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Orange County Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

How criminal convictions affect naturalized citizens

The process for immigrants to become naturalized citizens is long and complex, so it is only natural that they be concerned about whether they could be deported if they are convicted of a crime, whether the conviction occurs in California or any other state. While a conviction is not likely to lead to deportation when the crime was committed after the individual became a naturalized citizen, there are some rare cases in which deportation is possible.

Federal law makes it very hard for naturalized citizens to lose their naturalization status. One instance in which this could happen, however, is if they concealed a criminal record during the application process. When the government discovers this criminal past, it has the right to denaturalize the citizen. In the past, most deported and denaturalized citizens were Nazis or other World War II persecutors who did not tell the truth about their past when they applied for citizenship in the United States, but cases like this since then have been very rare.

Changes to immigration law regarding family detention

California residents may be interested to learn that on May 13, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced it will be changing one of its policies regarding detention of immigrant families who are crossing the border illegally. It will no longer consider deterrence when making its decision about detention.

Other changes were announced as well. The federal agency will also review families who have been in detention for longer than 90 days. In addition, federal authorities announced intentions of improving conditions and access to attorneys at detention facilities in Texas and Pennsylvania.

EB-5 visa applications for Chinese investors paused

Chinese immigrants and investors looking to travel to California through the EB-5 visa program may be interested to learn that the program was paused on May 8. The report noted that this does not necessarily mean that the program is ending; the State Department and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services are reportedly giving investors from other countries a chance to obtain their green card.

Essentially, investors who applied for their visas after May 1, 2013, will be required to wait until more visas are available. The effects of the decision, which could include longer lines for visas in the future and a loss of millions of dollars in the form of new investments, were heavily weighed. It should be noted that, in early 2015, two congressmen introduced H.R. 616 which would reform the program.

A look at visa requirements for visiting international athletes

California residents may wish to know more about the visa process for bringing international athletes into the U.S. for competitions. Once granted, these visas are available and renewable for the duration of the athletic event.

Known as the P1-A visa, this type of immigration visa has certain requirements. These are slightly different for teams and individuals. For teams, they must be traveling to the U.S. in order to compete in a team sport that requires teams to be internationally recognized. Additionally, the team itself must have gained some international recognition. Individuals must meet similar requirements on an individual level. They must have some individual skill or other achievement that has caused them to be recognized internationally.

US sees record number of H-1B visa applications

Businesses in California and throughout the country are filing record numbers of applications in order to be able to bring more foreign workers in to take jobs in the science, engineering and computer fields. Applications for employment-based visas are limited by Congress to 85,000 per year, and only 20,000 are specifically available for those with a master's degree are higher. Despite the limit, more than 233,000 applications have already been filed for 2016.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services typically uses a lottery process to assign visas to companies seeking to hire foreign talent. This lottery is done by a computer program to ensure that it is administrated fairly. Because of the increased number of applications, employers have only a 36 percent chance of obtaining an H-1B visa.

Documentation for employment-based visas in California

People who are planning to come to the United States may do so by pursuing get employment-based visas. The government requires people to bring a number of documents that will be submitted as a part of the application process, so people should prepare and gather all that is needed prior to applying.

The person's passport must be valid both currently as well as at least 60 days after the visa's expiration date. If a person's passport will expire while a visa is in effect, they must get a new one before the employment-based visa will be granted. The government also requires the person to submit two photographs and copies of civil documents, including birth and marriage certificates. If the civil documents are in a language other than English, translations of the documents must be prepared and submitted as well.

V nonimmigrant status

A foreign-born person who is living in California may be able to qualify for a V nonimmigrant visa if they are the spouse or child of a permanent resident. The V nonimmigrant category was created in 2000 as part of the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act. People who qualify for a V visa will be allowed to live and work in the United States while they are waiting to secure their immigration status.

A person who would like to apply for a V visa must have been waiting for a green card for at least three years. The person's permanent resident spouse or parent must have submitted Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on their behalf prior to Dec. 21, 2000 or on that day. If a visa number has not yet become available for the person since Form I-130 or Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, was filed, they might be able to obtain a V visa in the meantime.

Citizens of neighboring countries may qualify for a TN visa

People who wish to enter California or anywhere else in the United States in order to engage in certain types of professional work may qualify for a TN nonimmigrant visa. To qualify, individuals must be citizens of either Canada or Mexico and have a prearranged employment opportunity available to them in the U.S. Some of the types of professionals who may qualify for a TN visa include teachers, scientists, pharmacists, engineers, accountants and lawyers.

The TN nonimmigrant classification is part of the economic and trade deals that were set up under the North American Free Trade Agreement that was enacted during the Clinton administration. TN visas allow citizens from Canada and Mexico to enter the U.S. in order to engage in professional work on a temporary basis. People with TN nonimmigrant status may remain in the U.S. for an initial period of up to three years and then seek further extensions of stay.

How to bring temporary workers into the US with an H-2B visa

Orange residents who are looking to hire temporary workers from outside the country may be interested in more information about the process. Bringing a foreign worker into the U.S. comes with multiple requirements that must be fulfilled in order for the visa to be granted.

In order for an employer to bring workers into the country for non-agricultural work on a temporary basis, they must submit a petition with USCIS on behalf of that worker for an H-2B visa. The government has produced a list of valid countries from which workers can come. There are some additional requirements that must be met before this temporary employment visa can be granted. First, the employer must prove that there aren't enough qualified or available workers in the U.S. to do that particular temporary job. Next, they must show that hiring this foreign worker will not impact other Americans' wages or working conditions. Lastly, the employer must show that the work is indeed temporary in nature.

Prosecutorial discretion in your immigration proceedings

During removal proceedings, immigration officials in California and around the country have the option of exercising prosecutorial discretion, which is the authority that Department of Homeland Security officials have to choose to stop removal proceedings. Immigration officials may use this power to close existing removal proceedings or decline to initiate new removal proceedings.

At our law firm, our attorneys help those who have been targeted for deportation to benefit from prosecutorial discretion. If you are facing a removal order, we may be able to help you seek relief by representing your interests during court proceedings. Since 2003, we have been helping clients to secure deportation waivers, have removal orders canceled and obtain asylum status.

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