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Chicago Immigration Law Blog

If you marry a U.S. Citizen, does it make you a citizen?

Gaining citizenship in the United States can be confusing. There is a prevailing thought that if you marry a citizen, you automatically become a citizen or at least get a green card. However, that is not true. Marrying a resident of Illinois will not automatically guarantee you can stay in this country.

According to The New York Times, this is becoming very obvious as of late with immigration reform under the Trump administration. Previous administrations were lenient and often gave a pass to those married to a citizen. Now, if you show up at any immigration hearings, even your marriage hearing, you may end up getting deported if you are not legally here.

What happens during a deportation?

Deportation is an intimidating prospect for people working and living in the U.S. While deportation can occur for numerous reasons, the actual process is usually the same from case to case in terms of timeline and what to expect. USA.gov offers the following information in this case, which can be extremely helpful if you’re facing deportation in Illinois.

If you're ordered to undergo a hearing about the issue that led to deportation (such as criminal activity or visa violations), you will most likely be held in a special detention center until the time of the hearing. Next, the case will be heard by a court within the U.S. Department of Justice. At the end of the hearing, a decision will be made to determine whether the deportation should be carried out. If so, the country of origin will be contacted to confirm the documents necessary for travel.

Fleeing a violent past can affect immigrant children

You and your family have recently immigrated to the United States and have found a good place to live in Illinois. You are optimistic at the prospect of being able to create and maintain a more stable and successful life for your family, but are concerned about how these changes will affect the wellbeing and comfort of your children. At Francis Law Center, we have helped many people to work through the transition of becoming a citizen in a new country. 

Depending on the situations that led you to choose to immigrate to the United States, your children may have been exposed to harsh environments and violence. While getting away from these dangers is improvement, it may take some time for your children to recover from what they witnessed. Aiding in their healing can only be done when you first recognize the signs that they are suffering. Some of the signs to watch for according to justice.gov include the following:

  • Tantrums are sudden anger.
  • Withdrawal or a desire to be alone, even excluding you and other family members. 
  • Over-compliance, frequent nightmares or difficulty paying attention. 
  • Unexplained changes in normal activity levels.
  • Participating in questionable behavior despite your disapproval. 

What is the process of getting citizenship like?

You have recently immigrated to the U.S. and are currently residing in Illinois. By having accomplished your goal to get your family safely to America, your next goal is to secure your citizenship and have permission to enjoy all of the same rights as your American-born brothers and sisters. Understanding the process of gaining citizenship may help you better prepare for what comes next. 

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services describes naturalization as the process that you will undergo as you work towards citizenship. This process involves several smaller steps that are designed to break down the process into realistic goals. From start to finish, here is what you can expect:

  • Application: This is where you will gather informational materials and important documents that are required to fill out your application. Once completed, you will turn this in. 
  • Biometrics: You will be required to set up an appointment where you will need to get your picture taken and your fingerprints recorded. 
  • Naturalization interview: It is recommended that you study for your test before taking it. The naturalization test will require you to demonstrate your understanding of reading, writing and speaking the English language. In addition, a brief civics test will gauge your understanding of your new country's background and history. 
  • Oath: When you have passed your naturalization interview, you will need to take the Oath of Allegiance. 

Deportation processes in the U.S. about to get a whole lot faster

In the past, when the decision is made to deport someone from the United States, a careful process is followed to guarantee that it is not done on grounds that are unfair, illegal or inhumane. Currently, there are hundreds of immigrant families in Illinois who are awaiting their fate in the country. Many of them are waiting to hear whether or not they will be facing deportation as they are working toward gaining citizenship and being able to confidently call America, "home." 

However, things could be getting even more complicated with a recent recommendation by the attorney general who suggested that deportation times need to be sped up indefinitely. As a verbal proponent of Donald Trump's campaign to prevent immigrants from entering the country illegally, the attorney general says that too many cases are being suspended unnecessarily. While he acknowledges that those that have shown good faith may be allowed a bit of flexibility, he pressed the need for more efficient deportation processes to keep up with Trump's "no-tolerance" initiative. 

Process to obtain citizenship lengthened for benefit users

Government assistance comes in many forms including food stamps, Obamacare and even insurance benefits for children and other dependents. For immigrant families in Illinois and across the nation, these types of benefits can provide an incredible advantage as they work to secure their success in a new environment and country. 

A recent proposal by the Trump administration could end up changing the way immigrants view government-offered benefits however. While many people may freely use these types of assistance currently, a new law in the works could lengthen the process of attaining citizenship for people who have used government benefits in the past or who are currently using them. The purpose of the law would be to reduce the number of people who are acquiring citizenship each year in the United States. It is estimated that over 20 million immigrants could feel the effects of the law if it is passed. 

What you should know about temporary work visas

Working legally as a non-citizen in the United States involves obtaining the necessary documentation pertinent to your employment situation. Visas are available to workers across career fields and each type requires a specific set of criteria for applicants to meet.

If you or someone you know seeks temporary employment in the U.S., check out these options for temporary work visas. Those employers seeking skilled workers may consider looking outside the U.S. and would do well to know the options for providing these job opportunities.

Understanding what to expect when you get a green card

You are excited about the opportunity you have to make a new home in Illinois. You and your family have worked hard to gain eligibility to enter the United States and have access to the freedoms that you have heard so much about. One of your options is to get a green card that will allow you temporary privileges that enable you to do things like get a job. At Francis Law Center, we are committed to helping immigrants to acclimate to their new surroundings by providing reliable legal assistance. 

When you decided to apply for a green card, it is important that you are aware of the rights that you will be granted with the privilege of having a green card. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you will be allowed to work in the country. Fortunately for you, the type of employment you choose to pursue is not limited to certain jobs. Additionally, you will be able to live freely in the United States and be protected by its laws so long as you are a law-abiding citizen. 

Managing stress related to family immigration

In recent weeks, a considerable amount of attention has focused on some of the immigration-related hardships that families are facing in the U.S. Even if your circumstances are less dramatic, you may still be feeling very stressed out as a result of family immigration issues. Perhaps you are worried about whether or not your family will be able to successfully join you or you have uncertainty related to paperwork and the entire process. We know how overwhelming family immigration matters can be, but it is important to focus on handling your stress and other negative emotions properly.

Any immigration issue can be tough, but those involving loved ones, such as a spouse or child, can be especially difficult. In order to increase the chances of a successful outcome, you should have a clear understanding of your different options and the best way to approach your situation. Moreover, going over the ins and outs of your case may also provide you with peace of mind. Sometimes, a certain amount of stress is unavoidable, but it is important to prevent immigration-related stress from getting in the way of your success. Sometimes, people can feel hopeless or push off responsibilities because of anxiety.

How can I bring my child to the US?

If you are a parent of a child who lives in another country, you may wonder if you have to do anything to legally bring him or her to the United States. This is often an issue if you had lived in a foreign country and given birth to your child there. That child would then be a citizen of that country. It requires immigration paperwork to ensure your child can legally come to live in Illinois.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains that you can petition for immigration as the parent of a child who is under the age of 21 and not married or for your child who is over 21 who is not married. You can also petition for your child who is married, along with his or her spouse and children. As a citizen yourself, you will need to file Form I-130.

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