Posts Tagged ‘ immigration ’

Applying for Asylum in the United States

Posted on: September 27, 2013 by in immigration
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bigstock-Social-security-28216202Asylum is a form of protection that governments grant to foreign individuals who fear persecution or who have actually been persecuted because of their race, nationality, religion, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion in their country of origin. To apply for asylum protections from the United States, a person must file a Form I-589 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) – the official name of the form is an “Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal”. This form must be filed with the USCIS within one year that the asylum seeker arrived in the United States. Asylum applicants are not required to pay any fee to have the application processed.

Family Members

When one member of a family is persecuted for the reasons listed above, it is very possible that the person’s family will also be persecuted, especially if the original victim of the persecution was allowed to leave the area where the persecution was occurring. For this reason, and to help ensure the unity of the family unit, the United States allows asylum seekers to include in their applications a spouse and any children the person may have. A same-sex spouse would qualify if the couple was married in a country or U.S. state that recognizes same sex marriages, and children must be unmarried and under the age of 21 in order to qualify.

Assuming that the victim of persecution is already in the United States and is granted asylum, but is separated from his or her spouse and/or children, then the asylee may petition the government to allow for the bringing of his or her spouse and/or children into the country by filing a Form I-730 with the USCIS. The official name of this form is a Refugee / Asylee Relative Petition. Unless humanitarian reasons prevent it, this form must be filed within two years of the original asylum seeker being granted asylum.

Upgrading to Lawful Permanent Resident

After an asylum seeker has remained in the country for at least a year, that person may apply for a green card, which is lawful permanent resident status, by filing Form I-485 with the USCIS. This form is an Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status. Every member of a family must submit a Form I-485 in order to be approved for the upgrade from asylee to lawful permanent resident.

Lawful permanent residents have just about all of the same rights and protections as naturalized or U.S. born citizens, but because they are still technically citizens of a foreign country, they may not vote in federal elections, and they are still removable, or deportable, should they be found to have violated an immigration rule or criminal statute.

Working with an Attorney

Anyone who is thinking about requesting asylum from the United States government should seriously consider speaking with a professional immigration attorney. Because of the risks that an asylum seeker could face if he or she was forced to return home, seekers of asylum simply can’t afford not to go through the immigration and asylum process without someone who knows and understands it.

Family Unity: A Concern of Immigration Reform

Posted on: August 28, 2013 by in immigration reform
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bigstock-Conversation-With-A-Therapist-49284815As the United States gets closer to approving and instituting major migration reform in America, millions of undocumented immigrants and their families wait in the shadows for news of a path to citizenship that will help to keep their families together.

The Current System

Under current regulations, immigration law and family law are often pitted against one another. This usually happens when a non-U.S. citizen parent who has the legal right to exercise parental control over a U.S. born child is recommended for deportation / removal from the country by migration officials, or when the person recommended for deportation / removal is a non-U.S. citizen spouse of a citizen. Examples of how much this affects the family unit are abound, with some undocumented parents reporting that their status has left them living in fear of losing the businesses that they started to support their families and in even of taking their children to the hospital for fear of having their immigration status revealed.

In the past, the U.S. government has unflinchingly deported adults who have been in the country since they were children – brought to the country illegally by their parents – and even children who would otherwise qualify to remain in the country under the DREAM Act.

Path to Citizenship Awaiting Approval

If Congress is able to compromise long enough to agree on an migration reform bill, then things are likely going to get much better for many individuals currently living in the United States without the necessary documentation. Provisions to the proposed immigration reform bill being drafted by Congress are expected to grant migration judges the authority to stop deportation proceedings if the removal of the undocumented person in question would result in a hardship to a U.S. citizen, whether the citizen be the parent, child, or spouse of the undocumented person. The bill is also expected to grant authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to allow some of the individuals who have already been deported before the bill could pass to apply for provisional immigrant status and rejoin their loved ones in the United States.

When Family Unity is Threatened

Because of the sensitive nature of family law and the fact that migration law is so complex and case specific, it is always in the best interests of immigrants living in the United States to seek the advice of experienced immigration legal counsel when an immigration issue appears as if it will threaten the unity of a family. The attorney will be able to review the immigration issue at hand and determine whether or not it is something that could risk breaking the family apart. If so, then the attorney can immediately get started with representing the immigrant to ensure as fair and just an immigration proceeding as possible. Through each step of the immigration process, the attorney will advise the immigrant on his or her rights and best legal options in the matter.

In order to make sure they get the most up to date and accurate information regarding migration laws in general, immigrants in the United States are encouraged to seek the advice of experienced immigration attorneys, and not to rely on what they hear on the news or read online. Depending on inaccurate information can have very negative effects on an immigrant’s status in the United States.