A Summary of Current United States Immigration Law by omq25257


									 A Summary
  of Current
United States
U.S. immigration laws is rarely
  what immigrants or citizens
 expect. Often these laws are
    written as much to keep
immigrants out as they were to
 provide orderly procedures for
  letting them in. Immigration
      policies, like any other
  bureaucracies, are often not
        logical or sensible.
Many people of other nations who
 wish to live in the United States
    and could make wonderful
 contributions to the country are
the very people kept from getting
   green cards and visas. In the
   current political context, U. S.
 immigration law is controversial
      among most Americans.
  Everyone seems to agree that
  there must be some limits. No
 one can begin to agree on how
     these limits should work.
 At the risk of being
 rude, most people
    have too little
    information to
  understand most
 situations, or they
have information that
       is wrong.
    Common sources of
        confusion and
  misinformation are well-
 meaning people (friends,
 relatives, co-workers), as
       well as general
rumormongers, all of whom
are only too happy to share
  their ignorance with you.
  Typically individuals extrapolate the single
experience they have had with the law or with
someone dealing with the law into a universal
 rule that govern all interactions for everyone
           they come in contact with.

      Do not universalize the
   personal. The world is bigger
        than you and your
 AND there can often
    be a difference
 between the way the
 rules and regulations
  are written and how
things work in real life;
    short-cutting the
   system is next to
  The visa
 system is
divided into
 two major
Permanent class, often called
 permanent residence, are
      those who become
 permanent residents of the
 U.S. by receiving an Alien
 Registration Receipt Card,
 more popularly known as a
 green card, that carries the
privileges of the right to work
   and to live in the United
 States permanently. There
are numerous ways to obtain
 a green card but all green
   cards are exactly alike.
Temporary class is for anyone wanting to
enter the U.S. on a temporary basis and
 these individuals receive what is known
as a nonimmigrant visa. These come in
  many different types and they all have
   different privileges attached to them.

                  The evolution of the term
                  “undocumented” originates
                  from this phenomenon.
  Besides the fact that green cards are
 permanent while nonimmigrant visas are
temporary, the most significant difference
between them is that the number of green
  cards issued each year is limited by a
quota in each category, while the number
  of nonimmigrant visas issued in most
 categories is unrestricted. The quota is
  what often affects the length of time it
takes to process green cards, sometimes
            months and years.
 A lot of people mistakenly believe that green
  cards are nothing more than work permits.
 While a green card does give you the right to
 work legally in the U. S. where and when you
  wish, identifying the holder as a permanent
   resident of the U. S. is its main function.

Years ago, the cards were green in color.
Then for a while they were red, white and
  blue. Today they are pink. All green
    cards issued since 1989 carry an
  expiration date and must be renewed
             every ten years.
  Green card eligibility is determined by
categories known as preferences and are
   available through the annual quota.
 Smaller numbers are available through a
  lottery system offered to people from
 countries that in recent years have sent
the fewest immigrants to the U. S. , those
   who qualify under special immigrant
     status, and refugees and political
  The annual
  green card
quota is set up
into two broad
Family-Sponsored Immigrants
              An  annual
               quota of up to
               480,000 visas
               in four
Family First Preference
                Unmarried
                 any age, of
                 U.S. citizens
   Family Second Preference
 2A:  Spouses and
  unmarried children
  under 21 years , of
  green card holders;
 2B: Unmarried sons
  and daughters (over
  21 years) of green
  card holders
Family Third Preference
           Married
            children, any
            age, of U.S.
    Family Fourth Preference
 Brothers and
 sisters of U.S.
 citizens where
 the U.S. citizen
 is at least 21
 years of old
Employment-Based Immigrants
 Up to 140,000
 visas in five
Employment First Preference
                 “Priority workers,”
                  including persons
                  of extraordinary
                  ability, outstanding
                  professors and
                  executives and
                  managers of
                  corporations; etc.
Employment Second Preference
   Persons with
    advanced degrees and
    persons of exceptional
    ability, coming to the
    U.S. to accept jobs
    with U. S. employers
    for which U. S.
    workers are in short
    supply or where it
    would serve the
    national interest.
Employment Third Preference
                Skilled and
                 unskilled workers
                 coming to the U.S.
                 to accept jobs with
                 U. S. employers for
                 which U. S.
                 workers are in
                 short supply.
Employment Fourth Preference
   Religious workers
    and various
    categories of
    workers and other
Employment Fifth Preference
                Individual investors
                 willing to invest
                 $1,000,000 in a
                 U. S. business
                 (or $500,000 in
                 depressed areas.)
                 10,000 green cards
Green Card Lottery Program
   55,000 green cards
    per year are given out
    under the lottery
    program. They are
    distributed by dividing
    up the world into
    regions and allocating
    varying percentages
    of the total green
    cards to each region.
    Green Card Lottery Program
   Different qualifying
    countries are selected
    each year, based on
    which ones, and which
    areas of the world,
    sent the fewest
    number of immigrants
    to the U. S. during
    the previous five year
    period, in proportion
    to the size of their
Special Immigrant Status
               Occasionally, laws
                are passed making
                green cards
                available to people
                in “special”
                which are not
                included in the
                preference system
      Some of the current special
    immigrant categories include. . .
 Foreign workers who were formerly
  longtime employees of the U. S.
  government or the American Institute in
 Foreign workers who have been
  employees of the U. S. consulate in Hong
  Kong for at least three years
 NATO civilian employees
 Panama Canal Treaty employees
 Foreign medical graduates who have been
  in the U. S. since 1978
    Refugee and Political Asylees
   The two are often          A refugee receives
    thought of as the           permission to come to
    same category but are       the United Stated in
    different.                  refugee status before
                                actually arriving.
                               Political asylum is
                                granted only after
                                someone has
                                physically entered the
                                U. S. Usually either
                                as a nonimmigrant or
                                an undocumented
        Refugees and Asylees
   To qualify as a         Refugees have an
    refugee or asylee,       annual quota
    you must have            established each
    experienced              year by the
    persecution in the       president. The
    past and have a          president also
    well-founded fear        decides how the
    of persecution in        total will be divided
    the future in your       among various
    home country             regions.
         Refugees and Asylees
   Applications and their approval are
    dependent on proof that you can pay for
    your transportation to the U. S. and have
    a means of support once you arrive. If
    you are married or have children under
    the age of 21, your status is also typically
    granted to your family, if proof of that
    relationship is available. Refugees are
    eligible to apply for a green card after one
    year of residency in the United States;
    Asylees are eligible one year after the
    designation is granted (limited to 10,000
      Refugees and Asylees
 Applicationsare approved on a first-
 come first-served basis. It is not
 unusual for qualified refugees to end
 up on a waiting list. The refugee
 quota cannot be accurately forecast
 because the number of slots
 available each year changes. Some
 countries may get many refugee
 numbers in a given year while others
 receive practically none. There is no
 quota for asylees.
From 1998 to 2002, an average of 65,833
 refugees arrived annually. This number
has declined over the past few years with
    only about 31,206 arriving annually
         between 2002 and 2004.
        9/11/01 resulted in a
     decrease in the authorized
    ceiling from 80,000 in 2001
          to 50,000 in 2004.
Current Immigration
 Law Exclusions
   Current law states that a person who
 overstays a U. S. visa for more than 180
days, is barred from re-entering the U. S.
 for three years. A person who overstays
a U. S. visa for more than a year is barred
   from entering the U. S. for ten years.
     If the three or ten year bar
     applies to a foreign national
    who marries a U. S. citizen, a
         waiver is possible but
 Foreign nationals with one or more
 criminal convictions in their past are
 typically ineligible to receive an
 immigrant visa to enter the U.S.
 (non-immigrants are likewise barred,
 although the bar is not quite as
 broad as it is for immigrant visas).
   Drug traffickers are ineligible for a visa, even if there has
    been no conviction, as long as the consular or immigration
    officer knows or has reason to believe that the visa
    applicant has been involved in trafficking.

