Immigration is a hot-button issue these days, as can be witnessed in the contentious battle being raged in Congress and the federal courts over whether or not to keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order of 2012.
Immigration was also the issue President Donald Trump devoted more of his first State of the Union Address to than any other topic, with nearly 650 words. The truth is that immigration law is one of the most confusing types of law we have in this country, and it is constantly evolving, almost to the day.
Comprehensive immigration reform has been on Congress’s agenda for years, but has yet to happen. According to experts at the Council on Foreign Relations, the chances of comprehensive immigration reform occurring any time soon are slim. This unlikelihood is largely due to the deep political divisions in Washington, which are polarized by the President’s views.
But frustration over the inability to achieve immigration reform is hardly new. In fact, DACA has its roots in President Obama’s frustration over Congress’s decade-long inability to pass the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), which was written to protect children of undocumented immigrants brought here as minors from deportation.
One immigration policy that is likely to face reform is the H-1B visa program. H-1B visas are temporary nonimmigrant visas allotted to a certain number of professional foreign workers each year, so that they can work in “specialty occupation positions.” Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have shown an interest in making changes to this program because they believe it is being exploited by certain companies and prone to fraud in some cases.
Having the representation of an attorney is not required when applying for a U.S. Green Card or an immigrant visa, but it can be very helpful—particularly in certain situations. Immigration law is extremely complicated, and the bureaucracy that oversees it is very dense. A good immigration attorney will know which forms you need to fill out, what documents need to be provided, and what procedures need to be undertaken. In addition, a good immigration lawyer will be up to date on current immigration laws and trends that you may not be aware of. Here are some additional scenarios in which an attorney could prove invaluable:
We understand that this is a serious and complex issue with no quick answers. If you have any questions regarding current immigration law and how it applies to you and your family, please call the experienced New York immigration attorneys at Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP, at 646-779-2896. We are one of few firms that provide deportation defense, and we will meet you at the airport if need be.
If you entered the United States without visa and are working here without legal documentation, your employer may be able to help you. But it’s important to understand that just because your employer wants to help doesn’t mean you will be able to obtain a green card. The process for obtaining a green card is complicated and depends on many factors, including your prior history (and your family’s prior history) in the United States. So it’s good that your employer wants to help but the first step is to call us for an interview so we can understand more about your situation.
A work permit is a common way of referring to an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is issued by the Immigration Service (which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security). Under U.S. law, you need a work permit or EAD in order to become a legal employee of a U.S. company. Many lawyers will promise to get you a work permit, but you have to be careful about this. The catch is that you can’t simply apply for a work permit or EAD in itself. In order to apply for a work permit you have to make an application for legal status in this country on some other basis. Don’t believe any other lawyer or person who tells you it’s an easy thing to get a work permit. Call us for an interview and we can explain to you how the process and immigration laws in the United States really work.
As a result of the injunction issued by the District Court in Texas, applications for the expanded DACA program and DAPA are currently on hold. The Department of Homeland Security is not currently accepting requests for the expansion of DACA, as originally planned. Until further notice, it has suspended the plan to accept requests for DAPA.
The Court’s order does not affect the existing DACA. Individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012. This ruling only delays the start of DAPA and the expansion of DACA.
It’s important that you speak with a qualified attorney who can explain all the options and issues relating to your immigration status. Do not take advice about your immigration case from a notary public or an immigration consultant. The U.S. immigration laws and rules are very complicated and many people take advantage of undocumented immigrants, making promises and charging money without providing honest advice. Contact only a qualified immigration lawyer for legal advice about your case. If you encounter 'notarios' who offer legal advice without a license, report it.
You can begin preparing now! Even though DHS is not currently accepting applications under DAPA or the expanded DACA programs, individuals who are potentially eligible for Deferred Action status should begin preparing their applications now. It is very likely that the Texas decision will be overturned and there will probably be a rush of applicants when that happens. Individuals should be ready with their applications and start now by gathering the necessary documentation and seeking good counsel to give themselves the best chance for success and to avoid potential problems.
If you are a U.S. citizen or have a Green Card, then yes, you can apply for a visa for your family members. But the process can take a long of time, depending on your own status. If you’re a U.S. citizen, it might take 8 months to a year to process the application. The waiting time will be much longer if you’re a Green Card holder. Generally, the sooner you start the process the better, so contact one of our attorneys now to get started or browse our site to learn more about the different types of visas available for family members.
Whether you can travel abroad depends on your immigration status. If you have been granted DACA or if you have a Green Card in hand – you still must ask for advanced permission in order to leave the country. This is called advanced parole. Obtaining advance parole is relatively inexpensive. But it is not without risk, because there is really no way to guarantee that you will be able to return. Your return is ultimately within the discretion of the authorities at the point of your reentry to the U.S.
If one of your employees entered the United States without visa and is working here without legal documentation, you may be able to help this person obtain legal immigration status. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will be able to obtain a green card. The process for obtaining a green card is complicated and depends on many factors, including a person’s prior history (and their family’s prior history) in the United States. It’s definitely helpful to their case if you, as their employer, are willing to help, but the first step is to have the employee call us for an interview so we can understand more about their situation.
A work permit is a common way of referring to an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is issued by the Immigration Service (which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security). Under U.S. law, an employee needs a work permit or EAD in order to become a legal employee of a U.S. company. Many lawyers will promise to get undocumented immigrants work permit. But you have to be careful about this. The catch is that you can’t simply apply for a work permit or EAD in itself. In order to apply for a work permit a person must make an application for legal status in this country on some other basis. So don’t let your employees get gulled into believing that it’s easy to get a work permit by some lawyer or hustler on the street corner. Call us for an interview and so we can explain to your employees how the process and the immigration laws in the United States really work.