status. Additionally, the hope is that immigrants will be encouraged to apply for citizenship in other countries such as Mexico. 

Challenges for family immigration with new public charge rule

On October 10, 2018, the Trump Administration has made a family immigration more challenging by releasing a proposed rule regarding a proposed change to the "public charge" ground of inadmissibility. The public charge factor for inadmissibility has long been in the Immigration and Naturalization Act and until this point, "public charge" has been used to describe a person who likely will become dependent on the government for subsistence.

If approved the proposed rule will be a broad expansion of the Trump Administration's ability to deny visa and/or residency to immigrants who have broadly used or received public benefits. Benefits targeted include non-cash benefits such as: Medicaid, Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, etc. These programs account for some of the largest and most fundamental federal programs that help low-income individuals access basic needs.

Determining your relationship status for immigrant visa approval

If you have a spouse who is not a citizen of the United States, one of your primary concerns may be working toward getting him or her eligibility to remain in the U.S. legally. While your relationship status may help to expedite this process, failure to carefully adhere to government-outlined policies can potentially ruin your chances of helping your spouse. At Francis Law Center, we have helped many people in Illinois to become better educated about the process of immigration in the United States. 

While you may be tempted to breeze through the required paperwork and submit your application as soon as possible, it is imperative that you take your time and make sure that each record you detail is honest and articulated clearly. The more organized and clear your information is, the better your chances are at avoiding having to resubmit portions or spend time in negotiations as you work to clarify misunderstandings.

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