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New Orleans Louisiana Immigration Law Blog

Are immigrant families being separated unlawfully?

An Illinois senator has accused the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of separating immigrant families unlawfully. A coalition of Democrats has requested an investigation into whether families in immigration custody are being unlawfully separated from their children. At this time, it's unclear if the senator's claims are true, but there have been some reported incidents of this happening.

The Department of Homeland Security has denied the allegations, saying via its spokesperson that DHS only separates parents and children when it's in the children's interest. For example, this might happen when DHS suspects that human trafficking or abuse may be occurring.

Advice for those arrested by immigration officials

Nearly all undocumented immigrants in the United States are ethical and otherwise law-abiding individuals. They just happen to be here in the United States without proper documentation. For this reason, they are branded "illegal" immigrants, and they could be arrested.

However, because these individuals are often not the type of people to commit crimes, being arrested can be a new and absolutely terrifying experience. If you or your loved one was arrested by immigration officials, or is at risk of being arrested, there's a few things you need to know.

White House policy changes lead to increased deportation risk

Early in the current presidential administration, the White House issued executive orders to expand the types of immigrants prioritized for deportation. The Trump White House has also scaled back on the use of "administrative closure," which was a way of putting immigration cases on pause in order to focus on those immigrants prioritized for deportation -- such as immigrants who had been accused of violent crimes.

This has resulted in nonviolent immigrants needing to go through long court proceedings that may eventually lead to deportation. Under the last presidential administration, administrative closure allowed most of these nonviolent immigrants to remain in the United States, even though they were never granted full legal status. These nonviolent immigrants' cases could be reopened at any time, but in the interim, they could stay in the United States, and in some cases, legally work.

Is it easier now for international students to stay in the U.S.?

With a well-documented drop in the number of international students studying in U.S. colleges, you may be wondering if it is now easier for these students to stay in the United States after graduation. For example, if there might be fewer applications for jobs, your odds of getting employment, and in turn, a work visa, could increase, at least in theory.

The reality is that the picture has always been fairly complicated and remains complicated. You still need to be proactive about making post-graduate plans and should not assume you will find a job that makes it possible to stay in the United States.

For how long can green card holders leave the United States?

After acquiring your green card and the permanent residency and right to work in the United States that comes with it, you'll have a very valuable commodity on your hands that probably took a mix of luck and patience in order to achieve. As such, you'll want to follow all the rules that apply to your green card closely so you don't risk losing it.

With this in mind, you might also want to go to your country of origin to visit family and friends, the question is, are you allowed to leave the United States as frequently as you want and return with your green card still valid?

The H-4 visa could be in jeopardy

If you want to move to the United States for employment reasons, you'll have various options available to you. If you have a graduate degree and you are employed in a specialty occupation that qualifies you, then the H-1B visa could be your best way to enter. The H-1B visa allows you to enter the United States to work in jobs like IT, accounting, finance, engineering, architecture, science, math and medicine.

If you can qualify for entry, though, what about your spouse? This is where the H-4 visa comes in. The H-4 visa is all about families and spouses, and helping the spouses of H-1B visa holders come to the United States with them. The H-4 visa mainly applies to the spouses of H-1B visa holders who plan to stay in the United States long-term by obtaining a green card.

Caregiver of paraplegic boy deported by authorities

An unfortunate immigration case in Cincinnati highlights the reasons why immigrants need to take their legal status seriously in the United States. A 27-year-old man who has been helping to financially support and provide care to his 6-year-old paraplegic stepson was recently deported. Now, the boy will not be able to receive the care his stepfather once generously gave.

The stepfather has been deported back to the Dominican Republic after being detained for three weeks at an immigration center in Louisiana. Prior to being held in Louisiana, the man had been detained in a federal holding center located in Ohio.

5 benefits to becoming a United States citizen

If the countries of the world were competing for people to come and live inside them, the United States is doing very well in this competition. The "American Dream" has inspired countless people to come and live in the United States, and many more are trying to apply for residency, citizenship or just the right to come for a temporary visit.

The benefits of U.S. citizenship are numerous

Tips for passing your citizenship interview

Moving to the U.S. comes with numerous challenges, no matter your age or nationality. Whether it was your intention all along or you came to the decision after years of living here, you may choose to start the journey to become an American citizen.

The process is long and complex and best to complete with the help of an immigration attorney to avoid mistakes that will cost you time and money, and perhaps even your current status and residence. Once you make it to the end, all you have left is to pass the final interview to receive permission to become a citizen. You can be successful by following these tips.

Which country has the most powerful passport?

If you've applied for U.S. citizenship and you're currently going through the naturalization process, one of the most important benefits you'll receive as a citizen is the benefit of holding one of the most powerful passports in the world. The power of the U.S. passport allows you to gain access to numerous countries easily, without a visa or by way of a streamlined visa application process.

That said, the U.S. passport is not the most "powerful" passport in the world. This honor is currently conferred to German passport holders because German citizens have the ability to enter 177 countries at this time without first getting a visa. For the ease of travel offered by the German passport, this travel document achieved number one status via the 2018 World Passport Ranking competition.

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