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Lawrenceville Immigration and Naturalization Law Blog

Removing conditions after marrying a U.S. citizen

Despite the news reports you may have heard, the United States government welcomes those who wish to immigrate through the proper channels. Marrying a U.S. citizen or green card holder is one way you can lawfully enter the country and enjoy the privileges of permanent residency. However, obtaining a marriage visa is also one way in which many people attempt to commit immigration fraud.

If you received a conditional green card based on your marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, it is because immigration authorities want to make sure you have not committed fraud just to obtain a green card. You may have questions about how to proceed with removing the conditions.

Do immigrants commit more crimes?

You may have heard people claim that immigrants commit more crimes in the United States than people who are born within the country. If this struck you as odd, you may be onto something. Many studies have shown that this is not the case, no matter how many times the myth gets repeated.

For instance, one study from 2016 claimed that any immigrants -- both those who were undocumented and those who legally entered the country -- had less of a chance of ending up behind bars than people who were born in America and had that citizenship all their lives. On top of that, the study showed that things were actually trending downward, with the odds of arrest getting lower as the years went by. If anything, immigrants were getting arrested for criminal activity less often than they had in the past, not more often.

Local authorities being used in controversial immigration roles

Typically, immigration enforcement operations are handled by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). However, in a move that has proven controversial, ICE has been working with other authorities at the local and state levels, allowing them to help with these immigration procedures.

At this time, ICE claims that they have trained around 1,500 people to fill these roles.

Key factors to know about the deportation process

If you're an immigrant who has come to Georgia to live or work, you may worry about various legal status issues that could affect your ability to remain in the United States or earn a living while you're here. Whether you are here on a visa or are seeking naturalization for citizenship, many types of legal problems can arise that can throw your plans off track.

Words like removal or deportation may cause you to feel afraid or stressed. That's understandable, considering the great number of stories in the recent past that involve Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers placing immigrants in handcuffs and taking them into custody as tearful loved ones who feel helpless, look on. The more you understand about deportation, the better able you may be to protect your rights, especially if you wind up in detention.

What is the difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker?

People often think of anyone who comes to the United States from another country as an immigrant, but that's not strictly true. People can come with many different statuses and titles, and these have a drastic impact on how the process plays out.

Two examples are those who seek asylum and those who are classified as refugees. Typically, both are looking to escape danger -- a war, for example -- within their own country. Someone who is simply an immigrant could come from a country where they have a fine, safe life, but they simply wish to enter the U.S. For a refugee or an asylum seeker, they feel like they have no choice but to leave home, even if they would prefer to stay.

Once you're in ICE's custody, how do you get out?

If Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers approach you, you may immediately feel worried and perhaps, a bit frightened. There are any number of reasons an ICE official may want to speak with you. If you're immigration paperwork was in order when you arrived in Georgia from another country, perhaps everything will work out fine. Even if your visa is expired or some other legal issue has prompted ICE to come looking for you, there may be several resources available to help you straighten things out as quickly as possible.

If ICE officers detain you, you may be subject to removal. The more you know about your rights and understand how to exercise them, the better you can protect those rights and work toward a positive outcome. It's never wise to be confrontational with ICE officials or worse, to attempt to flee to avoid arrest. Actions like this will only make matters worse. Instead, if you know where to seek support, you can enlist the aid of someone who understands U.S. immigration law and knows how to help.

Why do the police pull people over?

If you're worried that any incident involving the police could lead to your deportation, you probably think about it a lot when you're behind the wheel. You know just how common traffic stops are, and you don't want something so simple to cause things to spiral out of control.

Fortunately, the police cannot simply pull you over for any reason and search for ways to arrest you. They must have a valid reason for a traffic stop before initiating that stop. Of course, they have a lot of options to choose from. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • You're driving faster than the speed limit
  • You're distracted by your phone while behind the wheel
  • You're tailgating the car ahead of you
  • You changed lanes improperly, such as crossing a solid line or changing lanes without signaling
  • You have windows that are tinted too dark
  • You have a cracked or broken windshield that is bad enough to interfere with your vision.
  • You have a burned-out headlight or taillight.
  • You have license plates that appear to be expired
  • You do not have a license plate at all
  • You hit the gas so hard that your tires squealed on the pavement
  • You broke a common traffic law; examples include running a red light, not fully stopping at a stop sign or not giving a pedestrian the right of way in a crosswalk

Asylum: How to avoid legal problems while navigating the system

Perhaps your goal as an immigrant is to build a new life for yourself and your family in Georgia. Maybe you are one of thousands who have a dream of starting your own business someday. However, if your arrival to the United States involved turbulent circumstances, you may encounter numerous challenges as you try to obtain legal status to live and work in this country.

As with most immigration processes, if you plan to seek asylum, you'll find that a lot of paperwork is involved. You'll also need to prepare for an interview with an immigration official at some point. You may even be placed in detention for a period of time. The more you learn about the asylum application process ahead of time, the less likely you will run into problems as you navigate the system. The good news is that you can seek legal support whenever you need it.

Do you know how many immigrants actually live in the U.S.?

When people talk about immigration these days, they often come from two very different sides and may exaggerate things significantly. For instance, maybe someone told you that immigrants are flooding into the country in unprecedented numbers and you should be worried about it. Or, maybe you have heard that the current political climate has turned them back and changed the country that the United States was originally intended to be.

It's dangerous to deal in extremes and important to consider the facts. So, how many immigrants are there in America?

How to renew a United States work visa

It is required by law for all employers to check if their employees or potential employees are allowed to work in the United States. It doesn't matter what your nationality or citizenship status is, you must be able to prove to an employer that you are legally permitted to work in the country. One such way is by obtaining the Employment Authorization Document, also known as the EAD. If this document is about to expire, you need to know how to renew it, so you don't lose your job.

In order to obtain an EAD, you must first file Form I-765, the Application for Employment Authorization. You will be required to file for an EAD for any of the following circumstances:

  • You are already authorized to work in the United States but need to show proof of such authorization
  • You are required to apply for permission to work in the United States (pending I-485 form, pending I-589 application or F-1 or M-1 student)
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