   A person coming to the U.S. to engage in prostitution, or
    who has engaged in prostitution within ten years of their
    application for entry, is inadmissible, even if there was no
    criminal conviction.

   An amnesty or parole does not remove the crime from
    calculation of the bar. Such crimes are treated for U.S.
    immigration purposes exactly as though the conviction
    remained in place.
   Similarly, a “deferred adjudication” whereby the
    record of the offense is expunged form the
    defendant’s record is nonetheless regarded as a
    conviction under U.S. immigration law.

   If the foreign national has admitted to the crime,
    even if there was no conviction, he or she will be
    barred from receiving a visa (this can even occur
    during the medical exam preceding the consular
    interview if the unwitting applicant admits to
    prior substance abuse or some other crime).
         Health-Based Ineligibility
   The following communicable diseases of public health significance
    render a person inadmissible:
   Chancroid
   Gonorrhea
   Granuloma inguinale
   Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS)
   Hansen’s disease (infectious leprosy)
   Lymphogranuloma venereum
   Infectious state syphilis
   Infectious tuberculosis (TB) (clinically active)
   In addition, the following physical or mental disorders can render
    a person inadmissible:
   Current physical or mental disorders, with harmful behavior
    associated with the disorder.
   Past physical or mental disorders with associated harmful
    behavior that is likely to recur or lead to other harmful behavior.
         Health-Based Ineligibility
   Waivers are possible for most of the health grounds of
    inadmissibility except for drug abuse or addiction. In evaluating all
    such waivers, the government adjudicator is obligated to ensure
    that the immigrant will not pose a threat to the health or welfare
    of the U.S. public, and that there will be no financial cost incurred
    by any level of government agency or by U.S. taxpayers due to
    the admission of the immigrant (except in such cases where an
    authorized U.S. agency has given its prior consent).

   In addition, HIV applicants have a particularly high burden with
    regard to the “public charge” aspect of the waiver. The applicant’s
    U.S. sponsoring relative must demonstrate financial resources
    and/or health insurance to absorb the estimated $500,000 plus
    lifetime cost of health care for an AIDS sufferer before the waiver
    will be further be considered. A person with a physical or mental
    disorder which threatens the safety of the applicant or others may
    receive a waiver if they submit documentation that convinces the
    government that they are fully recovered.
    Health-Based Ineligibility
 Harmful behavior is behavior that
 may pose, or has posed, a threat to
 the property, safety or welfare of the
 applicant or others. A record of
 driving under the influence of alcohol
 (DUI or DWI) can lead to an
 investigation by the government to
 determine whether an immigrant has
 a “mental disorder associated with
 harmful behavior.”
              Other Exceptions
   Terrorist activities
   Membership in a Communist or any totalitarian
   Espionage or sabotage against the U.S.
   Illegal export of sensitive U.S. technology, goods,
    or information
   Particularly severe violations of religious freedom
    by foreign government workers
   Money laundering
   Efforts directed to control or overthrow the
    Government of the United States by force,
    violence, or other unlawful means.
   Participants in Nazi persecutions or genocide
   Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act

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