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New Orleans Immigration Law Blog

Families seeking asylum under immigration law are being separated

Every year, many people come to the United States seeking asylum. Families flee their countries of origin in order to escape atrocities and find safety and freedom. However, when they arrive, whether it be in New Orleans or elsewhere, they could end up separated from their family members. Officials take children from their parents and put them into separate detention centers. Immigration law officials claim the separation is necessary in order to verify parentage and ascertain whether the children are victims of trafficking.

That may not be the whole story, however. Sources claim that the current administration intentionally separates families upon entry into the country as a deterrent. The theory is that families may think twice about entering the country illegally if they know that they will be separated from their children.

Supreme Court: Immigration law does not include bond hearings

The threat to the freedoms of those here in New Orleans and across the country who are not U.S. citizens seems to increase almost on a daily basis. Hundreds of people find themselves in detention centers as they await the government's decision as to whether they can remain in the country. Some of them spend a significant amount of time in those detention centers without the benefit of a hearing, which some believe to be a violation of their rights under immigration law.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which is based on the West Coast, agrees. The court ruled in a class action suit filed on behalf of detained immigrants that they should go before a court at least every six months to determine whether they should be released on a bond. Some felt this was a victory.

Immigration law news: ICE arrests up last year

People residing here in New Orleans and throughout the country after entering the United States without proper immigration paperwork have much to fear right now. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents search for those without proper documentation and target them for deportation. Under immigration law, ICE can deputize local law enforcement agents to help them in these endeavors.

Recent raids on the West Coast resulted in over 100 people being detained. ICE agents are even targeting the popular convenience store chain 7-Eleven looking for those without the proper documentation. Local law enforcement in the area refused to take part in the raids, but that has not stopped ICE's efforts.

J-1 work visas allow students to work in the US during summers

While it is months away, it is never too early to think about summer plans, especially if those plans include traveling to the United States. For many college students in other countries, coming to Louisiana for summer employment is an opportunity to broaden their horizons while earning money to continue their educations or support their families. However, the first step toward that goal is to obtain a J-1 visa for summer work travel. The complex process for these work visas may take weeks to months to complete.

To be eligible for a J-1 visa, a student must be able to speak English well enough to function in situations where English is the primary language. Additionally, the student must have completed one or more semesters of study and be working towards a degree at an accredited institution in his or her own country. Having a job offer prior to applying is a requirement for applicants from many countries, but the U.S. waives that requirement for some countries, such as the United Kingdom.

5 successful entrepreneurs who immigrated to the United States

One of the primary reasons that the United States appeals to migrants is its myriad business opportunities. With a strong economy, competitive market and entrepreneurial spirit, the U.S. offers foreign-born entrepreneurs business opportunities that they might not find anywhere else in the world.

The United States needs immigrant entrepreneurs just as much—if not more—than they need it. According to a recent study, over 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies had at least one founder who was an immigrant or a child of immigrants. Indeed, of all American startups that are valued over $1 billion, over half were founded by immigrants. If you need further proof, just take a look at these examples of successful entrepreneurs who started out as immigrants.

What proposed changes in immigration law could mean for America

The United States was built on the blood, sweat and tears of those who risked everything to come here. It may be hard to believe that immigration law as we know it only came about around 1965. Since then, many more people have entered this country and prospered, many of them here in New Orleans. The proposed changes to the current system could have prevented around 57 percent of those who entered the country since that time and 2016 from entering the country.

That's somewhere around 23 million people who entered the country via family members, the visa lottery and asylum or refugee status, among other legal avenues to citizenship. That includes millions of people who helped change the culture and makeup of the country. Many of the family members that sponsored those immigrants were permanent residents and not yet U.S. citizens.

Immigration law changes may move toward merit-based system

Immigration is an important facet in the lives of many people, including many in Louisiana. They likely came to the United States in hopes of obtaining better lives for themselves and for their children than they faced in their countries of origin. However, due to immigration law changes, they may now fear that their new lives will be substantially disrupted, especially if they face deportation.

It was recently reported that changes could come to the immigration system and what attributes that system considers top priorities. For instance, many aspects of immigration law have been contingent on keeping families together, but now, the current administration is considering moving away from family reunification and toward considering individuals on their personal qualities. This type of arrangement is sometimes referred to as a merit-based system.

Immigration law: Did Motel 6 overstep its bounds?

One of the greatest advantages of living in the United States is freedom of movement. One can travel from New Orleans to anywhere in the country without worrying about border crossings from state to state and without being on the government's "radar" as is often the case in many other countries. That is, unless it involves a stay at certain Motel 6 locations that seem to be taking immigration law into their own hands. The question is whether the motel chain violated certain guests' civil rights.

According to a lawsuit recently filed in another state, the information of certain guests was passed on to Immigration and Customs Enforcement without the authorization of the guests. Apparently, employees at the motel chain gave the personal information of Latino guests to ICE, which the lawsuit says violates anti-discrimination laws. One of the people affected has already been deported.

Congress agrees to make immigration law changes by Feb. 8

Many here in New Orleans watched with interest as Congress attempted to keep the government open on Friday, Jan. 19 and through the weekend that followed. The government did shut down for approximately three days when immigration law issues failed to be addressed as part of the proceedings to pass a spending bill. Now that Congress has come to a short-term agreement to keep the government open, lawmakers gave themselves until Feb. 8 to address the fate of hundreds of thousands of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals participants.

All indications are that the majority of those in the House and Senate want to reach an agreement regarding the fate of these individuals before deportations begin in March. On one side of the aisle, some call for providing DACA participants with the ability to become citizens of the United States. On the other side of the aisle, some call for a more extensive overhaul of the entire immigration system with DACA participants only encompassing one piece of the puzzle.

Obtaining family visas could become problematic

It would be a challenge to find anyone in New Orleans who is not already aware of the immigration law changes taking place here in the United States. More than likely, the administration will push for even more changes this year. One area where significant changes could be on the horizon is in family visas.

The current administration has talked about eliminating what it dubs as "chain migration" in which a U.S. citizen or permanent resident sponsors the immigration of other family members from another country. In fact, it already seems to be happening. The number of family visas issued in 2017 dropped to the lowest level the country has seen in about 10 years.