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New Orleans Louisiana Immigration Law Blog

Can 'dreamers' leave the country and return?

Nicknamed "dreamers," those allowed to stay in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program must know exactly what legal rights and obligations they have. This was a program that started under President Barack Obama, and some residents are still protected under its guidelines.

One key thing they should know is that they are not allowed to leave the country and return at will, as actual U.S. citizens are. Attempting to do so could get members of the DACA program put into detention.

Immigration detention can last for years

It feels like immigration detention should be a short-term solution while authorities decide how to proceed. In reality, it's often anything but short, leaving people behind bars for years with no idea how their stories will play out.

For example, one man was locked up for nine years and four months. Most terms don't last that long, but it's certainly possible.

Tips for filing government immigration forms

When you file any type of immigration form, such as an application for a green card, it's very important to do everything correctly. Forms can and will be rejected based on the smallest mistakes.

As such, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has listed out a few helpful tips. They include:

  • Make sure you're not using an outdated form. These are updated periodically. If you printed it off months ago and took your time filing, there could be a more current version that you must use.
  • Always remember, when you're done, to sign the form. All unsigned forms get rejected, every time.
  • Be sure you don't miss any sections. Fill out the entire form and then double-check.
  • Use a black pen if you're filing out the form by hand.
  • Don't write with illegible penmanship. The form should be neatly written and officials should not have to decipher what you've written.
  • Start over after any mistakes. Don't just cross it out and write in the margins. You need a new form entirely.
  • Don't use white-out or any other type of corrective agent. Again, get a new form.
  • Pay exactly the right amount for your fee. If you don't, the form is rejected outright.
  • Write information exactly the same way on every form. Your date of birth should always be listed out in the proper format. Your name should be spelled the same way; for example, don't write "Alex" on one portion and "Al" on another.

Immigrants have been deported without their belongings

Would you assume that those who are detained and then deported from the United States would at least be given their belongings back when they were forced to leave? After all, prisoners are given their belongings when released from jail.

Unfortunately, reports show that this is not always the case. In some situations, the loss can be devastating. Many people have brought all they owned with them and they have nothing else.

Employee abuse is rife among immigrant farm workers

As you know, the agricultural industry in America largely depends on migrant workers. Many immigrants from Mexico, Puerto Rico and elsewhere come to the United States to find a better life. Often, they start out in a skilled labor industry, such as agriculture or construction. You also know that you and your family can hope for a better future here, but you might have to work hard to realize your dreams. Unfortunately, many migrants in Louisiana suffer mistreatment from their employers because they can use their workers' fear of deportation or lack of knowledge to exploit them.

You should understand that you have as much right to be treated with dignity and respect as anyone who was born in America, regardless of your immigration status. There are laws that protect migrant workers from companies or individuals who would take advantage of them, but this has not stopped abusive employers from inflicting all manner of hardships on those who work for them. The list of injustices a migrant farm worker might endure include the following:

  • Receiving less than minimum wage, or suffering punishment for some slight (often fabricated) by having pay withheld
  • Working in inhumane conditions, such as working long hours under the sun without sufficient protective clothing, breaks, shade or water
  • Inhumanely long work hours without overtime pay
  • Sleeping quarters and bathroom facilities that are below health and safety standards

The difference between L-1, B-1 and H-1B employment visas

Many United States companies often opt to employ skilled foreigners to fill positions that they're unable to find any adequately trained Americans to fill. The type of work visa that a prospective candidate may qualify for varies depending on how long they're expected to remain in the U.S., what their professional expertise is like and where they're from.

The B-1 class of visa is intended for foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. on business for less than a year. Once here, B-1 visa holders are limited in what they're allowed to do. They can conduct research, take part in meetings, participate in negotiations, broker sales, invest in or purchase things and solicit and hire employees. Their U.S. sponsor is, however, not allowed to provide this type of visa holder compensation for their work.

Deported former Marine wins fight for permanent U.S. residency

Despite making great sacrifices for our country, former U.S. service members can still face deportation. In an interesting recent case, one former Marine regained his permanent residency and will now reunite with his family.

After his deportation to Mexico 15 years ago, a November court ruling will allow the man to return to the U.S. The 45-year-old plans to reunite with his children, all of whom are now near or at adult age.

Attaining a family immigrant visa

As an immigrant wanting to enter the United States, it is likely that you want to do so with your family, and therefore, you will want to apply for a family-based visa.

Finding the right visa for your specific purposes can be confusing. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) there are a number of options available, however.

Inhumane treatment of Somali detainees is alleged

It's a difficult time to be an immigrant in the United States. That was evidenced fully earlier this month when agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reportedly kept 92 Somali immigrants on a plane — chained — for nearly two days in conditions akin to a "slave ship." The incident occurred when ICE attempted to deport the detainees back to Somalia.

The airplane was chartered by the ICE Air Operations division. It took off on Dec. 7 from Louisiana and 10 hours later, landed in Dakar, Senegal, for a pit stop. It remained on the tarmac for almost a day and never continued on to Mogadishu. Instead, ICE ordered the plane to return on a 4,600-mile flight back to America on Dec. 9.

Should you carry your immigration papers?

You have your immigration papers, but you often leave them at home in your safe. Should you carry them with you everywhere that you go?

While some feel this is an overreaction to current events, others suggest that it may be wise to keep them on you. You're better off to have them and not need them than to need them when they're at home.

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Immigration & Nationality Law Group
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New Orleans, LA 70113

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