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Lawrenceville Immigration and Naturalization Law Blog

The immigrant vote could determine Georgia's governor

If you're wondering who is going to become the next governor of Georgia in November, you may be interested to know that a deciding factor could be the way immigrants vote. The race is close so far, slightly favoring Republican Brian Kemp over Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams.

Why are immigrants, in particular, such an important group? One reason is that their numbers have been swelling in Georgia. When looking at Latino immigrants, studies show that the community in Georgia has increased at a faster rate than it has anywhere else in the United States.

What is Hague adoption?

When a family wishes to adopt internationally, they must generally work through the Hague adoption process. Until relatively recently, families could adopt either through Hague adoption or the orphan adoption process. However, most orphan adoption required filing the appropriate forms to adopt before April 1, 2008. Hague adoption is a uniform adoption process that aims to ensure that the best interests of parents and children remain protected during the complex journey of international adoption. While not all countries participate in Hague adoption, most countries do.

In order for a family to internationally adopt a child through Hague adoption, the child must

  • Reside in a country participating in Hague adoption
  • Qualify for Hague adoption by their country of residence
  • Have all the necessary consent documents from their country of origin
  • Be under 16 years of age

Working in the U.S.: Get the right visas

You love your job, and you've been able to rise to a high position in your country. Now, the company wants to see you move to America and take over a role there. It's a dream that was a long time coming, and now you just want to do everything you can to get the transfer and appropriate immigration documents together.

The good news is that you have a sponsor, which means you're likely to get a visa when you apply. Having a business vouch for you, especially when you're in a higher position, has a positive effect on employment-based immigration visas.

Does your child have dual citizenship?

Though we generally think of citizenship as something that is exclusive to one country, it is possible for people to have dual citizenship. Another name for this, in some cases, is dual nationality. As the name implies, it simply means that the person can claim citizenship in two separate countries at the same time.

Does your child have it? In some cases, people get dual citizenship automatically. A common example involves children. If you are from another country and you come to the United States, where your child is born, that could mean that your child instantly becomes a citizen of both your home country and the United States.

Signs that federal officials suspect your marriage is fraudulent

Immigrating to Georgia or another U.S. region is often a lengthy and complicated process. If your paperwork wasn't in order when you crossed a border, you may encounter many challenges that properly documented immigrants might avoid. You may also be one of many who married a U.S. citizen.  

By marrying a U.S. citizen, you may be able to obtain a permanent resident status that allows you to live and work in the United States, indefinitely. A problem might arise, however, if federal immigration officials think your marriage is not legitimate and that you used it to beat the system as a means of getting a green card. If that's the case, you may have to attend a marriage interview to convince them otherwise.  

Should you consider a plea bargain?

Whenever a person is charged with a crime, they should do their best to fight the charges and push to have them dismissed. However, in many cases, it is simply not possible to see charges dismissed entirely, and a defendant may consider accepting a plea bargain to avoid more serious sentencing. Unfortunately, many defendants accept plea bargains that hurt them in the long run because they do not understand the risks involved.

Some prosecutors will offer plea bargains to first offenders who may have a stronger defense than they realize. Once defendants accept the plea bargain, however, they usually then have a conviction that gets them into a system that is difficult to escape, especially if they must serve jail time.

Understand your rights as a foreign student worker

If you are a student coming to America with a visa, then you have a high likelihood of getting in with no trouble. However, once you are here, there are many restrictions placed on you. There are certain things you can or cannot do.

One of the things you may want to do is to have a part-time job. Employers may hire students with visas, which is good news for you. You do need to know what an employer may or may not ask you, though. You want to make sure that you do not end up working for someone who is racist or screening you based on where you come from.

Seeking asylum is not a hasty process

The fear of persecution because of your race, religion, politics or other factors is a valid reason for wanting to flee your country and seek a safer home elsewhere. For many, that haven is the United States. If you have already made the decision to leave your country and hope to gain legal residency in the U.S., it is important that you understand the process for seeking asylum.

Qualifying for asylum is not an easy thing to do. The U.S. government has rigid rules in place to protect the country and its citizens. While there are numerous compassionate programs to welcome citizens of other countries who are in danger, recent tightening of immigration laws makes qualifying for these programs even more challenging. Nevertheless, with skilled legal assistance, you may be able to overcome the barriers and obtain your goal.

Can I help my adopted sibling immigrate to the United States?

If you're a United States citizen, you may be able to sponsor your sibling to immigrate to the United States. While the process for bringing a sibling to America in this fashion is relatively straightforward, each step must be followed in order to maximize the chances of success. Also, when it comes to an adopted sibling, there is an additional step that's important to keep in mind.

The process to sponsor a sibling to get a green card that allows him or her to work and live lawfully in this country is as follows:

  • Complete and file Form I-130 on behalf of your sibling. You do not need to complete additional Form I-130's for your sibling's children who are under the age of 21, nor for your sibling's spouse.
  • Provide lawful copies of both you and your sibling's birth certificates. You will need to prove that you share common parentage.
  • Evidence of your status as a U.S. citizen. This could be a certified copy of your current passport, birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth, certificate of naturalization or your certificate of citizenship.
  • Certified copy of you or your sibling's adoption decree. It must show that either you or your sibling were adopted prior to the age of 16.

Does divorce threaten my permanent resident status?

For many years, one of the most direct paths to obtaining permanent resident status in the United States has been through marrying someone who is already a citizen. While the process is far more complicated than many television shows and movies portray, this has long been a well-known method for gaining resident status or citizenship.

However, marriages that include immigrants are just as susceptible to relationship difficulties as any other marriage, and many of them end in divorce. Divorce is complicated enough on its own, but some immigrants fear that divorcing their citizen spouse may negatively impact their ability to work toward citizenship or stay in the country at all.

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